Mar 262015

Can A Cleanse Heal You? -

Can A Cleanse Heal You?

I’m asked quite often about cleanses, and if they can heal health conditions, illnesses, and diseases. I think cleanses are great at kick starting a healthy diet and giving someone a good break from foods that are causing inflammation, imbalances, and disease in the body. But I don’t think a short term cleanse will heal anyone unless they make permanent changes to their diet and lifestyle after the cleanse, and figure out what might be contributing to the problem to begin with.

If you have a health condition or illness and are contemplating doing a cleanse (fasting or a dietary cleanse), I have some suggestions to make it a worthwhile experience. Cleanses and fasting are great, but what’s even better is learning from them – learning more about yourself, and what is contributing to your health, and what is standing in your way.

Two types of foods that contribute to most illnesses and health issues:

Allergenic Foods & Inflammatory Foods

The reason why people feel so great on a cleanse and have such wonderful healing results is because of what is eliminated while being on a cleanse. I like to class these eliminated foods into two groups: allergenic foods and inflammatory foods. Many or all of the foods in these two groups are usually eliminated during a cleanse, and this is why people always feel much better while they are fasting or following a restrictive cleanse

1- Allergenic Food

Allergenic foods are foods that some people have an allergy or a sensitivity to. Examples of these foods or ingredients are dairy or milk products, wheat, gluten, soy, corn, shellfish, tree nuts, food additives like MSG, etc. If someone has an unknown sensitivity or allergy to any one of these foods (or a combination of them), eliminating them will automatically make them feel a lot better! Sometimes just a few days without an allergenic food can have a big impact on someone’s health and help them to start clearing up surface issues like digestive distress, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, acne, skin rashes, congestion, sinus issues, respiratory infections, aches and pains, etc. Later, as someone continues to go without a food they have an allergy or sensitivity to, deeper imbalances and problems like malnutrition, inflammation, and chronic immune response that could be causing other health conditions, diseases, and illness, can start to balance out, and the body can heal.

2- Inflammatory foods

Sugar, alcohol, processed foods, refined foods, artificial ingredients, food additives, chemicals, preservatives, and even an over-consumption of animal products and meats causes inflammation in the body (and so does stress!). Too much of this stuff makes people ill! Like with allergenic foods, once anyone takes a break from inflammatory foods, they always start feeling a lot better, and there body begins to heal.

What to take away from your cleanse

If you do a cleanse and feel fabulous at the end and notice all sorts of healing and an elimination of health issues you’ve been dealing with for years, it’s most probably because there’s at least one thing in your diet that is causing havoc on your health. If it’s already obvious to you what needs to be eliminated so you can continue to enjoy the results from the cleanse, then do so.

If it’s not so clear what could potentially be causing all your health issues, I suggest after the cleanse is done to do an entire month with as little inflammatory food as possible to see if that is the cause of your issues. If after a month, you don’t feel that much improvement like you did when you were on the cleanse, then I suggest experimenting with an elimination diet.

Elimination Diet

An elimination diet I find is one of the surest ways of figuring out what foods you might be allergic to or have a sensitivity to. The best way to do it is to choose one allergenic food and eliminate it from your diet for 2 weeks. If after two weeks you notice no improvement in your health, than re-introduce it back into your diet and try eliminating another allergenic food for another two weeks. By doing an elimination diet, it’ll be very clear as to what foods are not agreeing with your body, and it ensures you are not eliminating any food group unnecessarily.

This is how you really benefit from a cleanse

One thing I tell participants from my monthly Juice Fasting Program and Raw Food Cleanse, is it’s not so much about the cleanse itself, but what you do after. A cleanse is pretty much useless if you don’t make needed dietary and lifestyle adjustments afterwards. If you do a cleanse and then go back to eating junk, there’s no point in doing the cleanse to begin with, and perhaps it just causes more stress on your body. So before you embark on any cleanse, really be honest with yourself if this is something you want to do. Ask yourself, are you ready? Are you excited about it? Are you willing to put all the effort into improving your diet, health, and lifestyle? If the answers are Yes, Yes, YES – then go with it!! This really can be the beginning of something GREAT!

Want to do a cleanse? Join one of my upcoming online programs:
10 Day Juice Fasting Program starting April 1, 2015
7 Day Raw Food Cleanse starting April 13, 2015
7 Day Whole Food Challenge starting April 20, 2015

Mar 242015

Success Strategy - Motivation & Timing! -

Are you trying to lose weight, eat healthier, get fit, or just want to take better care of yourself?

Motivation is key in determining your success! You can have all the information and tools in the world, but if you aren’t motivated, you won’t get anywhere.

Keeping motivated, plus timing is everything!

Recently I have found that it’s not only knowing what keeps me motivated, but having a strategy in place to be doing these things at specific times of the day/evening when I need it the most. For me, the late afternoons and evening are my “weakest hour(s),” where I find myself having cravings and temptations, procrastinating, making excuses, having the lowest amount of energy, and sometimes even doubting myself. Let’s just say this is the time of day where I’m looking for the biggest boost, and naturally, sugar cravings start setting in.

To counter this, I know exactly what keeps me motivated and on track – I find it’s activities that make me feel the best, and invigorate me, especially the activities that remind me that I’m alive. Examples of this is playing with my daughter (especially making her laugh!!), walking on the beach with my husband and daughter, exercising, gardening, exploring places I haven’t been to, drinking a fresh green juice, eating a big salad, taking a hot bath, reading, cleaning the house (for some reason cleaning out the refrigerator I find to be super motivating to eat healthy!), listening to music, catching up with a friend, etc. All these things help to shift my energy from fantasizing about chocolate bars, to getting up and doing something healthy, and that feels good.

First, know what activities will help keep you motivated. Then figure out the time of day (or evening) where you will need them the most.

My New Year’s goal was to get back into shape and get fit again! I was all excited about it, and I was even trying to exercise in the morning (which I’m not a morning person!). That obviously was short-lived, as I just mention, I’m not a morning person! Even though I’m not a morning person, my mornings are pretty straight forward, taking care of 1.5 year old keeps me busy, so I have no room for distraction, and cravings in the morning are very minimal, even non-existent. But come afternoon, especially when I hit a dip in energy, this is when I need help. At this time of day is when I actually need exercise the most, so why was I thinking of doing it in the morning when I needed it the least?! The same thing with my daily green juice. I used to drink it in the morning, but recently, I’ve moved it to the afternoons, at around 3pm when I would be craving chocolate. It works like a charm, I have the green juice, the chocolate cravings disappear, and next thing you know it, I’m getting my running shoes on for my afternoon exercise routine. It’s a domino effect of healthy activities, and amazingly enough, at a time of day that used to be my weakest.

Have you switched around any of your routines to a different time of day, and did it make a difference? What keeps you motivated?

Want to do a Juice Fast? Join the next 10 Day Juice Fasting Program starting Wednesday, April 1, 2015!!! The program includes menu planners to transition on and off the fast, fasting outline, daily videos specifically made to guide you through the fast (20-40 minutes long each) and an online forum to connect with everyone from around the world doing the juice fast with you! Natasha is on the private Juice Fasting Forum daily answering questions and offering additional support! CLICK HERE to sign-up!

Mar 202015

Silent Day Cleanse -

Silent Day / Nyepi Day – The Balinese New Year

Tomorrow is Balinese New Year (Nyepi Day). How the Balinese celebrate the new year is by having a day of silence – for 24 hours, no one is to use electricity or fire (no cooking, no lights, etc.), no going outside, no working, no entertainment. Even the airport is closed for 24 hours and no one is allowed on the streets. By sun down, the entire island is dark and quiet! This is a day of contemplation, a day of reflection, a day to be with your family. I love Nyepi Day! Perhaps the next time you do a fast or cleanse, you incorporate some of these elements (how about a technology fast?!!!).

Ready to let go of the sugar and processed food once and for all??!!
Join the NEW 7 Day Whole Food Challenge starting Monday, March 23, 2015! For 7 days you’ll be on a 100% healthy, real food diet! This program is an online program, so once you sign up you’ll immediately receive an ebook with over 75 recipes, program guidelines, sample menus, lists of meal ideas, etc..) and once the program begins you’ll have access to a private online forum for support, and daily education & motivational videos to teach you everything you need to know about eating a healthy, whole food diet. Click Here to sign-up now!

Mar 192015

Tips for dark circles under eyes -

Do you have dark circles under your eyes and it’s not coming from a lack of sleep?!

As a kid I suffered from dark under eye circles, in fact my mother would put me to bed earlier and earlier hoping it would go away! The dark circles had nothing to do with a lack of sleep, or how rested I was. It was only until she took me to a doctor, did we find out I had bad environmental allergies, especially to dust which was causing the problem. Even today, after all these years, I still have to take extra pre-cautions to make sure my home is free of dust, and other airborne allergens.

Based on my own experience and those of others, dark circles under the eyes can be caused by many things from fatigue, allergies, eye strain, dehydration, diet, deficiencies, health conditions, and even one’s facial bone structure.

Here’s a bunch of suggestions I have if you have dark circles under your eyes: 


1- Go for a check-up

Always best to check-in with a doctor or naturopath and have them take a look at you, and do the appropriate tests (like blood tests). Dark circles under the eyes can be caused by deficiencies like an iron deficiency (anemia), or it could be a sign that you have a thyroid issue, adrenal issue, etc.

2- Boost your nutrition by eating nutrient dense foods

Eat more vegetables! Not only eating more, but having more variety, plus cooking and preparing your vegetables in different ways will ensure you are getting a good variety of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Some nutrients are better absorbed when the food is cooked, others are more absorbable when the food is raw– so best to have a good combination of both! Personally, I like to  prepare my vegetables in all different ways like having salads, soups, smoothies, freshly pressed green juices, raw veggies and dip, steamed or sautéed vegetables, baked vegetables, etc– this ensures I have a lot of variety, cover my nutritional needs, and I continue to enjoy my healthy food!

Drinking freshly pressed green juice (daily) and/or wheatgrass juice (regularly) will also give you a nutritional boost. Many people have noticed that over time of adding fresh juice to their diets, dark circles and puffiness around the eyes go away. If you don’t have access to fresh juices, you can always try a green powder – personally I will always say that “fresh is best,” but I also know that not everyone has immediate access to fresh juices, so in the time being, you can add a good quality green powder to your diet.

Like freshly pressed green juices, homemade bone broth is also a fantastic addition to your diet, not only for the minerals but to boost your body’s collagen production as well, which is always good for having a more youthful appearance and healthy skin.

3- Avoid eye strain

Don’t be staring into computer screens, tablets, and phones for too long. Make sure to be reading in well lit areas, and most importantly, take breaks! You eyes need rest too!

4- Sleeping in an environment that is clean, dust-free, clutter-free, and even hypo-allergenic

When you sleep at night, make sure there is fresh air and good air circulation. If possible, open a window slightly to get some good, clean air in. If using an air conditioner or central heating, make sure the vents are clean, free of any mold, dirt, or dust.

Make sure your sleeping area is clean, dust-free and doesn’t have too many objects around it that can accumulate dust. Best to clean your bedroom and especially your sleeping area at least once or twice a week, change bed linens and pillow cases regularly, and also flip your mattress and pillows regularly. All these things can make a big difference, not only on your under eye circles, but the quality of your sleep, and overall health as well!

Some people have allergies to feathers (or the dust and microbes that accumulate in feathers). Perhaps replacing your down duvet and pillows with synthetic fiber filled ones can help (I know for myself this has always made a huge difference), or you can even try to sleep without a pillow!

5- Different sleep positions may help

Sometime sleeping with a an extra pillow to prop your head higher can help to prevent water retention or accumulation in the face and under the eyes, which could be contributing to the appearance of dark circles under your eyes. Even changing your sleeping position can help too, perhaps if you sleep on your stomach or side, try sleeping on your back and see if that helps.

6- Decreasing salt and sodium in your diet

There are definitely certain foods and condiments loaded with salt or sodium that is anything but beautifying! I know for myself anything with tamari, soy sauce, or miso makes my under eyes ballon! Keep note if some mornings you wake up with serious puffiness, what did you eat the day before that could be causing it?

7- Homemade Eye Masks

Need a quick eye pick-me-up or a temporary solution? Try an eye mask! They do work. It won’t get rid of it permanently, but for a few hours they could make a big difference making your eyes less dark, puffy, and saggy.

Two easy and natural eye masks I like are fresh cucumber slices and used tea bags:

Cucumber Eye Mask:
1- Slice fresh cucumber (2 slices) and place in the fridge or freezer to make sure they are really cold.
2- Place over closed, clean eyes for 15-30 minutes

Tea Bag Eye Mask
1- Place two used tea bags (that contain caffeine like black or green tea bags) in refrigerator or freezer until very cold
2- Place over closed, clean eyes for 15-30 minutes

8- Non-toxic cosmetics and skin care products

You can always use non-toxic eye creams and non-toxic make-up to conceal the dark circles under your eyes. I know for myself, taking care of my baby daughter Luna Ray, I’m definitely very appreciative of non-toxic make-up when we go through sleepless nights!!

Products and cosmetics I recommend:
I love Living Libation’s Open Sky Eye Serum and All Seeing Eye Crème. The All Seeing Eye Crème I store in the refrigerator so it’s nice and cool when I put it under my eyes. The Open Sky Eye Serum I use only at night for extra moisture.

I also really like RMS Beauty “un” cover-up, it’s an extremely light weight, non-toxic concealer which I find great for using under the eye’s because it won’t build up in the creases and fine lines (a.k.a wrinkles) under my eyes like other heavier, cakey make-up does. Because it’s so light it doesn’t clog pores, or dry out the skin either.

Ready to let go of the sugar and processed food once and for all??!!
Join the NEW 7 Day Whole Food Challenge starting Monday, March 23, 2015! For 7 days you’ll be on a 100% healthy, real food diet! This program is an online program, so once you sign up you’ll immediately receive an ebook with over 75 recipes, program guidelines, sample menus, lists of meal ideas, etc..) and once the program begins you’ll have access to a private online forum for support, and daily education & motivational videos to teach you everything you need to know about eating a healthy, whole food diet. Click Here to sign-up now!

Mar 162015

How To Lose Weight Working At Night -

How to lose weight while working overnight!

Recently I did a blog post/video about losing weight while you sleep. The video was talking about eating early and going to sleep early. I recieved a few questions about what to do if you work the night shift (late at night or overnight) and you can’t go to sleep early– what do you do??!!! How would one lose weight in this type of situation?

I will start off by saying that it’s always best to be sleeping early at night. It is healthier, but not everyone has this option. Either they have to work late into the night, or even over night. I myself have been in this situation while I was a university student. Back then, I went to school during the day, and bartended at night, and my shift ended either at 3am or 5am. I did this for about four years, it was brutal, but I was young at the time, and I survived!

Strategies on how to lose weight while working at night:

Get proper sleep to keep your appetite in check.

If you work at night, that means you are sleeping late into the morning, or all day. Make sure you are getting good quality sleep, and enough sleep. If you work the night shift and you’re tired, this can cause cravings and over eating. If you are too tired at work, you might compensate by eating too much. Getting enough sleep when you can will help to balance out your appetite and ward off cravings, and the need to overindulge in sugar and caffeine.

Even if you are working late at night or into the early morning, stop eating at least 2-3 hours before going to sleep.

To lose weight while you sleep, make sure your last meal is at least 2-3 hours before you go to sleep, this applies also to those working the night shift. You don’t want to be eating a big meal right when you get home from work and then going straight to sleep. Instead, if you want to lose weight while you sleep, you need to eat your last meal at least 2-3 hours before you go to bed. One thing that people overlook is the amount of time it takes to get home from work and how long it take to unwhind from work before going to sleep. Once you know the average time it takes from leaving work until you go to sleep, you’ll be able to figure out the optimal time to have your last meal.

Experiment with the size of the last meal you’re eating before going to sleep – you might be able to get away with eating less!

For some people, their last meal before going to sleep might need to be a good size meal, whereas others can get away with just having a light snack. Best to experiment with what works best for you. I would recommend first seeing what it’s like to eat a light last meal, and if it feels good, you don’t get hungry an hour or two later, and you have no problem falling asleep, then continue eating a light last meal. If you do get hungry soon after your last meal, or you are hungry by the time you go to sleep and it’s disrupting your sleep, then definitely increase the quantity or portion of your last meal. Pretty much you are aiming to have your last meal at least 2-3 hours before going to sleep, and that you don’t go to sleep hungry or needing a snack before going to sleep (you also don’t want to go to sleep too full either, so watch the portions, the less you eat before sleeping, the better!). Do some experiments to see how much food you really need!

Absolutely no snacking in between meals while working overnight!

I also recommend not snacking while working on the night shift, eat real meals, and no snacking in between! Also, never eat while you are working or doing things. Best to stop everything and be present with eating your food, you’ll eat much less.

Want to do a cleanse??!!!! Join the next 7 Day Raw Food Challenge7 full days on a 100% raw food diet will definitely kick start a healthy diet, get the weight loss going, and make you feel and look great!! Once you sign-up, you’ll receive an ebook with Recipes, a full Menu Planner and Shopping List. Once the Challenge begins, you’ll have access to the Private Online Forum and Daily Videos specifically made for the 7 Day Raw Food Challenge. Click Here to join now!– The next 7 Day Raw Food Challenge starts Monday, March 16, 2015!!!