Posts filed under ‘living’

Yay for the Downturn in the Economy! A.k.a. Who are YOU?

It’s already happening. I hear more people talking about spending more time together, rather than spending more money.

I, for one, while I feel for everyone who’s been affected by the economic crisis (really, who hasn’t?), feel that it was time for a reality check. And not just about how much and possibly how frivolously we were all spending, buying, consuming… but also a reality check for how fast we’re living, always gunning for more, better, faster… and ruining our health in the meantime.

And what have you got if you haven’t got your health?

I was forced to discover this when my own internal economy came to a grinding halt. The simplest things, such as brushing my teeth, or wearing shoes, became things I had to THINK about doing… then do it – usually haphazardly because it hurt or because I had no energy… and then rest before I could do anything else.

I spent a lot of time staring at the ceiling and counting the floaters in my eyes.

I didn’t know who I was anymore. I no longer had the ability to work, no income of my own, and I couldn’t even read – ME, the lifelong BOOKWORM – my comfort, my one thing that always was ME – because I lost my short-term memory. Who was I?

Who are you?

Without your money, your job, your busy-ness, your deadlines, your rush, your favorite hobbies, the things you own, your family who needs you, WHO ARE YOU?

I found out I had a great laugh. That I missed herbal tea, not coffee. That I could hear the birds if I just tuned my head differently (i.e. make my chatterbox brain shut up). That I was the luckiest girl in the world because I have family and friends that stuck by me (and welcomed my calls again after being buried in the consultant lifestyle for so long!). That I actually do like beets (love at second sight)!

I found out that that it was time to move on from what wasn’t supporting me. That I really DIDN’T want to have to be perfect all the time. That I am terrified of failure. That I was ok with that. That I believed in my spirit and that it was alive and well, and always had been, quietly waiting.

That I was evolving into a new me – the real, the whole, the unabashedly alive and imperfectly perfect me.

Who are you?

April 27, 2009 at 4:52 PM Leave a comment

You’re Invited! New (FREE) Workshop: Eat Your Stress Away – the Right Way! Monday, May 4 in Downtown San Francisco

Even better, the full title is:

Eat Your Stress Away – The Right Way!
Nutrition & Lifestyle Secrets to Reduce Stress, Have More Energy (and Lose Weight, Too!)

Did I mention it’s FREE?

It’s on Monday, May 4th from 5:30-7pm at the YMCA Embarcadero (beautiful location) on 169 Steuart St (b/w Mission & Howard Streets) in downtown San Francisco.


This is a topic near and dear to me. Chronic stress paved the way for my severe autoimmune conditions to set in suddenly (well, it had been building up for years, but I didn’t know that at the time), and managing that stress through my nutrition and lifestyle choices has helped me get my health and life back.

One of my missions in life is to help YOU avoid a similar fate.

Now, the onset of an autoimmune condition may not be how your body ends up dealing with chronic stress, but did you know that…


And IT’S SO EASY TO REVERSE!!!!! All it takes is ONE DECISION, to say, “Ok, I’m going to take control of my health and not be at the mercy of my environment. I am going to dictate how well I live, and not just resign myself to thinking it’s about “diseases of aging” or “inevitable weight gain” or “I can’t help but be tired – I’m so busy.”

It’s up to YOU to live and feel great, and not succumb to these myths.

Does that seem far-fetched? Consider this:  recent research shows that our genes only account for 3% in determining which health conditions we will manifest based on our genetic heritage. The other 97% is about what you eat and how you live.

You may THINK you’re eating healthy, but do you know for sure?
Are you stuck in food fads? Do you still believe:

  • Low fat is the way to go?
  • A calorie is a calorie is a calorie?
  • 100 calorie snack packs are ok – even good choices, no harm done?

If yes, then you’re in for a rude awakening, if not now, then probably 2-5 years from now, as your body, mood, and emotions continue to get worse.

Either way, chances are you’re not eating the right foods for YOU.
Every Body is different, everybody needs to address their body’s needs. This is called bio-individuality. For example, some people need 100mg of Vitamin C a day, some need 3000mg. Some people absolutely thrive on a raw diet, some people can’t stop shivering and feel crappy. Some people crave salt, some crave sugar. Which one are you?

So, if you are:

  • S.O.S – Stressed Out Sick
  • Getting there… you have vague symptoms, IBS, headaches, body aches, you’re tired all the time, etc…
  • A busy professional or entrepreneur who is too busy to eat well, or eat anything, or take any care of yourself

Then you’re going to benefit greatly from this live interactive workshop.

I invite you to join me on:

Date:  Monday, May 4th

Time:  5:30-7pm

Location:  YMCA Embarcadero @ 169 Steuart St
(between Mission & Howard), Downtown San Francisco, CA

But, you must REGISTER TO RSVP for this FREE event as spots are limited.


The YMCA is graciously allowing me to invite you – my guests – in addition to their members.

Bonus:  I was able to secure a beautiful historic room with views of the Bay Bridge!

In this workshop, you will learn:

  • The #1 Secret you have to know about stress to control it!
  • How stress really affects your body, mind, and emotions.
  • The Top 5 stress-busting foods.
  • Your personal Stress Resilience Factor score.
  • The 3 Key Lifestyle Changes you need to prioritize.
  • How you can eat deliciously and still melt away the pounds

Are there foods you can eat on purpose to combat the effects of stress? Absolutely. Can you tweak your lifestyle, making small changes to see natural improvements in your ability to sleep, think, focus, be healthier, and have sustainable energy. Definitely.

Curious? Well, you have to be there to find out more.


I hope you can join me!

April 18, 2009 at 11:26 AM Leave a comment

The Power of Words… and Pain

It’s way past bedtime for me but I have such a buzz that I can’t get to sleep.

No, not that kind of buzz!

The best kind – a natural high. I spoke in front of 500 people (and had a great time doing it!) but that wasn’t even the best part. (I actually asked for some red wine tonight but just realized I didn’t even take a sip… I don’t drink anymore… my body doesn’t like it.)

Andy and I just returned from the Celebrating Science & Soul event, which “generates donations to support the Institute for Health & Healing’s work of healing people and transforming the practice of medicine. Last year the Institute touched the lives of more than 50,000 people, many through our scholarship fund and free programs at the bedside and in the Bay Area community.” Amazing, really.

Each year, this event honors pioneers in integrative medicine. This year’s honoree was Dr. Michael Harner – an incredible visionary – as well as Dr. William Goodson, breast cancer surgeon extraordinaire, who received a Compassionate Caring award. Beautiful people. Past honorees include Drs. Deepak Chopra, Andrew Weil, Mehmet Oz (pre-Oprah!), and Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD. Wow.

I had the honor of speaking as a patient testimonial. Here’s the video if you’re interested in watching. It runs about 7 minutes.

I haven’t shared much of my personal story yet in this blog. I’ve had a bit of a block. I am a super private person; I get the heebie-jeebies when I share too much personal info. But SO MANY people thanked me for doing so tonight at the event, that I see now I must. The story of my past 2.5 years is much bigger than just me. It’s part of my contribution and part of what I can give back. Because, you see, it’s been a long journey for me, but not as long as for others who are still suffering in silence and who, like some of the attendees tonight, may read / watch / hear about / listen to my story and have that be their nudge of hope that gets them to start healing and return to claim their life.

So, here, I will start to break my personal barrier and I begin offering to you my medical story and the story of my return (braver! bolder! brighter! than ever before) to owning my life.

I’ll start by giving you the video above as well as my speech transribed below. Pass it on.


Simla’s Speech

They say the memory of pain is one we cannot retain, probably for reasons of survival. I beg to differ.




It takes over your life until it’s all you can see, feel, taste, or think about.


It clouds your world so you don’t know who you are or whether you’ll ever have a good day again. When a good day means you can breathe without your ribs throbbing or your lungs burning, when you can tie your sneakers and take a step without your feet screaming, brush your teeth without getting exhausted, and remember the sentence you just read for the fifth time.


That’s the state I was in when I arrived at the Institute for Health & Healing Clinic in November 2006. I had already seen close to ten physicians to no avail. I had severe nerve, muscle, and bone pain along with short-term memory loss, debilitating fatigue, and a host of other symptoms. My standing diagnoses are fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, undifferentiated connective tissue disorder, multiple chemical sensitivity, and immunotoxicity. Along the way, I had been misdiagnosed and developed medication-induced hepatitis and pancreatitis. Not to mention gallstones. Add to that a lifelong battle with IBS, asthma, chronic bronchitis, a bout with Legionnaire’s Disease and pneumonia, and you get the picture. I was a mess. I was desperate, and desperately lost.


As a management consultant, I had thought I could use my intellect and methodical thinking to figure it all out. I was wrong. I had to go much, much deeper.


Using guided imagery, the incomparable Dr. Michael Cantwell helped reintroduce me to my Self – the Self that was not defined by pain. He helped me strengthen and redefine my connection to something bigger that had been lost. I was able to hear my inner voice again and let it take charge. Slowly, I began improving.


I recall one particular guided imagery session with Leslie Davenport, Integrative Psychotherapist, when my itching from jaundice stopped for good after I asked my body to give me a break, even though my skin was still very much the color of a ripe banana. Leslie’s kind and soothing presence created a haven where the noise in my body could sort itself out.


With the radiant Jodi Fishkin Manning, my stagnant insides found movement again, through her gentle touch as an exceptional massage therapist and powerful ability to really, deeply listen to what I had to say, without judgment or pity.


I still see Helen, the warm-hearted sage, every two weeks for acupuncture to keep my body balanced and my symptoms under control. But I see her just as much for her ability to help me get and stay grounded. She is always patient with my stream of questions, teaches me about myself and promotes guilt-free self-care.


That’s “my Team.” Together, along with my naturopath, chiropractor, rheumatologist, my husband Andy and my family, the IHH Clinic Team gave me hope, validated my pain but also my ability to heal, and encouraged me to pursue my newfound passion for holistic nutrition. In the past two and a half years, I left corporate America, went back to school (again!) to become certified as a health and nutrition counselor, and have opened the doors of a thriving holistic practice of my own.


Today, on most days, my pain is a memory – one that I respect, for it taught me much. Though my body can still be temperamental, I am always mending, healing, moving forward.  I can wear heels, haven’t needed surgery and my memory is better than ever, although my husband may beg to differ.


Consider yourself fortunate if you get to meet or spend some time with these exceptional practitioners tonight, as you are in the presence of true healers. They embody the spirit of medicine in all the ways medicine can and should manifest.


Thank you for giving me this opportunity to express in a small way my immeasurable gratitude to Dr. Cantwell, Jodi, Leslie, and Helen.


How do you say thank you to someone who has helped you rebuild your body, mend your spirit, redefine your way of being, and incidentally, discover your life’s work?


But I can tell you that everything they’ve taught me is embedded in how I now live. I hope to pass it on. Thank you.

March 9, 2009 at 8:04 AM 9 comments

Single? Sick? What you should have in your pantry!

This past week, I participated in a great health fair at one of SF’s largest employers. It was fun, it was busy; it also took a lot of energy and A LOT OF TALKING. The tea mix I made helped me protect my voice throughout that day (it was already waning the night before) BUT by that night, I ended up losing my voice (I still can’t find it) and coming down with the bug that’s been going around. And my husband was out of town.

I couldn’t call out to order food (the places I prefer tend not to deliver anyway), I had no energy to cook or shop, but I had to help my body mend itself and banish this bug.

All this made me think of you single gals and guys out there that may not have friends or family around to tend to you when you need it most.

Well, thank goodies for my PANTRY!!!!!! I had made some of my own chicken stock last weekend, I had some greens still left from my Mariquita Farms mystery box (see related blog post), some fresh fruit, and of course, some dark chocolate for good cheer. But there’s more!

All of these items keep for a while, even the perishable items (if stored properly) – for at least several days – up to several weeks or more…

The Savvy Single’s Pantry List

Have these items stocked up, especially during flu season, to keep yourself well nourished with little to NO EFFORT when you’re feeling run down.

  1. Chicken stock (organic ready-made, or home-made and frozen)
  2. Hardy fruits that don’t spoil easily as long as you don’t wash them until just before eating and store them in the fridge – except for the bananas (e.g. apples, pears, red grapes, blueberries, oranges, tangerines, bananas)
  3. A nut butter, like almond butter
  4. Frozen toast – get in the freezer section
  5. Multi-grain cereal and/or muesli (Nature’s Path has some good choices)
  6. Quinoa flakes (sold in the hot cereal section)
  7. Plain, full-fat organic yoghurt (skip the milk – too mucous forming)
  8. Ground flax seeds
  9. Thai rice noodles
  10. Lemons
  11. Miso
  12. Avocado (keeps well in the fridge after ripening)
  13. 1 bunch of any kind of dark leafy greens (e.g. kale, spinach, arugula)
  14. White rice and/or brown rice (white rice is easier to digest when your body is busy being sick)
  15. High fiber, healthy crackers (e.g. Mary’s Gone Crackers brand)
  16. Frozen organic veggies (e.g. broccoli, peas, lima beans, corn)
  17. Hummus, ready-made organic
  18. Honey
  19. Tea (especially Ginger, Throat Coat type of pre-mixed teas, Lemon, or Tulsi tea to break a fever)
  20. Firm tofu, chicken, or meat pre-cut into strips and frozen
  21. Dark chocolate, to sweeten things up a bit
  22. And a personal favorite: Pretoasted Nori seaweed sheets

With these ingredients, here’s what you’ve got:

  • Foods that will sustain you when you may not have much of an appetite or ability to digest well since your body’s busy healing.
  • No-cook options or ready in 10 minutes or less.
  • Great soup options. Here are a few: (a) plain broth (b) broth + thai rice noodles (c) broth + greens + nori (d) any of these with added frozen veggies (e) any of these with added meat or chicken strips or tofu (straight from the freezer) (f) 3 cups broth + 1/2 cup white or brown rice for a savory, soothing rice porridge.
  • Lemon to flush you out and provide immune system support with vitamins, phytonutrients, and its alkalizing power. Try including some zest for added nutrients. Use in tea, soup, or warm lemon water all day long.
  • Tea plus honey to keep you warm and hydrated, to soothe your throat and respiratory system, and support your immune system.
  • A filling and comforting breakfast:
    • Cereal – use the yoghurt instead of the milk for the cereal: immune system and probiotic support (if taking antibiotics, eat yoghurt 2-3 hours before or after)
    • Frozen toast makes wonderful crunchy warm toast (go figure!) – top with almond butter and honey
    • Hot quinoa cereal – just add boiling water or a milk substitute such as rice, almond, or soy milk. Presto! No cooking.
    • Add a few pieces of fruit and/or honey to any of these.
  • Sautee your greens in 1 TBS olive oil or just a splash of water if your stomach can’t handle the oil. Takes less than 5 minutes and gives you your incredible edible greens to support your immune system. Sprinkle 1 TBS of ground flax seeds for some nuttiness plus the healthy fats you DO need to absorb those great nutrients from the greens.
  • Thai rice noodles + tofu / meat / chicken – great when you need a boost of energy. Add miso for 1-step seasoning and a healthy probiotic boost.
  • Avocado (a) cut in half, squeeze lemon juice, pinch of salt (b) spoon into pieces, tear up some nori, squeeze lemon juice – great with cucumbers too (c) add to #8 above
  • A spoonful of honey…
  • Hummus (a) with crackers (b) with greens (c) with avocado and /or cucumbers (d) alone
  • Ground flax seeds? They go with everything.

And an unofficial #13… hmmm… I just wondered what avocado + honey would taste like. Probably very good. Sprinkle with flax seeds and almond slivers and I bet you’ll have a new comfort food. I’m going to try this one, maybe tomorrow.

I hope you don’t need these tips but if you do, now you’re set to focus on getting well!

Do you have your personal favorites you like to keep on hand, just in case? Share them here… I’d love to hear from you!

March 1, 2009 at 3:57 AM 2 comments

Taking Stock

It’s been a rainy few days here in San Francisco. And with the 3-day weekend, super quiet. Even the confused too-early spring buds have retreated again.

For me, different ribbons of experience have been converging and making this a time for taking stock, not just of this past year, but the past 2.5 years:

For the past three weeks, I’ve been entering LOTS and LOTS of data into Quickbooks. What felt like a thankless exercise (yes, Oh QB Gods – I’ve learned my lesson – keep up with the books on a weekly basis – don’t try to enter the year’s data at once to meet the tax deadline) ended up becoming an exercise in taking stock, financially, of how far my fledgling practice has come since I had my epiphany 2 years ago and started my practice a year ago. It is now self-sustaining and poised to grow. Just in time for Spring!

Then, I was recently given the honor of speaking as a Patient Success Story at CPMC’s annual fundraiser gala, “Science and Soul.” It’s been a contemplative period for me to pause, give thanks to my supportive circle, and begrudgingly (it’s so hard!!) give myself credit for all the hard work I’ve put into healing my body and much more. I finally get to publicly thank part of my healing team – four beautiful people who have made me whole again – or more whole than ever. I have THREE MINUTES to try and convey the life-shifting experience and do justice to the gratitude I have accrued for these healers in the past 2.5 years.

Here’s a link to more details about the event:

Science & Soul Event

[I may post my speech when it’s ready – right now, it’s a scribble of notes that pushed itself out of my sleepy self last night, not letting me get to sleep until they were down on paper.]

And, most potently, as we recently lost a dear family member, it’s been a time of taking stock and acknowledging the passing of time, the passing of souls, and the perfection of each slice of time in our lives. I’m several chapters through the book of my life – almost halfway there, actually (if I may be presumptuous enough to guess so), and it was sad but soothing to let another chapter become a memory.

So. Are you due for taking stock of your ribbons?

As for me, right now, it’s dinner time, so time to get back to the present that is the present!

February 17, 2009 at 2:11 AM Leave a comment

Isn’t it funny?

Have you ever noticed how we tend to be uncomfortable when people are smiling / laughing / chuckling to themselves?

And yet we, by default, consider it perfectly normal when people walk around with a frown / scowl / worry on their face?

Is that funny? Or sad?

I noticed this when I had a lot of introverted, observing, quiet time riding on buses between my myriad medical appointments, sometimes dozens of hours a week.

Look, watch. You’ll notice.

So be bad and smile a bit today. See who’s watching and smiling back.

January 29, 2009 at 7:58 PM Leave a comment

Newer Posts

RSS Feed Sign Up

Tweet with Me!


Top Posts