My Method to Bust Through Analysis Paralysis

Do you suffer from analysis paralysis? Ever had a hunch or an inspired idea, only to kill it or watch it shrivel up and die as you suffocate it with analysis? (OK maybe that’s a *bit* dramatic, but you get my point). If so, then keep reading to learn a fun way to bust through this limiting habit.

Trying to strengthen your intuition and your ability to go with the flow can be a real challenge if you’ve spent most of your life over analyzing every single decision – from menu items to what you’re going to wear to work. We are told that if we just act on our intuition things will start to flow, but how the heck do you do you take action without over-analyzing when that’s all you know?

Because some of us just can’t quit the over-analyzing habit cold turkey, here’s a tool to help you bridge the gap between inspired action and analysis paralysis.

Play the “What If” game with your inspired idea.

And no, I’m not talking about going down the rabbit hole of negative hypothetical scenarios… I’m suggesting just the opposite!

So here’s what you do, to help appease the part of your brain that just has to analyze, you are going to apply the “Oh yes, What If” technique to your idea. You are going to observe, think and assess the path of your inspired idea with the intention of pushing it forward.

But before I explain the game, I want to make sure we are clear on something…

You are a consciousness who gets to decide which thoughts you’d like to associate with, or not. You can chose to stick with a thought or you can observe the thought and let it go. You aren’t your thoughts, but rather the consciousness who gets to drive your thoughts to the intended destination.

If you decide to stick with a thought, you can then give it mobility with intention, emotion and imagination.

For example, let’s take the guy who invented Post-It Notes.

One day he was sitting around thinking about how hard it was for him to remember little to-do’s. So the situation could have gone of two ways:

He could have taken the “Oh No, What If” path.

It could look a little something like this:  He could have thought, Man it’s tough to remember all these to-do. Oh no, what if that means I have a terrible memory? Oh no, what if because my memory is bad, I’m not good at thinking period. I’m stupid. I can’t do anything right. So I’m just going to sit here and think about how crappy of a memory I have and chose not to do things that require a good memory.  

Or he could have played the “What if, Oh Yes” game. Which goes a little something like this:

Man it’s tough to remember all of these to-do. Oh yes, what if I had a way to help me remember the to-do. Oooooh yes! What if I created that something. Oh yeah! And what if it was something super simple that everyone could use. Ah heck yes, and what if I took this tape here and just stuck it to this paper here. OMG HELL YES what if I market this and call it a post-it? Genius!!

OK, I have no idea if that’s how it went down. But what I’m trying to illustrate is that your ideas and emotions are what give your thoughts mobility. You can change the destination of a thought by aligning the ideas and emotions you attach to that thought with an outcome that you desire.

You can analyze your intuitive hits with positivity and potential. Create the grand vision of your inspired action by positively analyzing it. Play it out. Go from inspired idea to the next step. Ask yourself, Oh yes! What if that cool thing happened?” Ooooh that would be amazing! And then ah yeah, what if that happened? What would come next?

Give your inspired idea mobility and speed by affixing the ideas and thoughts to it that support your desired life vision.

It’s like climbing  a ladder. Each small step gets you to the top. 

By playing this game, you’re still honoring your mind’s need for analysis while honoring your intuition. You’re just adding a little step between idea and inspired action – and that’s all good!

So next time you get the urge to analyze your next great idea, just play this game and see what happens.

 

 

 

Meg Sylvester is an Spiritual Life Coach and Business Mentor for Soulful Entrepreneurs, Heart Centered Dreamers, and Inspired Seekers. To learn more on her Mindset Mastery private coaching experience that blends intuitive guidance with inspired action click here.

Do you have trouble hearing your intuition? If so, try this

If you have trouble hearing the voice of your intuition, read on…

 

Imagine being at a house party where the music is cranked up. A friend comes up to you to try and talk, but the music is so loud you can’t hear her. This friend is like your intuition. Sometimes she’s even yelling, jumping up and down, wearing a sparkly outfit, but we just can’t seem to hear her. Our intuition is always there, but when we have the sound turned up so loud, we tend to tune her out. 

 

Your mind is like the house, and the music is like the mental chatter swirling through your head. When we seek guidance from our intuition, we must listen. Ask and you shall receive….unless you can’t.

When we’ve got so much mental chatter going on inside of our heads, it makes it much more challenging to actually receive the guidance we want.

 

The first step in communicating with your intuition is to simply ask then listen. This means that you’ve got to clear out your head and get quiet so that you can actually hear. And by hear, I don’t necessarily mean, audibly. You can receive intuitive guidance through a knowingness, a sense, or a vision. But regardless of the way you absorb this guidance, silene will absolutely make it easier for you to receive.

 

A great way to build your silent muscle is to do just that, practice at being quiet so that you can hear your intuition down. Yes, it may sound simple, and so not magical, but the best thing we can do to build a deeper bond between our mind and our intuition is learning how to get good at being quiet on the inside. 

 

And here’s an easy way how to practice:

 

LIght a candle and select a short amount of time…even something as short as 30 seconds. Then set a timer.

 

Before your start the timer, suggest to yourself that you would like to empty out all of the contents of your mind.

 

The only intention you have for the next 30 seconds is to just be.

 

Start your timer and watch the flame as you feel your breath. Observe the rise & fall of your breath. Make that be your focus.

 

As soon as the timer goes off, blow out the candle, offer up some gratitude to yourself for your practice them move along.

 

Don’t beat yourself up if you aren’t totally free of mental chatter the first time. Remember that clearing your mind of thoughts and cultivating a silent space may not be easy for you at first (or maybe it will be). But regardless, just do the exercise and keep at it.

 

Stay at the same amount of time for an entire week, then the next week bump it up by a small fraction. If you were at 30 seconds, go up to 45.

 

You are building the mental muscle of beingness. In a society so caught up in doing, this whole beingness thing can be a little daunting at first. But You can do it. The rewards are huge. Imagine being able to hear and receive guidance from your intuition all throughout the day. Imagine being able to take confident inspired action because you simply “know” that what you are doing is the exact right move.

 

It all starts with listening.

 

3 Simple Strategies: How to Eat Healthier

Ever wondered how some people just seem to make healthy eating look so seamless, easy, and enjoyable, while you feel like it’s a total uphill battle? Like how is it possible that she’s totally fine with ordering grilled fish and broccoli while you are crying  on the inside because all you want are the flipping cheese enchiladas. But, noooooo, you can’t have them because you are still trying to lose those stupid 10 pounds you put on 2 Christmases ago.

It’s not she was born with magical broccoli loving taste buds and you were just doomed to live with cheese enchilada loving taste buds.  

It’s mindset.

She has an abundance mindset, while you are operating in a lack mindset. (ps  – did you know that you can have a lack mindset when it comes to food, but an abundance mindset in other areas of your life, like money & relationships)

For example, let’s say you’ve made the decision to clean up your eating habits. You chose to join your coworkers for lunch.

When it comes time to order, you ask for a salad with grilled chicken, no cheese, and dressing on the side (because there’s literally nothing else on the menu that even comes close to moderately healthy).

And then comes the inevitable question from nosy Margaret in Accounting as she shovels tortilla chips into your mouth, “Oh, you must be on a diet. You’re on a diet, right? Which diet? Keto? Must be Keto, right??”  

 

Side-note:  I get a little heated with this question.  Why does a salad always mean someone’s on a diet? Maybe that’s just the way some people eat. Maybe some people don’t like to feel like garbage after they eat. Maybe some people don’t actually enjoy running to the bathroom every 2 minutes or falling asleep on their desk post-lunch time…ever thought about that, Margaret??

 

So here’s the deal. When someone asks if you are on a diet you can answer in one of two ways. You can either support the conversation that eating healthy food equates to lack: “Yes I’m on a diet, ugh I would kill for some of that queso right now” …while you roll your eyes and begrudgingly insert  the lettuce laden fork into your mouth.

 

Or you can help people realize that eating healthy is a lifestyle choice and is a positive change (and that you’d appreciate their support, thanks). “Nope, not on a diet per-se, just cleaning up what I eat because I honestly just want to feel better”.

 

The thing is, we’ve been so conditioned to equate healthy eating with lack. And a lack mindset does not support positive, healthy, sustainable change. What does support positive, healthy, sustainable change is an abundance mindset.

 

If you want to make a healthy shift in your eating habits and mindset try these three tips:

 

  1. Think Swaps instead of Strikes.

 

  • Rather than just making a list of all the things you have to strike out of your diet, think about healthy swaps instead.  Swap handfuls of M&M’s for a handful of berries. Trade processed deli meat for leftover grilled chicken. Switch chips and pretzels for raw nuts and seeds.

  • Take a look in your pantry and refrigerator and take note of the foods you currently have that aren’t supporting your health & wellness goals. Ask yourself if there is a fruit, veggie, nut, seed, legume, whole grain or lean protein that you’d like to swap it out for.

 

  1. Eat the Rainbow.   

  • Plants contain compounds called phytonutrients which are known to be beneficial for human health. Phytonutrients give fruits and veggies their color. Different phytonutrients show up as different colors. Beta-carotene, which is needed for eye health, shows up as orange and is found in carrots. Resveratrol gives foods like grapes a dark purple hue and acts as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. You don’t need to eat a ton of these in one sitting to enjoy their benefits. Just a few bites here and there will add up. Try to make a list of fruits and veggies that fall under each of these colors:

 

  • RED
  • ORANGE
  • YELLOW
  • GREEN
  • DARK PURPLE / BLUE / BLACK
  • WHITE/TAN

 

*once you’ve made your list do some quick research. Find out which phytonutrient is present in each food and what it does. This will compel you even more to eat those foods, and it’s super interesting!  

 

  • Try to make it a point to eat the whole rainbow each week (bonus points of you eat it each day). Each time you eat a handful of a particular color, check off the box. Think of having a few boxes under each color, rather than just a single box,  and try to check off every box under every color each week.

  • By the way, this is a fantastic activity to bring your kids in on. They love thinking of different foods to include in the rainbow. It’s a great way for them to become more engaged in grocery shopping and meal planning. If our daughter has all the boxes checked off by friday she gets to invite a friend to spend the night. This is also a great way to teach kiddos about the difference between real, whole food and foods that have to be dyed in order to have color. As I always say, skittles don’t count for any of your color, but a fruit salad sure does!

 

  1. Focus on Desired Feelings.  

  • How do you want to feel??? Vibrant, energetic, strong, healthy, glowy, balanced?? Write down your buzz words that describe how you want to feel. Then create a mental image of what that looks like. Maybe it’s a picture of you bee-bopping around the grocery store in tennis shoes and a ponytail looking all radiant and happy. Whatever that image is, hold on to it. Let that image and your new buzzwords support your food choices. Ask yourself, Will this food help me to feel (insert buzzwords here)  and will it help me to one day be be-bopping around in my tennis shoes? This is so much more fun than telling yourself you can’t eat something because you want to lose 20 pounds. And it’s not that  it’s just more fun to think this way. Thinking in this way is what helps you to shift your mindset from diet to lifestyle.

 

So next time you find yourself in a conversation with nosy Margaret from Accounting regarding food listen to whether or not she has a lack or abundance mindset when it comes to healthy eating. You’ll start to be able to recognize it more and more.  If you hear the lack come up -from Margaret or internally – shift the focus to abundance. Think about all the things you can have and all the ways you’ll feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically. Change your mindset to change your lifestyle. Educate yourself. Take small steps. Hold yourself accountable. Stick to a vision. And go for it.

 

Meg is a Health & Wellbeing Coach & Metaphysician and creator of The Aligned Body Method. She practices and is trained in functional medicine, mindset, and mind-body practices. She works with clients to create positive, sustained change when it comes to mental, physical and emotional well-being. Meg is also a Spirit Junkie through and through. This means she applies spiritual principles and universal truths to help her clients overcome limiting beliefs and energetic blocks that are keeping them stuck in patterns that no longer work. To find out more about how you can work with Meg, check out her VIP 4 month private coaching program, or her newest one month program, The Mind Body Detox.

Cacao Elixir: Healthy, Indulgent, Delicious.

Cacao Elixir, mmmmm. Say it again. Cacao Elixir. Yes, oh yes. Even the name sounds indulgent and delicious. But did you know that cocoa also has tons of health benefits? Today I am serving up a recipe to battle the sweet tooth while packing a healthy punch of flavonoids, antioxidants, and mood boosting ingredients.

 You know those days when the sweet tooth is real? When your brain has one single repetitive focus, and that focus is on the almighty chocolate? You know those days, right? Sometimes it’s stress related, sometimes hormonal. But whatever the reason, chocolat always seems to  do the trick.

I’ve combined some of my favorite healthy ingredients to give you the perfect, indulgent answer to your chocolate craving that is totally supportive to your health and wellness goals.

 

This Cacao Elixir combines the health benefits of MCT oil with nutrient packed maple syrup. But as a bonus, it also acts as a perfect pick-me-up with coffee as the base (you can substitute with chamomile tea or decaf coffee if you’re wanting it for bed-time).

A couple of facts that make this drink a true elixir:

  • Cacao has been proven to be an amazing source of magnesium. Magnesium.  is associated with healthy blood pressure, lower risk of cardio vascular disease, a healthy nervous system, and lower risk of diabetes (Volpe, 2014)….score!!
  • The flavonoids found in cacao help your body process nitric oxide, which is why hot cocoa can improve blood flow, help lower your blood pressure and improve heart health.
  • Maple syrup is packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, making it a much healthier choice than other sweeteners.  The medical journal Pharmaceutical Biology revealed that pure maple syrup contains up to 24 different antioxidants. According to my man, Dr Axe These antioxidants are beneficial for reducing free radical damage that can cause inflammation and contribute to the formation of various chronic diseases.
  • MCT oil adds a yummy coconut undertone to the elixir. “MCTs” are medium-chain triglycerides, a form of saturated fatty acid that have loads of healthy benefits ranging from weight management to improve cognitive functioning. A few other benefits include increased focus and energy levels. Increased metabolism and less mood swings can also be expected from normal consumption of MCT’s.

With all of the health advantages of this treat, it really is a true elixir. So next time you find yourself reaching for a candy bar or a treat loaded with processed sugar make this Cacao Elixir instead!

 

This drink is best enjoyed blended rather than stirred. I recently bought this handy dandy hand mixer and love it. It’s perfect for small batch drinks like this and your regular morning bullet coffee. Makes you feel super fancy pants.

To make this Cacao Elixir combine the following ingredients in your coffee mug then blend with a hand mixer (or in a blender)

 

1 10-oz cup of black coffee

1 to 1.5 heaping tsp raw, organic cacao powder

1 tsp organic maple syrup

1 tsp MCT oil

 

Blend, Sip, Indulge, and enjoy the good vibes.

 

For a real treat try this Elixir with this plantain recipe

 

 

Meg Sylvester is a Spiritual Life Coach who combines the science of functional medicine with metaphysical principles to help her clients release their blocks to well-being. She empowers her clients with tools, strategies and guidance so that they can connect to the health, vitality and well-being they desire. To learn more about how you can work with Meg click here.

Why You should Consider an Elimination Diet

I’m a huge advocate of establishing a really solid understanding of your mind-body connection. Can you say with full certainty if there are any foods that cause you to exhibit mental distress? Doing a formal elimination diet is a really fantastic way to know for sure what foods are holding you back from optimal mental functioning. Get the scoop on how to do an elimination diet the right way.

You most likely know that food intolerances, sensitivities and allergies can cause physical reactions, but did you know that they can also cause mental reactions as well. Brain fog, irritability, increased anxiety, and mild depression are all possible side effects of food sensitivities.

I work with my clients to really uproot their limiting beliefs and energetic blocks to well-being so that they can transform their lives. If you are continuously putting into your body, foods that disrupt your mental stability then you are at a disadvantage. For this reason, I always make sure my clients are eating to perform at their best mental state so we can really get to work on the transformative process.

An excellent way to go about assessing sensitivities is through a formal elimination diet. The elimination diet I work through with my clients was created by Functional Medicine doctors and nutritionists. The first step in the process is to completely remove specific food groups that are common food triggers for sensitivities.

The food groups you will remove are:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Beef
  • Shellfish
  • Corn
  • Eggs
  • Peanuts
  • Pork
  • Processed Meats
  • Soy
  • Sugar

What you are left with is tons of phytonutrient rich fruits, vegetables, dairy alternatives, lean and clean meats and seafood, and nuts and seeds. After only a few days you will naturally start to feel better and your gut will be able to heal as it will not be irritated.  I always give my clients a large selection of recipes to work with during this time and encourage them to let their social network what they are up to while asking for support.

After a specified amount of time you will begin reintroducing each food group, otherwise known as a Challenge, and take note of your mental and physical symptoms anywhere from 24-48 hours of eating the specific group. You will continue to do this until you have exhausted the list of challenges.

While going through the challenge groups, I work with my clients to do a deep assessment of mindset and their physical condition with each new challenge introduction. We write everything down so it’s easy to connect the dots. It’s pretty amazing what comes up. In western society we have been so conditioned to ignore the fact that real food truly is medicine. You have nature’s medicine shop at your full disposal. Do yourself a giant favor and start making the connections!

How to Overcome Your Limiting Beliefs around Money, Health, and Love

If you’ve followed my work then you’ve heard me stress the importance of overcoming your limiting beliefs so that you can create the life you desire. If there is something you do not like about your present experience then it is your responsibility to change it. Not someone else’s, yours. Your thoughts carry weight. They carry the ability to create your physical reality. And they do. Believe it, or don’t believe it, it still holds true.

 

The first step in changing your reality is witnessing the thought patterns and beliefs that have been confining you in your present situation. Now, it’s most likely true that there are areas of your life that you do enjoy. What’s important is to understand that you can create belief systems around one area of your life, say career or money, that totally differ from another aspect of your life, say love and family.

 

So for now let’s say you do not currently like your financial situation. The first step in improving your financial situation is witnessing the beliefs you have around money and your feelings around making it, keeping it, spending it, etc.

 

To kick off this first step what you need to do is really begin to listen to yourself talk about money. Do you find yourself saying things like, I’m so poor, I’m always broke, I wish I had enough money for xyz, I never have enough money, I’m so stressed about money, I live paycheck to paycheck… Any of those sound familiar? Listen to yourself and really begin to notice the key phrases you have on repeat regarding your financial situation.

 

Take out your journal, turn on some inspiring tunes and write out your money story. What is your relationship with money (or health, or love, or whatever area it is that you’d like to improve). Think about how you’ve handled money in the past. Do you get it and then hoard it because you don’t think you will get more? Do you get it and spend it right away because you don’t think you are responsible enough to hold onto it? Do you get money in spurts and then go through dry spells? Deep down do you believe you are not worthy enough to earn large sums? Take some time to write this out so that you can become very familiar with the story and beliefs you’ve created.

 

For example, for a long time I believed that the only way to make large amounts of money was by doing something high-profile and difficult (ie big fancy corporate job), I did not believe that I could make money, and lots of it, by simply doing what I do best. I had this story so deeply ingrained that I thought in order to make money I had to have a professional degree, have a professional job and have a million certifications to prove my worth.

 

And that’s simply not true.

 

I re-programmed my belief patterns and created a new story. I witnessed my limiting story and chose to change it through assuming new beliefs and taking the proper subsequent steps to really align my energy with this new truth.  You know that Whack-a-mole game?  I treated my limiting beliefs like the little moles and my new, empowering story as the hammer.

I fought fear with love and eventually transformed my story.

 

I am now a successful, online Life Coach doing exactly what I love (something that comes easy to me, because it’s simply me being me).

 

I took the ideas from the limiting stories I had and then created new, empowered statements. I became the fierce protector of my financial situation. I turned the story around by changing my thoughts. I believed, with all of my heart, that my thoughts create my reality, so I used new thoughts to create a new reality. Make sense?

 

I hammered away at the old story. I wrote empowering statements like, Money flows to me easily, literally everywhere. I carried my journal with me everywhere and got to work when I felt the old fear story creeping in.

 

Step One in creating the life of your dreams is to witness your fear story / limiting belief and then begin reprogramming your subconscious with your conscious mind.  

You can absolutely change your story by changing your thoughts. But it takes commitment and the willingness to believe. Changing your thought patterns means you take the steps to understand your blocks and learn how to process and bust through them. Something I often do with my clients is have them write out their limiting story and then dispose of that story (by burning it, shredding it, flushing it down the toilet) to energetically symbolize the cycle of death and rebirth when it comes to the belief. Give this a try to kick everything off!!

 

There is another more vibrant way to live and it’s all on the other side of fear!

The Healthy Gal’s “Oreo”

Several months ago, I did a Facebook Live on how to bust the after dinner sweet tooth. One of my go-to’s is this “Oreo” that’s packed with sweetness without the refined sugar and yucky ingredients. Packing a healthy punch with minerals like magnesium, this quick fix is sure to satiate your sweet tooth.

All you need is a date fruit and a tablespoon of almond butter (preferably a kind with no added sugar or sweeteners – I love Justin’s Brand)

Simply slice open the date and add a scoop of almond butter in between to create the perfect, sweet-tooth stating snack ever.

Not only does this quick snack nix the sweet tooth, it also hooks you up with a healthy dose of vitamins, minerals, and protein (protein comes from the almond butter).

According to Organcifacts.net, “The benefits of dates include relief from constipation, intestinal disorders, heart problems, anemia, sexual dysfunctions, diarrhea, abdominal cancer, and many other conditions. Dates also help for a healthy weight gain. They are rich in several vitamins, minerals, and fiber. These delicious fruitscontain oil, calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium, phosphorous, manganese, copper and magnesium, which are all beneficial for health. Some health specialists have said that eating one date per day is necessary for a balanced and healthy diet.”

So next time you’re feeling the urge to grab a handful of sugary snacks, make yourself the healthy gal’s “oreo” and know you’re doing a body good!

Your Body is a Messenger – Are you listening to it?

Several  months ago I had a tarot card reading and was a stumped by something I was told. She said I’d be doing something with my hands. She wasn’t sure, it wasn’t quite clear but there was definitely some energy going on with my hands, and to watch for opportunities that allowed me to work with them.

 

I was confused, because I don’t really do any type of art with my hands. I don’t paint, draw, do pottery or build things. So I just kinda let it go.

 

Fast forward to today… I was on a hike, something I love, but haven’t been able to do in a while because of the weather. Being on a hike and surrounded by trees makes my heart happy. It’s like soul food for me. While I was hiking, I noticed the familiar feeling of my fingers dancing, tapping out imaginary beats. That always happens when I’m hiking (regardless if I have music playing or not). Whenever I hike my fingers start to move  as if they were dancing to some imaginary song playing in the wind. And when I’m really feeling it, I go into full on hand dancing (sometimes the head starts bobbing). It’s as if my hands got swept up in some imaginary current of musical waves.

 

There are only two other times when my hands start dancing like that.

 

The first is when I’m actually dancing. I know for sure I was given the gift of dance to know what it feels like to to be totally tapped in. When I dance my mind goes away. It’s like my body is completely taken over by the music. I don’t think. I don’t plan. I don’t care. I just dance. And I am so happy when I do. I know the Universe gave me this gift just so I could feel Her presence, so I could know the power of divine connection. Seriously, that’s how much I love to dance.  And I’m proud to say, I’m really freakin’ good! …ask my friends 😉

 

The second time I feel like this, just totally tapped and in the zone,  in is when I get into a deep flow of conversation with my clients (and friends). When we are so tuned into each other and on a really deep subject. My hands start to dance. That imaginary musical current sweeps them up. I feel so tuned in and in the flow, like I could talk for hours (and sometimes I do!). When my hands start to dance like that, it’s like visible feedback that I’ve found the flow.

 

While I was on my hike – hand dancing – I stopped and made the connection about the whole hand thing the card reader was saying. Holy crap. This is what my cards meant. This is what she was talking about when she said I’d be doing something with my hands. My hands are the messenger that I’m in the flow, that I’m tapped in, doing soul work. My work is my soul food.

 

Anyway, the reason I’m telling you this is to illustrate how beautifully our bodies work as messengers of the soul. Our bodies let us know when things aren’t right through headaches, stomach problems, fight or flight feelings, acne, fatigue, and whatever else. But they also let us know when things ARE right, through instantaneous smiles, tingles up our spines, chills, standing tall, and of course, hand dancing.

As a metaphysician, I am fascinated by exploring the physical manifestation of deep-seated emotions and long-standing harmful belief patterns. I am continuously and actively looking for the relationship between mind and matter, feelings and our physical form.

In her book, The Body is the Barometer of the Soul, Annette Noontil goes very deep into the relationship between emotions and the body. She describes in great detail how energy of thought and feeling is developed into physical manifestation of unwanted symptoms. The following are a few examples of the metaphysical connections between mind, body, and spirit that Noontil makes in her book:

  • Cold Sores = “I do not want to take in that news”
  • Dandruff = A clogging up of self-acceptance. Impatience with the way others do things. It is not the same as I want it done
  • Dry Hair – Not being aware that you can achieve. Your inadequacy keeps you doing nothing because you do not know yourself
  • Headaches (Back of Head) Pressurizing yourself through impatience that you have not done enough.
  • Headaches (Front of Head) – Holding on to old limitations and having difficulty with seeing the good in things.
  • Sinus – You are not satisfied with the way you are not learning
  • Bedwetting – not knowing how to get what you want
  • Hemorrhoids – you want to pass on your knowledge but you do not think it will be accepted.
  • Endometriosis – Your need is to grow spiritually so you have a new approach to your life. Understand yourself and remove old limiting concepts.

 

I encourage you to become the great interpreter of your bodily messages. Go deeper than just the physical. Start exploring how your emotions and deep-seated, fear based stories have manifested themselves as physical symptoms, especially your chronic, long-lasting symptoms.

On the flip side of that, I also encourage you to listen and observe how your body feels when you are doing what you love. Emotions live in our body. Recognize the bio feedback of happiness, excitement, joy, and gratitude. What do those emotions feel like? Do they feel like tingles, warmth, a smile? Where in your body do you feel it? Does joy live in your heart center, does it travel up your spine, does it feel like relief in your muscles?

Learning to recognize your body’s signals is a cornerstone of mind / body awareness.  “Change your thoughts to change your body.” – Annette Noontil

 

 

Meg Sylvester is a Spiritual Success and Wellness Coach. She inspires clients to create massive transformation in their lives by removing obstacles to well-being. Ready to live your healthiest, happiest life doing what you love? Contact Meg for a complimentary discovery call. Click Here

Self-Doubt keeping you down? Try these 4 steps to get you back up.

Confession: I was addicted to Girl Scout Cookies.

 

OK, so not a life-long or even year long addiction. For three days I seriously had no self-control when I got around the cookies. Thin Mints – get in my belly.  Peanut Butter Patties – right now, give ‘em. Like, seriously No.Self.Control. WTF was happening?!?

 

This was my daughter’s first year of selling girl scout cookies. I’ve never had them in the house before. Never really appealed to me. But for some reason, those bright shiny boxes just hooked me in, and I was toast. Holy crap those things are good! Cookies aren’t usually my jam – I typically eat a very healthy diet, free of processed ingredients and refined carbs and sugar, but I just couldn’t resist. Again, I ask – WTF was happening?! I’m a person who coaches people on how to not do this exact thing. So what gave?

 

Well around this time, I was also struggling with some feelings of self-doubt. I was experiencing a little anxiety and had my wheels spinning, You know the feeling…hamster wheel. Going and going in circles. Feeling like you are doing the same thing over and over with no results. I got into the Facebook suck, the comparison game and started questioning what I was doing. I got this crazy notion into my head that I wasn’t doing enough. That I wasn’t hustling enough to produce results I wanted to see in my business.

 

And another thing…throughout the holidays I had totally fallen out of my self-care routine. I wasn’t waking up earlier to have my “me” time. I wasn’t doing the things that brought me joy, like going on walks in nature, or yoga, or dancing, or playing pretend with my kids.

 

Really the only thing I was doing was working on my business (but not the fun stuff – the stuff I thought I had to be doing in order to “be seen” aka the my own personal hamster wheel.)

 

And then my husband asked me something. He asked me if I was happy. Talking through a mouthful of Girl Scout cookies, I answered, Yes, of course! I mean, I am totally and  utterly so in love with the work I am doing and the clients I get to serve. Of course I’m happy. “Well then, act happy” he said.

 

But here’s the thing, sometimes acting happy is easier said than done right? Yes, happiness is a choice. We can always choose to see the lesson in a challenge. We can always choose to not sweat the small stuff and recognize fear when it bubbles up. But I’m a believer in tools. In fact, I’ve got a big old tool box of self-help tools. I even have a handy dandy section in my tool-box specifically for getting through self-doubt. So just how are girl scout cookies and self-doubt related?

 

After my husband told me to act happy, I snapped out of my cookie trance and reached into my tool-box. As a coach, I’m so used to helping others through their blocks, that sometimes I forget to help myself…it happens to all of us. We help, help, help…give, give, give…and forget about ourselves.

And that’s ok.

 

I didn’t beat myself up for it. But what I did do was applaud myself for recognizing that I had fallen off, and used my tools to get back on. I “shrunk that gap” between falling off and getting back on.

 

So just what are my 4 steps through moving through blocks like self-doubt? Keep reading to find out!

 

  1. Assess your physical self. – Take a beat to assess how  you’re nourishing your physical body. It’s not talked about in mainstream health care, but your gut health has a huuuuuuuge impact on your mental health. The majority of your hormones including those that makes us feel happy and sad are synthesized in your gut. So that means when you’re eating foods or food-like substances that aren’t good for you, you’re screwing with the gut-brain connection. Secondly, when we aren’t getting great sleep, that obviously impacts our mood a great deal. Third – when we’ve been sitting on the couch and not moving our bodies, our moods take a nosedive. So my first step in getting over negative emotions is simply to ask am I taking care of my physical self. Am I eating healthy foods, am I moving my body, and am I sleeping. If the answer is no, then I eat something a piece of fruit or a veggie, I drink some water and move my body. And yes, this means putting down the girl scout cookies.

 

           I had that ah-ha moment here. I realized how closely linked the cookies and the bad     mood were. I’m not used to eating like that. And when I did, I felt bad – this understanding serves as the building blocks to Mind / Body awareness.

 

  1. Move through the feelings.  Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, is a brain researcher who studied her own brain after having a stroke. She learned that emotions manifest as a physical surge of chemicals that move through your body for 90 seconds and then get flushed out. However, as a society we have been conditioned to numb. Be it with social media, drugs and/or alcohol, TV, food, sex… we numb. We’d rather numb and emotion than actually feel it. So my second step might be a little uncomfortable. Call upon the negative feeling you are experiencing and really feel it, Don’t just put words to it. Feel the physical body sensations of it surging through your body. What does it feel like – tension in your jaw, hands, or chest? Quesiness or dizziness? Sit with that feeling for 90 seconds. Breathe through it and allow it to pass.

 

After you’ve checked in with your physical body…move onto your mind / soul connection with steps three and four.

 

  1. Express Gratitude. Our minds are incapable of suffering and being grateful at the exact same time. That being said, whenever I’m feeling down…I give thanks to relieve suffering. Think of emotions like a ladder with hatred and anger as the very bottom step and love as the very top step. Expressing gratitude gives you the power to climb the ladder. With each moment you spend in gratitude you are allowing yourself to climb higher and higher. Use gratitude to raise your vibrational state. I do believe there is magic in putting pen to paper, so if you are able to, write down your gratitude list. And you don’t need to get carried away and crazy idealistic with your gratitude. Sure you can be thankful for big grand things like the potential of world peace, but you can also be just as thankful for your pillow, your clean water, and the fact that you have food in your pantry. So when in doubt, give thanks.

 

  1. Nourish your relationship to Self & Source. The final step in getting over self-doubt asks you to give yourself some love. How can you nourish your relationship to self? Through ritual, self-care and routine. One of the reasons I had fallen off the wagon and into the self-doubt abyss was that I had totally slipped on my morning routine. If you don’t have a morning routine, try one out. I treat my morning routine as the foundation for which I grow attributes like motivation, focus, and clarity. It gives me a springboard for my day and anchors me to my goals. Morning routines don’t have to be  a million steps and methodical. It can be as simple as waking up a little early and sitting in candlelight with a glass of water. It can be a mediation or simply paying attention to your breath. If you’re interested in learning about a great morning routine, join my 21 Day Challenge to create a morning routine (click here to learn more). Or check out my handy steps on how to become a morning person (click here). 

 

When experiencing self-doubt I nourish my relationship to Source (God, Universe, Love) through prayer. I find this prayer, as taught in the metaphysical text, A Course In Miracles, incredibly comforting “Tell me what to do, where to go, what to say, and to whom”. Call upon whatever it is you believe in to guide you. Trust in that guidance. Know you are being supported, and that you can call on this source of love and support whenever you need it.

 

When we open ourselves up to love and drop the hustle, miracles happen.

 

So next time you’re feeling like you’re in a hamster wheel and there’s no end in sight, use these four steps to shift your mindset. Use these steps like a checklist. You don’t have to go in order. Check in and see which one feels like it needs your attention the most then move through all 4.

 

To recap:

Assess your physical self

Move through the feelings

Express Gratitude

Nourish relationship to Self & Source

 

And it just so happens that the steps create the beautiful acronym of AMEN 🙂

 

Carrot & Veggie Soup

This Carrot & Veggie Soup comes from a lovely ranch in La Fortuna, Costa Rica called Ranchot Margot.

Rancho Margot is a jewel of a place plopped into the middle of the Costa Rican jungle. I spent several days as a guest at a this completely self-sufficient farm and ate this carrot & veggie soup every single day for lunch (and sometimes dinner). This place was amazing. The food that was served was cooked in-house with all ingredients coming straight from the property. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner were beautiful displays of natural colors and textures that came straight from Mother Earth.

On my last night there, it dawned on me that I hadn’t asked for any recipes. I wanted to take home a recipe that was straightforward, simple, and nourishing (so, basically everything they cooked).

Seeing as though I was obsessed with the Carrot & Veggie soup, I asked for that recipe. They were so sweet, and so excited to share the goodness.

If you ever get a chance to go to Costa Rica, I can not recommend Rancho Margot (and their Carrot & Veggie soup!) enough. You are off the grid, surrounded by nature, no wifi in the bungalows, and in really amazing company.

This Carrot & veggie Soup is perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner as it has a very mid flavor and is ultra nourishing with the vitamins and minerals from the carrots, potatoes, and garlic.  You can sip on this straight from a big, old coffee mug too – perfect for cold days when you just want something warm.

 

Rancho Margot’s Carrot & Veggie Soup:

1 lb carrots – peeled, roughly chopped

¼ lb onion – peeled, roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic – peeled

2 capfuls of olive oil

¼ lb potatoes – peeled, roughly chopped

1/3 sweet pepper – seeded and chopped.

 

For the Garnish (optional):

Roasted pumpkin seeds & chives

 

What to do:

Cover all ingredients with water.

Season with Salt, Pepper, and whatever other seasonings you desire!

Bring to a boil.

Turn down heat and simmer for about an hour

Once soft, pour all contents into a blender and blend. (you may have to do in batches).

*Do not fill blender to the top, as hot liquid expands and you may end up burning your hand.*

Pour into bowls and garnish with pumpkin seeds and chives.

Healthy and Healing Chicken Soup

Who doesn’t love a good healing and hearty pot of chicken soup when it’s cold out? Seeing as though we are in the midst of  snow-day season, cold & flu season, and sweater season, I thought I’d cook up a fresh pot of delicious chicken soup and share it with you guys. This recipe is super easy, gluten free, dairy free, and full of healing and nourishing veggies. Stay warm as you slurp up and enjoy this chicken soup!

Ingredients:

4 quarts chicken stock

avocado oil

1 whole white onion – chopped

1 bunch green onion – chopped

2 TBS chopped and peeled garlic cloved

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs

4 carrots peeled and chopped

1 whole celery root – peeled and chopped

cajun seasoning

2 bay leaves

 

For Garnish (optional) 

Avocado Slices

Parsley

 

What to do:

In a large pot, brown chicken in avocado oil and cajun seasoning (just enough to coat the chicken). Add in all veggies and sauté until onions are clear. Add in chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then turn down to a simmer. Simmer until carrots are soft – the longer you can let it cook the better! Should be done in about 45 minutes but try and go a little longer to get a richer flavor.

Garnish with fresh avocado slices and/or chopped parsley.

 

I hope you enjoy this super easy, super healthy healing chicken soup!

How this seemingly innocent habit could be an act of self-sabotage (and what to do about it!)

Imagine this: You’re on a blissful vacation. Relaxing in the sun. Eating food that makes you happy. Smiling and laughing with your loved ones. Maybe even spending some luxurious time doing absolutely nothing. Ahhhhh. I can almost hear the waves and the wind whispering through the lush, green surroundings.

 

Taking in the moment, you close your eyes and then you say it.  “I wish”. I wish I could do this every day. I wish I could eat this food every day. I wish I could relax like this every day… I wish, I wish, I wish, I wish….

 

Or this: You’re scrolling through social media. Comparing. Wishing you had what she had. You hear yourself thinking, man I wish I could do that. I wish I could be more like that. I wish I could, blah blah blah.

 

The thing is, every time you say I wish and don’t actually do something about it, you are sending mixed signals to yourself and out to the Universe. This seemingly innocent little habit is keeping you in a pattern of wishing but not receiving. It can also evoke negative feelings, like sadness and jealousy. No bueno, right?

 

In order for a wish to manifest you need to get your feelings, actions, and words energetically aligned.

 

I want you to do something next time you catch yourself saying I wish – actually two things.

 

Number one. Get clear.

 

Next time you hear yourself saying I wish, stop and ask yourself this question: Is that really true?

 

Do you really and truly wish you could have/do/be whatever it is you have just said “I wish” about? If you don’t really and truly wish you could gulp down kale smoothies every day, take a fancy vacation every other month, or get that promotion then stop saying you wish you could. Really stop to think about the reality of that wish. Is it really what you want in your reality.

 

Taking this one step further, think before you speak.  If you keep affirming to yourself that you wish you had something, but you really and truly don’t want it, imagine how confused the connections between your mind and soul become.  If you say you wish you could drink a kale smoothie every day, but when you stop and actually remember how kale makes you wanna barf and you really aren’t ready to trade in your mashed potatoes for mashed up kale. Then stop wishing for it.

 

I notice this habit come up a lot in groups. Saying I wish just to fill in gaps in a conversation or to fit in. So next time you’re at brunch with your girls and you keep hearing yourself saying you, “Omg, no way! Are you serious? Ah, I wish I could do that…” stop and ask yourself if that’s really true. If you continuously hear yourself saying “I wish” in response to what someone else has or does think about what you’re telling yourself on a subconscious level.

 

Number two: Do something about it.

 

You’ve taken a beat to think about it. And yes, you really and truly do wish you could drink a kale smoothie every damn day. SO GO AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

 

Wishes don’t just happen because you say them (thank goodness, or my three year old’s room would be a stable for unicorns). You have to actually do something about it.

 

Take inspired action.

 

The first step of taking inspired action means assuming the feeling of what it would be like to have the thing you wish. What would it feel like to drink a kale smoothie every day? Sit a moment and think about how it would feel so do the thing you are wishing for. Get familiar with that feeling. Let it live in your body.  If drinking a kale smoothie makes you feel vibrant, healthy, and in control of your health, assume that feeling in your body and take action from that space.

 

Ask for guidance and make a plan.

 

Get quiet. Still your mind. Mediate. Ask for guidance on achieving your goal. Let the answers manifest as thoughts and feelings. And most importantly, give thanks for what’s coming. Thank you Universe for my daily kale smoothies!

 

What are three things you can do to achieve your goal? If your goal is take a trip every other month, then whip out your calendar and a map and get to planning. Or create a vision board of places you want to go to. Start researching prices and setting a budget, Ask yourself how much money you need to set aside. Start getting acquainted with the general steps you’d like to take to make the wish a reality.

 

If it’s something as simple as having a kale smoothie every day, or eating a big giant salad every night for dinner. Well then, off to the grocery you go! Go purchase a blender. Do whatever you need to do to make it easier to happen.

 

Point being, stop saying you wish if you don’t really mean it. And if you do really mean it, then start doing something about it. Maybe your wish doesn’t come to fruition right away, but with clear, consistent and focused action, combined with the right mindset, it will. Remember small subtle shifts lead to great big changes.

 

If you really wish for something to happen, then make it it happen!

Meg Sylvester is a Spiritual Success & Wellness Coach who specializes in guiding clients to living a life that lights them up, and showing them how to feel great in the process. If you are interested in working with Meg, click here to send her a note.

I Quit Drinking: Here’s How I Did It, Why I Wanted To, and How My Life has Changed Since

Let me just preface this with that fact that alcohol has always been a major part of my social life. From dining out and wine tastings to girls’ nights out and drinking wine while watching Netflix. with m y husband and the kiddos. So had someone told me a year ago that I would be writing an article about how I quit drinking, I would have called them crazy.

It was March 2017 and I had just gotten back from celebrating St Patrick’s Day in Chicago. Right before that was the big South by Southwest Festival in my hometown of Austin, Texas. Basically two straight weeks of parties, fun, and lots and lots of libations. From the outside, I wasn’t drinking any more than the average American female, it just so happened I had two big multiple-day events that lined up back to back. For two weeks I was  floating in between states of being buzzed, drunk, hungover, or getting my act together. All the while trying to be a good momma, wife, and employee. And for the most part, I was. It’s not like I was a raging alcoholic. I wasn’t a neglectful mother or partner, and I was doing just fine at work. The thought hadn’t ever crossed my mind that I might want to quit drinking.

 

(Little did I know how much better I could have been doing!)

 

However, I felt bad. Not just physically – the hangovers, the headaches, and the bloating that came from drinking – but mentally too. It’s like I hardly had a time to reset and get into a happy, high-vibe state of mind. If we weren’t out somewhere fun having drinks then we were at home having wine or a cocktail or two, or at a restaurant with our kiddos having margaritas…nothing crazy. But alcohol was always present. It was involved in nearly all of my plans. Nearly all of my social interactions. And when I took a good, honest look at my life, I knew it was a factor that was holding me back  from being my happiest,  healthiest self. Slowly but surely tiny thoughts of me quitting drinking started to bubble up.

 

After Chicago, I had made a decision that I just wanted to cut back on the amount of alcohol I was consuming. My liver was screaming at me to take a break, and I was tired and kinda needed a break from the whole drinking scene anyway. So I made a decision to make a concerted effort to simply cut back with no time limitations or expectations. Looking back, I think the fact that I eased into it and made no rigid expectations was one of the most pivotal points in the process. It was 100% my decision, and I was supported by my partner who was also reeling a little from our crazy weekend in Chicago.

 

So I started by telling myself that I was going to have drinks whenever I wanted, but that I was going to switch to water as soon as I felt the familiar feelings of a buzz coming on. For me that meant as soon as I heard my words slurring a bit, or felt a little “floaty” I would switch to soda water with lemon or lime.

 

Nothing changed in our social lives. I just simply slowed down a little and wasn’t getting crazy drunk. So not only was I less hungover, I was going to sleep a little earlier than usual because my nights were coming to a close a bit earlier due to cutting back.

 

After that, I decided to quit drinking on the weekdays. During this time, my mediation practice was growing stronger and I was able to rely on my practice for stress relief. I also implemented and strengthened my stress-response tools and strategies  like deep breathing, journaling and gently observing my thoughts. By doing this, I created a much healthier way to respond to seemingly stressful situations rather than by numbing with alcohol. (I’m sure you can imagine how positively this impacted by mental state too!)

 

Alcohol, however, wasn’t the only thing I was cutting back on. For quite some time (I’m talking years) I had significantly and slowly changed my diet. I cut out processed and refined foods, especially sugar and foods with lots of additives and preservatives. I was eating real food. Alcohol was the one glaring part of my diet that didn’t really fit. So as I made more of an effort to really cut back on alcohol, I noticed two things that happened when I did decide to have a drink.

 

The first was that the negative physical effects were intensified. Because everything else in my diet was pretty clean, my body got really good at telling me that alcohol was a toxin. The hangover effects actually worsened as I cut back. When I had the occasional drink, It’s like my body was like “AHHHHHH, WTF is this?! You are poisoning me!!! I’m going to give you this massive headache just to mess back with you!”. And that wasn’t fun. It sucked actually. Secondly, I started asking myself things like is it this drink really worth the awful physical side effects. And the answer was almost always no.

 

On a subconscious level my priorities slowly started to shift. Again, I wasn’t being forceful with myself. I simply was becoming more and more mindful of the negative impact alcohol had on me, both mentally and physically.

 

By this time a few months had passed, and rather than planning on meeting friends for a drink or happy hour, I was suggesting “dates” like going for walks, yoga classes, lunch, or just meeting for tea at my house. I found that friends who really just wanted to hang out with me at a bar kind of fell off, which I was OK with. I was doing more things out in nature and having more time to myself. In the evenings, rather than having a glass of wine while watching NetFlix, I did a mediation, journaled, or did something creative. As a result, I was able to really bring focus to my goals and saw a direct positive impact on my professional life. This quitting drinking thing was really starting to shake out.

 

Around this time my spiritual development was really flourishing. When I thought about alcohol, I realized how much it cut me off from my authentic, truest self and from Source Energy (the Universe, God, Love…whatever you like to call “It”). Reflecting, I realized how sensitive, easily offended, and egocentric I became when I drank. And that’s not me. That’s my ego. I honestly no have no desire to willingly put myself in a situation where I am numb and disconnected from my true self and handing my experience over to my ego. It’s just not how I want to experience life anymore.

 

But here’s the thing…I never once said no to an outing, event, party or dinner that I felt drawn to for fear of it being all weird because I wasn’t drinking. Did I consider saying no…of course! I was going through a major transition. But ultimately, I kept an open mind and decided that I wasn’t going to hole-up and never doing anything socially where alcohol was present. That’s just not realistic. So  now when I go out, I just drink soda water with a lemon or lime (in a fancy glass, thanks), and I don’t make a big deal out of the fact that I’m not drinking alcohol or that I quit drinking. I don’t even mention it, honestly.

 

I’m now creating more enriching experiences for myself, because I’m thinking outside of the box. I’m able to process seemingly stressful situations more easily, quickly and gracefully because my mediation practice has been strengthened. I feel better. I sleep  better. I’ve lost weight. My relationships are better because the stupid catty disagreements that come out of drinking no longer occur. I’m never hungover on a saturday morning which means more quality time with my kiddos. And I just get way  more done! Plus the late-night alcohol-induced pizza binges are no longer a thing, so that’s always a plus!

 

Do I think everyone should completely quit drinking alcohol? No. But I do think everyone who want to improve even one single facet of their life should really consider how much they are drinking and the areas of their life that it impacts. And if you think it’s controlling more than one facet of your life, then try cutting back. Don’t make it some big deal where you feel sorry for yourself. Make it a decision that’s for you and your well-being. Just test the waters and see what it would be like to simply cut back a bit. What do you have to lose? Who knows what can happen?! Maybe your whole life will change…you never know until you try.

 

  • If you or someone you know is or may be dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction, please seek professional help. This advice is not intended to help those who may be battling drug and alcohol addiction but rather for those who are considering a change for health and well-being purposes. Meg Sylvester is not a doctor and is not offering medical advice. 

Meg Sylvester is a Spiritual Success & Wellness Coach who specializes in guiding clients to living a life that lights them up, and showing them how to feel great in the process. If you are interested in working with Meg, click here to send her a note: https://megsylvester.com/getstarted/

Remember….nothing changes until you change something.

 

 

If you’re ready to live a life that lights you up, read this

Not too long ago, I shared this image on social media, and the response was crazy. I received messages from all sorts of women asking me how I did it. How I lost the weight. And how I totally transformed my life. And the truth is…I’m not magic. I just committed to a process.

 

live a life that lights you up

 

The biggest difference between these two girls isn’t the 40 pounds that was shed.   

It isn’t the cleared up skin or the absence of daily migraines. It isn’t the fact that one couldn’t fall asleep to save her life and the other one sleeps like a baby.   

It’s not even that one no longer has to take prescription meds for depression.   

Yeah, those are definitely amazing perks of my transformational journey…but the biggest difference is that the girl on the right, the one who’s comfortable in a crop top…that girl is no longer at war with herself.   

I always thought that once I finally got the right job, or finally lost the weight THEN I’d be happy. I thought once I had energy again THEN I’d be happy. I also thought that once I got my crazy quirks straightened out – like bouncing from one idea to the next – that I’d finally be happy.  

But then the shifts started happening and bit by bit, I began to realize that I was so much more than a physical shell of muscles and bones. I began to realize that the reason I was bouncing around so much was that I was trying to fit into a box of what I thought everyone else wanted me to be in.  

I realized that prioritizing my growth and development as a human was not a luxury, it was essential.  

The big difference between these two girls is that one of them thought self-care was silly and that intuition was mumbo-jumbo, the other one now knows that those are the keys to a miraculous life.

One of these girls woke up and was bold enough to explore her truest, highest self. One of these girls said yes to a journey of awakening and happiness. One of these girls is completely comfortable in her own skin because she knows she is so much more than that.  

I’m sharing this because I want this for whoever is ready. I completely transformed my life. And I thank myself every single day for answering the urge. (and ps – I did this while in school, as a mom of two, and working a full-time job).

 

I’ve created an entire program to take you through your own transformation

 

So here’s the deal, my love…

I’ve created a 4 month Coaching Program to help you pinpoint what’s holding you back (there’s these nasty little things called limiting beliefs, fear based patterns, and lower vibrational states…I’ll help you uncover them!). We’ll replace those old patterns with new ones specifically tailored for you. We’ll work out any kinks and figure out how to navigate through challenges.

My approach is based on my unique four step process:

  1. RELEASE: Living a miraculous, happy life starts by drawing awareness to and learning how to release negative, unhealthy belief systems and habits.  
  2. REPLENISH: A commitment to replenishing those facets with beliefs, habits and patterns that light you up and bring happiness to your life.  
  3. REVIVE Through committed and sustained effort, you will begin to revive those areas of your life that once felt dull and like they were holding you back – your health, your well-being, your outlook on life…  
  4. (my fave): THRIVE. Once you have finally transformed your fear based patterns into those of love you will begin to thrive. And I’m not talking just physically. I’m talking physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. Because you are a whole package.

 

Look what Amanda M said:

“Signing up for Meg’s coaching package was one of the easiest decisions my super anxious, over-questioning (is that even a word?) brain has made. My inner self had been secretly waiting for her to start coaching for quite some time. You see, I had been following Meg’s own journey and I loved watching her transformation. She’s was always beautiful and fun, but seeing her soul truly light up and come through her posts on social media, sent a longing to my heart. Meg took me as I was and worked with me from there. She didn’t just ask me generic questions, she listened and spoke to me and my heart. Knowing I enjoy facts and learning, she also would incorporate that into my lessons, as well as forwarding me information to read. She helped me focus on my total self – mind, body, and spirit. Also, she knows how important my faith is to me and was very respectful of that, which I appreciate so very much. I loved that she was both available and intentional – even when I was extra needy! She also didn’t just tell me what I wanted to hear or what would make me temporarily happy, she lovingly pushed me to understand my feelings and call them out to understand and deal with them. For the first time in my life, I’m able to journal how I’m feeling.  

For years, I’ve been so focused on my weight and body image issues. She has helped me with nutrition and getting me on the right track to feeding my body what it needs. Now, I’m on a path I feel confident about. The most surprising thing I’ve found working with Meg, is that after taking her advice and focusing on being still, just breathing and relaxing, taking walks for the sheer joy of taking in nature (instead of for exercise), I was able to lose some weight. My body has been holding onto so much stress for so long, that letting it go really started allowing my body to lose weight!  

There’s nothing I can type that can convey all of my feelings. If you are like me and have tried to feel better by dieting, exercise, counselors, etc that may have helped a little, but never really worked, then I implore you to try Meg. Having one person connect everything together is life-changing, and I believe Meg is that person!”
– Amanda M.

…And Julie K.

“Thank you so much for everything! I’m so much more energetic, even with the cold that I have. It’s so crazy to think about how my life has changed in just 5 weeks. I’m so excited to see what the next several months have to offer for me as well. I’m down 17 — SEVENTEEN — pounds!!!! since we started!!  Everyone needs a little Meg Sylvester in their life! You have been so amazing to work with! Goodness — I’d probably be taking my wedding gown out rather than in if it weren’t for you.” – Julie K

 

If you are ready to:

 

  • Bust through old unhealthy habits that no longer serve you  
  • Drop the juggling act and gain control of your life  
  • Lose weight and feel energized  
  • Discover how to tackle symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, migraines, acne, and bloating  
  • Learn how to properly respond to stress and anxiety  
  • Gracefully incorporate lasting healthy habits into your household


If you know there’s more to life than this. If you are ready to do the damn thing. If you are ready to stop skimming through life and start living, then make this the day you decide to take action.

 

I have a special type of client that I love working with. Those who are kind and compassionate. Those who are open to new ideas. Those who are ready to welcome love into all facets of their life – especially for themselves.

 

Here’s what you can expect:

  • 16 private coaching sessions by phone
  • 2 Intuitive Card Reading + Guidance Session
  • Email and text support between sessions
  • Accountability, Support, and Compassion from me, the person who is ready to walk you through to the other side.
  • 2 “Oh Shit” Calls for those melt-down moments
  • Access to all of my Functional Medicine Food Plans, Mind-Body Medicine techniques, plus more
  • Plus a free welcome gift that I know you’ll love

 

YOU CAN DO THIS!!!! I KNOW YOU CAN BECAUSE I DID IT TOO!

 

If you want to learn more, simply message me here

 

Can’t wait to talk with you!

 

Xo,

Meg

 

How to Gain Clarity, Motivation and Focus so You Can Finally Accomplish Your Goals

When it comes to accomplishing a goal, I have found that there are two major types of  blocks that stop us. The first being a lack of clarity around what you really want. And the second being the motivation and tenacity to keep at it.

 

Have you ever said something along the lines of “I just want to follow my passion, start my own business or use my gifts to make a living” without really knowing what your passion or business idea is?

 

Or maybe you find yourself just kind of floating through your day with no real definite intention. You just kind of allow yourself to be pulled in whatever direction is tugging at you, never really feeling like the day is yours.  You laugh when you’re supposed to laugh, but you also allow outside factors, people and situations to totally screw with you and stress you out. You appreciate what you have. But sometimes you feel like you are just watching life happen around you rather than directly, actively participating in it.

 

Or maybe you’ve tried to get healthier. Maybe lose a couple of pounds. Maybe eat more veggies. But inevitably you lose focus during the day and grab the  soda or sugary snack and tell yourself that you’ll try again tomorrow.

 

I know how that feels, because I was there for so many years. Just falling back into one cycle after another, never really feeling like I was in control. It’s so hard to make a true shift in your life when you have nothing grounding you to your goals. Imagine trying to pass a test if you never had a book to read, a teacher to share information with you, or time to yourself to study. It would be pretty hard right?

 

Your dreams need a foundation to grow from. Clarity, focus and motivation are all mindset attributes that require nourishment. Accomplishing a goal and gaining clarity become so much easier when specific strategies and techniques are implemented.

 

That’s where my 21 Day Keep up to Transform Challenge comes in.

 

I designed this challenge to promote clarity, focus, and motivation to give you a beautiful foundation for your hopes, dreams and goals.  Through committed practice, you will start to notice a mindset shift. Peace of mind, clarity, and a strengthened connection to the Universe are all benefits you can expect.

 

The challenge uses a specific Kundalini Yoga practice called Keep-Up’s and lasts approximately 7 minutes a day. You will receive weekly journal prompts to help you clearly define your priorities and goals. Along with the journal prompts, weekly group coaching calls will be held to support your practice. In addition you will receive a daily motivational email and be invited to join a private facebook group for a beautiful extra layer of support. Imagine a community of like minded people who are all ready to cheer you on? Sounds awesome right? (it is!!)

 

By combining each of the facets of the challenge and committing to the daily practice beautiful breakthroughs will happen.

 

If you are ready to:

  • Gain more clarity and focus
  • Bust through blocks that are holding you back from going after what you truly desire
  • Release old patterns that no longer serve you
  • Become totally motivated
  • Feel supported
  • Accomplish your goals

 

You can join the challenge now by clicking  here! The next challenge starts on February 3rd, 2018! 

 

To learn more about the challenge click here

 

Do This Intention Setting Ritual to Create a Life that Lights You Up

Do This Intention Setting Ritual to Create a Life that Lights You Up. Focused, consistent, and clear thoughts have the power to bring into form whatever it is you desire. Manifesting, though, goes far beyond just wanting something. You have to get clear. You have to feel it, and you have to get intentional.

I know this, because I have experienced the power of manifesting in my own life – professionally, financially, and personally. Build the life of your dreams by using clear and powerful thoughts and with this gorgeous intention setting ritual.

 

Step 1: Create your space

 

Find a room that has a good energy and you feel at peace in. Clear away any clutter. Light a few candles. If you enjoy burning incense or diffusing essential oils, the do so. Do whatever you need to make the space cozy and dreamy. I like setting out a few crystals to and turning on a Himalayan salt lamp.

 

Before you begin, set your desires for the Intention setting Ritual by repeating this prayer:

“I am ready, willing, and able to live the life of my dreams. I co-create with the Universe. I graciously receive. I am love.”

 

Step 2: Dream It

 

Select one of your favorite, high-vibe songs (I love Rise Up by Andra Day and The Greatest by SIA). As you listen, breathe in feelings of gratitude, appreciation & joy. Your only responsibility here is to transport yourself into a vibration of gratitude for this intention setting ritual.

 

Once your song has ended open up your journal and begin to write about the life of your dreams. Money is no object. There is only joy. Dream big. This is your chance to create the grandest vision possible of your life. Don’t worry about how it will all happen. Just write whatever your heart desires.

 

What are you doing? Where are you? How do you feel?

 

Step 3.  See It.

 

Grab your headphones and listen to the song, Ek Ong Kar. This is a kundalini chant specifically for manifesting. As you listen to the sacred words put a picture and a feeling to your dream. See it. Don’t judge the images, just let them come – you may be surprised. Simply receive the images.

 

Once the song has ended, write down what you saw.

 

Step 4.  Say It.

 

Create I AM affirmation statements based off your vision. These are your intention setting statements. Always write your I AM statement in a positive expression. For example rather than saying “I AM not sick” or “I AM not in debt” You could write “I AM healthy” or “I AM Financially secure”.

Try to write your I AM statement as though it is already happening. For example, rather than “I AM going to be healthy” simply write “ I AM healthy”.

 

Examples of I AM statements:

 

  • I am a six-figure business owner.
  • I am a person with clear, radiant skin.
  • I am the picture of health.
  • I am joyfully abundant.
  • I am a published author.
  • I am a mother.
  • I am in a committed, healthy relationship.
  • I am a homeowner.

 

As a last step to this intention setting ritual you may want to create vision board. Use images that give you happy feelings and represent what you want to attract into your life. Keep the board in a place where you see it everyday. You may also want to include your I AM statements on your board as well!

 

 

For Continued Support of your Intention Setting:

Look at your vision board daily. Repeat your I AM statements daily. Meditate on your intentions. Give thanks as though your intentions have already happened. As you begin your day, your mediation, or a moment of mindfulness, say this prayer “Dear Universe, tell me what to do, where to go, what to say and to whom. I trust that I am being guided. I know that I am supported and that everything is happening in perfect order. Thank you, Universe.

 

 

Meg Sylvester is a Spiritual Success and Wellness Coach who works with clients to create a life that light them up. To learn more about her work, click here

5 small steps you can take now to create big change in 2018

It’s a new year. That small voice in your head has been nudging you to make a change. You realize you have the potential to feel better. The possibility of more energy excites you. And having a bit more clarity on why you act and feel the way you do would be nice too. Only problem is you aren’t exactly sure where to start. With all the information out there it can get a little overwhelming, and a complete lifestyle overhaul seems a little daunting.

 

This past weekend, I was talking with new friends I met while spending some time in the mountains. After explaining to them that I was a Spiritual Success & Wellness Coach and what that entailed, I was asked a really great question. One of the guys in the group let me know he had tried cutting out sugar cold turkey last January and that it had ended in disaster, but he really wanted to feel better. He asked me to tell him my top 5 small changes to get started on creating healthy change. He wasn’t looking for anything drastic, just 5 subtle shifts he could implement right away. Read on to get my 5 small steps for creating big change for a physical and mental up-level in your life.

 

 

  1. Start a mediation practice.

 

Anytime anyone asks me what they can start doing today to create a healthy shift in their life, my first answer is always mediation. Mediation is proven to reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure.  Beyond that though, it is a powerful tool that helps you to connect to your creative source. It’s the place where you receive inspiration, answers, solace and peace. Mediation is my most cherished time because I am able to connect with myself and sort through what really matters. It’s where I align and gather inner strength.

 

Your mediation  doesn’t have to be a big, intimidating production. You can simply wake up 10 minutes earlier than normal and sit on the couch while you pay attention to your breath. Seriously, it’s that simple.

 

My 3 favorite types of meditation for beginners are:

 

  1. Breathwork: Get quiet, close your eyes if that’s comfortable, and begin taking deep breaths. Simply pay attention to your breath. If thoughts come up, that’s fine. Acknowledge them, and let them pass. Set a timer so you aren’t worrying about how long you’ve been at it the whole time., The less distractions the better.
  2. Guided Meditation:  There are lots of great apps and podcasts out there with really lovely guided meditations. A guided meditation is typically pre-recorded and set to peaceful background music. The voice on the other end is leading you with prompts and thoughts to shape your experience. This is great for those who have monkey mind and racing thoughts. They are also great if you want to focus on a specific topic…simply scroll through and find one with a title that appeals to you and have at it.
  3. Mantra Meditation: Close your eyes and breathe deeply. With your eyes closed repeat a simple mantra for whatever amount of time you want. 3 minutes is a great amount of time to start with. Use the mantra to pull your thoughts back in. Use whatever word resonates with you, some options could be “One, Ohm, Love, Peace, I Am, Thank you”.

 

Remember it’s called a practice for a reason. Keep at it with the intention of growing and developing your practice. Be gentle with yourself. Start small and build up time the more comfortable you get.

 

  1. Implement a stress response tool or two.

Start to become aware of how you respond to a stressful situation, person, conversation, etc.  I always remind my clients to use the phrase, “The world is happening around me, not to me.” Have you ever said something like, “Ugh, the roads were nuts today. Everyone was driving like a jerk trying to hit me!”. The world isn’t out to get you, but if you take every situation as a personal attack, then it will start to feel like that.  Start to think about what you do when a stressful situation arises. Do you get all worked up, stressed out and overwhelmed? What’s your initial reaction? Do you get pissed off, call a friend to mull over the situation, gossip, look for someone to blame, retreat inwardly? Before you reach for one of those negative responses, try implementing a tool to help you manage (and maybe even diffuse) the situation. Start finding tools to put into your stress management tool-box. A few of my favorites:

  1. 5 Cycles of Belly Breathing. Belly breathing, otherwise known as diaphragmatic breathing, is when you fill your belly with air on the inhale, then push all of the air out on the exhale. It’s easiest when you start on an exhale, pushing all of your breath out making space for the new air to come in. Inhale slowly, let your belly expand as if you swallowed a beach ball then push the air out, When you do this you are triggering your vegus nerve which activates a physical response helping you to relax. Try this one out next time a seemingly difficult situation arises before you react.
  2. Become the observer of your thoughts. Before you react in a negative way, take a few moments to ask yourself why you feel upset and if there’s a way you can reframe the situation. Put a name to your feelings (I feel sad, angry, confused, neglected), then ask yourself why you feel that way. I’m not asking you to solve the whole problem, but by simply putting a name to your emotion and observing it, you are taking power away from the situation and giving power to your inner guidance system to drive your response.
  3. Ask yourself: “Would I rather be right or happy?”. This is such a powerful question that can quickly derail your anger or negative emotions. Ask yourself the question, take a few breaths and align with what you would rather. If happiness and peace is your answer simply let go of your negative emotion and allow the situation to unfold around you.  

 

  1. Start to notice how much sugar your are consuming

Cutting out sugar cold-turkey can be really tough. It’s more addictive than cocaine and also has nasty withdrawal symptoms. The first step to significantly reducing your intake is by simply noticing how much you are consuming. Start looking at the labels and ingredients of the foods you are eating, when you go to eat them. Just start to take note of how many grams of sugar you are having. This also includes artificial sweeteners (which will show up as zero grams so look at the ingredient list). For a week or two just notice and be aware and start thinking about real foods you like that you could reach for instead, like fruit or nuts and seeds, or flavored sparkling water instead of sodas. I’m not asking you to make the swaps right away, just let the thoughts of potential swaps start to rise to the surface.

 

    4.Notice how much you are sitting vs. moving your body.

Our bodies are made to move. Over the next week or two simply take note of how much you are sitting down versus the amount you are moving. Keep note of it so you can look back over the day and get a grasp on it. Just jot down the time when you sat down and when you got up. It can be as simple as that. Start to think about ways you like to move your body (walking, cycling, dancing, hula-hooping, swimming, yoga, doing the hokey pokey…it doesn’t matter! Whatever you enjoy). Take those things you like and start to think about how and when you could infuse more of those actions into your day.

 

  1. Start a gratitude practice.

The power of being thankful for what you have is strong. The power for being thankful for that which you desire (and acting like it’s already coming your way) is even more powerful! Gratitude cultivates happiness, appreciation and joy. The great paradox here is that the more you give thanks, the more those things start to come into your life. It’s the Law of Attraction. The effects of appreciation and gratitude can literally be felt physically and have the power to impact your heart waves.. Your heart waves literally change when you are in a state of gratitude. And those heartwaves can be felt as far as 3 feet away! So when you are in a space of gratitude your presence is felt and infuses your space with a calming effect. 2 ways to start a gratitude practice:

  1. Before you even get out of bed name three things you are grateful for. This could be as simple as your pillow and the fact that you had heat to keep you warm that night.
  2. Keep a gratitude journal. Pick a time of day and write 3, 5, 10 (or whatever number strikes your fancy) things that you are thankful for. Do it every day.
  3. Keep a large mason jar in your house. At the end of the day write something you are thankful for on a small piece of paper and throw it in the jar. Having the jar out is a visual reminder that you have something to be thankful for. It’s also a great practice kids can participate in too!

 

So there you have it. 5 simple activities you can implement right away to get started on your wellness journey. Mediate, Healthy responses to stress, notice sugar, notice movement, and be thankful. Easy enough right?! Have you tried any of those out? If so, I’d love to hear from you! What’s one shift that helped you kick of you journey into wellness?

 

Meg Sylvester is a Spiritual Success and Wellness Coach whose mission is to guide client’s to a life that lights them up. Combining principles in positive psychology, nutrition, and functional medicine with spiritual principles and mind-body techniques like mediation, Meg makes a lifestyle shift into health and wellness a beautiful, inspiring journey that creates lasting change. To learn more on how you can work with Meg, click here

Sweet Potato Cakes

These Sweet Potato Cakes were literally the easiest recipe I have cooked up in a while. I like cooking sweet potatoes for two reasons:

  • If you’re feeling up in the air or swirly whirly, eating a root vegetable is great way to bring in a sense of grounding
  • Um, and reason number two… if you’re feeling a hungry a root vegetable is a great way to bring in a sense of feeling not hungry. (I’m hilarious, I know)

So if you’re in a mood for something warm and comforting with a hint of sweetness, try this sweet potato cake recipe out. Or if you’re like me and you get a copious amount of sweet potatoes in your farm delivery box, this’ll be a great go-to for you. And bonus…my kids loved them because I kept using the word CAKE. tricky tricky.  

 

 

Here’s what you need:  (for a family of four)

  • 1 very large sweet potato
  • Coconut oil
  • Salt, Pepper, Garlic Powder
  • Ghee or Grass-Fed Butter
  • Parchment Paper

Here’s what you do:

  • Preheat oven to 400, then line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Rub dry potatoes with paper towel to remove dirt.
  • Slice unpeeled Potatoes in large circular sections (as pictured above)
  • Heat coconut oil in heavy skillet on medium heat.
  • Once oil liquifies, place unseasoned potato slices in hot pan.
  • As they are cooking season with seasonings.
  • Sear on each side for 3 minutes. It’s ok if you see dark spots pop up on potatoes from the sear. They aren’t burnt (their just getting yummy for you)
  • Use tongs to transfer sweet potatoes to the pan then place in oven
  • Cook sweet potatoes for 12-15 minutes.
  •         Remove from oven then put a teensy bit of ghee or grass-fed butter on top.
  • Once butter is melted serve right away!

 

The leftovers also work really well for breakfast with a boiled or over-easy egg!

 

Hope you enjoy this super simple yet super healthy recipe for Sweet Potato Cakes.

 

For other easy and healthy veggie recipes; check these out:

Healthy Collard Greens

Cauliflower Whipped “Potatoes”

Heart Warming Plantains

 

 

 

 

Pan Seared Red Snapper, Plantains, and Bok Choy

Red snapper, plantains and bok choy. OK, OK, I hear what you’re saying….this might sound like a weird combo, but I am telling you…it’s soooooo good! Just give it a try and let me know what you think. This is a nutrient packed plate of food. You’re getting proteins, healthy fats, micronutrients, and fiber. Plus tons of flavor. I hope you enjoy!!

This recipe is for one (pretty hungry) person. So just increase the amount of each ingredient as needed

 

Ingredients:

1 whole plantain – peeled and cut into spears

Coconut oil

2 baby bok choy – separated into leaves

Coco Aminos

Black Pepper & Salt

Olive Oil

Celery Root – use a vegetable peeler to create shavings, about 1/2 cup worth (use veggie peeler to remove hard outer layer first).

1 6-8 oz Red Snapper fillet

Smoked sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder

Squeeze of lemon

1 tsp minced garlic

 

How to:

fry plantain in coconut oil on medium/low until golden brown

cook bok choy in pot with 2 oz water, coco aminos, black pepper, until soft

heat olive oil in pan, once hot, throw in shaved celery root. Season with garlic powder, black pepper, dash of salt and cook until they look like chips, remove

season snapper in smoked sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder

Using the same pan you used for the celery root, heat olive oil on medium/low, once oil has heated up a bit add snapper flesh side down (make sure not to get pan too hot or fish will stick). add lemon and garlic. Continue cooking for 3-4 minutes. flip, cook for another 4 minutes or so paying attention to the color of the fish.

When ready to take off, turn up the heat just a bit with scales down so the scales stick to the pan, making it easier to peel the flesh away from the scaled.

Put snapper on top of bok choy in the plate, top snapper with celery root chips, put plantains on the side. According to my husband, this dish is “f’n good!” 😉

 

Curious to learn how to incorporate healthy meals into your home! I am here to help – send me a message by clicking here and let me know how I can help you!

 

 

How to Become a Morning Person

WHY on earth would I WANT to become a morning person?! ….would have been my response to this a few years ago. I love sleep. Back then, when I had it my way, I would sleep until the very last minute and then rush my way through the mornings. This wasn’t helping anything though. My days felt crammed, scattered, and a little out of control.

Becoming a morning person has been one of the most miracle bearing shifts I’ve created in my life. My morning time is where I give myself the silence I need to charge my batteries and open up my mind for the day to come. It’s the time I enjoy most now. Since becoming a morning person, I have more energy and clarity throughout the day and am generally in a better mood. I notice a big difference in my productivity and energy levels on the days where I shrug off my morning time. Read on to find out how I became a morning person.

  1. Baby Steps – it’s a difficult transition to all of the sudden start waking up an entire hour earlier than you have been. Make it easy in yourself…start small. For the first two weeks, set your alarm for only 10 minutes earlier than normal. You can build your way up, adding an extra 5 minutes each week.
  2. Get enough sleep – make sure you know what time you  need to go to sleep to ensure you get the proper amount of sleep (7 to 8 hours is best!) Shut down electronics 1-2 hours before putting your head on the pillow to ensure better sleep quality.
  3. Avoid screens in the morning – I encourage my clients to either get an alarm clock (this is my fave!) and plug their phones in an entirely different room, OR if using your phone as an alarm plug it in in the opposite corner of the room so that their first action upon rising isn’t looking at a screen. Avoid looking at a screen until after you have completed step 4 (below)
  4. Select a quiet morning activity – the key here is quiet and contemplative. Some great options are lighting a candle and taking deep breaths while gazing into the flame. Practicing a light yoga flow like Sun Salutation. Reading an uplifting, self-development book, doing a guided meditation, writing in a gratitude journal, or simply sitting in silence and listening to your breath. Just pick one and commit to it for the next week. If it doesn’t feel right after the first week, select a new one. But just be willing to give this new routine some time to sink in and feel good.
  5. Set a timer – Since you are only waking up 10 minutes early, start out by engaging in your selected activity for 5-7 minutes (assuming it took you a few minutes to get out of bed). By setting a timer, you won’t be bothered by the need to keep checking a clock. You can just relax and know that your timer will let you know when it’s time to close out your activity. (You may have to look at a screen for just a moment here)
  6. Once your “me” time is complete give a moment of thanks. Thank yourself and your body for the ritual and the time. Smile, breathe, and begin your day on a tranquil note.

Once you have this routine in place and it feels natural to you, you can begin to think about building on as you add more time. Maybe adding a bit of stretching or journaling to your current practice. Or maybe you’d like to meditate longer. Whatever you do, be gentle on yourself and don’t cram too much into this. Let it be easy and just for you.

 

Confused on how to start? Need a game plan and some accountability to get you moving confidently down the path you most want to be on. I am here to help. There are lots of ways we can work together. Let’s chat to discover how we can best work together to get you feeling your absolute best – mind, body, and soul. Click here to send me a message – let me know what’s on your mind.

Thanksgiving Leftover Wrap

This Thanksgiving Leftover Wrap is the perfect way to eat all of that leftover turkey without having to break out the elastic waistbands (2 days in a row). When I was a kid our typical thanksgiving left over was a white bread sandwich with mayo and big chunks of turkey. This is my grown-up, health coach version of that. This time of year is a time meant to be spent with family and friends, so I wanted to do something that didn’t require a bunch of time in the kitchen. As with all of my recipes, this dish is minimal effort, minimal ingredients, tasty, but still friendly to your insides.

Hope you enjoy this thanksgiving leftover wrap!

 

Here’s what you need: (No need for exact measurements, it’s just a wrap…eyeball it!)

Left over turkey – use two forks to shred

Collard Green Leaves – raw and rinsed (if you don’t have collard greens, romaine lettuce will do!)

Avocado Oil Mayo (I like Chosen Foods brand) OR sliced Avocado

Purple Onion – very thinly sliced, lengthwise

Tomato (optional) – thinly sliced

 

Here’s what you do:

Chop bottom stem off of one collard green leaf.

Spread Mayo on collard green – one thin layer will do. OR if you are using avocado slices, place two slices then squish and spread (it’s OK if it’s still chunky)

Place shredded turkey on top

Add in thinly sliced onions  and tomatoes

Roll the leaf then slice on a diagonal creating two pieces.

Enjoy!!

 

  • Ready to take create a life you love, a body you feel great in, and a mind that motivates? Get a head start on making 2018 your happiest year yet. I offer private, 1:1 coaching to get you where YOU want to be. Curious to learn more, Message Me (click here). Give me the scoop on what’s been holding you back.

 

My 60 Second Stress Buster

In need of a 60 Second Stress Buster during the holiday season? Look  no further.

No matter how dedicated to being a Zen master you are, stressful situations will always arise. The kids will may get a little crazy, something in the oven may burn, the dog may get out…you know the drill. BUT, living a stress-free life isn’t about trying to create a life where stressful incidents don’t exist (that’s completely impossible!), it’s about how we respond to these situations. It is our response to these events which marks them as stressful…or not.

It is your responsibility to chose your response and use tools to gracefully guide you through the situation. Basically it’s up to you to build your stress busting tool box. Today, I am giving you one of my favorite tools to add to your stress-response toolbox (so next time Aunt Sally brings up the political situation at the dinner table, you know what to do.)

SO next time you find yourself in a stressful situation remember; HOW you choose to respond can either create or negate stress.

My 60 second stress buster:

Begin by exhaling all of the air out of your body by contracting your abs and pushing them to the back of your abdomen. You are emptying out your vessel.

On your inhale, you are going to expand your belly allowing it to fill up with air.

On your next exhale, you are going to once again contract and make your belly tighter.

Inhale for 5, exhale for 7. Do this for a full minute.

What you are doing is called belly breathing. Belly Breathing triggers your vagus nerve which tells your body to relax (the opposite of that fight or flight state that creates stress in our body).

Have you ever watched a baby breathe. Their sweet little bellies get bigger on the inhale and contract on the exhale. We are born knowing how to belly breathe, but somewhere along the way we lose that and breathe from our chest leading to shallow breathing. By taking longer, slower, deeper breaths we physiologically create  a more relaxed response in our body.

By simply paying attention to your breathe and breathing purposefully we can negate that stressful feelings that usually arise in chaotic or unfavorable situations. Pretty amazing we were born with this ability, right?!

For more mediations and centering exercises to help you through the holiday season try these:

Cultivating Self Compassion

Processing Negative Emotions

Stop Restless Thoughts

Healthy Collard Greens

Healthy collard greens are an easy addition to any meal -especially Thanksgiving with all the stuffing and root veggies. There’s typically not a ton of green options included in the Thanksgiving spread, so these healthy collard greens are perfect for those who want a healthy option to reach for.

I  made these the other night with my cauliflower mashed potatoes and a rotisserie chicken. It was a perfect, wholesome and nurturing meal. Plus the collard greens are super easy to make, so that’s a win in my book!

The bone broth adds a nice rich flavor that I prefer over ham hocks and turkey legs used in traditional recipes.

Ingredients for Healthy Collard Greens:

Two Bunches of Collard Greens (for 4 people)

1 TBS olive oil

2 TBS minced Garlic

1 red onion – sliced thinly and lengthwise

1 1/2 cup of Bone Broth (chicken or turkey)

2 tsp chipotle powder (optional for smoky flavor)

Salt & Pepper

Apple Cider Vinegar

 

Instructions:

Prepare Collard Green by removing the stems. I stack them up on top each other then slice the whole lot on each side of the stem, giving me two separate stacks. Then slice the greens in  1 inch horizontal ribbons.

Heat heavy dutch oven pot large enough to accommodate all greens (I love this pot!)  on medium heat and add olive oil. Once oil begins to glisten add in garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add in onion and sautéed for about 3 minutes until onions become very soft.

Add in greens, stock, chipotle powder (for smoky flavor), and salt & pepper.

Turn heat to low/medium and cover.

Right before serving add 2 capfuls of apple cider vinegar to the greens.

I hope you enjoy these healthy collard greens! Have a happy and joyful holiday season!

 

Cauliflower “Whipped Potatoes”

Cauliflower Mashed potatoes are something I’m asked about all the time when it comes to recipes that are easier on the waist line. As a side note; potatoes themselves are not “bad”. The are a great form of a slow release carb full of nutrients. However, there are times when we don’t want all those carbs and can opt for something with a lower glycemic load that still tastes good – Cauliflower Mashed Potatoes are perfect for that!

I love using cauliflower to replace foods like rice and potatoes when I still want the texture and similar flavor profile. I made these whipped cauliflower potatoes the other night and paired them with pulled rotisserie chicken and my healthy collard greens recipe. Wholesome, soul-warming dinner without the “soul food” calorie count. I call them whipped rather than mashed because I put these in the food processor to get them really smooth. However, if it’s the mashed potato style you’re after, you can make cauliflower mashed potatoes by following the same recipe below, but rather than transfer into a processor, transfer back into the empty hot pot you boiled them in and mash with a potato masher or fork 🙂

Try these Cauliflower whipped potatoes or cauliflower mashed potatoes for Thanksgiving or next time you have a meal with lots of carb heavy foods. It’s also super easy with minimal ingredients, so you can enjoy yourself with friends and family rather than spending all of your time in the kitchen!

Ingredients

2 bags riced cauliflower (or you can rice 1.5 heads)

1/5 TBS minced garlic

2 TBS grass-fed butter or ghee

Thinly sliced chives for garnish

Salt & Pepper

What do to:

Boil riced cauliflower in water until it is soft (about 12 minutes)

Drain boiled cauliflower then transfer to a food processor.

Add butter, minced garlic, and salt & pepper.

Blend together in processes until cauliflower resembles whipped potatoes. (about 30 seconds to a minute should be good)

Transfer Whipped Cauliflower to a serving Bowl and sprinkle with chives.

 

SEE, told you it was easy!!! I hope you enjoy these Cauliflower mashed potatoes!

Heart Warming Plantains

Not only is this plantain recipe ridiculously simple, it’s delicious. Sometimes we get into the habit of over complicating a dish. Adding in all sorts of ingredients that eventually outshine the main ingredient. This plantain recipe doesn’t do that. It let’s the plantain sing for itself. My point in offering this recipe is to demonstrate how simple healthy cooking can be. Sometimes it’s just a matter of figuring out the right cook temp and time!

I think it’s so important to have an array of easy, go-to healthy dishes that make you feel happy. Did you know plantains are an amazing super food loaded with fiber, tons of vitamins and minerals, and help boost your immune system? The are a great food to eat during cold & flu season because they help regulate your digestive system (yay fiber) and have tons of Vitamin C. Check out this super simple, and crazy good, plantain recipe. You can use it for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They are also a great healthy food to add to any holiday spread (especially good for a healthy option dessert).

So next time you are hankering for something sweet, or need to whip up something quickly try this recipe. If you bring it to a party you’ll get extra props for providing something healthy among all the sweets and sugar laden foods. Plus you’ll be providing your friends and family with a huge boost of vitamins and minerals.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)

1 plantain

2 TBS coconut oil

Directions:

Peel plantain, cut in half lengthwise.

Heat coconut oil on medium low until liquid. Add plantains. Sauté until golden-brown, about 3-5 minutes. Flip halfway through.

Let the flavor of the plantains shine for themselves – no seasoning needed!

I find that these come out best on a cast iron skillet! Here’s the one I use

 

For other easy and healthy go-to recipes check these out:

Brain Boost Smoothie

Oven Baked Salmon

Sweet & Savory Breakfast Bowl

 

 

 

Cultivating Self-Compassion

We are a culture that does not emphasize self-compassion. Let’s face it, we are hard on our selves.

Why?  

I believe it is because we lack compassion for ourselves. We go so fast throughout our day that we rarely remember to give ourselves a pat on the back or recognize a job well done (no matter how big or small). But we so easily remember the things that didn’t go as planned, that we think we failed out, we remember the job not-so-well-done. We find it incredibly hard to take a compliment and way too often dish out statements of self deprecation. Imagine if someone said to you the things you say about yourself when you are being self deprecating – you probably would be totally insulted right?

This week, let’s try to put away the self-deprecating talk and put into practice a simple exercise to cultivate self-compassion. Try this practice when feeling lonely.

Start by sitting in a quiet place free of distraction.

Set a timer for 5, 7 or 10 minutes depending on how much time you have to give.

Light a few candles. Begin taking long slow breaths.

Gently place one hand on your heart, and the other on your belly.

With your eyes closed, begin to imagine yourself as a child.

Imagine that child represented as a  beautiful brilliant light. It doesn’t matter what the color is.

Now imagine that light filling your body.

Breathe into that light. Inhale and the light shines brighter. Exhale and the light grows bigger, taking up more space in your body.

Either silently or aloud say the words, I love you, as you inhale.

As you exhale, simply allow yourself to feel whatever feeling arises.

Keep repeating until your timer goes off.

If you have found that your thoughts wandered during this practice. That’s OK. DO NOT BEAT YOURSELF UP. Keep at it. Remember this is a practice. Keep practicing.

You are a beautiful bright light, my love. Give yourself the time and space to cultivate the appreciation for all that is you.

Sat Nam

 

For other practices to guide you on your path try these:

4 Steps to Processing Negative Emotions

Stop Restless thoughts with this practice

Light the Flame of Self-Love

 

ps – if you are just starting out with your practice and are having trouble finding a comfy way to sit, try this beautiful mediation pillow

 

 

Brain Boost Smoothie

When you feel your energy levels dwindling, you can pick them back up with this Brain Boost Smoothie. We all know that good wholesome food can nourish our body, but did you know that there are certain foods that boost your cognitive functioning as well? And better yet, you can throw a few of these foods into a smoothie for a quick & easy, on-the-go fix to satiate and boost the body and brain. Here’s what you need for my Brain Boost Smoothie

Brain Boost Smoothie Ingredients:

1 scoop chocolate Vega protein powder

handful frozen blueberries (purple foods aid on cognitive performance)

handful spinach

1 TBS MCT oil (Bullet Proof brand is my favorite)

1 dash Cinnamon (a super food when it comes to battling inflammation!)

1 dash Himalayan salt

10 oz filtered water (If you need an awesome home water filtration system I can’t recommend the Berkey filter enough!)

If you’d prefer almond milk over water, try this recipe for home made almond milk

 

Combine all ingredients into blender and blend for 30 seconds. Enjoy! I hope you like my Brain Boosting Smoothie recipe!

4 Steps to Processing Negative Emotions so You Can Get On With Your Life

In such a fast paced world, numbing our feelings has gotten to be so easy. What with social media, fast food, netflix, and a bar around every corner, it’s gotten so easy for us to numb whatever we are feeling. This isn’t healthy. Numbing our emotions only brings them back to us. If we keep numbing, we can’t get to the root of why we are feeling a certain way…which is a sure fire sign that the emotion or the situation that causes the emotion will just keep coming back. Rather than numb, we can process. Click the link below to check out my 4 steps to processing and getting over negative emotions. 

  1. Feel the Feelings: This can be the hardest part, because this is where the numbing usually wants to come and have it’s fun. When you feel an emotion coming on, sit with it. Don’t intellectualize it by trying to put a name to it. Just feel it. Where do you feel it in your body? What does it feel like? Sit with this feeling for about 2 minutes. Take a deep breath, then…
  2.  Write it Out: Grab a pen and paper, or flip your journal open to a fresh page and just write it out. When you are writing really try to get at the root of the emotion. With every statement you declare, follow it with a why? Write out your answer to WHY you feel that way. Keep going down, down, down until you feel you’ve reached the root. And don’t worry, this takes practice. You may not reach the root the first few times. But honor yourself by allowing for this practice to grow.
  3. Read and Process: Give yourself some time to read through what you wrote. Go back through, read slowly and then surrender it. Ask yourself: Am I willing to see this in a different way? You don’t have to find that different way right now…just commit to being willing. The new way to perceive may come to you in a few minutes, an hour, or a few days. But just know that you have committed to a willingness to see whatever has set you off in a new light.
  4. Say Goodbye: Take the piece of paper and dispose of it safely in one of two ways. Either burn it or flush it. There’s something very cathartic about watching a piece of paper with what were once such strong emotions just burn away. ( for safety: Do this over the kitchen or bathroom sink please!!) Once you’ve disposed of the writing, take a few deep breaths, smile, and get on with your day.

I’d love to hear from you. Have you tried this? Let me know what you think and what shifts you’ve experienced since trying it out!

 

Halloween Treat without the Spooky Ingredients

Last year, I wanted to contribute something on the healthier side to our neighborhood Halloween potluck. However I didn’t want to be “that mom” that brought the carrot sticks and toothbrushes to Halloween. I made these cute little guys and loved how they turned out! Give them a try this Halloween.

What You Need:

Apples –  thinly sliced

Almond Butter (Justin’s Classic Almond Butter is great!)

Greek Yogurt Covered Raisins (White)

 

To Do:

Simply spread almond butter into a thin layer onto two apple slices. Sandwich in the yogurt raisins between two slices. Viola!  You can use left over raisins by putting in a jar and labeling as “Old Teeth” or “Monster Teeth”

Homemade Almond Milk

Several years ago,  I made the decision to significantly cut back on the amount of dairy we were consuming in our home. I did the research, experimented with giving it up for a week or two at a time, and finally came to the conclusion that we were going way overboard with the amount of dairy we consumed. But I was worried about milk. We had it all the time. I found my answer with homemade almond milk. Calcium is abundant in many other plant foods out there, so I felt confident that we could make the switch without giving up any essential nutrients.

We used milk all the time though. We used to be cereal eating fiends. Breakfast was cereal. Busy nights when I was too tired to cook, cereal. Milk went into coffee, soups and stews, baked goods, and nearly every meal we were eating. Milk was my kids’ beverage of choice. It was every where.

This was a period in my life when I was plagued by acne, migraines, brain fog and low energy levels. This was also the time in my life when I had finally put my foot down and decided to transform the way we ate. I experimented with cutting out groups of foods like those that contained gluten, or sugar, or dairy. Now, many years later we follow a plant heavy diet rich in color, high quality protein and high quality fats. We use dairy as a “recreational drug” – very sparingly, never really keep it in the house, and seek healthier non-dairy alternatives to use instead.

One issue  I see with almond milk in the stores is that they are filled with additives and preservatives, like carrageenan, natural flavors, thickening agents, gums, and a slew of other ingredient, even sugar sometimes! Once I realized how easy it was to make almond milk at home, I quit buying it all together.

Read on to discover a simple, low effort way to make almond milk at home!

Home Made Almond Milk:

Ingredients

1:4 ratio of raw, unsalted Almonds to Water (example: 1 cup almonds, 4 cups milk)

Pinch of sea salt

(Optional) Spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, cocoa, or vanilla

 

Directions:

Soak almonds in water  with a pinch of sea salt overnight in an airtight container, like a  mason jar with lid.

Once done soaking, pour ingredients into a blender. If you want to add spices, here’s when you would do it. I add just a pinch of cinnamon and nutmeg. For a more chocolate milk version you can add cocoa. Get intuitive with it!

Blend for 2-3 minutes.

Strain through a sieve, cheese cloth or a nut bag (which you can purchase at most grocery stores).

Pour liquid into air tight container and store in the refrigerator.

Done!

 

Stop Restless Thoughts with this Practice

Do you get carried away with restless thoughts? Distracted by rabbit holes – chasing a thought down, down, down until you are so caught up in it you can’t get out? Or maybe you’re easily susceptible to impulse buys (yeah…I’m still a work in progress on this one). The thing is, we do not have to be slaves to our restless thoughts. By shifting from the slave to the observer you can start selecting the thoughts  you want to roll with and filtering out those that simply do not serve you. You start creating a world the feels right to you – rather than a world that’s spinning all around you, or a world that you are just skimming through.

I have a beautiful practice to help you attune to the observer role and break free from the impulsive, repetitive or restless thoughts. You can use it at any moment…during a meditation, out shopping, while eating, during or after a conversation…

The Practice:

If you are able to close your eyes, do so. If not, no biggie…just try to “feel” the visual.

Begin to take long, purposeful breaths. Inhale through the nose and exhale deeply through the mouth (if you’re in front of someone, exhaling through the nose is perfectly ok)

Begin by asking yourself “Does this really matter?”

Let that sink in for a few moments. …Does this REALLY matter??

While inhaling, envision a ball of energy forming and growing smaller and more concentrated the deeper your inhale gets.

On the exhale, imagine that ball turning into an animal that can fly (I like to use a butterfly, but a bird could work perfectly). As you exhale through your mouth visualize the animal gently flying away.

Keep repeating the process.

If you need an extra layer of support…if your thoughts are really going and the mind is extra chatty. Incorporate the word “Here” as you inhale. and “Now” as you exhale.

Now, I know when you read this, it seems like a lot to do. But go ahead and give it a try. It’s a beautiful, relaxing strategy that puts your thoughts into perspective. If you give yourself enough time to go through the breathing, by the time you open your eyes…you should know if “it really matters”.

Gently become the observer of your thoughts. Witness them rolling through like waves on an ocean. Decide which ones to jump over and which one you want to ride. YOU decide. The thoughts don’t.

 

Sat Nam

 

 

Simple Oven-Baked Salmon

This dish can easily be prepared with trout, salmon, mahi-mahi, snapper or nearly any other fish that isn’t super thick. I love roasting it this particular because it conserves the moisture and the flavors from the lemon and herbs really pop. This is one of my basic mea-time preparations that I can always rely on. Build it into your repertoire of weekly protein preparations to bring more simplicity into the kitchen.

This dish would pair wonderfully with  the butternut squash (without the maple) listed in this recipe!

 

Ingredients: (serves 4)

4 fillets of wild-caught salmon (or the fish of your choosing)

zest from half a lemon

juice from the other half of lemon

1 tsp minced garlic per fillet

Himalayan or Sea Salt & Coarse black pepper

A few sprigs of Thyme and/or Rosemary

Olive oil

Parchment Paper

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking dish large enough to fit all your fillets with parchment paper. Brush the parchment paper with olive oil.

Pat fish dry with a paper towel then place on top of prepared parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil. Spoon the minced garlic onto the fish then spread with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle lemon zest on fish, then top with lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Lay sprigs of herbs right on top of fish (you will remove sprigs before serving).

Bake fish for 12-15 minutes depending on thickness of fish.

You can always throw in some cherry tomatoes to roast in the pan too!

 

www.megsylvester.com

Light the flame of self-love with this practice

These two words hold the power to fuel your focus, the feelings you carry, and the life you manifest for yourself. Just think about it. Think about the picture you project of your life when you speak words like “I am LONELY, SAD, DEPRESSED, POOR”. The more you speak, the more you feel. The more you feel, the more you start to see those words and feelings show up in your life. This week, start to become mindful of the words that follow, “I AM”. Let the words that follow be the words you wish to see for yourself. Try these on for size, “I am EMPOWERED, HAPPY, JOYOUS, STRONG, WELL-EQUPIPPED, ABUNDANT”. As one of my teachers, Dr. Wayne Dyer, said… “You will see it when you believe it”. This week, find the words and feelings that you want to manifest in your life and believe it. Feel the words. I AM HAPPY. I AM LOVE. I AM ENOUGH! This week, I have a beautiful practice to wrap around this mantra. This practices enhances the power of the words and will light you up!

 

The I AM Ritual

…for the life you wish to manifest

These two words hold the power to fuel your focus, the feelings you carry, and the life you manifest for yourself. Just think about it. Think about the picture you project of your life when you speak words like “I am LONELY, SAD, DEPRESSED, POOR”. The more you speak, the more you feel. The more you feel, the more you start to see those words and feelings show up in your life. This week, start to become mindful of the words that follow, “I AM”. Let the words that follow be the words you wish to see for yourself. Try these on for size, “I am EMPOWERED, HAPPY, JOYOUS, STRONG, WELL-EQUPIPPED, ABUNDANT”. As one of my teachers, Dr. Wayne Dyer, said… “You will see it when you believe it”. This week, find the words and feelings that you want to manifest in your life and believe it. Feel the words. I AM HAPPY. I AM LOVE. I AM ENOUGH! This week, I have a beautiful practice to wrap around this mantra. This practices enhances the power of the words and will light you up!

 

After you’ve taken a shower or bath, approach the mirror. Look deeply into your eyes and focus on the word you wish to manifest in your life. Maybe it’s “enough”, “strong”, “totally capable”, “happy” or “abundant”. Take several deep breaths, holding an image of the word in your mind’s eye.  With each inhale, act as though you are breathing the word into your body. With each exhale, release any tension

your body may be responding with. After repeating several breaths like this, gently open your eyes. The repeat your “ I AM “ sentence out loud five times, while gazing deeply into your own eyes. Do this every time you exit the shower / bath while you are feeling relaxed. You may feel a little silly at first. You might not even be able to look in your own eyes at first and say these things out loud. But think about that. What does that say about your current state? Let’s work on getting to a place where you can psyche yourself up. Where you can trust yourself and honor these most beautiful and powerful words. Give yourself the gift of doing this practice every day for the next 2 weeks and let’s see what happens.

Lots of Love,

Meg

Sweet & Savory Sunny Breakfast Bowl

Eggs and bacon. Cereal. Pancakes and Waffles. Toast. Where’s the color? Breakfast doesn’t have to be so beige. I wanted to introduce a meal that starts your morning off with color and lots of plant based nutrients (as well as protein from eggs). This bowl is sure to please the taste buds and the body. It’s a combo of sweet and savory and can be a great option for other meal times too! (and bonus…you can turn one of the components into a side dish of its own for any meal)

 

Ingredients

2 Eggs – cooked how you like ’em (sunny side up is recommended)

1.5 cups Butternut Squash – cubed

Arugula – 1 large handful

Squeeze of Fresh Lemon

Olive Oil

Avocado Oil

Salt & Pepper

Maple Syrup

 

Directions:

1) Prepare Squash. Saute butternut squash in a pan in a heavy pan (preferably cast iron) on medium heat in avocado oil. Season with salt and pepper. Right as the they begin to soften (about 10-12 minutes) add a drizzle or two of maple syrup.

– If you have left over butternut squash, this would work wonderfully here! This way you’d just need to heat for a bit and add the maple syrup.

2 ) Prepare eggs you like them. (soft boiled or sunny side up work best for this dish). Then season with a dash of salt & pepper.

– To soft boil an egg, add eggs to pot of cold water, gently bring to a boil. Let boil for one minute. Turn heat to simmer and cover for 3 minutes.

3) While butternut squash and eggs are cooking, dress the arugula. Toss arugula in light olive oil and a small squeeze of lemon juice.

 

Once all three components are ready, layer bowl as follows: Greens, Squash, Eggs on top.

Enjoy!!

 

 

Clean & Simple Chicken Stew with “Rice”

This week, I was craving something warm and hearty (yay Fall!). I had fresh veggies and chicken thighs in the fridge so I thought why not Chicken Stew?! Being from Louisiana, I love adding Cajun seasonings to my recipes for an extra kick. This recipe is simple, with minimal ingredients, but packs a big punch on the taste index. I use water a lot to cook with – we often forget that it’s actually a great conduit for heat. By pouring just a bit of water into the chicken, you get a lovely stew like consistency. I’m grain free, so rice doesn’t show up in my recipes. However, cauliflower rice does! I love playing around with different ways to prepare cauliflower rice. This version is simple and flavorful and can be used with lots of other meals. Enjoy!

 

For the chicken stew:

Avocado oil

1 TBS Minced garlic

Cajun Seasoning Mix:  Combine salt, red pepper, black pepper, chili powder, garlic powder

Himalayan Salt & Ground Black Pepper

Water

1.5 lbs chicken thighs (boneless & skinless)

1/3 celery root, peel off outer layer then use vegetable peeler to create small slices

1/3 purple onion – thinly sliced lengthwise

1 head Broccoli – cut into florets

 

For the rice:

Avocado oil

TBS Minced garlic

¾ head cauliflower – riced

½ cup diced purple onion

Handful of Fresh chopped parsley

 

Season chicken thighs with avocado oil, Cajun seasoning mix and minced garlic. Heat avocado oil in a large heavy skillet (preferably cast iron). Once oil is glistening, add chicken thighs to pan. Let the chicken lightly brown on one side, approximately 5 minutes. Flip the chicken over. Add celery root, onions and broccoli. Let cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add ¾ cup of water and continue to let chicken cook. While cooking, season with salt and pepper (you can add more Cajun seasoning blend  now too). Cook the chicken until it’s no longer pink inside. Time will vary depending on thickness, but it should be around 10 minutes. The water should be nearly cooked out and have a thick consistency to it. If not, ladle out some of the water. Drizzle with avocado oil.

 

Meanwhile make the “rice”. Heat avocado oil in a pan on medium heat. Add minced garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add cauliflower and purple onion. Continue stirring until cauliflower starts to brown. Right before serving add in freshly chopped parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, ladle chicken stew on top of cauliflower rice in a shallow bowl.

 

www.megsylvester.com

Simple Shrimp & Veggie Stir-Fry

I cooked this dish the other night when I wanted a big return on minimal effort! It kind of felt like a clean Moo Goo Gai Pan, without the sleepy, bloated feeling you’re left with after.  As always, all of my recipes are gluten-free and dairy-free, and made of real, whole foods. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs Wild-Caught Shrimp – peeled & de-veined
    • Avocado or Sesame oil
    • 2 tsp minced garlic
    • Juice from 1/2 of a lemon
    • 1 head broccoli – cut into bite sized pieces
    • 1 cup of mushrooms (baby-bella, button or cremini) – stemmed, broken in halves, rinsed thoroughly
    • 1/3 of small purple onion – sliced lengthwise, very thin slices
    • Smoked salt (usually in grocery stores or purchase here)
    • Salt (Pink Himalayan or Celtic Sea Salt) & Grated Black Pepper
    • Sesame seeds (Optional)

 

Instructions

Heat garlic and oil on medium low heat until garlic becomes fragrant. Turn heat to medium, Add shrimp and season with Himalayan salt, pepper and squeeze of lemon. If pan ever seems dry add a bit more oil. (Do not ever let your pan get so hot that it burns the oil, aka turns it brown). Let cook for 2 minutes. Add in veggies. Stir on medium heat for 5-7 minutes. Once broccoli is bright green and your shrimp are bright pink, you’re dish is ready!

Turn the heat off, sprinkle with a pinch of smoked salt and sesame seeds if you like them. If you’d like, you can top with Tamari – a gluten free soy sauce. Serve on its own, with cauliflower rice, traditional rice, or arugula tossed in olive oil and lemon juice.

Maybe it’s you?

I have an inexplicable urge to move forward, to capture my light, swallow it whole, and glow from the inside out. I have an inexplicable urge to help, heal, inspire and create lasting connections with all the shiny souls. This desire used to be buried under expectation. The expectation to be the best, to win the award, to be perfect, to not mess up, to not look stupid, to not let the fear show through. Sound familiar? This was the story I created for myself, this was the story I latched on to and began to use as my excuse to not move forward. I allowed myself to be paralyzed. I enjoyed it even. It was my safety from uncomfortable situations.

What’s your safety blanket? What’s your thing that you latch onto? Take a moment to think about what your excuse is. I am willing to bet almost all of your reasons for stopping, for not realizing your full potential, are all tied to just a few themes, maybe even one. Are you like how I was? Are you a self-proclaimed perfectionist? Are you too scared to take a step forward because it might not be perfect and you’ll come off looking unprepared, or even worse, like a complete fraud? Are you scared of change because it might fail? So what’s your excuse, what’s YOUR reason? What’s your limiting belief?

Have you bought a one-way ticket to the land of Who Am I to Be? Well, sister, I am here to tell you that the ticket is totally refundable. You just need to muster up the courage to tell that ticket agent you’re ready for your refund – no excuse needed. You are enough, simply because you are you. You are the one to be exactly what you want to be, that idea is your soul talking. It took the miracle of epiphany through guided and self-exploration for me to discover and remove my limiting beliefs (still removing!). It took me a while to figure out why it was that I felt (still feeling sometimes) that insatiable need to be perfect. It’s because I chose to. I chose to receive that message and victimize myself. No one is to blame. I gradually became a hard-wired channel for that belief. And you know what, I finally chose to say good bye to that big pile of limiting garbage, and have totally opened myself up to faith. Faith that the Universe and I are co-creating a future greater than what I am imagining. I have faith that the vision I have for myself WILL happen. I have no doubt. And that, my dear friends, is powerful. The beauty of having faith in your gifts and your purpose is so freeing. Imagine waking up every day so excited that you get to be you. That you are the one who gets to fulfill this amazing vision simply because you believe. Simply because you believe. How beautiful is that? How empowering is that? How cool is it to know that all you need to do is believe in yourself and your partnership with the universe? How cool is it to know that the wisdom that has been buried deep inside of your soul is the key to living the life of your dreams? Being excited, happy, and grateful, and in the flow with the Universe. It’s knowing that even if things don’t go as planned or if something fails that there will be opportunity after opportunity to achieve your dreams.

So what can you do right now to take a step closer to actualizing your light? What’s one goal you can write down, right now? A great easy goal is
figuring out what to replace a bad or limiting habit with bit by bit – not all at once (unless cold turkey is your thing!). Sit on the coach all day? Replace with push-ups during commercial breaks for just one show. Eat sugary snacks all day? Replace with an apple just one or two of those times. Stress yourself out beyond belief? Set aside 1 minute every hour to breathe deeply. Can’t find the motivation to work out? Make it a goal to do an in-home work out just two days this week. Spend too much money? Start setting a goal of a no-spend day just one day this week. Put this goal in your calendar. Schedule it. Take baby steps. Be gentle on yourself. Give yourself and attainable, easy goal to get going. Celebrate your victories as you start carving out your path to the best you. You can do it. I am doing it. Let it be YOU who creates your happiness. Stop relying on the outside world to create it for you. Chose happiness. Chose love. Chose you.

Meet the Woman Who Helped Me Win My Twenty Year Battle With Acne

When I was thirteen years old, hanging out at the local pool, a girl came up to me and asked what was wrong with my forehead. After the knot in my stomach loosened up enough for me to speak, I blurted out that I was allergic to the sun. I just couldn’t say the word “pimples”. When I was a camp counselor early in college, an innocent 8 year old camper told me how pretty I’d be if only I didn’t have those bumps all over my face – ouch. Throughout my early twenties, I remember watching my friends pass out in all of their makeup, only to wake up day after day with beautiful, unblemished skin. I was so confused. What was I doing wrong? I religiously removed my makeup, washed my face, and used oil-free products to cover up blemishes. But still the acne persisted.

During my late twenties and early thirties, my acne changed. Rather than small bumps across my face, it became more cystic. After two pregnancies that caused major acne flare ups, I was left with skin that was pigmented from melasma and acne lesions. Super fun.

5 years ago, I cleaned up my diet in a major way – very little dairy, processed foods, sugar, or gluten. I drink tons of water, use moisturizer and spf. I make sure to use oil-free products, and was even making some of my skin care products at home so I could keep an eye on all of the ingredients. I was going to estheticians, getting monthly facials that targeted acne. I was using regimens that promised clear skin.

Yet still the acne persisted.

It’s hard to put into words how demoralizing this battle is. It’s like a tunnel with no light. Totally in the dark. Blaming your body, your hormones, your blood, your genetics, food, life, anything. Let me tell you, blaming yourself everyday, every single time you look in the mirror…it’s not a good feeling.

My one saving grace was makeup. I was a total makeup junkie. Each product I purchased was to cover up or draw attention away from my acne. Contouring, highlighting, cat eyes, bold lips…all an attempt to distract from the giant bumps all over my cheeks and jawline. I swear you’d think I was moonlighting as a makeup artists if you saw my makeup drawer. Out of control. But hey, the folks at sephora loved me and all those points were amazing!

Not only was I a makeup junkie, my quest for the magical elixir was never ending.

My obsession with skincare and laser procedures started costing me ridiculous amount of money. But every product and procedure fell short of its promises, so I  kept searching. I can  honestly say I never found a pill, product or procedure that alleviated my acne for longer than a week or two. It always came back. Freakin’ ant pile.

At the age of 33, I’d finally had enough. I decided to take matters out of the hands of product marketers who kept filling me with false hope. I booked an appointment with a Functional Medicine practitioner to discuss my acne. To be clear, I had seen my fair share of dermatologists  – over the span of two decades not a single antibiotic or topical ointment they perscribed ever worked. And if I heard a dermatologist tell me one more time that as soon as I started using moisturizer, the acne would clear up, I was going to flip my shit. (I already used moisturizer, and no it did not clear anything up). I was over dermatologists. Functional Medicine is an approach to medicine that focuses on the body as a whole and gets to the root of the problem, rather than masking the symptoms. I am a student of Functional Medicine, and had never thought to apply this school of thought to my acne until that pivotal light bulb moment.

During my appointment, the practitioner instructed me to get two labs done – one for my hormones and another to test for food allergies. But then she also gave me the best thing that could have ever happened for my acne. A name! She gave me the most magical name that I will be forever grateful for. Alissa Chasen – acne specialists and owner of POREspective.

Alissa also battled chronic acne. She’s been in the trenches. She totally understands how it feels. So, she decided to become an expert in acne, and cure herself. She studied all types of acne – not just her own. She tirelessly studied foods, ingredients, products, lifestyle habits, and anything else you can imagine that could  be an acne causing culprit.

In other words, she made acne her bitch.

After spending approximately one second on her website, POREspective, I booked an appointment with her. Before stepping foot into her office, she asked me to  send her a list of literally every single product I was using, from makeup and skincare to hair care, toiletries, laundry detergent, supplements, etc and then a run down of my diet and lifestyle. In addition, she also asked for pictures of my acne so she could put together an assessment. At the bottom of her intake is a space for additional comments. Just to give you an idea of my desperation, here’s what I wrote word for word “I have basically given up hope that anything will cure my acne. I have tried everything. Am searching for a miracle”’.

Well, a miracle is what I got – no doubt. Before my appointment, Alissa sent me a full analysis on my acne and cited the cause. I felt like I was reading a suspense novel, I couldn’t wait to get to the end and find out the gremlin that was causing my acne. The answer – man, oh man, it stung…the cause of my acne: Self-Inflicted.

OUCH!!! What? But I’ve been doing everything right? I eat right, I use acne friendly products, I take care of my skin….right?

Wrong.

The reality of that report hit me hard, and even made me angry. How could I be the one that was causing my acne for the past twenty years? It wasn’t my hormones, my genetics, my blood, my anything. It was all the shit I was putting on my skin on a daily basis and some of the ingredients I was ingesting that had been the culprit all along. And I thought it was good!

The ingredients that Alissa cited as the cause for my acne don’t cause acne for everyone. Alissa used my acne and skin type as clues to hunt down the acne-causing ingredients that were specific to my acne. “My” acne also happens to be a very common. So if you’ve been battling acne for several years, it might just be time to reevaluate your products.

Luckily for me, I had already conquered the hardest part of the acne culprit clean up which was the diet. Alissa cited that her clients usually have the most difficulty transitioning to an acne friendly diet – removing processed foods, sugar, and other culprits. So for me, the clearing (of both skin and culprits) went quickly. All I had to do was go home and replace my makeup, skin care regimen, laundry detergents and supplements that contained specific ingredients. I thought saying goodbye to my amazing makeup collection would be difficult, but I sucked it up and chose to say goodbye to my acne instead.

Not only did Alissa give me the entire list of acne causing ingredients I needed to avoid, but she broke down all of the products I was using daily into categories of Approved and Avoid. Out of my entire makeup collection I only had one product for the face that was  approved, and that was the Bare Minerals Original Foundation. I had to throw out my Lancome oil-free foundation, Nars, Smashbox, Mac…the list goes on. That was the hardest part. I said my tearful goodbyes and moved the hell on. I went to Walgreens and purchased my Tide Free & Clear, said goodbye to my dryer sheets, and said good bye to EVERY SINGLE ONE of my skin care products. Every product  I was using to take care of my skin contained acne causing ingredients. Again to be clear, acne causing ingredients for my type of skin, not every type of skin. And the sad thing is, is that many of these products were specifically meant to clear acne.

Some of the ingredients I was shocked by were algae and seaweed derivatives, biotin, soy (not so shocked by soy, but shocked that I had overlooked it in some of my supplements), coconut oil and derivatives (applied topically is acne causing, ingested is totally OK), kelp and argan oil and B-12. The list is much  bigger than that – but to be honest, when I read makeup and skin care labels in the past I wasn’t sure what all the other ingredients were. So if it said natural, organic, oil-free or acne clearing on it, I assumed it was safe. Many of the products I was using that were specifically for acne clearing actually contained many of the ingredients that were causing my breakouts (not included in the ingredients I just listed).

Another great thing about Alissa is that she has created a skincare line that is made up of all approved ingredients for those who suffer from acne, And guess what – the entire regimen she recommended for me (4 products in all), was less than one of the acne causing products I was using (Goop’s Luminous melting cleanser). After my consultation to review the assessment, Alissa provided a medical grade facial for me. My skin was glowing after. My skin never glows after facials – I usually look like I’ve been hit by a train and attacked by a tiger. Aliisa is an expert and knew when to go for an extraction and when to leave it alone. She knew the exact right products, peels, and masks to use to help my skin.

I am delightfully stunned to say that in the eight weeks it’s been since I’ve first seen her, I have had only one blemish, and that was about two days after our initial meeting. I honestly can not remember the last time in my life that I went even one week without a new break out.

Now that we have the breakouts taken care of, we will begin working on the pigmentation issues caused by breakouts. Alissa is a miracle worker. Take a look at her before and after photos on her website. I am telling you, If you have been suffering with acne, POREspective is your answer. I will be forever grateful and amazed. Alissa knows her stuff. Most of all though she cares about her clients and about restoring the confidence that acne has robbed from them.

Finally, after twenty years I can leave the house without makeup. Alissa was the miracle I never thought I’d find.

The Hidden Reason You Can’t Lose Weight

You eat a pretty healthy diet, you aren’t sedentary, and you get a decent amount of sleep. You decide to lose a few pounds by cutting back on sugar and you up your workouts. But something’s not right. You can’t seem to lose weight. So you decide to go get your thyroid tested. But your numbers are all good. You try out a few other fad diets, you even go to hot yoga (so smelly). Yet nothing seems to work.

So what gives? Why can’t you lose weight?

There’s a big reason for weight gain that no one is really talking about. Why? Because there aren’t any major pharmaceuticals that can come to the rescue.

The reason you may have such a hard time losing weight is because of the toxic load you are carrying around in your body.

According to Dr. Jill Carnahan, “toxic chemicals from foods, pesticides from foods, mold exposure, and heavy metals (to name a few) can block the leptin receptor in our fat cells and cause an inability to break down fat”. Toxins can lead to obesity because they disrupt our hormones and brain functioning. They are also a culprit in causing insulin resistance which leads to diabetes.  The amount of toxins we are exposed to throughout the day is staggering. In fact, 80% of the toxins we encounter are in our air. That’s why it’s so important to get a good quality air filter in your home.  If you are looking for some hard data, look no further than the Center for Disease Control’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals

So what are we supposed to do about toxic exposure? How are you supposed to drop the pounds if you are battling toxic exposure day in and day out?

 Luckily, there are steps you can take to minimize your toxic burden.

The word detox can often invoke images of juice cleanses and meditation retreats. But don’t be turned off by it – there’s a much less hippie approach to detoxifying your life than what you think.

Follow these steps to lessen your toxic load (and hopefully lose some pounds in the process).

Go Organic

Conventionally grown foods are full of pesticides and chemicals. When you can, always chose organic, local and Non-GMO. In an ideal world, it would be amazing to only eat organic, but that can sometimes be cost prohibitive and chances are restaurants aren’t carrying organic produce (unless stated). To put your mind at ease, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) puts out a report that lists the foods that you should absolutely go organic on – The Dirty Dozen – and those that are ok to eat conventionally grown – The Clean Fifteen (organic still preferred though!). The list changes every year and they even have a handy, dandy app now that you can use while grocery shopping or out to dinner. Check out the list here.

Drink Filtered Water

To date, there have been thousands of publications and studies showing that our drinking water contains heavy metals. Granted, some of these metals are fine for human life, however, in sustained large doses over time, they can become a major player in some really awful health problems. A very easy way to avoid dosing yourself with toxic heavy metals is by using a water filter. There are many types out there – you can even purchase charcoal sticks to throw in your water bottle. I personally love the Berkey water filter system, but a trip to your local home improvement store should give you plenty of options. If you don’t do it for yourself, do it for your kids. Prolonged exposure to heavy metals in drinking water can cause a multitude of problems in our precious little ones, including shorter attention spans and learning delays. Recent studies also suggest that arsenic can harm the developing brain.

Excrete the Toxins

I love Dr. Mark Hyman’s take on this. He explains this process as the “4 P’s”. Perspire, Pee, Poop, and Pranayama (aka the practice of breath control). Release toxins through your pores as you b break a sweat either through movement, saunas, or steam rooms. Drink plenty of fluids (yay filtered water!) to give your kidneys the fuel they need to flush out toxins from your bloodstream. Make sure you are having consistent bowel movements, which also flush out toxins (tip: Fiber with adequate water helps to battle constipation). Finally, the breath. By breathing fully and deeply, all the way down into your belly, you are helping your lungs to deliver clean oxygen to our tissues. Try attaching a round of 2-3 belly breaths to an activity of daily life – ie, checking emails, social media, making phone calls, getting in your car, etc. Choose an activity, say making a phone call. Each time you are about to make a phone call, take 2-3 belly breaths. This will not only deliver oxygen to your body but will relax you and help you center. Yes, please.

My last tip for excreting toxins is using the gift provided by Mother Nature. There are many natural detoxifiers you can incorporate into you daily life to help rid your body of unwanted toxins. Charcoal capsules (I’m obsessed with Bullet Proof’s charcoal capsules – especially when traveling), dandelion root tea, and apple cider vinegar are all easy to find, easy to use, and wonderful for you. Of course, always make sure to consult your physician before adding herbs and supplements to your regimen!