Creating a Career that Matters

elle-marianne-williams-v-mdn“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”~Anais Nin

This past February when I was volunteering for Marianne Williamson’s political campaign, I remember walking out of one of our weekly meetings thinking, “I’ve never felt so fulfilled in my entire life.” Mind you–I was completely single at this time; my sense of fulfillment was solely coming from being in alignment with my purpose and being part of something greater than myself.

When I was younger, I spent years placing far too much importance on my romantic relationships and on the Hollywood party scene. Deep down, I was bored with life as I knew it, but wasn’t really sure what else there was to do in L.A. besides dating and partying. The day my evolution began was the day I walked into my first yoga class. It wasn’t only the yoga that made me want to live a deeper existence. Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now was sitting on the counter top. Always an avid reader, I decided to purchase the book even though it wasn’t my usual genre. Up until that point, I had spent most of my time reading fiction, specifically fiction that was very dark, which was causing me to have nightmares. After I read The Power of Now, my love for inspirational material was born, putting an end to all those scary dreams.

Several years later, I would discover Marianne Williamson, and I, like so many others thought, “Wow, here’s a woman who really stands for something,” and she happens to be wearing great shoes! Marianne made me want to be a woman with a voice, a woman who cares about political and social issues, and most of all, a woman who leaves an imprint on the world.

Today my sweet mother is a teacher, leaving her imprint on the world, educating young minds. However, when I was growing up, my mom stayed home to raise me and my siblings, leaving her imprint on our household. I watched her cooking and cleaning, with no maid or nanny, for four kids and her husband, my dad. Marriage, to me, pretty much seemed like slavery. Aside from all the manual labor, since my dad was the sole provider, he had control over how the money was spent. This is not to put my father down—he loved our family very much and was a great provider—however, the dynamics between my parents shaped my feminist views and made me always want to be a woman who worked. Not only did I decide at a young age that I wanted to be a glamorous career woman, but also I realized that it seemed as though I was missing the girl-gene that desires a husband and/or children. Not that I’m opposed–it’s just that I’ve always had more of a longing for adventure and independence.

When I learned that the gorgeous and fabulous Marianne was unmarried by choice, I immediately felt a sense of kinship with her. I would later hear Marianne explain how when she was growing up, she had a view of her homemaker mother, which was similar to the view I had of my own stay-at-home mom. Marianne says that, at the time, she felt her mother’s work in the home wasn’t important. Marianne explained how she decided she was going to go out into the world, until she studied metaphysics and realized there is no world. As a mother today, Marianne realizes that there’s nothing more important than the job of being a mom. She says that our society needs to honor women who want to stay home with their babies. Many highly educated women feel that working in an office could never compare to staying home to raise your children. Although being a domestic goddess wasn’t the path for me, I now honor and appreciate how my mom devoted her life to our family; and I’m equally as proud of her for reinventing herself and becoming a career woman later in life.

Because I admire Marianne so much personally and professionally, I was really looking forward to take her workshop Creating a Career that Matters this weekend. The main message of the seminar was that our career is not separate from our being-ness in this world. She says that “what we do is not the issue; the real issue is who we are within what we do.”

Marianne defines career as your activity on the planet in which God uses you to lift the energy of the corner you are in. A career is not something you get—it organically grows out of who you are. Our souls yearn to be of use. We are all here on Earth to serve; therefore, our work is our service to the world. Business is the way we contribute to the uplifting of the planet.

In order to create miracles in our career, we must first face our fears and let go of our past. Fear does one of two things; it either puffs us up or causes us to shrink. A Course in Miracles says, “The presence of fear is a sure sign that you are trusting in your own strength.” There is such a thing as divine intelligence—it’s what causes an embryo to become a baby, a flower to bloom, a caterpillar to become a butterfly. That same divine intelligence causes people to blossom. This divine intelligence has a plan for us—we are each programmed to have a life that works. When we worry too much about whether we are going to fail or whether we are not good enough, we are indeed relying on our own strength–divine intelligence does not fail. Once we recognize our fears and release them, we will be guided to create a career with the highest potential of service. I love the line from A Course in Miracles that says, “The universe knows your rent.” If we don’t have faith in our own power, we must have faith in the power of the universe.

Another wonderful fact about this correcting, self-organizing universe we live in is that universe doesn’t care about our past. If we ever make a wrong turn, the universe simply recalibrates. The universe doesn’t care how old you are, how bad the economy is, or how many times you’ve failed. The universe is an endless opportunity machine, invested in our growth; at every moment, you have a chance for a new beginning. We must let go of the baggage of the past in order to claim our future.

Marianne says that a “successful career is one with a big effect.” She warns us against doing work for the money—do it for the love. Do it to be of service. When you are a healer or spiritual teacher, charge only what you feel is fair. A Course in Miracles says that no one should be turned away for lack of funds. A devout student of the Course, Marianne practices what she preaches—her Monday night lectures are only fifteen dollars, and no one is turned away who cannot pay. She also offers scholarships for people who cannot afford her workshops.

Marianne says that a career is not a separate aspect of your life—it is an expression of who you are. She goes on to explain that the difference between a job and a career is that a job can be taken away from you; a career can never be taken away from you. Always remember that the universe is your true employer, and no matter what your actual job is, your real job is to spread love.

For those of us who have more than one job, or are in a transition, it is important for us to still be good employees. Marianne warns that too many people are not doing their jobs well because they are looking for something bigger and better. For instance, I teach Pilates during the day and write at night. Both jobs are equally important to me–it is my job to be present with whatever work I’m doing and to always bring the light.

Some final words of wisdom from Marianne: Every one of us has a work of genius inside us. Surround yourself with people who are safe, supportive, and hold the space for your dreams. Show up for life—life is one big networking experience. And lastly, if you want to have a career that matters, you have to matter!

http://www.marianne.com

Crazy Sexy Spirit Junkie Masterclass

SJ Collage

I was so lucky to have been in NYC last weekend for Gabrielle Bernstein’s Spirit Junkie Masterclass. As many of you know, I am a huge fan of Gabby’s work. What I love about Gabby is how she encourages us each to step into our power. She always says that the world needs more lightworkers, and this masterclass was a certification program teaching her very own Spirit Junkie method. Gabby very generously showed us her coaching techniques as well as shared invaluable business resources.

Gabby also introduced us to her mentors: life coach Rha Goddess, EFT teacher Lori Leyden, and my favorite, author/director Crazy Sexy Kris Carr, who offered us some sage business advice. Kris Carr shared how she created a brand that evolved from educating cancer patients to creating an entire wellness brand (www.kriscarr.com). Living up to her name, Kris was indeed crazy, sexy, and hysterically funny. I loved every minute of her and Gabby onstage together.

I’ve actually been thinking of doing a little “rebranding” myself. I first started Miss Amycakes as way to build an audience for the memoir I was writing since publishers these days want authors to have an online following. At the time, I wasn’t really clear on what my focus was. I named the blog Miss Amycakes, not because I love cupcakes, but because Amycakes is a nickname given to me by my mom. I wanted to be able to write about whatever the mood struck me—I didn’t want to limit myself to spirituality, events, or health and fitness. I noticed, however, that my blogs about dating received the most hits. As a result, I am now writing love and dating advice for several magazines. Now that I’m a certified Spirit Junkie Masterclass Level 1 trainer, I’ve decided to offer coaching services since I do receive a great deal of mail asking for advice.

I am in the process of creating a more professional coaching site with a clear focus, but since I have built up a little following, I’ve decided to keep my personal blog going. I like having a place where I can be myself–a little random and scatterbrained. I’ve also connected with so many gifted and talented Spirit Junkies, and I will soon be showcasing their work here.

If you’ve been following my blog, you’re probably wondering what happened to my memoir. The memoir was on the market for a few months, and although it generated some interest and received a lot of positive feedback, it did not sell. I realize that I may have been a little impatient. However, the longer it took to sell, the more I started to wonder if I had shared too much and been too open. Although I love what I wrote, I wasn’t sure I was ready for everyone to know my deepest darkest secrets, so I decided to take the memoir off the market.

As a person who is normally pretty fearless, I struggled with whether or not I made the right decision. Part of me wonders if I let my ego take a hold of me. However, the more I thought about it, I decided that particular book was not how I wanted to introduce myself to the world. But I wholeheartedly believe it is something I will revisit in the future when I feel the time is right. Gabby says it is our stories that heal others, and ourselves; and someday I will have the confidence to share mine.

Another thing I’ve learned from Gabby is that a Spirit Junkie’s work is never about us; it’s always about helping others. Keeping that in mind I’ve started my second book, a book that is much less about me and more in the spirit of service. This way I will have no reservations about sharing when it’s ready. In the words of Gabby B, “Spirit junkies aren’t afraid to shine.”

I definitely came back from Spirit Junkie Masterclass feeling totally inspired and ready to shine. Big thanks to Gabby for sharing all her secrets and creating such a beautiful, supportive network of Spirit Junkies. Spirit Junkie Masterclass was an experience I will never forget.

SJ Certificate1

Beyonce: The Ultimate Lipstick Feminist

B.Feminist

Queen B was on fire last night at the VMA’s! As a female empowerment writer, I am very pleased that this year feminism became the hot topic, compared to last year’s twerking controversy. By the way, props to Miley for bringing a young man from a homeless shelter as her date.

But back to feminist icon Beyonce–who, I should note, uses an all female band and all female backup dancers. Beyonce dazzled in front of a giant screen with the word “Feminist” lit up, urging young women to be ambitious, while showing them they can still be (very) sexy and powerful.

And for all the critics of her performance and wardrobe choice, both Gloria Steinem and Beyonce agree that a feminist is simply a person who believes in social, political, and economic equality of the sexes. So, no, feminists do not need to wear pants. There is a great power in a woman’s sexuality—so much so that other cultures require women to cover up…so Bey, show those legs—I got your back!

Queen B

With feminism being so topical today, I thought I’d share with you an article I wrote on how I believe that we don’t need to take the feminine out of feminism. “Lipstick Feminism” was originally published in Viva Glam Magazine’s Summer 2014 Issue.

VIva Glam Summer

http://vivaglammagazine.com/lipstick-feminism/

Lipstick Feminism

by Amy Elizabeth

I was recently reading an article written by a woman who, at her heaviest, weighed two hundred and fifty pounds and felt she was being anti-feminist for dieting. We’ve all heard the stereotypes that feminists shouldn’t wear makeup or shave their armpits, but this was the first time I’ve heard someone claim that by counting calories, she felt like a traitor to the women’s movement.

The textbook definition of feminism, a definition which Ms. Gloria Steinem herself supports, is “advocating social, political, legal and economic rights equal to those of men.” Nowhere does it mention that we shouldn’t care about our appearance. A woman could be a size 2 or a size 22 and still be a feminist. In fact, it is a feminist belief that our bodies are our own that no one can tell us what to do with them. From that line of thought, if we mustn’t judge a woman for choosing to use contraception, we mustn’t judge a woman for counting calories. If a woman wants a smaller body, it doesn’t make her any less of a feminist than a woman who doesn’t mind if she’s packing a few (or more) extra pounds.

I understand the argument that a woman who diets might be conforming to the pressure of society to look a certain way, but if she feels better at a lower weight, it is not for us to make her feel guilty. Besides, there’s nothing feminist about high cholesterol or diabetes. We are more powerful when our bodies are healthy and happy. Feeding the body nourishing foods keeps our spirits up and our energy levels high. If dieting makes a woman feel confident about herself and ready to take on the world, then who is anyone else to judge?

Actually, most feminists would argue that too much emphasis is placed on a woman’s appearance. The very stylish and attractive Gloria Steinem has said that there is a common misconception that women who are pretty can’t be smart. Early in her career, Steinem was actually sent home from a writing assignment when a male editor remarked, “We don’t want a pretty girl, we want a writer.” She sure proved that being pretty and smart aren’t mutually exclusive.

“Feminist” has become somewhat of a dirty word, and sadly, many women who actually fit the description are hesitant to use it to describe themselves. In a recent interview, Katy Perry said she doesn’t even know what a feminist is. Too often the word is associated with being a bra-burning radical or a tomboy or a man-hater, which may account for a small part of the feminist population, but there is another type, which I like to call the lipstick feminist.

I’m sure some people look at me with my platinum blonde hair and hot pink lip gloss and think that I’m the last person in the world who would be considered a feminist. Despite my love for fashion and makeup, I believe in empowering women, which is a much bigger indicator of feminism than whether or not a woman chooses to wear mascara. Make-up and fashion are feminine; I don’t feel we should have to take the feminine out of feminism and hide the girly part of ourselves to have equal rights and opportunities.

I’m going to say something controversial here, but just as there is power in a woman who has more of an aggressive masculine energy, there actually is also great power in a woman who is beautiful and feminine. Your power comes from your authenticity. Before I continue, I would like to mention that I agree with the late Estee Lauder, who said, “There are no ugly women, just women who don’t care.” Whether a woman cares about her appearance or not still has nothing to do with the feminist movement, but part of Gloria Steinem’s appeal to women was that she was very attractive, so attractive that she was even able to go undercover as a Playboy bunny for a story. Women identified with her much more than had she been lacking in sex appeal. Most women are naturally wired to want to be beautiful and sexy even if we want to be successful.

As for the common misconception that feminist women don’t like men, there probably are some that actually don’t, but that’s not the point of the sisterhood. For the record, most of the feminists I know do like men, some of us like men a lot; we just don’t like them telling us what to do.

The sisterhood is about supporting and empowering other women. So the very act of labeling a sister as un-feminist for something as trivial as dieting or wearing stilettos isn’t very feminist at all. While there’s no shame in wanting to improve your appearance, it’s time we as women stop obsessing over the size of our own and each other’s bodies, slap some lipstick on and go out there and kick some ass.

We Can Do It

You Don’t Have a Weight Problem, You Have a Hormone Problem

Hormonal Barbie

Years ago when I gained a few el bees, I decided to hire a personal trainer and go on a calorie restrictive diet. To my dismay, despite all that hard work, I actually ended up gaining weight! I just assumed I had a body type that “bulks up,” and ever since then, avoided lifting weights like the plague.

Around this time, a friend of mine suggested I try Pilates, and I immediately fell in love. I loved the fact that with Pilates I was able to create long lean muscles without building bulk–not to mention, my waistline had never been so small. But even with Pilates, I had to be careful with the resistance. My first Pilates instructor noticed early on that I had a tendency to bulk up, so we focused mostly on core work and always put used the very lightest springs when working my legs and arms.

It seems as though every time I try to take my workouts to the next level, I end up gaining weight (yes, even when I’m counting calories on My Fitness Pal). For years, I’ve been telling people that the only exercises that work for me are Pilates, yoga, and walking, but I’ve never had a scientific explanation as to why until I found Dr. Eric Berg, who specializes in weight loss.

For those of you who can simply eat less and exercise more to lose weight, you are hormonally balanced and don’t need to read any further. But for those of you who diet and exercise and still struggle with your weight, you probably have something hormonally wrong with you, and the following information could change your life.

Dr. Berg says, “Fat burning depends on what you eat, how much stress you experience, whether you have pain or not, how much you sleep, and if you are avoiding sugar completely.”

According to Dr. Berg, there are three fat producing hormones: cortisol, insulin, and estrogen. You want to keep the levels of these three hormones as low as possible. Cortisol is activated by stress and makes us store fat around the middle. Insulin, on the other hand, is triggered by sugar. Dr. Berg recommends eliminating all sugars (except fruit) and refined carbs and alcohol, which turn to sugar. When sugar is present, the body will always burn sugar before burning fat. Once you eliminate sugar, your body will have no choice but to burn fat. Last of the fat producing hormones is estrogen. There are several foods (and chemicals) that cause our bodies to create more estrogen—soy and wine are two of the biggest offenders. Women with excess levels of estrogen tend to develop “saddlebags” and cellulite on their thighs. So be careful with the soy!

Dr. Berg stresses the importance of becoming healthy before worrying about weight loss. Those of us who constantly struggle with our weight, do so because some area of our body is unhealthy. Heart disease, diabetes, and arthritis are all symptoms of an unhealthy body. In order to lose weight and keep it off, we must first become healthy by healing our glands and hormones.

When it comes to exercise, many people have the misconception that fat is excess calories and that they need to burn off these calories through activity. In reality, however, most of us don’t really burn that many calories during our workouts. The point of exercise is to trigger a hormonal response to burn fat that occurs between 14 and 48 hours later. Surprisingly, it is when we are sleeping that we actually burn the most fat!

It is important to note that each person needs to eat and exercise for his or her specific hormonal imbalance. In order to determine what is type of diet and exercise will work for you, please take Dr. Berg’s body type quiz: http://www.drberg.com/body-type-quiz

Four Body Types

**Since all hormones are related, you may be a combination of more than one body type. For instance, there is a thyroid type, which relates to people who have a sluggish thyroid. However, if your condition has advanced to Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis (like mine has), you are an Adrenal type. In fact, anyone with an autoimmune condition would be considered an adrenal type.

The Adrenal Type

Adrenal BarbieStress increases cortisol, which can lead to fat being deposited in and around the abdomen.

Adrenal Symptoms

  • Swelling and cramps in legs
  • Difficulty getting or staying to sleep
  • Sore muscles—Don’t seem to recover after exercise
  • Fatigue
  • Bruise easily
  • Anxiety
  • Legs feel heavy, especially after exercising
  • Cravings for salt & cheese
  • Immune system disorders
  • Inflammation (Arthritis, Thyroiditis, etc.)

Causes of stress:

Mental Stress—Work, relationships, divorce, money, loss of a loved one, etc.

Physical Stress—Surgery, injury, illness, giving birth, etc.

Dieting–Low calorie diets trigger hunger. Hunger triggers cortisol. You still must eat healthfully, but never let yourself get too hungry. If you’re starving, eat something nutritious. Being hormonally balanced is more important for weight loss than counting calories.

Sugar, alcohol, and carbohydrates—Sorry! I know this is hard for a lot of people. Keep in mind, if you have a sweet tooth, you can still use stevia. (Don’t even think about using artificial sweeteners.) Know that alcohol can set fat burning back for days—sad, but true!

Incorrect exercise—The adrenal types are the people you see at the gym, working out day after day, but never losing weight. Weight training increases cortisol. Dr. Berg warns, “If you have an adrenal body type and you do hard core fat burning, your body might even get bigger.”

Exercise only works if your body has healthy adrenals. If you’re an adrenal type, your body is already stressed out, so adding intense exercise adds more stress and raises your cortisol, which is self-defeating. Plus, adrenal types don’t recover well from exercise.

The best exercise for adrenal types is walking—it’s easy and it’s free! We start to burn fat at 30 minutes, but cortisol increases after 60 minutes. So keep your walks from 30-60 minutes for best results.

For fine-tuning, I suggest Pilates, focusing on core work and stretching, using the lightest resistance when working legs and arms.

Keep in mind that a normal healthy body responds very well to strength training. Once your adrenals are healed, you can add resistance training to your workouts. You want to have muscle mass to increase your fat burning, but you don’t want to do it too soon or you will gain. Adrenal types want to wait until you are at (or close to) your goal weight.

Stimulants—Caffeine, diet pills, and nicotine are damaging to the adrenal glands and can keep you from burning fat.

Lack of Sleep—Getting less than seven hours of sleep can inhibit fat burning hormones.

Digestive Stress—Dr. Berg says not to eat any foods that are hard for you to digest—even vegetables. If you are bloated and can’t digest your food, you’re creating more stress in the body, and therefore, raising cortisol. Some of us with weak digestion could benefit from taking an enzyme.

 Diet for Adrenal Types:

  • High vegetable, higher proteins than other types, moderate fat
  • Avoid all sugars, grains, starches
  • Need to eat 5-6 small meals
  • Avoid (or limit) alcohol and caffeine
  • Unlimited Vegetables/Fruit in moderation
  • Never allow yourself to get hungry
  • Celery lowers cortisol
  • Potassium lowers insulin and helps with water weight and cramping
  • Can try to supplement with Relora or Phosphatidylserine to lower cortisol (Look for a soy version—Integrative Therapeutics makes a sunflower based product)
  • Supplements to reduce inflammation are Quercetin and Turmeric

 Exercise for Adrenal Types:

  • 30-60 minute walks
  • Yoga
  • Stretching
  • Pilates focusing on core work, using light or no resistance
  • Do not weight train until you are hormonally balanced and close to your goal weight

 

The Ovary Type

 Ovary Barbie

Ovaries produce estrogen. Estrogen creates a layer of fat around the female body—especially the thighs, hips, butt, and lower abs. When the ovaries don’t function properly, they produce an excess of estrogen, which causes more fat. In turn, fat cells produce more estrogen. When a woman produces too much estrogen, the thyroid can be blocked.

Symptoms

  • Saddlebag thighs & lower stomach bulge
  • PMS
  • Cravings
  • Bloating
  • Cramps/Excessive bleeding
  • Depression during menstrual cycle
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in lower back/knees
  • Hot flashes/night sweats
  • Thinning of hair during cycle

Causes of excess estrogen:

Animal Protein—Ovary types are sensitive to the hormones in animal protein. You don’t have to stop eating animal protein, but try to buy organic, hormone free sources. Pesticides can also act like estrogen causing cysts, fibroids, and tumors.

Birth Control Pills, Pregnancy, & Hormone Replacement Therapy—all increase estrogen, but sometimes they are necessary. Talk to your doctor if this is a concern.

Wine & Soy—also increase estrogen

**Note: Because the ovaries shut down during menopause, an ovary type might end up looking more like an adrenal type (gaining weight around the middle) after menopause since the adrenal glands are backup for the ovaries—another example of how the glands work together

Diet for Ovary Types

  • High vegetable, higher protein than other types, moderate fat
  • Avoid all sugar, grains, starches
  • Eat 5-6 small meals a day
  • Never let yourself get hungry
  • Consume organic protein
  • (Along with adrenal type) requires more protein and fat than other types
  • Stay away from foods that increase estrogen—soy and wine
  • Only eat hormone free milk and cheese
  • Cruciferous vegetables are anti-estrogenic

 

Exercise for Ovary Types

  • Combination of high intensity and low intensity
  • Can alternate days of aerobic exercise with resistance training
  • Walking, running, and biking are best to work off the fat around the lower body
  • Needs intense exercise
  • Pilates–no restrictions on resistance

 

The Thyroid Type

Thyroid BarbieThe thyroid regulates the rate at which the body burns food and controls the production of certain body tissues and hair. Thyroid types tend to gain weight all over.

If you have a sluggish thyroid, you’re not solely retaining fat. There’s a great deal of waste-like fluid that contributes to the appearance of having an overall excess weight problem. This condition is called myxedema.

Symptoms

  • Slow metabolism
  • Depression
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Dry skin/brittle hair
  • Loss of outer third of eyebrow
  • Cold hands & feet (need socks to sleep)
  • Carb and sugar cravings
  • Overall fat distribution
  • Often misdiagnosed as ADD
  • High cholesterol

Causes of a Thyroid Hormone Deficiency:

Toxic environmental factors

Poor Liver Function—80% of thyroid function occurs in the liver

Excess estrogen in the body—Birth control pills, pregnancy, cysts, and fibroids all create estrogen in the body, as do hormones in food, and red wine has estrogen-like compounds.

Dieting—When you cut calories too low, your body compensates by lowering the metabolic rate.

Diet for Thyroid Type:

  • High vegetable, low fat, low protein
  • Avoid all sugars, grains, starches, alcohol, caffeine
  • Don’t let yourself get too hungry
  • 5-6 small meals a day
  • Organic foods
  • Limit red wine and soy
  • Despite popular belief, cruciferous veggies are okay for thyroid types (although I always cook mine)
  • Sea kelp, dulse, and alfalfa all contain iodine, which supports the thyroid (sea salt also is high in iodine)

Exercise for Thyroid Type:

  • Resistance training–High intensity, short duration with lots of rest in between
  • Pilates no restrictions on resistance
  • Exercise every other day unless you are still sore.
  • Never exercise a sore muscle–sore means healing.

 

The Liver Type

 Liver Ken

The liver is the main organ for detoxification. These types have a big, hard protruding stomach, giving off a “potbelly” appearance that looks and feels like a water balloon. This potbelly is usually not fat, but fluid. If the liver is not functioning well, it can leak into the stomach.

Having a healthy liver is very important to weight loss because all fat burning hormones create their effects through the liver. The good news is that the liver is the one organ that has the capacity to rejuvenate.

 Symptoms

  • Tired after meals
  • Lying on the left side is uncomfortable due to swelling of the liver
  • Sensitive to many foods
  • Tight lower back
  • Irritable when hungry—more pleasant after meals and in evening
  • Grouchiness due to low blood sugar
  • Arthritis (when refined grains are avoided, the arthritis many times disappears)
  • Stiff, sore, and swollen finger joints in morning
  • Bloating & acid reflux
  • Crave fatty foods which destroy the liver
  • Liver (or aging) spots
  • Itching
  • Memory loss
  • High blood pressure
  • Edema

 

Causes of Poor Liver Function:

Refined Sugar, Alcohol & Caffeine—Sugar, refined carbs, and caffeine create stress for the liver. Alcohol destroys the liver. One night of drinking can prevent the liver from burning fat for several days. Also, the liver is forced to detoxify caffeine from coffee, which causes a strain to the organ.

Excess Protein & Fat—Puts damaging stress on liver cells

Toxic Chemicals—Estrogens, pesticides, and insecticides become trapped in the liver and create altered function.

Excessive Antibiotic Use—Can lead to candida, a yeast overgrowth, which is taxing on the liver

Medication—Sometimes medication is necessary, but it does put strain on the liver. Cholesterol drugs especially known to weaken the liver. If this is something you are concerned about, talk to your doctor before going off your medication.

Foods Prepared with MSG—Have massive amounts of sodium and damage the liver

 

Diet for Liver Types:

  • High vegetable, low fat, low protein
  • Raw beets are good for the liver
  • Lots of raw cruciferous veggies (to clean the liver)
  • Only 3 meals per day, no snacking for liver types
  • Large portions of vegetables and small portions of protein
  • Raw fish is the easiest animal protein to digest, followed by cooked fish, then chicken, lamb, and eggs
  • Red meat is more stressful to digest than fish but okay in small quantities
  • If not satisfied, eat more veggies

Exercise for Liver Types:

  • Resistance training–High intensity, short duration with lots of rest in between
  • Pilates no restrictions on resistance
  • Exercise every other day unless you are still sore.
  • Never exercise a sore muscle–sore means healing.

7

**A word of caution from Dr. Berg: “Some people (especially adrenal types) are initially too unhealthy and fatigued to exercise. In this case, we recommend restoring your body’s health through correct food and quality sleep before starting an exercise program.”

Marilyn Weights

Face Forward

Abused Princess

1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.

A girlfriend of mine is on the board of directors for a wonderful charity called Face Forward. The charity provides facial reconstructive surgery for women who have been left disfigured as a result of domestic violence. Face Forward helps give these women the confidence they need to begin their new lives.

The following video is of Face Forward patient Audrey, who was separated from her husband when he raped her, beat her with a hammer, and then set her on fire. Despite surviving such a horrific attack, beautiful Audrey has positive outlook on life. She is a survivor and an inspiration.

Audrey

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=slr4v6jlewY

 When Kodie was just twenty-four months, her father shot and killed her twenty-year old mother. But before the bullet reached Kodie’s mother, it skimmed the baby’s face, fracturing her eyes and nose as well as leaving her face scarred.

Kodie

Hanifa’s estranged husband threw acid on her, burning her entire face and causing her to lose her nose and her right eye. Her eighteen month old daughter also suffered burns when she fell on the acid after she heard her mother scream in pain.

Hanifa

1500 acid attacks take place every year around the globe, and 1.3 million women are victims of domestic violence each year.

I’d like to invite all my friends and followers to support this very important cause. Face Forward is having their fifth annual gala, The Venetian Masquerade on September 13, 2014 at the Millennium Biltmore Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. This star-studded event will include dinner, cocktails, and live performances. If you can’t make the event, but feel moved to donate to the charity, I’ve created a site where I am collecting contributions for Face Forward https://www.payitsquare.com/collect-page/41723. If I reach my goal of $5,000 by September 1st, I will be raffling off a ticket to The Venetian Masquerade.

Venetian MasqueradeFor tickets http://faceforward.nbblticketing.com

Face Forward

“The mission of Face Forward is to provide physical and emotional reconstruction for men, women, and children who have been victimized by domestic violence. Face Forward vows to provide each victim with the best possible treatment pro bono.”

http://www.faceforwardla.org

The Stories We Tell Ourselves

Brigitte Bardot Reading

I’ve been trying to comfort one of my girlfriends who is feeling a little lost and hopeless after a recent breakup. When she started saying things like “all men lie, don’t believe them no matter what, don’t get it in your head that you even like them, RUN!,” I expressed to her that I felt she was being a little dark. I think I might have offended her when I suggested that maybe part of the problem was all this fear-based thinking and negative self-talk. I’m not normally such a know-it-all, but I’ve spent years training my mind to think mainly positive, loving thoughts; so when someone comes to me with negativity, I feel the need to put on my spiritual earmuffs.

My girlfriend went on to tell me how she read in a book that everyone has one area in life he or she struggles with. She pointed out that while I don’t have the problems with men she does, I have health issues and that is what I am meant to overcome here on this Earth. For the record, my love life hasn’t been perfect either, but after a couple of bad relationships in my early twenties, the story I started to tell myself was that from now on, I was going to be a girl whom men cherish and respect. That’s not to say every man I’ve dated since then has met my standards; if I meet a man who is not in alignment with this vision I hold for myself, I simply blow him a kiss and move on.

In regard to my friend’s comment about my health, it’s true that I do have hypothyroidism; that is a scientific fact. However, knowing that our words and thoughts are extremely powerful, I too have to be careful with the stories I tell myself. A Course in Miracles explains that every thought creates form on some level, meaning that whatever we believe in our mind will ultimately become our reality in the world.

The trick here is not to be naïve or unrealistic. In my friend’s instance, we can’t deny that she’s been hurt; but instead of swearing off men and saying that she will never find love again, it would be more beneficial for her to tell herself that someone wonderful is on his way. When I go through a breakup, I always have faith that the universe will send me something better, so you won’t see me sitting around crying for too long.

It becomes much easier to cope with the pain of a breakup when we understand that relationships are assignments from the divine and not everyone is meant to stay in our lives forever. The universe conspires to pair us with partners who help us grow into our best selves. Some people come into our lives simply to teach us the lessons we need to learn; then we part ways. Sometimes the lesson can be as basic as learning what we don’t want in the next guy.

One of the keys to changing our thoughts is trusting that we live in a friendly universe that wants the best for each and every one of us. If something didn’t work out the way you planned, it’s only because the universe has something better in store for you. The universe wants us to have the greatest guy, the best job, and a healthy, happy body. However, when we tell ourselves negative, fear-based stories, we are sending the universe the wrong signals and can often manifest our fears—this is what A Course in Miracles calls a “miscreation.” We want to be careful to think the thoughts that will create our dreams and not our nightmares.

When applying this theory to my health, I can’t deny that my thyroid condition doesn’t exist, but I would do myself a disservice if I sat around dwelling on my symptoms all the time. Of course, I do my research and take my medicine, but it is equally, if not more important for me to visualize myself as happy, healthy, and vibrant in order to speed the healing process along. Medicine is the perfect example of the power of our minds. The reason that a placebo, a pill with no active ingredients, is often effective in healing patients’ symptoms is because people believe it will work.

So next time you have a story to tell yourself, make it a good one! Instead of focusing on what you’re afraid of happening, focus on what you would absolutely love to happen beyond your wildest dreams…I think we can all take a cue from another one of my girlfriends who is so spiritually advanced, she is able to energetically raise her metabolism and train her mind and body to make any excess weight go directly to her chest….trust me, it’s totally working for her!

The Disappearance of Disney’s Prince Charming

Sleeping-Beauty

When I was growing up, Disney movies were so simple. The princess would find herself the victim of an evil witch or wicked stepmother, and then Prince Charming would come along, kiss her, and save the day. Boy, have Disney movies changed!

In the last two Disney movies I’ve seen, Frozen and Maleficent, the would-be “Prince Charmings” turn out to be villains while the women end up being the heroines. As a female empowerment writer, I am all for the concept of not needing a prince to come to your rescue. In that respect, I think Disney princesses have evolved and are much more interesting and empowered than they were once upon a time. However, although I enjoyed both of these films tremendously, especially Maleficent, I do hope that their very similar storylines won’t be the model for every Disney movie from now on.

What I found disheartening is that in both Frozen and Maleficent, one of the central female characters becomes a victim of romantic betrayal. In Frozen, Princess Anna falls for a prince who only pretends to love her just so he could take over the family’s kingdom; and if that’s not malicious enough, he tries to murder her sister, Queen Elsa. I told you these Disney princes have changed! Thankfully, Anna does end up falling for a man with a good heart, but in a very sweet surprising ending, it is actually her act of true love towards her sister that saves the day.

Although, at the time, I did find it surprising a Disney princess actually sang about how she didn’t know if she was “elated or gassy” (How could she not know the difference? And who sings about having gas?), I didn’t give much thought to the fact that “Prince Charming” turned out to be shady until I saw a common theme in Maleficent this weekend. In this film, Maleficent is a fairy who falls in love with a human boy, Stefan. Stefan commits the ultimate act of violation when he drugs Maleficent and cuts off her wings, leaving her unable to fly. The scene that follows where the wingless fairy, played by Angelina Jolie, wakes up face down in the dirt and can barely walk feels so raw and disturbing—I’ve even read several reviews that liken what Stefan did to a metaphorical rape. Later on the phrase “true love does not exist” is dramatically repeated at least twice, which I personally felt was a bit dark for a kids’ movie. Such a cynical perspective on romantic love concerns me because not only are thoughts and words very powerful, but little minds are extremely impressionable. I know, after seeing Frozen, my five-year-old niece was singing “the cold never bothered me anyway” all winter long back home in Chicago. Not to give the ending of Maleficent away, but it turns out that there is such thing as true love; however, just as in Frozen, true love doesn’t come in the form of a romance.

I understand Disney wants to show little girls that life isn’t always like the fairy tales. Maybe the old-fashioned Prince Charming did create unrealistic expectations of love for women of my generation. However, I worry that these new Disney films are planting seeds in little girls’ minds that it’s not okay to love or trust men. One of my girlfriends recently tweeted, “Just saw Maleficent. The moral of the story is never fall in love with boys.” I hope that’s not what little girls are taking away from this film as well. The good news is that my very imaginative niece, who highly recommended Maleficent, left the movie wondering if fairies do yoga, and later, in the same telephone conversation, randomly told me that she’s in love with her boyfriend, Jimmy. Although I don’t normally approve of the fact my five-year-old niece has been in a relationship for the last two-years (at her age, she definitely should be playing the field), I was happy to hear she still believes in true love.

Just to be clear, I thought Maleficent was an incredible film from an adult perspective. Angelina Jolie was as captivating and powerful as ever. In my eyes, she is the closest thing we have to a goddess and saint here on Earth and can do no wrong. My questioning the story’s theme is not a criticism of the movie itself, but rather, a commentary on how fairy tales have changed and the message they are sending to the children watching them. If I were to write a fairy tale for my niece, I would never cast the heroine as a jilted lover or woman scorned—I don’t see the empowerment in that. I would make my fairy princess a girl who has the princes of all of the kingdoms falling at her feet but is too busy saving the universe to care about any of them, and she definitely won’t be so easily duped. One of my favorite Disney princesses is Belle from Beauty and the Beast, who was the most beautiful girl in town but always had her nose in a book, which reminds me of how my dad always told my sister and me to “forget the boys and hit the books!”

As a feminist, I applaud Disney for creating strong female characters who are capable of saving themselves. I also think they are on the right track, emphasizing familial relationships over romantic relationships; these are kids’ movies after all! However, if Disney is going to include romantic relationships in their kids’ films, I hope they don’t continue this theme of romantic betrayal. Of course villains can still be men, (or women); evil does not have a gender. However, what’s the world coming to if even fairy tale princesses are getting used and abused by the men they love? Fairy tales are meant to be whimsical, so why don’t we create the highest, most wondrous possibilities for our girls?

One of my girlfriends commented that she likes this new formula better because it’s closer to real life, which is sad she (or any other woman) feels that way about men. Of course, most grown women can empathize with heartbreak and betrayal, but I’m not sure these are lessons little girls with pure untainted hearts need to be learning. And we have to give credit to the men who are getting it right. I understand a girl has to kiss a few toads before she meets her prince, but it would be nice to see Prince Charming resurface, even if it’s only once in awhile. Take it from someone who knows how fun it is to believe in the fairy tale.

Maleficent