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A 10-Day Detox and Other Ways to Hate Yourself

Jessica Barrett   |   May 25, 2016   12:56 AM ET

I'm always the first person to sign up for some kind of detox or cleanse diet. I love the idea of recharging our bodies, re-setting our immune systems, and purging toxins. I especially like the idea of losing a few pounds in the process, which, in most cases, people do.

Recently, I've been struggling with some health problems again, and as some of my readers know, I'm a cancer survivor, so I don't take it lightly when I have a health scare. This was the motivation behind my recent decision to try another detox. And by proxy, drag my family through it as well.

Before I explain the detox, let me start by saying that we are already gluten-free. Further, I don't eat dairy or drink caffeine. Basically the only reason I had left to live was sugar. And I thought I should give that up as well. Along with alcohol. Because I'm an insane person who should seek intensive therapy.

Everything I've been reading on the health front is making a strong case for ditching sugar. And pretty much everything has sugar in it. Along with that good news, alcohol turns to sugar as your body tries to process it. So does anything else white; white flour, white rice, sunshine, happiness, love. It all turns to sugar and evidently wreaks havoc on our systems and makes us age quickly, gain weight, damages our brains, causes disease, prevents healing, rots our teeth, and affects our moods.

I found out about a 10-day sugar detox plan that sounded great to me. The meal plans, snacks and recipes were all laid out simply and easily. So the guess-work and planning was eliminated. All I had to do was shop for the food, and cook. Easy breezy, it'll give us all a good metabolism restart. The perfect start to summer. And how long is 10 days, really?

An eternity. 10 days without sugar is an eternity.

Oh, I'm trying to be the cheerleader for our family so that we can all stay on track, but it's about as easy as convincing Donald Trump he's not the sexiest man alive. These detox diets were drawn up in the pits of hell, and don't let anyone tell you differently. By day four I was ready to do prison time for one square of dark chocolate.

Admittedly, as promised, by day six my sugar cravings were gone. Which is healthy for the public at large because I may have tried wrestling junior mints out of the hands of a toddler if I had the chance.

Sunday afternoon we drove by people having cocktails outside on the patio of a restaurant. My husband begged me to cave so that we could join the happy crowd. Did I cave? No. WE ARE STRONG. Do you know how much fun we had? How much fun we've been having? Imagine finals week in college, where one by one your friends are finishing their last test and leaving for the semester, but you still have to study because your test isn't for another two days. Then, while you're studying, imagine (math, let's imagine it's math) that you're eating nothing but green cardboard blended with protein powder. Also, imagine that you hate yourself.

Last night I went to my book club, the hostess had plenty of white and red wine. It looked horrible, and no one was having any fun. Also all the food looked horrible. I was so happy to be drinking water and eating air. One of my friends is expecting and can't drink either, but at least she could eat. Pie. They had pie. And I think brownies. Again, it looked horrible.

We're on day nine of our 10-day plan. We have less than 48 hours to go. In all honesty, I think we're doing better than we were on day four. At least I think we are, I don't think my family is speaking to me anymore. As far as how we feel? Let's talk about the changes we've noticed. Let me remind you that this is what we've given up:

  • Sugar
  • Gluten
  • Dairy
  • Caffeine
  • Alcohol
  • Loving Ourselves
  • Happiness
  • Joy

These are the remarkable changes we've noticed:

  • Weight Loss = zero pounds. This is not a joke. Not one pound.
  • Sleep Patterns = no change
  • Skin Condition = no change
  • Energy Level = lowered. Unless it means getting off of the couch for the promise of cake.
  • Feelings toward kale = have moved from "mildly okay" to "please don't buy this again ever for the rest of our lives".
  • We could easily be convinced to turn on our own country for Dairy Queen Blizzards.

We knew going in that we were going to go through a "rough patch" before it got easier. Let me explain that this "rough patch" is like a military interrogation, after running a full marathon, wearing barbed-wire.

I'm kidding, it's more like everyone you love walking out of your life forever.

We're muscling through to the finish line. I'm sure it's going to be worth it. Totally worth it. Why I'm not sure, I've forgotten. I've also lost my will to live. And did I mention no weight? I've lost no weight. And every memory of what it feels like to be happy.

If you have a success story of doing a detox or cleanse, I'd love to hear from you. We could use a pep talk, or some way to reclaim our souls and find a reason to live.

4 Ways to Start Using Matcha Today

Jessi Andricks   |   May 20, 2016    8:37 AM ET

If you head to a coffee shop, or even smoothie shop, you are bound to run into some form of matcha latte, tea or even smoothie. Matcha is a powder made from green tea with a slightly earthy taste. It is high in anti-oxidants and in caffeine. The caffeine in matcha is more balanced than caffeine from coffee or soda, so it causes less jitters, crashes, and irritability. The super high antioxidants help fight free radical cells that cause cancer and diseases, making it a superfood.

Matcha Benefits:
- Less caffeine than coffee
- More caffeine than black tea
- High in anti-oxidants
- Energizing
- Detoxifying

Because it is not as irritating to your digestion as coffee, but is still high in caffeine, many people are starting to use more and more of this as their daily caffeine boost. As with most tea, the caffeine boost doesn't cause as much of a crash, so you don't feel the drop when it wears off. It is also quite versatile in how it can be used and incorporated into your daily drinks and food.

Here are a few ways to use Matcha:
1) Make it a latte:
It works well in creamy lattes, with a touch of vanilla or natural sweetener. This creaminess or the milk (dairy or non) and the slight sweetness form the vanilla or natural sugar help to balance out the bitter, earthy flavor of the tea. This makes for a rich and decadent alternative to the usual coffee latte, and give a steadier, more mellow caffeine boost.

2) Drink it straight:
In it's purest form, Matcha is mixed with hot water and nothing else. This makes a deep, rich green drink with a strong tea flavor. It is also the most potent way to use it, since you aren't adding in any other ingredients that may lessen the anti-oxidants in the tea.

3) Mix it in:
Matcha can also be used in baked goods, granola bars or even raw foods, like energy bites. It will add a fun green color to the food, as well as a bit of an anti-oxidant boost to your dish.

4) Blend it in:
Smoothies are also a prefect place to add Matcha. The slightly earthy, mellow taste of Matcha pairs well with a vegetable-based green smoothie. It is also green in color, so it adds to the natural green coloring of the blended vegetables. Adding it to your smoothie is the perfect way to start the day. It will save time, since the caffeine and breakfast are all in one drink.

To get started, try this recipe from the book, The Smoothie Life.

Matcha Buzz Smoothie:
1 cup kale
1 small cucumber
1 celery stalk
¼ cup sweet peas, raw
1 frozen banana
1 tsp matcha green tea powder
1 handful ice

Add all ingredients to your blender and blend until smooth.

For this and other green, fruity and, make sure to check out The Smoothie Life Book and Bonus Bundle, as well as download your free 25+ page sample.

*Excerpt and recipe from The Smoothie Life used with permission from author and publisher, Jessi Andricks.

Jessi Andricks, author of Detox 101 and The Smoothie Life, is an emerging leader in the field of modern healthy, whole living. Through her training in Health Coaching, Yoga, and mind-body fitness, she's able to blend together the best of all worlds to create innovative online wellness and private coaching programs. Jessi fuses together clean eating basics, empowering fitness techniques, and expert wellness tips to help clients live the happier, healthier lives. Get in touch with Jessi at

Homemade Vanilla-Cinnamon Cashew Milk

Maria Rodale   |   May 13, 2016   12:06 PM ET

Homemade Cashew Milk

by guest blogger Stephanie Eckelkamp, senior associate editor at Prevention magazine

One of the perks of being a nutrition editor is getting to try the latest snacks and drinks. So a while back, Blueprint--the company that really spearheaded the juice cleanse madness with those trendy bottles prominently listing their ingredients down the front--sent me a sample cleanse.

Now, this was an all-liquid cleanse that packed around 700 calories for an entire day, so needless to say, I failed miserably and realized that I really love chewing. (In fact, here are 5 reasons you should never go on a juice cleanse or detox.) I did, however, become obsessed with their subtly sweet, deliciously creamy cashew milk made with water, cashews, vanilla, cinnamon, and agave. It was the nearly perfect on-the-go light meal (or hearty snack), containing healthy fats and some protein.

The problem: When I finally spotted a bottle at my local grocery store a few weeks ago, my initial excitement quickly faded when I saw the price: ELEVEN freakin' dollars! For nuts, water, and a little sweet and spice? That's insanity, folks. I also noticed that the sugar content was higher than I remembered--21 grams.

So I got creative. Below is my lower sugar, more economical version that's just as tasty. Each 8 oz cup clocks in at 70 cents worth of ingredients and just 7 grams of sugar. With each cup, you're getting a hefty dose of magnesium, a mineral that helps with protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, and blood-sugar control.

Vanilla-Cinnamon Cashew Milk
Yields about 5 cups


  • 1 cup cashews

  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, or vanilla bean paste

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Pinch of salt


  1. SOAK cashews in jar overnight (or for at least 6 hours) in fridge.

  2. DRAIN and rinse cashews, then add to blender with maple syrup, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and 2 cups cold water. Blend until smooth and creamy, about 1 to 2 minutes, depending on your blender. Add 2 cups more water and blend 30 seconds more.

  3. POUR into glass and drink, or store cashew milk in jar with lid up to 1 week in fridge. You can add it to iced coffee or blend it into smoothies. One of our favorite combos: 1 cup iced coffee, ½ cup cashew milk, and 1 frozen banana all blended to creamy perfection.

NUTRITION (per 8 oz) 152 cal, 4 g pro, 13 g carb, 1 g fiber, 7 g sugar, 10 g fat, 2 g sat fat, 33 mg sodium

StephanieStephanie Eckelkamp is a senior associate editor covering food and nutrition at Prevention magazine and is also a certified holistic-health coach. She's obsessed with her pup, Milo, and loves to get a little crazy in the kitchen. For more from Stephanie, visit

Adapted from a story previously published on

For more from Maria Rodale, visit

7 of the Biggest Healthy Eating Myths Busted

Jessi Andricks   |   April 15, 2016    5:07 PM ET

When it comes to eating healthy, it is easy to get overwhelmed. It seems as though there are new studies and reports released each day that contradict each other, leaving you feeling lost and confused, sometimes right in the middle of the grocery store.

One of the biggest reasons for this overwhelm is the amount of myths that surround eating healthy. From advice on fasting to cutting out food groups, it can be hard to figure out what to eat and what to ditch.

As a Health Coach, many of my clients often complain about not knowing what to eat and come to me with conflicting information. The advice I give them is always the same: Keep it simple and do what feels right for you.

When they take this simple advice, they are able to finally get healthy and stay healthy, without the overwhelm.

Below are some of the biggest health myths and the real truth behind them:

1. Meat Is Unhealthy and Should be Avoided (Or Maybe it's Grains)

There is a ton of advice to give up on large food groups, such as grains or meat. While there may be some, it really depends on the person.

For some people, meat is not necessary, especially as the main part of their diet. For others, meat at least once a day is absolutely necessary. These are people who suffer form low iron, need more protein or often feel weak. It depends on what your body needs.

If you do eat meat, opt for organic wherever possible. This way you know the animal were raised with organic feed, didn't receive hormones or pesticides, and treated more humanely. If possible, also shoot for locally raised. For seafood, use the sustainability guide to determine what the best choices are.

If organic meat is too expensive, there are a few things to consider. Go local and you might find a better price. If it is still to expensive, try cutting back and eating a few non-meat meals throughout the week. You'll find a little more variety in your dishes, as well as a lower bill. The biggest thing to consider though is your health benefits - organic is healthier, which means you might pay more now, but less in the long run as far as medical costs go ;)

Grains are quite similar. For some people, digesting them is simple and they need them for energy. For others, many grains, especially those that contain gluten, are highly undigestible. The best practice is to eat what feels right and look for the highest quality organic whenever possible.

2. Healthy Eating On-the-Go Is Impossible

Even though it is far better to make your own food, it isn't always possible. Most fast food restaurants and convenience stores offer a limited amount of healthy foods, but there are options for eating on the go.

First, try the salad or "hot bar" at your local (healthy) grocery store. You'll find plenty of healthy eating options at these. You can also look in the produce section for fresh, cold-pressed juices at most grocery stores, which means that you can get plenty of servings of fruits and veggies.

You can also look for healthier, less-processed options at a few fast food places. Some chainsare starting to make better choices as far as the quality of their products. Look for places that use grass-fed beef, organic chicken, organic tofu, and plenty of fresh vegetable options.

3. Without Caffeine, You'll Feel Tired

If you need an energy boost, leave the coffee alone and go for fresh juice or smoothies. Nutrient dense foods, found in juices and smoothies, will help keep you more satisfied. Blended juices and smoothies are easier to digest than a piece of fruit or salad, so they absorb into your blood stream faster and energize you sooner. If you need a little extra, try a handful or nuts.

If you do need a little bit of caffeine, opt for a more subtle caffeine boost from Green Tea or Yerba Mate. Both of these provide a little bit of caffeine, without the huge crash after.

4. Kids Hate Eating Healthy

Make it fun for them! If you are trying to get your little ones on board, make it an adventure. Show them how excited you are to try new things and let them know exactly what is happening - you are on an adventure to seek out new, fun alternatives to their regular stuff. Let them know you aren't taking anything away, just trying fun options.

If your kids are older, have them help you pick out a few items they want to try that are healthier. If they are involved, and don't feel forced, they are more likely to try new things. Same goes for your spouse. The more you force the less your family will want to get on board. Just show them how awesome you feel and invite them to participate and be involved without pushing.

5. Dieting Is the Best Way to Lose Weight and Get Healthy

Truthfully, it's not. No diet is going to get you healthy or help you lose weight for good. Cleanses and detoxes are meant to recharge your system and possibly cleanse away specific toxins, as well as teach you a few healthy habits to use after they end. Diets are ways to lose weight in a short amount of time, but lead to weight gain (sometimes more than you lost). Instead of dieting, it's better to focus on the quality of your foods and when you are eating.

One thing specifically for women is to make sure you eat enough food throughout the day. Many women are so busy during the day that they forget to eat. Or they grab a few snacks when they can, like crackers, cookies, and sweets. Then they eat a large meal at the end of the day to because they are starving, or feel too drained and depleted to do anything but sit on the couch.

If this is a habit of yours, try to pack a few healthy snacks (carrot sticks, apples, whole grain crackers, nuts, juice, smoothie, etc) to take with you on the go. Eat breakfast before you head out the door and make a point to take a break from the stress of the day to eat lunch. The break from stress, as well as the actual eating, will help you stabilize your weight.

6. Calorie Counting and Portion Control are Key

Calories are a tough one to tackle, because they are often regarded as the main thing to focus on when getting healthy or losing weight. Truthfully, calories are not all that you need to focus on when trying to lose weight, but they can be a starting point or even a key to helping you figure out why you are gaining weight.

Each person is very different, so instead of focusing on calories, focus on hunger. If you are hungry, eat more food. If you find you are consistently hungry, look at what you are eating each day. If most of it is processed, you will probably burn through it fast, maybe not getting all the nutrients you need. This will cause you to get hungry, even though you have had all the calories you need. Shoot for whole foods - think the outer aisles of the grocery store - to make up the majority of your foods. This will help you figure out your portions and serving sizes as well.

If you are training intensely, pregnant, or breastfeeding, you'll need more calories than you might think. If you don't get enough, you'll either be starving most of the day, or might actually gain weight from kicking your body into "starvation" mode, where you hold onto any calorie that you do eat.

7. Fasting Helps You Lose Weight and Detox

Straight up fasting (not for religious or cultural purposes) is not a great idea. Eating absolutely nothing for days on end will definitely give your body time to shed some excess weight, but it will also kick it into full-on starvation mode, causing you to hold onto everything you eat once you do again start eating. And honestly, you don't learn much from not eating anything, besides what it feels like to be starving.

This is where a Detox or Cleanse comes into play. Instead of fasting completely, you can consume juices, smoothies and fresh produce to give your body a break, but still nourish it while you do so. Most cleanses focus on bombarding your body with large doses of nutrients, from juices and whole foods, so it becomes a part of your lifestyle, not just a temporary fix. A healthy cleanse, versus a fast, will leave you with new habits and techniques to incorporate into you new, healthy lifestyle.

Spring Cleaning Essentials -- Smoothies!

Joy Herbst   |   March 24, 2016    9:57 AM ET

Spring has sprung, and I hope that this finds you enjoying the warmer weather and peeking greenery.

For me, spring means lots of fresh air (and deep breaths of it), gardening, spring cleaning (and cleansing). I absolutely love the ability of smoothies to deliver so much delicious, nutrient-rich goodness in very clever, convenient and carry along containers.

I'm going to let you in on a little Mama-wise trick, here, and that's if you're hungry or your basic needs aren't getting met, everyone is going to suffer for it. (For the moms of young ones, bathroom breaks are a pretty unique experience, nowadays, am I right?)

I didn't realize it in the days of my adolescent self absorption but my mom was sharing some crucial wisdom when she would say, "If Mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy." And although I was raised in Michigan, and not Arkansas like my mom, this wisdom was not lost on me. I saw my mom working full time, and still making dinners, cleaning house, driving me to ballet... you get the picture. Self care is such a buzzword now, but it is very real and elemental for us busy gals, especially since we are the first people to underestimate it's importance since there's SO MUCH that we have going on at all times.

When I finally got some great go-to recipes for my morning (and sometimes lunchtime) smoothies, my life changed. I would pound coffee like there was no tomorrow in the morning, and then totally overeat highly processed convenience foods at lunch, once I finally stopped whirling to do so. The breakfast foods of the SAD (standard American diet) would leave me feeling totally sluggish and ill. I often suffered from heartburn and indigestion, and my elimination was a hot mess. Literally.

I truly changed my life by taking some time to pick up simple and delicious fresh ingredients so I could whip up a smoothie in my blender while preparing breakfast for my kids, or even the night before. Not only have I trimmed up significantly, my elimination is regular, I do not have bloating, and I am ingesting amazing vital nutrients and fiber essential for weight loss and vibrant health. WIN!

If you haven't yet dived into the wonderful, rainbow world of smoothies, then I highly suggest you take the shift into Springtime as a perfect opportunity to do so. As we transition from Winter, and colds abound with the season change, anything we can do to promote our healthy digestion with whole foods, and therefore our immune system, is gold. By replacing one meal in your day with a fresh smoothie, though it might sound like too simple of a change, you can cause a monumental shift in your health.

It's the small changes in your eating and lifestyle habits that will help you eventually attain the health you deserve!

Smoothies keep you full throughout the entire day. And let's face it, calorie counting and stressful diets are the suck, and these approaches don't work. I invite you to try a smoothie a day for two weeks, especially if you're a woman who wants to lose weight (IF you need to!), have glowing skin, feel more confident, sleep better, get rid of any stomach bloat, and feel earnestly vibrant!

Here's a DELICIOUS smoothie to help you get started this Spring.

Spicy Green

  • 1 ½ cup water, coconut water, or almond, hemp, or coconut milk
  • 1 cup mixed greens
  • ¼ cup berries, fresh or frozen
  • ½ avocado
  • 1 tablespoon ginger root
  • 1 tablespoon flax seeds
  • Dash cayenne pepper
  • Juice from 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon raw honey or stevia (optional)

And if you need more recipes, get your free smoothie guide here!

Antonia Blumberg   |   March 17, 2016    1:47 PM ET

The spring equinox in the Northern Hemisphere falls on Sunday March 20, this year, marking the time when the sun passes over the celestial equator. It's a day many pagans observe as Ostara, a holiday of renewal and rebirth that celebrates the transition from winter to spring.

Paganism and its many permutations, including Wicca, are nature religions that honor the sacred power of the earth, in addition to a pantheon of gods and goddesses. The shifts from season to season are important to pagans because they represent not only the changes occurring in nature, but they also offer wisdom for how we might best direct our efforts throughout the year.

If you've ever done a spring cleaning, then you may know how good it feels to give your home a makeover. But if you're interested in a deeper cleanse, here are seven tips for a spiritual spring cleaning from pagan leaders to try this year:

5 Tips for Losing Emotional Weight

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg   |   February 25, 2016    7:55 AM ET

"Carbs can be bad. Protein can be good. Eat this, not that."

With all the advice about eating plans and fitness fads, what do you believe? And what works best for you?

Let's place eating aside for one moment and focus on a different aspect of weight management--emotions. Through my years of social research, I've found that one of the biggest factors contributing to body weight can be emotional weight.

From a scientific perspective, repressing feelings can lead to stress, and stress can activate cortisol--the stress hormone--which research has shown directly affects our metabolism and can lead to weight gain. In the end, stress keeps our bodies from functioning properly.

The solution? Stop eating anger, pigging out on pain, and drinking disappointment. Express your feelings, reduce stress, and allow your body to find its healthy balance.

These five tips will help you start a conscious emotional cleanse.

Check less baggage. You know how airlines charge for each bag checked? Traveling gets expensive fast. So can emotional baggage. Take time to focus on your biggest issues and clear up unresolved conflicts with friends, family members, or yourself. Lighten your load; enlighten your life.

Get em out. Whether it's with a friend or by yourself, start to speak, write, sing, dance--whatever it takes--to express your feelings. Emotions are energy, and energy is in constant motion. So it is with your body; those feelings need to go somewhere. First get them OUT in a healthy way. Then you can deal with them rationally.

Get help. There's nothing wrong with reaching out when you need support. In fact, the human experience is based on connecting with others. Talk things out with a good friend. If that isn't enough, consider meeting with a counselor -- it's their job to help you unwind your ball of emotional string.

Don't judge. Your feelings are always valid. Always. Did you get that? Try hyphenating it for even more effect: all-ways. Your feelings are part of you and every emotion belongs somewhere. How, why, when, and where you express your feelings will produce a variety of experiences, but your feelings are never wrong.

Move your body. Get out of bed, off the couch, or out of the house. Shift your energy. Just move. Physical activity supports mental activity, which supports body wellness as well as psychological relief. Feeling stuck? Go for a walk. It can do wonders.

Michael Thomas Sunnarborg helps people reclaim their power of choice and find better balance in their work, relationships, and life--especially during transitions. Learn more at

Image credit: Getty Images


If you're struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

The Foundation of Personal Empowerment

Nykki Hardin   |   February 23, 2016    2:49 PM ET

Our thoughts are by far the most powerful thing we possess in this lifetime. I am convinced that most things in this lifetime are truly out of our control. However, the one thing we do have complete control over is our perception -- the lens through which we choose to see ourselves and the world. This lens is so powerful it is responsible for the nature of our existence.

When it comes to reaching goals and realizing dreams, most of us were taught the western way-creating a plan of action and diving in head first. While this is an important part of the equation, what I have learned in my personal experience is that this strategy alone has often led to falling flat on my face. What I know now is that the absolute smartest approach to any new endeavor begins by looking at the internal dialogue and conversation taking place regarding oneself and the new opportunity. A little bit of inner housework can make all the difference to an external accomplishment.

This year I am working on taking a step back in my inner world reality, while diving in head first in my outer world experience. My intention was to shine the light on what is going on "behind the scenes" when pushing my boundaries in an area in which I desired growth. In this process of taking bold risks and daring greatly, what has surfaced are incredible opportunities to explore trust and faith, and to listen honestly to the "unconscious" thought processes and mental tapes that formed the foundation of my existence. While this can sometimes be a painful process of awakening, the gifts that are coming forward are invaluable.

In my coaching practice, I am a master at teaching compassion and kindness. I work with individuals to realize their nutrition and health goals, and one of the fundamental elements of my approach includes being gentle and loving with one's Self. We are human beings, on this planet to learn and grow and we only do this through experience. Every moment is filled with an infinite number of opportunities and possibilities to create our reality. Most of us have been hardwired with judgment and criticism, especially as it relates to food and fitness. But true Self-care always starts with Self-Love, and that includes practicing self-forgiveness when we "fall off track" or do not follow through on personal commitments. We always have the opportunity to get back up, recommit, and to do it from a place of loving and empowerment.

What has become incredibly apparent in this year of experimentation is that my approach applied to everyone but me. I have always been great at looking at my relationship to that which is outside myself, and to applying my philosophy of kindness and compassion to others. But what is now highlighted is that deep within lies a very harsh inner critic and perfectionist that pervades my consciousness. This causes unnecessary suffering and is at the root of the roadblocks I have encountered up until now. Herein lie the seeds of the belief system that was formed to keep me from moving forward in the creation of my dreams.

Everything in my work is, and has always been, about bringing forward inner resistance that keeps us from living our potential. The purpose is to bring conscious and unconscious thoughts and emotions forward to be observed, cleared, and redirected so that we can move in the direction of our dreams. This new way of being is what I call the "Cleanse Consciousness," and it is the foundation for personal empowerment.

One of my favorite elements of full body cleansing is that it works on all levels, empowering individuals to find the space in between thought and reaction. It provides the opportunity to stop, take a breath, and to look at what just went through the mind and the associated inner emotional experience. In this place of stillness, there is a newfound freedom to DECIDE... is this thought serving me? Is this choice I am about to choose, or am choosing, really serving me on a cellular level, at the very depth of my being?

In the stillness is an opportunity for awakening, to make a new choice, and to take a fresh approach and positive action to move in the direction of goals and dreams.

This is Empowerment. This is Liberation. This is ENLIGHTENMENT.

Eventually we have to take an honest look at why we are not realizing our goals. It is important to ask from a place of neutral observation:

What are my thoughts about this situation?
What are my thoughts about myself as it relates to this situation?
What are my thoughts about myself in general?
What does this mean to me?
If I realize this goal-what will be the end result?
How will my life be different?

If you ask yourself these questions and answer them honestly, you just might be surprised by what comes to the surface. The good news is you will know your starting place, and will be empowered to adjust anything in your inner experience that may need an update, or a "recalibration."

Personal empowerment is about far more than a successful a plan of action, it requires a plan of self-care which involves a solid foundation of positive thought. In building the foundation, the master ingredient is always one's relationship to oneself. For the lens through which we see ourselves, and thus interpret our lives, will ultimately dictate if we are willing to live our potential.

How to Make Dieting and Detoxes Work for You (Plus a Recipe)

Jessi Andricks   |   February 21, 2016   11:29 PM ET

Have you ever made a healthy resolution only to find that a week, two weeks, or even a month later, you have fallen off the wagon and are back into your old habits, or maybe even two steps behind where you were?

You are not alone.

Most people who set resolutions for their health find that they are unable to keep them in the long run, not because they don't want to, but because they resolutions themselves are all wrong.

The idea of resolving to stop doing something -- whether it is eating carbs, not working out, or even something completely non-health related -- makes you feel immediately deprived, overwhelmed, and uninspired. When you feel overwhelmed, you are less likely to stick with it, and more likely to do the exact opposite.

If you simply switch your wording the entire thought process can change, and you might find your goals are easier to stick with. By switching your resolutions to intentions, it automatically adds a positive, exciting element to your goal setting. If you intend to eat better, move more, and enjoy life this year, you are more likely to stick to it, then a resolve to stop being "wrong."

The same switch can work for diets and detoxes.

The words diet, detox and cleansing often get a bad wrap. They are seen as restricting, one-size-fits-all, and gimmicky. More often than not, they are like your New Year's resolutions -- they only last for a few weeks before you give in and give up. Diets are restrictive and can make you feel deprived, depleted, and downright awful. Detoxes are super restrictive, leaving you starving for days. And cleanses sound more like something you should do at a remote, private spa than with your food choices. But truthfully, there are a lot of fantastic diet, detox and cleanse approaches that are nothing like what we often think.

Here's the truth: Diets aren't so great, in any form, but a "diet" can also refer simply to the way that you eat, such as vegan diet, vegetarian diet, Paleo diet, or even simply, a clean eating or whole food diet. We all need some sort of diet, and throwing out our attention to food completely might sound freeing, but it can easily leave your body out of balance and leave you further depleted.

Rather than focusing on dieting, detoxing, or cleansing this year to restrict and deprive yourself with some crazy torture treatment, change your thought process. Think of your diet as your way of eating better and your way of honoring your body. Think of a detox or cleanse as a way to pack in as many healthy foods as possible, rather than a way to cut things out of your meals.

Here are a few ways to make this a little easier:

Choose your programs and path wisely:
Find a program that supports you and focuses on adding in more great foods, rather than taking out all the foods you love to eat. Find the program that allows you some freedom in your diet and focuses on more than just what you eat. Food is important and should be the foundation of most health programs, but exercise, lifestyle habits, and stress-reductions are important as well.

Fill your menu with healthy foods that taste good: Find some new ways to create your old favorites with healthier items, or simply crowd out the processed foods with more and more fresh foods. Remind yourself it isn't about being perfect or completely overhauling at once, its about finding new, exciting things to keep trying and incorporating into your daily meals and snacks.

Try new foods: Heard about chia seeds or acai but have no idea what to do with them? Google a recipe and head to
the store to give it a try. Playing around with new ingredients can be a fun (and tasty) way to stay excited about your new health goals, while finding some fantastic and healthy dishes along the way.

Want a little help getting started? Here is a recipe that is anything but depleting:

Layered Chia Pudding Parfait with Persimmon Cream:

This layered, sweet chia parfait is full of healthy fats, natural sugar, and plenty of nutrients to satisfy you and keep you healthy.

1 cup Simple, Not Slimy Chia Pudding

1 persimmon

1 small orange

1 tbsp coconut milk (canned)

3 dates, pitted

1/4 cup fresh strawberries

optional hemp seeds to sprinkle

Prepare your chia pudding and set aside. In your blender or food processor, add your persimmon and coconut milk. Squeeze in the juice from your orange. Blend until smooth.

In a small mason jar or cup, layer chia pudding, persimmon cream and dates. Add another layer of chia pudding and persimmon cream and top with fresh berries and hemp seeds (optional).

If you love this recipe, check out my signature coaching program for even more.

Have comments or thoughts? I'd love to hear what you really think about diets and detoxes. No holding back. Just leave it in the comments below.


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I Failed at My Cleanse

Jenny G. Perry   |   February 9, 2016    6:19 PM ET


On January 11th, 2016 I vowed to:


What?!?! Yes, I did. I declared it on Facebook.

I had been eating like a garbage disposal from the holidays. I was a healthy eater who was an almost vegan. But the winter weather always has me wanting to stay in my pj's (I work from home) and eat snacks. Lots of a whole bag. I was seriously eating a whole bag of the beans chips at a time because let's be honest...there is like two bowls worth in them. Plus, my rationale was they are healthy and have protein in them. I'm good, aren't I?

I started the cleanse strong. I wanted a clear head, so this included not having my glass of wine (okay two). Yes, people thought I lost my mind, while the wellness folk applauded. I noticed this cleanse made me bitchy. Which yes, Captain Obvious, it would if you cut out all sugar. I still had a half a banana in my protein shake. I hated food at times because I was being too restrictive in my mind. I realized I had cut out most sugar except my happy juice (wine) pre-cleanse anyway.

The night before Winter Storm Jonas caused some stress which led to a snack pack bag of the orange snacks. I won't name names, but those vibrant colored sticks leave your fingers coated. And I had wine. I was just like F&^% it tonight. In my defense, I lasted 11 days. I was almost back on the wagon the next day even though we had major flooding.

Still trying to be "good" I ate a lot of avocados. I contemplated low carb again, but cutting out eggs and cheese was going to limit me to not many options. I wanted to get back into summer ready shape and lose a few pounds. Then I read the diet of the founder of the juice bar, Moon Juice, eats and I was like...I give up. IT'S INSANELY HEALTHY! If someone would make all of it for me daily, I'd totally eat it. I do not have a personal chef so right now I feed my kids one meal and I eat another. Two meals at least, cause you know I have five kids and they are picky. If my chef hubby is home, he cooks, thank God.

I had one more bag of those orange thingies but I'm swearing them off. I sound like a hypocrite life coach failing at a cleanse, but I don't look at it like that. I went with inner guidance. I was a bulimic as a teen and overweight in my mid-twenties. I know how to diet. It's a four letter word. I teach my clients to just look at food as choices. That's way more fun. Intuitive eating, yes, I've heard of that before and going back to it.

No rules, no stories, no drama. Do what works for you, not the crowd. Yes, I will still drink green juices and good quality foods. I like the way I feel that way. I'm going to back to my basics. Self-love diet is my thing. Going back to being kind to me and eating what feels good at the time. Mindful bites that I will savor. Practicing what I preach. Sometimes we have to relearn what we thought we knew to feel it deeper.

I will not eat in judgement. I will not eat guilt. I will not eat shame. I will eat good thoughts instead. I will cleanse my mindset and that is the best thing for my body.

The Ultimate 2016 Cleanse

Rachele M. Pojednic, PhD   |   January 11, 2016   10:44 AM ET

Now that we are two weeks into 2016, past the juice cleanse cayenne pepper detox coffee enema phase, it's time to get real about making some lasting lifestyle changes. Sure, maybe your karma was through the roof and your toxins were at an all time low when you were subsisting solely on tinctures of carrot mango dandelion essence, but can you really commit to living next door to a cold press juice joint for the rest of your life? And let's be honest, after a week on a liquid-only purge, do you truly feel like you're "basking in a post-cleanse glow" or are you now binging on crunchy chips and salty cheese and frantically airing out your bathroom?

Right. Now you're left trying to figure out how to transition back into real life, with all the daily challenges that come with it. And here's the real buzz kill. All the overpriced low glycemic gluten free organic elixirs that you just tortured yourself with for the past 3-7 days were only temporary - the karma, the toxins, the glow, gone. The second you popped that first nacho in your mouth, it was over. Back to pre-cleanse internal disaster area.

But, rejoice, all is not lost! You have grown! Despite the migraines, cramping, and five packages of toilet paper, you have started on a really important journey to wellbeing. Don't give up on all the healthy habits you have jumpstarted this past week, even if you never want to down another green smoothie again. Lasting change can truly happen. A three day cleanse isn't going to heal you forever. But, there are long-term strategies that will.

So, as a guide back to sanity (...and solid food...) here are four ideas for true lifetime cleansing.

Warning - these tips are crazy simple and yet super hard to implement. They take your whole life to get right. But, with dedication and determination, they will work.

1. Stop dieting: Diets don't work. Actually, they work for a few months, and then you gain the weight back, no matter what diet you go on. In fact, recent studies show that if you are normal weight and diet anyway, your body has a tendency to regain more fat than had been lost in a "fat overshoot" correction by your metabolism. Instead, start crowding out the crap in your diet with real food, not diet food - fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, lean meats and fish. These foods have not only been shown to result in weight loss, but also have incredible health benefits that will truly bring out your lasting inner glow!

2. Drink Responsibly (or not at all): After the amount of pickling you did to your liver over the holidays, maybe your go-to detox was a dry-January. If so, vow to make the long term change in your drinking habits from weekend booze-hound to either a committed one to two drinks per day or forever-teetotaler. While zero to moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to reduce rates of some diseases, hitting it hard only on the weekends has the complete opposite effect. So lay off the Friday-Saturday benders, and instead, start buying and savoring a couple gentle pours of a good red (...or stick to tea).

3. Move your body: While what you put in your mouth certainly is critical, physical activity has an equally important effect on overall health, no matter what weight you are. And it doesn't make any difference what you do, as long as you do something! Go to yoga. Do cartwheels. Take the dog for a walk. Hit the gym. Run intervals up mountains. Just do whatever makes you happy and keeps you coming back for more.

4. Let all that other -ish go: If you truly want to wring yourself out from the inside, stop dwelling on all the negative crap in your life. Instead, sit quietly with yourself a few minutes every day and practice mindfully focusing on the positive moments. This mindfulness meditation has been shown to slow cellular aging by lengthening protective DNA factors called telomeres. That's a much more impactful and scientific approach to successful aging than a questionable and overpriced online kit for a colon cleanse.

As it turns out, health doesn't come in three-day spurts of righteousness. Wellness takes practice and commitment, every single day. It doesn't come in a bottle or a pill or test tube. True health requires a realization that moderation actually is the shiny and sexy alternative -- that the latest purification regimen is fleeting, a distraction that draws your attention away from the true elements of healthfulness. Wellness comes with the understanding that oatmeal, bananas, and taking the stairs indeed are the path to the promised land, not simply a boring sermon. So, rather than wasting money and precious time on temporary fixes guaranteed to bring about bliss and immortality, take the inimitable long view. Walk to the grocery store for some good old-fashioned apples and oranges, taking note of one or two things that make you smile in the world around you.

3 Ways to Cleanse Your Life of Haters

D.D. Kellington   |   January 4, 2016    4:35 PM ET

Everyone likes to have new beginnings or cleanse for the new year. We want to rid ourselves of the things that hold us back and weigh us down. Sometimes that means losing certain people along with those extra holiday pounds.

It's difficult to have new beginnings and a positive attitude when you have toxic people in your life, specifically, an adult bully or hater. Unlike the playground tormentor of your past, this new-age bully has social media to use as his/her weapon of choice, but the bullets are still the same; words.

It could be the overly sarcastic Facebook "friend" that cunningly leaves snarky remarks when you have good news to share or just anyone that leaves you feeling picked-on, belittled, intimidated or insulted. They're there to tear you down, embarrass you, and rain on your parade.

These are broken people who feel insecure and ineffective in their own lives. They get irritated by and jealous of your happiness and success. Their intention is to hurt you with their verbal poison.

So what can you do to cleanse them from your life?

1. Spotlight Them

Bullies and antagonists are usually cowards. If they're not saying something rude behind your back or online, they may disguise it as a joke or teasing, except you're not laughing. Shine a light on their bad behavior by calmly calling them out as being unkind or ask them what exactly they meant by their comment. Simply saying, "And what exactly do you mean by that?" puts the spotlight on the bully and they are forced to be exposed along with their mean-spirited behavior and bad intentions. Make sure to use their full name when addressing them on social media. Stinging humor is also an effective tool for shutting down haters, like responding with; "Where's your off button?" Stand your ground but never engage them at their level.

2. Ignore Them

Sometimes no response at all is the best response. It's hard, but it renders your aggressor powerless. With no attention or reaction, they are forced to move along and look elsewhere for a fight. Think of it as, he who cares less wins. Narcissists and sociopaths thrive on upsetting and belittling you. They have no empathy or real emotional connections. Unable to feel real love and joy they can only feel good about themselves at someone else's expense. The only way to extract them from your life is to have no response at all, but if they persist...

3. Delete Them

Take ignoring them one step further. Extreme rudeness, name calling and repeat offenders need to be deleted and unfriended in real life and online. We hesitate to unfriend someone because we're more worried about their feelings then ours. Yes, it will be awkward at the next PTA meeting after you unfriend Cindy's husband for being an insulting ass, but you didn't do anything wrong. Let them feel awkward. It's your right to purge your life of those who aren't clapping for you. Wish them love and light and hit that "unfriend" button to detoxify your life.
Follow on Instagram @DDKellington

The Collagen of Consciousness

Miriam Ava   |   January 3, 2016   10:36 AM ET


It's on the quiet, cool days of May, when soothing fog and buffering dove grey clouds float snugly across the sky, that one reaches clarity.

Paradoxically, the veil between the earth and the universe lifts the barriers between you and your true self. It's as if the fog purges the pores of your mind and deep-cleanses the skin of your psyche.

Feed your mind the collagen of consciousness. Rehydrate and plump up your thoughts into full potential. Juicy energy attracts true life force.

My Breakup With Social Media

Laura Aiisha   |   November 28, 2015   12:38 PM ET


For the last few years, I've done a three-week cleanse at this time of year. It gives me pause on all of my normal behaviors as far as food and other indulgences go. It's a challenge, it's scary, and wow, I feel like a warrioress when I've made it through.

This fall I've decided to hold off on the physical cleanse and focus on a digital cleanse of sorts. I'm putting a pause on all of my projects and choosing to do a social media detox from now through the end of the year.

There's been quite a lot happening in my world over the last few years that I haven't shared publicly, and in order to give this choice context, I'm going to give you some insight into my inner world.

It all started in the fall of 2013, just as I was about to take my first trip to Bali to meet with a group of Femme entrepreneurs to powwow about our businesses and expand our possibilities in the palm of one of the most sacred beautiful places I've visited yet.

"It" meaning my shadow. My shadow started to come out of hiding and dance with me. Oddly enough it took over a year to realize that this was a dance, that I had not fallen backward, retracted, lost anything... just that I had reached another place in my journey where my shadow was ready to be seen in a larger light, greater capacity and newer perspective.

It was unsettling to say the least. At the end of 2013 I was wrapping up the best financial year in my consulting business yet. I was feeling good, strong, powerful... ready for the more better that I was sure was on it's way.

When 2014 rolled around, I wasn't prepared financially, mentally or emotionally to have one of the leanest financial years I've ever had as an adult. I was convinced I would keep climbing the financial ladder and growing not only my consulting business but also my passion-based business, which I had been pouring resources, time and energy into since 2012. The goal/vision was to transition from consulting to singing, speaking, creating and uplifting as the vehicle to share my greatest contribution in the world, and to also thrive financially.

I was sure it would happen fairly quickly as I had seen it happen for others.

At the top of the year, I lost two of my best clients unexpectedly for different reasons. It was disappointing, but I threw myself into business development for my firm and found myself losing faith, and dwindling any savings I had built up when great meetings turned into dust on the shelf, and my frustration (and fear) were mounting. It literally felt like opportunities were disintegrating into thin air, and I didn't know why.

I feel into the victim again, screaming, cursing creation (think, me standing in my kitchen, finger pointing into the air, murmuring, shouting or screaming at a power greater than myself for not having my back. Sort of hilarious to think of it now, but it wasn't very funny at the time) for "making" me struggle so much, for making other people successful in their endeavors and for making me a failure. I started to despise myself; I was jealous of others who's passion-based businesses and projects were picking up, thriving and going big on all levels. Deep inside I felt like a loser, worthless and a failure.

I wondered where the bubbly, eternal optimist went. Where did she disappear to? And how the hell could I get her back?!

Regardless of all of this, I embarked on one of the biggest solo projects I've done to date. I recorded and released five of my original songs on a self-funded, self-produced EP titled "I Am."

Honestly, I was certain that my community was going to stand behind me 150 percent, support the project to the fullest and share it all over social media with their friends and family. I was certain I'd make at least enough to recoup my investment and put some money in the bank. But what seemed to happen, like many things that year, is that even though I worked my ass off, and received support from my community, it felt like it fell flat, almost on deaf ears.

I began judging myself harshly based on how many Facebook comments or likes my posts received, or how many people shared (or didn't) share my posts (because it's all about the numbers right?!). I fell into the comparison trap over and over again, and compared myself harshly to other people, wondering why they got so much love on social media, and why my community didn't seem to support me the way I thought they would. I found myself wondering, "Does anyone even give a shit?! Am I making a difference?!"

Needless to say, I went waaaay down the deep dark rabbit hole. It was one of the most uncomfortable years I've had in many years. The shadow was dancing with me, and I was resisting.

During the summer of 2014 I hit another "wall"... with my daughter about to start her senior year in high school, I started to feel anxious about the transition our relationship and reality were starting to take. I fell into a depression for the first time in years and felt so out of sorts in my body/heart/mind/soul and in my in general life.

Scrapping by financially, with mounting credit card debt for the first time in my adult life, I felt even more worthless. How could someone with so much potential, so much drive, so many skills, experience, and ideas be struggling so much to make money? To be happy? To feel fulfilled? I felt devastated when I realized that even after all of the work I've done to transform and evolve myself, my self-worth was still directly tied to how much or how little money I was capable of generating doing my own thing.

Throughout the 2014-2015 school year, I felt like time was dripping through my fingers. I started to come face to face with the reality that I'd spent a large part of my daughter's life obsessed with being successful, and for me that meant making over $100,000 a year, being well known and respected in my industry and thriving in all areas of my life. Coming into 2015, I was carrying a significant amount of credit card debt, had few prospects on the table, had barely any money in the bank to support my daughter's college journey, and felt like a complete and utter failure.

I started to face the uncomfortable reality that I cannot get time back. I can't get 5, 8, 10 years old back with my daughter. I won't be 20, 25 or 30 again. And, it's difficult if not impossible to make that time up. There's no going back... only forward.

My daughter's senior year was one of the toughest years I've had with her. All of the things that she's experienced in her life started bubbling up to the surface. To say the year was chaotic and challenging is an understatement. I felt that my relationship with my daughter was in a serious breakdown, and I was heartbroken and finding it difficult to cope. I felt so small and couldn't see the light at the end of the tunnel.

On some of the many nights she would spend out of the house, I started to realize how strong my parents were when I ran away at 16, not only out of state but across the country to California. No cell phones, no social media, just a weekly call home from their run away daughter via payphone. Their faith and trust were deep and unshakeable. Their support and experience gave me the faith and courage to carry on.

During the spring and summer of 2015 business started to pick up. My daughter recommitted to finishing high school, and things were moving forward in a positive direction. I cannot even begin to express how amazing it felt to witness my daughter graduate from the same high school I dropped out of 22 years earlier. Her ceremony was exactly 20 years from what would have been my high school graduation. Talk about full circle!!

Something new was stirring within me. I remember looking at her father and his mother as we were getting ready to leave the graduation. And I thought to myself, "I am no longer willing to carry your judgments and criticisms of me. I am FREE of you!!"

That was the moment that my newly-named "Liberation Mode" really kicked in.

I started learning how to relate to my daughter in new, more adult ways (still learning!) I started to disconnect my sense of self-worth to the amount of money I was making (this is a process!) I made changes in my spending habits, choosing to humble myself and learn how to live with the discomfort of having a heap of credit card debt.

I again went through another shadow play dance at the end of the summer and into September. My daughter was off to college in New York City, and I was, for the first time in my adult life, freer than I've ever been or felt. There is something really powerful that happens when you can begin to measure your life in 18-year chunks of time.

I began reviewing the last two-plus decades, and how this high school drop out, black stallion wild child managed to naturally birth, parent and raise a young woman while creating a career out of thin air based on the inherent skills and talents that I have. Now that is a powerful measure of success.

I started to acknowledge and recognize how much I've HELD over the last 18 years, how much I've achieved and how many amazing adventures we'd been on so far. I also started to come to terms with all of the hopes and dreams that I strived for over the last two decades that haven't come to be just yet. Like wanting to meet my king man while my daughter was still living at home as a child, so that I could provide her with a "proper" traditional family. While there's grief in my soul that this didn't happen before she left for college, it also feels like a huge relief. Like a weight has been lifted.

As I've moved into autumn and am getting settled in this transition and new reality, a few things are becoming very clear to me...

Quiet the noise
Let go
Trust the process
Clear out and simplify
Don't do or create for doing's sake
Slow down
I don't have to ride the roller coaster with my daughter or anyone else... I can become a compassionate observer
Allow things to come to you naturally

A few months ago I on-boarded a new VA and brought on another young woman to handle social media marketing for me. We were just about to dive into a whole rebranding process for "Laura Aiisha" while planning a new website launch in January and some cool projects for the new year. But I couldn't ignore the song of my soul asking me to put a pause on things, to take a break, to let it go.

Shit... this is scary for me!!

Over the last few years, I've noticed how social media affects my state. At least 50 percent of the time I find myself getting caught up in comparing myself to others and checking to see how many people have liked or commented on one of my posts. When there's a lot of activity I feel great! And where there isn't, you already know... there I go down the rabbit hole. Realizing the toll on my time, emotions and mental state social media can have, I knew something had to change.

So, ironically enough, this passionate networker, connector, community builder is choosing to silence the noise. To take a break from social media and put a pause on all of the doing I've been doing, so that I can get clear, create some space and clarify how I REALLY desire to spend my time in the new year, how I REALLY desire to contribute on this wild and wonderful adventure called life, and how I desire to feel as I live, love, generate and receive.

It feels big, scary, exciting, nerve wracking and so many other things... and it is ohhh soooo necessary and liberating!!

I know this is a longer than normal post, and I know that if you've made it this far then it's carried some value for you.

I'd love to hear your comments and some insights into what you're choosing to put a pause on (or recommit to) in order to get clearer about what you really want to be/do/create/experience/share with and in the world in 2016.

And, if you're feeling this and know someone else might too, please share.

Since I won't be on social media or a while, please send any private messages to me by clicking here. You can also stay up to date by joining my email list. Join by clicking here.

On this Thanksgiving weekend I'm giving sooo much thanks for YOU! I'm also giving thanks for life's ups and downs, because I believe that it is the full spectrum that creates the most dynamic journey.

Here's to more better!