Dios Ti Agngina

Thank you in Ilocano

A gathering place of great ideas, inspiring stories, faith, family, fashion, food (with a slant on CLEAN, healthy Filipino cooking), and much more!  Welcome to Dios Ti Agngina!

The Brain And Longevity Part 2


What's your kid's favorite food?

This morning I thought to ask my son about his favorite food. I asked, "If you could eat only one food for the rest of your life what would it be?" He said without hesitation, "Sauerkraut." I said, "Are you sure?" He said, "Yes." During lunch I asked him, "What is your second favorite food?" He said, "Eggs." "And your third favorite food?" He said, "Spaghetti."

All of these foods are awesome for brain health. The sauerkraut is local, organic, and refrigerated. The eggs are from happy, pasture raised, local chickens. And the spaghetti is not your ordinary spaghetti. I add brain nourishing ingredients every time.

My son says "no" to processed foods, sodas, candy, refined sugars and the such. He gets fed three solid meals every day freshly cooked by me. This kid knows more about nutrition than most of the world. My point is that there is a correlation between what you put inside your body and overall health.

There's so much crap on the Internet about nutrition. Very few know the truth. Very few know what to believe. I say go with your gut. Your body will tell you if something is good for you or not. The body is so smart. Ask yourself every time before you eat, "Is this food going to bring me down or lift me up? Is it going to fuel and power me up so that I can live a long, healthy and happy life?" If you get sick or you have gastrointestinal issues then you know.

You can find my son's favorite spaghetti on my blog: 

Community And Longevity


Orestis Portelos, age 97 from Greece, was interviewed for the Human Longevity Project (https://humanlongevityfilm.com/). He said, “‘Panigiria’ (a Greek festival celebrated during the summer months) is a tradition found from our ancestors. At that time, we had good ‘panigiria’, they were not as crowded as today. We were also organizing them for financial reasons. All the money we were gathering was used for the village’s needs. Even today, all these ‘panigiria’ are organized for this purpose. We are also having fun. We meet with people from other villages. I still go. As I told you earlier, I used to go with friends my age. Nowadays, most people going are young people. I meet with few people now, but I still go.”

It was nice to have good friends over this past weekend as we reminisced the warm, sunny weather we enjoyed in Florida. They shared with us all about the community of their second home. The wife described the close knit community of just a hundred homes. She said the ladies meet pretty much every week and even on the weekends. They have so many fun activities like cooking, exercise, and dancing classes. They even have frequent luau parties. The neighbors are so close that it’s common for neighbors to visit each other’s homes to help with any issues. It truly sounded like a wonderful community of living, learning, laughing, and loving.

This is what the elder Orestis Portelos was describing. Close bonds formed in communities are such commonplace for centenarians living in the Blue Zone areas. Human relationship is such a vital part of life and one of the primary foods that was taught at my nutrition school. You can be successful in health, career, spirituality, and other things but if you lack in the relationship department, you will struggle. It will be like trying to drive a car with a flat tire. Isn’t that what the human condition is all about? The human spirit begs to be loved, adored, and embraced.

On a scale of one to ten, how would you rate your relationships? And if it’s taken a back burner what can you do to improve it? It would be wise on our part to model our lives and indeed how we view our relationships after the people living in the Blue Zones. To your health and happiness!

The Consequence Of Autoimmune Disease


Autoimmune disease is the consequence of bad nutritional science.

Last month I started health coaching a lady who wanted help with severe environmental allergies. Not only had she been suffering from allergies for a while she was overweight and had a family history of heart disease and diabetes. She was worried about her A1C levels signaling a high sugar diet and perhaps diabetes in the horizon as her health history suggested. I asked her what her diet looked like. She told me she didn’t eat breakfast or lunch. If she had anything it was a cup of coffee. For snacks she ate candy. And for dinner she ate very little, maybe rice and a little protein. She paused for a moment and then stated that she didn’t cook at all. She said that a lady would come to cook for her husband on the weekends. I asked her what I would find in her refrigerator if I were to come over to her house. She said that there might be some beans and maybe some fruit.

This is the SAD diet, the standard American diet. Not only is it sad in a literal sense, this is people’s reality on a daily basis. There should be joy in partaking delicious, nutritious food rather than people rushing to grab fast food or standing up to eat their meals. For many people home cooked meals is a thing of the past. I felt so bad for this woman and her family. She confided that she had anxiety issues and she was worried about two of her three children. One was living an adventurous, careless lifestyle while her daughter was suffering from mental issues and depression. This is what happens when people are not taught proper nutrition, self care, and self love. Everyone suffers. If we eat poorly then this is the legacy that we pass on to our children and future generations.

The good news is it’s never too late to reverse disease and bad eating and lifestyle habits. It doesn’t matter if someone has stage 4 cancer or was told by the doctors that they have little time to live. No, it’s not a magical, overnight shift that takes place. It takes work, real hard word, patience, and trust in the process. If you’re sick of being sick there is a better way.

You Deserve Better


This morning I was talking to a friend at church. He told me, "I hate drugs and medications! But I have to go see the doctor."

Don't get me wrong. There is a place and time for modern medicine but when we're given one drug after another we have to start asking, "Is this too much? Is this good for my body? What are the side effects?"

We all have choices. You can continue to go the same old route doing the same things over and over again. Guess what? You end up with the same results. Or you can wisen up, start asking the tough questions, and make changes to your diet, lifestyle and conscientiousness. That's what I did about six years ago. I had a sweet, precious baby who I could no longer care for. I was sick of being sick so I sought a holistic doctor, went to nutrition school and got mentored by the world's best health coaches and wellness practitioners. I got to the root cause of my health problems and healed.

If you're on any type of medication or don't feel your best you're not well. I hear this a lot. People tell me their long list of chronic illnesses and symptoms and then at the end they tell me that they are in pretty good health. No, they have just settled for the worst life possible for themselves. They have been sick for so long that they don't know the difference between being sick and being well.

People deserve better. You deserve better.

For Better Sleep


If you want better sleep, read on…

This morning I went to barre class at the local Y. At my friend’s suggestion we went over to the sauna. As we walked in I heard a voice say, “Hi friend! I followed your advice! I quit coffee and I feel so much better!” I turned and said to the gentleman, “That’s great. Congratulations! How so?” He said, “I sleep so much better! My wife just looks at me. She won’t quit but I feel great!”

Small steps count a lot and encourage people to keep working on getting healthy. Depending on a person’s situation I start health coaching with food. I start people off with something so basic like drinking warm lemon water first thing in the morning. This simple step has motivated people to do things they never used to do like exercising.

For someone who’s been hooked on coffee for decades I recommend drinking clean spring water or filtered water (I love our Berkey) in the morning, even just a cup. If you can drink two cups that’s even better. The goal is to replace the coffee with clean water. Eventually you will kick the habit. And like the gentleman I saw at the Y this morning you will start to sleep better and to feel great.

YES to changing the world for the better one person at a time, one step at a time!

Longevity For Our Families And Pets


For dog and pet owners, parents, and families, this one is for you. We can learn a lot about longevity from our elders.

Georgios Stenos, age 85 from Greece, was interviewed for the Longevity Human Project (https://humanlongevityfilm.com). “All of the Ikarians are trying not to buy products with pesticides and fertilizers. I only use animal manure which I get from people who raise animals and I use it for my plants.”

Ikaria is one of the highly regarded Blue Zones, one of the few places in the world that produces the most number of centenarians. I remember talking to my son’s sensei at his karate school about his brother in law’s dog. He said that the dog had cancer and went on to say that every dog in his brother in law’s street and neighborhood had cancer. He continued to say that the whole neighborhood sprayed their lawns with chemicals and fertilizers. The lawns were green but all the dogs were sick.

If the dogs are being poisoned and being diagnosed with cancer what more is happening to that neighborhood’s young? Start reading labels. Start asking questions. Are you aware that Roundup is a known carcinogen? Do you use toxic house cleaners around the house? Toxicity is everywhere. Start protecting yourself and your loved ones including our beloved pets.

The Brain And Longevity


I teach my son about good health and longevity every day. One of his favorite foods is sardines. It was also one of his lolo’s (grandfather in Filipino) favorite foods. His lolo lived to be 107 years old and even near the end of his earthly life he was very sharp and aware. His memory was impeccable as he would perform memory games every night before going to bed.

Sardines is serious brain food. Why do you think many people living in the Mediterranean are blessed with long, happy lives and great brain health? They enjoy seafood including sardines. I introduced my son to it at a very early age and he loved it! But I feed him quality sardines that’s BPA free and sustainably caught. I like the brand Wild Planet. I don’t mind paying a little more because I know that I’m feeding my family the good stuff.

Invest in high quality, organic, chemical free food and you will notice a difference in the health of yourself and your loved ones. Alzheimer’s and dementia are no longer health issues for the elderly. More and more young people in their 20s and 30s are suffering from brain fog and memory problems. We have choices. Make the ones that will help you in the long haul and help sustain good health and happiness.

Slime, Contact Lens Solution, And Borax


When I was a kid I did what all the other school children did. I ate the food prepared at the school cafeteria. I sucked on the honeysuckles at the school playground. I got jelly shoes just like a lot of the other girls in my elementary school. When friendship pins were in I got a friend to make me one almost every week for about a month or two. I followed what the teachers told us so that I could go outside for Freedom Friday to hang out with my best friend and the other kids. I learned how to think on my own but for the most part I learned to be an order taker because just like every kid out there I wanted to fit in.

Slime is all the rage among school children these days. I think if I were still a kid I would be one of those kids fascinated with the texture, colors, and glitter affects. I’d probably be viewing YouTube every single day to learn how to make my own slime.

On the surface slime is a kid’s toy but if we take a closer look at what slime is made of we will see that it consists of sodium borate which is better known as borax. Borax is linked to infertility and reproductive damage. It is also found in the controversial Gardasil or HPV vaccine. Some people may believe that borax is harmless and is perfectly fine since it’s used for cleaning in many households. I caution those who believe that borax is safe and suggest that you dig deeper and do your own research. Recently, I came across a pediatrician’s blog post regarding slime and borax. She noticed that more and more of her patients were coming in for horrible skin rashes. After interviewing several parents she learned that her patients were playing with slime as an after school activity on a daily basis. She concluded that the borax from the slime was causing these horrible rashes on her patients’ hands and noted that it would take several months for the rashes to heal. So is borax safe? I believe it’s better to be safe than sorry.

As I did more reading on the slime topic this led me to my current problem with contact lens solutions. A friend, mentor, and fellow health coach just last week mentioned that slime can be made with either borax or contact lens solution since the solution contains sodium borate. Sure enough almost every contact lens solution in the market contains sodium borate. I found one that did not but CIBA Vision Clear Care No Rub contains an ingredient called Pluronic 17R4 (a Cleaning Agent). What the heck is that?! I have never heard of it and there’s not enough information online about what it is and any potential side effects. Who knows? Pluronic 17R4 could be another name for sodium borate or borax. So again I follow the better be safe than sorry rule.

So this got me thinking and then I got really pissed off. I’ve been wearing contact lenses since I was in middle school. That’s decades of pouring borax onto my hands and fingertips as well as applying borax directly into my eyes. I never thought to read the labels for contact lens solutions like I do for the food that I consume. Just like many patients who wear glasses or contact lenses I listened to the optometrist and did exactly what I was told to do. As a result my vision worsened over the years. On top of that I just noticed how rough especially the palms of my hands are and how blood shot my eyes are.

I’ve made a couple of decisions from what I’ve gathered in the last week. If you know me personally, you will notice that I’ve begun to wear my prescription glasses after decades of contact lens use. This is a new routine for me. I do have some good news though. My hands are starting to improve and they do not feel as rough. I also found a very interesting course on how to regain eyesight naturally. When I was younger I just accepted that my eyesight continued to worsen as I kept wearing glasses and contacts. I never thought that wearing glasses or contacts was the problem. I am nearsighted with astigmatism and I am blind as a bat. For children that may be having eye problems, this course encourages parents to seek a pediatric ophthalmologist for their child as the chances of your child having to wear glasses is just 2 percent. By visiting an optometrist the chances of being prescribed glasses is 35 percent.

I’m fascinated with the idea of correcting my vision naturally. That would mean tossing out the glasses for good. How awesome would that be?! I’ll keep you informed on my goal to reclaim my vision.

So three things that I’ve learned since last week: 1) slime and contact lens solution are made of borax which is linked to infertility, reproductive damage and skin rashes, and 2) glasses and contact lenses cause vision to worsen, and 3) it is possible to reclaim your vision.

Share the knowledge with your family, friends, and loved ones. Stay curious. Start to think outside of the box and keep asking the hard questions. Our families and loved ones depend on us to keep them safe and well. To your health and happiness!

Health Coaching For Humanity

I recently had the privilege to interview IIN health coach, naturopath, entrepreneur, and humanitarian, Dr. Mary Jean Netario Cruz or Dr. Maggie, for Health Coach Week.  I admire her for so many reasons including her charisma, dedication and work in the health and wellness field, empowering marginalized communities,  interceding in times of local and national disaster and crisis, and her ability to heal and touch the poorest of the poor in the Philippines.  

Dr.  Maggie has received accolades by top magnesium authorities and scientists for her research and work and her Magiteque therapy.  

  • Dr. Carolyn Dean MD, ND, the world renowned magnesium expert and author of The Magnesium Miracle called her "The Magnesium Maven."  She has also noted that Dr. Maggie is the only one that she knows who does magnesium therapy in a clinical setting.
  • Dr. Stephanie Seneff of MIT said Dr. Maggie is a "co-warrior in the field of organic sulfur."

What is the importance of all of this?  It actually matters plenty.  According to Dr. Maggie, she has seen results with her Magiteque therapy for pain management, viral infections, dengue, influenza, measles, chicken pox, postherpatic neuralgia, shingles, herpes, ESRD for dialysis, enlarged thyroid, mental health conditions, comatose, eczema and other skin problems, dementia, Parkinson's disease, mental health issues, and tumors, paralysis, seizure, central nervous system issues, and much more.

A Conversation With Dr. Maggie


How did you become so passionate about health and wellness?

I am an accidental health coach!  Prior to this journey, I was a business consultant who did business automation, business systems and controls, and business software distribution until I found myself wanting to help empower disenfranchised communities. I earned an IIN scholarship because I connected an indigenous peoples organic farming project to a healthy meals school project.


What has been your greatest achievement as a health coach and as a naturopath doctor? 

Prior to becoming a health coach, I had no idea what it was.  Initially I thought it was a way to learn more about nutrition in a non-traditional setting.  As I began studying I realized it was more similar to consulting in the health realm.  I am more interested in helping disenfranchised communities so I focused my health coaching skills on community pain healing missions in remote and poor places.  I have also provided assistance whenever there is a disaster, like when the Philippines was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda), and more recently in the Marawi siege. Helping the displaced peoples in Marawi is probably one of my greatest successes.  The protocols I developed for people suffering from PTSD was adapted by Mindanao State University, Iligan Medical School Foundation and the Armed Forces of the Philippines among others.



What are the challenges of being a health coach in the Philippines?

I am not a typical health coach.  I focus more on addressing health-related social issues, particularly pain management for the mind, body and spirit – a “human system approach” for poor communities.  Currently my private practice and the contributions of wealthy individuals and organizations fund this initiative, but continuing to fund community healing missions is my biggest challenge.


I am intrigued with the Magiteque Pain Therapy Center.  Can you describe how the process of healing happens and what sessions look like for a patient?

Magiteque Therapy is an integration of both of my disciplines as a certified health coach and naturopath doctor.  Magiteque Therapy, depending on the health issue, can be done transdermally, orally or by inhalation.  It is safe for all ages and even for pregnant woman.  Clinical Magiteque Therapy starts with learning the patient’s health history followed by two hours of mineral spraying, inhalation or with an oral protocol combination.  For muscle pain, I combine trigger point techniques and energy healing.  The Magiteque Therapy concludes by taking a warm bath and then reassessing the patient’s condition.  Results are immediate.  A treatment plan can be designed after the first treatment, but in most cases is not needed. 

Congratulations on your new restaurant Chives Bistro and Market!  Please tell me what patrons can expect and experience.

If you have the palate for exquisite yet affordable food, Chives Bistro is the place to go.  Chives is a blend of Asian and European cuisine - fine dining in a casual setting.  We use nothing but freshly harvested food and no artificial flavorings.  Plus the passion our chef has for sumptuous healthy meals can really be tasted!  And I’m not just saying that because my son is the chef because I am not easily pleased when it comes to food, and the food really meets my standards.    I highly recommend that you visit us if you are ever in Manila!   


Please discuss your initiative the Community Home Substance Abuse Recovery Program or CSARP in connection to the war on drugs campaign of President Duterte.

Having taken the course “The Addicted Brain” at Emory University, I understand the role of electro-ionic minerals in neurotransmitters and this gave me a rare perspective especially in the Philippines.  When the war on drugs started, I began attending to addicts suffering from Substance Abuse Withdrawal Syndrome.  I had been treating similar symptoms in patients previously.  I created the “Seven Days Neuro-Detox Program” incorporating Magiteque therapy, EcoTherapy, Psychological First Aid and Positive Psychology.  Addicts have been thankful for this initiative. And I give lectures and seminars for those who want to learn more.  For my efforts, I was recognized by my hometown with the Dangal ng Pililla Award.


What's next for you in your amazing life journey?

Lots of things!  I am coming out with my first book, followed by “how to” booklets on the Magiteque therapy for different health issues.  Our FDA license is in process, which means we will be able to make affordable mineral sprays for the mass market soon.  This will definitely help a lot of people dealing with various pain issues, and will also fund the community healing missions we are doing.  I am beginning to focus on diabetes and would like to develop protocols to treat diabetes without the use of drugs, and then train medical professionals who are willing to learn about these protocols.  Long term, I dream about having my own well-being farm, where people can come to heal!


Marawi Siege PTSD Prevention And Care Initiative

You can learn more about the Battle of Marawi or the Marawi Siege HERE.  The battle happened in May 23, 2017 and lasted for five long months.  It's known as the longest urban battle in recent Philippine history.  

Dr. Maggie's PTDS Prevention and Care Initiative in Marawi was facilitated by Archbishop Gilbert A. Garcera of Lipa with ArchbishopTony Ledesma of CDO and with the late Bishop Nitz Galido of Iligan to help Bishop of Marawi Edwin dela Peña.  

This is Dr. Maggie with Fr. Teresito "Chito" Soganub, the Marawi priest who was taken hostage, and who was under the care of Dr. Maggie for coaching and naturopathic treatment.

Below are some pictures during the Marawi Siege PTSD Prevention and Care Initiative.  There were trained volunteers who helped destress the Marawi IDPs.

Follow Dr. Maggie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/epigeneticsprecursors 

Email:  magiteque@gmail.com

Follow Chives Bistro Restaurant and Market on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ChivesPH

I am not a typical health coach.  I focus more on addressing health-related social issues, particularly pain management for the mind, body and spirit – a ‘human system approach’ for poor communities.

What Is The Role Of Health Coaches In Healthcare?

I’m Abby, a holistic health coach who graduated from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and I’m continuing my education at Functional Nutrition. I am the founder and owner of curechoices.com.  I help people with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, hypothyroidism, type 2 diabetes, and weight loss. My friendship with Elaine started in 2016 when we became accountability coaches for each other as part of the IIN curriculum. I would like to thank her for giving me the opportunity to write in her blog.

Everyone has a reason why they want to choose their career.  It was my own health problems that motivated me to choose a career in holistic nutrition and wellness. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s thyroiditis in 2009, 10 months after giving birth to my second baby. When I was diagnosed, I was not happy with the idea of getting on a prescription medication for the rest of my life. I was looking into the possibilities of curing the disease. I discovered that I had to follow a disciplined protocol where I needed to make some dietary changes, along with the supplements and exercise to address the root cause of the problem. I was mentally prepared to do whatever it took to accomplish that.  Within few months I started to feel better.  I started to see the numbers of the anti-thyroid antibodies coming down and then gradually it came down to normal range.  I was able to put my Hashimoto’s in remission. In this journey of healing my disease, it dawned on me that the most important aspect of healing any disease is taking care of yourself by getting the proper nutrition, making the appropriate lifestyle changes, getting enough physical activities, and last but not least believing in yourself.

Over the last few decades there has been a significant rise in chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, autoimmune diseases, food allergies, and obesity. When you visit a doctor for these kinds of illnesses, doctors work primarily to identify the symptoms and treat for the symptoms. They really don’t have enough time to dig deep to find the root cause of the problem or to find what is really going on with the patient.

This is where the role of health coaches comes in.  They can step in and provide support. The main role of a holistic health coach is to guide the clients toward a healthy lifestyle.  They help them not only with food but in all areas of their life – their relationships, spirituality, exercise, and career.  They can help their clients balance these because the imbalance of one can adversely affect the other areas.

Each person is unique with their individual requirements. One person’s physiology, cell structure, metabolism, and body structure are different from another person's. Each person has unique needs according to their age, gender, size, lifestyle, blood type, and ancestry. A holistic health coach can work according to the specific needs of their clients.  They can give you recipes and diet guidelines, exercise and lifestyle changes which can help their clients to achieve optimal health goals. Health coaches educate and support their clients throughout the process of healing.

A health coach is a mentor, friend, cheerleader, and guide.  He or she can help by recommending lifestyle and behavioral changes and by challenging the client to listen to their inner wisdom, identify their inner strengths, and transform their dreams into action!

I hope you enjoyed this article and feel free to leave comments!

Website: www.curechoices.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/CureChoices/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/curechoices/

A health coach is a mentor, friend, cheerleader, and guide.

Choice Meets Courage

Ever wish for life to slow down? Speed up? Change, but then don't. The “why is this happening right now?” feeling?  In a perfect world everyday would be filled with kindness and success right? There would never be children without food, or homeless. Families would always be thriving and happy. Our rivers and lakes would be teeming with life. The air would be clean and all races would respect and love one another. Only a few examples of course, yet when I think about this “perfect world” and even if those things, and more were the case all over the world -we would still naturally react from emotions; our human aspects exist. Somebody would still feel lonely, shed a tear from falling down, accidentally forget and burn the dinner, (you get the point), and pain and suffering would show up eventually. Somehow, the ability to appreciate all the light, all the goodness that is present, often comes hand in hand, from experiencing darkness.

Could feeling good be found in choice, and if so, what are we choosing?

Today we live in a place where we can get a lot of instant results. Push the button, search the web. Anything you do repeatedly will become habit. Even convenience. So, while knowing that goals take hard work, we hardly give them the daily effort they truly require. We convince ourselves there’s an easier way. A shortcut. Maybe an inspired moment will come and then we’ll be able to get the project done. And then a month goes by, and where are we? Same place, except not. We’ve changed, still. But in a way that’s made it more comfortable to accept the belief that we haven’t changed. That we aren’t built for the goals, or have enough resources to achieve them. This is just a perspective. I believe we are always in a process, it’s just a matter of what direction we are headed, and how we are feeling about it.

So, perhaps the world, as it is, with the good and the bad is more perfect than we ever thought it could be. And maybe the challenges throughout our day, truly do make us stronger, wiser, and more kind to the next person we meet. With this understanding I can attempt to move through my tribulations with more attitude of gratitude. And I can step forward into my troubles knowing that they are not permanent. Because like seasons, we are always shifting, changing, and given full opportunity to become more than we are at this moment.

As a Health Coach I’ve come to know that even when it looks like nothing happens in a day, and sometimes in a week, when there can be little obvious change, this is not the ultimate truth. Something is happening. Those small, maybe invisible, first steps are just as significant as the middle of the road. I am building awareness for what is changing and not only what lies at the end result. We often see the winter as cold, and long. Both true, but with every passing day, the sunlight is getting a little warmer, and the time until spring is actually becoming closer than ever before. So, perhaps a lack of success (right now) is related to becoming stuck feeling defeated, in thinking and mindset, and not fully embracing the process of evolving.

Today’s Effort is a platform where each person can take responsibility for their power, and use it to become the individual you want to be. To make the conscious effort in a direction that is ever flowing, ever changing, and be okay with that. To recognize that perfection is never stagnant, but always evolving. With each day we are given the power of choice and courage. To know this and to use these gifts are not one in the same. With my Health Coaching I strive to bring awareness and understanding to that simple difference. To feel the courage to make the choices that align with you as a whole being, then, I believe true healing takes place.

I am an advocate for health and wellness. I believe in health of the spirit as much as the body, and I know that every little effort that we make on a daily basis, will bring us closer to the life, and wellbeing which we all deserve and possess.

I encourage using a plan of daily action, which I call Today’s Effort, to achieve our intentions in life. Incorporation of daily action directed towards a purpose, can be a powerful way to embrace change. With this consistent effort I am brought a little closer to my goals, yes, but I am also a little more empowered by my strength and determination each day. I want to then follow up the next day with another small action step. This builds on itself and naturally I am drawn into my daily choices because they make me feel good. We don’t always have to experience the pain to appreciate the love. It’s there to show us the contrast, but not to last. We just have to remember to use our courage, and make the choices, in order to see and feel the change.

Today’s Effort : do something, a small action, that brings even the slightest feeling of lift to your shoulders. It can be anything that brings a smile. Maybe it's music, reading, or hobby work. Maybe it's finishing your school, or assignment on time. Choose something that you want to do because it ignites a feeling of joy. It’s in those moments, that the shift is happening.

In Joy,



To learn more about Today’s Effort and the support a Health Coach can be for you, please visit todayseffort.com or connect with our vibe on social media @todayseffort

And I can step forward into my troubles knowing that they are not permanent. Because like seasons, we are always shifting, changing, and given full opportunity to become more than we are in this moment.

My Journey Into Health Coaching And What Makes Me Passionate About Helping People

The First Shift

My first major shift in my life occurred shortly after my divorce. I would have to say, I was in the best shape of my life... so I thought. I was exercising constantly to try to help myself with all the things I was going through. I had just endured a few years of very intense constant stress. I was taking care of three children by myself. Trying to work at a very stressful 100% commission sales job. I lived in an area where I had limited support and no family. I had thought I had made it through and was maybe headed into an upswing.

On a May morning I got up from bed to let my dogs out. I was walking and all of a sudden I fell. I got up and fell again. I repeated this a few times and then I realized something was very wrong. I won't go through all the gory details I will just say I had a stroke at 40.

Once at the hospital, the doctors told me this was caused by a tear in an artery in my neck most likely caused by a severe trauma or injury.  I did not have any severe trauma or injury. Unless you count the couple of years of severe stress. Yup, that was it!

I was very lucky to be alive and with no major damage. I was told by the doctors "Take it easy". "Don't run anymore". And my personal favorite "You are a delicate flower". However, I couldn't live with any of that. I did a lot of research and it was bleak. Until I found an article about a football player who had a similar experience and went on to continue to play football. That was it! Right at that moment I stopped and decided I would go with that one positive story. I decided I loved running and continued to do so . It was very challenging in the beginning but I worked through it and ran my first 5k in December that same year!

I have run 1 Marathon, 5 Half Marathons, and 4 Ragnars ( 200 mile relay race), among many other fun races. So far I'm still kicking and still running today! The lesson I took away from this was don't take anything for granted and enjoy your life now. Not at some endpoint you're going to reach. I get caught up in life just like everyone else but I always bring myself back to a balanced place and I continue to learn more about being successful living on purpose!

The Second Shift

My second major shift was in 2013-2014 when my mom became ill. In a matter of two months she went from being a vivacious lively woman to being gone. She had passed away from cancer. Apparently it was so metastasized that there was not really anything they could do. While my family had some time to prepare it was unbearable to watch this happen. I felt very frustrated and helpless.

My Call To Action

These events created a call to action in my life. I was watching family members and friends struggle with auto immune diseases, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and weight gain. I myself struggled with stress, acne, and added weight around my midsection. Many of these issues are shared with the majority of the population including children. I decided I needed to figure out a plan to improve my odds, stay healthy, and help others do the same! My lesson from all these events in my life led me to the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to get certified as a Health and Wellness Coach. This is where I learned the concept of primary food and secondary food. Primary Food is your physical activity, health, education, career, finances, creativity, spirituality, joy, social life, relationships, home environment, and home cooking. Secondary food is your nutrition. You need to create balance between all these things in order to live a healthy life. This is where I come in. During my health coaching sessions I will help you achieve this step by step!

How I Work With People

I like to follow a plant based (vegan) whole food diet. I stress whole food meaning real food because in this day and age a large part of the population does not eat real food. People ask me all the time, "Do I have to be vegan to work with you?" The answer is no, absolutely not. We are all different and our bodies need different things. It's best to learn what works for you personally. Do I push veggies on people? Definitely! :)

Because of my background I plan on specializing in working with busy women helping them de-stress, unplug, focus on self-care, get rid of those extra pounds, and create health and balance for themselves and their families. I can't stress how important it is to take care of yourself so that you can take of the people you love and enjoy your life.  Are you ready to take back your health and freedom to live a balanced full life? Are you ready to live on purpose?

I continue to love to share everything that has worked for me and strive to find the best things for everyone on their path to a Healthy Balanced Life! 

Take care of you,


Tina Stinson

Healthy Balanced Living


The lesson I took away from this was don’t take anything for granted and enjoy your life now. Not at some endpoint you’re going to reach. I get caught up in life just like everyone else but I always bring myself back to a balanced place and I continue to learn more about being successful living on purpose!

Spreading Joy And Love Through Painting And Health Coaching

Hello from my small country of Lebanon!  I am Lulu, painter and wellness advocate, following my passion for painting to wellness synchronizing my education, knowledge, and experience, trying to spread joy and love.

Throughout my life I have suffered several health issues which mainly were related to digestive irregularities.  I knew there was a misdiagnosis in my case.  I began searching and researching following my curiosity to know the root cause.  Never by any chance did it occur to me that I would someday study holistic health coaching.  It was as if all the pieces just fell into their places and the big white canvas became a complete painted artwork.  The Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) not only gave me the knowledge but expanded my perspective.  Becoming a wellness advocate and counselor was tantamount to being a creative artist (my original specialty).

Lebanon went through a very destructive civil war during the mid-seventies till 1990.  It was devastating.  It ruined and wounded Lebanese.  I studied fine arts under bombardment and explosions.  There was no water and no electricity but life went on.  I even earned a scholarship to pursue my masters in Italy.  Working, living, and surviving every day was always a challenge.  Even after the war ended there was always the realization that civil war could break out again. 

My education was enhanced by the introduction of essential oils and energy healing.  My exploration of integrating all-natural foods and herbs helped to restore my body, mind, and spirit, resulting in more of a state of peace and gratitude.  Art and painting were my antidotes to the poisonous, negative thoughts of war and hatred.  Through my art, I colored my life to be the grateful person I am now. 

Artwork By Lulu Baassiri

Black Magic Woman 100x100 oil on canvas 1993.  Exhibited in Washington, DC in 2012.

Sunflower 60x80 pastel on velour 2011.

102x82cm pastel on velour paper 2011.

Mosaic With Mixed Media.  110x110 real Venetian mosaic 2000 - 2001.

Red Rose 70x62 pastel on velour paper 2011.

Never by any chance did it occur to me that I would someday study holistic health coaching. It was as if all the pieces just fell into their places and the big white canvas became a complete painted artwork.

Do You Want To Live Or Do You Want To Thrive?

Do you want to live or do you want to thrive?  This was the question I asked myself so many times! 

Hi!  My name is Jurgita Caballero and I am an IIN Certified Holistic Health Coach and a student at The School of Applied Functional Medicine and The Institute for Functional Health Coaching

My interest in a healthy lifestyle started about 16 years ago.  But it really took a turn about four years ago when I lost my beautiful mother, my best friend, to cancer.  I wanted to know why people are getting sick so much more than ever?  What is causing it?  What are we missing? What are we not doing right?

I had many health issues growing up.  I was on a prescription antibiotic for seven years since my birth.  At one point in my life, I was more than 40 pounds overweight.  It took me years of trial and error, but thankfully it has been more than 15 years that I am at my healthy weight. 

I know what it feels to be hopeless.  When you are not feeling well and no one can give you any answers, and you can’t enjoy your life to the fullest, it stinks! 

People often ask me what do I eat, what do I do to keep my weight in balance and stay healthy.

I say, it doesn’t really matter, because in reality what had worked for me, might not work for another person. That’s BIOINDIVIDUALITY. The secret is to discover what works for that unique body.

Becoming educated in the field of functional medicine gave me an opportunity to really dive deep in understanding how all our body parts, glands, organs, hormones work together.  There are no islands.  Everything is interconnected.  No one way of eating or lifestyle works for everyone. 

My passion is helping people to find what works for them, identify the triggers that are in their way for maximum wellness, and help them to change it at the pace that feels comfortable for them. 

We are so used to popping a pill to numb our pain, without realizing that the body is sending us signals that it needs our attention.  By ignoring those symptoms, we are only promoting the diagnoses of some sort of ailment or disease in the long run. 

It doesn’t have to be that way.  I coach people to learn to listen to their bodies and address these symptoms by getting to the true root cause of the problem.

How do we do that?

Maximize what their unique body needs (food, sleep, raw materials your body needs to function optimally, oxygen, water).

Minimize what their unique body struggles with (toxins, infections, allergens, stress, trauma, limiting beliefs, fear, negative expectations).

Prioritize and create an environment for healing for this unique person (sleep, rest, laughter, stress reduction, exercise, stretching, breathing, meaningful relationships).

My goal is to Educate, Inspire, and Empower people to own their wellness!  True health starts with us when we decide to be well!  

Do you want to know how a healthy body feels like?  Then let me help you!

Thank you,




Facebook https://www.facebook.com/LivinganAbundantLife365/

Do you want to live or do you want to thrive?

Clean Cookies

I sure hope everyone is having a fantastic new year so far!  

For every new year's eve party when I was growing up my mom had the family wear polka dots and as many round accessories as possible.  At the turn of the clock of each new year we had to gobble down twelve grapes for good luck.  

I don't have the grapes anymore.  I just don't agree with stuffing myself with food at such a late hour and I think this new year's was the first in which my family and I were sound asleep before midnight!  However, I do my best to find round patterns to wear if we go out to eat.  Oh, traditions!  You have to love them.

Here's another round object that I think is wonderful to have for new year's and really anytime of the year.  Healthy, delicious cookies.  I love cookies!  If I could eat them every single day I would!  

You're in luck because I have two clean cookie recipes just for you created by my friend.  These cookies are perfect for diabetics and those who don't like dessert too sweet.  Even those who have a sweet tooth will love both of these recipes.  Coconut sugar is low glycemic and can always be adjusted to taste.  But always remember sugar is sugar.      

My friend is nine years old and he has a passion for food.  Since my friend can't have almonds these cookies are made with hazelnut flour and peanut butter powder.  You could easily use organic peanut butter if you can't find peanut butter powder.  For those who can't have peanut butter, I recommend using almond flour and raw almond butter.  

These cookies are so easy to make that they are a wonderful way to get everybody in the family to help out!  But they are addicting so remember to count how many you eat or else you may end up eating the whole batch.  Have fun baking!


Clean Chocolate Chip Cookies


*Makes 14 cookies

1 cup hazelnut flour 

1/4 cup organic peanut butter powder

1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup organic coconut sugar

2 large pasture raised eggs

1/2 cup organic chocolate chips

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract




1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Place the Hazelnut Flour, coconut sugar, sea salt and baking soda in the food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3.  Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla in a small bowl.

4.  Melt the coconut oil on the stovetop on low.  

5.  Add the eggs, melted coconut oil to the large mixing bowl. Mix to combine. 

6.  Add the chocolate chips in last.  

7.  Drop 1 tbsp sized cookies into the cookie sheets, allowing room for expansion.  Flatten with a fork.

8.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes on middle rack.  


Hemp Seed Cookies


*Makes 14 cookies


1 cup hazelnut flour 

1/4 cup organic peanut butter powder

1/4 cup organic virgin coconut oil, melted

1/4 cup organic coconut sugar

2 large pasture raised eggs

1/4 cup raw shelled hemp seeds

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp Himalayan pink sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract




1.  Preheat oven to 350F.  Line 2 cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2.  Place the Hazelnut Flour, coconut sugar, sea salt and baking soda in the food processor.  Pulse a few times to combine and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

3.  Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla in a small bowl.

4.  Melt the coconut oil on the stovetop on low.  

5.  Add the eggs, melted coconut oil to the large mixing bowl. Mix to combine. 

6.  Add the hemp seeds in last.  

7.  Drop 1 tbsp sized cookies into the cookie sheets, allowing room for expansion.  Flatten with a fork.

8.  Bake for 10 - 15 minutes on middle rack.  

Healthy, delicious cookies.  I love cookies!  If I could eat them every single day I would! 

Set The World On Fire

In fall of 1994 I was among the students of the incoming freshmen class at The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The freshmen class was gathered at William and Mary Hall for the convocation.  One of the speakers told us to look at the person on our left and then on our right.  The speaker went on to say that our class was among the brightest incoming classes ever.  I forget the percentage but it was something like 90 percent of my class were either salutatorians or valedictorians of their graduating high school class.  More importantly, the speaker passed on some very smart advice to us young men and women that every college student should take to heart.  He said, "Take classes that interest you.  If you've never taken a kinesiology class or a philosophy class take it.  Major in what you want to major in.  Not what your parents or your brother or sister want.  Major in what you want."

I did graduate from The College of William and Mary in four years and I'm very proud of that.  But I did not major in what my parents had planned for me.  They had hoped that I would choose a career path just like my late paternal grandfather, Pastor Fabunan, who was an accountant.  The truth was that the economics and business courses were not meant for me.  Yeah, they definitely were NOT meant for me!  I struggled and I humbly withdrew from or failed a couple of those classes.  Instead I majored in Spanish.  Why?  In my junior year I took a hard look at my grades and immediately noticed that my best grades were from my modern language classes.  At the time I loved immersing myself in the romance languages and I excelled in them especially Spanish.  There was also pressure from my mom to complete my studies in four years so a BA in Spanish it was! 

And this is true for much of life.  By pretending to be something that we are not we can never be happy or be true to ourselves.  Life will always be an upward struggle.  I love this quotation by Saint Catherine of Siena:  "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."  Life is so short.  Why pretend or delve into misery, right?  

For about 12 years of my young professional life I was a banker for large and small banks and I did pretty well for myself.  The problem was that I pushed myself at work and I never really loved it.  I pushed myself to the limit working extremely late hours and even on the weekends.  I liked certain aspects of bank management like leading, coaching, and encouraging my team members but deep down inside I was never completely happy or satisfied.   

What changed for me?  I got married to a wonderful man and we had a beautiful baby boy.  But then my health spiraled downward and I hit rock bottom to the point of being bedridden.

Eventually I found the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN) and in a year I became a certified integrative nutrition health coach.  I utilized the knowledge that I learned from IIN and thankfully I started to heal my condition.  I was so intrigued with the use of food as medicine that I continued my education taking an alternative healing course.  I then used that education to help myself completely heal and my own family heal their conditions ranging from eczema, food sensitivities, high blood pressure, and heart burn.  I continue to take holistic health courses because of my passion in helping others heal their own conditions.  And, yes, since I've found my calling I want to set the world on fire!

I believe that any disease or ailment can be reversed.  Anyone can heal with the right foods, mindset, and proper rest.  That's the beauty of working with a health coach especially an integrative nutrition health coach.  We health coaches are trained to really listen to our clients and help them heal on a deep physical, emotional, and spiritual level.  

I love the flexibility that I am allowed.  I am able to be the kind of wife, homeschooling mom, blogger, and integrative nutrition health coach that I want to be.  Thanks be to God, my faith and family will always come first but I have found a wondrous joy in health coaching and there is nothing else I'd rather be doing.  Find your truth, your voice, and your purpose, and you will set the world on fire.  And after that there is no going back!

“Take classes that interest you.  If you’ve never taken a kinesiology class or a philosophy class take it.  Major in what you want to major in.  Not what your parents or your brother or sister want.  Major in what you want.”
I love this quotation by Saint Catherine of Siena:  ’Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire.’

MamaSuds: Truly Safe For Your Family

Hi! My name is Michelle Smith and I am guest hosting from Goodrich, Michigan. I am the founder and owner of MamaSuds. We handcraft truly safe soaps and non-toxic household cleaners for the ingredient-savvy, label-reading mom. I met Elaine when she became a customer of MamaSuds and contacted me with a few questions. Yes, I personally answer all of my customer service messages whether it is through email, phone calls, text messages or on the website chat box! I really love interacting with my customers! 

I am a wife, mom of three girls (help me!) and a recovering former middle school teacher. Our family has a dog named Stella and four chickens. We love to hike in Northern Michigan and go to the beach on Lake Michigan. We spend three quarters of the seasons doing those two things as a family. We love being outdoors!

I started MamaSuds because I wanted to wash my family and clean my home with real soap. I wanted to use products on my family that weren’t going to harm their health today or in the future. And as I researched, I thought (as I am sure you have too) not all synthetic ingredients can be harmful.... right? What I found was that no, all ingredients are not harmful to ME but what about the process to make them? That's an even deeper rabbit hole (in case you've never gone down that one!) that led me to into many late nights and many more questions. How can all of these synthetic ingredients be good for the environment? 

It isn't.

So I set out to create products that were safe, non-toxic, and that worked. Because, let’s be honest- there are a ton of products out there that claim to do all three things but fall short in one category… or all three! 

The main MamaSuds product is castile soap. Many companies claim to make castile soap, but almost all of them make a bastille soap. What’s the difference? Bastille soap is a soap made with lye and some kind of plant or animal fat, more often a combination of many different fats. A real castile soap is just lye and olive oil. Castile soap is the base for a majority of our products.

MamaSuds Castile Soap is just olive oil, lye and water because I wanted my recipe to be as simple as possible. Olive oil is not difficult to get, it isn’t drying to the skin, and I have yet to meet anyone that has an olive allergy (that’s not to say they don’t exist!). Skin allergies are no joke: according to the CDC, 8.8 million children were reported as having a skin allergy in the last 12 months. That’s an incredible statistic. Most soaps are made with coconut, shea butter or jojoba in them. All three are excellent ingredients to make soap with, however, they create skin sensitivities or reactions for millions of people. I like to keep my product ingredients lists small and I practice this in my everyday life as well. 

If you are just starting out on your label reading journey, start small. If you try to change all the products in your life right away you are very likely to overwhelm yourself or your spouse and give up. Give yourself time, grace, and patience. I like to tell people to pick one product at a time. Cleaning products are a great first step. If you are the DIY type, buy a bottle of castile soap and make your own cleaning products. If you are not- I suggest MamaSuds All-Purpose Cleaner spray. You can clean virtually everything with it and it cleans so well (just check out our reviews!). Once you’ve switched one product, move onto something else (laundry, body wash, toilet cleaners). 

How do you become a savvy label reader? Don’t rely on a website to tell you a product is safe or not. All of those types of websites are fantastic resources, but they aren’t perfect. I like to look up specific ingredients, rather than the products themselves. When I read a label, I immediately set a product down if it has the word “fragrance” or any ingredient with a number (i.e. Laureth-7, PEG-80, Cetereath-20). Fragrances are almost always synthetic and can contain phthalates and ingredients with numbers are also synthetic and can contain 1,4 dioxin (a possible human carcinogen and is harmful to our environment). 

Once you are accustomed to recognizing and eliminating products with these ingredients, you will become more accustom to other ingredients to be on the look-out for. But again, remember it’s a process. Take small steps and don’t overwhelm yourself. I think you’ll realize how many products in your home contain the two red-flags I described! 

You can reach me anytime at: 

Email: michelle@mamasuds.com

Website: www.mamasuds.com 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mamasuds or my Facebook group: www.facebook.com/groups/greenlivingtribe

Instagram: @mamasudsllc 

Special Offer

A special offer for Elaine’s friends! If you sign up for our newsletter you’ll get a free bottle of MamaSuds Foaming Hand Soap! http://eepurl.com/463ur

I started MamaSuds because I wanted to wash my family and clean my home with real soap. I wanted to use products on my family that weren’t going to harm their health today or in the future.

Why I Decided To Do Personal Selling With India Hicks

What on earth compelled me to join the ranks of independent direct sellers? It started rather innocuously one Saturday morning last year while searching for something to jazz up my Fall accessories wardrobe. I somehow stumbled upon India Hicks and was immediately intrigued. I loved the look and style; it also happens to be a more affordable luxury than the brands I used to buy when I had a corporate salary. You probably know the ones I mean. So that leads me to the first reason I decided to get on this rollercoaster.

1) I love the brand. The aesthetic is wonderful, the quality is excellent, and India is one cool chick. I sincerely don't want you to buy something from me because I sold you on the idea. I would much prefer that you want (love!) something that I happen to be selling.

2) I needed to shake up my look. Working for myself, from home made it far too easy to get into the rut of wearing the same yoga or cargo pants day in and day out. You might call my sartorial choice: "lazy pants" or something like that. Being an India Hicks Ambassador is a good excuse to dress up a little every now and then. Not that I've given up my yoga pants completely!

3) It's exciting to discover a new gem of a brand. I've worked on ginormous brands (um former Global Brand Manager for Vaseline, hello!) that totally know how to meet consumer needs, yet I delight in the challenger brands who need to hustle and be more insightful than the established ones. 

4) I'm actually an introvert and I don't excel at "putting myself out there." I dread cocktail parties because I'm convinced that I have nothing interesting to talk about, but I really do love hearing what others have to say. Being in direct sales requires me to step out of my comfort zone and hopefully grow in the process.

5) Last, and by no means least, making a little extra money is appealing. Consumer understanding and brand strategy are still my core professional passion - please visit me on Hat Trick 3C, too - but sometimes the consulting business can be really slow, with nobody having budgets or time for the strategic services at which I excel.

That's my story. I'd love to hear yours. On my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/IndiaHicksNoVA/), there is obviously an emphasis on our products, but I also showcase: my favorite local/challenger brands, great Northern VA places to eat or visit, quirky style ideas, and my random musings. It would be great for you to post those things there too. Should you now be intrigued and want to see our beautiful wares, please visit my ambassador site at http://bit.ly/GLGIndiaHicks.

Gail Legaspi-Gaull

Independent Ambassador, India Hicks

Shop anytime at http://bit.ly/GLGIndiaHicks

Follow me at https://www.facebook.com/IndiaHicksNoVA/

I love the brand. The aesthetic is wonderful, the quality is excellent, and India is one cool chick.

Beautycounter: Simple, Clean, And Natural

Hello!  My name is Elisabeth Klos and I am guest posting from San Diego, California.  Elaine and I met this summer, (get ready) ONLINE!  We connected across the country to share healthy ideas and tips.  Elaine's genuine care and concern for others, which rings true in her writing, caught my attention and I wanted to soak up her wisdom.  I became Elaine's client, (which I highly recommend) and she reminded me in the kindest way possible to stick to my guns with my kids' health and eating habits.  Healthy habits have been important for me for many years now.  Choosing to fuel and pamper my body with the best of what is available has always interested me, as an athlete, and now a mom and a woman wanting to feel good.  While food in general has always been more of a struggle for me, there is one healthy habit that came easily for me in my quest for the best health.  This positive habit is using skin care and beauty products known to be safer for human health.  

Prior to 2011, it never occurred to me that what I put ON my body was just as important as what I put in my body.  Then, about 6 years ago, I couldn't get pregnant with my first child.  I always thought I was very healthy; I was a marathon runner, in great shape, I rarely drank alcohol, and I got great sleep, (of course since I had no kids!)  I didn't realize the importance of certain ingredients which go into total body well-being.      

With a looming infertility scare, I tried Western medicine approaches.  I went on drugs to help my body ovulate and I took many tests to figure out if something was wrong.  On a whim I decided to do something out of my comfort zone, I went to an acupuncturist.  After meeting with her she determined that I needed to 1.  gain weight  2.  eat WHOLE foods - (non processed food)  3.  ditch extreme exercise and 4.  look into what I put on my body by way of products like shampoo, face wash, makeup, lotions, etc.      

Those changes seemed daunting and uncomfortable, and yet I knew deep down that I needed to slow down and gain some body fat.  What surprised me most were the unhealthy aspects of many personal care products I was using.  For example, the following are found in many products:  

  • Hormone mimicking parabens which are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer (see sources at bottom)
  • Phthalates, especially in products with *fragrance, which are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer
  • Synthetic colors, which are suspected to be a human carcinogen
  • Formaldehyde, a known carcinogen
  • And many more

All of these ingredients are included in extremely tiny amounts, but I had to wonder, why did I have to put any amount of these toxic ingredients on my body?  

I dove into researching personal care products with the app ewg.org.  I looked on Amazon.com to find products that ranked VERY low on EWG's safety scale.  What I found were a lot of products that did not work as well as my old stuff.  At the time, I dealt with face soaps that didn't feel clean, and shampoos that made my hair feel more dirty because I wanted the safest and the best.

Fast forward 4 years of eating healthier, slowing down my exercise, and choosing safer products and I had not only one, but two babies.  Around the time of my second child's birth, my good friend and health advocate introduced me to Beautycounter.  She said, "This brand is like a blend of the department store stuff you love and the random, crunchy stuff you've been trying!"

I also learned that Beautycounter utilizes my favorite healthy product research site, ewg.org to make sure their products all rank a 3 or lower, with most being 1s and 2s (the safest).  I found out that Beautycounter bans over 1500 ingredients including all the ingredients that are banned by the EU.  (The US only bans 30 ingredients currently!)  This information was eye opening and relieving.  I didn't want to have to go back to researching every product.  I wanted to save time by trusting in a company to deliver safe and high performing products all at once.

So I turned to Beautycounter for my lotions, cleansers, shampoo, makeup and even my kids' soaps.  I liked that I could buy on their website through my friend whenever I wanted (I didn't have to sign up for any monthly program or as a member)...it felt so easy and different.  My favorite thing about Beautycounter is their transparency.  They list every single ingredient in every product.  No “fragrances” or “natural flavors”.  It makes it easy for my friends with allergies to figure out what to use.  And it makes me trust the company even more.    

Now, as a busy mom of two, I am a Beautycounter Consultant.  I became one because I was always intrigued by having my own business and I knew that I had finally found a company I could stand behind.  I love the flexibility it gives me as a mom.  I would do anything to be able to spend the most time with them while they are little and I feel lucky that I found something meaningful and helpful to others.  

So the moral of my story and this guest post is threefold:  1.  When it comes to your health, seek out second opinions and TRY alternative/natural healing...no matter what, you will learn a lot about yourself and the way your body works.  2.  Remember that your skin is your body's largest organ and what you put on your body matters as much as what you put in it.   3.  Listen to your heart when it comes to doing meaningful work.  TRY new things.  It's never too late or too hard to start doing something worthwhile and impactful. 

Thank you, Elaine, for allowing me to share my story.  Readers, if are open to trying safer beauty products and would like to connect or ask questions, here is how to reach me:

Email:  ebklos@gmail.com

Instagram:  ebuffy

Website:  www.beautycounter.com/elisabethklos

A Special Offer Just For You

**A special for Elaine's friends through the month of December:  I will reimburse all ground shipping fees on any order.   Beautycounter products are 60-day, free returns so enjoy trying something new, safe & effective!  

My favorite thing about Beautycounter is their transparency.

I Too Believe In Syracuse

Something great is happening in Central New York.  Most recently a native who had moved back to the area started a new farm to table foodie place called The Stoop Kitchen in Armory Square.  I loved what he wrote in his blog page.  (If you get a chance you should read it as it is quite inspiring.)  Syracuse is being resurrected with already established farm to table restaurants and new up and coming ones.  Believe me.  The heat is on in Syracuse.

Syracuse is full of pleasant surprises.  Just a week and a half ago I meandered through East Syracuse with my friend and my son and discovered a wonderful gem of a place. 

Upon entering Kosta's Pizza House, I saw right away the heart and soul of Syracuse in this small 30 year old establishment.  There was nothing fancy here.   It wasn't pretentious or particularly attractive, but its appeal goes beyond its physical appearance.  What I saw was a good man making people happy by making delicious food and interacting with customers warmly and genuinely.  Everyone is treated like family.  

I love that Kosta is known as the Doctor of Hunger.  People are not only hungry physically but they are hungry emotionally and spiritually.  That's what makes Kosta's Pizza House so special.  Kosta feeds the Syracuse community physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  

That is what I felt when I met Kosta for the first time.  He not only fed me the best Greek pizza I have ever tasted in my life but I also experienced community and generosity.  I easily understood why people keep coming back here.    

As I introduced myself as Elaine and my son Constantine, he instantly connected with me.  He enthusiastically said with a smile, "Oh, St. Eleni and St. Konstantinos!  You must remember May 21.  It's a big feast day!"  He said he always celebrates on May 21.  So guess where I'll be this coming May 21!  Kosta's, of course!

A college friend asked me not too long ago, "Why Syracuse?!"  And I now say, "Why not?"  While we have lived in the Syracuse area for only a short time, we have met good people, made dear friends, and had so many positive experiences.  There is goodness, kindness and warmth in this community that we now call home.  Like the owner of The Stoop Kitchen who believes in the future of this city, the number and variety of good restaurants has exceeded my expectations.  If this is an indication of Syracuse's culinary future, then I too believe in Syracuse.

Upon entering Kosta’s Pizza house, I saw right away the heart and soul of Syracuse in this small 30 year old establishment.
A college friend asked me not too long ago, “Why Syracuse?!”  And I now say, “Why not?”