Five Ways to Ignite Your Spark

In holistic health, weight, wellness, on May 13, 2013 at 7:51 pm

Having a really crappy day?

No matter what life dishes out, your physical, emotional and spiritual health depends on you remaining positive. Sometimes people get so overwhelmed with stress that they acquire eating disorders which can then lead to digestive problems, weight problems, sleep deprivation, confidence and esteem challenges, and more.


In fact, did you know that 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress—and 75- 90 percent of all doctor’s office visits are for stress-related ailments and complaints?

It’s also important to remember that we attract what we put our energy on—so if you’re thinking and dwelling about the negative, chances are you’ll just attract more of the same. As the saying goes: “Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want.”

Here are some ways to cope when you’re having a bad day:

  1. Give yourself a “time out.”  Do something pleasurable, whether it’s playing with the kids or the pets, taking a long walk, gardening or bicycling.  If you’re in the office, close your door, stretch, move around– and take a few minutes to breathe deeply.
  2. Practice self-care:  It’s easy to neglect ourselves when we’re so busy taking care of other things.  But we can’t be much good to others if we’re not feeling up-to-par ourselves, right?  Get some “alone time”–take a hot bath, get a massage, read a good book—whatever you need to feed your soul.
  3. Eat Mindfully:  Eat slowly, savor every mouthful and give your body a chance to digest and your brain to register satiety.  Working through lunch?  Everyone has at least five minutes to eat calmly and peacefully; close the door, shut down the computer and let the phone go to voicemail.
  4. Breathe!  We tend to engage in shallow breathing when anxious, but when you feel that way, stop, take a few deep breaths and exhale.
  5. Strengthen your sense of community: Make a phone call to someone to whom you haven’t spoken in a while.  Re-connect with someone whom you haven’t seen in a long, long time (Hint: social media, like Facebook, is great for finding old friends.) Make it a point to say hello and speak to that neighbor with whom you’ve never connected.

Ok, so I’ll just keep saying it—have a consistent gratitude practice. Every night, make a list of 3-5 things for which you are grateful; even the worst day has positive moments.



ABOUT IRENE:  Irene Ross is an integrative nutrition and holistic wellness coach who helps people alter unhealthy habits so they can transform their lives into one of vibrant health and happiness.

Her website is:

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story. and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, she also writes a pet wellness blog called





In Detoxification, food, Uncategorized, wellness, on April 29, 2013 at 9:15 pm

There’s just no doubt about it.  Especially with today’s environmental toxins, depleted soils and highly processed foods, nutritional cleansing is more important than ever—and there are some great nutritional detoxification programs on the market.

Wouldn’t it be great, though, to think about nutritional detoxification every day and not just 3 or 4 times a year?  You could shimmer, shine, feel and look great all the time, rather than just at certain times of the year.

You can do it by adding certain foods to your daily diet.  You just need to remember 2 things. First, the liver is a vital organ, responsible for many things, among them, removing toxins and breaking down fats.  Second, you need to remember that disease thrives in an acidic atmosphere, so you want your blood to be neutral (a balance of acid/alkaline) or even slightly more alkaline. Some foods, like sugar, create acidic blood while others, like garlic, are alkaline-forming.  For a complete list of acid/alkaline foods, click here.

1.    Grapefruit

This has got to be one of the best foods you can eat.  It not only supports the liver by flooding it with nutrient-rich juice, but it’s also it’s also highly alkalizing. By the way, it’s highly effective for weight loss, because grapefruit helps the liver burn fat.

2.    Lemon

Since lemon is a citrus, many think of it as acid—but it’s not, being one of those alkaline-forming foods.  Drink a glass of water with fresh lemon and you’ll not only be supporting your digestion, but you’ll be boosting your immunity by sending vitamin C to your defense cells.  By the way, some believe that lemon also has a calming effect and increases concentration and alertness.

 3.    Kale

Guess what—this vegetable has more iron than beef! Kale is a nutritional powerhous packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and omega-3 and 6 fatty acids; that means it boosts immunity, fights arthritis, asthma and some autoimmune disorders.

Kale contains both sulphur and fiber, two terrific detoxifying substances.

Versatile, kale can be steamed, stir-fried or eaten raw.  Add it to salads, soups or include it in your breakfast green smoothie.

4.    Water

Okay, all you wordsmiths out there, water’s not a food (although, in my defense, some do insist that bottled water is a food).  Never-the-less, don’t underestimate water’s importance.


Did you know that 85 percent of all headaches are caused by dehydration?

Your body is made up of at least 75 percent water, and that includes the bones and brain. Water flushes toxins, which translates into better, healthier skin for you. Water also increases metabolism, energy and contributes to youthfulness, because it plumps skin and muscles and decreases sagging.

Here’s a huge benefit:  Water has been found to aid heart health. A study published in the May 1, 2002 American Journal of Epidemiology found that those who drank more than five glasses of water a day were 41 percent less likely to die from a heart attack during the study period than those who drank less than two glasses.

5.     Avocado

Avocado is packed with vitamin E, a natural antioxidant that that supports everything from the brain to the heart and respiratory health to circulation; vitamin E is also used often in skin creams.

Avocados also contain nearly 20 other vitamins, minerals, phyonutrients and other nutrients, including potassium, magnesium, folic acid, vitamins B6 and C and fiber.


Irene Ross, CHHC, AADP, is an integrative nutrition and holistic health coach who helps people alter unhealthy habits so they balance their lives.

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story, and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day:  Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:



Quinoa Pilaf–Yummy, Healthy, Easy (and the addition of cranberries and parsley make it even healthier)

In food, Uncategorized, wellness on April 2, 2013 at 5:16 pm

Recipe: Quinoa Pilaf

Recipe courtesy of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition


Prep Time: 3 minutes

Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings


1 cup quinoa

2 1/4 cups water or stock

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

pinch of salt


1.   Rinse quinoa in fine mesh strainer until water runs clear.

2.   Boil the water and add quinoa and salt, cover and reduce heat.

3.   After 15 minutes add cranberries and walnuts to top; do not stir.

4.   Cook 5 minutes more, until all the liquid is absorbed.

5.   Remove from heat, add parsley and fluff with fork, cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes and serve.

Editor’s note: By now you probably know how healthy quinoa is.  It’s a complete protein,  gluten-free, and does everything from aiding digestion to boosting metabolism, increasing energy and a lot more.

The addition of parsley and cranberries increases the health benefits even more because:

  • Parsley is a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immune booster.  It’s also loaded with vitamin K—that’s the one that aids bone health.
  • Cranberries: Wow, they have more antioxidants than many fruits and vegetables, except for blueberries.  If you don’t know what an antioxidant is, they’re the substances that fight those rogue free radical cells, responsible for aging and disease.  A free radical cell is the human version of rust—that’s just how dangerous they are.  Cranberries also have fiber and vitamin C.


About Irene:

Irene Ross is a certified integrative nutrition and health coach who helps people alter unhealthy habits so they balance their lives.

Author of the e-book, Sugar’s Sour Story, and of the forthcoming book, 25 Ways to Fire Up Your Day: Increase Energy, Get More Done in Less Time, Balance Your Life, her website is:

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