The Pulsating YES meets the Dabbler


5 Life-Saving Tips for Your Body and the Promise of 4-Pepper Posole

It’s a new month! Wahoo! We have a chance to renew. My friend Amheric’s mom takes every new month as a chance for a fresh start. Who needs January when you have March? That’s why I gave him the video poem New Month for his birthday. It’s a chance to shed your soulskin and start fresh.

Do you ever feel like you’re walking on air? Everything is flowing? Yes? I call that the “pulsating yes.”  Like when I went to file some paperwork with city hall and there was no line, people were helpful and I received the answers that I wanted and needed. I think though, that they felt me bouncing in, they felt my pulsating yes and were happy to receive it. When I walked in, the energy emanating in the office seemed tired from being stuck inside a government building during the second Polar Vortex in Chicago.

Sometimes, we can feel both ways in one day. One moment we are floating with grace and another moment we are crawling on the office carpet sucking in the recycled air and slurping down caffeine.

Today’s tips focus on the body.  I have a slew of other resources for mind and spirit for another day. Here’s my advice: pick one thing to explore, then stick your toe in and dabble.

As you scroll on your phone, computer or iPad, find what grabs you.

The whole point of the art of dabbling is to try something new.  (If you want to try more than one, go for it!) The idea though, is not to overwhelm you with hyperlinks and pressures to change your diet or world view, but instead, to know that these resources can serve as an anchor or reference when you want or need them.

1. Find thirty minutes a day, three to five times per week to move your body. My friend invited me to join her for February and March to be active this way for six days per week. I committed to five days per week and it’s revolutionized my body and my mental state. Think about it: three ten minute spurts of squats, or abdominal exercises, dancing, yoga, walking. That’s 150 minutes for your health over the course of an entire week. Start with three or four days.  It’s just not that big of a deal. Some days, I’ve created an obstacle course in my hallway and jumped around with my son.  Other days, I got off the train early and walked a longer route home. Here’s a 7-minute workout from the New York Times that is being used by a very busy public school teacher friend of mine.

2. The Evolution of Juice: You may be hearing lots about green juice. Folks are posting pictures on Facebook and juice bars are popping up all over.  When I first tried juicing a few years ago, the only juice I liked was carrot apple. All of the other recipes that I invented tasted like garbage. I’m not being sarcastic.  Fast forward to three weeks ago. I’ve been juicing when I can, usually in the morning (wash a bowl of veggies the night before) or in the evening (frequent alternative to wine—which I still enjoy). I have never felt so good in my entire life.  I already thought I felt fine. Now I have more energy than ever.  I am sleeping better and get this, I am somehow more patient and kind. Is it the juice? Or that I’m consuming slightly less caffeine because I no longer have giant drops in energy. I’ve been tracking Kris Carr’s work. She just posted this 3 minute video about how to make a green juice. She was diagnosed 11 years ago with an inoperable stage IV cancer and revolutionized her approach to eating.  Ten years in, her tumors are shrinking and she has a vibrant life and business.  This video which is 4 minutes and 49 seconds long shares the story of her healing. It’s heartening if you have cancer or know someone that does. It made me want to think about juicing. I’ve used Kris Carr’s work as an inspiration and started sampling by Googling juicing recipes with whatever ingredients were in my fridge.  Consider subscribing to Kris’ emails or follow her on Facebook.  And to get started, this is my favorite easy one page website that I found through Google thanks to Seattle Squeeze. I also like that there are pictures of vegetables and fruit which you can scroll over and learn about each one’s health benefits. Three tips within this tip: A) Try to only use one fruit ingredient with the veggies so you don’t overdo the sugar and experience that high, then energy drop; B) Keep Eating. Toss a few nuts or other source of protein in your mouth at some point. Healthy carbs are fine too; C) The Breville Juice Fountain has worked well for me.


If you are what you eat, why not eat awesome? –Paul Jarvis

3. Keep the Yoga Mat out of Your Food. Subway was using a dough conditioner in their bread that is illegal in Singapore and should be illegal here. According to the Forbes article titled: “What is the Yoga Mat Chemical and Why is it in Your Food?” it’s also used in products at Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, McDonald’s, Marie Calendar’s and more. The point of this tip is to educate yourself about what goes into your mouth. It’s not to get preachy, it’s just an invitation to pay attention. I am passionate about food: cooking it, writing about it and eating it. I like to eat foods that are actually food, not something created in a laboratory. There’s a chemical in Pepperidge Farm Goldfish which has been designed to trigger your brain to eat more. (Reminds me a wee bit of Dollhouse, for all you Joss Whedon fans.)  Where to begin? Two people (with very different styles) are blazing a trail of truth and holding corporations and the government accountable. One is Vani Hari a.k.a. Food Babe. I recommend subscribing to her mailing list or following her on Facebook. She just shared a helpful guide to the healthiest breads on the market. The other is Robyn O’Brien. Again, think about checking out her website and Facebook page. The point of learning about this and taking action, whether it’s buying something without harmful chemicals or tweeting a politician, is that we are actually changing the marketplace by creating a demand for healthy foods. The same foods by the same companies in Western Europe do not contain chemicals. Are we special in the U.S. that we’ve been gifted this option? The week that Food Babe released an investigation of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese (yes, I grew up on the blue box too), profits went up by 14% for the company that makes Annie’s Macaroni & Cheese, a healthy alternative to Kraft. You have power over your body, and influence on the health of your family and, even the future of our the planet starting with your grocery list. If you don’t know where to start, you can try this healthy pantry makeover or think about purchasing Paul Jarvis’ gorgeous e-book Eat Awesome for whatever amount of money you’d like. You set the price. I paid $8.88 because it’s my lucky number. You can pay less or more. It’s your choice!

4. Drink bottled water in moderation. We all drink it. It’s worth considering using a Brita filter when you think that a recent study reported by Fox News found nearly 25,000 chemicals in bottled water. Here’s a highlight: “Good hydration is important, and sometimes, there aren’t other options. As a healthy adult, the occasional sip from the “toxic fountain” of bottled water won’t kill you. However, small children, women of child-bearing age, and pregnant women are at greater risk of poor outcomes when exposed to these chemicals. Effects can include stunted growth, early puberty, premature birth, infertility and early menopause – just to name a few. The remaining population should still exercise caution, as more and more research is discovering that these chemical can also trigger diabetes, heart disease and certain types of cancer.”  If you choose bottled water because it’s healthy, check out these 7 Myths busted.

5. Try one week of freedom. I love cheese. I love milk. I love bread. I love meat. I’ve been toying with a week without dairy, then another week I try to reduce my gluten intake. Another week I’ve focused on other forms of protein than meat. I watch how my body reacts. And then I adjust. I’ve been shocked to see how much better I feel by reducing dairy. I’m not anti-dairy. I love Greek yogurt, I worship at the feet of Manchego and milk in my coffee is a no-brainer. This Debunking Dairy article was the first one that I read that made want to test the idea of reducing the amount of dairy I consume. I took a break and made my own almond milk and was fine. (Take one cup of almonds, two cups of water and soak for 1-2 days, dump in a blender with 1 optional teaspoon of vanilla extract and strain. Drink within a couple of days.) In my exploration of a gluten-free life, I made a gluten-free 4-Pepper Posole yesterday. By coincidence, Jennifer Fugo, a classmate of mine from Marie Forleo’s B-School just published The Savvy Gluten-Free Shopper: How to Eat Healthy Without Breaking the Bank. I promised my Facebook friends to blog the posole recipe so here goes:


Rebecca’s 4-Pepper Posole

Quantities are estimated. I used mostly organic and have created hyperlinks to the brands that I used. Sauté these chopped ingredients in 3-4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on medium to low heat: ¼ cup white onion, two long celery stalks, 3 inches of the tail of a poblano pepper, one jalapeño pepper, ¼ red pepper (seeds removed from all), one chipotle pepper (chopped) in adobo sauce.  Add one tablespoon of the adobo sauce and two big cloves of minced garlic. Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, grind pepper generously and add three light shakes of ground cumin. Stir and let sizzle.  Chop a chicken breast into small squares or strips, keep the strips short if you choose that. Add to the sauté mixture and let the chicken cook a little in the spices and oil. Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil if you need it.

Dump one 14-oz can of chopped tomatoes into the pot. And a 32-oz carton of chicken broth. Add a 29-oz can of strained Mexican-style hominy. (Note: the chipotle and hominy links are for the visual. Try to find them at your grocer as amazon’s stated prices are too high.) Cover, raise the heat and bring to a gentle boil. Then reduce the heat and let simmer until chicken in fully cooked. Probably only 15-20 minutes more. It’s nice if the celery, for example, still has some “bite-back” and isn’t mushy.  Serve with thinly sliced radishes, fresh cilantro, shredded white cabbage. Add these items to your taste in the bowl, then squeeze fresh lime on top. Corn tortillas or fresh tortilla chips on the side will determine whether you want to add more salt to the posole.

Make it vegan: substitute vegetable broth and sauté cubed extra firm tofu in 3 tablespoons of adobo sauce from the chipotle peppers.


Remember: it’s your body. Love it wisely.

Un abrazo,

The Dabbler

What’s it to ya?

The Gage Apple Cider Donut with Orange Coriander Ice Cream

Today is a day of gifts. Three Kings bring gifts.  No matter your tradition, why not accept the gifts I’m giving to you right now? There are eight gifts below. Take your pick!

So what’s it to ya? Food. Oh food. I love it! As I write, I’m trapped with my family indefinitely in my 1200 square foot condo in Chicago and it’s -7 degrees. We’ve been inside for days, weeks! I get extra credit for getting dressed today, accessorizing and putting on a little makeup.  (Don’t ask me if I’m in an elastic waistband. Well now that I raised it, of course I am.)  I’ve rebooked my mother’s flight to Philly five times. And five times her flight has been cancelled. All my home projects are not done and yet, I feel renewed and that I’ve had one of the best family hangouts of all time.

So about food. We wake up and plan our meals while eating breakfast. My mother “smuggled” 12 Tastykake pies and two dozen soft pretzels through TSA. Food is how we celebrate, commiserate, communicate and exist. This, my friends, is a recipe for an emotional relationship with food. And guess what, I can deal with it. However, I still like to tap into some resources to help me understand it and to pay attention to when and how much I eat. To why I eat and whether I’m actually, get this: hungry!

So this post (featuring the most gorgeous apple cider doughnut from one of my favorite restaurants in Chicago – The Gage) is all about loving food and loving your body, no matter where you are at.

So to keep this easy to digest, here are some of my favorite resources right now in the world to celebrate food, eating, your body and your health. (Note to dog lovers–there’s a part about a healthy “beer” for dogs):

1. Body Image Movement: Taryn Brumfitt, this amazing Australian former model is now an amazing normal person who eats burgers and is healthy and likes her body. Do you struggle with that? Then check out her website and become her friend on Facebook.

2. Food Babe: You will learn more than you probably want to learn…my husband has now become a healthy smoothie expert in part due to Food Babe’s influence. Vani, aka Food Babe, is a person who had an office job, then got appendicitis that was misdiagnosed, then chose to revamp the way she eats and lives. Some of my favorite resources include her interview with Marie Forleo featuring five healthy foods you shouldn’t eat, her piece on beer and Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (think scientists making a chemical ingredient in your smiley snack cracker that interacts with your brain to make your crave it more – red alert!). It’s worth subscribing to her blog and check out this recent New York Times article which features the Food Babe Army.

3. Dawg Grog: Since I mentioned the beer post above, I know that I have a ton of readers who are dog lovers and beer drinkers. Yesterday I read an article about this wonderful entrepreneur from Bend, Oregon who likes to kick back with a brew at the end of the day and his dog, wants to do the same. Thus, Dawg Grog was born. It’s nonalcoholic and contains some healthy ingredients for your pup. Check it out.

4. What’s a GMO? It’s a genetically-modified organism. While I’m not an expert, here’s how I look at it as a consumer: there’s food that grows on the planet and food that’s altered by scientists with chemicals modified to grow differently or to interact with human beings to create certain reactions. In the early 90s new proteins were introduced into the food supply. No human trials were conducted to see if they were harmful. The hormones, for example, injected into cows to create more milk caused the cows to get sick, have cysts and need antibiotics. So countries like the UK and Canada decided that is wasn’t proven safe and opted not use them. The U.S. took a different approach. They decided that it wasn’t proven dangerous and so kept using them. Cysts in Cows? Cancer in People? The U.S. has a higher rate of cancer with 9 out of 10 cases being caused by the environment. It’s not just cows, it’s soy, it’s corn. There’s even a corn that has been engineered that as it grows it releases its own insecticide. General Mills is not permitted to use GMOs in its Cheerios in Europe, but until their announcement a few days ago, they used them in U.S. manufactured Cheerios. Think about how many kids eat cheerios in the U.S.

Robyn O’Brien, author of The Unhealthy Truthis a former food industry analyst, a conservative with type A personality who had four kids in five years. One morning, after eating L’eggo my Eggo waffles and blue yogurt, her kid’s face began to swell up. She had no idea what was happening. The rest is history. I urge you to set aside 18 minutes for your own health to watch her “Patriotism on a Plate” Tedx talk. She’s been called the Erin Brockavich of the food industry.  And here’s what Erin Brockavich says about her: I believe that in the absence of the truth, all of us stand helpless to defend ourselves, our families and our health, which is the greatest gift we have. You don’t have to be a doctor or a scientist to look into whether our food supply is safe, and Robyn O’Brien’s courageous pursuit of THE UNHEALTHY TRUTH is an example of how we can all do our parts to protect the health of our families.”  If you want to learn more about food allergies, check out her organization, Allergy Kids, or Food Allergy Research and Education (FARE) or read my Courage to Be Catherine post.

5. Weight Watchers: Peeps, this is not a diet. I’m going to tell you something, I don’t always count “points” on this program. It’s a lifestyle which raises your consciousness about how you eat and why you eat.  The meetings are worth it.  I lost 25 pounds on it in utter and complete kindness to myself.

6. Kerri Richardson, Clutterbuster, Intuitive Life and Business Strategist: What can I say about Kerri? She kicks butt. She is a total and complete straight-talker from Massachusetts. I took her clutterbuster e-course this year and it changed my life. For real. We dealt with physical, mental and emotional clutter and are you ready for this: love handles can be a form of clutter. I’m not talking Body Image Movement love handles, I’m talking lots of excess weight that impacts your health. And here’s the cool thing about all that I learned from Kerri, none of it makes you feel guilty or bad. It’s a message to you and you can listen to it. Hey love handles, what are you trying to tell me? Lucky you, Kerri is offering a free webinar on weight loss on January 17. Even if you are shy, just consider listening in. By the way, Kerri lost 70 pounds, and she was nice to herself along the way.

7. Geneen Roth: Author, When Food is Love and Women Food and God, An Unexpected Path to Almost Everything. This is a referral from a friend. She read the latter book and it completely changed her relationship to food. Regardless, I’m also intrigued by her book, Lost and Found: One Women’s Story of Losing her Money and Finding her Life. She lost her money in the Madoff fiasco and found a big a-ha moment related to a mentality of lack and scarcity related to money which she had never discovered despite all of her work in this arena related to food. So the lesson here: we are all human.  Always learning.

8. Love it. This is from my expert opinion. Love your food. Enjoy your food. You don’t need to overanalyze it. You need to pay attention. That’s it. No diets. Just pay attention. A book which I’ve always enjoyed is French Women Don’t Get Fat, by Mirelle Guiliano, the former President and CEO of Clicquot, Inc. And you know what, French women consume, bread, cheese, red wine and champagne. They enjoy life. And they know that the first three bites will taste the same as the 7th, 8th and 9th bites. So sometimes, they stop at the first three.

Okay friends, eight tips, that’s my lucky number, so with that I say Happy Epiphany, Three Kings and Happy, Happy EATING, LIVING AND LOVING!

xo, me