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Fall Fiber Feast

Whew! It’s been a while since I did a blog post, even longer since a recipe one. I don’t know about you but I still feel like I’m in a weird time spiral since the pandemic. That said, no time like the present to get back on track. I recently took that step by joining a fall program to reset my body, mind and spirit. It’s the first time I’ve taken a deep dive into learning more about Ayurveda which is the sister science to yoga. A big part of it involves enhancing nutrition through a mostly plant-based diet. One recommendation is to get in a beet and an apple daily so I got creative and made this salad the other day. It incorporates several fabulous fall veggies that are packed with fiber which we all know is important to overall health. If you like crunchy, sweet and tart then this dish is definitely for you. I throw on some hemp seeds and pine nuts for protein and happy fats. See where your taste buds lead you!


  • 1/2 head green cabbage
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 apple
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 small or 1 large beet
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • hemps seeds, pine nuts, sunflower or other nuts/seeds of choice


  1. Clean and dry apple, carrots and beet(s). Peel first layer of leaves off cabbage and cut the head in half.
  2. Chop cabbage to desired size and toss in a large bowl with salt. Set aside.
  3. Cut apple Julienne style and shred carrots and beets. Add to cabbage and mix together.
  4. Add 1/2c apple cider vinegar and mix thoroughly. Add more if desired.
  5. Let sit for at least an hour. Serve cold sprinkled with nuts and/or seeds of choice.
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Thai-inspired Butternut Squash Soup

Roasted butternut squash soup in a bowl next to white napkin.Well, well, well winter is upon us again. I’ll admit I’m a big, whiney freeze-baby but I do love the excuse the cold gives me to make lots of soup. Here’s a favorite I’ve already made three times this year with the veggies, ginger and garlic sourced from my fave local farms PurpleBrown and Trapp Family Farm. If you’re in Northeast Ohio head to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and check out the new farm store in Peninsula. It’s what every grocery store should be stocked only with local products. Then, get out your soup pot and cook up this delicious immune-boosting, inflammation fighter. Cheers!


  • 2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil
  • 2 medium yellow or white onions
  • 3 large cloves fresh garlic, diced
  • 1 Tbsp diced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbsp diced fresh turmeric
  • 1/2-1 Tbsp diced jalapeno (add more or omit for desired spice level)
  • 1 cup chopped carrots
  • 2-3 cups cubed raw butternut squash
  • 6 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 Tbsp red curry paste (I like Thai kitchen brand)
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • salt, pepper and additional spices to taste (I like to add some cayenne for even more heat)


  1. In a stock pot, warm oil over medium heat. Add onions and sauté for 3-5 minutes. Add in garlic, ginger, turmeric and jalapeño. Continue cooking for another 3 minutes or so stirring gently here and there.
  2. Add in carrots and squash. Saute for another 8-1o minutes stirring frequently. Add a little more oil if needed.
  3. Add vegetable broth then cover and simmer 10-15 min. until veggies are soft. Add curry paste once broth is simmering and stir in completely.
  4. Add coconut milk and blend with immersion blender until smooth. You can also pour into a blender to do this. 
  5. Garnish with fresh chopped cilantro and/or pepitas. Enjoy!
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I’ve been back to writing recently and thought I’d share one of the stories I’ve been working on. Enjoy!

“Every angel is terrifying.”

Maria Rilke

Throughout high school, I spent every free moment of study hall in the library where I was transfixed by a peculiar book. It called to me from a distance. I couldn’t wait to see the striking blue binding in the stacks, to feel the gentle tension of pulling it off the shelf, to walk it ceremoniously to a table holding it with both hands like a sacred text. With the turn of each thick, glossy page something inside of me sought the mysterious darkness of their eyes. They peered into my soul from every magnificent photograph. I was in awe of their power to both scare and soothe me at the same time. They felt familiar and honest.

Sharks have occupied a space in my psyche for as long as I can remember. I think about them most days whether I’m around water or not. As a kid, I feared bathing without my mom or a sister in the room. I imagined sharks could emerge from below the pale green ceramic tub. I never swam in pools or the community lake without another body close by. I figured it lowered my chances of an “attack.” For a time, I even believed they came out from under my bed at night and swam just below the surface of the lava-orange shag carpet. I often stared at the floor expecting to see a fin pierce the surface.

Alongside my fear lived fascination. I was in awe of these creatures. Somehow I knew there was more to them than my terror. I dreamed of becoming a marine biologist adorning my walls with National Geographic centerfolds of cetaceans. Though fearful, anytime I actually found myself near the sea, I couldn’t resist entering but remained on edge the whole time.

Anxiety was a big part of my life besides the shark thing. My parents are “worst case scenario” kind of folks. It’s still a running joke among my sisters and me how mom can think of the most ridiculous things to be afraid of. It was in her parents too. My maternal grandmother mistrusted joy itself. “What are you so damned happy about?” she’d gripe at us as youngsters whenever we laughed in her presence. When I reflect on this alone, I don’t find it funny at all. I see how we were indoctrinated with fear. Fear of feeling, especially feeling good. Fear that the world was an innately dangerous place. Fear we would lose control. This hyper vigilance created a belief that somehow simply being myself was unsafe. 

Despite all this I ventured beyond the shoreline of life farther than my family ever did. At ten I chased my land-based dream of being with horses by riding my bike way past the set parameters of the neighborhood. At the border of the local Metro Park was a small farm where two old horses lived. I hung over a fence communing with Equus for two years before the farmer came down one day. He said I could brush the horses if I had my parent’s permission. The rest was history as they say. Horses have been a mainstay of my life ever since. 

Taking that risk saved me in so many ways. I know in my heart of hearts that without horses I would have died from my eating disorder or succumbed to one of the other mental health afflictions and addictions that ravage my family tree. I learned to obsess about food and hate my body from both grandmas, my own mother, aunts and cousins. My paternal grandfather’s twin, my uncle and a cousin all died of suicide. I was bingeing and restricting by ten, drinking by twelve and smoked pot at fourteen. I lost many memories of my adolescence. My father’s life long battle with alcohol is still a wound I’ve spent many years tending. 

When I was brave, more opportunities with horses and other ventures came my way when I was brave. I dove in headlong. However growth and healing were slow however due to those well planted seeds of doubt. Shame whispered that somehow it was wrong to do what felt right for me. I feared yet followed my heart’s desires most of the time. The dichotomy felt like turning through those shark infested pages in the library. At times fear won and caused me to sabotage beautiful things, things I had manifested from like: healthy relationships, parts of my dietetics career and a trip to Alaska to kayak with killer whales in the company of women I looked up to in my field of recovery. 

Alongside the seemingly random shark obsession came a burning desire to visit Hawaii. In 2009 a retreat like the Alaska one I had missed years earlier was being offered on The Big Island. I had to go! When I received the invite, my initial excitement quickly faded as the fear voice emerged from the depths to say “no way.” I flippantly dismissed the possibility. It would simply be too much goodness. A few days later while biking through the woods an unseen force stopped me dead in my tracks by. It was as if I had run into an invisible wall. I swear I never even touched the brakes. I stood there in stillness straddling my bike in awe and confusion when I felt a message shoot through my heart from, what felt like, above. My partner at the time, who had been riding with me, circled back when he realized I was no longer trailing him. When he saw me he recognized something big had transpired. “What happened?” he gasped. Still dazed I muttered matter of factly, “We’re going to Hawaii.”

The path was clear. I effortlessly planned the trip. Money showed up, crazy travel deals were available for the dates of the retreat and my work could accommodate my absence. I was even able to swing taking my daughter Elle, my partner and mom along. It was another dream come true but with the added awesomeness of sharing it with loved ones. I was over the moon!

I was thirty-five at the time and had been to hell and back through an abusive marriage and messy divorce. I was still struggling through harassment and custody battles with the ex. The trauma of that and compassion fatigue from work came along for the ride. These had also stripped me of my mojo. I was living most of my life back in that familial vibration of fear and having a hard time breaking through to honor the creative pulse of Body Karma Healing, my signature work in the world. It was rising to the surface longing to be birthed and in retrospect, to rebirth me. Being a good daughter of the patriarchy I was overworking, overdoing and overproducing at the hurried pace of capitalist colonialism. It was too much, too fast but I couldn’t seem to stop. I was drowning inside my own life and didn’t even know it. I was afraid to stop and feel anything within in its fullest expression.

The opening session of the retreat was a guided meditation. I was so excited! My official yoga journey had begun just a few years earlier. Now there I was in Hawaii surrounded by soulful leaders with several other women who “get” the work I do in eating disorders treatment. “This will be so relaxing.” I thought. As we dove into the moment I felt anything but calm. I took an uncontrollable descent into the epicenter of my anxiety. At home I could escape it. Here I had to stay with it. Below the tip of that emotional iceberg was a grief like no other. Nothing could stop the tears as I crumbled into the grace of the divine feminine. She held me tenderly in her womb, stroked my face and told me it was time. It was an all-consuming, transcendent experience. And it was also only the beginning. 

That night I had a dream. Engaged in a ravenous binge a mirror appeared before me. There I saw the bloated, distressed and depressed face of my mother. My body was her body, my pain was her pain. I saw in our eyes the heartbreaking stories of her childhood. Her basics needs for unconditional love and protection unmet: when she fell off a dock in a dry rotted life jacket that pulled her toddler body to the bottom of a Canadian lake; when my grandmother slapped her across the face anytime she showed emotion; when on vacation she and her younger brother were startled awake by a coconut striking the roof of the hot car where they were left alone. My grandparents were inside a bar drinking at the time. 

She barely survived the neglect and abuse. I could feel her despair in my own flesh. The heavy shield of her worry weighing down my own heart. There was more in the dream that I could not quite access, some other piece of her story intricately linked to mine. I woke in the darkness, trade winds blowing through the room. They soothed me as I wept and journaled and wept some more. That morning my mom, not knowing of my dream, shared about having a panic attack while pregnant with me. It happened watching the blockbuster movie Jaws that came out the year I was born. She said, “All I could think about was being a clueless teen sitting on surfboards by the peer while on summer vacations. We had no idea! I could have died out there!” I was in awe. She had a panic attack retroactive to being in a situation she once had no qualms about. She had trusted herself in those moments of joy floating in the sea. She abandoned that trust and joy in the movie theater that day. And I am sure many times before as she experienced trauma. It was all starting to make sense.

Later that afternoon, I went on a snorkel charter with my family. Much to my delight, we had a special tour guide named Bryce. I liked him as soon as I saw his sun-kissed ball cap with a shark embroidered on it. The design was a sleek marine body forming a circle nose to tail. Once on our way up the shoreline Bryce shared a video of his partner’s work with sharks. Her passion was focused on changing people’s perception of sharks by doing the very thing most people fear, swimming with them. Bryce’s sharing helped my worrisome mother muster up the courage to get in the water with us. To this day, it is her favorite memory. I had a blast too but was still anxious in the Pacific for the first time. I was comforted being close to shore, the boat and lots of other folks bobbing in the water.

Several days later towards the end of the retreat our women’s group took a snorkel trip as well. On the way out to the reef one of the women mentioned how a previous retreat group gathered around an ancient tree naked. Without hesitation I shouted, “Let’s snorkel naked!” To my surprise, the idea was embraced by all. As we anchored well offshore, clothes dripped from thirty-three bodies of diverse shapes, sizes and shades much to the delight of our two male boat captains. We entered the deep blue sea and headed towards the reef. I felt safe surrounded by that many people and swimming for the shallows until that force from the bike trail showed up. 

Like someone pushed pause, I was held in an eerie stillness just above the reef shelf. There hung a small shadow fish. Black and white like a Yin/Yang symbol. He was suspended too, barely moving his tiny fins in a delicate figure eight. I was enchanted with him. Then, my old friend fear showed up to rain on the parade. Beyond this single, solitary fish was the abyss. I had never been in water so deep. My eyes traced the line from the reef down, down, down to nowhere. Turquoise turned to indigo until indigo faded to black. 

In that moment, though terror pulsed through my veins, I made a life altering choice. A conscious decision to stay right there. I was enjoying the company of the shadow fish though away from the safety of others and unsure what could emerge from the infinite void. I literally shrugged my shoulders underwater as I thought, “Well…if this is how I die, eaten by a shark in the middle of the Pacific Ocean then so be it.” Surrendering released me into one of the most blissful moments of my life. It was transcendent. All these years later I still can’t put words to it. 

I have no idea how long I hung out there. I don’t even remember breathing through the snorkel. At some point I lifted my head above the surface to look around. Much to my surprise, I was completely alone. Everyone else was back on the boat patiently waiting for me. The boat that was approximately a quarter mile away, further out to sea, mind you. Now, had I found myself in this situation before my recent awakening, I would have become Christ himself and walked (rather ran) on water. Instead, I simply put my head back into the magnificent blue and slowly made my way back. Mother Ocean holding me tenderly as I swam calmly towards the vessel.

Once anchored back in the bay near the resort we organized into small groups in order to take turns riding the dingy to shore. I overheard one woman say she’d like to swim in. The distance being about that of a football field. I then heard one of the retreat leaders agree to go with the woman, “Only if you stay close to me. I’m afraid in the water alone.” she said. I was shocked. Surely she was braver than I. I felt a deep and healing resonance with her and heard a quiet voice inside say, “We’re all working on the same shit.” I chimed in, “I’ll swim with you too.” The three of us, back in swimsuits now, plunged joyfully into the crystal blue water together. 

On our final day in Hawaii, I got my first tattoos. I had planned to do a Hibiscus flower from the start of this adventure. I did so on my ankle. Unexpectedly I also got two sharks dancing in a figure eight on the inside of my left forearm. I found the perfect artist to do the work. Erika was a Native Hawaiian who had just opened her business with her two sisters. I also have two sisters and she is the middle child same as me. I pitched her my idea and she created the design. She laced it with Polynesian tribal symbols and showed me four choices for color. I was drawn to the vibrant turquoise which represents the throat chakra, our energy center related to truth, communication and authentic self-expression. The Sanskrit name for it is “vissudah” meaning purification. Purification is exactly what I felt happened to me in the sea that day. My ancestral fear washed away. The woman smiled and said, “That’s the one I chose for you too.” 

As Erika went to work, my partner looked concerned. I could tell he had judgements about my getting inked in a place everyone could so easily see. I shared with him that what mattered was that I see it. I needed to remember this vital lesson; like the extremely rare chance of having an adverse interaction with a shark, fear is almost always an illusion. The worst-case scenarios our mind conjures hardly ever become reality. Fear is often a ghost from our past, perhaps from our own experiences or a family legacy of pain. Fear often shows up when we dare to dive deeper into life and leave behind the versions of ourselves we became to satisfy the status quo or to shield ourselves from judgment or rejection. I needed to remember that below fear is often grief and we must, like sharks, keep moving through the depths. If we stop swimming, we will die.

Much like myths about the sea and other aspects of nature, fear also comes from the lies we are told about the sacred feminine. Such that she is dangerous, like sharks or wolves or the wisdom in our own bodies, when actually, she is essential to the very existence of life itself. Without these apex predators balancing the entirety of the ecosystem, life on earth is unsustainable. Likewise, without fear and other intense emotions (feminine energy) to heighten our self-awareness we may miss opportunities to heal deeply through the grief inherent in losing ourselves to the superficial life. Finally, I’ve learned through this and other experiences that fear is largely our ego trying to keep us from our sacred desires. The ones that if followed, would bring us to the brink of our humanity and force us to choose love again and again. Fear is a gateway to self-realization. 

Fast forward to 2021. Our country is slowly climbing out of a pandemic. Fear, anxiety and tension rage everywhere due to political divide, a climate crisis and white supremacy emboldened after a sociopath had a turn at the helm of our nation. In the chaos of it all, another dream of mine decides it’s time. I have the opportunity to take a couple of long-time yoga clients on a trip to, you guessed it, Hawaii. At this point I’ve been back twice since the first trip, both times with Elle who is now nineteen years old. 

Thought I never became a marine biologist I had been following and supporting the work of a group of them on Oahu. Their main work is shark conservation, part of which involves taking folks out to snorkel with these amazing animals. It was the first thing I booked during the trip planning. Surprisingly Elle, who was going along as my assistant, and the clients chose to join me in it. We all agree to give ourselves complete permission to not get in the water if we were scared. 

Goddess Pele is a fierce one. The trip brought up a lot for each of us to work on while there. It was intense to say the least. Our shark outing fast approached forcing all to stay present so we could make the best choice when traveling into the deep. My heart danced between the emotions of fear and excitement in the days preceding the trip. After many years of growth and healing work, I was proud of how I could mindfully track what was happening within and stay committed to honoring myself when the moment arrived. I could trust myself to do what was best for me despite how badly my ego feared what would happen if I didn’t follow through. I was exquisitely mothering myself. Something I’ve always struggled to do well. 

I allowed my clients to navigate their journey with the shark snorkel on their own. I made it clear that I would be solely tending myself and my daughter in respect to this part of the trip. I did however encourage everyone to listen to their own inner guidance. The night before the trip, Elle began to have increased anxiety. The Dramamine protocol helped take the edge off and she was able to get to sleep despite the fear rising. It was still there when she woke up and she nearly threw up because of it. “You do not have to get in the water!” I reminder her. “Yes, I do. I told people I was doing this.” “Um huh,” I said. “That’s the worst reason to do it. Don’t let your ego run this show or Pele will surely teach you a lesson.” 

On a windy Monday morning we ventured three miles out to the shark aggregate site. The biologists did a fantastic job of educating us on the ride out. From safety to shark and climate science to the concept of “aumakua.” Native Hawaiians believe that sharks are their ancestors—the reincarnations of family that have left the human form. As Forest, our main guide shared about this, a pod of spinner dolphins jumped playfully around us as if to celebrate the sharing of this lore. I could see Elle begin to relax. 

We soon reached our destination. The boat bobbed up and down in the chop as the captain slowed her to a stop and said coyly, “Anyone see sharks?” We all stood and turned excitedly towards the sides of the vessel. There in a swell of dreamy blue water I saw an image I had feared my entire life. The silhouette of a shark swimming straight at me. Much to my surprise the emotions that surfaced were completely opposite of what I’d expected. It was as if every cell in my body released its knowing of fear itself. I melted into the deepest state of relaxation I’ve ever known. My knees buckled but luckily found the support of the bench. A sense of what I can only describe as reverence overwhelmed me. I began to weep. The only thought in my mind was, “Of course I’m getting in the water.”

I came to my senses and turned around to get check in on Elle. To my delight, she was already in the water. She would also be the last one out. A maternal legacy of fear cleared in the blink of an eye by the presence of primordial grace. Filled with child-like wonder I joined her in the water. Gazing down it was like seeing my tattoo come to life. Thirty some sharks in multiple layers swam in circles and figure eights below us. We hung to a rope on the side of the boat. I could simply float there on the surface, completely at ease, taking in the light and shapes of the submarine universe. Should you choose, you could let go of the rope and swim away from the boat to join the guide several yards out. Once there the invitation was to free dive straight down towards the gathering of sea creatures. I’ve never felt more safe, free or peaceful in my entire life. I only wished I could stay under longer. A new level of self-mothering was discovered that day. And in liberating myself from fear, I set my daughter free. This is a gift we can all give and receive in a never-ending flow of love: we embrace our pain and love ourselves and each other back to wholeness. 

Shortly after our return home, Hawaii passed House Bill 553 protecting sharks in state waters. On World Ocean’s Day 2021 the U.S. Senate passed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (S. 1106) — a bill that would ban the buying and selling of shark fins in the United States. These are both huge wins for our endangered friends, humanity and  and Mother Earth. 

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Conspiracy theories are nothing new but COVID has lit a fire under things, hasn’t it? Recently, after entering notes in my garden journal, I popped over to Facebook and found myself reading yet another article on the pandemic conspiracy. Suddenly, a voice inside giggled and said, “You’re conspiring to restore the native flora around Comet Lake.” I paused and sat up tall as a light bulb went off in my head. I said the word “conspiration” out loud followed by a joy-filled laugh. I mean, presidents can make up words, so why not me? 

conspiration (verb): to act or work towards making the world a better place 

Often peaceful body image activists (myself included) will encourage folks to consider what could be accomplished with all the time and energy spent hating/trying to change their bodies. I thought to myself, what if everyone took all the time and energy spent watching “documentaries” and arguing on-line and applied it to their deepest desires for a better world. Let’s change the conversation to this; How are YOU conspiring to make the world a better place right now? It’s a fundamental yogic concept: be the change you want to see in the world. I warmed up my coffee and started a list of things I am doing to make the world a better place even in the midst of corruption, division, confusion, etc..

  • continuing my personal healing journey and regular self-care which currently looks like (but is not limited to) my yoga practice, therapy (marital and individual), working an Ala-non program and spending as much time as possible in nature
  • checking in on friends, family and clients regularly to ensure my circles have support in these stressful times
  • speaking up and out about injustice and supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, especially working on my own inherited racism
  • continuing to share yoga whenever, however through my work and volunteer activities in a a safe and ethical way
  • increasing my involvement/service with local non-profits

Here’s some conspiration others in my life are up to. Share yours in the comments below!

  • fostering animals
  • clearing invasive species in public lands
  • doing yard work, shopping, meal prep for those quarantined or overextended with family/work obligations
  • cleaning up litter and beautifying neighborhoods
  • planting community gardens
  • supporting artists through Patreon, buying music/art/crafts/etc., sharing through social media
  • starting home school co-ops
  • offering enrichment activities for kids of working parents through ZOOM
  • mentoring in any way possible
  • donating blood if able
  • creating art
  • furthering their education
  • supporting farmers and local businesses
  • pursuing their dreams
  • taking some time to rest and restore themselves deeply
  • making masks for public health
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Nutrition and COVID-19

Every crisis creates opportunity. One I see currently is the chance to focus more on self-care. Obviously I encourage you to dive deep into your yoga practice, especially the meditation component, given all this change. In this blog let’s talk one of my other faves…FOOD. Now’s the chance to stock up on nutrient-dense deliciousness and make magic in the kitchen. Consider how often you’ve said, “I would eat healthier if I had more time.” Well here it is! Not only is it fun and health-enhancing in general, you’ll decrease stress through self-empowerment by taking initiative in an area you can positively influence while things are chaotic. Here are my top shopping tips, nutritional strategies and meal/snack ideas for this Corona Craziness.😊

     Number one, eat that rainbow baby! Fruit and vegetable intake is vital. These guys are loaded with vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients to boost your immunity and keep you healthy all-around. When buying fresh, pick up items that are both ripe and unripe. Bananas 🍌, avocados🥑, peaches🍑, plums, mangos🥭, melon🍈, pineapple🍍 and papaya are all continue to ripen after they’re picked providing fresh fruit up to 2 weeks post-purchase. Apples🍎🍏 and pears🍐 last a while too in the fridge. Grab lemons🍋 and limes for tea, water and recipes. Pick up frozen fruits and veggies too. These will last the longest and are excellent for smoothies, stir-frys, casseroles, soups, omelets and desserts. Think strawberries🍓, blueberries, blackberries, corn🌽, broccoli🥦, cauliflower, green beans, spinach and kale. Always toss carrots🥕 and celery in your cart because they’re great staples and create the base of many juice and soup recipes. Stock up on onions🧅 and garlic🧄. These last a long time in a cool, dry, dark and well-ventilated place. Add them to your meals as much as possible as they contain potent oils that have anti-microbial actions which protect against bacterial and viral infections. Also pick up fresh herbs and spices like ginger, turmeric, oregano and thyme. Root vegetables such as beets, potatoes🥔, sweet potatoes🍠 help make meals hearty and nourishing. 

     Let’s venture beyond the produce area. How about those BEANS! They’re inexpensive, readily available, have a long shelf life and amp up protein and fiber intake. Pick up canned (rinse to remove excess sodium) or dry. Some ideas for use are chili (try it in the slow cooker), black bean veggie burgers, soups, burritos or quesadillas. Add cold beans or chickpeas to salads. You can make your own fresh hummus in the food processor and/or try your hand at refried beans or bean dips (my husband’s been on a kick with these). Here’s some recipes!

Vegan Lentil Soup: Get Your Soup On!

Homemade Hummus:

Black Bean Burgers:

Chili: slow-cooker-chili

     Nuts and seeds are another nutrition powerhouse with a very long shelf life. Think almonds, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, Brazil nuts (just 2 of these a day supply enough Selenium for immune support), and peanuts. For seeds we have chia, sunflower, flax, sesame and hemp hearts. More healthy protein here, fiber too plus anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids. Oh ya! One of my fave snacks currently is a 1/4c walnuts and dark chocolate chips. Gives ya a sweet fix with some health benefits. Same with adding some natural nut butter to whole dates. These little nuggets taste better and are way cheaper than Lara Bars though they’re basically the same ingredients. Those nut butters also pair well with fruit and even some veggies (remember ants on a log?). Again add nuts and seeds to salads, stir-fry’s and also granola. Here’s my go to recipe for that: I just found this A-maze balls blog with 25 different kinds of energy ball recipes that use lots of these ingredients. What a great way to keep those kids busy! I can’t wait to try all of these:

     After getting nutty, proceed to buying your whole grains. Get rolled oats for those balls and granola listed above (gluten-free if needed). Brown rice, rice noodles and quinoa for stir-frys and other creations. Speaking of creativity, explore all the new options out there for pasta such as chickpea, veggie and brown rice varieties. If you eat bread, grab the kinds with lots of texture. I like Ezekial bread the best, also sprouted grain brands. Whole grain wraps and corn tortillas are nice for wraps, quesadillas and burritos. Another gem is fermented food such as sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, and some yogurt. These are more important  now as the good bacteria in them can improve gut health and therefore overall immunity. Look for “live cultures” on the label.    

     Consume broth! Chicken and beef broths are loaded with collagen, vitamins, minerals and most importantly amino acids which build our immune system. They also provide an excellent source of hydration and have the electrolytes we need should we get sick. If buying a pre-made broth, choose the low sodium options. If at all possible, buy local from your farmers. Always shop organic. This is better for the animals, community and Mama Earth 🌏. Making a broth is easy peasy. Try this simple recipe. Vegetable broths and soups are also excellent. Mix it up!

     Get your Vitamin D my friends. Yes C is important for immune health, (Ester-C is my go to) but D is also essential. Great sources of vit D include oily fish such as salmon and mackerel (though personally I stopped doing all seafood for the sake of our oceans 🌊), eggs and mushrooms. These last two last a while in the fridge. Supplements are OK too. Follow dosage instructions and be sure to check expiration dates. More than anything, get outside! Some sweet sunshine goes a long way on many fronts ☀️.

     Stay Hydrated. This is essential to prevent and treat any type of viral infection. When you’re dehydrated, your body can’t produce enough saliva and mucus to keep your throat naturally lubricated. This will make the swelling and inflammation worse. Add fresh or frozen fruit and/or herbs if you don’t like to the plain stuff. Tap and well is fine. STOP WITH THE PLASTIC PLEASE! Again…🌍 There is no need stock up on water due to the virus. If you are unsettled about it then buy a Berkey and you can use water from just about any source. Herbal teas are also an excellent option. When drinking tea, add a touch of honey and lemon for flavor. This will also soothe your throat and is perfect if you develop a cough or sore throat. You can make Golden Honey to put in hot water and create a powerful medicinal food. Check out the recipe and benefits here: Best to avoid sodas, high sugar drinks, excess caffeine and alcohol as they all negatively impact immune health.

     Lastly, limit sugar, alcohol, soda, and heavily refined, processed foods as much as possible. These promote inflammation in the body and can cause a spike in sugar, both of which suppress the immune system. These substances don’t help our mental and emotional states either which brings up another important point. What we are going through is unsettling to say the least. Our relationships with food and body are often the indicators of how we are responding to stress, trauma etc.. If you notice these things taking a turn for the worst, hop over the the Body Peace e-Course for support or connect with me directly for a one-to-one session

Ok, I think I got all my thoughts out…LOL. Feel free to share your ideas and strategies! Wishing you and yours ease, peace and vital health now and always. Julie

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Revolutionary Resolutions

One day in my early 20’s I sat back and wondered what would happen if women, all women everywhere, simply stopped fighting with their bodies. What kind of force would be unleashed into the stratosphere? What could all the time, energy, focus, “will power,” money, creativity, and emotion spent on the diet gimicks, fitness fads, elective plastic surgery, modified foods, etc. support instead of the illusion that body transformation will make you _________________ (fill in the blank for yourself here). This contemplation was sparked early in my own recovery process after a powerful awakening to peaceful body image (click here for more on that). It occurred before being introduced to the concepts of Goddess, Shakti, the Divine Feminine and such. I don’t think I even knew what feminism was yet (yikes!).

I did know however, the truth of my own experience. 

I knew the constant battle with my body and food depleted my life force and distracted me from my dreams. I knew it was never going to be enough or make me finally feel like I was worthy of love. I knew waiting for my life to begin when I reached a fantasy figure was cowardice disguised as prudence. I knew constantly judging my body eroded self-esteem and confidence more than the size of my thighs. I knew all the rules I made for eating and moving where attempts to feel in control of life which we ultimately can’t control. I knew when I dared to defy the culture, my family legacy of weight obsession and my own inner critic that I was changing more than my life; I knew I was changing the world. 

Indeed much has changed in the last 25 years. The body positive movement is in full swing much to my delight. Sadly, much has stayed the same. I continue to see women lament their bodies and get sucked into every new food trend that captures media attention. Fear, guilt and shame reign supreme when one eats something sweet…or with carbs…or wheat…or dairy…ugh, it’s exhausting. Here we are at the precipice of a new decade and in a full court press for women’s liberation (for real this time) but still a vast majority of women will kick off 2020 in the nebulous realm of body negative new year’s resolutions.

I thought body peace was important 20 years ago. Now it feels absolutely essential for women, every single one of us, to not spend one more moment dimming our own light. Slaying the patriarchy is an inside job first and foremost. I know it’s scary. I know it’s hard. I know it’s confusing, especially now that diet culture is more creative. The insidiously addictive obsession with controlling our bodies masquerades as self-care now more than ever. I’m proposing a brave and bold shift. Dare to diverge. Go bigger not smaller with yourself as you set the stage for your year. Tap into your deepest desires over the superficial. Expand your presence. Fully embrace your existence. Set yourself and others free. Lead by example. Here are just a few suggestions for Revolutionary Resolutions that truly heal and empower ourselves and each other. Use them for inspiration and make them your own. I’d love to hear your ideas! And should you want to work together more intimately around resolving eating and body images challenges check out the upcoming Women, Food and Horses program (click HERE), Private PEACE Coaching (click HERE) and Body Karma Healing Basics Workshop (click HERE). Peace and Namaste.

This year I will…

prioritize my passion.

break free from unhealthy relationships.

align more fully with my dharma.

serve others with balance and grace.

write poetry.

write letters.

speak up against injustice.


nourish my body.

listen to my body.

treat my body with respect.

create art.

move mindfully.

plant trees.

express myself unfiltered.

embrace emotions.

embrace silence.

speak my truth.


speak kindly.

stand up for myself.

stand up for others.


read more.

listen more.

rest when I need to.

release negative self-beliefs.

give compliments.

receive compliments without deflection.

practice meditation.

practice yoga as yoga, not fitness.

practice random acts of kindness.

walk in the woods.


honor boundaries (your own and others).

buy less plastic.

have more face to face conversations.

command equal pay.

tip well.

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Beautiful Legs

“Oh no! Your beautiful legs!” a voice inside screamed as the dog’s teeth ripped at my flesh. I could feel him hanging off my right hip for what was only a few seconds though it felt like forever. He released then hit again at my left inner thigh piercing the skin and muscle. I was terrified and screaming for help. Then more pain at the back of my right knee before I managed to get out of the fenced yard where a whole pack of dogs barked and yelped all around me. Turning to slam the gate closed my attacker launched five feet high, mouth wide open, to barely miss biting my face. I raced to safety back in the barn. Once there I paced nervously running my hands briskly up and down my legs. I affirmed out loud to myself, my body, and the frightened young woman who saw it all happen, “You’re OK. You’re OK. You’re OK. I’m OK. I’m OK. I’m OK” In those first moments after the incident fear faded and I was shocked at what I felt below it: shame. “SHAME?” I thought. “WTF!” Processing this trauma over the next few days I would realize the connection.

On Oct. 30 I was viciously attacked by a border collie at a small private horse farm I was helping at a few afternoons a week. I sustained four bites, three of which broke skin and one that required stitches. I am truly OK. It was indeed the scariest thing that’s ever happened to me. It also could have been a lot worse but there were many things that went right considering the circumstances. Strange as it sounds, I’m grateful for the experience. Many valuable lessons have come from it which is often the case with events that shake you to the core. I want to share about a few of them here in continued hopes that we all learn, heal and grow together.

So, the beautiful legs thing. This was my mother’s voice. When I was a kid my mom would say this anytime I hurt my legs. She would fret over my legs getting scars. This confused me. I remember thinking, “What’s the big deal? I’m having fun living life. Who cares if my body shows it!” Later working through recovery I would have to come to terms with the insidious pattern of painful body image that lived in my family’s maternal line. I would have to process the anger and grief from not getting the nurturing my child self needed in those scary times. Instead of comforting me, my mother’s concern was with appearance and for good reason: survival. My grandmother objectified her daughter’s body too. My mother was put on diets and given amphetamines at age 12 to keep up appearances in her family. She was also physically and verbally abused. Unable to feel safe, my mom adopted practices that aligned with the legacy of feminine oppression, like focusing on the external, to protect the sacred self within.

From an energetic perspective, it makes sense this memory emerged during the attack. Legs are part of the root chakra energy center relating to (among other things) early childhood development, safety, self-preservation, embodiment/body image, and first and foremost: survival. Though I’ve done tons of healing work, this goes to show how deeply embedded in our bodies formative experiences and conditioning (cultural, societal, familial, etc) can be. The shame thing (third chakra) ties right in here too. My inner child reacted to physical injury this way because of the pattern of body shame in my family. Furthermore, in a patriarchal culture women are often scapegoats, even when they’re the victims. “Got raped? Well, you shouldn’t have worn that short skirt…” This is also a trauma response. Taking undue responsibility for horrible things that happen, even due to the negligence of another such as in my case here, is an emotional survival technique. It’s a means of avoiding the myriad of painful emotions surrounding the event: fear, confusion, abandonment, grief, etc. It’s an attempt to control the inevitably uncontrollable human experience, something everyone’s ego struggles with.  

These reactions simultaneously blew me away and didn’t surprise me at all. I can say the same for the way my yoga skills engaged. My higher mind caught on right away when the attack triggered lower vibe thinking and unprocessed emotion. Years ago I would have listened to the shame, minimized the event and took the blame. Instead, rational thought and self-compassion kicked in. I dove into deep self-care with extra body work, acupuncture and therapy sessions. These saved this new trauma from settling into my physical and subtle body while also releasing the old trauma the event shook loose. Finally, my practice guided me to glean as much wisdom as possible from this experience rather than wallow in victimhood. Beyond body image, it awakened fresh insights around self-worth, boundaries, intuition, receptivity and more. This poem emerged from my process:

Beautiful Legs

“Oh no! Your beautiful legs!”
Is that all I am to you?
A body
a trophy
a prize
something that makes you matter

I am not
your china doll
My body is my own

I know your pain
It runs through me too
A child alone
confused by abuse

This Mother Wound
has lived long
it goes deep

As my flesh was torn
your voice rang
“Oh no! Your beautiful legs!”

I felt shame
Shame for being attacked?
This is no fault of mine
yet the tracks are etched in my psyche

Take on that which is not yours
Carry the cross
bear the burden woman
Surely you got what you deserved

Today I release
these lies
these beliefs

This body belongs to me
She is mine
The Divine

Incarnate joy indeed

I will tend her
and love her
and be a Queen

Mother to All
but first, to myself

HUGE thanks to everyone that saw me through this experience. It was no fun missing classes, client sessions and my volunteering but everyone’s sincere concern, compassion and understanding was overwhelmingly supportive. Gratitude to my husband for always being there for me and not passing out when I got stitches. And to my mom (dad too) who broke the chain of physical abuse by never so much as spanking me or my sisters and who so bravely allowed me to share some of our story here. 

One of the best things that came of this experience is my renewed inspiration in the Body Karma Healing work. While I still see private clients for this program, I’ve not done a workshop in a while. That’s changing this January! Join me for BKH Basics at Yoga 108 School of Yoga 1/12/20 to kick of the new year in body bliss. Register now to save your spot: Click HERE

In addition, I’m co-facilitating a new equine-assisted therapy program Women, Food and Horses at Hope Meadows beginning January 10th. Details HERE

And if you dig the poems I share, join me for Poems and Poses at the same venue 3/29/20: Learn more HERE

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California Dreaming’ (and Ohio too)

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
-Anais Nin

Dreams…what are yours? Which ones have come true? Which ones have fallen through. I love dreaming, just letting my heart expand into unbridled desire and my mind play with the ways things could manifest. In this post I share about some dreams of mine and their unique paths because this dream thing is not always cut and dry. Read on for my 3 main musings on dreams. I hope they inspire you to keep on dreaming. I’ve also added some resources to support your journey. Feel free to share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.

1. Dreams are anything but static. They evolve and may have several cycles of death and rebirth. 

To this day, my greatest dream come true was having a horse of my own. I always thought I’d have to wait till I could buy one myself but at just 18 the horse of my dreams showed up and was in my life for 20 years changing things for the better. That big dream evolved into wanting to bring others into the realm of equus where I’ve found so much joy, healing and self-empowerment. From 2013-2014 this manifested magically as Crystal Awakenings where Madison Graves and I led equine-assisted groups, individual sessions and a retreat for our local community. Life unfolded as it does which included Madison and our horses moving to Texas ending that phase of this dream. Just this summer our herd returned to Ohio (great!) but without Madison to co-facilitate (bummer…). THEN, seemingly out of nowhere, I was invited to collaborate with Hope Meadows, a local non-profit providing Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy and Learning to the community. I am over the moon! Check out the Yoga and Horses Group now offered there by clicking HERE. 

My point here is, don’t get attached to HOW your dreams will become reality and be patient. They are dynamic and multidimensional. They have seasons. They ebb and flow. You may think they are ending but sometimes they are just in transition. As long as the desire is there, allow it. Talk about it, share it, meditate on it but also surrender and trust the flow. 

2. Dreams often exceed expectations.

Not only did I get my own horse but he and I went on to compete successfully at the local and national level in show jumping. We literally FLEW together. And Hope Meadows, it was founded in part by colleagues I had worked with years ago in the eating disorders field. Two of my passions colliding (horses and recovery) and then a third (yoga) being a perfect fit. I’m in awe of how these dreams expanded!

Another example of this happened just this fall. Since the day my daughter Elle fell in love with my favorite band the Red Hot Chili Peppers I’ve dreamt of taking her to see them perform in Southern California. This fall we traveled west to cross this off our Bucket List. As we were waiting to get into the festival, I saw Captain Paul Watson, Elle’s  all-time greatest hero, was on the schedule to speak THAT DAY. We made our way to the Storyteller’s Stage early overjoyed that we would be anywhere near this eco-warrior. Then Mr. Watson walked right up behind Elle and she had the chance to directly share her gratitude for his work creating the Sea Shepherd’s Conservation Society. Also unbeknownst to me, my favorite artist of all time, Robert Wyland, was painting murals at this event and I got to meet him too! Learn  more about both of these amazing gentlemen by clicking on their names above. 

Dreams have a way of manifesting in ways we could have never imagined. This is because our minds simply can’t comprehend the infinite potential of the Universe. It seeks to co-create with us so surrender the control, enjoy the ride and watch what emerges from there. Be open to something better!

3. Dreams will make you WORK.

Before I met my husband I spent a year getting really clear on what I wanted in a partner. I dreamed of sharing not just the joys but the real struggles of this life with someone who would meet me as equal on the journey. I wanted someone who would value the soul work I believe we are all here to do. Five years into this relationship I am in the depths of my own personal growth again finding it hard to be vulnerable and trust the person I love to see me through to the other side. I catch myself in self-sabotage cycles when I feel insecure and trauma resurfaces. It is the dream of conscious partnership the gives me the courage to heal through the old pain below these destructive habits. 

The path of yoga offers us unparalleled support through this hard stuff. Currently I’m integrating Kundalini practices in the my personal sadhana and also revisiting the Goddess Wisdom cCourse. I’m using the Gaia app for the Kundalini (click HERE) and you can find it locally at Tracy Rhinehart’s Yoga 108 School (click HERE). Practice Goddess Wisdom with me and Kristy Leahy over on Udemy (click HERE)

Thanks for reading and please share if you like. And always, dream on!

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Mountains, Marriage and Mantra

This past spring I took an incredible trip out west with my daughter, sister and sister’s partner. Our destination, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. It was A…MA…ZING. The picture here was taken right behind our first camp site. The Tetons are exquisite and Yellowstone, well, it’s Yellowstone. There’s nowhere like it anywhere else on earth. 

I’ve longed to return to this area since first visiting nearly 20 years ago. At that time, a dear friend of mine gifted me a trip to Jackson Hole, WY to spend a week on a dude ranch. I was fresh out of college, had recently stepped away from the competitive equestrian world and just went through a painful breakup. I had been in recovery for a few years but it was the first time I was writing regularly and coming to understand this life as a spiritual journey. Another friend had given me a Winnie the Pooh journal a fews weeks prior to the trip and it went with me. I poured my heart into those pages every morning and night before and after our three hour trail rides through the Snake River Valley. It was a big time of discovery, healing and growth.

As I packed for this recent trip, it dawned on me that I still had that journal. I dug it out and took it with me thinking how cool it would be to enjoy mornings on the mountains and evenings by the campfire reflecting on the past and reveling in how far I’d come, how much wiser I am now. 

Insert hysterical laughter here…

This is NOT what happened. Instead, I flipped through the pages in irreverent awe. I’d read a bit and thought, “Huh, still working on that.” Read a little more, “Huh, still working on that.” Read a little more, “Huh, still working on that.” I was surprised, humbled and in a weird way relieved. I was firmly reminded that this journey is anything but linear, anything but organized and in no way is it within our control. I often share in sessions and classes the expression, “We’re all working on the same shit.” Ya know, the biggies: self-worth, self-love, healing trauma, following our heart’s desires, etc. This experience showed me that the work never really ends, rather it continues to deepen, to call us to open more and more fully into our truest selves. It’s all we’re here to do really, live into what shows itself, to what we’ve chosen or created. To keep accepting the lessons even when they’re hard and familiar, even when we think we have all figured out. 

Upon returning, I felt different in the life I had chosen for myself over the last five years. I could see clearly how old patterns had bled into my marriage. It was hard, so hard, to look at. For 2 weeks I sat with this new awareness. I tried to deny truths that were not in alignment with what would keep me comfortable in certain ways and that would force me to own pain I was afraid to feel fully. I did not want to surrender control (rather the illusion of it). At some point in the sitting with it, breathing with it, being IN it, something broke through my mountains of resistance and brought clarity on what I needed. 

As I write this, my husband and I are living separately. It is hard but it is right. The space is allowing me to keep working on my own shit and for him to do the same. We hope that in doing so, we can create an even better version of us. In this “brutiful” (as Glennon Doyle says) time of death and rebirth a simple mantra has emerged for me: feel and love. That no matter where I am, what is coming up, what is falling apart, what my mind says, what others think or say…feel and love. It returns me to that sanctuary inside that these sacred places mirror back to me. It reminds me we’re all in this together. 

Godspeed on your journey. It’s a pleasure to share some of it with you. For a little mountain inspiration listen to Moran by Zach by clicking the pic. Photo by Zach Freidhof 

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Chocolate Avocado Muffins

Chocolate, it just makes life better. Well, in this JNY Fun With Food Blog we make a chocolate favorite even better with some healthy hacks: avocado, coconut oil and maple syrup. I first tasted these delightful little nuggets at a local yoga retreat (check out Centerpeace Yoga) and they are so yummy! I love surprising my students at Lifesource Yoga with these and baking them up with my PEACE Retreat peeps. Try your hand at them and let me know what your taste buds think.

Happy Snacking! 


  • 1 and 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour (gluten-free all purpose works or brown rice flour)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 avocado, pitted, peeled and diced
  • 3/4 c non-dairy milk (I use almond)
  • 3/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil (melted)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips (use vegan if preferred) 


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 12 cup muffin pan (I like to make minis!) with paper liners or use coconut oil and a bit of flour to reduce sticking. 
  2. In a large bowl mix together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
  3. In a blender or food processor puree together the avocado, milk, oil, maple syrup and vanilla extract. 
  4. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry. Do not over mix.
  5. Divide batter into muffin pans. Bake regular muffins for 20-25 minutes. Bake minis for 10-12. In both cases use a toothpick to test doneness. It should come out clean when baked fully.
  6. Remove muffins from oven and let cool in the pan on a wire cooling rack for 5 minutes. Lastly remove muffins from the pan and allow to cool completely. Enjoy! 

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