Make a Whole-Life
New Year's resolutions
are fine, but you can do better. Instead of one goal for one year, how
about total transformation for life?
Happy New Year! May 2010 bring peace and economic recovery to the world,
and joy and happiness to your heart.
It's a new year -- a new beginning -- and that compels us to
reflect on our lives and evaluate how satisfied we are with ourselves,
how we're doing in life.
One way many try to implement positive change this time of year is by
declaring a New Year's resolution, a commitment to oneself to change a
habit or do something new and different as an act of self-improvement.
While the idea of a New Year's resolution is usually noble and well
intended, the way we go about doing it can result in failure or defeat.
Many people had a rough 2009 -- I certainly did. For the first time in many
years I didn't even feel like celebrating New Year's Eve. Although I
have much to be grateful for and feel enormous gratitude for all I have,
it's hard to celebrate when so many others are unemployed, have lost
their homes or don't have food on their tables. Many of us saw our
income shrink and our retirement savings nearly disappear during the
worst economic disaster since the great depression.
The Great Recession has affected everyone. Much has changed in the way
we behave as consumers and the way companies conduct business.
Naturally, we're all hoping this year will be better than last.
making a New Year's resolution can be like trying to put a band-aid on a
deep wound that actually requires medically administered stitches. New
Year's resolutions have the same elements of fad diets -- they're sometimes
just quick and superficial fixes that in the long run may be
unsustainable and can add to a sense of failure. If you want real change, forget about New Year's resolutions and
embrace whole-life resolutions.
By all means, make a habit of self-reflection and examine your life,
but don't wait for the end or the beginning of a year -- do it any time you
feel dissatisfied about something in your life. Any month or any day is perfect when it comes
to making life-long changes for the better.
Happiness rarely comes from a single, isolated, superficial change. If
losing weight is your New Year's resolution, for example, you may be
tempted to accept the cultural myth that excess weight is caused
solely by too many calories in the diet. But eating fewer calories
without improving your diet is not a life-long solution. Eventually you
might end up binge eating or developing eating disorders and other
illnesses. Or you may just continue on inadequately nourished.
There's nothing wrong with
wanting to achieve a normal weight. But it's important to understand
both the problem and the solution.
Generally, excess weight is a symptom of a larger problem, of a body out
of balance. You may be eating too many calories, but why? Nature
designed you to self-regulate body weight, so why isn't that system
working? If you're like most modern people, a combination of
low-nutrient, artificial and unhealthy foods, inadequate exercise, lack
of sunshine and sleep and environmental and household toxins have
conspired to "break" your natural system for weight management.
Eating a fad diet might help
you lose a few pounds (at least in the beginning), but it won't provide
what you need to bring your body back in balance. That can only be
effected by making whole-life changes, which include every aspect of
your life -- in other words, your lifestyle. It's not possible to enjoy
maximum health without giving your body what it needs: healthy whole
food, daily exercise, fresh air, sunshine, pure water, plenty of sleep,
healthy relationships and occasional relaxation.
Losing weight is a typical New Year's resolution. Giving yourself
everything you need for optimal health is a whole-life resolution. And
it's a resolution that will also probably result in you losing excess
weight, and provide you with a hundred other benefits. Good health gives
you more energy, vitality and strength to pursue other goals you set for
The bottom line is that as soon as you discover something is amiss
in your life, that's the time to effect change. Life is too short to waste it on waiting
for a new year.
This is the philosophy behind a book I'm working on with my husband,
which will be called “The Spartan Diet.” The philosophy can be
summarized like this: Live your values. So if you value health
and fitness, don't just value it, achieve it.
Actually do it. All of it. All the time. This year, and for the rest of
This philosophy stands in
stark contrast to the prevailing cult of mediocrity that plagues modern
cultures. For example, when scientists discover that whole gains promote
health, while denatured and adulterated grains degrade health, the
advice we're given is to "try" to integrate more whole grains into the
diet. The Spartan Diet philosophy is: Don't try -- do it. Make all your
grains whole and never eat anything less than whole grains.
I'll tell you more about the Spartan Diet in future issues. In the
meantime, you can check out the book's site and
The time for action is the exact moment you discover you're not happy
about something. The desire to eat well, lead a healthy, productive and
successful life, as well as becomming as strong, robust and healthy as possible
is this instant and for the rest of your beautiful life.
May 2010 be the year when you take charge of your own health, so you can
enjoy vibrant energy, immense happiness, great success, boundless
prosperity and a fulfilling and meaningful life. Happy New Year!
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WORDS OF WISDOM
"The part can never be well
unless the whole is well."
Stay motivated - Read health-related research
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Vegetarian Organic Blog.
As January begins, the season of pomegranates starts coming to an end. I
began my long farewell
yesterday by eating one of these succulent juicy and sweet fruits.
I truly love eating pomegranates -- they are one of the most extraordinary
gifts of nature. Not only are they loaded with fiber, vitamin C,
potassium, folic acid, iron and a massive amount of antioxidants but
they're astonishingly delicious. And studies have found pomegranates to
be powerful enough to fight and even prevent prostate cancer and heart
One of the earliest cultivated fruits, one prominently featured in
myths, legends and art throughout history, pomegranates have always been
associated with good health. Oddly enough, the word pomegranate means
apple, so it's no surprise that some scholars believe that the Tree of
Knowledge of Good and Evil bare pomegranate fruit in the Garden of Eden
as opposed to apples.
The beautifully translucent and brilliant deep red seeds are called
arils. Each aril is a self-contained bubble packed with succulent juice
with an edible soft white seed in the center. You eat the whole aril along
with the seed. But make sure the entire white membrane
surrounding the arils is removed, as it's bitter and provides no health
Some people are dissuaded by the labor-intensive effort that it takes to
eat a pomegranate. The skin is a little hard to break. Removing the
arils from the surrounding membranes that envelop them can try some
people's patience. Grocery stores sell arils ready to go for
convenience, but doing that deprives you of the amazing flavor and
texture of freshly opened pomegranates, not to mention some of the
nutrients. I find that the whole process of opening a pomegranate and
removing its arils is therapeutic and even gratifying. And the reward of
eating the freshest arils possible is unparalleled. Pomegranates are
picked when they're ripe. Those found at the stores are ready to go.
Choose the heaviest pomegranates, as most of the weight of a pomegranate
is the juice inside its arils.
Pomegranates are an important part of the Middle Eastern diet. Their
popularity in the U.S. as a superfood began only a few years ago. If you
live in Arizona or California, you can even plant your own pomegranate
tree. I planted one at one of my previous homes, and miss it very much.
I consider myself lucky though, as most pomegranates in the U.S. are
grown in California, where I live. Some varieties are available as early as August,
but the main season is from October to January.
It's still time. Enjoy pomegranates every day as the season dwindles.
They add a delightful flavor to sweet desserts, hot cereals, salads and
other savory dishes.
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VEGETARIAN ORGANIC RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Baked Butternut Squash
In North America this time
of year, when not much else is in season, winter squash is an easy vegetable to come by and prepare in an
variety of different ways. You can steam, roast and bake them. You can
enjoy winter squash in soups, salads, entrees or just all by itself, freshly baked
right out of the oven -- like this recipe.
My Baked Butternut Squash recipe
exactly one ingredient: squash! Baked squash can be used for recipes that call for
pureed pumpkin -- no need to use canned pumpkin ever again.
Most baked squash recipes tell you to use oil, but that's unnecessary. Call me a purist, but baked plain butternut squash
has plenty of flavor on its own. I bake butternut squash all the time,
and love to eat it just plain as a side dish for lunch, dinner or even
breakfast -- it's delicious and super nutritious. Although this recipe
calls for butternut squash, you can substitute with the squash of your
choice, including pumpkin and acorn squash. To learn all about
winter squash, see
Vegetarian Organic Life issue #56.
Rimmed cookie-sheet, unbleached parchment paper.
2 medium size butternut squashes.
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 F, line cookie-sheet with parchment paper.
2. Wash and dry squashes, and trim off top stem along with a little
2. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds and membranes with spoon.
3. Arrange halves on cookie-sheet cut-side down.
4. The time it takes to bake varies from 20 to 60 minutes depending on
size, but begin checking after 20 minutes for smaller squashes, 30 for
medium and 40 for large. Brown spots on the skin indicate it's fully
Bake squash until it has some brown spots on the skin when intended to
eat right out of the oven or as puree for another dish, such as pumpkin
Bake 10 to 15 minutes less when intended to be used in salads, so it can be peeled
and diced into cubes. Poke skin with fork for doneness. The fork should
poke trough somewhat easily.
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