Unprecedented Times are Not Unprecedented

We’re in Day 5 of what started out as voluntary and is now a California State Mandate to Stay at Home except for grocery or other essential runs. No social activity and no gatherings of any kind. In Belgium, a friend reported that they are not even allowed to walk in groups larger than 2 people. We need to come to terms with what this means for us in the long haul. The honeymoon phase has not worn off yet, and some of us are still finding this novel (no pun intended). What if this is our new normal for the next many months? What if, as some scientists advise, we need to maintain social distance for half a year, or even a year?

This is an unprecedented time in our history. But, if you were to look at the history of mankind, there have been many such unprecedented times. Certainly in the history of USA alone, nearly every generation can claim to have had an unprecedented time. This is ours. How we respond to this crisis is what will define us in the history books when stories are written for posterity. This too shall pass; we will prevail. We will come out of this stronger and a more connected society.

As a society we had allowed ourselves to run rampant on our hamster wheels in the name of success. Our kids have never been busier, lives have never been more hectic, stress has never been higher than it is now. The silver lining in all of this is that we have been given an opportunity to do a hard reset. There are many articles being written about the economic impact of this virus on the world, and my love, thoughts, prayers and energy are with the families of those who have lost loved ones, and with those communities who do not have the means or the resources to shelter in place.

I, however would like to address what we can do to raise the collective vibration of the world and therefore channel more love, more light and more prayer toward those who need it most.

Now more than ever before, it is critical to put the oxygen mask on yourself first. There is a good reason airplanes instruct us to do this. If you don’t care for yourself, you are of no service to those you love and care for most. We often feel like we must care for our kids/elders FIRST and FOREMOST even at the cost of our own health. But, who will care for them when you drop from exhaustion or worse? Now’s the perfect time to start a self care routine for yourself. It usually takes 30 days to form a habit, and if the news is any indication we will definitely be hunkering in place for at least 30 days if not more.

Meditation: It’s not just about blanking your mind. It’s about making the space and bringing attention to your mind. There are endless apps out there now that offer free guided meditations. Insight Timer, Calm are just two that come to mind. However, if staring at a candle or chanting a mantra, or even listening to a guided meditation isn’t your jam, simply do my favorite meditation; box breathing. Inhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts, exhale for 4 counts, hold for 4 counts and repeat. The simple act of having to count to 4 for each of the anchors will keep your mind from wandering. You can’t count and think about something else at the same time. Go ahead, try it.

Mindfulness: Is simply the act of being more aware of your actions, whatever those might be…you can be mindful in your eating, your interactions with family, how you speak to your kids, how you do your laundry or even clean your toilets. It’s easy to zone out when we do mundane tasks that we’ve done a thousand times before. Bringing your attention to these tasks makes you a lot more single-mindedly focused (which is great for those of us with monkey-mind). As an experiment, instead of reading, watching TV or talking to anyone during your next meal, just focus quietly on each bite you take. Savor the flavors, appreciate the sources of your food, express gratitude that we are not experiencing food shortages and that people are being super civil and kind to each other in the grocery stores (albeit from a 6ft distance).

Movement: Social distancing means we can’t be with our friends, coworkers or really anyone except our immediate family and must maintain a 6ft distance with anyone else we encounter. Thank goodness for the great outdoors, and for those of us who have the privilege of living in small towns where this is feasible, or better yet, have access to miles of hiking trails as we do, this makes it that much more palatable. You don’t have to have cabin fever. You CAN get outside. Walk your dog, take an online yoga class or dance class in your backyard/front yard, walk on the beach, walk or run the of trails (All trails is a fabulous app that can show you what you have in your own neighborhood).

Nutrition: If you’ve never been able to find the time to get serious about your nutritional intake there’s never been a better time. This does not have to be complicated. It can be as simple as first taking the time to track your food intake for a few days and then assessing if what you are consuming is healthy for you. Having a balanced meal means complex carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats. Check out Dr. Mary Hyman’s website for great resources. Here are a few quick things you can do right away.

Minimize the 3 As (acidic, allergenic, addictive foods)

Balance Blood Sugar (reduce processed foods and added sugars)

Support Your Digestive System (include adequate fiber and incorporate a probiotic into your diet).

Take a lesson
from your pet

Rest: Ah, the ever elusive rest. Most Americans do not get 8 hours of sleep a night. It’s a known fact that new parents get less than 5-6 hours of sleep per night; however this number doesn’t change as the kids get older. Stress and other factors continue to keep those Z hours way below the recommended average. Now is a great time to boost this number. You’ve got nowhere to go and nothing critical on your calendar. The first step to resetting your circadian rhythm and your body clock is awareness. Being aware of when you sleep and what your habits are before bed time will help you change this. Most of us can get lost in our social media or news feeds and we tend to just lose ourselves in the black hole of the thumb scroll.

Set a new precedent and put social media or other screen time limits for yourself. Instead of scrolling through your news feed before bed time, which will simply exacerbate your frustration and inability to wind down, get your news first thing in the morning or throughout the day, but limit yourself from reading the news say after 8pm, and switch your reading to be more for leisure.

Pick up a real book, revisit a classic or read those titles you have been saving for ‘when you have time,’ that time is here now.

Take a leisurely bath; again one of those elusive luxuries that we never have the time for. Create little rituals for yourself and your family (our bed time ritual as a family is to play crazy eights or UNO and then do 1 minute of plank, 1 minute of wall sits and as many push ups as we can do!)

As a society we live in a high state of ongoing stress. Stress was never meant to be chronic. Stress triggers certain hormones that the body produces to protect itself, however when we experience chronic levels of stress (and therefore overproduction of those hormones) we may experience chronic disease. We may not have control over the fact that we have stress in our lives, but we can certainly control HOW we deal with the stress.

We Are #EARTHSTRONG

We have an opportunity to support each other, love each other and encourage each other (from a safe 6 ft distance or more) through this situation. Now is a time to reach out to each other more than ever before. Technology like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Marco Polo and Zoom (we are hosting a Zoom party for my daughter who turns 13 tomorrow) all exist to help us shrink this feeling of isolation and can connect us to each other in a more meaningful, less distracted way.

We are in this together and will prevail together. We are #EARTHSTRONG

Eat Mindfully the Length of One Song

My Mindful Meal

This week, I was a speaker on my favorite topic; Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First for Ventura SCORE, this wonderful nonprofit organization that provides mentorship for small business owners from retired business executives who donate their time. The topic was of course on Work-Life Balance. I am curious to know what that means for you? What do you conjure up when you hear those words?

Anyway, we were three speakers, each with 30 minutes to share on our topic. What I found wonderful was how, the lineup had been decided even before any of us had submit our topics, and yet we were lined up exactly in the right order that you would want to hear the content we all delivered.

Speaker 1: Manage Your Energy, Not Your Time
Speaker 2: Living Your Life to Your Fullest Potential (all about different ways to harmoniously balance stress/long work ours etc.)
Speaker 3: ME! Putting the Oxygen Mask on Yourself First

I will admit, I was nervous. Now, I have LOVED public speaking for over a decade, and can talk in any sized room whether it be 3 people or 300 people. BUT, I was still nervous. I’ve been a fundraiser for so long, that I can speak on that topic ad nauseum, but until lately my forum for speaking about Oxygen Mask has been all virtual/digital. You’ve all heard me go on about it here, if you know me personally, you have heard me share face to face, one to one, if we are friends on social media, or if follow my page The Breathing Space on Facebook then you have heard me talk about this.

This was only the second time that I had spoken about this to a live audience and had never done the presentation along with the slides I prepared; only because they asked me for slides! hahahah!!

Anyway, I had decided that I would just go up and be me. And it turns out, that when I have an audience, I can be a ham, I can be funnier than I think I am in real life, and I can totally be myself. The response was wonderful; people were laughing, participating, sharing and asking questions. What more can a speaker want?

OK, so what has this to do with the title?

That afternoon, I went to Namaste Spiceland to get chai and a simple lunch. As I was waiting for my meal of daal, roti, sabji I tuned into the music that they were playing over the speakers. It was of this deep voice, the voice of Amitabh Bachchan – India’s most iconic movie star whose stardom transcends generations. I couldn’t follow along with the Hindi, but just that sound of his voice, and the words that I couldn’t make out, but recognized from the movie that I loved so much as a child. My food arrived, and I sat enjoying it, savoring the hot, sweet spiced milk chai absorbed in the music of my youth. I didn’t realize the impact of that music on my soul, till I started to tear up as I listened to the soothing voice of my favorite Bollywood star. The food, the music, being surrounded by familiar smells, sounds and sights of my childhood and youth; I was completely immersed.

So what has this to do with the presentation that evening on Oxygen Mask?

So glad you asked. Let me tell you.

As we were talking about Mindful Minutes, I asked for examples of how they could incorporate what we were discussing into their own lives. How can you incorporate mindfulness into your over-committed days someone raised her hand and volunteered; when you eat, just eat. Just savor the foods, don’t talk, don’t watch TV, don’t work, worse of all, don’t drive!

YES! I exclaimed! YES indeed.

And I was able to recount my afternoon experience of my mini trip to India through all my senses.

Believe me when I tell you, if I am not with a donor or a potential donor, most afternoons my lunch is a protein shake drunk at my desk. I work right through lunch; but not because I am trying to over work – because I allow myself to leave work earlier as a result. It’s worth the trade off to be with my kids earlier.

But here’s what I really want to share. Yes, life is busy. Yes eating at the table is a luxury.

But what if you did that once or twice a week, JUST for the duration of ONE SONG (2-3 minutes)? Imagine this – you get to pick out your favorite song/s and then just as you sit to eat, you turn on the music — and allow yourself to be immersed in the experience of food and music.

So today’s call to action for you is to see if you can, just even once sit still and eat, for the duration of one song (remember it’s just 2-3 minutes) before you jump up to do 15 other things.

Will you write and tell me if you try this?

Cauliflower Alfredo 

  • 2-3 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup vegetable broth or 2% milk
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil or unsalted butter 
  • 2-4 cloves smashed garlic 
  • 1 tsp cumin powder (optional)

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook the cauliflower florets till tender. (More than fork tender) use a slotted spoon to scoop them into a colander and then drop them into the blender along with the vegetable broth and blend till smooth. Don’t throw away the cauliflower water. 
Bring the water back to a boil and then cook your pasta in that water using directions on packet. Featured here is brown rice quinoa fusilli. 

Meanwhile in a large nonstick pan warm the oil and garlic cloves for a couple minutes and then add the cauliflower purée, cumin powder and sautée for 2-3 minutes till flavors blended. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. 

I choose not to toss all the sauce with all the pasta. Instead I use only how much I want on my plate so that when I reheat, I can get the same freshness each meal. 

Bon Appetit! If you make this, please let me know how  it turns out. 

Frozen Blueberries


Our neighbor brought us two baskets of blueberries. Yum!! And as much as I can eat them by the handful, I like them in my daily protein shakes, and in lieu of ice, I like using frozen berries. Except I don’t like buying them pre-frozen. So I washed them then spread them on a cookie sheet and pop them in my freezer till frozen. Then when you go to transfer them to a freezer bag, they’ll all be individually frozen and will stay that way. Popping frozen blueberries in my mouth is a fun way to handle a sweet tooth craving too!  

Quick Sweet Potato and Any Veg Hash


I have come to really enjoy sweet potatoes. I can’t however do that whole maple syrup brown sugar thing outside of Thanksgiving weekend, so to incorporate this amazing vegetable into my regular diet, I got creative and made this one pot dish! This was for Sunday morning breakfast, my family had it with eggs, I’m vegetarian (for now) so had a heaping portion of just this with sliced avocado. 

  • 1-2 medium sized sweet potatoes peeled, diced and par-cooked. (I have an instant hot water spigot at my sink so I fill a microwave safe bowl with the diced sweet potatoes, cover with boiling hot water, add the lid, pop into microwave and voila in less than 5 minutes depending on size of dice you can have fork tender potatoes. This works with room temperature water too, just requires a few more minutes – start with fewer minutes and work your way up. You don’t want them to get too mushy!) 
  • Chopped broccoli (fork tender cooked the same way as above, but only 1-3min depending on portion)
  • Diced green or colored bell pepper
  • Diced red onion 
  • Diced mushrooms
  • Basically diced any veg you want in here!
  • 1-2 T olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tsp garlic powder 
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
  • Salt to taste 
  • Heat oil in a cast iron skillet with medium heat. 
  • Add sweet potatoes and sauté for 8-10min stirring occasionally. 
  • Add rest of vegetables and stir till well mixed with sweet potatoes. Sprinkle your seasonings over the veg mix and stir well. 
  • Sauté for a 3-5 more minutes to blend flavors.
  • Garnish with chopped cilantro (not pictured here) 
  • Optional: Add cooked brown rice or quinoa and sauté to blend to make a one pot meal! 

Antibacterial, Anticarcinogenic, Anti-inflammatory Elexir


My husband has been an avid mountain biker since age 14. His nearly 30 years of cycling experience has made him a highly technical, very skilled cyclist. In the 15 years we’ve been together he’s probably fallen off his bike just about 5-7 times. 

We went to Sedona for spring break this year and he excitedly brought his mountain bike. Sedona is awesome for both mountain bikers and yogis– making both of us exceedingly happy. 

We thought nothing much then when he came back one of those days after a fall off his bike. This one though knocked the wind out of him. He fell 4ft on his back onto rocks with his bike on top of him! Now, 6 weeks later we’re still dealing with the aftermath. 

I made him this drink to help with the inflammation. The intention is to drink it daily so I made a big batch and stored in a 32oz jug. 

  • 2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp grated ginger root 
  • 32 oz water
  • Bring to a boil
  • Strain and serve over ice

Indian Inspired One Pot Quinoa ‘Bhaji’ Veg. 

  • 1 cup cooked Quinoa cooked according to package directions
  • 1T cooking olive oil
  • 5-7 curry leaves
  • 1/8 tsp mustard seeds 
  • 1/2 diced onion
  • 1 tsp each of cumin powder and coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp each turmeric and salt
  • 1 small diced sweet potato par-boiled (I add it to a bowl of water and microwave for 3-5min till fork tender)
  • 1/2 cup diced bell pepper
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Coriander leaves for garnish

Warm oil on medium high heat, add mustard seeds and after 30 seconds add curry leaves (warning: they will sputter). Add sweet potato and sautée till they start to turn brown 4-5min. Add peppers and continue to sauté 2-3min more. Add cooled cooked quinoa and stir to combine. Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and salt and stir to combine well. Continue to sauté until quinoa is warm again and everything is well combined. Sprinkle with the juice of one lime, adjust salt and serve with a garnish of chopped coriander leaves. 

I served it in a hollowed out avocado shell with fresh diced avocado on top! Yum! 

Brown Rice Quinoa Pasta with an Indian Spice inspired Pasta Sauce

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  • 1 medium diced onion
  • 1T evoo
  • 5-7 curry leaves
  • 2-5 cloves diced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp corriander powder
  • Jar of organic marinara sauce
  • diced fresh cilantro for garnish

Sautee the onion till golden brown, be patient. You don’t want glassy onion.
Add the curry leaves and watch out they will sputter
Add garlic and sautee mix for a minute or two
Add seasoning and stir it till well mixed and starting to smell fragrant; 1-2 min
Add in marinara sauce and mix well, let it simmer for 3-5 minutes
Toss in pasta cooked per package directions, I usually add 1-2T of light olive oil to the water to boil before adding pasta (I like to drain, then rinse and drain the pasta to get rid of the gooey-ness)
Sprinkle with fresh cilantro
Enjoy!
IF you make it, please let me know what you think!

Biggest Loser Challenge launch in Santa Barbara

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Yesterday IM=X Pilates, Lolë Atelier and I (Arbonne) came together and offered an amazing program to those who signed up! 20% discount on shopping at Lolë, $350 for 30 days of unlimited classes at IMX on upper State Street and 30 days of breakfast, lunch and meal planning (shopping lists, menus, recipes) to transform your life and put you on the path to 1. Eat clean 2. Support elimination organs 3. Increase nutrient uptake 4. Balance blood sugar and 5. Eliminate allergenic, acidic and addictive foods from your diet!

Benefits include:
1. Weight loss if you need to
2. 100% increase in energy
3. Reset metabolic thermostat
4. Mindset shift and mental discipline that will transcend to all areas of your life

The program starts 2/10/14– so there’s still time to get in on it!

Comment here or email me for details!