The Four Areas of Your Life You Need to Be Feeding

The Four Areas of Your Life You Need to Be Feeding

(Part one of a five-part series on gratitude and nutrition)

This week marks the first ever Health Coach Week and I am so excited to celebrate! Becoming a health coach has been the most incredible journey and continues to bring me joy and fulfillment. (Learn more about my experience here.)

The most powerful thing I learned from my health coach training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is the concept of primary foods.

Joshua Rosenthal, the school’s founder and director, developed the idea that nutrition comes from all areas of life, not just what we eat. In fact, food is secondary to our relationships, career, physical activity and spirituality. These four areas are what he calls “primary foods” and they have a greater power to nourish our health and happiness than what we eat.

Having an understanding of this concept is vital to creating the health and happiness we all seek. The idea of primary foods and secondary foods is a simple system that needs to be in balance. When one area of your life is out of balance, it most likely throws off something else. Having an awareness of this helps you pinpoint where you want to focus when things feel “off.”

For example, this past year I was struggling with sleep. As every parent knows, having an infant means giving up sleep. Since I am someone who thrives on 8-9 hours of solid sleep a night, getting by with less took its toll on me. As a result, I did not exercise, my excuse being that I was too tired. I also had a bad habit of prioritizing work over taking care of myself. I used my son’s nap times and his time with our babysitter to work on my business rather than exercising or sleeping. I found myself exhausted, cranky and frustrated, and craving comfort food. Little by little I gained weight. After a while my clothes didn’t fit the way they used to. Bottom line, I felt yucky.

Having an awareness that my primary foods were out of balance and that I needed to focus more on myself helped me regroup pretty quickly. Rather than going on a diet, which would have only made matters worse since I was already feeling deprived, I indulged myself in more naps and more “me” time, and began viewing exercise as a treat rather than a chore.

In no time at all I was back on track feeling great again. I attribute being able to make this major lifestyle shift almost effortlessly to my gratitude practice. As soon as I started feeling off, I cracked open a fresh copy of the Gratitude to Bliss journal where I listed my intentions and described how I envision my bliss to be.

“In my bliss, I am well rested and feel amazing in my body. My clothes fit well and feel luxurious. My energy is high and my mood is great.”

Every night before bed I write in my journal, appreciating myself, my time, my family and whatever else I am thankful for. This keeps me focused on the important things and filters into my day so that I am better able to make decisions – like prioritizing exercise – that benefit both me and my family, even when I’m tired.

I now make sure to get a workout in before anything else. This allows me to sleep better even though I sometimes only get 5-6 hours a night. Regular exercise also keeps my metabolism up, my weight in check, my cravings down and my mood positive. Overall, I have more energy and my day flows more smoothly. I feel great because every area of my life is being nourished.

As a health coach, I believe a daily gratitude practice provides the soil in which you can plant your deepest desires. It is the solid foundation you need for making lasting changes that bring you closer to living the life you dream for yourself.

When gratitude is at the forefront of your mind as a result of your daily practice, it’s easier to see that feeling rested is more important to you than crossing things off your to-do list, or that having lunch with a friend is more nourishing than eating an organic salad at your desk while you work.

Everyday life has gotten so focused on “doing” that so many of us, myself included, often lose sight of the simple joy in just “being.” This lack of joy can really throw things off and cause your whole life to get out of balance. It can leave you feeling undernourished and running for a hot fudge sundae when all you may really be needing is a hug, or a nap, or a bike ride.

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A daily gratitude practice provides the soil in which you can plant your deepest desires. @Gratitude2Bliss

In the follow-up to this five-part series on gratitude and nutrition, I plan to delve deeper into each primary food and how keeping an active gratitude practice can help you stay in balance!

For now, think about your own primary foods. Which of your relationships are nourishing you and which are draining you? Are you getting enough physical activity? Enough sleep? Are you feeling fulfilled in your work? Do you feel connected to something, a higher power perhaps, or simply to your true self? Please share in the comments below.

As always, thanks for reading!

Gratefully yours,


Change This One Thing and Everything Else Will Change

Every new year brings new opportunity. A chance to take what you have and make it even better.

What if there was one thing you could do that would affect everything else in a positive way?

What if that one thing took only five minutes a day but was so powerful it gave you results in just a few weeks?

Practicing daily gratitude is that powerful. In fact, it will help you achieve your goals in all areas of your life.

So as you set your goals for 2015, make sure you add a daily gratitude practice to the top of your list.

Whether you are new to practicing gratitude or have been for a while, here are some ways a daily practice can change your life for the better:

Practicing Gratitude Helps You Make Better Decisions and Achieve Your Goals
You will find that when you keep a daily gratitude practice, you become more mindful of things like your body and what you put in it, your relationships and who you choose to be with, and your professional life and how you spend your day-to-day. The best part is that when you start appreciating yourself more, you naturally start doing things that support your true self. Your gratitude practice is much like a behind the scenes coach guiding you to greater wellbeing and life success, often with effortless ease.

Practicing Gratitude Helps You Find What You’re Looking For
OK, this one may sound a bit hokey, but hear me out. When you are stressed and worried, you are operating in a place of fear. This causes you to overlook opportunities that are right in front of you. You may see an opportunity and think that it won’t work out, it’s too difficult, too expensive, too time-consuming or just too good to be true. But when you focus on what’s good in your life for a few minutes a day, you start to see the good in everything. You start to see that success for you is possible, that doubt and fear have no place in your life and that now is the time to start doing what you love – not tomorrow, not next year, now. Practicing gratitude also helps you see more clearly what matters most to you. The things you choose to reflect on each day are a surefire indication of what you truly care about and knowing this helps you stay focused on keeping those things alive in your life.

Practicing Gratitude Helps You Stay Positive When Things Go South
Practicing gratitude on a daily basis rewires your brain to see the positive in every situation. This keeps you emotionally strong and better able to handle whatever life may bring. While you can’t control every circumstance or person in your life, you can control how you feel about negative situations and negative peeps. So if you’ve been feeling like you need more positivity in your life, or you are going through a rough time, a daily gratitude practice is your answer.

Now is the time to make 2015 your year of goodness.

How can you get started immediately? Download the Gratitude to Bliss App now and start practicing today!

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2015 is my year of goodness! @Gratitude2Bliss

Stay inspired! Like my Facebook page for more gratitude inspiration.

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2015!


3 Ways Gratitude Squashes Stress

One of the things I don’t like about this time of year is the heightened stress factor the holidays bring. The other day I was beeped at just as the light changed to green – as if that extra second of waiting made a difference.

Stress is “in the air,” especially this time of year.

In fact, it’s epidemic in our country. According to the American Institute of Stress, 75% of all doctor and hospital visits are stress-related.

That’s crazy! Living in a constant state of stress is not only killing us, it’s preventing us from enjoying life. Simple pleasures get snatched away in our effort to do more, get more, and be more.

Luckily I have found an antidote. When it comes to stress, I often say gratitude is my BFF. Let me explain.

When I start to feel anxious, overtired, or angry, that’s usually a trigger for me to slow down, take a breath and ask myself,

“Am I operating in a state of fear and stress,
or am I operating in a state of
love and gratitude?”


If fear and stress are the culprits, I know I how to turn things around. I simply put myself in an immediate state of gratitude by thinking of a few things I am grateful for and allowing myself to really feel the love those things bring to my life. I instantly feel better.

Here’s the science that explains why this happens:

  1. When you are stressed, your blood vessels constrict and less oxygen gets delivered to your brain and other organs. You may experience brain fog, headaches, stomach issues, fatigue or other symptoms. However, when you engage in thoughts of gratitude, your heart rhythms become smooth and as a result you think more clearly, have more energy, and make better decisions regarding your health and happiness. You become better able to avoid binge eating, drinking or other damaging behaviors that stress can trigger.
  1. When you are stressed, your cortisol levels increase. Excess cortisol can lead to inflammation which can lead to discomfort and “dis-ease.” Engaging in thoughts of gratitude, however, lowers cortisol by 23% and helps your body rebalance after stressful situations, allowing you to feel more relaxed and more comfortable.
  1. Fear and worry can overcome your mood. But thinking of something you are grateful for activates the frontal region of your brain which is responsible for releasing serotonin and dopamine – your body’s natural mood enhancers – and voila, you feel better!

So the next time you feel stressed, try focusing on something you are grateful for and see what happens. Remember to focus on the feeling, not just the thought.

Feeling stressed right now? Visit my Facebook page and post something you are grateful for or leave a comment below.

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When stress takes over, gratitude shifts me to a better place. @Gratitude2Bliss

Happy Holidays!









Can you be grateful and still want more?

Today I Am Grateful For New Friends  –Alyssa, age 4

Today I Am Grateful For New Friends –Alyssa, age 4

Whenever I mention to parents that I wrote a children’s book on gratitude, they almost always say, “That is so needed today.”

Then they tell me about the constant “I wants” they deal with and how difficult it can be to manage expectations, especially around the holidays.

As a gratitude expert, it may surprise you to know that I think this is OK. It is OK for kids to want gifts – lots of gifts – for the holidays. After all, isn’t that what being a kid is all about?

The holidays are about giving AND receiving so let’s not take the receiving part away from them – or yourself either!

I think where the frustration comes in for parents is in the lack of real appreciation when kids do receive a gift. And that’s where I come in.

Being grateful isn’t about wanting less or sacrificing more. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.

One of the biggest benefits of practicing gratitude is that it puts you in touch with what you love most in life. It helps you stay focused on the things that give you joy, and, often without you even noticing it, guides you toward those things so you can have more of them.  

Yes, having more – more of the things you love. More happiness. More joy. More peace. More love. And the more you appreciate these things, the more you’ll find them miraculously showing up in your life.

So how do we create an attitude of gratitude in our children?

One of the most valuable coaching tips I received in my training at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (you can learn more about my experience here) is the concept of “crowding out.” Instead of focusing on what a client should NOT be eating, Integrative Nutrition Health Coaches inspire clients to add more goodness to their diet – more greens, more healthy fats, more water, and more self-love.

It’s the same with kids. Instead of telling a child that they should be grateful, focus on creating healthy habits such as keeping a gratitude jar or asking them to say one thing they are grateful for at meal time or bed time each night. The real key here is p-r-a-c-t-i-c-e. It has to be a regular practice, something you do the same time each day or each week, in order for gratitude to be at the forefront of your mind – and your children’s minds – on a regular basis.

I was amazed at how much kids were able to share what they knew about gratitude at my workshop and book signing this past weekend. I believe that kids truly are grateful at heart, but like the rest of us, they are bombarded with commercial messages that take away from appreciating the good things in life and need tools to help reinforce positivity and appreciation. is dedicated to creating tools to help you practice gratitude all year long as a way to bring more goodness into your life.

Go ahead, say it, “I want more.” It’s OK.

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Practicing gratitude helps me receive more of what I love. @Gratitude2Bliss

What do you want more of? Please leave a comment below!









Light Up Your Life This Week

The afternoon light through my window is bright and intense. Blinding almost. And I am like a plant drawn to its warmth, soaking up as much as I can before it slips out of reach.

The end of daylight savings can rattle even the most grounded of us. Light, beautiful light, is the source of life. Getting by with less of it, I have to say, can make me feel less alive.

Knowing this, I make an effort to bring more light into my life this time of year. Here are a few ways you can too!

  1. Light a candle. This morning, as I was giving my son a bottle at 3 am, (changing the clocks already has him way off schedule), I opted not to turn on the lights. The morning bottle is a sacred time for me and rather than getting annoyed that I was up so early, I decided to light one of my favorite aromatherapy candles and bliss the moment.
  2. Buy some flowers. My friend A has been buying fresh flowers every Saturday and placing them in every room in her boyfriend’s apartment. She says they create more “light.” Using an essential oiler diffuser is another great way to elevate your surroundings!
  3. Check your Vitamin D. Most people are not getting enough Vitamin D and this time of year it’s especially important to get your levels checked. Vitamin D is actually a hormone that your body produces when exposed to sunlight. It affects energy, mood, and cellular growth and also regulates genes. Who knew? Optimal amounts — the key word here is optimal —  can help prevent autoimmune diseases, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia, depression, osteoporosis, and even cancer. One of my favorite teachers at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, Mark Hyman, MD, recommends getting tested for 25 OH Vitamin D and says that the optimal range is 40-65 ng/ml even though the “normal” range is considerably lower. You can find more info here.
  4. Get more Z’s. This time of year you may find yourself craving sleep. Our bodies are especially sensitive to light and as the days get shorter our need for sleep increases. Don’t fight it. Without enough sleep your body can’t heal, repair and restore. Remember this next time you practice your sun salutations at yoga. Thank the sun for giving you an excuse to get to bed early. Your body will love you for it. Oh, and remember to limit screen time to at least an hour before bed. Your brain needs chill time before shutting down.
  5. Up Your Vitamin G. Practicing gratitude activates the part of the brain responsible for producing serotonin and dopamine – our beloved mood enhancers. Getting less sunlight can have the opposite effect. A great way to bring more light to your practice – literally – is to journal by candlelight. A delicious way to end the day!


Now it’s your turn. How will you light up YOUR life this week? Leave a comment, question or gratitude below!

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Light, beautiful light, is the source of life.


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