SalmonBerry

Archive for the ‘Mindfulness’ Category

Salmonberried

In Mindfulness, Yoga on July 8, 2013 at 2:32 am
salmonberry breakfast

Inspired by my business name.

When I first began handing out my business cards, one friend in particular (a very funny dude) immediately starting using Salmonberry as a verb. Such as “I salmonberried some shrimp on the grill” or “Let’s salmonberry this yoga class and get coffee and a scone instead” or “Why don’t you salmonberry some greens and garlic and pair it with brown rice?” Even as a verb it has many different meanings with most people not realizing that salmonberries are an actual fruit.

salmonberry lunch

Lunch break during Salmonberry photo shoot. Smoked salmon, avocado, and watermelon juice.

I like the anonymity of my business name in that it’s not tied to a particular industry. I could design motorcycles or develop a line of lip gloss under this name. Salmonberry Consulting was inspired by my childhood in Bristol Bay. Salmonberries are a tart, coral-colored (reminiscent of wild salmon flesh), raspberry-looking berry that grows wild in the Pacific Northwest of North America. And two of my favorite foods are salmon and berries, both of which are uber-healthy superfoods, so “Salmonberry Consulting” was born.

me looking at salmon

At 3 years old checking out sockeye salmon caught in set-net.

Speaking of born, I was literally built and grown on salmon. My parents would throw salmon and veggies from their garden in a blender and feed the puree to me in my high chair. The salmon was obtained by casting set-nets on the beach in front of our home. The 25-foot tidal surge would bring a bumper crop of king and sockeye salmon that would feed us all winter long. As I child, I didn’t realize this privelege and begged my parents to buy canned tuna at the store for a change of pace. They would just laugh and now I get why. Many of my friends growing up came from families of commercial fishermen (and are now fishermen themselves). Bristol Bay and the Nushagak River (to which the spawning salmon return each year) is the largest sockeye salmon run in the world accounting for over 50% of all wild-caught sockeye salmon. This fishery is heavily regulated with oversight by Alaska Fish & Game to ensure the runs are sustainable and both subsistence and commercial needs will be met for generations. You can feel good about purchasing wild Alaskan salmon as this wild fish has all the uber-healthy qualities we expect from seafood without being over-fished.

me meditating

Me. Pretending to meditate.

Anyway, the point of all this is an exercise for me to fully wrap my head around the fact that the scope of my business will be changing this summer as well as over the next year. And, it’s all going to be OK. I won’t be teaching as much yoga or meditation…in person…as I am evolving to doing online-coaching for both. I’ll be teaming up with a personal trainer from Vancouver whose fitness coaching is entirely online – Anthrophysique. I’ve dismantled my yoga studio for the summer so I could rent my home as a vacation rental and as I took it apart, I got this overwhelming feeling that I would not be putting it back together again in the fall. I immediately got this scary I-don’t-want-anything-to-change feeling. I’ve since reviewed that fear and I realize that my studio will be back in the fall but it will be used less for teaching groups and more for filming and documenting the goings-on at Salmonberry Studio. Online yoga coaching involves me demonstrating poses for my clients and for them to have access to repeated viewing (as opposed to a Skype session); therefore, the need to film myself. Scary stuff. For me at least. It’s a whole new way of putting myself out there.

nametag

I’m going to have to wear a name tag.

 Let’s also add in that I will basically be going back to school in the fall. Beginning in September, I will be a full-time dietetic intern doing clinical and food service rotations at various locations around San Diego…working 9-5, 40hrs/week. I’ll have to wear shoes and a bra. I won’t be able to take yoga breaks or eat lunch by the water on my favorite bench. This next year will be a time for enormous growth but I’m resisting. I am enjoying the current structure from which I will now have to release my grip. I’m feeling quite childish and stubborn. And scared. I am embarking, yet again, into the unknown to do things that I’m not quite comfortable with. I know I need to let go and relax into the experience because it is exactly what I have called into my life for a specific purpose. But, wow, I can feel my body resisting! Any chance you are maintaining a tight grip on an out-dated structure that may need to be let go?

Cleanse – Day 4

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on May 17, 2013 at 7:24 pm
tea

All tea. All day.

“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~Albert Einstein

I awoke feeeling rested on Day 4, aka All Tea, All Day, and, as a I made tea and sat down to meditate, I had every intention of writing (well, maybe I ‘planned’ it…) after I got up from my meditation cushion. Instead I ended up checking email, facebook, twitter…anything but starting to write. Although I was rested, I didn’t feel super sharp or motivated. At my morning yoga class I had a deep meditative experience and found myself very present with all that I was doing and with whom I was interacting. It’s an amazing experience. I felt so full and engaged and “ON”. Like everything I’m feeling and doing at that moment is exactly what should be happening and all of my energy and attention is a laser beam to the present moment. It’s the elusive “FLOW” and I want to live there always.

As a result of my amazing yoga class, I felt very energetic and alert when, after a quick stop for avocados and lemons, I returned home and started on food prep for the next 3 days of the cleanse. The 3 days following All Tea, All Day are known as the Raw Days where I would be eating only raw fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds, a bit of raw honey and cold-pressed plant oils, as well as plenty of fresh-pressed fruit & veggie juices. Additionally, I would be entering that 1/2 of my week know as “full-on, single-parenting” and I needed to have a stocked fridge or I wouldn’t eat often enough to keep me pleasant towards my children or have enough variety to keep me interested in sticking with the cleanse.

stocked fridge

Prepared for the raw days of the cleanse.

While making my raw food staples, Chakra Salad and Salmonberry Spread, I rocked out to the Sgt. Pepper’s album. Who didn’t love the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’ when they were a kid? I thought it was the most imaginative and wacky adult song I had ever heard (it all made sense once I got to college!). And it is still a fun song to sing along to even with all that talk about tangerine skies and marshmallow pies fueling my appetite.

yogi teabag

Yogi Tea tags are my fortune cookies.

I felt very productive as I admired my stocked fridge and satisfied that I was able to kill 2-3 hours. And then it crept in. Now what? Sure, I could’ve filled my time with any numerous productive activities that may or may not have needed to get done. But they would have been distractions, another opportunity to not still myself, to not feel the feelings that I’d stuffed inside yesterday or last year or the last decade. I had wanted to cleanse myself physically and emotionally but I was also scared of truly letting go. My mind was saying “your kids will be back in 4 hours, get some stuff done before then. Make sure you’re ‘prepared’.” What does that mean anyway? Prepared? Isn’t it part of the Boy Scouts’ motto? Prepared means you are focused on the future. You are anticipating how it will turn out and what ‘things’ you will need for these future expectations. If you are prepared, you’ve done some planning.

I consider myself in recovery from ‘excessive planning disease’ which reached epic proportions when I become a mother twice within 18 months. I do believe some planning and preparation is necessary in life (I had just finished food prep for the next 3 days!) but it is so easy to get all self-righteous and control-freaky about planning. And, for me, it takes some serious mindfulness to ACTIVELY NOT PLAN my entire life away. Allowing myself the freedom for spontaneity and synchronicity to bubble up, taking equal precedence in my life, has opened me to some of the greatest opportunities for joy and playfulness that I’ve experienced since becoming so ‘adult’ about everything. This excerpt from the poem “What to Remember When Waking” by David Whyte sums it up for me: “…what you can plan is too small for you to live…”.

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Listen to your heart. Eat chocolate.

When my heart said to me “the best way you can ‘prepare’ is nurture yourself right now”, I followed my heart’s advice into a steaming, hot, bubble bath at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon! As I soaked in the bath I was conscious of how my body felt as it was supported and surrounded by the hot water. The scalding heat. The tickle-y bubbles. The slippery wetness. Conscious breathing took me deeper into my body as I inhaled the lavender scent of the bubbles and felt my muscles release and relax into the bath.

My mind, trying to rationalize as always, said, “of course! this is exactly what you needed to ‘prepare’.” But I wasn’t taking the bath to prepare myself for anything. I was taking the bath because it was most supportive thing I could do at that moment. Letting go and slowing down my breathing, along with my mind, allowed to me uncover messages, insights, epiphanies, aha moments, knowing, whatever it is that you want to call those magical, heart-centered moments, and then I could continue to stumble along…a little bit closer to those desires to which I’m being guided.

Cleanse – Day 3

In Mindfulness on May 6, 2013 at 5:39 am

roses and workWork is not always required. There is such a thing as sacred idleness.” ~George MacDonald

I woke up feeling fabulous on Day 3 despite having agreed to teach an early morning vinyasa class (not my specialty).  At 730am, I head to La Jolla Yoga Center after green juice and a smallish bowl of soup. The class was a bit awkward because my playlist would get stuck on a song eliciting exasperated you’re-wasting-my-$20-and-75-minutes stares while I tried to simultaneously instruct and manage the music. It seems that my tech savviness is rapidly decreasing as I approach 40. Becoming a yoga teacher has been a test of my willingness to continually expose myself as I lead a group to some unspoken place that is unique to each individual. I’m guessing and I’m doing my best and feeling my way through it but on some days it’s just not all that neat and tidy. This is a vulnerable place to be but I much prefer this place rather than hiding behind the possibilities and potentialities of my life.

As part of my cleanse I had decided to hire someone to spring clean my house – something I haven’t been able to do since I was separated – and get a facial. These decisions felt so indulgent that I didn’t even care as I ate my 10th bowl of soup in 3 days (I’m not really counting). I was probably drinking juice too…I can’t remember…anyway, Day 3 was more about pampering myself and my home and letting others do the work for me.

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Organic, locally-roasted, caffeinated coffee.

When I’m on a cleanse, my senses are heightened and everything around me looks so much more vibrant  and defined. I see more, I smell more, I hear more. It makes walking around town on a busy, sunny day like a marvelous adventure. While running errands, I managed to buy a decaf coffee without purchasing a scone but then the coffee tasted quite flat. My tastebuds were so sensitive that I couldn’t deny the badness of decaf. I really love coffee and will be going right back to drinking it after this cleanse but I have to admit that it feels empowering to not NEED the coffee each morning. I’ve discovered I actually can handle my mornings without the caffeine crutch (hats off to all of you who do it everyday). Coffee is a soothing morning ritual for me. It’s also one of the smells of my childhood (coffee, sawdust, and salt air). As a child my parents were often building, finishing, or remodeling the houses we lived in – and we lived on the bay – and there was always a pot of coffee brewing while they were up late staining hardwood floors or painting trim and listening to the Beatles or Bob Dylan. To make up for the flat decaf, I treated myself to an orange-carrot-ginger juice which was like candy to my all-veggies-all-day-tongue and headed to back to the house to get some more work done.

It’s important to take care of yourself inside and out during a cleanse as your physical body and your surroundings are a reflection of what is going on inside you on an emotional level. And having the abundance to get a facial as well as spring-clean my home felt absolutely in alignment with all the cleansing I was doing internally. With physical cleanses come emotional cleanses and before I got into the salon, I broke down sobbing. I was painfully aware of the thoughts and emotions associated with my crying but I was not aware of what triggered these thoughts and emotions. It wasn’t anything I had just heard or saw and, worse, it wasn’t a new emotion about a new issue. It was a recycled emotion or issue that I thought I was long past. Clearly, I wasn’t past it and had to let it move through me. So I did. And I felt lighter. Exactly what I had been aiming for on this cleanse.

Cleanse – Day 2

In Mindfulness, Nutrition, Yoga on April 29, 2013 at 7:21 am
cauliflower and cayenne

Steamed cauliflower with cayenne.

“Witnessing can be called the seed and enlightenment can be called the flowers. But begin from witnessing, and then it starts growing. Go on nourishing it, go on caring for it, go on watering it, strengthen it in every possible way — and one day it is going to blossom. That day will be the greatest day of your life.” ~Osho

Day 2 went much smoother. I had to be at the studio at 6am to open for sunrise yoga and I contemplated stopping at Brick ‘n Bell for a decaf coffee (I stop there every morning that I open the studio) but I didn’t think I could resist the smell of baking pastries (mmm, slowly savoring a cranberry scone in my mind right now). Had cleansing soup and green juice for breakfast at the studio. Went straight to DMV (had an appointment – painless). Then to my home studio to teach a class at noon. It was a gorgeous day so after class I took my soup bowl down to the beach and ate it while sitting in the sand. Getting outside and into nature as often as possible during your cleanse makes the 10th bowl of soup in 2 days taste sooo much better. Nature has a grounding, calming effect. Ever take a wailing newborn outdoors and suddenly the crying stops?

beach at westbourne2

Beach at the end of my street.

I had errands on my to-do list for that afternoon but the beach was too beautiful to miss the opportunity to dig my toes in the sand and write in my journal. I had also planned to go to power yoga in the early evening before full-moon meditation but, as usually happens during these cleanses, my energy starts dipping in the afternoon, so I skipped it and worked on my computer instead. I hesitated when deciding to skip yoga. It was tempting to just power through the fatigue. My ‘stay-cation’ was the reason I had an opportunity to attend that class and part of me was saying “grab every opportunity, every time”. It’s the part of me that believes in scarcity. I’d rather choose the abundance mentality as often as possible because who wants to live believing there is never enough or will never be another chance?

cleansing soup

Cleansing Soup.

Full-moon meditation was very intense. The energy was thick as I dropped right into a deep state and was grateful that I had taken the time to eat enough and had not pushed myself too far physically. The thing about this cleanse is that you’re eating all day long. Since the meals are only veggies, they are not calorically-dense but they are high in fiber; therefore, there is only so much volume you can eat in one meal. Fiber may make you feel physically full but it’s fat that is linked to satiety (fat delays gastric emptying – stomach to small intestine). The carbs in veggies are digested quickly and moved from your stomach into your small intestine for absorption and then, bingo – you’re hungry again. I carry around baggies of steamed sugar snap peas (and veggie juice) to make sure my blood sugar doesn’t get too low. I must have eaten 5 bowls of soup this day and I just couldn’t eat another so I simmered cauliflower in veggie broth, onions, and garlic for a quick meal before meditation. With a sprinkle of cayenne, it was a delicious change of pace and exactly what I needed to get to that place where everything just falls away…

Cleanse – Day 1

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 27, 2013 at 10:46 pm
juices

Veggie Juices

“Habits allow us to not think about what we’re doing . . . giving us the illusion of ease. When we are under the illusion of ease, not thinking about what we’re doing and breathing the same old way, moving the same old way, thinking the same old way, we check out of the present, out of happiness itself.” ~ Alex Levin

My day of silence prompted me to do an 8-day cleanse. I know what you’re thinking. She’s already so healthy. Clean eating, yoga, meditation. Does she really need to cleanse? Yup, I do. I do it mostly for the emotional release and spiritual growth which allows me to come back to my heart. I am constantly striving to live from my heart. Make decisions from this place. Take action from this place. From where does your action and decision-making come? Is it fear, anticipation, avoidance, contraction? Or is it love, expansion, joy, and present-moment acceptance? Taking the time to change up our eating habits (however healthy they may already be) with a mindful cleanse allows space for awareness of the ‘stuff’ we may still be holding onto.

avocados

Organic San Diego County avocados

Anyway, this cleanse – the Salmonberry Signature Cleanse – is, roughly:

3 days of cooked vegetables only (no oils, fats, protein). Just steamed or simmered veggies. Fresh-pressed juices are definitely on the menu with a heavy emphasis on the veggies and less on the fruits.

Day 4 is just herbal tea, water, lemon water, sparkling water…clean, pure water in all forms.

3 days of raw fruits, veggies, nuts, and seeds with a bit of honey and oil. To me this means avocados all day long! Again lots of fresh pressed juices and fruits are welcome!

Day 8 is only fresh watermelon juice (or pineapple juice). At this point in the cleanse I’ll be feeling so fabulous, I’ll start annoying people (it’s happened before!). I usually drink over 100 ounces of watermelon juice on this day.

For 3 days prior to this cleanse I was to have dropped all meat, wheat, sugar, dairy, caffeine, and alcohol. But, since I don’t see the Cleanse Police in my neighborhood, I drank coffee right up to the last minute. The night before I started the cleanse was like the last supper at my house. I ate way too much and even had a belly ache…so embarrassing and clearly time for a cleanse.

Day 1 was tough (as it always is). I was crabby first thing in the morning. Most likely because I couldn’t have my beloved coffee and I hadn’t yet made the Cleansing Soup so there was nothing for breakfast. I pulled my foggy self out of bed, brushed my teeth and headed to my favorite juice bar to stock up on juices. Of course, the super cute juicer was working and I looked really rough (it was like I had a food hangover from the last supper). Oh well. I stocked up on Green Lemonade (ginger, spinach, cucumber, celery, apple, and lemon) and Super 7 (ginger, parsley, beets, bell pepper, celery, cucumber, and carrots) and transfered them into 12oz Ball jars filled all the way to the top and sealed tight so they will keep as many nutrients as possible over the next 3 days. I used to do my own juicing but my juicer is so old that it’s starting to suck at it’s job so it makes more sense for me to buy someone else’s juice. I really need to retire and recycle that poor juicer (here in SoCal that means ‘leave it in the alley’).

movie snack

Movie snack when on a cleanse: steamed sugar snap peas and veggie juice

So I started in on a green lemonade and preparing my home studio for our weekly meditation group. After meditation, I had a much better attitude so I cranked the music and powered through making the Cleansing Soup (recipes turn out much better if you sing during food prep). The rest of my day consisting of getting some work done, a walk on the beach, and 3-4 bowls of soup. In an effort to distract myself from my raging, caffeine-withdrawal headache, I met a friend at the movies. The movie was heavy, The Place Beyond the Pines, and, since I was subsisting off veggie juice and steamed sugar snap peas, I’ve had more enjoyable movie experiences. The movie was actually quite good but we both needed something lighter and more uplifting. That’s what you get when you pick movies based on eye candy as opposed to plot.

I could not get into bed fast enough after the movie and was sound asleep by 8pm. I slept like the dead all the way until 5am when I had to get up to open La Jolla Yoga Center for sunrise yoga. According to my iPhone app – Sleep Cycle – my sleep quality was 100% that night but it sure didn’t feel like it.

Tune-out Shut-down

In Mindfulness on April 24, 2013 at 3:37 pm
closed computer

No electronics – including phone!

From Saturday night at 11pm until 245am on Monday morning, I went entirely without electronic communication and almost completely w/out verbal communication. I spontaneously designed a mini-silent retreat at my own home on an ordinary Sunday. Well, maybe it wasn’t so ordinary since I was actually able to disconnect so suddenly and easily. I had no social or work obligations pending, I live alone, and my children were with their dad for an overnight. A friend prompted me to go deep to hear more clearly my inner voice. She had recently observed me doling out wonderful heart-felt advice to mutual friends while seeming a bit disconnected and shut-down when it came to matters of my own heart.

For most of my life I’ve considered myself an extrovert. I’ve always made and kept friendships easily. I’ve been seen as a leader who speaks up as well as listens and people tend to gather around me. And if I’ve got an issue or problem, I quickly gather the sisters and girlfriends and talk it out. Beginning in my early 30s, I’ve been going through a lot of transitions – becoming a mother, changing careers, learning to co-parent, embracing my singleness, starting my own business. As the years go on and the transitions get more weighty, I’ve realized that seeking advice outside of myself is the least effective way for me to find any solace or direction in the situation. Perhaps I need to more consciously embrace the introverted parts of myself and stop crowding out my inner voice with outside advice. All the answers lie within my own heart. And the answers usually make sense to no one but myself. Excessively talking it out and asking others opinions puts me in the position of defending myself and what’s on my heart. I find myself resisting other’s ideas not because I am trying to be contrary but because my  heart is saying ‘no, follow me, listen to me!’.

When I was about middle school age, I would almost obsessively ask for my mother’s opinion on the most mundane issues – should I wear the neon pink shirt or the purple one? should I put the Johnny Depp poster over the head of my bed or the foot of my bed? side ponytail or regular ponytail? rosesShe would resist giving me an answer but I would force her hand and then, inevitably, ALWAYS do the opposite of what she suggested. Why did I insist on asking her opinion? Was this the age where I stopped trusting myself to make the right decision? Until the last 5 years, I thought I had lost the ability to listen to and trust my own heart. As I look back on my 20s, there were plenty of moments of clear-as-day instinctual messages coming right up to the forefront of my consciousness. Things that I just KNEW. And, yet, I did not trust myself to act on this knowing. I needed outside counsel, outside approval, I didn’t have the confidence to defend my decisions or realize that I didn’t have to answer to anyone who expected me to defend my position.

So, about Sunday…I had the time and space and I was given the suggestion. At 11pm, I put my phone on airplane mode, turned off my computer, and took a bubble bath. After my bath I meditated and went to bed. I woke in the morning and went to yoga class. I had a minor whisper conversation with my friend who was on the mat next to me (and she had seen my Facebook post about going silent!) and then quickly left after class so I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. The rest of the day I took a long walk on the beach, journaled, read a book about becoming spiritually naked (which I am attempting here by telling you of my day of silence). My phone stayed on airplane mode and charging in my bedroom all day. Although I was not tempted to open my computer, I did find myself thinking about meal preparation and eating even when I was not hungry – perhaps to quell some restlessness or boredom in me? On two occasions I had a mild attack of panic because I hadn’t told my ex that I was going off-line. What if he was desperately trying to get a hold of me because the kids…what? Needed absolutely nothing from me and were in safe hands? I started imagining all the group messaging conversations I was missing between my girlfriends.

I was starting to feel insignificant and not needed by anyone. Every time I started to get too far into my head with projections and assumptions, I turned to my journal and reaffirmed my purpose for this day. It was to quiet my mind, quiet the outside influences, quiet the planning and projection and get very real about what was on my heart. candle and rosesI come from a long line of doers and busybodies and as I am still in transition with quite a few big things in my life (aren’t we always just going from one transition to the next?), I have to consciously resist the urge to constantly DO and instead just BE. If I don’t slow down, I’ll miss the next set of instructions (from my heart) and the opportunity to take effortless action. If I insist on continuing with my perpetual motion machine, I might still end up at the same place but I will have wasted a lot of energy and missed out on the joy of living in the flow. After dinner, I meditated, finished my book (I almost tweeted from my kindle that I finished it – terrible!) and fell asleep early. Maybe because I fell asleep early or maybe because I was having very vivid dreams, I awoke at 245am and could not get back to sleep. So I turned on my phone and went for it! Checking email, texts, and Facebook for some sort of confirmation that I was missed, loved, needed. There wasn’t much action. Apparently the world did not stop spinning on it’s axis because I decided to tune out and shut down for a mere 24 hours.

I feel calm and confident and more deeply connected to myself after taking the time to limit outside influences and instead rely on myself for the next right action. I have the ability to validate myself. I feel alone and singular and empowered. It feels good.

Love It or Leave It

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 10, 2013 at 3:43 am
greens

Swiss chard, parsley, and kale

Life’s too short to eat kale…if you don’t actually like it! Yes, it’s really good for you but if you’ve tried it every which way (raw, sautéed, baked as chips, blended in a smoothie) and you still hate it, then simply eat a different leafy green – swiss chard, collards, beet greens, mustard greens, etc.

I don’t like quinoa. There’s nothing particular ‘wrong’ with quinoa, it’s just that this itty-bitty, fluffy seed appears really wimpy to me – like it should be a garnish instead of the main event. So I rarely eat it. I like short-grain brown rice instead (sometimes w quinoa mixed in). I also eat pinto beans way more than black or garbanzo or kidney or adzuki (who eats those anyway?).

Do the healthy eating thing YOUR WAY while still holding yourself to a high standard. As long as you are eating something from each major plant group (beans, greens, nuts/seeds, oils, etc.) then don’t stress if you dislike the one deemed MOST NUTRITIOUS. The most nutritious food is the food you will actually eat! Find the leafy greens and grains you like, eat those, and ban the kale and quinoa from your repertoire. Be open to trying those banned foods in new variations or preparations – you might be surprised.

So, I REALLY like kale; therefore, it’s featured in Curried Sweet Potato & Kale Stew. You’ve got 2 choices: substitute another leafy green or give kale a try…loosen up and get creatively experimental with your food preferences.

Living a Sepia-Toned Life

In Mindfulness, Nutrition on April 3, 2013 at 9:52 pm
gratitude genius

From Danielle LaPorte’s book, The Fire Starter Sessions.

I’ve never been a black-and-white kind of thinker. You might say I am comfortable in the gray area but that evokes a kind of dullness. I prefer the gentle warmth of a sepia-toned life. My line of work, my physical appearance, or other observations of me by others prompt such assumptions as: I’m a vegan (I’m not), I never eat sugar (I do), or I sell salmonberries (I don’t!). I admit to having very healthy eating habits but I don’t follow a dogmatic approach to eating nor do I ever say ‘never’ (hmm, did I just say it?). I feel we can all learn to trust ourselves enough to live mindfully in the Sepia Zone. It’s the area between black-and-white-rule-following that is warmer and more inviting and nothing is out-of-bounds. I eat a plant-based, no-sugar diet like…80% of the time. I’m making that number up – it could be 90% or 75% – the number doesn’t matter! What does matter is that this is my diet the VAST majority of the time. It’s not painful or steeped in willpower. It’s just present moment awareness and mindful decisions that involve trusting myself and my body. This approach feels easy, joyful, and appreciative to me as opposed to strict, disciplined, and degrading. I am not the type to eat a daily dessert so when I want to treat myself, I go big. If you are the type that would rather have a treat more often but are concerned about the nutritional impact, then check out Chia Pudding and Choco-Chia Nut Spheres.