Category Archives: Body

I’m Baaack!

I apologize I have neglected this part of my life – the innerpeace seeking blog.  To be honest I haven’t felt super peaceful these days. think a large part has to do with allergies and my sinus issues.  Chicago is such a lovely place this time of year.  It’s still sunny and green, the flowers are still in bloom, and there’s a nice breeze in the air. But something about barometric pressure that wreaks havoc on my ability to be my best.  There are days when I just can’t step outside for the life of me.  My body is tired, my face feels so heavy, I feel spacey (not in the good way), I’m irritable and I can’t seem to focus.  It sucks and I am always trying to figure out a way to combat this feeling (Clean, Juicing).

I am doing a few things to help me get stronger, mentally and physically, to recapture that spark that started to fizz out a bit.

This is what I did:

  • began meditating.  Megan sent me this link one day and I began meditating.  it’s bringing me so much clarity, a feeling of euphoria and relaxation, and it began to stir up some excitement within myself.  Thank you for thinking of me, Meg!
  • Started telling myself to be happy.  That worked. I also forced myself to smile more.
  • I am reading a ton more again!!  I am reading books about organic gardening in small spaces, how to decorate your home using recycled materials, fashion/decorating/beauty magazines (a pastime of mine), researching business plans (thinking about going into business with my mom), a thriller, etc.
  • Crafts.  I found a project that gets me excited and pumped to do.  Can’t tell you what this is yet because I’m going to give it to my good girlfriends and family as birthday and holiday gifts.  SO excited about that.
  • Exercising.  Got back into Pilates and my body is thanking me by getting stronger every time I work it out.

I think I’m back.  No, i know I’m back. I feel ready to go, pumped to embrace what the world has in store for me head-on.  I am at home everyday with my 2 and 3-year-old (yes, lucky me).  I have to be a strong mom for them.  I want those kids to feel so loved they don’t know what do with themselves, I want to nourish their brains with what their hearts yearn for, expose them to as many positive situations and learning experiences as possible in hopes that they will grow up to be happy and well-balanced people.  Is this too much to ask?  Apologies for the diversion.

My point is let’s get this party started! I’m back and ready to share and I hope you are too. It’s going to be a fun and healthy fall 2010!

Btw, how does the change in weather make you feel?  Am I the only one who needs a little time to adjust?

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Love What Your Mama Gave You

Today before my shower, I was brushing my skin and was thinking about how I would love to lose a little bit of weight.  I thought, man, my thighs are looking a bit thick and wouldn’t it be nice if my abs were just a little bit tighter?  Why am I beating myself up like this?  I’m a naturally curvy lady and I should be proud of what I have instead of having a negative body image.

Being a woman can sometimes be tough because everywhere you look there are models, actresses, singers who make a living flaunting their bodies, and it can leave us normal women feeling a wee bit insecure.

I’ve decided that I’m going to LOVE my body and appreciate it instead of being so hard on myself.  Nobody is perfect.  What is perfect anyway?

Positive thinking is sorta like working out.  You have to force yourself to work your brain muscles in order to keep those positive thoughts flowing.  So these are some of the things I am going to say when the mind starts to go negative:

I love my body because…

It allows me to live my life

It allows me to chase my little children around the park

It allows me to feel things and experience life

It is what God gave me, so I am going to nourish it with healthy food so I can maximize its potential

I will embrace my body and be thankful for all it has provided for me

I want to be a positive role model for my daughter and teach her that the shape of her body doesn’t determine her value in society

Who cares if you are too curvy, too skinny, too short or too tall?

We are all beautiful in our own unique way. Don’t forget that!  (that’s what I’ll be telling myself!)

Update On My Clean Journey – Life Is Good!

So let me tell you, the elimination diet is freaking hard. I didn’t realize so many things I put in my body are so toxic. The first few days of eliminating the “bad stuff” I had tremendous headaches, could barely focus, was extremely fatigued, and was soooo moody (sorry, family!) I thought to myself many times, ‘is it worth it?’

Eliminating caffeine was the worst. Ever have a caffeine headache? It feels like someone is taking a sledge hammer and whacking your skull. The first couple of days I had to give in and have a cup.

I haven’t actually moved into the detox stage yet – actually trying to get my body used to the elimination phase because I’ve come to realize this is the way I want to eat.  I want my diet and my family’s to consist of fresh, healthy foods without all of that crappy, processed stuff that’s out there.  I’ve just started the book Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan, and I’m feeling a bit frustrated with our food industry.  More on that later.

Now I’m going on my third week without caffeine and processed foods and I feel GREAT!

My moods are leveled and my energy is higher than ever. I think it has a lot has to do with caffeine.  Caffeine seems to be my enemy when I always thought the opposite.  Do I miss having a cup of coffee while my children are having breakfast?  HELL YES!  I miss the smell, the taste, and the whole experience of relaxing with my cup of joe, but I realized after eliminating it, it does me no good.  I’ve succumbed to some bread and a bit of sugar, but I am going to continue eating healthy (salads with lots of veggies, green tea, bean soups, and fruits) so I can continue to feel as good as I possibly can. I feel positive, enlightened, healthy, energetic, supportive towards my family, and young again. What more could I ask for?

I’ll continue to update y’all on this journey!  If you are up for giving up coffee or anything else for that matter and need some support, leave me a message at theinnerpeaceproject@gmail.com.  I’m here for you.

I Finally Found It!

Reading about food and the way it affects people has been a passion of mine for the past couple of years.  I have family members who suffer from illnesses and watching their food intake is no joke.  So they have inspired me to dig deeper to figure out how food effects my body.  As a kid and into adulthood, I suffer from a fair share of sinus infections and I wanted to figure out why.  After many conversations with doctors and reading copious amounts of books, I realize it may be due to the drastic weather change (I live in Chicago, nuff said) and the food I eat.  So unless I move somewhere warmer (crossing my fingers) I am going to control what I can and that’s the food I put into my body.

I have searched for an interesting AND informative book that not only inspires change, but allows the reader to fully understand the consequences of “toxic” chemicals in our bodies – from food  to environment.  It may behoove you to check out this book if you are lethargic, have heart problems,  have allergies, get sinus infections often, have anxiety, IBS, depression, get brain fog, feeling ‘off’ or have family members who suffer from any of these conditions, including cancer.

At the end of the book there’s a guide to walk someone through a detox if they are feeling up for it.

I AM FEELING UP FOR IT!  And I am going to use the blog to update you on my process.  I’m hoping that if I commit to it and announce that I’m doing it, it will keep me motivated.  I hope you don’t feel used…

First, I’m going to prepare my body by doing The Elimination Diet:

  • Environment – Avoid and replace what you can to lower daily exposure. According to the book, everyday sources of toxicity are: cleaning supplies, car exhaust, gardening and lawn chemicals, dry cleaning products, air conditioners, chlorine, lead paint, aluminum-containing deodorant, fluoride-containing toothpaste, cosmetics, pots and pans with cooking surfaces coated with aluminum or Teflon and cell phones.
  • Diet – Eliminate the toxic foods (the duration of this step depends on your current lifestyle and habits).  THIS IS THE STEP I’M ON! This is a toughie for me because I love sweets and good food in general.  No matter what the cuisine, there is a restaurant on my block.  According to Clean, I need to stay away from sugar, processed foods, wheat, caffeine and alcohol – basically my whole diet summed up.

After you “prepare your body” you are ready to do a 1, 2 or 3 week detox, which consists of 2 liquid meals a day (juicing – YYYYEEES!) and a meal that consists of fruits, veggies and organic meat.  Dr. Junger includes some recipes that actually sound pretty decent.  Also, he encourages getting rid of “toxic thoughts” by meditating.  He’s claiming that after you finish the detox, your health is generally better, you’re in a better mood, your energy levels are high as ever, mental clarity and weight loss.  Sounds good to me!

I’m on my 4th day of trying to eliminate the “toxic foods”.  Has it been easy? No way, jose.  The first few days I had headaches, was extremely tired, and irritable.  I cheated several times (I justified it as easing my way into this) but it’s getting easier.  I’m jotting down what I eat, I went to the grocery store and purchased my favorite produce, I drink a boat load of water and stopped my nightly cocktail. I am going to keep this up for another week or so then move towards the detox.

I’ll keep you updated on my progress!!!

Addicted To Juice

My mom has been doing it for over a decade, my aunt and uncle swear by it, my sister-in-law loves it and now my in-laws are getting into it.  What you ask?  Juicing!  I am super passionate about it and I just can’t hide it.  My friends think I’m slightly crazy because of my love for natural juice.

It’s one of the best ways to get all of your daily vitamins, plus more.  It makes me feel healthy, makes my skin glow and I know I am feeding my body the nutrients it needs.  It’s also fabulous for the kiddos.  I don’t care if they eat marshmallows all day long, just as long as they drink their momma’s juice (which almost always consists of beets, celery, carrots, apples, pineapples and when we need the extra boost we add kale, spinach, dandelion and/or grapes).  And it tastes AWESOME!  Just make sure you add a couple of sweet tasting fruits in the mix and you’re good to go.  I have to admit, I consider myself a juice snob now.  I don’t even look at the watered down or high-fructose corn syrup laden crap they sell in the store.

This is what our juice usually consists of

If you get your kids involved in the whole juicing process, they are more likely to drink it and ask for seconds.  It makes me giddy that Harry and Stella enjoy it as much as I do. Seriously, there’s nothing healthier you can put in your body.

Get the kids involved!

The Beets give it that beautiful pink color that my daughter loves and they are great for your heart and liver

Harry with his "beet" stache

I use the Jack LaLanne because it got high ratings online and it was rather inexpensive compared to what’s on the market.

If you have ANY questions about juicing, please email me at theinnerpeaceproject@gmail.com.  I’m more than happy to answer any questions/concerns.

Give it a try…your health is worth it!

Arnica ROCKS

Okay, let me preface this post – it totally sounds like a commercial.  It’s not…I just really really like this stuff.

When my brother was about two, he was an active, wild, and a high-energy kid. He was totally into Ninja Turtles and would high kick anyone who came into his path. He would fly around the room doing spins and karate chops like no other, which also meant lotsa banging and crashing into things.  Bruises and goose eggs were common for the little dude.

So my worried mom discovered Arnica. The moment he would crash into something, my mom would yell out in her Mexican accent, “Get the ARRNEEEEECAAA!” My sister or I would rush for it and rub it on him. Almost two decades later, I am using the same pain reliever on my kids and it works like a charm. Arnica is a homeopathic ointment – to relieve pain, swelling and minimize bruising – even the pro athletes use this stuff.

I can’t prevent my kids from going wild and getting hurt, but I can help them relieve pain and minimize those awful looking goose eggs.  Even my friend, Annie, who’s somewhat of a skeptic (towards this stuff) thought it was great…

Here's ours. almost out. since I've had a boy, I use it way more..

7 Ways To Reduce Stress

One way to reduce stress - music therapy

The other day I was flipping through my book Prescription For Natural Cures to find out what causes eczema and the chapter on Exercise and Stress Reduction caught my eye.  Because my family and I suffer from stress and anxiety, I read further.  The chapter had some really interesting ways on how we can reduce stress naturally, so I thought I would share it with all of you innerpeace seekers.

According to the authors, James F. Balch, M.D. and Mark Stengler, N.D., “…people fail to see the connection between their health problems and how they handle their stress.  Unfortunately, many doctors fail to see the connection as well.  Research continues to show that how one handles stress is paramount to one’s physical, mental and emotional health.  Stress releases adrenal hormones, which are powerful chemicals and if are heightened and depressed for too long because of stress, a person is far more susceptible to diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, heart disease, certain cancers, and other serious illnesses.”   Scary stuff.

The authors offer up some stress-reduction techniques to lessen the effects of stress on our bodies.  Everyone is different, so if you are interested in finding a way to reduce stress, choose one that suits your personality and lifestyle.

7 Ways:

  • Deep Breathing – According to the book, “Numerous studies have shown that deep breathing relaxes the mind, calms the nervous system, improves mental focus, and improves energy.”  I’m a huge fan of this one.  Whenever I find myself getting worked up over something, feeling overwhelmed, not able to concentrate, I connect back to my breathing techniques and try to focus on being present.
  • Exercise – “Exercise is one of the simplest and most underrated ways to reduce stress on the body.”  My dad is a huge proponent of running when he feels overwhelmed.  He owns his own business and during these hard economic times he sometimes struggles with all the stress that’s associated with being your own boss.  He hits the gym hard almost every day and just runs.  He claims it’s the best medicine for his heart.
  • Laughter – “Research shows that laughter prevents inflammatory triggers that leads to heart and artery damage, and it reduces the effects of stress.” Laughing with friends and family is a pastime in my household.  It’s a joy to be around jolly people who enjoy life.

Laughing with my little girl as she tries new ballet moves

  • Prayer – “It offers an opportunity to communicate with the Creator and cast your doubts and cares upon Him.”  Whenever things get tough, I simply close my eyes and have a conversation with God.  Afterwards, I usually feel like a heavy load has been lifted off my shoulders.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation – ” Starting by curling your toes and holding them tightened for three seconds, then relax them.  Work your way up the body, focusing on how each muscle group feels as you tighten and relax it.”  This seems easy enough.  Set aside a few minutes each day to try this.  We carry a lot of stress in different parts of our bodies and this may help release some of that tension.
  • Tai Chi and Qigong – “…involves specific body movements and breathing.” These two aspects of Traditional Chinese Medicine have gained a lot of popularity in the west as a way of reducing stress.  I pass by a Tai Chi studio here in Chicago daily and I am fascinated by the slow and steady movement it requires.
  • Visualization – “The visualization of positive images invokes a relaxation response.”  Close your eyes and visualize yourself and your loved ones in a positive light.  This also reminds me of my swimming days before a big swim meet.  We would visualize ourselves every step of the race to help prepare for our big events.
  • Yoga – “Yoga involves deep breathing, stretching and mediation.”  This is widely popular in our society these days, thanks to Madonna.
  • Music Therapy – “The human brain has been programmed to be responsive to music.  Examine any culture throughout the world, and you are sure to find music being used as a way to relax and combat the effect of stress.”  This one is definitely used by my family.  Neil, whom I admire greatly because of his sense of calm and clarity, practices this method; not necessarily as a way to reduce stress, but I’m convinced it helps keep him cool.  I love that he is instilling his love for music to our children.  They flock to him the second he breaks out his guitar, keyboard or just puts a record on.

Feeling calm and enjoying the music

Try one of these techniques if you find yourself getting worked up over something.  Please let us know if any worked! Good luck!

And a special thanks to Krystle! of Fly Vintage for the awesome pics!

Dump The Frump – Part 1

Part of finding innerpeace, for me, is feeling good about the way I look. My parents taught me to always look chic. Sure I’ve had my awkward days; but putting thought into clothes, skin, hair and body has been important to me. Lately, this importance of style has taken a back seat to the ever demanding responsibilities of momhood. The past couple of weeks I found myself running around in the frumpiest outfits, sans makeup and hair in a pony. What has gotten into me?!!? That’s when I decided to call in the expert, Whitney of Fauxshionable, who shopped my closet and brought back the confidence in my wardrobe. This girl has style and a winning personality to match. She has graciously offered her input on essentials to look our best this season. Ladies, it’s time to ‘Dump the Frump!’

Whitney’s words and inspiration:

Spring is a season of change. The earth wakes up from its winter slumber and is reborn. Why shouldn’t your wardrobe do the same? This spring, dump your frumpy clothes and add in bright, versatile basics. Mommy’s deserve to be beautiful and comfortable in their clothes. Here are some great options to achieve just that.

trench coat
skinny jeans
comfy, stylish flats with support
long cardigans
headbands and scarves
belted dresses
blazers
bright, chunky jewelry
floral accessories and prints

Get inspired by the collages and enjoy shopping!


If you are interested in getting your closet shopped, check her out at www.fauxshionable.com. She’s in the know on where to go for the best deals in town. Oh yeah, she can help your guy too!

Green Tip: Get together with friends and relatives and have a swap party!

Stay tuned for the next installment!

The Sniffles?

Stella and I are feeling a bit of a cold come on, so we are filling up on some Vitamin C, homemade chicken soup and minimally processed foods. I notice when I eat poorly (sweets – my favorite!, junk food, lots of dairy, and salty foods) I don’t feel 100%. My body gets sluggish, I get irritable and my sinuses act up. Not fun. This time around, we are going to try to fight off this (minor) cold by eating well, snuggling, and keeping our hands clean!

These will be our snack for the next few days - Vitamin C, here we come...

Adventures in Natural Birthing

Don’t get too excited yet, neither myself (Megan) nor Ashley are pregnant.  However, I plan to be one day (of course after I marry the man of my dreams (Hi Babe!)).  Anyway, my pregnant future is imminent and being the consummate planner that I am (I am my mother’s daughter after all)  I decided to start my homework.

I have always been fascinated by pregnancy and the magic surrounding the process.  As I’ve mentioned before, my mother gave me  Dr. Christiane Northrup’s amazing book, Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom a couple of years ago and the book blew my mind.  Never before had I acknowledged the extraordinary power of women’s bodies nor had I equally appreciated the wisdom that we all have intrinsically.

As I’ve started gathering information and learning from other women’s stories, I really think that an at-home water birth is for me.  I love the idea of approaching birth as the most natural event a women’s body will ever encounter.  It just feels right (that’s what I’m saying for now at least!).  Bloom Yoga Studio and Inner Birth here in Chicago are two invaluable companies that offer classes, workshops, and support to women at all stages of life whether you are a information seeker or looking to warm up your three year old to the idea of becoming a big sister.  Definitely check out the birthing stories on Inner Birth’s website, they are truly breathtaking.

Well, that’s all for now, I am so excited to keep everyone updated as this journey begins!