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Wellness Weekend: People, Pets, and Pho

I was going to write a post about my fabulous dinner and then realized I had a bigger story to tell–my wellness weekend of people, pets, and Pho.  Wellness is so much more than diet, exercise, and stress management.  Wellness includes all things that nourish your body, mind and soul.    Here are a few highlights of what nourished me this weekend.

Addie and SylviademolitionFriday afternoon I got a chance to hang out with my godchildren Addie and Sylvia.  First we watched the demolition for their school charity event and then set out to play.  What a treat it is to watch children play and to play with them.  They realized that the slide their dad rigged for them would go so much faster if they sat on a cushion and slid down together.

Cindy & TriciaFriday evening I attended a wonderful concert  featuring my friend Cindy Novelo & Tricia Spencer and Darrell Lea & Megan Hurt at the Lied Center in Lawrence, KS.  Amazing local musicians.

Saturday, I met my friend Brenda in Kansas City for outings to the anitique mall, Trader Joe’s, Stein Mart, the Blue Moose Bar & GrillBlue Moose for lunch, and back to Brenda’s for a great conversation about life.  Also had a great phone conversation with my friend Lena.   I couldn’t make the gathering of my family in Chelsea, Michigan,  but I got to talk with my dad, sister, brother, and sister-in-law.

Sunday  morning  I slept in, had a Chihuahua playdate with my friend Nora’s and her new Chihuahua, Rosie, Rosieand Sophie, my rescue Chihuahua, and of course Toby but he’s a little harder for them to play with  (8 vs 70 pounds).

After a long walk along the levee with Toby and Sophie….and a little shuffling of papers, I made the very best Pho.  Here’s what went into it:

PhoPho (Vietnamese Soup)

  • Box of Organic Pho broth
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Zucchini
  • Bean sprouts
  • Rice noodles
  • Cilantro
  • Fresh basil
  • Hoisen sauce
  • Hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 fresh lime squeezed in at the last minute

What did you do this weekend?  Was it nourishing?






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I’m shocked!

shockedI don’t know where that voice came from, but it clearly said “I’m going to eat!”  It was Day 5 of the 7-day cleanse, and I was headed to a party.   I wasn’t feeling hungry and I wasn’t feeling particularly deprived or desparate.  I was getting plenty of nutrition from the broth and green juices.  I think I got bored.  When I heard that voice I didn’t know if it was my head or my body speaking to me but I listened, I acted, and I survived.

I don’t know what there is about a long cleanse – but I tend to peter out faster than some.  I don’t feel too guilty about it so that’s a good sign, I think.  Maybe my body has a set point for how many days I can successfully cleanse?  Dunno.

The most interesting piece is how I will move forward from here.  I’ve made a list of eating rules.  Here are several items I’m planning to include or minimize in my daily healthy eating plan:

  1. tons of vegetables and fruits
  2. green juice
  3. raw foods
  4. organic, free-range, hormone-free, cage-free
  5. minimize processed foods
  6. green superfoods
  7. food-based supplements
  8. minimize sugar and white flour
  9. minimize coffee and alcohol

This will definitely take planning and determination.  I’ll shoot for 100% but follow the 80/20 rule.  Eat at least 80% whole foods.

If you quit a nutritional cleanse before it was officially over, how would you feel about it?

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Why on earth are you doing this?

Why are you doing this?Day 11 – Nutritional Cleanse

I received query from a  subscriber today:   Why do you put yourself through all this misery?  

Actually, I’m not miserable.  I’m just riding the wave of this cleanse and learning a lot about my body, my eating habits, and my coping mechanisms.  It’s a body, mind, spirit journey and it’s going well, right on schedule.  There are ups and downs but that’s part of change and growth.

Why do we do anything that’s difficult?  Why do we go to college, birth and raise a family, get married, get divorced, move to another country, get certified, live in a yurt, go to Haiti to help earthquake victims?  We do the difficult things because they help us grow.  They give us meaning.  Difficult experiences help us be better servants.

This nutritional cleanse hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been hard either.  It’s easy enough that I continue to stick with it day after day.  And it’s hard enough that it provides me with opportunities to really pay attention to my body–are you tired, are you hungry, are you feeling a lightness of being, are you thirsty, are you desiring food because of your stomach or your head?  I’m learning a lot about myself and it’s all good. 

As I reported earlier, many of the benefits I expect to reap include the following:

  • awareness of how I use food to manage my moods
  • better balance and function of my body organs
  • awareness of how my body feels when I eat (or don’t eat) certain foods
  • more energy, less congestion
  • healthier cells
  • fewer toxins as they’re sluffed off during this clean food regimine
  • weight loss
  • clearer eyes
  • healthier, smoother skin
  • new food routines as I reset my daily food choices and put healthier ones in place
  • smarter as I learn new things (I’m sprouting seeds now!)

That’s just a partial list.  I’ve always been a bit permissive with myself and lazy, so this process is strengthening my discipline muscles.  And finally, as a wellness practitioner, I want to walk the talk and be the best role model I can be.  That’s why I air my dirty laundry and let people know I’m not perfect.  I’m on the same journey everyone else is on.  I just may have more wellness tools to work with.  And my goal is to use as many of them as I can every day.

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It’s Working

Day 1 of nutritional cleanse (cleanse phase)

Green JuiceI’m finished with the 7 days of pre-cleanse (I actually did only 3 days it).  Now I’m on Day 1 of the cleanse which includes vegetable broth, green juice, a spicy lemonade, herbal tea, and green supplements.  I’m pretty proud of myself for doing so well.  The broth was delicious and satisfying.  Cravings weren’t too bad–even though I went to two grocery stores and saw food everywhere I looked.  I walked right past all the free samples.  So virtuous!

Here’s what’s at the heart of my discipline….

My purpose is motivating me.  My theme for this year is Younger Next Year meaning that by this time next year I will look and feel younger because of all the lifestyle changes I’m making this year.   I’m shaking up my life – including how I eat.  This cleanse is part of that shakeup and it’s working.  I’m getting really clear about how I use food to manage my moods and to punctuate the day with pleasure.   

My cells are thanking me as they’re bathed in pure nutrition–they’re getting younger.  I don’t have any detox symptoms yet and hopefully won’t.  That’s why we all did the pre-cleanse – to make the cleanse easier.

If you think I’m nuts and want to know why I’m doing this, here’s a post written by one of the women guiding us in this nutritional cleanse.  She’s an M.D.

I’m definitely living more mindfully on this cleanse.  When I’m not numbing and pacifying myself with food and drink, I see that there’s a big world out there to observe and it’s lookin’ good!

Let’s see what tomorrow brings.  it’s a journey.

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New Year’s Evolution: Evolve Instead of Resolve! (New Date/Time)

Join me for this FREE teleclass:

New Year’s Evolution:
Evolve Instead of Resolve!

New Year's 2012
This year how about making it about you?  Put yourself first for once.

You won’t be alone if you’ve already forgotten your New Year’s Resolution.  And you won’t be alone if you feel a twinge of guilt about that.

Are you afraid that another year will go by without reaching your goal to get organized, stick with an exercise plan, drop the weight, or better manage your stress?

Like many people, I failed for years to stick with my New Year’s resosutions until I got smart and tried something different.  And it worked!  For the past decade, I’ve used what I call a “New Year’s Theme” instead of a resolution to keep me on track with my dreams.  This may sound like a small shift, but it has made a huge difference for me.  Every year now I’m confident that my theme will get me where I want to go.

A theme is a lot more energizing than a vague wish to get thin or get fit.  It pulls you forward instead of you having to push yourself to stick with your plan.  It’s more holistic.  

Your personal theme is like a clarion call—it announces your intention and sets your energy.  When you have a powerful, personal theme, it’s a beacon that will light your way in 2012.  And it will help you evolve as a person.

In this inspiring, content-rich session you’ll learn:
  • The 5-step process to choose a theme for 2012 to guide you throughout the year.
  • Personal strategies to keep your theme top of mind.
  • How to use your theme to evolve in 2012…and every year thereafter.
Bonus: Experience the transformation as I coach a few lucky participants in choosing their
theme.  See how the 5-step process works, firsthand.
Day/Date: Wednesday, January 18, 2012
Time: 10-11am PT | 11-12pm MT | 12-1pm CT | 1-2pm ET

Cheryl and TobyCheryl Miller is a wellness strategist, life coach and Mayor of
She has an M.S. in Exercise Physiology & Community Health and extensive training as a coach.
As former director of an award-winning wellness program for 80,000 members, Cheryl implemented programs to help employees live healthy, happy, productive lives…in this lifetime.
In 2003, Cheryl founded the online wellness portal  She has written multiple ebooks and e-courses and has been called “one of the most innovative wellness coaches in the industry.”  Cheryl recently became the Official Guide to Wellness at (the #1 self-improvement site with more than one million visitors a month).
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Menopause a Second Spring

Menopause A Second SpringAt my women’s group meeting last night, several women talked about their concerns about menopause and the accompanying, aggravating symptoms.

One member told us of a book that extolled menopause as a beautiful, natural, and important transition.  We perked up because who doesn’t want to see menopause as a positive experience!  Our friend reminded us that western medicine makes menopause a problem to be dealt with using drugs and a “put up with it” mentality.  Everyone nodded in acknowledgement that this is the unnecessarily negative conventional  perception of menopause in the western world.  And it’s time for a change.  There is a much more positive approach.

Here’s a link to a positive spin on menopause and one powerful method to help manage the transition.  This article is written by the author of the book my friend was telling us all about.

Several of us are buying her book:  Menopause A Second Spring:  Making a Smooth Transition With Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Let’s stick together in seeing menopause as a natural, beautiful, powerful transition to new life.

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Small Potatoes Redefined

soupWhile stirring and contemplating the soup I’m making (recipe below), I thought “I need more potatoes.”  I reached down into a sack without looking and grabbed one – a small one.  Perfect, I thought, a small potato.  That must be where the expression came from “oh that’s just small potatoes.”    One dictionary definition defines small potatoes as “someone or something of little significance or value, especially a small amount of money.”

But the small potato was perfect for my soup – sometimes it’s just that little bit extra, the small potato, the pinch of salt (or sugar), that rounds out the dish (life) perfectly.

In a bigger-is-better culture, the small potato might not seem worth much.  But in my soup, it’s perfect!

The finished product - soup ready to eat!“Recipe” for the Soup I’m Making as I write – inspired by the beef-rice mixture wrapped in cabbage and cooked in tomatoes.  There’s a name for it–anybody know the name?

  • Sauté diced onion, garlic, and ground beef in small amount of oil (ground beef is optional—I prefer grass fed)
  • Box or can of beef or vegetable broth (I prefer organic)
  • Large can of diced tomatoes (yes, organic) (28 ounces)
  • Small can of Rotel (10 ounces–some like it hot!)
  • 1/2 cabbage roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup of brown rice (I use a mixture of various brown rices and wild rice)
  • Once it begins to bubble, turn the heat down and simmer for 50 minutes or so stirring occasionally
  • As it cooks it will thicken slightly and look oh, so good!

Last step – Eat it!  Just in time for the cooler weather!

OOPS – just remembered I wanted to use up some mushrooms so I sautéed them (to help them catch up to the rest of the soup) and stirred them in.  It’s a tantalizing brothy stew and smells terrific! 

While I’m waiting for the mushrooms to integrate, I’m eating a small dish of peaches I froze during peach harvest this year.  A sweet, juicy appetizer that’s for sure.

Got a comment to share?  Post it at the comment link below.

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Blue Zones: Live Longer, Better

I attended the Working Well Conference in Wichita, KS this week and was blown away by Dan Buettner’s presentation on Blue ZonesWikipedia defines blue zones as “a region of the world where people commonly live active lives past the age of 100 years. Scientists and demographers have classified these longevity hot-spots by having common healthy traits and life practices that result in higher-than-normal longevity.”

Here’s how describes what they’re up to:

Live Longer

The average American could live an extra 12 years and be 40% happier by optimizing their lifestyle and environment.

Backed by Research

Working with National Geographic, the National Institutes on Aging and AARP, we found parts of the world where people live the longest, happiest lives. Our three-step process helps you learn their secrets, measure your own happiness or longevity and get the tools to help you change your lifestyle and environment to live the longest, best life you can.

You can find out more about these longevity secrets in Dan Buettner’s book The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest

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Unleash the Magic Around Time

Unleash The MagicLast Wednesday we launched the 8-week program Unleash the Magic (live in Lawrence) and the first topic was Time.  So this week I was thinking about time and how I use it. I woke up Saturday morning feeling overwhelmed by the many things I had to do and the lack of interest and energy I had for starting on my mental list. Ugh was my total body feeling. My arms even hung limp at my sides like that of a teenager who has been asked to clean the kitty litter.

Turning to my journal for inspiration, I got excited and started sweeping my deck, then clipping the spent roses from my knockout bush (100 or so), cleaning the gutters, putting in two window air conditioners, brushing my shedding dog, clipping his toe nails, taking us on a walk, cleaning under the kitchen sink (oh man it was needing it), mopping the kitchen floor, and that’s just for starters.  I went like that for two days like a house afire.

As I cleaned and moved through my list, I thought about why my energy and enthusiasm was working so well for me….after it had felt so heavy and unappealing when I woke up Saturday morning.

Now this is what I want to share……In the midst of my struggle, I went to my journal for clarity and inspiration—for help. When I took the first step to take action, I was rewarded by a feeling of relief that I actually could trust myself to take care of business, to do what I said I was going to do, to manage the affairs of my life. I felt better and better about myself as the weekend progressed.

What I also noticed is that I said only positive things to myself about myself and about my tasks. I looked just at what I was working on instead of wringing my hands  over all that I had to do. It was magical really and not something I always do – that’s why I paid so much attention to what was working and why.  I wanted to repeat my success and share it with you. Positive self talk, taking action (baby steps when that’s all you can do), and writing in your journal – that’s a combo that will help to unleash the magic that’s already in you….and in me. 

What do you do for inspiration when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stuck?  Share at the comment link below.

If you live in Lawrence, KS and this program sounds of interest to you, it’s not too late to join the series.  This coming Wednesday we start session 2 with discussion, journaling, EFT, and energy healing around MONEY.  Don’t you love to talk about money!  Here a link for more information.

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Let’s Talk About Fun (notes from the first tele-conversation)

Let's Talk About...

Just finished the first tele-conversation in the Let’s Talk About Healthy, Happy Living series (1st and 3rd Tuesdays each month).  Our topic was having fun.  Here are some great quotes about fun and highlights of our conversation. 

" He who does not get fun and enjoyment out of every day…needs to reorganize his life"
-George Matthew Adams

"If I were a toy, I would say ‘Press my Play button’."
Julie De Koven

"The human race has only one effective weapon –and that is laughter."
Mark Twain

"People rarely succeed unless they have fun in what they are doing."
Dale Carnegie

"Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."
Abraham Lincoln

"Happiness is not having what you want. It’s wanting what you have."

"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
Ralph Waldo Emerson quoted in Joy by Beverly Elaine Eanes

Notes from the Conversation….

Things people shared that were fun for them:

  • hitting the bike trails on a sunny day
  • hiking (with great weather, scenery, friends)
  • road trips with favorite music, no time table – freedom!
  • cleaning, organizing, clearing the decks (fun checking things off a list, satisfying results)
  • playing with cats or other pets
  • listening to shape note singing group
  • hoola dancing for nursing home, party, other event
  • reading a good book
  • enjoying a spa bath or massage
  • winter camping
  • going on retreat

What can keep us from having more fun – perceived obstacles

  • Money can be an obstacle if we can’t shift our mindset about what we want and about money worries.  One participant talked about  how she’s tuning in to the essence of what she really wants for a 3-day vacation that she can afford.  Her creative juices have been activated and she’s having fun doing the research for local activities accessible via public transportation (inspiring story/reframe)
  • Inflexibility – if we have our heart set on one way to have fun and it doesn’t work out that way, it can be hard to switch gears (but switching gears is possible)
  • Unhappiness and unmet needs – can learn to meet our own needs with a meditation technique to provide comfort to yourself by Pete Sanders Access Your Brain’s Joy Center
  • Drama and family upset – one participant shared that they just went with the drama and chaos and turned the opera music up really loud.  That shifted the family energy/dynamic and they all enjoyed the Valentine’s Dinner (another inspiring story/reframe)
  • Clutter – makes us feel guilty, overwhelmed, so less likely to be free spirited and think about having fun (split a 3-day holiday into one day of cleaning/organizing and two days of fun!)  The cleaning and organizing clears the deck for guilt-free fun.
  • Feeling out of Control – use mindfulness and meditation to tap into personal freedom and peaceful relaxation (includes mindful breathing).  One participant said that meditation is an awesome all-purpose tool and I agree.

How we can build more fun into our lives

  • Hang out with fun people
  • Have a fun buddy to do things with
  • Make a list of fun things to do – create a fun menu to remind us of fun things when we’re feeling blah or blue
  • Post inspiring quotes and affirmations to remind us to have fun
  • Schedule fun activities into our calendars
  • Visit the Chamber of Commerce or Visitors Center and pick up brochures on 100 things to do for free/fun in your town
  • Create a “fun” file
  • Practice mindfulness (to become aware of pleasure)
  • Do some biblio-therapy (hang out in a library or bookstore and read while sipping a hot cup of tea or coffee.  Read something you wouldn’t ordinarily read.  “Borrow the book” for a coffee break so you don’t have to buy it or check it out.
  • Unpack the good China and use it.  Set a nice table with candles.  Wear lipstick, a cool pin, put on a fragrance.  Make life an occasion.

A few takeaways from the call:  not as lacking in fun as we thought but need reminders to build fun in.  Also, we can be more in control of our lives than we sometimes think – even if we have a challenging life.

If you missed this conversation and would like to sign up for the series (it’s FREE!), visit this link:

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