That’s Lettuce?! – A Different, Kinder Veggie Tale

Earlier this week, I stopped into a make-your-own burrito place for lunch. The lunch rush was building, the line was growing longer, but the space was small enough that you could interact with (and hear) those around you.

Even with a slew of burrito lovers, I could clearly hear the orders for the couple of those a few places after me in line.

It’s probably a good time to fess up at this point and tell you I’m a people watcher. I LOVE how we interact with each other, how we experience seemingly inconsequential moments and make sense of our world. (Because of this, I think I may be more attuned to what goes on around me. Although most days I wish I didn’t hear the conversations of others in restaurants when the conditions were like these, that day, I was humbled and happy that I did.)

Two women – perhaps colleagues, or maybe just friends meeting for lunch – followed me in line.

Their camaraderie and a sense of ease in the friendship was clear by how they engaged with one another. The first – let’s call her Ana – had never been to a lunch spot like this before, and the second – let’s call her Becky – was coaching her through the phases of building a burrito bowl.

With confidence, Ana selected her protein, rice and beans – the first phase of building a burrito; she was confident at the beginning of phase two, selecting pico de gallo (salsa fresca) and corn salsa, but then she was caught VERY off-guard.

“That’s LETTUCE?” she exclaimed. She could hardly believe it!

Romaine lettuce, which you or I may consider as a staple, was completely unfamiliar to her!

I could not believe it. In truth, my immediate internal reaction without any pause or conscious policing was totally judgmental, “this woman doesn’t know what lettuce is…”

But then, I checked myself, paused, and thought, wow. I live in a country where people aren’t familiar with easily accessible vegetables. There are people in our offices, communities, or friend groups who wouldn’t recognize romaine lettuce. (Not to mention people who don’t have easy access to lettuce at all!)

Becky, aka woman #2, did not judge, nor give her a hard time; neither did the employee. The women moved through the line without further ado and then sat down, proceeding to take pictures of their food and enjoy their time together.

What an unexpected gift Becky gave to Ana, most likely without either of them realizing it.

In my head, here’s how it went: The ladies decided to do lunch. Becky offered up the burrito place; Ana had not been before and agreed to try something new.

A commonplace, almost boring scenario, right?

Here’s the Aha!

As a result, Ana stepped outside of her comfort zone, got exposed to healthier options, was able to speak up about not knowing and was still treated lovingly.

And all of this happened over lunch!?

My take-away was that it really is the simplest of actions and moments that build our friendships and our health, and in every relationship – or interaction – we have an opportunity to cultivate curiosity and turn away from judgment.

In any given moment, we could be either Ana or Becky in this scenario.

We could be the friend opening up another’s eyes to something different, encouraging another to explore, and, in the process, sparking a healthier lifestyle for her.

Or we could be the friend who is outside her comfort zone, hoping no one judges, feeling unsure and as though we may not belong, then surprised to find we’re surrounded by loving kindness.

Whether you’re Ana or Becky, you can show people what you like, who you are, and what you value while also holding space to explore their view is where true change can start.

It may only take one small step to spark a larger change in our health, our homes, our hearts and our communities. Ana and Becky offered it to each other, and those around them are better for it.

What small change can you make today and who can you share that with?

If you can relate to this post, share your thoughts below, and, if you have any friends who might find this article helpful, please be sure to forward along!





The Beauty of “UNSUBSCRIBE” in Email and in Life

It has come to my attention that I get too. much. email.

Not the onslaught of work-related messages – those require a whole other coping strategy to be covered in a separate blog post for some of you.

Let’s talk about the barrage of promotional or informational emails I willingly subscribed to over the years that are (I believe) multiplying amongst themselves the longer I leave them unopened.

Too. Much.

My intentions were good, thinking, “I will give you my email address, and you shall give me a grand promotion and delightful inspirations with your beautiful informative or motivational emails!”

Sounds like a win-win. Until I did the same with an inordinate amount of individuals and institutions.

Eek! I did what any rational human would do in those conditions, I either stopped reading personal emails (sorry, friends!) or I mass deleted. I didn’t actually want to take the time to fix the problem by unsubscribing.


Until I had a few minutes of clarity and calm last week when it occurred to me that I could unsubscribe to just a few here and there and eventually cull my inbox down to a manageable amount of email that I wanted to read AND I decided I would be more selective about giving out the keys to my electronic mail kingdom. Let’s not repeat this nonsense in another five years, right?

And then, as I tend to do, I got to thinking.

Consider this tale of reaching email overload and the unsubscribe. Could it be a metaphor? You betcha!

How many times have we signed up or opted in for a conversation, friendship or even a relationship that we thought was mutually beneficial – it was so alluring at the get-go – to realize later that the fit just wasn’t right after a time.

Maybe you bought-in because you felt you belonged, or it provided validation, fun or connection.

Whatever your intention, it was real, and it is valid.

You felt you needed whatever you signed up for because you believed it would help you feel better, inspired, loved. Not a bad motivation, right?

We get stuck when the message is no longer suiting where we are, yet we continue to subscribe.

Perhaps the conversation is stale, or the values fueling the friendship no longer resonate with us. Perhaps that Facebook group doesn’t leave you feeling inspired, but deflated or tired.

We all grow and evolve at different rates. We change. Others change. When those rates of change aren’t the same, we’re no longer in sync. The benefit isn’t the same, or just isn’t there.

That’s OK.

Once you realize there might be a dynamic off-kilter, it’s time to do something about it. You’re worth it.

If you have a sense you may want to unsubscribe to a few outdated conversations or groups, here are a few tips to get you started.

  1. Practice awareness and mindfulness.

    This means to simply take stock of how you feel when you’re a part of conversations, spending time with individuals and groups and engaging online. Do you feel uplifted, energized at your core? Inspired and at peace? Part of something that makes your soul come alive or at least helps you breathe easier?

  2. Take note of how you feel.

    Make it a point to spend time with those who lift you up into a higher, more fulfilling place. Those who don’t, well, see #3.

  3. Unsubscribe.

    If you feel slimed, depressed or angry, pause. Realize how you’re feeling, accept that this environment or individual may not be a good fit. Then, minimize exposure to those conversations, groups or people. You can even mentally unsubscribe while in the middle of the conversation as you figure out a graceful, respectful exit.

You alone control how you spend your energy. Even if you have a full-time job, are retired or a student living at home, you still have the ability to control your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes and actions.

Your mental and emotional energy is within your scope of influence and you can choose where to invest. I give you the permission to take control of how you devote your unique skills, talents and mental and emotional energy to making you feel healthy, happy and fulfilled.

Within you is where the magic happens. Where change occurs. If you want to see change in your life, your body, your job, your family, start with you. Thoughts. Beliefs. Attitudes. Actions.

Unsubscribe is a beautiful technique! I encourage you to unsubscribe to outdated ideas, conversations or friendships! The beauty, too, is you can always opt back in if the message or material becomes relevant again.

Share this message with any friend who might need help “Unsubscribing.” If you’re looking for help “Unsubscribing” in your life and not sure where to start, send us a message at Have it figured out? Share your tips with our community below! We grow stronger together!

Wishing you love, health and peace, my friends!





Stopping the Shame Game.

Each of us is awesome. Body shaming and comparing ourselves to one another is not necessary.

I got very stirred up while listening to E! News yesterday.

In discussing a recent Instagram post by Paris Jackson in which she was pictured almost nude and, as a result, subsequently received body-shaming comments online, Catt Sadler (one of the hosts) mused that she could not understand how people could body shame Ms. Paris because she has a beautiful body.

It was at this point that I had to change the channel lest I start arguing with the TV while on the elliptical machine and be removed from the gym. (The irony that I was at the gym while hearing this was not lost on me.)

By no means do I believe that Ms. Sadler was intimating that body shaming of anyone is acceptable; however it got me thinking about how easily we criticize one another, particularly around our outward appearances.

Body shaming, or any shaming of any sort, directed at any human being, is a counterproductive, negative practice that only ensures the race to the bottom of civilized society as we know it. Regardless of the body shape, size or style of the recipient, is it not, by now, an outdated practice that we would all like to see discontinued?

Shame is a scare tactic, not a technique for lasting, positive change.  Click to tweet.

To stop these unhealthy, harmful practices, we can do a few things, but first, we must let go of the belief that our outward appearance – and the exhausting practice of ensuring ageless perfection at all times – is our primary source of worth, value or beauty.

Once we acknowledge that we are more than the skin we’re in, we can begin speaking to ourselves with more kindness and grace and encouraging our daughters, friends and yes, even the men in our families and communities to, instead, see and elevate the true beauty within us all. Regardless of age, shape, gender or race, each of us is a gift to our families, communities and organizations, and to truly lift up these institutions to reach a fuller potential, we must start by building each other up as individuals, and that means stopping with the shame game.

If you have a friend, colleague or family member who could use a dose of positive feedback, take a moment and send them a quick note or share this post. Both of you will be better for it! 

We’d love to hear what’s working in your world that helps stop the shame game and gets the conversation going in a different – and more positive – direction! 

Five Healthy Holiday Tips

Collage of table scapes for Chinese New Year Feast, Hanukkah Feast, Christmas Feast and Kwanzaa Feast


We are officially in the swing of the Holiday Season!! This magical time of year brings so many opportunities for us to reconnect with ourselves, our friends, our families, and our traditions. (All of which are rich with complexity and emotion…and usually also desserts 🙂 )

Here are a few tips to help you not only survive the holidays, but also thrive during this time of year, so you can both take care of yourself and enjoy the wonder and whimsy of the season.

Stick to the Basics.
Throughout the Holidays, these year-round basics will be your best allies:

  • Pack in the greens and unprocessed, whole foods as much as you can, for instance:
    • When you’re invited to a party, bring a veggie (or even raw veggies with dip) as your dish to pass to ensure that you’ll have healthy options at your finger tips
    • Plan ahead and stock up on healthy snacks at home, so you’re not reliant on cookies and leftover pie for snacks when you get hungry
    • Fun fact: the best way to guarantee you’ll crave something tomorrow is by eating it today; if you eat less sugar and more veggies today, you’ll work with your natural wiring to prevent off-the-rails sugar cravings the next day and the next…
  • Drink plenty of water, i.e. one glass every hour if not more; when attending a party, alternate a glass of water with every sugary or alcoholic beverage, which will give you the added benefit of something to occupy your hands while also preventing a hangover
  • Exercise 20-30 minutes each day; even a 15 minute walk a few times throughout the day makes a difference for your mental and physical well-being
  • Get enough rest; when we’re rested, our willpower, patience and energy levels are significantly higher, which means better decisions and more equilibrium and energy to navigate the jam-packed social calendar!
  • Meditate or practice positive visualizations and/or affirmations five minutes a day

Be Mindful.
Very important is to be aware of what you’re eating, how full you are and why you’re reaching for seconds. Often times, we choose to feed our feelings instead of to satisfy our physical hunger. Being mindful of our choices and the reasons behind them will help us outsmart the autopilot eating that is easy to slip into when we’re having fun (or not) and surrounded by food and friends!
Quick tip: If you find yourself on emotional overload, try 4-7-8 breathing. Breathe in for a count of four, hold for seven, and exhale for a count of eight. Do this about five times whenever you feel the stress or anxiety (or any emotional trigger) overwhelming you.

Make time for yourself.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of the Holiday – the planning, the parties, the presents – and the allure of saying yes to it all! Families, friends, work, and school activities are abundant, and whether out of obligation or delight, we will say yes… and yes, and yes.  In doing so, we get thrown out of whack and worn out. Make sure you keep your overall well-being in mind as you schedule your fun and festivities.

Here are a few ideas to help you maintain your equilibrium:

  • Schedule your workouts on your calendar, so you can blow off steam and get those natural endorphins to keep you energized
  • Say no to social engagements if it’s too much (or simply leave early, so you can get enough rest)
  • Schedule time with friends who lift you up and nourish your soul (you know the ones)
  • Put quiet time on the calendar, such as reserving a few nights for doing absolutely nothing
  • Take a nap on a Saturday afternoon
  • Have a “wrapping party” to allow you and friends to catch up as you wrap gifts or a cookie swap where the cookies baked can be given as goodies for co-workers or teachers (time with friends AND gifts for folks on your list sounds like a win-win!)
  • Give yourself permission to ask for help and/or delegate; for instance, if you’re having a party, prioritize your to-do list and enlist family to help or hire someone to help clean before or after, ask friends to bring a dish to share or help clean-up afterwards, etc.

Whatever helps you maintain your sense of self and balance this time of year is a MUST.
Spoiler alert: it may vary day-to-day, and it may not look the same as what your friend, sister, mom or significant other needs, and that’s OK. Taking the time to make time for yourself and your mental, emotional and spiritual health this time of year will reap enormous benefits!

Eat the pie. Then let it go.
It’s OK to indulge, especially if you’re keeping the other 80% of your food and drinks on the lighter side. One powerful trick to minimizing the impact on your overall health (and waistline) is letting go of any guilt your carry for indulging in a slice of pie (or two), and then resetting to “normal” eating habits. Remember that there are hidden calories and sugar in holiday libations and dishes. Swap in water or herbal tea where possible, and if you do indulge at that office party, overindex on clean eating for your other meals that day and a few days after.

Most important of all… Enjoy the moments, the meals, the memories of this Season! Savor each bite and every experience because this year’s Holiday season is different than all those that have come before and all those to come. Soak it in. Even if you eat too much, have an emotional breakdown, or don’t get it all done before your family or guests show up, it’s OK. It truly is OK. Breathe. Speak kindly to yourself, and give yourself grace. ‘Tis the season after all. Take advantage of the joy and generosity of this time of year. Live in the moment. Say yes when you feel it, and say no when you feel called to. Take care of yourself and those you love and enjoy!

Peace, Love, and Happy Holidays!


Backsliding to Benadryl: Coping with a Surprise Reaction

Benadryl, anaphylactic, allergies, food allergies, kids with food allergies

Just when you think you have it all under control, life throws you a curve ball.

My recent zinger really threw me for a loop. On a recent trip to Connecticut, I was just delighted to belatedly celebrate  my birthday with a soul sister at an exquisite local farm-to-table restaurant; however, my enthusiasm overshadowed my good judgment when I either A) disregarded my instinct to have the crushed pumpkin seeds left off of the mouth-watering sea trout dish I could hardly wait to try, or B) took a bite of chocolate garnishing the chocolate peanut butter gelato. Ugh, just when I thought I was done having reactions, this mysterious menace left my face a hot, inflamed tomato. Why this oh-so-delightful new face pigment couldn’t have found a home in only my legs, so that I could have easily concealed it with pants or a cute maxi is beyond me!

allergic reaction, nuts, sensitivities, food allergy, kids with food allergies, what it feels like to have an allergic reaction
Did these seemingly innocent, yet suspicious seeds leave me looking like an open pomegranate?


chocolate peanut butter, Community Table, farm to table, connecticut, south kent, gluten free on the go, nut allergy
…Or was this decadence to blame?


After all these years of learning the in’s and outs, of formally studying coping and avoidance techniques in a slew of various situations, of  finally feeling like I had a grasp on this nonsense, I thought I had my reactions all figured out! Oof, how much I am still learning!

It was a truly humbling experience to not only been knocked off my safe buoy in the sea of anaphylactic up’s and down’s, but in such a visibly & unattractive manner. I truly felt like the Hunchback of Notre Dame! (So much so that I insisted we not take any pictures to document the flare-up… sorry, guys, but no visuals of the “incident.”)

Backsliding to Benadryl is bound to happen. Almost like a metaphor for life, we will inevitably be caught off guard. From time to time, we will find ourselves physically compromised and feel vulnerable as a result.

A few important things to remember:

    • ALWAYS be prepared
      Carry Benadryl, an epipen, a snack bar, whatever you need to carry to keep your personal anti-allergy arsenal fully stocked. Think ahead, plan ahead, and pack your purse.

      Cope, benadryl, anaphylactic, nuts, allergies, food allergies
      Sisterly support definitely helped me cope!
    • Make sure those around you know your triggers and will support you
      Thankfully, my dinner date has known me my whole life and has been there for previous reactions. She recognized the symptoms and was sensitive to how I needed to handle. She kept an eye on me and asked me throughout the evening if I was doing ok and if I needed anything. That kind of support helped me stay calm and feel comforted – a HUGE help in the throes of backsliding.
    • Don’t beat yourself up
      It was hard for me to quiet the gut response, “I should have known better.” Eh, shoulda, coulda, woulda as they say. I did the best I could with the situation, thinking all was safe on the plate, and yes, I made a mistake, but I handled the unfortunate consequence effectively because I had packed my trusty antihistamines. Next time, I’ll know. Speak kindly to yourself as you care for yourself in the recovery of any reaction. The chemicals and adrenaline are pumping to help you survive, and the last thing your physical body needs is introducing the stress hormones that result when we beat ourselves up.
    • Give yourself time to bounce back
      Again, the chemical response that ensues after your body combats the histamine response has physical and emotional effects that last beyond that 2-20 minute reaction time. Take it easy the next couple of hours or days. Listen to what your body needs and honor those messages. If we don’t take care of our bodies, where will we live? Check in with yourself and take care of you.

Here’s to fewer Benadryl-Epinephrine aperitifs!