Talk Nice...To Yourself

Did you know that the way you talk to yourself has a huge impact on your own health and well-being? Speaking negatively to yourself on a regular basis can have a profoundly bad effect on many aspects of your life. If you openly trash yourself, you give people around you license to do the same.


People who have positive internal conversation have less run-in's with depression, stress and drama, if-you-will. It's also been shown to ward off colds and reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues [wow]!


A positive attitude is much more than just "staying positive." It's about acknowledging and taking a hard look at all your positive attributes (and you have many) and bringing those to light instead of the negative ones.


We all have dark places in us, and things that have happened to us, but those things don't have to run our lives or dictate our future. We have a choice in the matter. We get to choose the way we feel about ourselves, what we say to ourselves and how we show up in our lives.


Comparing yourself to others, wishing you had what they did, wanting someone else's body, etc will not help you get what you want in life. We all have our own paths, and we are the ones responsible for carving out our path in the way we want it.


It took me years to get where I am. I used to do mime on the Santa Monica Promenade for crying out loud. All because I had this big lofty dream of being an actor. I would do whatever it took. I would land little acting jobs here and there, but I never got my big break. I have to be honest, it was hard to stay positive, but you know what? I did anyway.


I caught some other breaks, and happened to be really good at helping people get fit, so I put my focus there.  I continued to move forward, talk nicely to myself and take positive action even though my original dream wasn't happening. Sometimes life has another idea for us, and we can fight against it with negativity, or choose to meet life with positivity and forward movement. I also make sure to surround myself with positive people. It really is true when "they" say; you are who you spend your time with.


The language you use to describe yourself -- and others for that matter, reflects on your ability to see the sunnier side of life, search for solutions and find answers -- cup half full kind of stuff. Your words come from your thoughts, but they also influence your thoughts, it's a two-way street here. The words in your brain and the ones coming out of your mouth can serve you or impede you. Be conscious of the power of your words, and the effect they have on your reality. You get to choose. Remember that!



Flexibility in the Kitchen

I know eating healthy can be hard and it often comes last on the list for most people. Opting for the convenient thing is, well...convenient, and convenience doesn't always equal health. Being flexible with your eating can support you in finding more variety, ease and balance when it comes to your diet.


The way you fuel your body and brain has just as much to do with your physical and emotional health as how you think and move.


Look, you've probably heard me mention (more than once) that my eating habits growing up were less than stellar. When I was a kid, we ate whatever was advertised on TV, which meant Ding Dongs, Twinkies, Ho-Ho's, sugary cereal, Entenmann's donuts (man those were good), you get the idea. If it was junky, I loved it. I was addicted to sugar, salt and fat, and it showed.


I often suffered from depression and fatigue. By first period in school, my head was on the desk and I was drooling. I had zero brain and body fuel to keep me focused and awake.


Eating healthy was something that didn't matter much to me back then. Even after I moved to Sunny SoCal, I continued down the junky path. At this point, I was exercising all the time, so I thought it didn't matter what I put in my body, as long as I was moving it. NOT!


After a run-in with a huge, greasy burger from one of my favorite local restaurants, I experienced the icky's. I felt so sick to my stomach that I knew something needed to change.


I began to get serious about researching food. I began to read labels. I went to seminars and hung out with people who knew better -- nutritionists, fitness enthusiasts and healthy foodies who showed me that there is another way, and that eating for nourishment and fuel was the way to go. Not only that, but I learned how eating healthy would help prevent a myriad of diseases.


I went down the vegetarian road for a long time. It suited me for over 15 years. I began to miss eating fish and quality meats in small amounts and it became increasingly hard to find healthy vegetarian food when I traveled, so I added them back in. I wanted to stay flexible with my diet and not be so rigid. I wanted to listen to my body and not follow some diet that was the current fad.  Our body is the the best nutrition advisor. As cues presented themselves, I took them.


Because I was open to being flexible with my eating, it helped me to find the diet that works for me. I do my best to avoid caffeine, white sugar, gluten, alcohol, artificial sweeteners and too many saturated fats because they don't feel good in my body, and cause inflammation.


Flexibility doesn't only have to do with you, it has to do with others too. Remember, your way might be the best way for you, but that doesn't mean it's the right way for everyone else or the person next to you. Being flexible helps you to cultivate resilience in your life and adapt your perspective so you can take information in from others without judgment. You know your body best, so the cleaner you eat, the more you will be able to read its cues. Remember, the body never lies!

Focus on Progress Not Perfection

Perfection can be a slippery slope. Waiting until something is perfect could very well have you missing out on what’s occurring right now, and set you up to feel like a failure over and over.


Yes, I am a big advocate for failing; getting back up, going again, and again and again, but there are those of us who don’t even start, or who think we will be happier when we reach some end goal that is “perfect” in our mind.


Perfectionism keeps us in a box; a very small one. It keeps us from stepping out of our comfort zone and holds us in a pattern of living in the “when, then” mindset. For example, “When I am 20 pounds thinner, then I will be happy.”  “When I make x dollars, then I will be successful.” You get the idea.


I find it more empowering to keep my focus on Progress; the progress that happens each and every day, with each and every workout, with each and every idea and with each and every attempt to do something new.


Because the truth is, we are always making progress in some way, as long as we are continuing to take action. If you are working out every day, you are making progress. If you are eating healthy, but maybe slip up here and there, you are still making progress. If you have a project due, and you take the first step toward getting it done, that is progress.


I know you’ve heard this from me time and again, but I will say it again right here. Get er’ done! That’s right, just do it; whatever that thing is you need to do. Don’t let perfectionism (fear) hold you back because you may get rejected, feel like a failure or not do it perfectly. Isn’t it better to say you at least took action toward something, then to not have started at all?


Here are ways I continue to move forward even when perfectionism shows up in my life:


1.    Make a list of all the things I need to do and chunk each thing down into small measurable goals.

2.    Focus on the positive in my life. Be grateful for what I have instead of putting my energy into what’s not working in my life.

3.    Be of service in the world. There is nothing better to move us out of perfectionism than showing up for others in a big way.

4.    Take imperfect action. As long as I’m taking action, it doesn’t need to be perfect. It still means progress.

5.    Cut yourself some slack. Being perfect is exhausting. Embrace who you are right now, not who you will be some day down the road, because the truth is, that day may never come. Life is short.


In closing, I will say that perfectionism wears on us. It wears on our soul and how we show up in life, and holds us back from doing the things we need to be doing. Don’t let it run your life, take action anyway no matter how it looks.



Live Preventatively

Today, I want to talk about the temple that is your body and how to treat it through living preventatively. Preventative living is the only way to live, in my book. Isn't it better to do what's good now, instead of having the treat illnesses and disease down the road when it's too late?


Treat Your Body As The Temple it Is.

Our bodies are temples and they need nourishment and care to function optimally and be healthy. When it comes to health, the foods we put in our mouth are more important than how we move our bodies. Both definitely go hand-in-hand, and you don't want to forego one for the other.

You all know I am a huge proponent of exercise, and yes, it's what I do for a living, yet I also recognize how truly integral diet is in the big picture of optimal health and wellness. And when I say, "diet" I don't mean counting calories and ingesting diet foods. Your diet, and what you eat, is a way of life.

I literally cringe inside when I hear people say, after finishing a workout, "Now I can eat whatever I want." And then they go for the cheeseburger or donuts, or some heart-stopping, processed foods. Exercising is not about getting to eat whatever you want. It's a vehicle used in conjunction with healthy food to keep your body performing at it's best as it ages.


Food is Health, Exercise is Fitness

Look, the way I see it is this; Food is Health, Exercise is Fitness. You need both. It's simple really. Eat good food everyday, move your body every day and health can be yours.

Remember that little (yet extremely powerful) saying from Hippocrates, "Food is Thy Medicine?" Well, I've seen it first hand in my life. When I began to change my diet many years ago and eat healthy, it changed how I felt physically, my energy levels went through the roof and I was sleeping better and had more balanced moods.

It is possible to prevent future health problems through eating a whole food diet, and very possibly reverse some of your current health issues!


How to Incorporate Whole Foods Into Your Diet

I do my best to stay away from any food that comes in a bag, box or can that has more than 4 ingredients. Processed food is frankenfood. It's not real. It's not good for you. And it provides nearly no nutritional value.

Sometimes it's hard to avoid, especially because convenience can be a huge factor when it comes to how we eat, but convenience does not equal health. Most convenience foods contain a lot of chemicals and ingredients that tend to be hard to pronounce and harmful to the body.

I travel extensively and believe me, it can be challenging to stay healthy on the road, but the key to staying healthy is being prepared and eating as many whole, unprocessed foods as possible. This includes veggies, whole grains, fruits, nuts, seeds, legumes, healthy fats and lean proteins.

The more of these whole foods we put into our body, the better and healthier we will feel. Eating this way will start to bring your body into a more alkaline state which is how our tissues, blood and organs stay healthy.

Alkaline foods are known for helping to reverse disease. Foods like leafy greens and other veggies will help your body to become more and more alkaline. Drinking a green smoothie everyday is a great way to get those awesome, alkaline greens into your life.

When the body becomes over loaded with acid (ie: processed foods, sugar, coffee, meats, dairy) it will become a breeding ground for disease and also exacerbate any current health issues you may have.

Make sure to have a huge leafy green salad every day and pile lots of veggies on your plate.


Live Preventatively

Look, preventative living doesn't have to be hard. It's about educating yourself. As you age, your body will break down more and more, it's a given, so you have a choice about whether you want to help it stay strong and healthy, or add to the aging process by not taking care of it.

Enroll friends or family to help you. Shop at your local farmer's market, and on the perimeter of the grocery store or plant a garden. Start to seek out fun, delicious recipes to incorporate more alkaline, whole foods into your diet. Get creative. Your body will only thank you, and you will feel so much lighter, happier and energetic. Your vitality depends on it!

Eat To Feel Young

Let's face it, as we age our body changes and begins to break down. It's even more important to focus on eating a healthy, well-balanced diet than ever.  The needs of the body are much different than they were in the days of our youth. We are no longer growing upward, but outward, in a sense.

Aging causes the metabolism to slow, the muscles to deteriorate and even the digestive system to change. As you get older, it’s imperative to take these factors into account when it comes to your diet.

You don’t have to be a statistic in the world of aging and give in to the middle-age spread. You can be someone who takes responsibility for the changing state of your body and take positive actions to create a different result.

I know change is hard, but it’s the only thing that keeps us from staying stagnant. Change challenges us and makes us stronger people. Changing your diet is a huge part of this. If you want to feel young and live a vibrant life, the food you put in your mouth matters almost more than anything else (except exercise, of course.)

You might be thinking to yourself, “I don’t know where to start,” and “what does healthy, balanced eating even mean?” Well, I am here to tell you my friend.

Eating a healthy balanced diet doesn’t have to be difficult. By staying away from processed foods, or as I like to say, anything that comes in a bag, box or can with more than 3 ingredients, and adding more whole foods into your diet like, fresh vegetables, leafy greens, whole grains, healthy fats and lean proteins your body will respond quickly and gratuitously.

The more we eat foods with high nutrient density, the better and more vital we will feel. The body wants to be in balance, and be healthy, but unfortunately the food, or non-foods we put into it don’t always support it in getting there. It's almost like those foods dumb-us-down in a way and put us out of touch with how it truly feels to be energetic and thriving.

Another incredible thing about the body is that it will never lie to you. If you are feeling icky, sick and run down, it’s because you are not treating your body right and it’s talking to you and giving you feedback. It’s time to make a change.

Vegan Bodybuilder, Jim Morris

Vegan Bodybuilder, Jim Morris

So, here are my Top Ten Tips on how to incorporate more healthy foods into your life for vitality, youthfulness and energy:

1.    Replace unhealthy fats with healthier ones such as seeds, nuts, avocados, olives, olive oil and coconut oil. Healthy fats aid digestion and help to keep you satisfied longer.

2.    Swap white rice, white bread and potatoes for brown rice, whole grain or sprouted grain breads, red-skinned potatoes or vitamin rich yams.

3.    Fill your plate at least half full with veggies that are fresh and lightly steamed or sautéed.

4.    Savor your food. Slow down when you eat. Taste each bite. This will help your digestion, and prevent overeating which can tax the digestive system and age the body

5.    Eat calcium rich leafy greens at least 3x per week such as kale, Swiss chard, collard greens and spinach. This will ensure that your bones stay strong.

6.    Be creative with your food. Find fun recipes that are healthy and pack a nutrient-dense punch. Check out The Karma Chow Ultimate Cookbook for some easy, plant-based goodness.

7.    Drink plenty of pure, filtered water. At least 1/2 oz per every pound of body-weight. Staying hydrated is key in keeping our metabolism firing and energy up.

8.    Eat only lean proteins that are palm-sized, such as wild-caught fish, free-range chicken or grass fed beef or bison.

9.    Eat a raw, leafy green salad everyday to give your body plenty of fiber and roughage. This helps keep things moving right along, if you know what I mean.

10.  Eat fruit instead of processed, sugar-laden pastries, cookies or candies. Fruit has natural sugar and fiber, so you will feel satisfied and still be able to have sweetness in your life as well as getting all the important nutrients.

The bottom line is: Food is Health and Exercise is Fitness. You want both. Eating healthy and moving your body is the key to a long, vital life. You also want to be sure you are taking care of your emotional life as well and thinking positive, happy thoughts. Help others, be of service, make human connections and see what changes happen in your life.





Staying Motivated

You know, motivation can be tricky. Finding the motivation to exercise is often something I struggle with. Yes, it’s my dirty little secret. Shhh…

Staying motivated is easy for some; they just have the exercise bug and nothing slows them down. For me, I have a conversation daily with the 3-little voices in my head, yes, three. The Angel, the Devil and the Middle Guy.  No, I’m not crazy, and I know you know what I am talking about.

The Angel is my enthusiasm and excitement; he desires to feel good. I only hear him about 21% of the time, unfortunately.


That little red-horned dude, well he tends to be seriously loud at times and tries to talk me out of everything. Not only does he try to talk me out of it, but also makes suggestions that I know will not serve me. No, I do not need a chocolate chip cookie right now, thank you very much.

My middle guy, well he’s just a plain old bore. But, he is the voice of consistency and the one I hear the most. He is pragmatic and matter-of-fact. He helps me figure out how the most pleasant way to get through something I am not that into doing, like working out when I could be watching HBO.

Luckily my middle guy and my angel are in cahoots together and can override that devily little guy, but I gotta tell you, it’s not easy. What I have found is that the key to staying motivated is to have a plan and be consistent.

So, here are some of my tricks I have discovered along the way to help you stay on track, even when there are a million obstacles pulling you and the devil voice is shouting in your ear.

1.    Make a plan – having a plan keeps you accountable.

2.    Make variety part of that plan – variety keeps your interested and goes a long way toward motivating you to do what you need to do.

3.    Focus on the rewards – what rewards will you receive from staying motivated and consistent?

4.    Engage in gradualism – Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps; you get the idea

5.    Make OPIE your best friend

a.    One Project at a Time – Pick one thing to start with and go for it

b.    Partition that Project – break your project off into bite-sized pieces

c.     Ignore Your Screw Ups – You will mess up, but this is not an excuse to quit. Own it and move on.

d.    Evaluate your Project – check in periodically and make sure this project is still working for you. If not, switch directions

Staying motivated may not always be easy, but if you follow these little tricks you will definitely have a better experience than if you wing it.

Remember, no one is perfect and if you’re striving for perfection, you are guaranteed to fall short. The important thing is to move forward anyway, even if it’s ugly, wonky or a little slower than you think it could be. Just get it done.  No excuses.

Are you Hiding or Seeking?

In my book, The Big Picture I talk about Hiders and Seekers as part of Law 8, Get Real.

I believe that there are two kinds of people in this world, the kind that avoid and blame while burying their head in the sand, and the kind that take responsibility, live from self-awareness and are willing to confront and acknowledge challenges.

People that respond in a positive, open way and are honest with themselves are in the Seeker category. The people, who react with fear, hate and don't want to face their own problems are usually the Hiders.

Now, I don't like to categorize people this way, as it seems so generalized, but in my experience, if you are not taking responsibility for your life and your behavior, then you are a victim of your circumstances, and that's usually not a good place to be.

Hiders, react. They spew venom, play victim or go into the woe-is-me attitude. They feel like the world is against them and they have no control over anything, even themselves. Hiders are afraid of change and don't like to try new things.

If you are someone who is fit and healthy and likes to take good care of yourself, then most likely you are on the Seeker side of the coin. Seekers take stock of their lives and are continually seeing how they can be a better version of themselves. They keep it real, if you know what I mean?

I have worked with many Hiders in my lifetimes. Usually they are overweight, out of shape and looking for every excuse in the book as to why they can't eat healthy or workout. They will say they've tried everything, and nothing works. They feel unlucky and out of control. But the truth is, they are not being truthful to me, and most importantly themselves. They skip workouts, eat foods that aren't good for them and they don't put in the time or keep themselves accountable. Their internal forces are failing them.

Look, I know life is complex and there are many things to manage and handle, but that doesn't mean you let it all go. The best way to manage life when it feels too much is to break it down in manageable pieces. Take responsibility and get real.

Even though it may be complex, it doesn't have to be complicated. Do you want to react to external forces with push-back and anger, or do you want to respond with grace and ease? The best way to do this is to have a plan. External forces will always be there, they will come at you no-matter-what.

So how do you successfully walk that tightrope without getting knocked off?  You make decisions from your internal compass, in the moment, that are in alignment with your plan. Your internal forces are paramount. They are everything.

So, how are you currently dealing with what life is throwing at you? Are you screaming at your kids when they get on your nerves? Do you shut down and give your partner the silent treatment after a bad day at work? Are you playing victim to a decision someone else made that affects you? If so, then you need to make a change. This way of reacting to life is stressful and will kill you.

Remember your Big Picture, and your plan will keep you in alignment with yourself and your responses to situations. By changing how you react to what life offers, you can become someone who chooses what to accept and creates they life you want to lead. It just takes practice in learning to recognize the things that don't matter so you can LET THEM GO.

Now get out there and try that on for size. Take a deep breath first.

#FuelUp Friday Fascinating Facts

1.    If you boil beetroot in water, and then massage the water into your scalp each night, it works as an effective cure for dandruff. - Move over Head and Shoulders!


2.    In the United States, lettuce is the second most popular fresh vegetable. -  Beetroot must be first!


3.    The word vegetable has no scientific definition, so it’s still acceptable to call a tomato a vegetable. -  Phew!

4. Theaverage person eats eight pounds of grapes each year. -Too bad there isn't grape flavored kale


5.     There are more than 10,000 varieties of tomatoes. - But don't worry, they won't be offended if you call them vegetables.