Friday, April 30, 2010

Time to Twitter!

I am excited to announce that you can now follow me on Twitter!  I have had the account set since I started my health counseling practice but just found out this morning that I can update via text message!  Be prepared for many more updates on my account!  You can find me at  Follow to receive tips and tricks to get healthier and happier, info on events and going-on's in my life around diet and lifestyle, the latest on my thoughts on nutrition, health, food and wellness news, and much MUCH more!

Have a great weekend! Let it be one filled with cheerful thoughts and healthy choices :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Be Happy

I remember one time I got a beautiful bouquet of flowers and although they were all pretty, I really really like this orange rose. I admired it every day. And crazy enough, as all the other flowers withered up, this rose was still vibrant and in full bloom! I felt so guilty for essentially killing the other flowers, but it showed me that the energy that I put out there is really powerful.

We've all heard about a carbon footprint, even a water footprint. These terms have become more mainstream as our world is facing environmental issues. I learned a new term last weekend from Dr. John Douillard, "emotional footprint". Say what? An emotional footprint is more of an abstract idea that cannot be definitively measured like your carbon or water footprint. But it's actually a pretty easy concept to grasp. Just as all of our actions on this earth leave an impact or no impact on our environment, they also leave an impact in the emotional realm. It sounds a little out there but let's break it down a bit.

Our emotions manifest themselves in feelings, actions and reactions. These have an impact on the people and objects around you. One way you can do this is by leading with positive actions. Have you ever seen that Liberty Mutual commercial where a guy picks up a baby's toy, the baby's mother moves someone's coffee cup from the edge of a table, a guy looking on helps someone who's fallen on the street, and onlooker on the street later holds the elevator for colleague? These chain reactions happen every day. A similar chain reaction can happen with a simple and friendly hello and smile which can brighten someone's day in the morning leading to their doing a positive action. This pay-it-forward effect can reach wider circles than you can ever imagine. You can be part of the chain or the one who breaks the chain. Or even better, start it.

Whether you believe it or not, we choose to be happy or sad or mad or glad. And more importantly, whatever emotion we choose to be, we exude it. When you enter a room, before you even say a word, the people in the room can already tell if they want to talk to you or not. When you walk through a garden, flowers can feel your energy. Pets are a great example. Your dog or cat can't speak to you, but they know if you're happy and want to pet them or if you're sad and need a little cheering up.

Sure, it's not easy to be happy, go-lucky all the time. You start getting looks from people who ask, "What are you on?" I've definitely gotten asked that. But at the end of the day, I choose to be an optimistic person. This didn't happen overnight and sure, there are days that I am not as positive or happy, but I make a conscious decision that I won't let the little things bog me down. Someone said to me the other day, "Lisa, that's what I like about you. You are the eternal optimist." Best compliment I've received in s while :) If you don't think you can, fake it until you believe it. Wake up every morning and make the decision to be happy and positive and let yourself and the world reap the benefits of it. Start your own chain reaction today.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Upgrades aren't just for Hotel Rooms & Car Rentals

As I stepped out of my apartment complex this morning, I saw a mother fiddling with her double stroller. I'm not sure what she was doing but I immediately saw an adorable baby girl and her cozy older brother. I did a double take when I saw that the little boy was eating a sugar cookie with green sugar reminiscent of those found around Christmas time. So many thoughts popped into my head! Is that his breakfast?? Or is this his breakfast "dessert"? Are we straight up not even trying to feed our children nutritious foods anymore? Have we given up?

There is a lot I could talk about from this 10-second experience but I think I'll focus on breakfast, the meal, itself. I know to some of you, this situation sounds ludicrous, but to the vast majority of Americans, this is pretty close to their reality. I know the thought process…sugar cookies have calories and sugar, that should keep me or my child going for a while. Or, eating this for breakfast is better than no breakfast at all. No matter how common having coffee and a bagel for breakfast is, it doesn't change the fact that we are not getting the proper nutrients and real, whole, true energy from those foods. Refined flour, sugar, and salt and caffeinated drinks will give us a momentary spike in energy but then we'll crash while reaching for the next cup or sugary item.

Now, I admit that I enjoy my coffee as much as the next person, but it's not a daily or twice a day habit. It's generally a treat for me. Instead, I get my energy from eating a banana, whole grain cereal with almond milk with some sort of fat (generally a nut butter). These specific foods may not work for you. Maybe you like hard boiled eggs and an apple. Whatever it is, look at your breakfast today and "upgrade it," as David Wolfe would say. I'm not talking about eliminating anything or depriving yourself of foods you like, but maybe you can have a banana before diving into that bacon egg McMuffin, or if you like bacon, switch it up to turkey bacon. Instead of a plain bagel opt for whole wheat or maybe add a slice of tomato to the bagel. The other day, I put beets into my yogurt because I didn’t' have any fruit, cereal or nuts on hand. It was really good! Get creative! Food is your body's fuel, how well do you want it to run?

I'd love to hear ways you are going to "upgrade" your breakfast this week! Let's finish is strong!

Monday, April 26, 2010

To be or not to be a Rock Star

We use the term "rock star" a lot at IIN to refer to the amazing people making a difference in the world of health. These include the established food theorists and leaders from whom I have had the honor to learn. Although they all have their different theories and approaches, they are always an inspiration to me. I have become an enamored "food groupie" (a term my friend, Cara, came up with).

However, rock stars are not just those famous icons, they are anyone who makes a difference in our culture around food and health. My fellow classmates are total rock stars! Others are moms that teach their children to eat in a nourishing way, organic farmers, local farmers, movie producers who create films to build awareness of our food and environment, natural food cafe owners and employees, raw food restaurants and their patrons, environmentalists, fitness instructors, etc. As you can see, the list can go on and on. This past class weekend, in particular, featured way more rock stars than previous weekends. I thought I would spend this post to give you an idea of the type of people out there making a difference and the biggest takeaways from them.

Joshua Rosenthal-the founder of IIN, my teacher, a man with a vision to change how the world views food, a critical component in the trans fat ban in NYC...a true inspiration of thought, movement and dancing :)
Biggest Takeaway: Instill change NOW

Robert Notter-former "rat race" participant, now health coach who's impacted over 300 clients' lives, business coach to health and wellness business owners, teacher at IIN, a generous person with his knowledge and energy
Biggest Takeaway: Teach others because you will feel like a rock star

Dr. John Douillard-Ayurveda doctor who founded LifeSpa in Boulder, CO, offers holistic programs to support clients
Biggest Takeaway: You leave an emotional footprint. People around you can feel your energy just as flowers can feel you when you walk through a garden. Make a choice to leave a loving footprint.

David Wolfe-amazingly passionate  about raw foods and superfoods, some say he's a guru, founder of The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation, proponent for great tasting health food
Biggest Takeaway: There is a scientific correlation between cooked foods & depression

Sadie Nardini-IIN graduate, yoga instructor, led us through a simple 10 minute meditation/stretching/relaxation/self-awareness/revitalizing exercise
Biggest Takeaway: Spend 2 minutes breathing

Vanessa Barg-IIN graduate, founder of Gnosis Chocolate, raw chocolatier, integrates superfoods into her chocolate, chocolate is sold all around the world and it tastes amazing!
Biggest Takeaway: Follow your gut when deciding what to do and do it!

Amy Kalafa-IIN graduate, founder of Angry Moms, bringing awareness to school food and health
Biggest Takeaway: We can inspire change through so many different avenues including making movies!

Rodney Fisher-IIN graduate, founder of the Marie Curie High School for Medicine, Nursing and Health Professions in the Bronx, principal of school, addressing low income students and empowering them, PhD candidate at UPenn researching on the effects of school foods on students
Biggest Takeaway: Think big and go even bigger

Nancy Easton-IIN graduate, founder of Wellness in the Schools, a NYC program that is building awareness and change in the school food system, 3 components to program-Food, Coaching, being Green
Biggest Takeaway: Change will not happen overnight, just keep working on it

Chef Bobo-executive chef at The Calhoun School who has changed his school's food to foods that are fresh and made from scratch, teaches at the school about food and cooking and growing food, spends less than $4 a day on food, mainly vegetarian options at the school, desserts are fruit 4 days of the week, author 
Biggest Takeaway: You can feed kids better without breaking the bank

Allison Carmen-IIN graduate, mom who changed foods at her daughter's private school
Biggest Takeaway: One of the biggest obstacles in impacting change is awareness-educate people and they will be advocates and start to ask questions

Morgan Carmen-daughter of an IIN graduate, at age of 5 said that she was not eating the school food because there are chemicals in it, spoke at the trans day "hearings" in NYC and won the heart of audiences, advocate for healthy, natural foods, a true role model; aka "Morganic"
Biggest Takeaway: There will likely be resistance at first, but keeping driving the message and people will start to hear and listen to you

Dr. David Katz-public health clinician and advocate, author, professor at Yale University of Medicine, tv personnel, building awareness on health via speaking to government and industry officials, believer in giving people the "skill power" to make informed health, diet and lifestyle decisions, founder of programs: ABC for Fitness (Activity Bursts in the Classroom), Nutrition Detective Program (teaching kids 5 simple steps to eat well), and NuVal (a rating system of 0 to 100 on grocery store items enabling people to make smart decisions)
Biggest Takeaway: We need to make drastic, deep changes to our environment/culture but each change is comparative to only 1 sandbag. We need to build an entire levee with multiple sandbags to prevent disaster. We need more than 1 change, more than 1 person working on this initiative and we need to work on it together.

It is really amazing the breadth of people making a difference in our world. The health and wellness problem is not an issue that will be solved overnight or by one person, or even a hundred like-minded citizens. This is a revolution! It's going to take an army. Are you in or out? Because if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. Take the initiative TODAY and start with changing how you and your family eat. Email me TODAY for a health consultation. If you are interested in becoming a professional rock star/health counselor, email me with any questions about IIN and becoming a holistic health coach. Enrollment for classes end April 30th for the course that starts in May!  Don't hesitate to be a rock star!  Now is the time!

Friday, April 23, 2010

David Wolfe & Superfoods

I haven't had much exposure to David Wolfe besides reading a couple of blogs written by gung ho fanatics. However, I listened to an IIN webinar with David Wolfe yesterday and a new fan. Wolfe is a big and likely the most famous advocate of raw foods and superfoods. He is also an author, a speaker, and founder of The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation.

Raw foods are whole foods that are unprocessed and not cooked. It contains all of the life and energy of that original food. There are a lot of theories on raw foods that I won't get into in this post.  Superfoods are somewhat a new topic to me. I've read briefly on it before but learned the most about them from the webinar.  Superfoods are certain foods, usually revered by and ancient civilization, that have enormous nourishing and healing properties. This makes sense because thousands of years ago, food was scarce. Humans looked for sources of foods that would provide the biggest bang for the buck. These superfoods have fallen out of mainstream eating but are becoming more popular as people turn more to natural foods.  Three of the superfoods mentioned were:
  • Cacao (aka chocolate): Cacao is the raw nut form of chocolate.  It is nowhere near what we perceive as chocolate today-Hershey's, Lindt, M&M's, etc.  The form of chocolate that we eat today is very different from the form that the Amazonians ate.  It has been stripped of all the natural goodness and replaced with milk, sugar and other fillers.
  • Maca:  Maca is a root vegetable that the ancient Incans used to trade for cacao from the Amazonians (trading one superfood for another). It is a root vegetable which David Wolfe said it great for energy and brain function. It is also good for those in cold climates or those who are cold all the time. I've seen it in powder form and know it's a common addition to smoothies.
  • Goji berries: Goji berries aka wolf berries have become ALL the rage in the past couple of years.  Unknowingly, I've been eating goji berries for a while in the soups my mom makes.  They are red, raisin-like fruits that are a complete source of protein.  Also, they are stellar for eyesight and eye health.
That's all I got for today but you'll be hearing more from me about superfoods because I'll be hearing David speak live in class this weekend! Have a super weekend :)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Impact Change

Happy Earth Day! I’m not sure how many of you were able to catch Food Inc. last night. I stayed up (too) late to watch it and feel so motivated to continue my quest to help people make dietary changes and learn about good, whole, unadulterated food, the kind our bodies were meant to eat.

The film had great stories and messages to communicate to the public about our disjointed food system. The theme of the last 10 minutes of the movie is the one that will stick with me the longest and that is that we “can vote to change this system. Three times a day.” Every time we eat, buy and order food, we communicate a choice, a standard, and expectation of our food. Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonybrook Farm, said, we vote every time we are at the food scanner. Don’t you doubt for a second that food companies and supermarkets are tracking our every move. A great example is that Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer in the world, made the decision to not buy dairy products that have rBST (a growth hormone) because its consumers did not want them. Imagine if more consumers demanded grass-fed, humanely fed beef and pasture fed, free range chicken. What would Wal-Mart do then?

Don’t view yourself as one lowly person in the industrial food chain. Every one of us has a voice in the system and if we band together, we WILL be heard. Food has become big business-no doubt about it. And as demand for whole foods increases, the supply should follow-the basics of economics. You don’t have to make big changes that will throw your diet and lifestyle out of whack. Make small changes that you can live with. Take action by choosing all natural, whole foods at the supermarket. Explore the “natural foods” section that has populated every supermarket. Shop at the local farmers’ markets or sign up for a CSA this summer. Try to have one organic veggie a week. Opt to buy the organic, non-GMO tofu instead of the conventional. You can make a difference in what we consider to be food. Be empowered to not only make a difference in your diet but in the diet of the country and eventually the world. US industrial farming has ill effects on its workers (e.g., low wages, diseases, poor working conditions, allergy to antibiotics, fingernails falling off), its consumers (e.g., deaths from bacterial poisoning, obesity), its “products” (e.g., abuse and poorly treated animals, contamination), and the environment. Global warming can be partly attributed to the impact of flatulence from corn-fed cows, transportation of imported food from far away lands, destruction of the rain forests for agriculture or to raise animal foods, and the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers.

Whether your priorities are your health, your kids’ wellbeing, fair animal treatment, or the environment, be sure to make choices at the market or at restaurants that are in line with your beliefs.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Food Inc. Tonight!

Picture courtesy of

Haven't had a chance to watch Food Inc.? If you are not familiar with it, this film has played a monumental role in exposing our nation's complicated food industry and teaching people about the processes around it.  It premieres tonight on PBS!  Check here for when it shows in your time zone.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Primary Foods

Happy Tuesday! It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for-Primary Foods! I eluded to primary foods a couple of times already in the blog but have not described it in full. As you know, in my practice, I take a holistic look at my clients’ lives. Although diet is an important component of our health, I believe that our lifestyle is “primary” and even more important than your diet. This is mind blowing stuff, people! At first, the idea may seem a little out of whack with what the mainstream diets preach. Ninety-nine point nine percent of them focus strictly on dietary changes. But you cannot expect to make lasting changes to your diet without addressing lifestyle, both physical and emotional.

I’m not the first nor will I be the last person to state that your emotional state is really important in achieving health goals and preventing disease. There is correlation of happier people being healthier people and unhappier people being less healthy. However, there are no studies that say being healthy will make you happier. This is why I view lifestyle to be more important than diet. Being satisfied with your lifestyle will have a domino effect on your health.

Breaking it down, the four components of primary foods are your career, physical activity, relationships, and spirituality. I will definitely be covering these areas more in depth, but in the meantime, here is a quick overview.
Career: We spend many hours in a day, week and most of our lives working. More often than not, we spend more time developing our “careers” than our relationships, bodies and minds. It is so important to have a job that is fulfilling to you whether that is monetarily, ethically, or mentally.

Physical activity: This is the only component of lifestyle that mainstream dieting promotes yet people still do not successfully integrate physical activity into their lives. I work with clients to participate in activities that they like and can fit into their lifestyle which makes it more likely that they will stick with it.

Relationships: We are social beings who thrive on relationships. It’s a primal need. There were incidents in the 19th century at orphanages where babies were dying, not from infection or lack of food, but from lack of touch. Now I can’t guarantee that I’ll get you hugs and kisses but I do work with my clients to examine their family, friend and romantic relationships. We examine where those relationships are and where they want them to be.

Spirituality: Now, don’t be turned off by the term spirituality. It can mean your relationship with God, but to me, it really means your relationship with yourself and how you see yourself in relation to the world. Believing in a greater being is only a component of that. I work with clients to believe in themselves and seek a spiritual practice that works best for them. That may encompass working on self esteem or better understanding their relationship with God.

This was a lot to take in, but don’t worry, I will be referring to it often and elaborating on in future posts. In the mean time, spend some time tonight to examine these aspects of your life. Are they where you think they should be? Want to talk about it? Email me for a free hour health consultation.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Organic Foods

One large component of the “Food Revolution” is the growing interest in organic foods. As people become more health and environmentally conscious, they are becoming more and more interested in eating organic foods. In fact, they are the fastest growing sector in the food market. There is no universally accepted definition for what is organic but here are some general guidelines:
  • Fruits & vegetables: Grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), or ionizing radiation
  • Meat & animal products (including eggs and dairy): From animals that do not take antibiotics or growth hormones
  • Processed foods (e.g., cookies, pasta, sauces): Made with a minimum of 95% organic ingredients.
The dangers of conventional foods are still scientifically inconclusive. Some studies state that organic foods are way better than conventional foods; others have shown that there are no nutritional advantages to eating organic foods over conventional and some state the complete opposite. Currently, choosing organic is very much a choice guided by your personal views on health, science, and the environment.

I’m not a scientist so I can’t say whether or not organic foods are healthier than conventional foods on an elemental level. But I trust my instincts on what food should be and make my decisions based on them. Whatever your beliefs are around the nutritional benefits of these foods, I would like to point out that when you eat conventional foods, maybe you are getting the same amount of nutrients, but you also get a healthy dose of pesticides and other foreign chemicals with it. These chemicals have been linked to diseases like cancers and allergies. Is that a chance you are willing to take? And a thought for another post, pesticides are just plain bad for the environment.

Whether you agree with my personal views or not, I’d like you to follow one of my beliefs and that is minimizing the bad stuff. I don’t think it’s reasonable to completely eliminate all the foods that are bad for us from our diets but if we set a mindset of minimizing, we can make small choices with big results. One of those is buying organic for a group of fruits and vegetables called the Dirty Dozen. The Dirty Dozen is the twelve most pesticide-laden fruits and vegetables. If you want to purchase organic foods but only have a limited budget, these foods are where you should invest. Here are the Dirty Dozen in order of worst to less worse:
Sweet bell peppers
Bonus Tip: Download this list onto your phone or write it in your notebook that you keep your grocery list so that you can always refer to it when you are food shopping.

Thanks for reading the long Monday post. This is such an expansive topic, I could go on for a long time.  In the meantime, check out these recent articles: 
 Have a great week and happy shopping!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tip for the Week: Snacking on Fruit

Every Sunday I will post a quote, thought, or tip to ease you into Monday and carry you throughout the week.

If snacking for you is all about convenience, satiety, and energy, reach for nature's candy: fruit.  There is no need to pack or prepare fruit and the fiber and natural sugar will keep you full and energized without the unhealthy, instant sugar high's and low's you would get from other sugary snacks.

Buy some fresh or frozen fruit and put it front and center where you keep your snacks. Place a bunch of bananas in front of your cookie cabinet or on your kitchen counter. Buy a bag of frozen berries and put it in front of your carton of ice cream. Or bring some apples and oranges to work and put them on your desk so you reach for them instead of taking the walk to the vending machine. Try this for a week and observe how it feels to eat fruit instead of your normal snacks.

What are some techniques you have used to help snack more healthfully?

Friday, April 16, 2010

"Eat your vegetables!"

Do you remember your mom telling you to eat your vegetables when you were younger? Maybe she still tells you that, which is very likely since less than a third of Americans eat the recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals and fiber, (my favorite!). Due to the Standard American Diet (SAD), which is laden with meat, processed foods, and manufactured products and not with fruits and vegetables, Americans are malnourished and dying from diseases and cancers. One of the easiest ways to prevent the onset of diseases is increasing your daily intake of fruits and vegetables. 

Now, I am not telling you to become a vegetarian. I’m merely suggesting that you eat more vegetables and fruits in a way that works best for you and your lifestyle and what makes you feel best (bioindividuality!). One simple way to eat more fruits and vegetables is to add them to what you already eat. For instance, add fresh onions and peppers to your tomato sauce when you make your spaghetti and meatball dinner. Or put some bananas and berries into your morning cereal. It doesn’t have to be a big to-do and you don’t have to give up the foods you like to be healthier.

I wanted to share this recent article about Mark Bittman because he found a way to eat more vegetables that works for him and has reaped the health benefits of it. Mark Bittman is a columnist for the New York Times and a popular food writer. Several years ago, when he turned 57, his doctor told him that he had high cholesterol, high blood sugar, sleep apnea, bad knees and 35 extra pounds. Yikes! And the advice his doctor gave him was, “I think you should become a vegan.” Now Mark was happily an omnivore and above all, a food writer! He thought about his lifestyle and found a diet that worked for him: eating vegan before 6. So that means anything eaten before dinner does not contain meat, dairy or animal-derived food items. Then he eats whatever he wants for dinner. Since adopting this way of eating, Bittman has lost 30 pounds, lowered his cholesterol and blood sugar, relieved his knee pain and cured his sleep apnea. Amazing, huh?

I first found out about Mark Bittman’s diet about a year and a half ago. I was a well-rounded omnivorous eater but always made sure to include fruits or vegetables into my meals. As I read more about health and the undeniable benefits of fruits and vegetables, I thought I would experiment to see how I would do on the unofficial Mark Bittman diet. I’ve found it to be a fairly easily implementable diet. I don’t normally eat meat or eggs for breakfast-I’m an oatmeal kinda girl :) so the biggest change I made was eliminating meat from my lunch, for which I now bring in a salad or extra vegetables from the night before. Dinner is the meal that I actually can spend time eating and enjoying so that’s when I’ll indulge in some meat, poultry or seafood. Since eating this way, I have more energy and don't get sick very often.  This is something that works for me and I encourage you to experiment with what works best for you.  Maybe you can experiment with the Mark Bittman diet to see how you feel?  Have you done something similar?  What were the results?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

“Secondary Foods”

Yesterday I wrote about how bioindividuality is a foundation to my health counseling program. When working with my clients, I personalize my 6-month program to fit their specific needs. The other core components of my health philosophy are “primary foods” and “secondary foods,” more new terms for you to learn, but like bioindividuality, very simple concepts. I will focus on secondary foods today and leave you in suspense until next week to learn about primary foods ;)
“Secondary foods” are the foods that make up your diet-what you put in your mouth, chew, swallow and digest. Hippocrates established one of the oldest philosophies around food in ~300 BC. He said, “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” Unfortunately, in the 2,000 some odd years since Hippocrates said that, we have moved light years away from that thought. So much of what we eat today would not even be recognized as food by our grandparents much less Hippocrates. In the past century, we have colored, “enhanced,” sprayed, injected, morphed, mutated, cloned, and modified our food items into things that are still edible, sometimes even very tasty, but unfortunately, not nutritious and oftentimes, not digestible. In turn, our country is now sicker than ever with allergies, obesity, cancer, and other diseases becoming a norm rather than the exception.
I have two ideals regarding secondary foods. First, returning to the concept of bioindividuality, they need to be personalized to your needs. Eat what feels right for you and makes you more energetic and healthier. My diet will not work for you and vice versa. Second, they should mostly be whole foods. That means foods that are as close to their natural state as possible-unprocessed and unrefined. Eating whole foods is something I am very passionate about. Whether your diet goals are weight loss, disease prevention or management, or allergy relief, shifting to a diet that integrates more whole foods will alleviate or solve them. This topic will definitely be drawn out a bit more in this blog. I will speak about what whole foods will alleviate or manage different health issues and easy ways to integrate whole foods into your diets. I’ll leave you with one of my personal favorite quotes around whole foods which is one of Michael Pollan’s Food Commandments, “Don't eat anything your great-great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.”
What is your “secondary food” philosophy? How do you feel about your diet? Are you looking to integrate more whole foods into your diet?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


"Bioindivduality" is not a word found in Merriam Webster’s dictionary. When typing it in Microsoft Word, there is a red squiggly that runs underneath of it. But to me, it is core to the food and health philosophy that I follow when I coach my clients. Bioindividuality is a really simple concept. It means that everyone and every body is different. A diet and lifestyle that work for your friend will likely not work for you-not because he is better than you, but because you are your own person and own body. Did you just have an “a-ha!” moment? Well, you probably did, because the first time I read of this concept in Integrative Nutrition I nearly fell off my chair. 

This thought is a key component missing in the food and diet industry. The reason why many people chronically fail with diets is not be because they have little will power or a bad support system. It is likely that the very diets that they are following do not work for them! Many people blindly follow a way of eating and living because it is the social norm.  For instance, getting that highly coveted 9 to 5 job or forgoing bread because Atkins is the diet of choice in the moment.  I am proud that I work with clients to identify what diet and lifestyle works best for them and their health. I would love the opportunity to help you identify what works best for you. Send me an email to learn more about my personalized, bioindividual program.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution Episode 2

I am slowly catching up on my Food Revolution episodes…Some of you may be thinking why am I placing so much emphasis on this show? Because obesity, mental illnesses, and cancer rates in the US are at their highest levels ever and the general public is just beginning to understand that a key cause of these diseases is what we are eating and not eating. Americans are in true need of being educated about food and revamping how we eat and what we view as “food.” Jamie Oliver’s show is symbolic of the changes, the true Food Revolution, occurring in America. This revolution is not only happening in local arenas like farmers’ markets or nationwide initiatives like Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move program but also in everyday towns like Huntington, West Virginia.
Jamie Oliver spent many years in England changing the school food program because that is where he feels you start to or should start to mold people’s minds about food. However, he takes a multi-prong approach. In Huntington, he is not only cooking and teaching at schools but also offering free lessons at his kitchen in the town center, working with families, and collaborating with the pastor. There is a saying “It takes a village to raise a child.” We all need to work together to teach our children how to properly nourish themselves. Thirty-three percent of children are obese and this generation is predicted to live shorter lives than their parents. The issues in the US are widespread and deeper than his experiences in Britain. It was astonishing to watch this episode where children could not distinguish a potato from a tomato or a pear from an eggplant. The worse scene was when a small group of kids willingly and knowingly ate a chicken nugget made from a chicken carcass simply because they were hungry. Yes, this is prime time television, but I fully believe that this represents the sad state of American’s relationship with food.
Jamie Oliver is on a very powerful mission but he is only one man. It takes a village to raise a child, and it will take a whole lot more to change a nation. Join me in this revolution. Do one thing today in educating someone-whether it be your child, friend or neighbor-in how to eat better. Do it however you find effective. You can lead in silence and by example-pass on the creamy dressing during lunch or stay in the kitchen a little longer to make your salad. Or be proactive and verbal by cooking a meal with your son or daughter and teach them about different greens. Make a difference in their health and the health of whoever they touch.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Making Room

Happy Monday everyone!
I am ready to attack this week with vigor! It’s quite the statement for Monday morning so you’re probably thinking, “Why or how is that?” Well, here’s the story. As you’ve probably noticed, I’m very excited to start a new career as a Holistic Health Coach. I’ve been doing everything on my checklist but have felt like progress stagnated. Have you ever gotten that feeling? That you have taken all the right steps to accomplish a goal but you can’t seem to break through a wall of inactivity? I’ve been feeling this and I took a step back and evaluated my life. I asked myself – “Why, after doing everything right, am I not progressing?” After a day or so, I realized that I was not making room for success – both physical and emotional room. I moved into my condo on New Year’s Eve (yes, very symbolic I know), but it has not really felt like my home. I have been so focused on receiving my certification and building my business that my condo has been playing second string. So I dedicated the majority of my weekend to getting it in order. It’ll probably never be 100% clean and clear of clutter but I am feeling freer and less bogged down. I’ve been mentally ready for this new chapter in my life but now my physical surroundings are prepared for it as well.
I’m not an expert in Feng Shui but I know that clutter can weigh you down emotionally as well as physically. Having a disorganized environment, especially at home, holds you back from fully focusing on and succeeding in the other areas of your life.  Are you trying to make progress in your life, like lose weight, get a new job, or attract a soul mate, but not getting results? Take a look at your life and surroundings and see what might be physically and/or emotionally weighing you down. Clear your personal clutter to make room for your dreams to come true!
What are you trying to achieve? What clutter stands in your way? What are you going to do about it?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quote for the Week: "I want what I have"

Every Sunday I will post a quote, thought, or tip to ease you into Monday and carry you throughout the week.
I have an awful habit of ordering magazines and letting them pile up unread. However, one of the magazines I never let linger in my pile for too long is Shape. Yes, it’s a mainstream women’s exercise magazine that has content that I don’t always agree with but I’ve been loyal because it has great exercise tips that are easily translatable to a home make-shift gym and heart-warming stories (those always get to me). This month’s issue has many great tidbits one of which is this week’s quote for the week.
Shape’s “mantra of the month” is “I want what I have.” Well if you have something, why would you want it? It is easy to always wish for more-more money, a bigger house, a more obedient dog, etc. But the key to being happy is to be positive and grateful for what you already have. Having a positive disposition not only makes your day brighter but it can also have tremendous benefits to your physical and emotional health. Dr. Harville Hendrix spoke at my last class and said there is scientific evidence showing that being gracious lowers cortisol levels and increases endorphins and dopamine, thus lessening risks of diseases like heart disease and cancers and improving your mood. When you get a thought that is unappreciative, flip it into a positive thought. Although things could always be better, they can always be worse as well. When you groan that the line at Starbucks is 10 people longer than it was last week, be grateful that you have that luxury to afford that morning cup of joe. If your sixth umbrella of the season breaks from the constant rain, remember that this rain is nourishing plants and flowers that you will see in your garden or your local park.
Some tips to start to shift your mindset to one of appreciation and graciousness:
  • Start the day by looking in the mirror and appreciating your expressive face or your powerful body or your curvy figure
  • Before your meals, take a moment to be gracious for the food in front of you. Thank the farmers who grew the food, job that gave you money to buy the ingredients, or your mom, friend, or partner who made it for you
  • Spend a couple of minutes before bed to look back at your day to recognize the good that happened
  • Ask others “What is new and good with you?”
So what will the glass be? Half empty or half full?

Saturday, April 10, 2010

What is a Holistic Health Coach?

Holistic Health Coaches are a phenomenon swiftly sweeping across the nation. And it is really being spearheaded by the school that I attend, the Institute of Integrative Nutrition.  It’s the only school in the world that teaches the various dietary theories-modern and traditional (e.g., Atkins, Zone, Ayurveda), the importance of lifestyle choices (Primary Foods, which I will talk about next week) in health and tools to counsel and coach people.

As a Holistic Health Coach, I enroll clients in a 6-month program in which I give them the ability to talk to me about their health problems, life goals and obstacles that are standing in their way and ultimately help them achieve their ideal health and life. I evaluate their diet by looking at what they are eating as well as their lifestyle. I work with them to find what foods and combinations work best for them, not me, you, or their partner, to achieve vitality. Everyone is different and I honor that in my clients. The “holistic” aspect of my practice, which makes me different from other counselors, dietitians, and nutritionists, is that I consider lifestyle a major part of their health issues. I talk to my clients about their careers, relationships, exercise, and spirituality to better understand how these components play a role in their health. Addressing both diet and lifestyle enables my clients to make realistic goals and successful changes to achieve a healthier, happier life. 

Contact me today if you’d like a free one-hour consultation and to understand how this holistic approach can better your health and ultimately, your life.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution Episode 1

I finally was able to watch the first episode of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution tonight...yes, I'm a bit behind on my television shows, but thank goodness for hulu.

School food is an extremely hot topic right now.  There are books, articles, blogs, and now even a show that feature school food.  I remember eating school lunch as a child. I was part of the government school program and ate the food every day in elementary school.  And a little bit in middle and high school (not so much because I didn't think it was "cool").  I do not remember how I felt during it but I was blessed enough to have mom-made dinners every night.  I couldn't imagine if the saran wrapped buns and flavorless meat patties were my only "meal" of the day, which is the case for many students on the meal plan.

This episode of Food Revolution really opened my eyes to how bad school meals have gotten because I surely do not remember having pizza for breakfast.  Calling it "breakfast pizza" does not justify it to be served for the most important meal of the day.  Imagine starting the day off with gluey cheese and greasy sausage pieces atop a thin layer of flavorless tomato sauce and stale bread.  This is supposed to nourish the future of America for 3-4 hours before their next meal of chicken nuggets and "potato pearls"?  I don't think so!  It's no wonder there are more disciplinary problems and attention issues in schools!  I really look forward to the impact that Jamie Oliver has not only on Huntington's school programs but on its families and communities and hopefully, those across the country who are finally opening their eyes to what we are really putting into our bodies.  Cheers to a revolution!

Have you seen Jamie's show?  Do you think he will be able to make an impact?  What are your experiences and thoughts on the school lunch program?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


"In Pursuit of Vitality"...what is vitality and why pursue it? defines it as:

1. exuberant physical strength or mental vigor
2. capacity for survival or for the continuation of a meaningful or purposeful existence
3. power to live or grow
4. vital force or principle

No one definition resonates most with me. To me, vitality is a combination of all four definitions. It is the essence of life-the energy that encompasses it and the happiness for it.

Everyone has a right to vitality. Most of us are born with full vitality. Unfortunately, our lifestyles and diets have depleted that energy. The vast majority of the population are walking around with their vitality meters half full...or half empty. Not many people can say that they are truly happy with their career, relationships, lifestyle, and health. That's where health coaches come in! As a health coach, I want to help people understand and believe that there is such a thing as true, all-natural vitality-the ability to start a morning without coffee and to live a life where they are fulfilled mentally, physically and financially. And I want them understand that vitality is worth pursuing! Contact me for a free hour-long health consultation to take the first step in learning how you can regain your in-born vitality.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Blast off!

I am really excited to announce the newest chapter of my life-the launch of my health counseling practice (Lisa Chin HHC), my business' website ( and my blog (In Pursuit of Vitality)!  This blog will explore ways to restore our vitality with changes to our health, diet, wellness lifestyle, and nutrition among many other topics.  Look forward to commentary on various dietary theories, first-hand experiences in my pursuit of vitality, and tips on living a more fruitful life!

Go to my website to find out about the health counseling and consulting services I am providing to individuals and businesses.  I am offering free one-hour health consultations to those interested in learning more about my services.  Leave a comment or send me an email if you are interested!