Rocco

IMG_0854Of all the things I share, this by far has been the hardest. I guess its time to be broken wide open…

Its been 1 ½ years since we made the choice to find you a better home. Although we see you surrounded by love, happiness and being the king you deserve to be. Not a day goes by that we don’t carry you in our thoughts and  in our hearts.


You Deserve More

I loved you from the first time I saw you,
In the barn that smelled of pine,
And was lit up like Diwali.

I loved you instantly as you put your head on my shoulders,
Like my own baby will also do some day.
I loved you from the time I held you shaking on the car ride home.
The first bath was kind of scary for both of us, but I loved you then too.

I loved taking care of you,
Seeing the relief on your face,
As I wiped sight into your eyes during an infection;
Or cleaning your ears knowing it will feel better in the end.
I loved that you made me a Mother.

I loved the laughs.
The times you were scared to walk on the road or over the gutters,
Or how you were petrified of crawling spiders,
Or when you growled at your own reflection in the window.

I loved the way you would sit on the landing,
Watching over the house, the kids, even me.
You were smart to know how to ring the bell to go outside,
Or go into your crate when the house wasn’t a safe zone.
And you were not at all a guard dog…
But you were my security.

Even when I came to see you and after our walk,
You watched me drive away in tears and agony,
I hope you know,
I will always love you…
But knew you deserved better.

Cravings: What’s Really Going On?

I would love to introduce you all to a blog Energy We Bring! I am a guest blog this week and the post is about What Your Cravings Really Mean!
Thank you to these wonderful ladies, Francesca & Julia, for introducing me to their awesomely informative and refreshing blog and asking me to write for them! It was an honor!
Hope you all enjoy and are able to take the steps to healthier food habits!

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It’s no secret (anymore), that I was a junk food addict. I have craved everything from red hot potato chips to nerds candy, I know I know some of you may be squirming at the thought of someone eating that processed nastiness, and others are salivating at the mere mention of it.

For many years it was the only nourishment my body was receiving. It is for this main reason that I am so grateful to my body. With everything I put it through from sleepless nights partying to fueling it with oily and sugar infested foods, it’s a wonder my body hasn’t wasted away into diabetic coma or full organ failure.

I’ve definitely learned my lesson, I’m listening to the signals to clean up my act; Signals of constant fatigue, nausea, even intestinal discomfort presenting through constipation and pain. And even though I turned myself into a wellness addict, I still had moments of junk food cravings; either because it was the time of the month or because I was feeling rushed and didn’t have time to think about a healthy option.

What I know now that I didn’t know before is that each craving means something to my body either directly needing that satiety, or indirectly by showing up as a deficiency of something else. Here are the major cravings I had and what I learned.

1.  Craving Potato Chips or Salty Snacks

Emotionally: This is a sign of stress related hormone fluctuations or a sign of frustration.

Physically: Can be a sign of dehydration. Ever notice that potato chips make you want to drink more water to wash them down, your body is craving water.

Research: in Salt Lake City (ironic?), Utah shows that just by taking a deep breath and meditating before grabbing for that salty snack reduced stress hormones by 25% and cut cravings in half!

Substitute: NutThins (My BFF introduced me to these and I have been grateful ever since.) They are delicious, have a crunch just like a chip and are salty. Especially the Almond Cheddar Cheese.

Carrots, celery or radishes are also great substitutes because they have a crunch, if you add a little ground cumin with the juice of a lemon wedge, you activate the same taste buds on your tongue for salty.

Long Run: In the long run vitamin B-complex to help with management of stress hormones and glands. Eat more protein to decrease cravings overall. Hydrate regularly target: ½ your weight in ounces of water each day.

2.  Craving Soda

Emotionally: It’s a need for whimsy, refreshing and energy.

Physically: Lack of calcium. Soda is linked to osteoporosis, either because it decreases the need for fortified drinks or because it decreases calcium absorption.

Research: Studies show that soda is linked to causing diabetes, obesity and elevating blood pressure leading to stroke risk, kidney damage and cancer. A powerful study in Massachusettes reports that each additional sugary drink a child drinks increases his risk of obesity by 60%.

Substitute: Try Steaz Soda (carbonation and flavored but filled with vitamins!). My favorite is honest harvest coconut water. Try flavoring Perrier with real fruit.

Long Run: Make sure you are getting enough calcium-rich foods into your diet. Make it a point to get outside and take a walk in the sun (vitamin D helps with the absorption of calcium).

3.  Craving Sweets (Candy, Chocolates)

Emotionally: This is a craving could indicate loneliness or boredom, the need for tenderness in our lives.

Physically: Our blood sugar is low and needs a quick fix.

Research: Studies show humans digesting sugar and fats produces opioids in our bodies, which is the active ingredient in heroin, cocaine and other narcotics. Other studies show that sugar is actually more addicting than fatty foods.

Take away: Stay away from sugar…it’s a vicious cycle the more you eat the more you crave it.

Substitute: dark chocolate has antioxidants, Gnosis Chocolate has an amazing assortment of raw good-for-you chocolates.

Use honey, coconut nectar or real maple syrup as sweetners. Fruits are also great to curb sweet cravings, especially my favorite mangoes or bananas.

Long Run: Add in more high fiber foods into your diet to help regulate blood levels without the blood sugar spikes. Whatever HAPPY means to you (listening to music, singing, dancing, yoga-ing), make sure you spend a little time making yourself HAPPY! Now that’s sweet!

4.  Cravings for Carbohydrates (Pastas, Breads)

Emotionally: Feeling emotional or fatigue and are looking for comfort.

Physically: Carbs help to release serotonin (the feel good neurotransmitter) and provide a calming effect to the body.

Research: Studies show that processed carbs(i.e. sugary food & drinks, white breads, pastas) activate areas of the brain associated with reward and increased hunger at the next meal.  Processed carbohydrates cause abrupt spikes in blood glucose and can cause people to overeat, cause food addiction and increased food cravings.

Like sugar, processed carbs are also: the more you eat the more you crave.

Substitute: Try Brown Rice Pasta, Quinoa Pasta. Long term try proteins to keep you full for longer periods.

Long Run: Add in high fiber foods and also magnesium rich foods. Magnesium is a mineral required daily by our bodies, if deficient we can feel fatigue or weakness.

The one thing I’ve learned about cravings (research confirms, not that we need it) the more you try to fight a craving the more intense the craving becomes. Make it a mindful choice, to hold off the craving, because the longer you hold it off the less the urge becomes over time.

The long-term option is to create better wellness “habits.” A study done in San Francisco found lab animals placed in “high stress” environments preferred to eat foods with high sugar and fats, so it all comes down to de-stressing.

  1. Deep Breathing
  2. Believe in Yourself and Your Will
  3. Exercise
  4. Hydrate
  5. Sleep Routine

Start with a healthy protein-rich breakfast to reduce cravings throughout the day!

Here’s to 10 years of Healing … Together

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Maybe because my big 10 year wedding anniversary is coming up or all my single 20-something cousins are constantly being bombarded with questions of marriage, or most of my clients have been talking about their own marriages, but one thing is clear, Marriage is the topic of the week.

Most people are expressing the opinion, people get married too young. I can’t help but ask, “is it that they are too young, or that they don’t really know who they are?”

I know people who are 23, completely self-aware and know their boundaries and I know people who are 40 and still discovering themselves. The point is not of age, but on self-knowledge. If I don’t know what I will and won’t stand for, my own likes and dislikes, how can I possibly expect to understand someone else’s?

Better yet, if I am not acknowledging my own needs, wants, goals, dreams, can another person really be the key to my  happiness, and thanks to Jerry Maguire, expected to “complete me”?

My story started out as a confident, independent, bubbly 23 year old, who knew one thing for sure, I did not want to get married and I did not want to have children.

Well the universe had different plans in store and sent Rik, into my life. It felt like, instant humor, instant love, and instant marriage, too busy having fun to realize the depth of what it all meant.

Reality hit when we moved in together and it was truly like Venus meet Mars! I just had never experienced this much intimacy with a guy before. Every-day you will be here? I will see you, think of you, talk to you… 24 hours a day? I don’t know if I can handle that much of my own self.

Even as I signed away the rights to my middle name, (formerly my father’s first name, now to be replaced as my husband’s first name) burning tears streamed down my face. This drama was my ego’s way of trying to hold on to the little self-dignity I did have. It didn’t matter if my name were changing to Phila-Lemon Patel that day, it didn’t change the fact that I didn’t know what I wanted, who I was or what my boundaries were.

At some point in our marriage, together, we realized we were both lost kids, trying to find our place in the world. I’m grateful because it made me realize that, no, we don’t need to break up because his socks are all over the bedroom and closet floor. No the D word (divorce) doesn’t need to be addressed every time he doesn’t follow the grocery list exactly. And no, bathroom hygiene is not a cause for separation.

Although, can we just take a moment to thank the Home Building Gods for creating his and hers sinks, which I’m pretty sure extended my marriage by a few more years!

Finding that thin line between bringing up things that need to be worked on without succumbing to the D word has been the stepping stone of my marriage. That and the presence of love.

Not just the love we feel as humans for all living things, but also the kind where his words make my heart smile, his voice brings joy to my soul, and his touch still sends shivers down my spine! That feeling that no one else will possibly do.

In case you didn’t get it, let me state, my marriage is far from perfect. My husband has slept in our guest room for months, we’ve done silent treatments for days, screaming fits for hours and I’ve even had tacos thrown at me, and for a man that loves his food… that’s saying a lot! I’m grateful that through it we ended up finding our selves, finding our own boundaries, and finding out why we are still together: love, faith, communication and hard work!

1. Always Have Faith.

My husband more than me kept faith that we will always be together. Even from what seemed to be rock bottom with no light shining in, he had faith we’d climb out to the top… together.

Without faith there’s no reason to really keep going, if there’s no belief that the marriage will last than why try? I’ve learned that yes, one person can hold the faith for a relationship, maybe temporarily, but its like a flame, it will burn until it uses up the last of its fuel, then it must go out. One person holding the faith is still burning that fire.

2. He Can’t Read Minds.

When you put a guy who doesn’t volunteer information unless asked and a girl who is constantly trying to people please without being asked, there’s a whole-lot of hoping the other person will ‘just know’ what you need. True story, no one is that consistently great of a mind reader.

So we learned to actually talk! Even little things like, I am feeling tired so I may get irritable, it has nothing to do with you. Even saying come home early today, I really need a hug. If you want to pick me up some flowers on your way home, I’d be ok with that!

Where’s the spontaneity? When the communication lines are open, it opens the door for spontaneity, fun, and more love!

In the beginning of climbing out of rock bottom we had to say every thing that was on our minds with the voice of our heart. (I don’t think this stage is ever really over, it’s the definition of honest communication).

3. Its Work.

No one wants to open Pandora’s box or that messy drawer in the kitchen, because you don’t know what you’ll find. But without bringing up the suppressed feelings, the deep cuts, I couldn’t have possibly found peace or freedom in myself or in my relationship.

For without feeling sadness you cannot feel true joy, without fear there is no courage, without grief there’s not undeniable love. All of which requires your time, effort, tears, and vulnerability. Everyday you work to fight your ego and say what you feel anyway.

You do this to clean your energy, your self, your relationship and your karma. You do this to heal together. I’m lucky, its working for me, and I guess I have my ego to thank for that, because as my best friend pointed out, I stayed through the drama, the tears and the nasty spats because it was a little less than the pain I was causing myself. I’m lucky that my husband was going through the same thing. I’m lucky he wanted to heal. I’m lucky he wanted to redefine our marriage too.

My marriage will always be a work in progress, otherwise what’s the point. But one thing I know for sure, I wouldn’t be living, loving, doing, growing if it wasn’t for him and his faith in me to be able to heal together.

Let Your Wild Heart Soar

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“Mommy, you should give it to me because I’m fabulous!” –Naya Patel

I don’t even remember what we were talking about or what she was asking for; all I could think as she said this was “that’s right girlfriend, Preach!”

Of course my daughter should be growing up knowing she’s fabulous; that she deserves the good things in life; that birds and mice come and get her ready with ribbons of love in the morning. Ok the last part is obviously a Cinderella fairytale, but why not.

I grew up unsure of how good I was. I grew up questioning every decision I made, sometimes 3-4 times. Constantly worrying about what people thought of me and never speaking up for myself. As a result I had a massive fear of confrontation.

It took me years to put my fears aside, to finally know my worth, and speak up more. I realized I actually love debates, and am unafraid to give my opinion on a subject, assertively and confidently…now, after all these years.

I am so grateful that my daughter knows who she is from the time she was born. My heart smiles thinking about all the years she’ll save trying to find herself, her worth, her purpose. I have faith I will be able to preserve this beautiful self-awareness in her, because I believe I can honor my own self-worth, self-acceptance and self-confidence!

In the end, we are all wild hearted beings that just want to let loose, be free, fun and fabulous! Here’s 3 ways we all can all preserve our wild hearts and shine the light for others!

1. Saying “YES”

Sounds simple doesn’t it, but for some reason “No” is usually the first to come out. Maybe because we just react, rather than taking a deep breath and asking, “heck why not?”

In our house, tent parties in our bedroom, painting with our hands, dance parties on kitchen counters, and riding our bikes around the house on rainy days, would never happen, if I hadn’t said Yes!

Saying yes, has been… FUN! Like literally I have a fantastic time. Saying yes has also calmed my controlling mind and freed me from the pressure of being “perfect.” The pressure of keeping them protected and clean, having good manners and being… tame.

I’m trying to keep them TAME!?! When all I want to do is run out in the rain and dance, to jump in the swimming pool fully clothed, to have a food fight…in a park (there are some things I still won’t allow in the house 😉

Saying yes, makes my wild heart soar!

2. Speaking with Respect

Sometimes my girls whine and nag, and repeat! On my already tired days, I yearn so bad for peace and quiet and may even find myself wanting to scream “BE QUIETTTT!!!”

Then I take a deep breath and realize, if my best friend was doing this what would I say to her. I’d say, “Hey girl, I’m beat. I really just wanna chillax. And from all the sounds you’re making, it seems like your day has been pretty exhausting too. So lets find something we can do quietly, together. “ (ok the last part is reserved for my kids to understand, to my bff I’d say “lets just make like celery and veg out ;))

This response puts me in a peaceful state of being and allows me to know my own potential; I can be calm and not bitchy? This logical reaction is simple and yet enormously affects my self-respect and respect for others.

When people feel respected, they feel supported and capable of doing things they never thought possible. Capable of commanding a room. Capable of rock climbing up the highest mountain. Capable of speaking in front of 1000 people.

If you can’t speak with respect on the simple things, then how do you expect to do it on the bigger issues.

3. Come Back to Love 

When all else fails, remember to come back to telling myself and everyone I care for, how much I genuinely love them. Sounds simple enough.

However, the other day the most horrible thing happened. I was putting my babies to bed, and realized I hadn’t REALLY hugged them all day

Sure, we say “I love you” and kiss them, when they go to school, or when we leave for work. I mean to really take the time to look at them and hug them, and make them feel like you love them to the moon and back 8 times over.

Telling them “I am the luckiest person in the world that they chose me as their momma.” Telling them “I am wonderfully free because, I learned it by watching you.” In telling them, I am reminding myself, I am loved, I am grateful, I am joy, and that I can always come back to love!

Of course these things aren’t easy to do, and take it from me, your ego will fight you every step of the way, but they are simple. Simple, yet profound. A simple yes can make a person feel fabulous, A calm response can make a person feel respected. Words of gratitude or hugs and cuddles can make a person feel loved…sometimes that person is you. A wild hearted, untamed soul, needing to take flight!