Healthy Lifestyle Blog

November 29, 2014

It’s Time

She would have been 30 years old today.

On Thanksgiving evening grief flooded my being as the day of her arrival/departure emerged into my consciousness. I pulled out the tattered folder I have treasured all these years. A folder full of condolences, handmade cards from children, a few photos, and multiple drafts of a piece I wrote three decades ago while attending a writing class at Teachers College in NYC. A catharsis for me.

It’s time to share today’s version of that narrative.


It’s Time

The doors open to a stark block-letter reality.
MORGUE
A lump swells in my throat.
My limbs weaken.
My blood vessels throb.
My vision pulsates with the rhythm of my heart.

Wait here, while I get her.

Upstairs mothers wait to feed their babies.
This mother waits to grieve hers.

Images of the past 24 hours occupy my mind’s eye
from awakening to severe cramps
to the harsh brightness of a crisp morning
piercing my being
punctuating my fear
to the solitary room
sounds of monitors beeping
muffled voices just outside the door
to a crowd of shadowy figures shouting commands
to the faint cry, hands reaching in to whisk away its source
and finally…
to awakening in a lonely room.

A crescendo of footsteps.
She enters with a small bundle.

There was nothing physically wrong with your baby. She’s perfectly formed. Would you like to hold her?

My mind hesitates but my arms are ready.

I am left alone to hold her and rock her.
To fill the cold institutional space
with anguish and primal sobs…

until
I am
empty.

Empty of the promise of new life.
Empty of dreams.
Empty of tears.

My attention shifts.
I want to know this being that arrived before its time.
To examine her thoroughly
from head to toe
abundant dark hair
eyelashes
nose
mouth
ears
hands the size of my thumbnail
slender fingers
and fingernails, too!
noticeable calf muscles
and ink on the sole
(on the soul?)

Yes.
Perfect.
Even down to the soiled diaper.

Perfect.
Except
for the chill
that permeates the wrapping
(a signal as blatant
as the block-letter reality)
reminding me that this is a
CORPSE
complete with ID tag
dangling from one toe.

She must have read my mind.

It’s time.


Filed under: Uncategorized — Marilyn @ 3:26 pm

June 18, 2014

A Gathering of Goodness

Since March, I have been traveling quite a bit, and discovered an amazing location to host a gathering for the adventurous spirit. The place is Yelapa, located on a beautiful cove in western Mexico, about 20 miles south of Puerto Vallarta.

View of the Pueblo from the Point

After being there for a week-long yoga retreat, I decided that I MUST return and share the experience with others. So with the intention of finding the perfect place to host an event I returned to Yelapa for an extended stay.

So far I have two amazing women to help me create a wonderful experience for a small group. One is a raw vegan chef extraordinaire, and the other is a photographer who has a remarkable ability to paint a story in a single photograph. And what better than to have a gathering with delicious food and photography in a location that is beautiful, remote (no cars in Yelapa) and magical.

View from Casa Arriba

View from Casa Arriba Where We Will Gather for Meals and Meetings

I am planning for our group to gather in Puerto Vallarta on March 7, 2015, then proceeding to Yelapa for one week (March 8-15, 2015). More details will follow. Basically daily activities will include lessons in preparing raw vegan food, classes in creating story through photography, and/or additional activities like yoga, chanting, meditation and day trips to beautiful sites. Double occupancy accommodations and most meals will be included in the cost of this eight-day experience.

Does this sound like something you would love? If so, please email me with your questions and interests.
Marilyn at aTasteofLight dot com

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marilyn @ 4:28 am

May 17, 2014

Creamy Kale Salad

I love kale. I grew up loving kale. My mother used to make kale soup (not my favorite) and then she’d take the cooked kale and prepare it with garlic and eggs, and I just couldn’t get enough of it. I no longer eat eggs, but kale is still a staple.

It is easy to grow, and I have had kale winter over in southern Vermont for 3 years. Sadly last year the kale plants became infested with aphids and I had to pull them out. I now have some new plants growing and look forward to harvesting some for smoothies, salads and kale chips.

Curly Kale in the Garden

Kale likes cool weather, but I have never had a problem growing it in the northeast throughout the summer. I have even seen it growing as an ornamental (and I’m not referring to the plant that is in a tight head for that purpose), planted among flowers. The curly green leaves add much beauty to the beds, and then you can eat it!

I typically add some kale to my smoothies and soups. Here’s a recipe for a creamy kale salad. Because kale may be difficult to digest raw, it is best to massage it with salt and an acid (in this recipe I use lemon juice) until it “cooks.” The salt and acid break down the cellulose walls and make it more digestible.

Creamy Kale

1 large bunch of kale
1-2 tomatoes
1-2 lemons
2 ripe avocados
Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
Extra virgin olive oil (optional – drizzle in if too dry)
Optional: cayenne, scallions or onions

  1. Strip kale off the stems, then cut or tear into small pieces (you may save the stems for juicing). Or, use a food processor for this, pulsing gently in small batches. Do not liquefy the kale.
  2. Sprinkle with some salt and hand process, massaging the kale until it takes on a cooked appearance. It will greatly reduce in volume. The salt actually cooks the kale by breaking down the cell walls.
  3. Squeeze one or two lemons onto the kale and massage again. The acid in the lemon juice will continue “cooking” the kale.
  4. Cut the avocados in half and score in a criss-cross fashion. Scoop out with a spoon and mix it thoroughly with your hands, “smooshing” (a special culinary term) it well to create a creamy texture. (Kids love to do this!) For a chunkier salad, reserve half an avocado and toss in without smooshing.
  5. Toss in the diced tomatoes, and the (optional) chopped scallions and cayenne.

Dark, leafy greens are among nature’s most beneficial foods. Kale is a great food if you’re looking to protect your health and enjoy a delicious food at the same time. The phytonutrients in cruciferous vegetables such as kale kelp detoxify cells, clearing free radicals and potential carcinogens, which may be why cruciferous vegetables appear to be able to lessen the occurrence of a wide variety of cancers and also provide significant cardiovascular benefits as well. Studies consistently show that diets high in cruciferous vegetables are associated with lower incidence of a variety of cancers, including lung, colon, bladder, breast and ovarian cancer.  Kale is also known for its carotenoids, which prevent damage to the eyes from excessive exposure to ultraviolet light, offering a protective effect against cataracts. Kale is an excellent source of traditional nutrients, as well, including vitamins A, C, B, and manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, calcium, copper, and potassium. The benefits go on… Kale is helpful for immune support, reducing inflammatory conditions such as asthma and arthritis, preventing colds and recurrent ear infections. Kale is also a very good source of calcium, important for bone health, and vitamin E, shown to slow the loss of mental function. The combination of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients makes kale a health superstar!

Nutrition information source: World’s Healthiest Foods

 

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Recipes,Vegan — Marilyn @ 1:47 pm

September 27, 2013

Live a Lifestyle that Nourishes

When I tell people that my mother had two sisters who were centenarians, and that she was with us until one week shy of her 98th birthday, most respond that I must have great genes. For a long time I believed that to be the case, but have learned that a nourishing lifestyle is far more important than genes.

Bruce Lipton, in “Biology of Belief,” demonstrates that cellular environment can control cell function, and states that genes only account for about 5% of disease. After reading John Robbins’ book, “Healthy at 100,” and listening to Dan Buettner’s TED talk, “How to Live to be 100+,” the impact of lifestyle on longevity has become even more clear to me.

Both Robbins and Buettner studied societies where longevity is prevalent, and came to similar conclusions. Yes, a nourishing diet is important (typically plant-based), as is exercise (usually integrated into daily life). But to me the most compelling factor that contributes to longevity is social and spiritual nourishment. In each of the communities that are noted for longevity, the the elders are respected, valued and celebrated; they are connected to family and friends; and they are also connected to purpose, the reason they wake up in the morning. Do you know what your purpose is?

For the past four years I have attended RISE, the BraveHeart Women annual gathering of women from all around the world. These five days in California nourish me. They connect me with a community of amazing women and provide the spiritual and social nourishment that helps me transform. I wouldn’t miss it.

Isn’t it time to live a life that nourishes YOU?

 

RISE is sold out but I purchased a block of tickets and still have a few left at a VERY discounted price. Call Marilyn for details – 802-254-9121.

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Health,Nutrition,Women's Empowerment — Tags: , — Marilyn @ 4:44 pm

September 2, 2013

Healing Our Waters

A Prayer for the Water

This is a modification of the prayer Dr. Emoto wrote after the BP oil spill that continues to contaminate the waters in the Gulf of Mexico. To make the prayer more global, in the first sentence I replaced the phrase from “the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings” with “the Earth’s waters and their surroundings”.

I send the energy of love and gratitude to the waters and all living creatures in the Earth’s waters and their surroundings.

To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, plankton, coral, algae…

to ALL living creatures…

I am sorry.

Please forgive me.

Thank you.

I love you.

Whenever you are near a body of water, please consider taking a few minutes to send gratitude and loving healing energy to our planet’s life blood.

 

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Environment,Peace — Marilyn @ 5:30 pm

August 29, 2013

Water, Water Everywhere?

Water… Essential for Life

Our bodies are comprised of about 60% water. It is no wonder that we cannot live for more than a few days without it. Yet humans continue to waste and contaminate the very water that we rely on for life.

There are many threats to our water supply, whether accidental, a result of industry or deliberate introduction of contaminants supposedly for the public good. Industrial threats include fracking (wastes millions of gallons per well and contaminates ground water with chemicals), oil spills, nuclear accidents (Fukishima is still leaking billions of gallons of radioactive water into the Pacific), runoff from farms (includes animal waste, pesticides and fertilizers), and dumping toxic waste into waterways.

Our government deliberately adds chemicals to public water supplies at so-called safe levels. One such chemical, fluoride, accumulates in the body, so it is likely that a person who drinks a lot of fluoridated water have much higher levels of this toxic industrial waste in his/her body. Fluoridated water is used in the preparation of many beverages and foods, so even if the municipal water is not fluoridated, it is difficult to avoid this chemical.

So what can we do to maintain health in light of such contamination of our water?

  • Drink filtered water. Many contaminants are removed from water with standard filtration. Fluoride is more difficult. One of the few ways to filter it out is with Reverse Osmosis, but that also removes the dissolved minerals that are healthful. Adding a pinch of Himalayan salt replaces some of those minerals.
  • Eat organic fruits and vegetables. Much of the water we consume comes from our food. Fresh fruits and vegetables provide water in a delicious package.
  • Avoid processed foods. Most processed foods contain contaminants from the water used in processing.
  • Have pleasant, loving thoughts. This might sound silly, but Dr. Masaru Emoto demonstrated in his experiments that water samples, when frozen and examined under a microscope while still frozen, appear very different when different music or words are directed at it, or when it comes from different sources. Here are two photos with different phrases:

"Thank You"

 

"You Disgust Me"

Considering that our bodies are mostly water, wouldn’t you rather nourish yourself with kind loving thoughts and words?

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Environment,Health — Marilyn @ 9:06 pm

August 6, 2013

Tears of Joy

I am sitting in my VT living room with the sound of my sister’s laughter permeating my soundspace and I feel such joy from her joy. While I was on LI last week, my sister’s boyfriend (who she met at my moving sale two months ago) proposed to her. Such JOY!!!

…And last night I felt such joy facilitating a Harmony Circle. I was truly in my essence. My first Circle since April (before the move). Eighteen beautiful souls showed up fully.

Upon reading a BraveHeart Sister’s suggestion that we connect monthly to meditate on healing Gaia’s waters, I was called to include a meditation at my Harmony Circle. So after we did the circle, I played “So Much Magnificence,” by Mitten and Deva Premal, and offered a slightly modified version of Dr Emoto’s prayer for healing the waters after the BP spill. Throughout the meditation/music, you could hear sniffles (water flowing). And later, Yolanda shared that she was moved to tears because, “The angels were here – they came because they heard our prayers.”

Tears of Joy.


Filed under: Compassion,Peace — Marilyn @ 1:58 am

December 2, 2012

Your Priceless Gifts

As we enter the 2012 gift-giving season, it is a good time to go inside and recognize the gifts that reside deep in your heart and soul. Rather than succumb to the incessant commercialism, take a few moments to go deep inside and recognize the gifts you have to offer.

One practice that I find very helpful is to start by making a gratitude list. In making your list, consider not only those things that are external, but what are the qualities that reside within YOU that you are grateful for? Is it your compassion, patience, intelligence, beauty, skill, listening ability, consciousness…? What gifts do you have that you can share with others?

All too often we run out to the store to purchase a gift for a special person, when the true gifts we have to offer are within ourselves. Consider alternatives to giving material things that eventually will end up in the waste stream. Your inner gifts are priceless, and can last a lifetime.


Filed under: Compassion,Environment,Health,Peace — Marilyn @ 8:40 pm

September 18, 2012

Your Right to Know: An Update on GMO Labeling

Genetically modified organisms (GMOs) were introduced into the food supply in 1992. At that time the FDA declared that genetically engineered foods are not substantially different from conventionally grown foods and do not require special regulation or safety studies.

This opened the doors to continued infiltration of GMOs into the food supply with no requirement to label such foods. Today, almost 90% of all processed foods in the supermarket contain at least one genetically engineered ingredient.

The safety of GMOs is questionable. This is a huge human experiment that could have disastrous consequences on health and the environment.

Several states have introduced GMO labeling laws, but backed down after Monsanto, a major producer of GMOs, threatened legal action. Fiscally strapped state governments had to back down.

In a grass roots effort, Californians have met the requirements to have a GMO labeling proposition placed on November’s ballot. The biotech and food industries are gearing up to defeat this effort. Hopefully Californians will continue to organize for their right to know and pass the initiative, which would likely result in other states following suit.

If you wish to learn more about the health and environmental effects of GMOs, and which foods are free of GMOs you may email me or visit http://www.responsibletechnology.org/ or http://www.nongmoproject.org/.

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Uncategorized — Marilyn @ 2:30 am

June 6, 2012

Fresh and Local

Summertime is the best time of the year for enjoying healthy locally grown produce. Here on Long Island there are increasing numbers of farmers markets, where you can find an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as other locally produced goods.

I love the Brattleboro Farmers Market where I can chat with local farmers, purchase freshly harvested veggies and fruits or plants to add to my garden, enjoy a delicious homemade lunch, browse the handcrafted items and maybe even buy a gift or two, enjoy some live music and watch the children in the sandbox. Whenever I am in Vermont, I make a point of spending some time at the Farmers Market. New farmers markets are cropping up all over the country. To find one near you just visit http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/.

Another option for enjoying the local harvest is to become a member of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). CSA members support local farms by prepaying for a share of the harvest, and in return they receive a weekly share of the harvest – vegetables, fruits, herbs, and/or flowers. It’s a great way to try new foods while supporting local farms, your health and the environment.

If you are transitioning to a mostly raw plant-based lifestyle, summer is a great time to do so. Enjoy your bigger meals early in the day, and save dinner for something light. I typically start my day with a bowl of fresh fruit or a delicious smoothie. For lunch I enjoy a huge salad dressed with freshly squeezed lemon. I often add some hemp or sunflower seeds, or some diced avocado, for a healthy fat. If I am hungry for dinner, it is usually something light.

 

* * *
Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and healthy lifestyle coach. She offers a variety of services including health coaching, classes, dinner parties, consultations and presentations. For more information, visit aTasteofLight.com or contact her directly - Marilyn@aTasteofLight.com or 802-254-9121. If you would like to receive more recipes and a monthly newsletter including articles about health and the environment, event updates and more, please submit your email address at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, you may subscribe directly or via RSS. You may unsubscribe at any time.

Filed under: Environment,Garden,Health,Nutrition,Raw Food,Vegan — Marilyn @ 6:57 pm

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