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!

Entering the 4th and final week of the detox challenge!

DETOXTomorrow marks the final week of the detox and I cannot be happier with the results so far! I haven’t lost a lot of weight (4lb – but I only wanted to lose 5 – so I’m on track!) but my body fat has gone down by over 4%! By far the most impressive result for me has been discovering the tremendous will power that I have been able to will myself to have. Which tells me, it was always there – just buried so deep that it had to be excavated by digging through layers and layers of mindless eating. And since I will be 41 in a week – it stands to reason that there were many many years worth of layers to be dug through. Discipline doesn’t stop at just the eating thought – for a long while now, I have wanted to wake up at 5am daily – so I can have that extra time to myself to read, meditate, workout or just BE before the rest of my family and household needed to be woken up. But I couldn’t do it – I always snoozed from 5 – 5:30 – I had nailed down getting up at 5:30am instead of 6am during last year’s 30 day challenge! So this time I was determined…and while I am not at 5am yet – I am easily getting up at 5:15 – so that is a step in the right direction for me. Those 15 minutes made it so that I could enjoy an extra 15 minutes of quiet time, meditation time or running time. I know that in a few more days/weeks I will have no time taking another 15 minutes for myself and reaching my two year goal of getting up at 5am daily.

Sunrise from my backyard
Sunrise from my backyard

There is truly something magical about being up that early. Winter sunrises (and sunsets) are quite spectacular and the ones I get to experience right outside my backyard are no exception. This makes it all worthwhile. Additionally there is something special about the energy just before sunrise.

Another goal for myself that I have really wanted to implement and haven’t been able to, is exercising 5 days in a row consistently. See, for years, I had trained myself and my mind to think that my running days are Tue-Thur-Sat. Tuesday and Thursday were short runs, and Saturday was my long run day — and for years, I never worked out more than that. With my kids getting older and sleeping through the night – I no longer had the excuse that my kids need me first thing in the morning. My husband is more than capable of taking care of the kids first thing in the morning should they wake, and more often than not, I am back from my run before anyone wakes up! So there was no reason NOT to exercise more anymore. Brain training is a powerful thing – it was really hard to break that habit. And I am HAPPY TO REPORT that I did! This week – I worked out 5 consecutive days in a row – for the first time in over 8 years I did that! I ran on the days I run, and I did the bike trainer on the other days and I felt AMAZING! The breakthrough was huge, the fact that I am now rewiring my brain to believe that I have to work out daily except for Sunday is an amazing feeling, because this is a habit that I will keep for life! 

This has been such a successful program for the people that joined us and did it as a Facebook community boot camp of almost 400 people! Our next boot camp starts on February 3, 2014! It’s not too late to jump on board, get Fit for February on the heels of Super Bowl Sunday! Won’t you join us? If you’re in the Santa Barbara area, come out to Lole Atelier (714 State Street) on February 1 at 10am – come get a free workout courtesy IM=X Pilates Studio and learn more about this program. Sample the products that make the basis of this incredible life changing program and enjoy the camaraderie of like minded people! IF you’d like more information about the event on February 1 in beautiful Santa Barbara, use this form to let me know that!