Creating Good Health: Tips for Simple Cleansing

organic fresh fruit

New year, new you!  Each time we embark upon a new year, the genuine desire to make positive changes for ourselves is strong. However, oftentimes our motivation is hard to sustain, especially if we try to do too much all at once. My suggestion for cleansing is to begin simply, phasing in changes as each new behavior becomes a habit.

Many of you have asked me about cleansing.  I cover cleanse options in detail at the Perfect Health course, but for now I’d like to give you some simple ideas to detox and re-balance. There are many over-the-counter remedies that promise to kick-start your body’s cleansing process and help you lose weight quickly.  Some of them are quite good. However, you can achieve the same results with a more natural, organic approach.

4 Tips for Body Re-balancing

  • Focus on locally grown fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat homemade broths, soups and stews.
  • Drink freshly prepared organic fruit and vegetable juices or smoothies.
  • Eat foods that are easily digestible.

Note, these tips apply not only when you’re working on New Year resolutions, but any time you have a major life transition. It’s a gentle way to reset your immune system and digestion.

Cleansing or fasting:

Organic Ginger Tea

A simple way to cleanse.

In Ayurveda we practice adjusting our eating and  lifestyle to be more in alignment with seasons. Seasonal transitions are also a good time to fast or cleanse. To best prepare your body for a fast or cleanse:

  • Reduce your intake of  processed, canned, frozen or fried foods.
  • Consider a one-day liquid fast, which may include water, fresh juices, soups and herbal teas.
  • Make homemade Ginger tea.
  • Drink warm water throughout the day.
  • Even one day can be highly beneficial for detoxification, as well as helping with mental clarity.
Two Baby Bobcat cubs drinking rom the fountain outside studio.

Baby Bobcat drinking from our fountain.

The New Year comes with new challenges as well as an optimistic new outlook. It’s the ideal time to create better health practices.  And keep in mind that just because you may stray from a resolution, it doesn’t mean the practice is a lost cause. You can start over at any time!! Be kind to yourself.



Top 7 Tools for Living a Happier, Healthier Life – Part 2

by guest writer Heidi Hackler, CHHC

Check out Tools 1-3 for Living a Happier, Healthier Life if you missed them. The following 4 Tools will help to complete your healthy lifestyle journey.

Tools 4-7 for Living a Happier, Healthier Life

4. Eat a Rainbow of Veggies & Fruits

rainbow of fresh produceEat veggies of all colors of the rainbow, and eat more veggies than fruit (see “Eat Less Sugar” in previous post. Yes, fruit sugar is “natural” sugar, but it’s still sugar), also try these tips:

  • Strive to eat 9-to-12-servings of veggies and fruit per day. A “serving” equals 1/2-cup, so you’re looking to eat 4.5 to 6 cups of veggies and fruits every day.
  • Eat organic produce when ever possible, not only is it healthier for you because you’ll be consuming fewer pesticides, it’s also healthier for the planet, and the farmers who grow your produce, so it’s a win for everyone when you eat organic.
  • Check out the Dirty Dozen/Clean 15 produce list.

5. Detox Your Health & Beauty Routine

Could your health and beauty routine be toxic? If you’re using big-name brands of shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, lotion, and even toothpaste from the average grocery store or drugstore shelves, there’s a good chance they contain toxins.

Here are some facts that may amaze you:

  • The average American woman puts between 12-20 toxic chemicals on her body every day.
  • 60% of everything you put on your skin is directly absorbed into your body.
  • A little known fact: the FDA does NOT regulate health and beauty products, they leave it up to the individual companies to decide if their products are “safe.”
  • Over 1,300 toxic chemicals have been banned in Europe but are still used today in US health & beauty products, and most of those have not been tested to see how they interact with each other.
  • In the the U.S., terms like “all natural” and “organic” mean little to nothing on health and beauty products. The Organic certification in the U.S. is based on agriculture certification, and doesn’t pertain to health and beauty products. Because neither the FDA nor the USDA police health and beauty products, no one is overseeing the use of “USDA Organic” labels on these products.
  • In Europe, the Soil Association certifies health and beauty products as organic under very stringent regulations. I’ve recently discovered Neil’s Yard Remedy Organic health and beauty products from the UK, which have received the highest certification for organic, ethical, sustainable, carbon neutral, cruelty-free, non-GMO products.
  • Check out this infographic of known toxins to avoid in health and beauty products, and compare this list to the products you use. You may be surprised.

6. Exercise

If you’re reading this post, you’re likely already into Pilates or body movement, which is great! I’m also a big fan of Yoga, Dance, and Zumba, but don’t really care for regimented gym-type exercise myself. If you’re like me, try thinking outside the gym to get your body moving. Here are a few easy ways to get fit and add more exercise to your day.

  • Take the stairs whenever you can, your glutes will thank you.
  • Park at the other end of the parking lot from where you are shopping.
  • Get together with a few friends and walk at lunch or after work. Walking and talking makes the time fly by. Consider using a FitBit or other device to track your steps, and try for 10,000 steps per day.
  • Do a lap around the floor of your office building or house each hour. Set a timer to remind yourself to stop working, get up and walk for 5-minutes. Studies have shown moving for 5-minutes each hour can boost your metabolism all day long. And while you’re at it drink a glass of water before you sit back down.
  • Try some chair-yoga, like this video from Amanda Ringnalda at the Chopra Center.

7. Meditate for Happiness

As someone who’s practiced meditation for over 25 years, I can attest to its grounding, calming and happiness factors. Meditation has been scientifically proven to improve overall happiness as well as brain function.

  • Guided meditations are a great way to start if you are new to meditation.
  • The Chopra Center offers free guided meditations online.
  • Deepak and Oprah are once again offering their 21-day Free Meditation, starting on Monday, March 16. You can register here; this is my favorite way to start the day.

I offer a free Kick-Start Your Health Strategy Session, and virtual holistic health and wellness coaching to help you through these steps. Please contact me for more info.

Heidi Hackler of Happy Well LifestyleHeidi Hackler is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC) and blogger, who received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She Inspires Healthy Habits Into Action via her blog at, and her holistic health coaching programs. She has also written articles for Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine, and blogs for Chopra Centered Lifestyle.
Heidi lives with her husband and two kittens aboard their 40’ sailboat. They have a zest for living the Happy Well Lifestyle: a happy, healthy, active, fun-filled life where they practice yoga and meditation, eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, veg-aquarian diet, and laugh a lot. She welcomes new followers at:

Top 7 Tools for Living a Happier, Healthier Life – Part 1

by guest writer Heidi Hackler, CHHC

As a holistic health and wellness coach, I work with people on a daily basis to help them kick-start a healthier life. But I was not always so healthy myself, so I know what it’s like to turn your life around.

I grew up with a healthy eating foundation from my back-to-nature granola mom who wore Birkenstocks before they were cool. So naturally, as soon as I left for college I couldn’t get my hands on enough junk food and candy. Sound familiar?

By my mid-30’s I was diagnosed with celiac disease and dairy and egg allergies, and had to drastically change my diet. That was over 15-years ago before most people knew what Celiac was, and there were not nearly as many gluten-free options available then. Luckily the wisdom of my mom’s teachings came back to me and I was able to make healthy diet and lifestyle changes and turn my health around.

Here are the top 7 tools I personally employ and recommend to my clients to help them kick-start a healthier life.

Tools 1-3 for Living a Happier, Healthier Life

1. Drink More Waterclean clear water in glass

The human body is about 65% water. Your body uses water to flush out toxins, stay hydrated, and function properly. Here are a few compelling reasons to drink more water:

  • Staying hydrated is very important to many functions of the body. Your blood is 55% water, so when you become dehydrated your blood moves more slowly and can clot easier.
  • Your brain also needs water to stay hydrated and function and think properly.
  • One of the first symptoms of dehydration is clumsiness. If you stumble, trip, or fall, or bump into the edge of a desk, table or wall, it may be a sign you are dehydrated. When this happens to me I always go for a tall glass of water. A headache can be another sign of dehydration.
  • Drinking water can also help you to lose weight. Drinking a glass of water 20 minutes before each meal can help you to feel full so you eat less during your meal. That water also helps to flush out toxins that can build up in your fat cells, causing the cells to retain more fat.
  • A good rule of thumb is to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. For example, if you weigh 150lbs you would drink 75oz of water per day. This is on top of any coffee, tea, and other beverages you may already be drinking.

2. Eat Less Sugar

Refined sugar is the most inflammatory food you can eat. Although it may seem daunting to avoid sugar, these startling facts really helped me to kick my sweet tooth:

  • Sugar is 8 times more addictive than Cocaine. If sugar were developed today, it would be considered a narcotic.
  • The average American now consumes almost 1 cup of sugar a day, in soft drinks and hiding in nearly all processed foods, including foods like yogurt and spaghetti sauce.
  • Cancer tumors thrive and grow on sugar, in fact, cancer cells have eight-times the sugar receptors of normal cells. That is why PET Scans, used to detect cancer, require drinking radioactive glucose (sugar-water) — the PET Scan actually follows the radiated sugar-water straight to the tumors.
  • Doctors and scientists now know that sugar (not fat) causes plaque build-up in the arteries and brain, which can tear off and cause clots and strokes.
  • Plaque in the brain can lead to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s is now being referred to as Type 3 Diabetes because there is a direct correlation between high blood sugar, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.

So these are all very compelling reasons to cut back on sugar consumption if you ask me. But how do you cut out that sugar that you are craving so much? Here are some tips to help:

  • Start by crowding sugar out and filling up on more healthy foods.
  • Sometimes a sugar craving can actually indicate a lack of protein in the diet. So if you are craving sugar, first drink a glass of water. Then eat some protein. Then see if you still really need that sugar.
  • Add in more sweet vegetables to your diet like sweet potatoes, sweet peppers, carrots, artichokes and artichoke hearts, and low glycemic fruits like apples, berries, pears, kiwis, and melons.
  • You’ll be amazed but once you cut sugar out for 7-10 days, (the length of time for your taste buds to regenerate) everything you eat will taste much sweeter with out sugar hijacking your taste buds.
  • A good rule of thumb is no more than 26 grams (6 teaspoons) of added sugar per day. That is less that one can of soda.

3. Read Labels

This is a big one; especially so you can figure out how much sugar you are really eating. The more you know about what you are putting into and onto your body, the healthier you will ultimately be. The main things I recommend looking for when you read labels are:

  • Trans fat — avoid trans fats, found in hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils. Eating trans fats promotes chronic inflammation, which has been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, and some cancers.
  • Sugar content — avoid artificial sweeteners (aspartame, sucralose, saccharine), which have been linked to cancer and ironically even diabetes and weight gain. The human body cannot digest artificial sweeteners, so they end up being stored as fat in the liver. A fatty liver can’t properly cleanse your blood and detox your body. Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease has increased significantly in the past 20 years, following the increase in artificial sugar consumption.
  • Sodium content — aim for one teaspoon or less of sodium per day (2,400 milligrams), most people around the world consume three-to-four times the sodium that the body actually needs to function.
  • Non-GMO — Just say NO to GMO. The jury is still out on GMOs. There has not been enough scientific evidence to prove that they are not harmful. And in fact there is some research out of Europe to indicate that glyphosate (found in Round-up and Monsanto GMO grains) damages our gut bacteria, which play a critical role not only in digestion, but in our health and well being too. Note that most all soy and canola grown in the US and Canada is GMO unless specifically certified organic or Non-GMO.

These first three tools are a great place to start making healthier lifestyle changes. Take them once step at a time. No need to rush and feel daunted by trying everything at once. This week try drinking an extra glass or two of water per day. Then next week try adding more colors to your plate. The third week you might start to look at labels, and so on.

Stay tuned for Tools 4-7 to help you continue on your healthy lifestyle journey!

I offer a free Kick-Start Your Health Strategy Session, and virtual holistic health and wellness coaching to help you through these steps. Please contact me for more info.

Heidi Hackler of Happy Well LifestyleHeidi Hackler is a Certified Holistic Health Coach (CHHC) and blogger, who received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She Inspires Healthy Habits Into Action via her blog at, and her holistic health coaching programs. She has also written articles for Happiness + Wellbeing Magazine, and blogs for Chopra Centered Lifestyle.
Heidi lives with her husband and two kittens aboard their 40’ sailboat. They have a zest for living the Happy Well Lifestyle: a happy, healthy, active, fun-filled life where they practice yoga and meditation, eat a gluten-free, dairy-free, veg-aquarian diet, and laugh a lot. She welcomes new followers at:


Vegetable soup- a healthy snack alternative

cup of vegetable soup.Balancing our food choices, cooking and eating at regular hours  with daily exercise, and meditation can be challenging. We don’t want to create more stress by designing our Stress reducing lifestyle!  In short, creating and living a healthy lifestyle requires conscious attention and practice.

In my own practice of healthy eating and passion for cooking , I’ve amassed a library of recipes.  28 years of eating and living a Vegetarian  lifestyle  informs my choices and blog posts. The following series is focused on  healthy snacks, and desserts.   I look forward to sharing more recipes and tips  with you in the months to come. Some of them are made up recipes  I’ve created from trail and error and some are simple, easy purchases from the market to grab in a pinch.  I try to eat organic as much as possible.

Consider a cup of  organic vegetable soup as an afternoon snack. Most days I choose a handful of raw almonds, a protein shake with organic fruit, but a cup of  soup is a good option!

healthy snack ideasA small snack a few hours before dinner not only helps stabilize blood sugar levels, it ensures you won’t be ravenous for the next meal. Ayurveda recommends Dinner be the smallest meal of the day.  When i have a rigorous teaching or work day in general, stopping for a protein, nutrient-rich afternoon snack makes it much easier for me not to overeat at dinner-  or reach for the carbs a few hours after dinner.

Too tired to cook?  Try Trader Joe’s Carrot/Ginger soup in the box.  Slice some organic celery, carrots and red peppers and “zoup” it up a bit.:)  My husband loves this alternative on the basic soup so much he’s created all kinds of creative soupy  veggie combinations.


What’s your favorite afternoon snack right now?


signature sign off with photo


Healthy Snacks to Maximize your recovery

healthy snack ideas 

Making conscious choices about what to eat an hour or so before your workout and the hour after plays an important role in your body’s ability to recover.  It only takes a moment to choose a healthy snack instead of reaching for the tortilla chips or cookies (opps-   personal moment).  Combining carbohydrates and proteins in a healthy way maximizes your recovery time as well as maintaining steady blood sugar levels.

Healthy snack suggestions and easy ways to combine Carbs and Protein:
• 3 ounces boiled chicken and 1 cup of cooked brown rice

• 1 Hard-boiled egg and 1/2 slice of sprouted grain bread

• 1/4 cup raw almonds and a medium apple

• String cheese and 4 ounces of nuts

• 1/4 cup walnuts and a medium apple

• Orange and 1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese

• A slice of whole-grain toast and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter



Smoothie recipe with Yogurt.

An Oldie but Goodie: Smoothie recipe with yogurt and berries.


1 Bananabanana
8 oz Vanilla Yogurt, Fat Free
2 tbsp Pineapple or Orange Juice
6-10 Ice Cubes

1/4 cup blueberries


Place all ingredients in blender, and blend.


Two 8 oz servings

Per Serving:

Calories 126, Protein 7g, Carbohydrates 26g, Fat 0g, Fiber 3.8g

I use organic ingredients whenever possible.  This is a great afternoon snack or post workout drink.


Previously Published June 2011.

Banana Nut Bread

banana bread
I’ve been making this Banana  nut Bread for years. It’s simple, easy and delicious. Not vegan or gluten-free, but yummy!It was given to me by my first college roommate: Carrie. Thank you Carrie for giving me the recipe to everyone’s favorite Banana nut Bread!

Many of you have asked me for this recipe and here it is.

• 1/2 cup butter softened

• 1 cup sugar (i change to a 1/2 cup sugar or use  honey)

• 2 eggs beaten

• 3 ripe bananas , crushed

• 1 tsp. baking soda

• 2 cups flour

1/4 to 1/2 cup of nuts (walnuts)
Cream the butter. Add sugar gradually, beating well. Add beaten eggs. Add bananas after crushing  with a fork. Sift soda with flour. Combine mixture and add nuts.
Place in a greased loaf pan and bake 1 hour @ 350 degrees.

Remove and cool.  Yummy, yummy banana Bread.


Previously Published June 2011.

A great cold remedy… home-made tea!

This is a repost that i wanted to share again with all of you.  I’ve made this tea several times-  love the dual benefit of antiinflamatory suport from the ginger and burst of vitamin C from the lemon. It jus feels nourishing.  Thanks Hilary!!

– Genevieve

Every year, right before the holidays, I get sick. I’m always guilty of running myself on overdrive, attending holiday parties and family functions, shopping ’til I literally drop.

One of the best defenses is a tea, a simple concoction of 3 things you probably already have in your kitchen!

– 1″ cube of fresh ginger, grated (ginger has many respiratory health benefits- including being anti-inflammatory and a natural expectorant)
– juice and slice of 1 small lemon (a great source of vitamin C)
– honey, to taste (doesn’t just taste great, honey is effective, natural cough suppressant)

Boil water in a teapot or a regular pot. Then, reduce to simmer and add the ginger- freshly grated. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes and feel free to breathe in as much of the steam as possible!

After the mixture has simmered, add as much lemon and honey as you like and pour into a mug! Enjoy and be well!

– Hilary










Originally Published December 2011

Healthy reminders during stressful times.

It seems many people are under the weather with something the past few weeks. I wanted to take a few minutes and give you some healthy reminders for stress management. With the constant temperature changes this past spring and Summer, some weeks  have felt like a different season every day.  This can be stressful on our immune systems.  Combine that with pressures of the season, even good stress,  and our immune systems can become compromised quickly.

And, for those of you with children or working with the public, it can seem almost impossible to avoid the colds and flus “going around”.

Seasonal changes, even positive ones can be stressful on our immune systems. This Fall take a few extra steps to increase your energy, improve heart health, and strengthen your immune system.


1.  Vitamin C.If you don’t take Vitamin C, consider a supplement this time of year. I increased my dosage to twice a day and it makes a difference.

2. Vitamin D.My preferred way to achieve nutrition is through food. That’s not always possible. When it isn’t, consider increasing your Vitamin D, or get outside for 20 to 30 minutes a day. Vitamin D is important for immune support and bone health. Make sure you’re getting adequate amounts.  If you’re unsure, have your blood work taken and speak with your Doctor.

3. Eat apples “An apple a day. . .” well you know the rest.  Try to eat local and organic.  It takes a bit more thought and effort but is well worth the health benefits.

4.Load up on veggies.

5. Meditate.  image of water, mountain and clouds

6. Try to eat lunch and dinner at the same time every daily.  Establish a routine and stick to it as much as possible.

Be well and enjoy the season!

signature sign off