Your Action Plan for
Times of Crisis
Feeling overwhelmed to
the point of paralysis? Here's what you can do about it.
Stress is so widespread and so harmful that it's really something of a
pandemic. Stress is detrimental and can be the root of many serious
illnesses, sleepless nights, anger problems, unhappiness and even
termination of careers, relationships and marriages.
the first thing we often lose in these times of personal crisis is the
motivation to care for our own selves. We tend to abuse ourselves with
more junk food, caffeine, sugar, bad fats and alcohol and less exercise
-- the opposite of what we really need in order to cope with stress.
No doubt, the U.S. economy -- with its housing market slump, high war
costs, sub prime mortgage mess, high gas prices, skyrocketing food cost,
slow job growth, government budget deficit and other woes -- is
affecting just about everyone. And things might get worse before they
It's natural to look at times of crisis as all bad. But it's precisely
during such times when we are challenged to grow.
While grave personal or financial problems may be justifiably worrisome,
getting stressed out and losing control won't help anyone. Instead, it's
best to focus on the solution, not the problem.
Part of that solution is to fortify ourselves and build the strength and
energy to cope. I’m referring, of course, to proper nourishment and the
cultivation of stress relief
techniques. Eating right, exercising
regularly and relaxing the mind must be the first action items we do to
get things under control. If we can’t do these simple things, especially
when we’re facing adversity, we are setting ourselves up for failure,
defeat and additional problems.
There is a lesson to be learned from every experience in our lives --
good and bad -- a silver lining waiting to be discovered. Whether we’re
facing financial challenges, struggling with our daily schedule to meet
deadlines, having relationship difficulties or even facing
life-threatening illnesses, we have the inner essence within each of us
to empower ourselves to overcome challenges. But we must do first things
first -- eat real whole foods, do power walking, go hiking and in
kind to our bodies and act and think with kindness towards everyone
Of course, it's easy to say all this -- and it's easy to agree with. But
in times of crisis, following such advice is not so easy. That's why
I've put together this Personal Crisis Action Plan. I recommend that you
print out this plan, and tuck it away in a place where you can find it
later, or post it on a wall. When you're feeling really depressed,
worried or scared to the point where you might stop taking care of
yourself, muster the will to follow each of these items, in order.
Personal Crisis Action Plan
1. Walk. Walking will break the paralysis of stress. You need
only to muster the will to put one foot in front of the other and leave
the house. Walk around your neighborhood at any pace you like, but for
at least 30 minutes. Walking gives you blood circulation, fresh air, a
change of scenery and a feeling of accomplishment when you need to keep
2. Clean out your refrigerator and pantry. Get rid of all foods
that contain sugar, artificial ingredients, caffeine, preservatives,
white flour, bad fats or high sodium, (usually foods that come in
packages). This simple act not only physically removes bad food from
easy access, but also serves as a cathartic event that feels good and
gives you a second accomplishment.
3. Meditate. You've cleared your lungs and cleared your fridge,
now you're ready to clear your mind. Take at least 15 minutes to
meditate. There are a million ways to meditate, and it doesn't really
matter which you choose. The goal should be to reduce mental chatter to
nearly nothing, and sustain that mind-peace for some time. Come out of
your meditation gently and gradually, and try to sustain your clarity of thought and stillness of mind. Plus: A third accomplishment!
You're moving forward now.
4. Write down your life priority list. This will show you what
you need to spend your time and energy on -- what to focus on. Make a
list of all the things in your life that most matter to you. If you had
one year to live, how would you spend your time and what would you most
5. Create a list of goals. What are your passions? Write down
what you want to have accomplished in 10, 5, 3, in 2 years, in 1 year,
in 6 months, in 3 months and in 1 month. When you have clear objectives,
living meaningfully and fulfilling becomes easier.
6. Write down all the things that are causing you to worry or stress.
Compare these items to your priority list to see if they’re the same to
determine how to prioritize them and what course of action to take. Find
solutions for the things you care about and eject from your life things
that waste your time and energy.
7. Vow to take care of yourself every day. Remember to eat mostly
plant foods and foods that are SLOW (Sustainable, Local, Organic and
Whole), do weekly meal and menu planning, bring food to work rather than
eating out or eating food provided at work, schedule lots of outdoor
activities and do both yoga and strength training at least twice a week.
Remember, life has ups and downs. But it's important to keep in mind that
you need good health all the time, not just when things are going your
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WORDS OF WISDOM
State of Life, State of Mind
“The state of your life is nothing
more than a reflection of your state of mind.”
-- Dr. Wayne W. Dyer
TO THE NEXT LEVEL
Your Wholesome Life
newsletter is free, but I make my living providing
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I invite you to
contact me and let me help you make the changes you've always
wanted to make, one step at a time. The first one-hour
consultation is absolutely free.
When it comes to overall health and happiness, it’s all connected: your
food, your relationships, your lifestyle and you career. Let me help you find your solution.
Stay motivated - Read health-related research
news, events and commentary every day. Check out Amira's
Vegetarian Organic Blog.
GOOD THINGS IN STORE
Weird Vegetables Need
I have written about
different varieties of cauliflower on my blog. Recently, I
found another gem called romanesco cauliflower at my local Farmer’s
Market. Scientifically speaking, it's an edible flower of the Brassica oleracea species. Also known as romanesco broccoli, broccolo
romanesco and brocoflower, this delicious and weird-looking but strikingly beautiful gift
of nature was first found in Italy in the sixteenth century. If you like
broccoli and cauliflower, then you’ll love this lime green
“flower” with the unusual fractal pattern of phyllotaxis found only in
nature. Eat it raw as crudités cut into florets or as part of a chopped
vegetable salad. Just for fun, cook it whole by steaming it for few
minutes until tender (but not overcooked) and serve whole then dig in,
cutting it with a knife. It can also be drizzled with your favorite
dressing or just olive oil and lemon juice. It’s not only treat for your
taste buds with its sweet and nutty taste, but it’s also a feast the
eyes as a natural work of art packed with vitamin C, lots of fiber and,
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Organic Store where you can find my favorite cookbooks (and
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Purple Potatoes Are
This week’s recipe uses potatoes. If you can find them, I recommend
purple potatoes, which I often buy from one of my favorite farmers at my
local Farmer’s Market. Purple potatoes were some of the first potatoes
harvested in South America and were reserved for Inca Kings. They really
are purple, and their deep purple color means they're very high in
antioxidants. These are the tastiest potatoes I’ve ever had -- their
flavor is simply fantastic. Try them in this week’s recipe, Vegetable
Comfort Soup, or in oven roasted potatoes with fresh herbs.
Of Pots and Pans
Amira, I just recently discovered your website and am totally thrilled.
I try and read one or two newsletters a day from your archives. It is
almost better to read them slowly so you can ponder and think about and
remember what you learned. Thank you for your knowledge and willing to
share it. Thank you for healthy recipes that I can't wait to try out. I
really appreciate the different links you put throughout your newsletter
and recipes so I can learn more about it. I am new at this and I am
learning more about healthy organic food items and companies. Thanks for
letting us know where we can buy it - some times people don't live where
they can go to a store and find such items. Or if I can "see" the label
- I can keep an eye out for it.
I just read the April 22, 2007, newsletter talking about cookware. I
copy below a description from Amazon.com about the all-clad cookware. It
states it has an aluminum exterior and an aluminum core - is that safe?
I always hear to stay clear of aluminum. The all-clad website said it
was 3 ply where you stated 5 ply if I remember right. Am I looking at
the right pans? I glanced at both the All-clad and Le Creuset you listed
and there were quite a few different "lines" they made. I wouldn't want
to chose the wrong one. I have stainless steel pans now since I was
married but have thought about replacing them. Just like knives, I have
my wedding set and thought about replacing them but don't know what
safety measures to look for in that area.
"Stunning good looks and superior performance combine in this
seven-piece cookware set. The collection includes an 8-inch fry pan, a
1-1/2-quart covered saucepan, a 3-quart covered sauté pan, and a 6-quart
covered stockpot. Offering unique triple-ply bonded construction, the
cookware pieces feature a brushed aluminum exterior, a hand-polished
18/10 stainless-steel interior that will not react with food, and an
inner core that is pure aluminum not just at the bottom, but all the way
up the sides for optimum heat conductivity. Stainless-steel handles stay
cool to the touch and are secured with non-corrosive rivets, while
sure-fitting stainless-steel lids form a seal to keep in moisture and
nutrients for tender, flavorful food. Oven-safe to 500 degrees F, the
cookware carries a limited lifetime warranty and should be washed by
A: Paulette, thank you for
writing, I love getting e-mail from readers! I’m glad to hear you enjoy
reading my newsletter.
Using the right cookware is definitely an important aspect of food
safety and good health. Although I’m partial to enamel-coated cast iron
cookware because it requires less oil than stainless steel, I also own
stainless steel cookware and uncoated traditional cast iron skillets.
The best stainless steel pots consist of bonded five-ply bottom layer
construction with copper core and 18/10 stainless steel exterior (the
cooking surface) but they cost an arm and a leg. The best brand is
All-Clad, but Kitchenaid also makes some good ones for a lot less. The
particular pots you’re referring to sound perfectly safe. As long as
they are polished with 18/10 stainless they won’t react with food. And
if they have a tri-ply bottom layer consisting of copper, they’ll
conduct heat most evenly. Combination of bottom layers of aluminum and
copper core is the second best. Bottom cores constructed of layers of
all aluminum will make heat conduction inferior to those made with
copper layers. You also want to make sure that they are oven safe to at
least 500 degrees Fahrenheit. Good luck in your search!
ENJOY VEGETARIAN ORGANIC LIFE?
SHARE THE JOY - FORWARD TO A FRIEND!
VEGETARIAN ORGANIC RECIPE OF THE WEEK
Vegetable Comfort Soup
Click on the picture for a closer look!
A bowl of delicious and healthy vegetable soup is a wonderful way of
getting some warmth and comfort whether we’re feeling under the weather
or perfectly healthy.
soup is comfort food because it tastes super good but unlike "regular"
comfort food, it’s also good for you. We all
love potatoes, but because
of their bad reputation as a high-glycemic food that spikes blood sugar
levels, we avoid them. The key to healthy eating is moderation, and
knowing how to prepare food in a way that is optimally nutritious. Use
potatoes sparingly and cook them in a healthy manner. Potatoes contain
antioxidants and are high in potassium. Note that this recipe involves
what I call “rawking” -- I word I coined for "raw cooking" -- which means
that the kale and garlic are used raw but gently softened when the hot
soup is poured over
them to maximize nutrition while making them easier
Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 45 minutes
Get ingredients ready (use organic ingredients if possible)
1 tablespoon safflower oil
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
3 celery stalks, finely diced or chopped
4 medium carrots, finely diced or chopped
6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into ¾-inch cubes (use purple or red
6 tomatoes peeled and seeded (or 14 oz canned peeled tomatoes)
8 cups vegetable broth (add more if necessary)
6 cups water
2 teaspoons black pepper
Sea salt to taste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme (or 2 teaspoons dry thyme)
2 tablespoons paprika
2 teaspoons turmeric
½ teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (add more for extra spiciness)
1 bunch fresh Kale, stem removed and finely chopped (one cup per
3 cloves of garlic, pressed using garlic presser
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice
1. In an extra large pot or Dutch oven, combine oils heating them over
low heat. Add half the onions sautéing for 5 minutes over medium heat.
Add minced garlic, celery, carrots and potatoes stirring occasionally
and sautéing for 10 more minutes. In the meantime, in a food processor
or blender add tomatoes with the remaining onions and puree completely.
2. Add tomato and onion mixture, broth, water, black pepper and salt as
desired and bring to soft boiling. Add oregano, sage, basil, thyme,
paprika, turmeric, coriander and cayenne and continue to simmer for 30
minutes covered with lid over low to medium heat stirring occasionally.
Cook until all vegetables are tender.
3. For each individual serving, place at one half cup of finely chopped
kale per bowl. Top kale with about 1 teaspoon of pressed garlic and pour
soup over kale and garlic. Add 1 teaspoon or more of lemon juice to each
bowl of soup and enjoy!
Cook's tip: To peel and seed tomatoes immerse them in boiling water for
about a minute then transfer tomatoes onto a colander and place them
under cold running water for 30 seconds. Peel skin away, cut in half and
remove seeds and core if desired.
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