Healthy Lifestyle Blog

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

January 15, 2012

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Non-Violence

As a child, I was deeply influenced by the power of the civil rights movement and the eloquence of Martin Luther King, Jr. His message and example of non-violence was so moving and influential. I watched in awe as TV reports showed demonstrators maintaining their non-violent stance even while they were assaulted by police and others.

I am still affected by the words and passion of Martin Luther King, Jr., and I still support non-violence, whether it is toward our so-called enemies, toward protesters, or toward other sentient beings, human or not.

Sadly most of us play a part in large scale violence daily without even giving it a second thought. The victims of this violence are voiceless, and are enslaved, tortured and killed for human pleasure and profit. In the time it takes to read this post, more than 100,000 sentient beings will have been slaughtered by the meat, dairy and egg industries (far more if you included fish and other aquatic animals).

The violence toward other species doesn’t end there. The humans who work in slaughterhouses are exploited and subjected to horrendous working conditions. Their frustrations are often taken out on the animals or on their families when they go home, continuing the cycle of violence.

So in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. and in support of of non-violence, I propose adopting a more compassionate, non-violent diet. It would not only benefit the many beings whose lives would be spared, but doing so would also provide health benefits and reduce the negative impact on the environment.

“One day the absurdity of the almost universal human belief in the slavery of other animals will be palpable. We shall then have discovered our souls and become worthier of sharing this planet with them.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

* * *
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: Compassion,Peace — Marilyn @ 6:56 pm

November 23, 2011

Mindful Gift Giving

The holiday season of 2011 is a good time to start a new gift-giving tradition, and it would be so amazing if we extended mindful consuming to all our purchases in the future.

It is time to shed excessive consumerism and vote for a better world with your dollars. What better way to start than to support our local producers of goods and services?

Rather than support foreign sweat shops where cheaply produced products that use precious resources to ship across oceans, only to end up in a landfill, it is time to be more creative with gift choices begin to support more meaningful, sustainable options.

Consider, for example, the wide range of local services that people consume regularly. You might want to consider gift certificates. Here are just some of the many local businesses where you can purchase gift certificates: hair salon or barber, restaurant, theatre, housekeeper, computer repair, gym, gardener, auto mechanic… the list goes on. This isn’t about national chains, let’s support the local home town shops.

If you would like something more personal, consider locally produced crafts, like pottery, jewelry, knitted or woven scarves, wooden boxes, baskets, or the gift of local talent in the form of tickets to a performance of a CD.

Or if you have a particular talent, you might want to go with a gift of your time or something you make. “Love” coupons for your services are welcome, as they can be personalized and redeemed when the recipient wishes. For example, I have given a collection of coupons for raw vegan dishes, and the recipient can make custom requests for his or her favorite dish(es). Other possibilities for love coupons include babysitting, pet sitting, raking leaves, planting a garden, providing a ride to or from the airport – use your creativity here.

Love coupons, gift certificates, or any gift, for that matter, can be wrapped mindfully in a beautiful reusable box, in a dish towel or fabric, or food storage container. Other alternative gift wrapping ideas include:

  • Reusable gift bags – I always save gift bags to reuse. If you don’t have any handy, a reusable shopping bag is a great way to wrap a gift and something that helps reduce waste all year long.
  • Newspaper or magazines
  • Fabric – you can either wrap a gift in fabric or make a reusable gift bag.
  • Use ribbon made from natural materials like waxed hemp twine or raffia.
  • Natural decorations like pine cones and sprigs of holly.
  • Mason jars for food items or anything small. Throw in a 6-inch square of screening material (available from a hardware store) and the jar can be used to make sprouts.

For more gift wrapping ideas visit http://eartheasy.com/gift_wrapping.htm or http://life.gaiam.com/article/top-10-green-gift-wrap-ideas

Do you have any gift suggestions for a more mindful compassionate holiday?

* * *
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: Compassion,Environment — Tags: , , , , , , — Marilyn @ 6:32 pm

July 3, 2011

Happy Interdependence Day!

This is Interdependence Day weekend, and I am enjoying my stay in Vermont where I have a garden that I planted on Memorial Day.

I like to call this Interdependence Day – last year at this time I was attending a class called “Grow Food Everywhere” and one of the instructors, Deb Habib, coined the phrase. It feels so much better to me than Independence Day.

Having just read “The Wholarian Vision,” by Katrina Meyer, PhD, I am very aware of the interconnectedness of everything on this planet. Recognizing that we are all part of the whole provides a new awareness of how our actions, our energy, our essence affects everything around us, and that has a ripple effect that is very far reaching.

So rather than celebrate independence, let’s celebrate our interdependence and envision a world where collaboration and cooperation replace competition and greed, a world where peace, love and compassion prevail.

 

* * *
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: Compassion,Peace — Marilyn @ 3:37 am

May 6, 2011

In Honor of ALL Mothers

Every May we devote a day to honor our mothers, for their love, nurturing, and care, and for all that they have sacrificed in raising us. But what about the non-human mothers who are forced to sacrifice their lives not for their young, but for our plates?

Most of the eggs and dairy we eat come from mothers who live in conditions that are far removed from the bucolic image of farm life we’ve come to believe. Unless you know the farmer, these sentient beings are likely treated inhumanely throughout their lives, and their products are contaminated with salmonella, or antibiotics, pus and hormones. Labels like cage free or free range are essentially meaningless, designed more for the buyer’s sense of well-being than for the animals.

Hens are natural nurturers – the “mother hen” protects her chicks and teaches them to scratch and find food. Yet in most egg producing operations, hens never get to enjoy the behaviors so natural to them, like nesting, perching, scratching, dust bathing and raising their young.

Cows also nurture their young and develop strong bonds. Yet in order to keep their milk flowing, they are subjected to continuous cycles of pregnancy and lactation, only to have their babies stolen from them at birth. Imagine the suffering both mother and child endure.

There ARE alternatives. Instead of dairy, there are many healthier non-dairy milks and cheeses made from nuts, rice or soy. Contrary to popular belief, cow’s milk does NOT build strong bones. Although it has calcium, it is not absorbed because it lacks the necessary magnesium. A far better source of calcium is dark leafy greens (that’s where cows get it from). Further, the casein in milk had been shown to contribute to tumor growth.

Instead of factory farmed eggs, find a local source where you can be sure that the chickens are raised humanely. There are many on Long Island.

This month, in honor of the mother hens and cows, consider refraining from eggs and dairy for a day, for a week, for a month… maybe even forever.

For more information and resources about eggs and dairy, contact Marilyn Chiarello: Marilyn@aTasteofLight.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: Compassion,Health,Vegan — Marilyn @ 3:33 am

August 2, 2010

Addicted to Cheese? Isn’t Organic Dairy OK?

For me, the most difficult food to eliminate when I became vegan was cheese. Throughout many of the years I was vegetarian, I believed that dairy was OK because the cows weren’t killed for it, and that it was an excellent source of calcium. And i just LOVED cheese, and couldn’t imagine living without it. It was years later that I became aware of the suffering dairy cows endure as milk-producing commodities.

As children we are taught that contented cows graze all day and give us milk. Not really true.

  • The milk they produce is taken (stolen is probably the more appropriate word) from them at a great cost to the cows.They are kept in a constant cycle of pregnancy through artificial insemination and lactation and never experience the joy of caring for their young. Imagine being constantly pregnant or lactating, and never having a chance to nurture your baby!
  • Cows are typically fed a diet that is unnatural – they are meant to graze, that is, eat grass. Instead, most dairy cows are fed grain which wreaks havoc in the stomach, requiring the consistent use of antibiotics.

Feedlot

  • Their udders are often infected and a source of much pain. The udder infection (mastitis) results in pus in the milk. The dairy industry has developed a system known as the “somatic cell count” to measure the amount of pus in the milk, and milk with a count of 200 million per liter is not considered safe for the human food supply. The national average is 332 million per liter. Got Milk?… Got Pus?
  • The life expectancy of dairy cows is shortened by 80% – dairy cows are “spent” (no longer producing enough milk to be cost effective) and slaughtered after 4 years, while their natural life expectancy is 20 years or more.

But I digress… What about being addicted to cheese? All animal milk contains a protein called casein which breaks down during digestion to release a host of opiates called casomorphins. So when people say they are addicted to cheese, they actually ARE! It is believed that the opiates in milk produces a calming effect on the infant, ensuring bonding and continued nursing so the baby gets all the nutrients it needs.

So now that you realize that you’re actually addicted to cheese (or yogurt or ice cream or milk – you name it), and simply can’t give it up yet, what about just making sure that the milk is organic and comes from happy cows? OK, that’s a bit better than conventionally produced dairy, but there are four points that you should check into before believing the media produced images of contented cows raised on bucolic farms:

  • Do the cows eat grass only, or are they fed organic feed (grain)? Cows are fed grain for weight gain, so they produce more milk, and/or because there isn’t enough space for grazing. Grain is unnatural and results in chronic digestive problems.
  • What happens to the baby calves? Calves are usually taken from their mothers within a few days after their birth, an extremely traumatizing experience for both mother and newborn. The grief stricken mother cow calls for her calf for days. Heartbreaking. This is done so the calf doesn’t drink the milk that is its birthright.

  • What is done with the male calves? Male animals don’t produce milk, so about half the calves born on dairy farms are sold to be crated and raised for veal, only to be slaughtered several months later.
  • What happens when the cow’s milk production decreases? Most dairy cows are slaughtered at age 4, when production slows down. It is rare to find a diary farm that allows “spent” cows to live their life until they die naturally.

If you are still feeling OK with the unnatural consumption of a product that is meant to turn an 80-lb. calf into an 800-lb. cow (humans are the only mammals on earth that drink the milk of another species after being weaned), then consider the health implications. In The China Study, T. Colin Campbell discovered a clear correlation between the consumption of animal protein and incidences of the what he calls the “diseases of affluence” – cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. He also cites studies that show that increases in the consumption of casein result in increased tumor development.

So how do you break your addiction? I did it cold turkey. I realized that I had “arrived” when I was at an event where there was a buffet with a huge cheese platter decorated with strawberries. None of the other food on the buffet was vegan, not even the salad! so I parked myself besicde the cheese platter and ate strawberries! I actually wasn’t even tempted to have a taste of cheese. This was about 3 weeks after totally eliminating dairy from my diet.

For me it was most helpful to repeat to myself, “I don’t eat that.”  Somehow saying, “I DON”T eat ____” is much more empowering than saying “I can’t.” It indicates personal choice and has supported me every time I am bombarded with all the unhealthy choices that are found in the supermarket, deli or rest stops when traveling. Of course planning ahead helps. More about that in another post.

* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef,educator and health 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 516-671-7037.

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 in the sign-up box is at the top of the right sidebar. For notification of blog updates only, complete the second box. You may unsubscribe at any time.


Filed under: Compassion,Health,Vegan — Marilyn @ 2:09 pm

June 27, 2010

Blood Phones

Are you aware that we are inadvertently underwriting the world’s most lethal war? Nicholas Kristof’s column in today’s NY Times, Death by Gadget, looks at “conflict minerals,” and the violence that is associated with their production in the Congo. Before it was “blood diamonds” now it’s “blood phones.”  

If you want to be part of a grassroots effort to raise awareness of the horror associated with electronics, Raise Hope for the Congo offers several ways to help, from committing to purchase confict free electronics to spreading the word through social networking . Here are two videos they produced:


* * *

Marilyn Chiarello, founder of A Taste of Light, is a certified raw vegan chef, educator and health 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 516-671-7037.

If you would like to receive future articles about health and the environment, along with recipes, event updates and more, please visit http://atasteoflight.com/. The sign-up box is in the right sidebar.


Filed under: Compassion,Environment — Marilyn @ 3:43 pm