Do You Trust Yourself Around Food?







Picture this:

It’s 2006, I’m working long days as a fashion designer, traveling the world, depleted, tired, depressed, frustrated, and seriously overweight.

Every night on my way home from work I stop at the grocery store.

But this trip isn’t simply about picking up dinner.

This trip actually started at my office as an intense, anxiety filled craving.

As I pull up into the grocery store, it’s now a full blown “I gotta have it or else” food trance.

Yep, a food trance.

In a food trance I belong. I fit in. I’m somebody. I matter. I’m soothed.

Can you relate?

Indeed a food trance is an escape from worldly problems and our own inner critic, but there are also biochemical imbalances at play. Something many doctors and psychologists can’t seem to connect the dots on.

What’s interesting about being in a food trance is that we often don’t realize what’s going on until after it’s over when we feel regret, guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Then we tell ourselves that we’ll never binge or eat “bad” again because tomorrow is the start of our new diet, fast or cleanse.

Except it NEVER works out this way.

Telling yourself you’ll never binge again is like trying to forget the lover that left you. It only serves to set you up for more self-hatred, guilt, shame and failure.

Developing trust with food does not happen overnight, but what I do know is that when biochemistry is normalized and you gain awareness around feelings, triggers and food choices, the more the compulsion to eat diminishes.

So, if you’ve made a commitment to yourself to figure this out, I want you to celebrate and acknowledge the small successes that are really important such as:

  • Taking a deep breath when you get triggered and asking
    yourself what’s really at play here
  • Having compassion and forgiveness if you do overeat
  • Digging deep to uncover the feelings that set you off
  • Bouncing back more quickly after a binge occurs

I encourage you to take it one gentle step at a time. Make a conscious choice to love yourself and stand in awareness about what’s going on. Remember, you’re looking for progress, not perfection, and this is where true healing begins.

What’s one step you can take right now to understand your eating patterns more clearly?

Let me know in the comments below!

Why Slow and Steady Wins the Race

tortoise-vs-hareWe’ve all done it.

Set a goal and when that goal doesn’t happen fast enough we use willpower, self-discipline and force to speed things along.

Trouble is this completely negates our efforts.

Let me explain.

At the age of 16, I embarked on my first diet. Back then it was the low-fat craze with every kind of cookie and cake available without any fat. Never mind the massive sugar content, all I cared about was the fat. The idea that I could still feed my sugar addiction while eating my favorite foods AND lose weight made me giddy with joy. Back then it was drilled into our subconscious mind that eating fat made you fat and things like butter and meat were the cause for all our health problems. Back then we were told that our diet needed to be grain-based, and that essentially our ancestors had it all wrong.

Overnight I became a vegetarian and embarked on a strict workout regime.

As was typical for me back then, I plowed ahead, full throttle, into a low-fat vegetable-based diet, along with weight training and cardio workouts several times per week.

Then, when I didn’t see results fast enough, I eliminated fat, decreased calories, and increased my workouts to two times per day.

At 16 going on 17, I held steady for a while. I lost a lot of weight at first and this made me very happy, so I continued to push myself.

As expected, after several months, my energy plummeted. I also lost my period and became more and more depressed. At the time, I didn’t understand the connection between being thin and being healthy. All I cared about was how fast I could lose more weight and look good in my jeans.

Unfortunately, this set me up for a really painful relationship with food and my body where I ate compulsively and binged or denied myself of food altogether. As I got older, I developed hypothyroidism, digestive problems, skin problems, sleep disturbances, and many other ailments, but one thing remained.

I had to be thin.

Is this thought process familiar to you?

If so, I’m here to encourage you to rethink this strategy because in truth, it’s the little steps that you take every day that matter most. It’s swapping out coffee and a scone in the morning for a nourishing smoothie or going on a walk after you get home from work. At first this may seem trivial, but over time what begins to happen is that you start to appreciate yourself more, and when you appreciate yourself more you want to make self-care a priority.

What starts out as a smoothie turns into a salad with chicken for lunch, and then baked veggies with salmon for dinner. Then you decide to join a gym and take some classes. Then you decide you want to be strong so you lift weights. In other words, you build confidence in who you are and what you want out of life and that energy draws in what you want. Then it becomes less about being thin, and more about being healthy and loving your body exactly as you are. Right now. Today.

These days, I revel in the many wonderful things my body can do from walking around the grocery store to starting a new weight training program at the gym. My focus is no longer on being thin and getting there as fast as possible. Today, I’m in awe of how strong and healthy I’ve become. Today, I really appreciate the journey and look forward to the blessings that are to come.

Can you do that?

In the comments below I want to know:

1. What can you do to incorporate more self-care into your life?

2. Can you step back and take inventory of patterns that may not be serving you?

3. What’s one thing you can do in the next 24 hrs. as a healthy, positive change?

How Being a Doormat Is Your Doorway to Courage

DoormatThis past week I had some very tough conversations. In fact, it seemed to be the week of standing up for myself in ways that are very uncomfortable for me.

I think this is difficult for many people because most of us don’t want to have to deal with how the other person will react. We put all this stress on ourselves and take responsibility for others when in truth, how others chose to respond has nothing to do with us.

What ends up happening is we dim our light because we’re not speaking our truth in order to get what we need, want, desire and deserve.

Being in the “sensitive” category, I’ve always struggled with this. Since childhood I placed a lot of emphasis on what I thought others would think of me because I was terrified I wouldn’t be liked or accepted.

A few weeks back I talked about how to handle haters and referenced one of my favorite books of all time, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Since courage has been a big theme for me lately, and I know many of you can relate, I feel this third agreement is especially important:

Don’t Make Assumptions

“Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

Makes total sense, but when push comes to shove, our throats close up, our words become stammered, and we keep our mouths zipped. Or better yet, we make up all kinds of stories in order to justify getting out of what needs to be done.

Why do we do this?

Early in life we began making agreements. Our parents rewarded us when we did what they wanted and they punished us when we didn’t. We also learned behaviors and habits in school, church, and from other adults and children on the playground. The tools of reward and punishment were often emotional and sometimes physical. The impact of other people’s opinions and reactions to us became a very strong force in the habits we created.

In this process we created agreements in our mind of who we should be, what we shouldn’t be, who we were, and who we were not. Over time we learned to live our life based on the agreements in our own mind. We learned to live according to the agreements that came from the opinions of others.

So what’s the solution?

Do it anyway.

Even when it hurts and you’re sweating bullets because the fear factor is so intense.

If you approach speaking your truth with love, compassion and kindness, most people will respond the same. It’s all in the approach and if the person responds with anger or hate, it’s definitely not about you and time to rethink your relationship to that individual.

What I can promise you is that it won’t be so hard the more you do it. In other words, practice makes perfect and in this instance, is your doorway to courage. Courage is an interesting emotion and like lifting weights, requires multiple training sessions to gain more of it.

This is how you stop being a doormat.

So I’m curious, what have you been holding back on and with whom?

Perhaps it’s time to speak your truth.

Let me know how it turns out!

Your Struggles Have Meaning, Here’s How

LittleSamI have a confession to make.

I’m in the throes of massive change and it’s scaring the hell out of me.

Things are moving at warp speed and at times I feel overwhelmed and worried that I’m not good enough, thin enough (yes, my gremlin still likes to beat me up about this one), or talented enough to do what I came here to do in this world.

You see, I have this vision to help others heal because I know how it feels to struggle. A promise I made to myself for 2014 is that I’m going to put it all out there in a big way, because I know my story is important.

Here it is in a nutshell:

I was born with a variety of biochemical deficiencies due to neurotransmitter and trace element overloads. In biological terms, I had heritable changes in gene activity that are not caused by changes in DNA. This is called epigenetics.

Then, when I was a toddler, I lost half my hearing.

Over the years, I developed all sorts of problems such as bulimia, hypothyroidism, severe depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and perfectionism (yes, perfectionism is a nutrient deficiency symptom).

I’m sure you can imagine the emotional toll this had on me.

When I was little my mother gave me a plaque with the meaning of my name on it. It said “Samantha the Listener.” For years I found this to be completely ironic considering my hearing loss, but the truth is that I’m a very good listener because it was taken away from me.

What my “struggles” did was give me the gift of deep compassion and empathy, and this is what makes me a good coach.

For years I didn’t see these qualities in myself. I stayed stuck in fear and didn’t show up at all.

Yet deep inside my soul I knew I had to keep trying. Had I given up, I never would have uncovered the root cause of my suffering so that I could go on to help others.

So I’m curious, what are your dreams?

If you knew you couldn’t fail, what would you really want to do with your life?

In other words, how do you want to show up in the world?

There’s always a reason we don’t have what we want.

Can you dig in there and ask yourself what the reason is?

Now, even though I’m scared, I know in my heart that the fear I’m experiencing is a way for me to go to the next level, and I’m choosing to push past it and continue on.

Keep in mind that your dreams are there for a reason. Don’t dismiss them. They are important to who you are and your soul’s evolution.

If you’re stuck in fear, what steps can you take to move forward in the fulfillment of your dreams?

3 Dumb Things To Avoid When Planning Meals + Zucchini Cakes Recipe

zucchini-patties7You know the saying fail to plan, plan to fail?

Well, its true.

Especially when putting together meals.

Next to figuring out what to eat, planning meals is next in line as the most difficult aspect of a new dietary regimen.

This is one of the reasons 98% of dieters gain back all the weight they’ve lost and then some.

So let’s dig deep and figure this one out together. I promise it won’t hurt nearly as much as you think. Here’s what to avoid:

  1. Just winging it. Trust me, not setting aside one day per week for cooking and preparation is a recipe for disaster. Even though I have a home office, I still take the time to prepare my meals in advance and it’s super easy once you get the hang of it. Without this first step, you’re setting yourself up for failure and a nasty case of the hangries when blood sugar takes a dive.
  2. Wasting money on processed foods. I know this has been drilled into your subconscious mind more times than you care to count, but it bears repeating because processed foods are not satiating nor will they give you the nutrients you need to thrive. Yes, the latest sprouted chia/flax/quinoa/black bean chips are a processed food. Anytime you take a sprout and apply high heat and rancid vegetable oils to it you cancel out any of the nutrients it originally had. What’s called “way better” is actually just clever marketing.
  3. Thinking your portions are under control. This one is huge (no pun intended) because we often don’t realize how much we actually eat! I know I didn’t until I got really clear about what 3 ounces of protein looks like (it’s actually a lot). The really cool part is that you’ve got these things called hands that act as your very own portion guide.

For women, a basic meal would look like this (double for men):

  • 1 palm = 1 serving protein
  • 1-2 fistfuls = 1 serving non-starchy veggies such as kale, broccoli, cauliflower, romaine, brussels sprouts
  • 1 cupped hand = 1 serving starchy veggies such as sweet potatoes and yams
  • 1 thumb = 1 serving healthy fats such as coconut and olive oils, avocado, almonds, and ghee

Once you’ve got your meals constructed, simply place them in your portable containers (I love my kids konserve stainless steel boxes), add that to your cooler with blue ice blocks and viola! you’re ready to go for the day.

Just think of all the money you’ll save and how much better you’ll feel because you’ve got your blood sugar under control and more money in the bank.

That’s what I call success.

Now on to my recipe of the week: Zucchini Cakes

You’ll need:
Large cheese grater or food processor with shred insert
4 small zucchini
2 egg whites, plus 1 whole egg
2 tablespoons coconut flour (I love Let’s Do Organic brand)
Coconut oil or spray to coat the pan
Large skillet
Sea or Himalayan crystal salt

Put it together:
Wash and trim the zucchini and grate or process
Set aside in a bowl for 10 minutes with a generous sprinkle of salt and toss
In another bowl whisk eggs
Add generous sprinkle of salt and coconut flour

Now for the important part:
After 10 minutes squeeze the water out of the zucchini (you must do this
or they won’t turn out right)
Add dry zucchini to bowl of eggs, salt, and coconut flour
Heat large skillet over medium/high heat
Mix all ingredients well
Spoon into skillet and cook until golden brown on each side

Makes 4 cakes

I want to hear from you! Hit me up in the comments below with your biggest meal planning frustration and I’ll address it in my next blog!


How To Handle Haters


This past week, Mind Body Green posted my article I Was A Raw Vegan For More Than 3 Years Because I Was Insane.

With over 300 comments, 5K likes on Facebook, and 98 tweets to date, it caused quite a stir.

Even though the message of my article was to listen to your body and honor what works best for you, many of the comments were angry and filled with hate.

The truth is that there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all diet.

The raw vegan lifestyle was an amazing way for me to embrace a whole foods way of life and I did much healing on it, but over time, my body became depleted in nutrients. Even though I desperately needed high-quality animals products, I didn’t listen to the cries my body was making in the form of lack of energy, terrible digestion, multiple skin rashes, thinning hair, brittle nails, and depression. I didn’t listen because back then I was stuck in intolerance, dogma and judgement. Back then I only surrounded myself with people that shared my viewpoints and if you didn’t, I really wasn’t interested in getting to know you. This is a real shame because I missed out on having a lot of wonderful people in my life.

Sure, you can cite this study and that study (I’m a woman of science, but many studies are grossly inaccurate), but what it boils down to is this:

How do YOU feel? What nutrients do YOU need based on your biochemical individuality?

This is very different than following what others think you should do, even if it’s your own family members.

Back when I first started my business, I was afraid to speak up and talk about the experiences that guided me to become a practitioner to begin with. I was so stuck in judgement (especially of myself), fear, guilt and shame, that I thought no one would want anything to do with me if they knew my past issues with food and my body.

Now I know it is through sharing that great healing can occur because vulnerability creates connection CLICK TO TWEET.

So, how do you handle haters?

The answer lies in one of my favorite books of all time, The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz.

Agreement #2: Don’t Take Anything Personally

“Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

Now I know this isn’t always easy. I’m one of the most sensitive people on the planet and got teased a lot for it when I was younger, which made me sensitive about being sensitive. However, what I do know is that you have the power to create a world of your own choosing that is filled with love and joy. And love and joy have this amazing ability to help us forget about other people’s drama. Plus, you’ll never be able to please everyone and doing so only hurts you in the long run.

Remember this the next time someone disagrees with you or pisses you off.

Here’s your action steps for this week:

  1. When someone does or says something you don’t like, what can you do to not take it personally?
  2. Create a timer on your phone to remind you throughout the day: Don’t take anything personally!

I want to hear how it goes! Let me know in the comments below!

The Great Juice Cleanse

greenchairstudio_sam_lifestyle-090This past weekend I helped my good friend and career coach extraordinaire, Christie Mims, with her first juice cleanse. When we initially talked about it several weeks ago, I had my usual list of questions to ensure she was ready. Questions designed to determine current blood sugar stability and overall energy level. Since I’ve had her on real, whole foods for a few months now, I knew she could handle it.

This got me thinking about my own past relationship with juice and that of many women today. When it’s good (and your body is ready), it can be a very nourishing, cleansing, pleasant experience. When it’s bad, it can turn into a cycle of abuse and end up causing more damage than good.

So here’s the real skinny on juice.

Before you even think about doing a full-on juice cleanse, your body needs to be in a state of balance. You get into a state of balance by eating real, whole foods. No, gluten-free, organic tortilla chips are not a whole food. They are a processed food regardless of the gluten-free marketing hype (don’t get me started). To get into a state of balance, you need to be consistent with a whole foods diet for at least a few months depending on your current health status. If you have diabetes, an autoimmune disorder, hypothyroidism, or any other health challenge and we have not cleared away most of your symptoms, a juice cleanse is the last thing you should be thinking about.

Second, ask yourself “what do I hope to accomplish with a juice cleanse?” If you are only doing it to punish yourself for the baked Camembert with crusty French bread, blanquette de veau, vanilla creme brulee, and several glasses of 2001 Kistler pinot noir you had over the weekend, then I highly recommend you refrain from doing a cleanse and explore on a deeper level your relationship with your body.

When I was really struggling with bulimia and lots of self-hatred, this cycle went something like this:

  • Week 1, days 1-5: workout (strength/cardio), am smoothie, salad with chicken or fish for lunch, smoothie for dinner
  • Days 6-7: binge on whatever I wanted – burritos, pizza, as well as a few pints of chunky monkey and an entire package of double stuffed oreo’s
  • Week 2, day 1: wake up feeling like sh*t , see my colon hydrotherapist, only drink water, order green juice cleanse for next 6 days, call in sick
  • Week 2, days 2-7: 6 green juices per day, workout as usual
  • Week 3 – back to week 1

By the end of week 3, I was so exhausted and hungry that on a biological level, I had no choice but to binge again (and who wouldn’t on this cycle?).

Sound familiar?

What happened over time was that I taught my body not to trust me enough to give it the nutrients it needed to thrive. What this means is that my body went into starvation mode by holding onto fat because I had taught it to be in a continuous cycle of fight and flight, which leads to oxidative stress and all kinds of nasty side-effects.

On the other hand, if you are hoping to give your digestive system a break, infuse your body with a concentrated blend of nutrients, and are already living a whole foods lifestyle and have a good relationship with your body, then I say go for it!

In the comments below, I want to know:

  • Have you ever tried a juice cleanse and if so, what was it like for you?
  • Are there ways in which you can explore being more gentle with yourself?
  • Can you incorporate 1 new thing this week such as eating every 3 hours to curb cravings and stabilize blood sugar?


How A Simple Sugar Scrub Brought Me Joy [Free Recipe]

-1I don’t know how the weather is where you are, but here in the Bay Area, it’s The Great Flood of Noah.

Seriously, for the last week it’s like I’m back in my hometown of Portland, Oregon. Not that I don’t love Portland, but the grey, melancholic energy up there is why I moved down here to begin with.

As many of you know, I was born with biochemical imbalances that led to clinical depression, bulimia, and a myriad of other health problems from hypothyroidism to chronic fatigue. The frustrating part was that I knew the person I was on the inside did not reflect the real me on the outside. For over 30 years I suffered in agony as to how to figure this out. I desperately wanted joy in my life, but somehow, it always evaded me.

Webster’s defines joy as a feeling of great happiness; a source or cause of great happiness; something or someone that gives joy to someone; and finally, success in doing, finding, or getting something.

Once I understood my unique biochemical individuality, a whole new world of possibilities opened up for me, along with consistently feeling joyful. CLICK TO TWEET.

In other words, what kept me from experiencing joy was not going to lift until I corrected the root cause of my imbalance.

In the past, whenever the weather turned grey, damp, and gloomy, so did my mood. I always dreaded the rain for fear I’d fall into another funk. These days it doesn’t even phase me and I am able to experience joy from the simplest of pleasures, like creating my own sugar body scrub, the perfect rainy day activity.

When making your scrub, I want you to delight in every phase of putting it together from buying your ingredients, to blending it all together, to massaging it into your body. Delight in the sensory and sensual pleasure of it all and be sure to let me know how it turns out!

-2Sami’s Super Soft Skin Sugar Scrub

2 parts brown sugar

1 part carrier oil such as olive or sesame

15 – 20 drops essential oil. I use Young Living’s Joy or Rocky Mountain Oils Love

2 tsp. honey (optional)

Combine ingredients in a glass jar and mix well. For baby soft skin, scoop out product and massage well. Rinse with water and pat dry. You’ll wonder how you ever lived without it!

Joy indeed!

How do you cultivate joy on a regular basis? Hit me up in the comments below!

Stop The Insanity!

fat-vs-muscleNow that the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over and you’re thinking about your weight loss goals, I want to remind you of one simple truth that I teach all my clients:

Assess inches, not pounds.

Your weight can fluctuate as much as 5 POUNDS in any given day depending on time of the month, activity level, the amount of water you drink, and your eating patterns.

So stop the insanity and throw out your scale! I know I sound like Susan Powter but it bears repeating.

It you must weight yourself, place a piece of paper over your scale that says “I Love You” and see how your life changes.

Why does it matter what you weight as long as you feel good in your body and love what you see in the mirror?

Happy Christmas!