Archive - December 2014

1
Life lessons from our animals
2
What’s your favorite cookbook?
3
4 eye-opening TED Talks for animal lovers
4
The best teas (plus the #1 secret to a perfect cup)
5
5 pet safety tips for the holidays
6
Raw pet food: yea or nay?
7
Live sustainably, protect habitats
8
Can a daily green smoothie transform your life?
9
This surprising animal is now endangered
10
Top 10 essentials for your carry-on bag

Life lessons from our animals

I can’t believe it’s almost 2015! Wishing you all a happy and healthy new year filled with many blessings. In addition to my family, friends and health, here are a few things I’m feeling gratitude for this sparkly evening …

1. I suppose it goes without saying, but I am immensely grateful for the animals I’ve encountered in my life and the ones that have walked gently by my side. Here’s a wonderful article from One Green Planet that lists 10 beautiful life lessons we can learn from animals. I agree with all of these lessons; #1 (compassion) and #3 (live for today), especially, are important elements of my Reiki work with animals. Read the full article here for all 10 life lessons …

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What’s your favorite cookbook?

Historically speaking, I never really enjoyed cooking (unless it was homemade chocolate-chip cookies!). But recently—since changing my diet to include mostly vegan and gluten-free meals—I haven’t really had a choice. I’ve been cooking vegetarian for so many years, but I always paired the veggies with pasta, cheese and breads. After going vegan and gluten-free, I wondered, could I survive on lettuce alone? And secondly, what was I going to eat, anyway?

A total rethinking of my go-to cookbooks was in order. So after much Googling, talking to friends and testing in my own home kitchen, I’ve settled upon my top three veg cookbooks. Here they are, plus four more I can’t wait to try!

1. Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi: Yotam Ottolenghi’s restaurant in Notting Hill is my favorite place in London! That’s where I first discovered his mouthwatering vegetarian dishes …

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4 eye-opening TED Talks for animal lovers

I find TED Talks so inspirational and powerful; don’t you? I think what I like best (besides the amazing speakers) is that I learn something new each and every time I watch one. (Sometimes they even blow my mind!) So in case you haven’t seen these particular lectures yet, here are four of my favorite TED Talks for animal lovers:

1. Ian Dunbar: Dog-friendly dog training
Veterinarian, dog trainer and animal behaviorist Ian Dunbar says, “When we train, we always try to take in the dog’s point of view.” Dunbar’s passionate about stopping the disrespect and abuse of dogs at the hands of owners with “horrendous interaction skills” who make terrible mistakes when attempting to train them. The talk, which starts out with helpful dog-training tips, eventually segues into the idea that humans and dogs aren’t so different after all …

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The best teas (plus the #1 secret to a perfect cup)

Christmas Eve: a time for good tidings, togetherness and … tea. Yes, tea! Tea may seem an unusual holiday tradition, but for me, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a cozy night in with family and friends. And ever since ditching my daily hot chocolate for healthier tea a few years ago, I’ve become something of a tea enthusiast—and not just on holidays.

I basically drink tea all day long when it’s cold out. Even in the summer, I love my tea in the cool mornings and chilly evenings. In fact, the only thing I love as much as my chocolate is my tea!

My favorites teas come from two companies in particular. I love them not only because their mint and chamomile tea is the very BEST in my opinion (and I have tried many teas!), but also because they are both socially conscious, which I love.

Here are my picks for seven of the best, most truly delicious teas …

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5 pet safety tips for the holidays

Dear friends, I just adore how you treat your animals not like pets, but as genuine family members. That’s why I’m sharing the following tips—so we can make sure our fur babies don’t get into too much trouble while we are busy feasting and merry-making! You might already know everything on this list, but it doesn’t hurt to take a fresh look and keep the following in mind. Here’s to you and your animals having a happy (and healthy) holiday!

1. Just say no to holiday scraps: We all know not to give table scraps to our furry four-legged friends, but sometimes that begging look in their eyes is just too tempting! If you simply must share something special …

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Raw pet food: yea or nay?

How do you feel about raw food for your dog or cat? Before I became a raw food believer, I was a little unsure. You hear so many negative things about it in the media—that it’s expensive, difficult to prepare, dangerous to humans and animals due to the risk of salmonella and other pathogens, that a lot of vets don’t recommend it and so on. But then, my beloved dog Dakota entered his golden years, and a host of medical issues began to creep up. Could changing his diet help? I liked the idea of switching him to a minimally processed food and was willing to try almost anything to improve his quality of life.

With a little trepidation, we decided to try My Natural K9 …

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Live sustainably, protect habitats

I was stunned recently to hear the following statistic: In order to survive, the United States will need 5.3 planet Earths if we continue using up natural resources at the rate we are now. In the UK, that number is 3.5 Earths, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

“Unless we change our lifestyle into a One Planet lifestyle, then we’re going to be in trouble,” says Richard Pope, who serves on the Expert Panel for environmental charity Bioregional’s One Planet Living initiative and has 25 years’ experience in residential master plans, as well as 10 years’ experience in sustainable/green building. “Sooner or later, we’re going to run out of resources if we keep using them at the rate we are now.”

If any of you have taken my sister Kathleen’s animal Reiki classes at BrightHaven Healing Arts Center for Animals, you may have actually had the opportunity to meet Richard—he’s also the co-founder, with his wife, Gail, of the holistic hospice/sanctuary for animals in Sebastopol, California.

Bioregional is hoping to make sustainable living easy, attainable and attractive for everyone. They’re already starting …

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Can a daily green smoothie transform your life?

For me, the answer is a resounding yes! While going through radiation treatments a year ago for my second bout of cancer, I decided to completely overhaul my diet. Part of that meant getting more greens than I ever had before. The easiest way to do that? Blend ’em up into a tasty green smoothie.

I’m feeling more energetic than ever and enjoying my new eating habits. But I’m not the only one realizing the raw power of a simple green smoothie. A 2014 documentary by author, entrepreneur and natural health aficionado Sergei Boutenko, called Powered by Green Smoothies, examined the effects of one quart of green smoothies per day on marathon runners and CrossFitters. The results? Nothing short of amazing: fewer aches and pains and speedier recovery times.

Some have taken this idea even further: Can changing your diet change the world—and extend your life? …

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This surprising animal is now endangered

Hello, Friday. I can’t believe the holidays are almost here. I’ll be spending the weekend finishing up some shopping and trying out a new gluten-free recipe: Hearty Vegan Minestrone Soup. What about you?

As we head into the weekend, here are five things I’m feeling gratitude for today …

1. I’m really grateful for conservationists and their tireless work. Our world needs more of them, especially when you have so many animals facing extinction, such as polar bears (due to shrinking ice in the Arctic) and the American eel (from overfishing). Those are just two examples of animals vanishing from the wild, but surprisingly, now giraffes need saving, too. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation …

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Top 10 essentials for your carry-on bag

Dear friends, are you traveling anywhere fun this holiday season? While I’m staying close to home this month, I will be flying to Florida in the new year for my annual class at The C.A.R.E. Foundation. This year’s topic? “Mindfulness With Exotic Animals.” I can’t wait!

Of course, getting to Florida from San Francisco requires a pretty long plane flight. I fly a lot for business these days, so feeling relaxed in flight means packing a well-thought-out carry-on. For me, that means making sure I have the following 10 items, no matter what …

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