Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Whoo Dooooogie! I’m again in the midst of a full moon liver cleanse...YeeeHaaa!

During the week of the full moon of March, my roommate Lauren and I supported each other through a liver cleanse. It was intense because the three days before and after a full moon, there is more gravitational force on the body, which enhances any kind of cleanse. Lauren & I felt so great afterward physically, mentally, and emotionally, that we decided to do another liver cleanse this month!

Cleansing alone can be done, as I have done many times, but for many people, having support is key for successfully seeing cleanses through to the end. Since doing several cleanses with Lauren over the past 6 months, I now feel that anyone who attempts any kind of cleanse should have some kind of support.

What's new and exciting is that Jen McKracken, proprietress of Yoga Center Morro Bay, has asked me to help lead her friendly yoga community in group cleanses each spring and fall. When she asked me to do this, I immediately felt very excited, and deeply honored. Helping people heal themselves and bring vitality and energy back to their being, is one of the greatest paths of service I can think of.

Several weeks ago, just after spring equinox, Jen and I led the first group of 14 local yogis in their choice of either a colon cleanse or a candida cleanse. Most participants chose to do the colon cleanse, and some people did both cleanses at the same time! I love that everyone was inspired and motivated by hearing Jen and I talk about our cleansing strategies and experiences at the first meeting, and then after the three week program, everyone was delighted to hear each other’s experiences. One important thing we learned, is that everyone is biochemically different, as the group had the whole gamut of results and stories to tell. Also, Jen and I had allowed everyone take their cleansing as deeply they wanted to, either cleansing gently or deeply. This approach is best, I believe, as with diet and lifestyle it’s all about what’s best for the individual. We’re all excited, to say the least, for the fall group cleansing program at YCMB. Anyone can call or email me to request that we lead whatever kind of cleanse they’d like us to coach...Wow! Group Support AND Customized Cleansing, all in one high-vibration location!

At home, Lauren and I are deeply inspired when we cleanse together. We encourage and support each other to keep cleansing through the toughest parts of the cleanse. Also, cleansing together is easier because we’ve shared the workload of making the liver flush drinks together each morning, and stockpiling potassium broth to sip throughout the week, and the bitter, liver-cleansing teas. We’ve celebrated our spiritual epiphanies during cleansing together, as well as our practical new ideas about how to make the cleanse easier the next time. I feel truly blessed to be living in community with someone on the same healing foods path.

Here’s the why of cleansing, the details of what we experienced, and some words of warning...
As a safety precaution, the colon is the very first organ you’ll ever want to cleanse. Why? Doing so creates a clear pathway for toxins to leave the body when you decide to do a liver cleanse, or a kidney/bladder cleanse, etc. During any kind of cleanse, toxins are dumped into the colon so that they can be excreted. If you have a caked-up colon from years of eating the standard American diet and you try to do any kind of cleanse, toxins will be broken loose and just circulate around and around in your blood causing headaches, joint pain, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and intense mood swings. For those coming off the Standard American Diet, colon cleansing is one of the most important first steps on the road to vitality. Lauren and I started the year off with a full moon colon cleanse in January, and then we did our first liver cleanse in March at the spring equinox, which also coincided with a full moon - Yeee Haaa! Throughout the wheel of the year, the spring and autumn equinoxes are the very best times to cleanse. When the seasons change, is when the body naturally wants to cleanse.

Why all this cleansing? Lauren says she feels toxic since the holidays, and that although she's done many different "whole body" cleanses over the course of her life, she'd never done a liver specific cleanse. The liver and colon tend to accumulate toxins from everywhere, and then they start to loose their ability to keep our bodies free from toxins. For me, even though I eat a 90% whole foods diet, which is in itself gently cleansing, I’m prone to infections. When I told my dear friend Josephine Laing about this problem, she pointed me to Dr. Schultz’s herbal cleansing formulas/programs. Josephine told me that she had read that certain bacteria (ones that cause recurring infections) can take root in the liver and also in the kidneys and bladder, and that a series of cleanses (two per month for 5 consecutive months), would kick them out of my system for good. It feels like such a relief to know that there’s simply some deep cleaning that needs to happen in my body...I’m relieved because I’ve done both liver and kidney/bladder cleanses before, and I know that I have the discipline to do them again. 

Okay! Here’s what’s involved in the week-long liver cleanse:
1) eat minimal fats and zero eggs, meats, or dairy for one week (and God forbid you touch any wheat, sugar, or anything refined), OR simply fast on liquids for the strongest cleansing effect
2) drink a potent liver/gallbladder flush drink each morning
3) drink strong, liver-cleansing tea throughout the day
4) drink potassium broth or spirulina mixed with water or juice when feeling hungry
fresh vegetable juice (especially juiced beets, beet tops, and dandelion greens) always adds to the effecacy of a liver cleanse

Fruits and vegetables of all kinds are allowed on this cleanse, preferably raw or juiced. So, late spring/summer during the warm weather is the ideal time to attempt most cleanses because 1) fresh produce at farmer’s market is totally abundant, and 2) because raw fruits and vegetables are cooling to the body (it’s easy to get chilled while cleansing), so the warmer weather helps one not end up feeling too cold while cleansing.

Depending on how deeply and effectively you want to cleanse, the diet during the cleanse can be anything from a liquid diet of teas and fresh green juices, or a raw food diet of just fruits and vegetables, or you can simply eat a whole foods diet with minimal fats and zero animal protein. I like to make the most of my cleanse, so I go for the fasting, liquid diet. This is easiest for me because I’ve found that my hunger subsides by day two or three if I don’t eat solid foods.

Whenever I’ve felt weak or depleted, I’ve mixed up a heaping teaspoon of good quality spirulina powder (a cleansing yet building superfood) into some water or juice to bring my strength back. You can live on spirulina, by the way - it has everything the body needs. Also, the last two times I’ve done this liver cleanse, I’ve made a big batch of potassium broth at the beginning of the week, so I could warm it up and sip it whenever I felt hungry. Potassium broth takes hunger away immediately, and replenishes the body with valuable minerals so it can keep functioning well. 

How will you feel physically, emotionally, and spiritually during and after the liver cleanse? You’ll probably feel hungry in the beginning, and possibly weak, tired, and depleted throughout the week, but you’ll also experience random bursts of high energy, and serious bouts of delirious laughter (which is SO much fun!). If you fast for the strongest cleansing effect, as I have done, you could feel weak in the knees, flushed, slight twinges in your adrenal glands, and shaky at times. If you start to feel this weak, back off on the liver cleansing tea and re-build your strength with a teaspoon of spirulina powder stirred into water or juice in the mornings. You’ll also want to be aware that your emotions may bubble up at extreme ends of the spectrum, as physical cleansing can often bring about emotional cleansing. Thank goodness for those bouts of delirious laughter! And by the end of your liver cleanse, you’ll have a slimmer waistline, a lighter step, more luminous skin, sparkling eyes, and a sharper mind. You’ll be taking deeper breaths, and feeling more evolved in many ways...I usually feel ready and inspired to take the next step toward reaching my highest potential.

Yes, most types of cleanses are well worth the effort, and I welcome your calls or emails if you’ve any questions at all.

(805) 547-9073

Be Well,

Monday, March 10, 2014

                     The Joys Of Lemon-Tahini Sauce

One of my favorite flavor elements (for nearly any meal) that I love to keep handy in the fridge is lemon-tahini sauce. This super flavorful, versatile, sesame-based sauce/dressing, can be used as a fantastic dressing over salads, or as a rich sauce over any soaked & simmered whole grains, steamed veggies, baked winter squash, quality meats, scrambled eggs, or tacos of any can put it on virtually anything!

This sauce has a beautifully well-rounded flavor profile because of it’s sour, sweet, salty, and herbal elements. The basic flavor is a winner with most people, and you can customize it to suit your changing taste preferences; more lemon or less lemon, saltier, sweeter, or with any fresh or dried herbs. It can even be made with hot-spicy ingredients like ginger or cayenne. I love being creative with various herbs like dill (of course), marjoram, basil, sage, parsley, chives, etc. Finely minced fresh herbs are lovely, but smaller amounts of dried herbs work well too.

There are different versions of this sauce from different cultures, but I came up with my own version about 10 years ago when I was reading the ingredient list on the back of a bottle of classic Annie’s Goddess Dressing...tahini (or sesame seed butter), lemon juice, water, apple cider vinegar, sea salt, honey, parsley and chives. I thought to myself, “Dude! I can make this!”

So, I started by putting equal parts water and raw sesame tahini (3 or 4Tbsp of each) into a small saucepan on low heat for about a minute while mixing to get a base sauce that was creamy yet pourable. Then, I turned off the heat and immediately added about a 1/2tsp each of fresh minced rosemary & dill so that the warmth lingering in the sauce would help the herbs release their aromas & flavors. Yum! (for those who like a hot-spicy aspect, a pinch of cayenne or a 1/2tsp fresh minced ginger can be added at this point). Next, I added a teaspoon or two of high-quality soy sauce (about 1/3tsp sea salt works too). And then, for the sweet aspect, I used a smidge (1tsp or less) of raw honey or grade B maple syrup, just to round out the subtle flavor profile, but not to make the dressing sweet tasting (these days I use a pinch of stevia powder). Sour is next, and here’s the trick to it: when you add a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice to this sauce, it’ll thicken dramatically, so you’ll need to add more water (about a Tbsp at a time), while stirring, until the sauce comes back to a smooth, creamy, yet fairly thin consistency. Yay!

Whenever I make a fresh batch of this sauce, I pour some slightly warm sauce over my brown rice, salad, or steamed greens and veggies, and then I put the rest into a jar in the fridge to use for up to 3 days.

A word of warning: the lemon juice tends to break down the tahini after about 3 days, and you’ll find that two things happen at this point: 1) a thin layer of water forms on the top of the sauce, and 2) the smell changes a bit. This is why I try to use the sauce up within about 3 days. Another thing you should know is that after only a few hours in the fridge the sauce will get way thicker. Again, the culprit is the lemon juice, which will continue to thicken the sauce as it sits in the fridge. When this happens, it’s no biggie at all. Just scoop a few thick spoonfuls into a bowl, and mix another tablespoon or two of water into it to thin it back out again. Easy!

If you want the best flavor and health benefits in this sauce, the trick is using a high-quality tahini. The rich, satisfying flavor of fresh (not rancid), raw tahini, is heavenly. Don’t try to save money by buying cheaper brands of tahini (or especially brands that are near expiration), because the rancid taste will absolutely ruin your sauce. Tahini is naturally slightly bitter, but the brands of tahini which I’ve found are usually most fresh tasting are: Rejuvanitive Foods, Viva Pura, Gopal’s, Maranatha, and Once Again brands. I’ve tried both raw and toasted tahini, and I like the raw best because it’s less likely to be rancid. The toasted versions do have a nice, nutty flavor though. You’ll know if ANY nuts, seeds, fats/oils, or even grains are rancid because the smell will be off, and there’s often a distinctly bitter and/or astringent aftertaste. Once you experience the taste of fresh nuts and nut butters, etc, the taste of rancid foods will be undeniable to you. Rancid foods are definitely no good for the body!

See next post for: Why rancid oils are bad for the body

                                              Why rancid oils are bad for the body

Depending on how saturated (molecularly stable) various plant and animal fats are, they become rancid (oxidized) at varying rates with exposure to heat, light, time, and air. With rancidity of oils, free radicals are created, which causes cellular damage and is associated with diabetes, Alzheimer's disease, cancer, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), elevated cholesterol levels, and weight gain. Rancid oils can also cause digestive distress and deplete the body of vitamins B and E. Dr. Andrew Weil says that rancid oils can also cause damage to DNA, which can accelerate aging, promote tissue degeneration, and definitely foster cancer development. When rancid oils are consumed regularly, they dramatically increase your risk of developing the diseases mentioned above.

So, next time you taste the rancidity of stale nuts that have been set out at a party, discretely spit them out into a napkin, knowing that you’re doing your body a favor. On your way to the trash can, take the whole bowl of nuts along with you. If anyone asks what you’re doing, say that you care about your friends’ health, and that these nuts don’t serve health. And then, of course, make a quick trip (teleportation would be nice!) to SLO Natural Foods to replace them with some nuts from the glass jars of fresh nuts from the fridge. HA! I love this kind of hard-core idealism!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Full Moon Colon Cleansing

Guess what I’ve discovered this week? That I needn’t be so strict about my diet when taking herbs and psyllium fiber to cleanse old layers of accumulated gunk off the walls of my colon. Yippee!

After reading Robert Gray’s Colon Health Handbook 17 years ago, I was sure that eating a completely non-mucos-forming diet was necessary during a colon cleanse. But, recently, I’ve been getting great results (clearer skin and feeling lighter and more energized), in simply taking the herbs and psyllium fiber with PLENTY of water (at least 70 ounces/day), but continuing to eat some of my usual foods which are definitely mucos-forming, but which strengthen and fuel my system; quality meats, nuts & seeds, and fats & oils.

The reason, they say, for avoiding these kinds of foods during colon cleansing (especially the highly mucos-forming foods like dairy products and refined flour products), is because the herbs you take to slough off the old sticky layers of pooh, get caught up in mucos instead of being able to reach the walls of your colon. Colon cleansing can also be done via a series of enemas or colonics, but I much prefer eating the herbs and psyllium.

I started my colon cleanse last Tuesday, about 3 days before the full moon, and I’m continuing to get lots of old, dry matter out of my colon, regardless of including butter, coconut oil, eggs, nuts, and some quality meats as about 20% of my diet. The other 80% of my diet, of course, is steamed & raw vegetables, whole grains like buckwheat, millet and amaranth, beans, and winter fruits like apple and kiwi. One cleansing principal I’ve found to be totally right-on, is that, at full moon, there is way more gravitational pull on the body which aids any kind of cleanse. This may be why this cleanse has been so effective for me, even though I haven’t followed the classic colon cleansing diet guidelines. In the past, when I have followed an extremely cleansing diet, I’ve supplemented 2tsp/day of spirulina powder as as a strength-building and hunger-satiating protein source.

In case you aren’t aware, the reason for cleaning out the old layers of pooh from the colon, is because this thick accumulation clogs the colon’s ability to keep our entire system free of toxins. You see, the colon works with the liver and lymphatic system to keep our bodies free from toxic accumulations. Every time we’ve eaten mucos-forming food, a layer of sticky matter adheres to the walls of the colon. Over time, the layers build up and the passageway through the colon gets smaller and smaller, and the layers get harder and dryer. These layers block the body’s systemic cleansing action, and we then experience lethargy, headaches, distended abdomens, irregular bowel movements, acne, and a whole host of other symptoms. For me, after I did my first colon cleanse 17 years ago, I dropped 30 pounds, my skin cleared up dramatically, I finally had energy and stamina throughout the day, and my moods evened out so I was happier and more calm. 

The colon is the very first organ you’ll ever want to cleanse, so that there’s a clear pathway for toxins to leave the body when you decide to do a liver or gallbladder cleanse. If you have a plugged colon and you try to do any other kind of cleanse, toxins will be broken loose and circulate around and around in your system, causing headaches, joint pain, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, and intense mood swings. For those coming off the Standard American Diet, colon cleansing is one of the most important first steps on the road to vitality.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Cooking in Community

Between Yule and the New Year, I moved in with my dear friend Lauren Bell and her wonderful hubby Bruce, and their lively, 11 year old son Ian. I’ve always dreamt of living in community, and this is my first exciting taste!

In just the first week, we sat down to dinner together 6 nights out of 7! About half the time, Lauren & I would cook together, and the other times, I would cook if she was busy, or she would cook when I was busy. The flow of getting veggies prepped, food cooked, and dishes washed, has been almost effortless between the four of us, as the boys are happy to wash dishes after dinner. Way Cool! The energy in the house feels very well balanced, as two of us are males and two of us are females.

Each time we’ve cooked, we’ve made more than enough food, so that we could enjoy an easy lunch the next day, or simply incorporate the leftover vegetables into a nice breakfast fritata. Anytime we’ve washed lettuces for salad, we’ve washed & chopped enough for about 3 more salads. We zipped up a whole quart of some awesome green garlic salad dressing, which we also poured over some black bean burgers we ate 2 nights in a row. Ian has cleaned up everything on his plate, every night, including the steamed kale and other green veggies! Yay!

Last night, Lauren suggested we make a classic dish her mom had grown up with in the fifties. Lauren has no idea what it’s called, but because we had cabbage, potatoes, onions, and turkey sausage from New Frontiers, it was a go! We saute’d two yellow onions in ghee for a few minutes, then added diced potatoes and let those cook for another five minutes or so, stirring occasionally. Then we tossed in some sliced turkey sausage, and topped everything in the pan with chopped cabbage. When everything was cooked, we sprinkled some pink salt in, and it was done! I wasn’t sure how much I’d like a dish that didn’t have any ground spices and leafy herbs, (or lemon juice), but it was simply D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. I learned how to cook like The Old Irish, who are actually 1/4 of my ancestry!

I think the best parts of living and cooking together are catching up about our day while we’re in the kitchen together, getting to know each other on even deeper levels, and inspiring each other to expand our comfort zones around food. Bruce doesn’t usually want any avocado, and now, he’s tried both Hass and Fuerte. And everyone now loves squeezing lemon juice on their greens because I explained that it makes the iron in the greens way more absorb able.

Oh Joy! I’m in heaven, and I hope you are too, in the process of developing your joyful routine around creating amazing meals together with family, neighbors, or friends!