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Learning how to say “No”….for your health!

Are you typically the person who says “yes” and has a hard time saying “no”? If you feel guilty for saying no and are always saying yes to please others, then you’re probably already feeling the pinch of the “yes” trap and wishing you had a plan of escape. Read on…this could be one of the most important things you ever learn on your health journey!

What happens when you never say “No”

You might be the yes person who signs up for every class, race, charity event, adventure trip, and social outing to the point of feeling totally exhausted and in need of a holiday just to recover from too much social time. You could be the friend who is there for everyone, always putting your needs last and taking care of others.  Or, you could be stuck in that feeling of “needing to do it all” and putting pressure on yourself to be the expert chef, perfect partner, ever-present friend, fitness guru, zen meditation seeker, yoga and pilates wonder-stretcher all while posting every moment on youtube, Instagram, Facebook, twitter and in blast emails to your family and friends while working a full time job and engaged in part time study and setting up your business on the side, all while doing a juice fast cleanse of course because you don’t have time for that at any other time of year!

Whew!! Can you see how quickly all your to-do items can snowball into a get me outta here feeling?!

Feeling Frustrated, Resentful and Overwhelmed

If you’re the person who is always first to help, offer, fix, mediate or organize things for others, you will quickly see that every time someone needs something, they’ll soon be knocking at your door. Or your email, Facebook, phone and door. If you’re simply taking on too much all the time, you can start to feel overwhelmed constantly. It won’t take long at all before you don’t have a single moment left for yourself.

Your initial enthusiasm for all your new hobbies or genuine desire to help others can quickly turn into anger, resentment and frustration.  And guess what? Those energies are very bad for your health!

Most people have trouble managing their goals with how much time they realistically have in one day. Then, they feel so overwhelmed over where or how to start, so instead they do nothing. If that sounds like you, then it’s time to achieve a better balance and learn to start saying “No.”

How to say “No” (and without guilt!)

First, decide what you want. Yes, you get to decide! Don’t think of your friends or family or what anyone else thinks of you. What do you want and what is of most value to you? That’s where your focus and priorities should be.

Once you prioritize the areas of most importance, let go of the rest. Don’t feel you need to do it all! Remember, if you’ve done 10 things halfway, you’ve still done nothing! It’s impossible to do everything so let go of that pressure. Right now. And most importantly, release any guilt that may start to creep in once you make the choice.

How to actually say the word “no” can feel very difficult initially, especially if you’ve been a yes person your whole life. You might feel like peeping out a quiet no and then running for cover, for fear of what people might think or say. You’ve gotta let that bad feeling go, hold your head high and just do it! If you are really having a hard time, start by saying, “Can I get back to you on that?” This is a great tool to give yourself some space from the confrontation of saying no but without being roped into another unwanted yes. Some people need you to be the one to set boundaries with them, but you would never know it had you always said yes to their every request.

As you make the change from yes to no, release any guilt but also keep your compassion. You are allowed to be busy or not available and you don’t need to explain why. You can still say yes when you want, and that’s okay! But there is a wonderful sense of power in taking back your health and your life when you say no. Believe me, it feels so good after the first few times that you might want to start saying no to everything!

Saying YES

Benefits of Saying “No”

More time to do what’s important for you

More energy for your own health and healing

Increased self-esteem and confidence

More enthusiasm over the things that you do choose to do

Feeling that you’re on the right path (your path!) and in control of your destiny

Say “Yes” to Yourself!

The reward of starting this new practice is that you’re actually saying “yes” to yourself….that means more time for you to focus on what really matters to YOU. Time management is most definitely one of the keys to success in life. The sooner you realize that you need to be in control of how and with whom you spend your time, the better and healthier you will be. The only person that will make sure that you are achieving your own goals is YOU.

I’ve often thought to myself, “If I do that I will be achieving their goals, but those are not my goals.” Now, I don’t think like that about a minor thing like going out to the movies lol, but I will definitely make that consideration it in the case of a business proposition or a big life decision.

Remember to have the courage to follow your own path and not let others persuade you away.

Your homework: Practice saying “no” without guilt and make more time for the things YOU really want to do. You can achieve your goals… and you can start today!

More on Manifestation and Motivation:

More on Healthy Living:

More on Detox:

Learning how to say “No”….for your health!

Are you typically the person who says “yes” and has a hard time saying “no”? If you feel guilty for saying no and are always saying yes to please others, then you’re probably already feeling the pinch of the “yes” trap and wishing you had a plan of escape. Read on…this could be one of the most important things you ever learn on your health journey!

What happens when you never say “No”

You might be the yes person who signs up for every class, race, charity event, adventure trip, and social outing to the point of feeling totally exhausted and in need of a holiday just to recover from too much social time. You could be the friend who is there for everyone, always putting your needs last and taking care of others.  Or, you could be stuck in that feeling of “needing to do it all” and putting pressure on yourself to be the expert chef, perfect partner, ever-present friend, fitness guru, zen meditation seeker, yoga and pilates wonder-stretcher all while posting every moment on youtube, Instagram, Facebook, twitter and in blast emails to your family and friends while working a full time job and engaged in part time study and setting up your business on the side, all while doing a juice fast cleanse of course because you don’t have time for that at any other time of year!

Whew!! Can you see how quickly all your to-do items can snowball into a get me outta here feeling?!

Feeling Frustrated, Resentful and Overwhelmed

If you’re the person who is always first to help, offer, fix, mediate or organize things for others, you will quickly see that every time someone needs something, they’ll soon be knocking at your door. Or your email, Facebook, phone and door. If you’re simply taking on too much all the time, you can start to feel overwhelmed constantly. It won’t take long at all before you don’t have a single moment left for yourself.

Your initial enthusiasm for all your new hobbies or genuine desire to help others can quickly turn into anger, resentment and frustration.  And guess what? Those energies are very bad for your health!

Most people have trouble managing their goals with how much time they realistically have in one day. Then, they feel so overwhelmed over where or how to start, so instead they do nothing. If that sounds like you, then it’s time to achieve a better balance and learn to start saying “No.”

How to say “No” (and without guilt!)

First, decide what you want. Yes, you get to decide! Don’t think of your friends or family or what anyone else thinks of you. What do you want and what is of most value to you? That’s where your focus and priorities should be.

Once you prioritize the areas of most importance, let go of the rest. Don’t feel you need to do it all! Remember, if you’ve done 10 things halfway, you’ve still done nothing! It’s impossible to do everything so let go of that pressure. Right now. And most importantly, release any guilt that may start to creep in once you make the choice.

How to actually say the word “no” can feel very difficult initially, especially if you’ve been a yes person your whole life. You might feel like peeping out a quiet no and then running for cover, for fear of what people might think or say. You’ve gotta let that bad feeling go, hold your head high and just do it! If you are really having a hard time, start by saying, “Can I get back to you on that?” This is a great tool to give yourself some space from the confrontation of saying no but without being roped into another unwanted yes. Some people need you to be the one to set boundaries with them, but you would never know it had you always said yes to their every request.

As you make the change from yes to no, release any guilt but also keep your compassion. You are allowed to be busy or not available and you don’t need to explain why. You can still say yes when you want, and that’s okay! But there is a wonderful sense of power in taking back your health and your life when you say no. Believe me, it feels so good after the first few times that you might want to start saying no to everything!

Saying YES

Benefits of Saying “No”

More time to do what’s important for you

More energy for your own health and healing

Increased self-esteem and confidence

More enthusiasm over the things that you do choose to do

Feeling that you’re on the right path (your path!) and in control of your destiny

Say “Yes” to Yourself!

The reward of starting this new practice is that you’re actually saying “yes” to yourself….that means more time for you to focus on what really matters to YOU. Time management is most definitely one of the keys to success in life. The sooner you realize that you need to be in control of how and with whom you spend your time, the better and healthier you will be. The only person that will make sure that you are achieving your own goals is YOU.

I’ve often thought to myself, “If I do that I will be achieving their goals, but those are not my goals.” Now, I don’t think like that about a minor thing like going out to the movies lol, but I will definitely make that consideration it in the case of a business proposition or a big life decision.

Remember to have the courage to follow your own path and not let others persuade you away.

Your homework: Practice saying “no” without guilt and make more time for the things YOU really want to do. You can achieve your goals… and you can start today!

More on Manifestation and Motivation:

More on Healthy Living:

More on Detox:

How I got a Book Deal using the Law of Attraction

Have you seen the movie The Secret? By now, everyone has watched it, it’s old news and the “Law of Attraction” has already come and gone as a passing fad. But wait! It actually does work and I’m going to share an amazing story which will hopefully lift your spirits and keep you thinking about setting your goals and intentions for this life.

Power of Positive Thinking, Affirmations, Manifestation – that’s The Secret!

The Law of Attraction works like this: Focus your mind on what you want instead of what you don’t want, and watch the universe actually start to fill your mental orders. Suddenly it’s easier to meet the people you need to meet and to be at the right place at the right time to find what you were looking for and on and on it goes…creating the life that you want with the very power of your thoughts. Manifesting, setting goals and intentions, visualization and guided meditation all are ways to use the Law of Attraction. Since most people are too busy thinking about what they don’t want in life, they simply attract more of what they don’t want: bad relationships, money problems, dead-end jobs, and daily struggles. As Esther Hicks says in the film, “what you put your mind to becomes a reality.” Change the way you think, and your life will change.

The Secret DVD

How did it work for me? I first watched The Secret 7 years ago when I was living in a bungalow on the beach in Thailand. Someone brought me the original movie from the USA before it become mainstream and said, “Jennifer, you have to watch this…it’s amazing!” I looked at the cover with this special writing and I was excited to find out what was the secret! I watched the stories of creating vision boards and seeing years later as things came true, and I thought, “Wow, I want to try that!” It sounded so cool, and after all, I had nothing to lose!

The next step was to decide, well what do I want? That can be a hard question actually! Do you focus on small things, big things…where do you begin? And I remembered the story from the Chicken Soup for the Soul guy and he dreamed of getting his first big paycheck. I think he even wrote a fake check to himself just to hang on the wall. So I thought ok, I can do something like that. And this is what I did:

After watching The Secret, I created this Best Seller List for my vision board

Yes, this New York Times Bestseller list is FAKE. I made it for my vision board! I decided to put myself at the #1 spot on the chart as a way to motivate myself to write a book, and of course become a successful author too! I simply went online and found a current bestseller list, and with a quick print screen and change in photoshop, I instantly got to the top of the book charts. Well, in my mind! I have to laugh at myself because I even put a fake date on it – I decided to hit the bestseller list on the day before my birthday as a gift to myself…I gave myself a few years to complete the project and picked the year 2011.

Remember: According to The Secret, you don’t have to know how you are going to do something or when you are going to get something, you just have to know that it will happen.

So here’s the amazing thing. I printed this bestseller jpg and I hung it on my wall in my office/bungalow/house. Every day when I sat at my desk I would see my name and my book with the red circle around it and take a minute to visualize my success. Clients and friends who came to my house would sometimes notice it and say, “Wow, Jennifer I didn’t know you wrote a book!” I used to laugh and say, “Well…not yet. That’s part of my vision board.”

Over time, the paper started to get dirty and worn. I lived right on the beach so it was hard to keep things looking clean. About 2 years later I took the picture down, but I kept it in my files. And honestly, I totally and completely forgot about it.

Fast-forward to present day, another 5 years later, and my best friend is now totally into The Secret, watching it all the time. She’s putting signs in her house that say “We got another check!” and “We made another sale!” and her online sales have been going through the roof (she sells stuff on ebay and amazon). Every few days, she tells me another success story from her positive affirmations. And I laugh.. It’s fun! But still, I had totally forgotten my little vision board that I created years before.

Then, the unexpected happened. Or the expected…depending on which camp you are in! I arrived to Israel after many months of traveling through Central and South America with no real plan for work besides my Skype consultations and eBook sales, moving to one of the most expensive cities in the world – Tel Aviv – thinking “what am I going to do here?” Yeah, I know…I am an existential stream-of-consciousness type of being. Not many people can live like me!

Within 5 days of arriving to Israel, I received an email from a publisher in New York, USA. Out of the blue! The email said: “We want to talk to you about writing a book on Green Smoothies. Let’s meet ASAP.” Well, Ok! We had a phone meeting and several emails went back and forth, then I proposed a Table of Contents and a Partial Sample Chapter, and 3 months later I received the contracts in the mail to sign with Wiley Publishers for my first book deal ever, with an advance!

A book on the same exact subject I entered in that New Your Times Bestseller list: Green Smoothies!!!!

What you focus your mind on becomes reality…that’s the power of the Secret!

Even at that point, I still had forgotten about my old vision board. It wasn’t until I was in the middle of a conversation with my friend about all of her manifested ebay sales when I thought, “WAIT!” I think I made something about writing a book! I had to dig through my old computer backup files since the computer I used had long since passed away, but sure enough, I found the New York Times jpg! What you see is exactly what I made 7 years ago.

I hadn’t seen that jpg in years, but there it was….and I really had to say “Thank You!” to myself for creating such a clear and strong vision and for having the faith to take a leap and put the power of creating in my mind. Wow!

So, do I fail if I do not make it to #1 on the NYT bestseller list? I don’t think so and I hope you don’t think so either! It’s like the Chicken Soup guy…I think his first check was a few thousand below what he visualized, but was he upset? No way! He was over the moon to see his dreams realized! And I am too! The only way to explain what and why this happened is from that original seed that I planted in my mind. And if not, well, it’s a good story to tell and share!

I’ve now gotta write a 288 page book and I’m nervous and excited but I know that my mind is the key to get this job completed on time and to write something that will help others in their journey to enjoying Green Smoothies and better health and well-being as a result.

And yes, I am now working on a new vision board to create some new and exciting manifestations ahead!!

You can create your own vision board at home. First, think about what you want to achieve or how you want to feel. Really allow yourself to feel that you have already achieved that goal. Start by cutting out pictures or printing out sayings and add them to your board. Put the board in a place that you can see it for at least a few minutes every day. When you look at your board, align your thoughts with the images or words and allow yourself to feel the feeling of accomplishment. Soon, you will be celebrating your success too!

And here’s the book: Green Smoothie for Dummies

Literally, I "wrote the book" on Green Smoothies!

I “wrote the book” on Green Smoothies, literally!

Sip your way to ultimate nutrition and feel better than ever!

Whether you’re looking to detox, lose weight, or just add more veggies to your diet, green smoothies are the way to go. Easy to prepare, portable, and endlessly customizable, green smoothies are the trendy new beverage in everyone’s cup. Green smoothies are the easiest, most painless way to add more nutrients to your diet, so you can feel better than ever before.

Green Smoothies For Dummies is your beginner’s guide to the world of drinkable greens. Author and international smoothie guru Jennifer Thompson explains the benefits of green smoothies, and provides over 100 recipes that will make you start craving your vegetables. You’ll get to know the flavors and properties of each ingredient, and how to combine ingredients for complete nutrition. Available on amazon.com or the iTunes store.

Other good books on the Law of Attraction are by Napoleon Hill, Wallace Wattles and Esther Hicks:

Do you have a good Law of Attraction success story? I look forward to reading your comments below!

More on Manifestation:

Top 10 Secrets for Good Health and Longevity: How to Create Your Personal ‘Blue Zone’

If you want to know the best way to do something, you find a successful person and ask them how they did it, right?

That’s exactly what researchers have done in search of the healthiest places in the world to live, also known as ‘Blue Zones,’ a term coined by demographers who started mapping out areas of the world where people live measurably longer lives. Two noteworthy books of interest have been written on the subject: The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer by Dan Buettner and Healthy at 100 by John Robbins. I’ve recently found myself drawn more and more to explore what secrets our elders hold in finding the real truth to an anti-aging diet, or a longevity diet or a ‘youthgevity’ diet…probably terms that our elders at 90 years of age and older have never even heard of!

Healthy at 100 by John Robbins

The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer

Especially in answering countless questions from workshops and talks around the world, a large portion which involve questions such as ‘what’s the BEST food for (insert dis-ease name here)’ or ‘what’s the BEST supplement I need to take’ or ‘what food will help me (insert goal here: lose weight, be happy, feel great, clear skin, gain energy, cure constipation, improve eyesight, increase fertility, reduce anxiety, etc. etc. etc.),’ I can see from a wider perspective that, well, basically, people are just not getting it! No one food creates disease and no one food cures it either! We have to start looking at the diet and lifestyle as a whole to start getting the results we want.

We all know that no one can eat a handful of watercress and become instantly cured!

I hope you can agree with me there. People don’t want to hear that they may have to make long-term changes to their diet and lifestyle in order to get long-term results, especially in this fast-fix world that’s programmed to appease all instant gratification requests. And, if you try the ‘magic pill method’ by taking every new Dr. Oz must-have supplement, after one year of watching Dr. Oz every day you will need to take 365 supplements per day in order to keep up! Clearly, that doesn’t seem like the best approach to real health!

So, what is it? How do we find the key to Longevity and Happiness?

Healthy at 100 by John Robbins

Healthy at 100 discusses several of the more known but perhaps under-documented world Blue Zones such as the Hunza Valley in Pakistan and Vilcabamba, Ecuador (where I am currently staying for 2 months by the way!) and also discusses more well-documented Blue Zones such as Okinawa, Japan. When I say ‘documented,’ that means being able to prove the person’s identity and being able to verify their date of birth with local birth records, so we can say with absolutely certainty that the centenarian (a person who lives over 100) who lives there is really a centenarian.

Blue Zone vs. SAD Diet

The main difference between a Blue Zone diet and a Standard American Diet (SAD) is that the Blue Zone cultures eat no refined sugar and no refined carbohydrates; and instead eat plenty of whole grains and many vegetables grown locally and in season, and they incorporate healing foods and superfoods into their diet naturally. According to John Robbins, the author of Heathy at 100, “Vegetables play a prominent role in the Hunzan diet, particularly greens, including mustard greens, spinach and lettuce, root vegetables such as carrots, turnips, potatoes, and radishes, an assortment of beans, chickpeas (garbanzo beans), lentils, and other sprouted legumes. They cultivate many kinds of herbs for both culinary and medicinal purposes, including mint and thyme. They grow flaxseeds, and rare is the meal that does not contain freshly ground flaxmeal in one form or another. In Hunza, a large part of the diet is eaten uncooked.”

He goes on to explain, “In the summer, as much as 80% of the food is eaten in its natural state. Vegetables in season are picked just prior to consumption and almost always eaten raw. Fresh corn on the bob, for example, is never cooked. In the winter, Hunzans soak lentils, beans and peas in water for several days, then lay them out on wet cloths in the sun. They are eaten raw when they begin to sprout.”

The view from my house in Vilcabamba, Ecuador, an ‘unofficial’ Blue Zone

Exercise also plays a huge role in the anti-aging process. Every area that was researched highlighted daily exercise as an integral part of life, and the people know that this is one of their secrets to vibrant health. “So great is the recognition of the healing power of walking to visit a friend that there is a saying in Vilcabamba that each of us has two ‘doctors’ – the left leg and the right leg,” writes John Robbins.

What’s happening in the good ‘ol USA

  • How many of us numb ourselves with cigarettes, tranquilizers, drugs, alcohol, or unhealthful diets in an effort to escape how isolated we feel?
  • How many of us become chronic workaholics or become preoccupied by other unhealthy obsessions in an attempt to avoid the inner barrenness caused by the breakdown of relationships, family and community?

He adds, “Many of the traditional Okinawan proverbs about eating sound like phrases you might find on the wall of a health food stores in the West. One such proverb translates as “Food should nourish life – this is the best medicine.” And another: “One who eats whole food will be strong and healthy.” If North Americans lived more like the elder Okinawans, we would have to close 80% of the coronary care units and 1/3 of the cancer wards in the United States, and a lot of nursing homes would also be out of business.”

Hmmm, that sounds pretty good to me!

Top 5 Secrets for Longevity and Anti-Aging from Healthy at 100

    1. Eat many colors. Foods’ natural colors are not just treats for the eye but also signs of important nutrients such as antioxidants.

    2. When you crave something crunchy, try raw vegetables or nuts instead of salty chips.

    3. Avoid heating oils to the smoking point. For the fat in your diet, eat walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, avocados and other nuts and seeds.

    4. Shun trans-fatty acids. Stay away from margarine, vegetable shortening, commercial pastries, deep-fried food, and most prepared snacks and convenience foods.

    5. Don’t pollute your body. Don’t eat junk food. Go to your kitchen cupboard and get rid of any food products that no longer serve your potential to be radiantly fit and healthy.

The Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer

Now, let’s look at the Blue Zones: 9 Lessons for Living Longer, and see what Dan Buettner, the author, discovered after traveling to 5 current and documented world Blue Zones: Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, Sardinia in Italy, Okinawa in Japan, the Seventh-Day Adventists community in Southern California USA, and Ikaria in Greece.

“Good Years” is a Very Important Concept

In the book, Robert Kane point out that, “there are two issues here. How long can I live? The other is: How well can I live? And those are different questions. Living an extra two years on life support may not necessarily be your goal. Yes, “Good Years” is a very important concept.”

“You’ve got a bunch of people who are professing to be physicians or scientists, who are saying that they can stop or reverse the aging process. I will tell you that real scientists cannot do such a thing, so what makes the public think that these people can?” asks Tom Perls.

Things that Successful Centenarians Don’t Do

They don’t get plastic surgery or botox i.e. get unnecessary surgeries which can weaken their immune system; They don’t watch excessive amounts of television; They don’t complain, gossip or criticize others; They don’t worry or stress about the small things; They don’t overeat. In Japan, they say “Hara hachi bu” before each meal. This is a Confucian-inspired saying that means “Eat until your are 80 percent full.”

Things that Successful Centenarians Do

They eat natural, whole and pure foods high in flavonoids and natural anti-oxidants; They eat simple, non-processed local foods; They exercise as part of their daily routine, usually walking long distances (more than 2 miles and up to 6 miles) every day; They incorporate healing foods like turmeric, ginger and mugwort into their daily diet; They maintain a sense of purpose, keep a sense of humor and they have a positive outlook on life; They keep the family unit together, taking care of elders within the family even at the later stages in life (that’s the power of love!).

Top 5 Secrets for Longevity and Anti-Aging from The Blue Zones Book

    1. Eat more plants (i.e. leafy greens)! While not all centenarians are vegetarians, they all eat a very high vegetable and fruit-based diet with variety in whole nuts, seeds and grains. If they eat meat or fish, it’s only on occasion and not in the daily diet. They also eat simple meals with only whole, natural ingredients.

    2. Stay active. Get outside and walk every day. Work on a small outdoor garden. Getting regular, low-intensity exercise like daily walks appears to help reduce your chances of having heart disease and certain cancers.

    3. Have a sense of purpose and keep hard at work. Successful centenarians feel needed and want to contribute to a greater good. They enjoy physical work all of their lives (i.e. no couch potatoes!!).

    4. Drink fresh herbal teas made from peppermint, oregano, rosemary, chamomile or sage on a daily basis. Add healing foods like fresh turmeric and ginger to your diet. This helps your body detoxify on a regular basis, naturally!

    5. Take time to rest and fast occasionally. The Seventh-Day Adventists practice a weekly Sabbath or day of rest to spend time with the family and re-connect with nature. In Greece, The Ikarians traditionally follow the Greek Orthodox Christian calendar which calls for periodic fasting throughout the year.

Caloric restriction -a type of fasting that cuts about 30 percent of calories out of the normal diet -is the only proven way to slow the aging process in mammals.

How to Create your ‘Personal Blue Zone’

    1. Eat a high-raw food organic and nutrient-dense diet.
    2. Minimize stress. Laugh More. Enjoy each day!
    3. Exercise daily – get out and move.
    4. Form friendships and meaningful relationships.
    5. Have a sense of purpose with your life.

Or, as Michael Pollan said, “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Your Happiness and Longevity Matters!

So there you have it! Everything this website and my life’s work is all about will help you to lead a healthy happy, long enjoyable disease-free life! Let’s keep supporting each other on our journeys enjoying good health and a happy life!

More on Longevity:

Reconnect with Nature in Guatemala with Fresh Juice, Raw Food, Mayan Ruins & Volcanoes

Guatemala is a country full of culture, colorful handicrafts, Mayan ruins and lots of nature and it’s a great place to visit for a health holiday! I recently spend 1 month in Guatemala and I’m going to share my top-picks, favorite restaurants and must-see things to do.

Central Courtyard in Antigua, Guatemala

Most people fly into Guatemala City when they arrive to Guatemala. Since the quaint, picturesque town of Antigua is only 45 minutes from Guatemala City, it’s a good idea to take a taxi or arrange hotel pickup directly from the airport to Antigua and start your adventures there (it’s about $30 for a private taxi). Antigua is the former capital of Guatemala and is full of Spanish architecture, cobblestone streets and many courtyard gardens behind the ancient walled streets. This is a good place to spend 4-5 days so you have time to take a tour, explore the local market, visit a nearby volcano or Mayan village, soak in natural hot springs, enjoy some of the restaurants and maybe even schedule a massage. Now that sounds like a holiday!

Old and beautiful downtown Antigua

Guatemalan decoration, handicraft, style, love!

Inside Pitaya Juice Bar in Antigua

My favorite morning stop in Antigua was at Pitaya Juice Bar, across from the Antigua Gym. It’s a small but very cute place and they serve fresh juice or superfood smoothies with moringa, ginseng, flax or wheatgrass, for a healthy start to the day (Pitaya Juice Bar: 6ta Calle Poniente, #26). For lunch, I frequented Sabo Rico, an outdoor garden restaurant serving salads, juices and smoothies in a gorgeously romantic courtyard (Sabo Rico: 6a avenida sur #7).

Dinners were typically made at the hostel using fresh raw foods bought at the local market and raw apple cider vinegar or coconut oil from the main health food store in town, Organica (5 calle poniente No. 6, just 1 block from the main square). Organica also has a small range of gluten-free foods for sale. Everything in Antigua is walkable which makes it very nice as a tourist.

My top picks for things to do in Antigua

Walking Tour with Elizabeth Bell

Definitely take Elizabeth Bell’s walking tour which runs every Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 9:30am to 12:30pm and meets at the central fountain in the main square. Elizabeth’s knowledge and enthusiasm over all things Antigua and Guatemala is absolutely amazing, impressive and inspiring. This was absolutely a highlight of Antigua form me; the $20 was well spent for the tour.

Santo Domingo Hotel’s restaurant on the hill: Santo Domingo del Cerro

If you plan your day correctly, you can continue on your own at the end of Elizabeth’s tour at the Santo Domingo Hotel in downtown Antigua and from there, take the hotel’s free shuttle up the hill to their restaurant, the Santo Domingo del Cerro. Most likely you’ll be hungry after the tour and in daylight hours, you can enjoy all their unusual outdoor art sculptures and take in the views of surrounding volcanoes while enjoying a nice healthy salad. I had a delicious apple and watercress salad and was very happy to see that on the menu as a reasonable raw food choice. For anyone looking for a nice place to do work online (to write blog posts or update twitter feeds a-hem), the Santo Domingo del Cerro has a very nice terrace with free wifi, so you can spend the rest of your afternoon there and catch up on some work!

Wednesday at the Kawilal Hot Springs

Every Wednesday, the Kawilal Hot Springs and Spa offers a free shuttle that leaves at 9am from the Cathedral (it returns back to Antigua at 3pm). It’s a 1-hour ride to the hot springs so the free Wednesday shuttle is really the best option for tourists. The spa offers different packages with or without massage and it’s a bit expensive ($85 for hot springs and massage) for what it is and for Central American prices. For that reason, I would recommend a cheaper package using only the hot springs. The pools are still great and I fully believe in the healing powers of natural hot springs, so I personally seek them out wherever I go! This is a nice break from Antigua and a good option for a quiet afternoon soaking in the natural healing energy of thermal waters.

Outside Antigua: Tikal, Semuc Champey & Lake Atitlan

Tikal National Park

If you have the time, take an overnight bus to the northern part of Guatemala where you will find the ancient Mayan city and UNESCO World Heritage Site at Tikal National Park. We managed to find an honest tour company to book our bus tickets directly across from Pitaya Juice Bar. I don’t remember the name, but the staff wore Lonely Plant t-shirts and we received the correct price for the bus (not always an easy thing to achieve in Guatemala!). Speaking of which, be sure to book your accommodation before arriving to Flores; otherwise you will be absolutely mobbed by booking agents trying to lure you into other hotels and various park tours. We booked online in advance directly with Los Amigos Hostel, and we arranged our Tikal sunrise tour and onward bus tickets inside the hostel, at the very back, during office hours only. Flores is known for thieves operating as tour guides preying on the weary traveler arriving at 5am; we heard more than a few stories of this during our brief 2 days there. So be careful!

A great option for your first day in Flores is to rent kayaks at the hostel and paddle around the lake. It’s a wonderful feeling to get out on the water and to just glide with every stroke closer to the other side, then power-paddle back. Get to sleep well and truly early, because the the sunrise tours leaves at 4am! The tour takes you into the park to sit atop one of the Mayan temples and experience ‘the jungle waking up’ with sounds of howler monkeys, toucans and other birds. It’s great! A few more hours to explore the park gets you back to the hostel in early afternoon.

Ancient Mayan Civilization at Tikal National Park

Tikal National Park, in the jungles of northern Guatemala

Imagine the sounds of tropical birds and howler monkeys all around you…amazing!

Semuc Champey

The next day, you can head to Semuc Champey, about 6-8 hours by minibus from Flores. It’s not as comfortable to travel by minibus but there is no big bus that goes to Semuc Champey. Once you get there, you will see that it is well worth the effort! Semuc Champey is a gorgeous set of natural limestone bridges that’s located deep in a mountain gorge and covered with crystal blue-green water. You have to see it to really appreciate how magnificent Mother Nature can be. You only need one day to see the park, but many people stay at either one of the hostels for a few days just to relax and well, mainly to party. The backpacker party thing wasn’t my scene so I only stayed 2 days to see the park and do the cave tour, and I continued on my way to Lake Atilan.

Semuc Champey…simply amazing natural wonder!

Reconnecting with nature…is healthy bliss! At Semuc Champey

In awe of Mother Nature’s beauty at Semuc Champey

Save the Best for Last: Lake Atitlan

My best advice is exactly that: Save Lake Atitlan for the end of your Guatemala travels and take some time to rest, relax eat good food, or even rent a house along the lake and plan to do your own juice or water fast while there. Lake Atitlan is a popular destination for yoga, healing, raw food, meditation and spiritual retreats due to its magical energy field. It’s claimed to be one of the worlds’ energy vortexes, alongside the great pyramids and Macchu Picchu. The lake itself is surrounded by volcanoes, and when we were there, San Pedro volcano was visibly active, which was just amazing to see!

Beauty and nature at Lake Atitlan

Local fruit and vegetable market

Many of the health-enthusiast tourists stay in the village of San Marcos on the lake. In my opinion, it was a bit too hippie and we searched for something a bit more scenic and peaceful, with good views of the lake, good internet and decent sense of security. We found exactly that at Sakcari Hotel in San Pedro. While not cheap by Guatemala standards at $40 per night, Sakcari was everything we were looking for – it was quiet and on the lake with incredible views from the room and a real feeling of nature. Nearby in the village, we could get fresh fruit, fresh juice and smoothies every day. There is also a great health food store in San Pedro; it’s small but well-stocked with herbs, supplements, natural body products and some dried organic nuts and seeds. What more in life does one need?

A nice place to contemplate life, on the shores of Lake Atitlan

Fresh air, views of nature…this in and of itself is a cleanse!

Isla Verde Eco-Resort with its famed ‘slow-cooking’

We checked out some other spots and also looked at a few houses and apartments to rent on Lake Atitlan because we considered staying longer, up to 1-2 months. After a good amount of searching, there is only one place I would recommend and that’s the PasaCap property, owned by Pierre, a Frenchman living on the lake for more than 15 years. Pasacap has very modern and clean furnished apartments with perfect lake views on a secure property with a private dock to access the lake. We seriously considered renting an apartment here for 1-2 months so I could do a long water fast, but unfortunately the units were fully booked at the time and I didn’t want to wait a month for availability. I would definitely consider returning at a future date, and securing the booking in advance online. To have the chance to do a water fast on a major world energy vortex….well that’s just ‘Wow!’

There were a few other highlights on the lake for healthy eating and raw food, both in the village of Santa Cruz. The first, Isla Verde Resort, is a beautiful place with a gorgeous restaurant overlooking the lake. They are known for their ‘slow cooking,’ but we found that they may have taken this term a bit too far…by adding ‘slow ordering,’ ‘slow service,’ ‘slow preparation,’ and ‘slow to settle your bill.’ In short, the entire experience was SLOW. But, they did have some nice juices, salads and a great homemade kombucha drink that is worth waiting to order, receive and pay for!

View of Lake Atitlan from Isla Verde Resort

Mayan Cacao Energy Balls at Villa Sumaya

The other place is also in Santa Cruz, but in the opposite direction from the dock. When you exit the boat taxi, walk to the right and follow the maze of planks and boardwalks (which is really fun by the way!); after about 30 minutes you will arrive to Villa Sumaya.

Villa Sumaya is a yoga and meditation retreat center and it’s a great place to consider staying for a few nights if your budget allows. Otherwise, do what we did and visit during the day, enjoy a delicious fruit smoothie, sample their raw cacao superfood snacks and take a few raw energy balls home to nibble on later.

Whatever extra time you have in Guatemala, definitely spend it at Lake Atitlan. The views of the lake and surrounding volcanoes change with each day’s cloud formations and sun, a real-life painting waiting for you to slow down and simply enjoy its natural canvas. It’s a place that really grows on you after awhile.

Quiet time in nature is good for the soul

Safety in Guatemala

This is something worthy of noting and needs to be addressed for your personal travel safety. While absolutely nothing happened to use during our 4 weeks in Guatemala, we did meet a few tourists who had been robbed, mugged or ripped off. Some important things to remember: Do not show your iPhone or smartphone in public areas; Do not wear expensive jewelry; Carry a purse that hangs across the body from shoulder-to-hip and not on one shoulder only; Do not carry valuables at night; Do not carry a lot of cash at any time; Ask around at several travel agents to compare prices before booking anything. Again, we had nothing happen to us, but we heard quite a few stories. Personally, I always lock all valuables in my suitcase in the hotel room at all times. The temptation for a cleaning lady or other hotel staff to look around is just too great, so why take the risk? Once you get into the habit of doing that, it becomes very easy and it’s much ‘safer’ than a front desk safe where other staff may also have a key. You can definitely enjoy Guatemala without any problems if you follow these simple safety tips. With so much to see and enjoy; it’s a country worthy of a visit!

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14-21 Day Travel Itinerary for Organic Vegan Raw Food, Hot Springs, Beach & Detox in Costa Rica

If you’re looking for a new destination for your next detox holiday, you may want to consider Costa Rica in Central America. A year-round tropical climate offers plenty of fresh fruits such as papaya, pineapple, banana, coconut and passionfruit. Add mountains, volcanoes, beaches, hot springs, zip-line adventures and rain forest and you’ve got nature + raw food + sun…the perfect combination for a fantastic health holiday!

My suggestion for Costa Rica is to plan for at least 14-21 days; if you want to do a raw food retreat or fruit feast then plan for 28 days or even more. I recommend to hire a car for the first 2 weeks of your journey to give you a chance to get around more quickly and easily. After that, you may want to return the rental car and settle in to a retreat center for another week or two of organic raw food bliss. Scroll down to the end of this article for important tips on renting a car in Costa Rica.

14-21 Day Itinerary for Costa Rica

Day 1-3 at Playa Montezuma for Natural Beaches & Coastline

Fly into San Jose, pick up your rental car and head straight for Montezuma Beach. It should be about a 2-4 hour drive to the car ferry depending on traffic; the ferry takes you to Puntarenas, and from there, it’s about a 45-minute drive over partially dirt and pot-hole filled roads to Montezuma, but well worth it! This is a great place to relax, work on your tan, walk the beach, eat raw foods and have a nice introduction to Costa Rica. We stayed at Mariposario Bed and Breakfast which I really liked for a few reasons: 1. clean and quiet, 2. nice gardens, 3. nice owner, 4. wifi and breakfast included, 5. a small kitchen to make salads and chop fresh fruit every day and 6. a good price at $50 per night. Our days in Montezuma consisted of an early morning beach walk from Ylang Ylang Resort, in my opinion one of the most beautiful and easily accessible beach walks in the world, followed by a fresh juice or spirulina smoothie at Ylang Ylang’s gorgeous restaurant. Another option is to take the daily yoga class at 8:00am, as an outside guest it costs $12 pp.

The beach at Montezuma, Costa Rica

Ylang Ylang Resort in Montezuma, Costa Rica

Yoga Sala at Ylang Ylang Resort

Afternoon activities can include taking a surf lesson, sitting in the sun, wandering the shops in town or driving along the coast to nearby Mal Pais and Santa Teresa, both beautiful beaches worthy of exploration. My favorite daily treat was to walk 10 minutes up the road from Mariposario to Anamaya Resort and Retreat Center and use their far infrared sauna – a bargain at $10 pp for 60 minutes! Without a doubt, Anamaya has the best view ever from a far infrared sauna! Imagine watching monkeys play in the papaya trees and 180 degree views of beach and sea while sitting inside the sauna, contemplating health, love and longevity!

Infinity Pool at Anamaya Resort

Anamaya Resort, a Yoga Teacher Training Center

Slice of Paradise at Anamaya Resort

Organic Market in Montezuma every Saturday

If you’re in Montezuma on a Saturday, be sure to check out the organic fruit and vegetable market in the center of town starting at 11am. Raw food fans of Victoras Kulvinskas may want to look up his schedule of workshops and retreats offered from his home in the Montezuma area.

Day 4-6 at Nicoya Peninsula for Jungle Forest

Raw Cacao treats at the Cacao Bar

After a few days in Montezuma, you may be ready for some adventure.

On Day 4 head towards Nicoya Peninsula and stay at Pachamama for a few days to experience living in a hippie commune in the jungle forest with simply divine gluten-free food made by Alon, their Israeli master chef and yummy raw cacao treats at their Cacao Bar.

Choices of accommodation include camping, casita or cabin, depending on your budget. Daily yoga classes and meditation are included in the cost of your stay.

Plan on driving to Pachamama during the day since there is about 20-30km of dirt road and not the best road signs in that area in general. If unsure, stop and ask the locals.

Pachamama’s Tara Garden for yoga classes & evening talks

Daily Silent Meditation at Osho Hall in Pachamama

I stopped by Hacienda Del Sol Retreat Center which is also in the Nicoya Peninsula and actually very close to Pachamama, but found it to be pretty run down and energetically uninviting. The local staff member at the restaurant didn’t speak any English and told us the restaurant was closed; we were unable to find any other reception or staff; the grounds appeared overgrown and bungalows seemed shabby and no one ever answered my email enquiry sent several weeks before my arrival. I’m not sure if they were closed temporarily or what but based on my experience, I would not recommend this place for detox.

Day 7-8 to Zip-Line and Hike in the Cloud Forest at Monteverde

On Day 7, drive from Nicoya inland towards Monteverde via Liberia. It’s about a 7-8 hour drive but gorgeous views as the scenery changes from rain forest and beach to pasture to cloud forest. Plan to spend 2 nights at Monteverde, and if you can, book a bunk bed room at the Arco Iris Lodge for only $35 USD per night. We felt very lucky to find this resort with nice staff, beautiful gardens, banana trees and lots of flowers…a real gem compared to other places in town! Spend one day checking out the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, and the next morning book a zip-line tour before heading off for the 4-hour drive around the lake to Arenal Volcano. From Nicoya to Monteverde to Arenal, plan to stock up on fruits at roadside stalls as there isn’t much in the way of raw food restaurants in these areas.

Cabin at Arco Iris next to Banana Trees

Bunk rooms at Arco Iris, a great bargain!

Nicer cabins also available at Arco Iris Eco Lodge

Day 9 for Natural Hot Springs at Arenal Volcano

Depending on your schedule, stay 1 or 2 nights in Arenal, Costa Rica. With only one night to spend there on our schedule, we headed straight for the hot springs. A great choice is Tabacon Hot Springs, the only 100% natural hot spring resort in Arenal. If you arrive after 6pm, you get a discounted rate of $45 pp (as opposed to the daytime rate of $60 pp). We decided to splurge on the all-natural experience at Tabacon and it was well worth it! A second day in Arenal would give you the opportunity to check out the National Park and have another evening at the hot springs. We tried to stay at the Arenal Backpacker Resort but it was full, so we checked-in next door at Sierra Arenal and actually enjoyed it very much, with a nice grassy garden area and a great view of the volcano for $35 USD per night.

Scenic drive from Monteverde to Arenal, Costa Rica

Arenal Volcano…Gorgeous!

View from Sierra Arenal Hotel near Arenal Volcano

Day 10-14 for Raw Food, Detox and Nature at Finca de Vida or Farm of Life

On Day 10, plan to head south for more organic raw food and the chance to do a detox at Finca de Vida, or Farm of life, my #1 pick for a raw food retreat or juice fast in Costa Rica. If you are on a 14-day trip, you may want to keep the rental car and make the 8-hour drive from Arenal to the Dominical area to be able to experience Finca de Vida for the last 4 days of your stay. Or, better yet, plan for 21 days or more and spend your last week or two at the farm to rest, juice fast or fruit feast, take raw food cooking classes, enjoy daily yoga and meditation or join an organized retreat for a detox with colon cleansing. If staying longer, you may not want to waste money on a rental car; in that case drive the car from Arenal back to the San Jose airport to return the rental and from there book a 4-hour shuttle from the airport to Finca de Vida (they can arrange this for you).

Either way, on the drive from Arenal back towards San Jose for sure plan to stop at Lands in Love. This is a must-see for animal lovers. Anyone who wants to support the rescue cats and dogs can even stay longer, either in their hotel or as a volunteer. Lands in Love is an Israeli-owned rescue center for cats and dogs with over 200 animals on site. Their restaurant is a welcomed oasis on the road from Arenal with a good menu of salads, Israeli food, and several vegan and gluten-free options as well. For any veterinary students, surgeons or physicians looking for a international volunteer job, Lands in Love is perfect and in need of your expertise! What an opportunity to work in Costa Rica, experience the culture and sights but also put your skills to work with these gorgeous rescue dogs and cats that need your help!

A project of love, and this place is full of Love!

Israeli Salad at Lands in Love Restaurant, Costa Rica

Lands in Love Restaurant, Boutique Hotel & Animal Rescue Center

Natural mineral spring at Finca de Vida

From Lands in Love, continue south towards Domincal and then turn inland to find Finca de Vida.

This place is truly an oasis and is best saved for last, after all the driving and travel around Costa Rica you will be happy to reach the quiet, beauty and organic raw food at Farm of Life.

The owners, Brian and Jodi, set a top-notch standard in caring for their guests and with smaller groups and a limited number of bungalows, you’re sure to get more personal attention and a true sense of community between staff, volunteers and guests.

If you have the time, book a room for 1 month and to eat 100% organic raw foods, be in nature and enjoy having the time to heal. Be sure not to miss the on-site natural mineral spring pools and the nearby weekly local organic market.

Paradise found…view from the guest bungalow at Farm of Life

Staff and guests joining together for a Breath Workshop

Early morning view from the restaurant at Fica de Vida, Costa Rica

If you have more time, check out Osa Peninsula in the south of Costa Rica. We didn’t have a chance to get there in our 14-day trip, but we heard it’s amazing and worth a visit. To drive onto the peninsula, you will need a 4wd vehicle.

Budget for Costa Rica

Anyone who has traveled in Thailand or SE Asia will find the prices in Costa Rica to be very high! In researching online before our trip, it seemed that every hotel was a minimum of $80-100 USD per night. By looking around and not booking in advance, we managed to find places more in the $35-50 USD per night range. That said, with the rental car and cost of food (an average salad to be $10-15 USD), 14 days in Costa Rica was expensive. If you live in North America, you’ll save money and time on the flight so that is definitely something to consider. There are many other countries in Central America which are cheaper than Costa Rica, so research and plan according to your budget. If you have the time, consider volunteering for 1 month or more on an organic farm or at one of the retreat centers – it’s a reasonable way to experience Costa Rica for just a fraction of the cost.

Practical notes on renting a car in Costa Rica

Car rental rates in Costa Rica are not cheap since the car rental companies seem to require mandatory insurance which is not listed in any online booking form. Our 2-week car rental cost over $700 USD, but there was no way we could have seen as much as we did without a car. (One word of advice: do NOT use Thrifty Car Rental). The roads in Costa Rica are not marked and it’s easy to get lost…also the GPS is not very accurate due to many dirt roads that aren’t listed in the computer. The only real way to get around is to stop in every small town and ask which way to the next town. Well, it’s the old-fashioned way but it works! We were happy we didn’t bother with a GPS, and actually we rented a Toyota Yaris 2-wheel drive which we drove everywhere ‘Costa-Rica style’ and didn’t have any problems getting stuck on river crossings or 4-wheel drive dirt roads. January being dry season makes it possible to have a 2-wheel drive car (January to March is the high-season and best time of year weather-wise to go). If you rent a 4-wheel drive car, be careful to not rent the Jimmy or if you do do not leave any valuables inside; apparently it is very easy to break into and gets robbed more often than any other rental vehicle.

Safety in Costa Rica and Where to Stay Near the San Jose Airport

With all the warning about robberies and safety in Costa Rica, it’s always important to keep your street smarts; that said, we did not have any problems at all and found the Costa Ricans to be very helpful with directions and quite friendly and nice overall. If you need to spend one night near the San Jose airport either at the beginning or end of your journey, I highly recommend Hotel Pacande in Alajuela as a clean, safe affordable option with friendly staff. I hope you enjoy your trip. Eat lots of papayas and….see you on the road!

More Articles on Costa Rica

Read my article on Pachamama: Gluten-Free, Raw Food and Detox at Pachamama, Costa Rica.
My awesome experience at Finca de Vida: Fasting Retreat, Organic Raw Food & Total Relaxation at Farm of Life in Costa Rica.

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Top 10 New Year’s Resolutions

1. No Gossip!

Gossip feeds negative energy and that’s not a healthy frequency for healing! Speaking positively of others brings more alkalinity, joy and peace to you.

2. Clean out the pantry.

Get rid of any old food that will not serve the New Healthy You for 2013. Organize your kitchen.

3. Make Time for Your Health.

No one is going to do it for you! Find 30 minutes per day to read an inspirational book or go for a brisk walk. Do it every day!!

4. Seek out Support.

Find a local raw food potluck to make new local, healthy friends. If there isn’t one in your area, then start one yourself! A great place to find raw food and vegan groups is on meetup.com.

5. Forgive Yourself!

Let go of mistakes in the past. You ARE worthy of being loved for everything you are now in this very moment! You are who you are and that is ok!

6. Daily Green Smoothie!

Make a goal to have 1 Green Smoothie per day as a replacement meal for 2013. A Green Smoothie for breakfast sets you up for a healthy day every day!

7. Weekly Green Smoothie day.

If you do a one-day per week detox, after 7 years you will have done an entire year of 100% raw food detox! Just one day a week, have a 100% Green Smoothie Day as a mini-cleanse and reboot.

8. Floss Your Teeth!

Bleaching does not give you good teeth, Eating more raw foods and flossing every day does. Daily flossing reduces inflammation and bacteria in the mouth.

9. Be Kind Online.

Being tired, stressed and toxic can lead people to have a different persona online. Treat everyone in every tweet, comment and email with the same courtesy and kindness as you would to their face.

10. Stay Alkaline!

An alkaline-pH is the basis to good health. The most alkaline-forming foods: Fresh fruits and vegetables. The most acid-forming food: Aspartame. Replace chewing gum with a sprig of fresh parsley or mint.

Happy New Year!! Here’s to a New Healthy You!

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Finding Peace after Honey Boo Boo

Spending the last 2 months in the USA has made me realize how much people need to create peace within the borders of their own country. Being out of the US for 11 years has been a wonderful blessing because I’ve had the fortune to live a simple, clean, healthy life. After just a few weeks here, I felt over-stimulated with drug advertisements, fear mongering news and materialistic reality shows. When ‘Honey Boo Boo’ is the No. 1 show watched in the US and over 5 million iphones are sold in 3 days, we are clearly in need of serious spiritual re-alignment.

According to Dr. Gabriel Cousens, peace within the body is the first level of awareness. From the Essene of the Gospel of the Peace, Book 4:

“First Shall the Son of Man seek Peace with his own body,
for his body is a mountain pond that
reflects the sun when it is still and clear;
but when it is full of mud and stones, it reflects nothing.”

Broadcast Mental Waves of Bliss

With the end of 2012 nearing, it is now more important than ever to develop and maintain a spiritual practice, focusing on love, health and peace. Early morning is a good time to take advantage of the stillness of your mind. Say to yourself, “I am healthy. I am happy. I am grateful. I live in a peaceful world full of healthy and happy people. I send joy and spiritual waves of health and peace to every living being on this planet.” Keep your thoughts positive and imagine the world that you want to live in, a world without gossip, bullying, violence or hate.

As much as you possibly can, avoid mindless television. Set a limit for how much tv you will watch every week, and stay committed to it. Try to post only positive, uplifting information on Facebook and Twitter. Go to your local library and get health and spiritual books. Dedicate 30 minutes every day to developing your mental state into that still and clear mountain pond. Use the time to read, listen to a spirtual CD, watch a health DVD, join a Reiki group, or simply spend time watching a sunset or being with your loved ones. Don’t let this time slip away. Every day is a gift and your health is the greatest gift of all.

I’ve been saying this for awhile now: Our role as pioneers of health, raw food and detox is to become a beacon of love, to help the world transition into a new age. Imagine millions of beacons of love around the globe, staying grounded and focused during these turbulent times, using the most powerful force know in this universe- love, to guide the way. The ancient Essenes taught us to seek Peace within ourselves first. Now, more than ever, is the time to do so.

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How to Improve Your Detox: Top 5 Detox Tips

Taking the time to do a detox is a commitment to health. The money spent is an investment in your future. Energies used to travel are well worth the effort.

Finally, you have the opportunity to recharge, rebuild, cleanse and heal.

With a ‘reboot,’ moving forward, you can continue with positive change in all areas of your life. With all things considered, don’t you want to get the most out of your detox?

A few simple tips can help you maximize your results.

Eliminate Salt for 1-week before

Don’t forget to do your work at home. It doesn’t matter how mant fasts you’ve done; everyone needs to prepare correctly for a detox just the same.

For at least 7 days before the start of your program, eliminate all salt from the diet. Keep in mind that most salt is hidden in foods and not actually added. Look out for restaurant food, airplane food, sauces, salad dressings, curries, pickled foods and packaged snacks.

Having no salt in the diet allows the body to start loosening built-up plaque and toxins in the colon. A no-salt diet for 14 days as a pre-cleanse is ideal, but at a minimum, try to commit to 7 days. By doing so, you will maximize your results during the detox.

Bring Herbal Teas

Most detox programs offer various fresh juices in addition to herbs and detox drinks. They also allow for herbal teas using fresh or dried herbs, but often charge more for tea or may not mention that organic herbal teas are permitted. Herbal teas support the organs during the cleansing process, and even better, they provide a nice flavor to enjoy while fasting!

Be sure to buy organic and bring a variety of flavors to choose from. Peppermint or ginger tea are great for nausea. Turmeric tea is very cleansing for the liver and tastes delicious! Parsley or uva ursi tea help to support the kidneys. Juniper berry tea is excellent for the heart and circulation. Coriander tea supports heavy metal detoxification. All can be bought as dried tea bags at any local health food store.

Avoid Gossip, Drama & Violence

Many people successfully achieve the physical act of detox, but leave behind the emotional and spiritual sides. I can’t even count how many nights over the years that I’ve seen a tv room packed with fasters, all eyes fixed on a horror flick or violent drama. How can the body let go and heal when the mind is being distracted with such images?

Be careful, especially when doing a detox, to avoid negative talk, images, news and events. The body is so sensitive while cleansing. The more you surround yourself with positive energy, motivational stories, happy people and inspiring thoughts, the more your body, mind and spirit will benefit.

Negative energies can attach to toxins in the body. The more you let go of those thoughts, the deeper you can go in your cleansing. It’s true! For more information on the science of this, I recommend Bruce Lipton’s Biology of Belief of Louise Hay’s You Can Heal Your Life.

Get Adequate Rest

Most detox programs offer a full day of activities to choose from, including meditation, yoga, group walks, tai chi, chi gung, pilates, water therapy, massage, colonics, nutrition talks and more. It’s easy to get quickly overwhelmed with all the choices, and you may actually find yourself feeling stressed, trying to run from one program to the next.

Be sure to listen to your body and make time for yourself, even if that means skipping a few activities. The more you rest during your detox, the more the body can internalize its energy and go deeper into healing. As Daniel Reid says in the book Tao of Detox, ‘Save you breath.’

Try to spend at least one hour a day on your own, reading a book or listening to music, without talking to or engaging with others. Getting back in touch with yourself is one of the great benefits of doing a cleanse.

Powerful Affirmations

You can easily optimize your cleanse with your choice of thoughts and words. Be sure to spend a few minutes each day focusing on what you want to achieve as a result of doing the detox. Visualize yourself at home in a continued state of excellent health, high energy and balanced spirit.

Affirmations really help in training the mind to think positive thoughts. On the first day of your retreat, write 10 affirmations of things, people or feelings that you would like to have in your life. You can write them in the form, “I am…” or “I have…” Every day, spend 5-10 minutes alone, repeating your affirmations to yourself. You are creating an energy of success that the physical body will have to follow!

Some examples include: “I am healthy, balanced and strong.” “I attract positive, loving people and relationships into my life.” “I make the best choices for my health and my body every day in every way.” “I love myself and others love and support me too.”

‘Fasting helps reverse the ageing process
for a healthier and longer life.’

-James Balch, M.D., Co-Author
Prescriptions for Nutritional Healing

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True Story of Faith & Healing with John of God in Brazil

An inspiring read!

If you’re looking for an uplifting, inspiring story about spiritual healing, Divine connection and the power of believing, then I’ve got the book for you. Newly released by Cash Peters, ‘A Little Book About Believing: The Transformative Healing Power of Faith, Love and Surrender,’ is a personal account of the author’s visit to the Casa de Dom Inacio in Brazil, where the extraordinary faith healer John of God freely offers his healing services to thousands of visitors every year. Even Oprah did a show on this guy!

The book is quite funny because initially, Cash is a non-believing, cake-eating, over-worked, unhappy-with-his-job kind-of regular guy who happens to be open for adventure and new experiences. So he goes into this Brazilian village full of people from all over the world with an open mind, and when he leaves…well, you will see for yourself when you read the book!

This book resonated with me on many levels, especially thanks to references from Bruce Lipton, Carolyn Myss, Esther Hicks and T. Colin Campbell. It brought a lot of ideas together which reinforce the power of positive thinking and the importance of detox and a plant-based diet for long-term health and healing.

Some great quotes include:

‘How was I to know, as a mere layman, that, for many surgeons, whipping out gallbladders is their bread and butter?? Half a million gallbladders are removed every year, oftentimes unnecessarily, when really all that may have been required was a change of diet perhaps, or a thinning of the bile, or a simple flush of the system. No mention, however, was ever made to me about viable alternatives.’

‘Trust yourself. Trust life. Embrace uncertainty. Dive fearlessly in, holding nothing back. Expect a positive outcome always, and marvel at how things turn out. Remember: the unknown is where all the fun happens.’

‘All the success, wealth, power, influence, status, stockholdings, wives and homes in the world aren’t worth a red cent if you’re too sick to enjoy them.’

‘It’s not what happen to you that’s important; it’s what you do with it. Just because something seems bad, or because people tell you it’s bad – or incurable or unstoppable – doesn’t mean it is. We can, if we choose, be the architects of our own destiny.’

‘There was no cancer in ancient Egyptian times – did you know that? Scientists have run tests on mummies. Cancer is a modern plague. A sign of our times. It’s something we’re doing to ourselves. It’s environmental, it’s a lifestyle thing, it’s what we’re putting into our mouths.’

‘Life is not a competition. If you really must compete, compete with yourself. Work at being better, kinder, more loving, more grateful, more mindful, more forgiving and more generous.’

‘Your body is like an exquisite temple. It will stand firm and strong for the longest time if you look after it. Neglect it, though, and the roof caves in.’

‘Healthcare companies are in the profit business, not the people-helping business, the way their name suggests.’

‘For years I thought, ‘If only I could change him, make him understand…,’ when really it was I who needed to change and understand.’

‘Even when drug companies and medical practice do come under scrutiny, it’s always done in a deftly political way in the name of ‘balance,’ when really they’re just dodging the issues. To that end, an ‘expert’ doctor will usually be hauled in, paid to attack anything remotely alternative or groundbreaking.’

‘Fear tears down the spirit. Anger chews away at the body. You could eat all the organic fruits and vegetables in the world, and do everything else right, but if you’re anxious, angry, resentful, fearful or bitter the whole time, you are still paving a road to disease.’

‘Refuse to give (your disease) a label. Starve it of attention. Instead, refocus. Align yourself with divine consciousness, which knows only of perfect health. Let your reaction to your condition be only high-vibration thoughts.’

The book is available on amazon.com.

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Stop Premature Aging: Take this Anti-Aging Quiz and Mirror Test Now!

Go to your mirror nude now & take this Mirror Test:

The Real Anti-Aging Test

  • Are you happy with what you see?
  • Do you look old and tired?
  • Does you body sag?
  • Do you have poor skin and muscle tone?
  • How’s your hair?
  • How’s your posture?
  • Are your eyes dull and lifeless?
  • Do you have a sallow complexion?
  • Are you trim and fit?

 

After making a careful examination of your body, how would you describe it? Youthful? Aging?

No one can answer these questions more honestly than you. You are the one that can take charge of your life!

 

Let’s go farther than mere looks.

  • How did you really feel today?
  • Are you bursting with energy and vitality or do you have bothersome aches and pains?
  • What about your joints?
  • Are you stiff and sore?
  • Does your lower back plague you with pain?
  • How did you sleep last night?
  • Did you get up fresh and feeling alive?
  • Did you go to bed tired, yet unable to sleep?
  • Did you face the new day feeling energy-less, as if you had all the energy drained away?
  • How is your appetite?
  • Do you relish every mouthful of food you eat?
  • Do you have gas pains after meals?
  • What about your elimination? Is it perfect or are your bowels clogged?
  • Above all things, were you happy today? Yesterday?
  • Or are you depressed and blue?

Do you feel that you are ageing rapidly? Is life passing you by?
Can you honestly say, “I am getting younger as I live longer”?
Or will you have to admit that the longer you live, the older you feel?
Take this quiz monthly.

-from Paul C. Bragg

Healthy Glow Keeps You Looking Young

I love this anti-ageing test. It’s a great way to check in with yourself and be 100% honest with where you’re at. People often say to me that they are healthy and they eat really well, but once we talk further, their list of ailments starts to unfold. I often wonder, do they even know what healthy feels like?

Aches, pains, poor digestion, troubled sleep and unhappiness do not make for a healthy, youthful ageless glow.

You might experience temporary results with fillers, implants or botox, but these are short-term fixes to a long-term problem: toxicity and imbalance inside the body. An anti-ageing doctor should only be focusing on the foods you eat, your lifestyle and detox plan, not on outside creams or ‘magic cures.’

The compliments that I receive the most are always relating to my beautiful skin and bright, clear engaging eyes. 10 years ago on a SAD diet, no one noticed those traits in me, because my skin was dull and my eyes were puffy! What gave me a new-found youth was regular detox and a chemical-free, natural, whole food, plant-based raw food diet. Over time, my diet has improved even more, reducing olive oil and other oils to a minimum, continuing to refine as I learn more on my journey.

Are you older or younger than you feel?

Let Your Food be Thy Medicine

The secret to looking young and feeling young lies in the quality and types of food you eat. It’s that simple. Schedule your detox to give yourself a good ‘reboot.’ Make a plan for improving the diet and lifestyle after. The skin will improve, energy levels will increase and excess weight will be lost, once and for all! Be gentle and patient with yourself. Focus on love, joy, acceptance and on the all good in your life. Watch, and people will notice the positive change in you!

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Total Reset Detox: A Women Only Retreat at the Dead Sea in Israel

Join me for this fantastic event! From 13 – 20 November, 2011, a Women’s Only Juice Fast Retreat and Detox in Israel. What better place for healing than at the magical Dead Sea, in the ancient Holy Land itself!

Dead Sea Detox, Israel

During this program, you will have access to nature walks, detox yoga, guided meditation, swimming, sun, mud bathing, enemas and of course rest and recovery for your body’s healing.

Jennifer Thompson

Inspirational and informative talks on natural nutrition and your ‘food life’ post detox will be offered by me. Every day we will cover a different topic, building on the information learned from the day before, and focusing strongly on how to continue making positive change after your cleanse. Whether your goal is to lose weight, quit smoking, de-stress, eat better foods, increase raw foods, balance lifestyle, handle social and family pressures or simply to learn more about nutrition, you will benefit from each of the daily nutrition talks.

I will also be available for private consults and individual Iridology Analyses.

This is a special event and a wonderful opportunity to ‘reset’ and ‘reboot.’ After a cleanse, when your body is pure, it’s much easier to continue with positive change in every aspect of your life.

A fast is the best gift you can give yourself. And you deserve the very best in life, so why not start now?

We are coming together to create something special just for you – A Total Reset Detox! With guided expert support, you are sure to experience your maximum potential. Press the ‘Reset Button’ on your life, feel the energy of the ancient Holy Land and give your body the gift of natural healing.

The entire program is conducted in English. For more information, please contact me.

I look forward to seeing you from 13 – 20 November 2011!

<strong>More on Traveling Raw:</strong>

Green Juice Fast with Gabriel Cousens at Tree of Life

Recently I went to Israel to participate in a 7-day Green Juice Fast with Gabriel Cousens. His program involves: 4 green juices per day, supplements recommended by Tree of Life (optional), 1 enema daily, guided meditation twice daily, yoga by Shanti and a daily morning and evening Kabbalah talk with Gabriel. The fast was hosted in a kibbutz in the north of Israel called Yehiam. All of the classes were taught in English.

Shanti and Gabriel Cousens

Gabriel has some interesting theories on fat metabolism vs. sugar (carbohydrate) metabolism. If you are drinking a lot of fruit, coconut, carrot, or beetroot juice during your fast and you are not losing weight, it is very possible that your body is still in a sugar metabolism. According to Gabriel, you need to get into the fat metabolism for the fast to really kick in.

He would recommend grapefruit juice and greens juices instead. ‘If you want your juices sweeter, you are compromsing your own progress. Too much sugar in juice will trigger a craving for more sugar.’

Sugar levels are also connected to one’s ability to meditate according to Gabriel. ‘If your sugar levels go up and down, the mind also goes up and down and it becomes difficult to stay focused,’ he says.

Gabriel has one secret for success when coming off the fast: Do not eat too much!! He says, ‘Drink your food and chew your juices.’ He also recommends to eat in silece so you are conscious and connected to the food. ‘Eat your food first, them sit around, digest and talk.’

Inspired with lots of great info!

Especially after fasting, Gabriel recommended 2 Tbsp. of ground flax seed in every meal to keep the fiber content high. I tried it for one week after the fast and all I can say is wow, epic!!

This detox program is usually hosted twice yearly in Israel, every May and November. Fasting programs are available year-round at the Tree of Life Center in Arizona.

If you can’t away to join his guided detox, then you can learn from Gabriel’s wisdom through some great books – Conscious Eating by Gabriel Cousens and Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine by Gabriel Cousens. Great additions to any health library!

For more about this green juice fast program, watch my daily updates, interviews with other fasters and interview with Gabriel and Shanti on my youtube channel at www.youtube.com/findyourhealthybliss.

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