Thursday, July 29, 2010

Group Hug

Last night we wrapped up the 7-Day Sugar DetoxI have to say that this was by far, my best group yet.  Every single participant in this program was really just a wonderful person and enjoyable to listen to and be with.  We all learned so much from one another - not just from my teaching - which is such a bonus and treat for me.  One of the participants had an amazing Big Why already in place and it was so delightful for me to listen to the thoughts of someone so newly blammo'ed.   I picked her brain in public.  Truly a thing of beauty that!

Everyone managed to give sugar the Heave-Ho for the 7 days of the program and all realized that it really wasn't as hard as they had anticipated.  All felt armed with a greater sense of control and with the inspiration to move forward with generally healthier habits for the future.  I shared a ton of amazing sugar-free, healthy and delicious recipes, and we cooked and sampled several of them right during class.

Such as...

Super Swiss Chard Sesame Fig Calcium Supreme

Pumpkin Tofu Curry

Entirely Fruit-Sweetened Whole Grain Chocolate Muffins

which deserve another picture...


Everything was delicious if I do say so myself.  People actually paid for this class, so it wouldn't be fair to post any recipes for free, but soon I will have recipe ebooks for purchase on the new website.  WooHoo, that's gonna be great!

"May I serve you some curry?"

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Exercise Schmexercise

Sweaty post-run game face!

Believe it or not, I have always been a fairly active person.  I started modern dance classes at the age of about 5 or 6 and have continued that my entire life.  I ran track in elementary and middle school.  I went to summer gymnastics camp and was on the gymnastics team through 9th grade when I switched to drill team in the marching band.  Maybe I was the chubbiest kid on the team or whatever, but I still participated and had a great time doing so.

You know, people have many different reactions to the events of September 11th.  One of my clients said that on 9/11 she figured that since we clearly have no control over our future, we may as well eat as much as we want.  That's one way of looking at it, but I had the opposite reaction.  I lived in NY on 9/11 and knew people who literally ran for their lives.  They climbed down 80 flights of stairs, they carried injured people in their arms, they ran an all-out sprint as Hell came down on their heads.  As I sat there listening to the survivors tell their stories, I felt my heart turn to ice.  I was a 220lb diabetic.  I would not have been able to run away.  No one would have been able to carry me either.

When I decided it was time to lose weight several months after that event, I could barely walk to the mailbox and back.  I began by walking in place during tv commercials.  That was exhausting and embarrassing.  But I stuck with it.  After awhile I began to walk outside, then slowly added jogging, and 18 months later, here's me still smiling after 2 hours and 13.1 miles!
When I crossed the finish line, I happened to be all alone because I was miles behind most everyone else and my son shouted in wonder "Mommy, you WON!"

During my run this morning, I began formulating this post and decided to tell you WHY exercise rocks and why you should be doing it if you're not already.  And yes, this list is in order of importance:

1.  Endorphins
I'm an endorphin junkie.  I admit it.  Some of us are born like this.  And if I hadn't gotten a D in Neuropsychology I would be able to tell you why.  (And a mercy D at that due to the fortunate nepotistic fact that the professor had been a doctoral student of my Dad's and he just couldn't believe I was quite that stupid.)

I work out, I get high.  Simple as that.  True, I could eat a box of cookies and achieve the same effect, but exercise makes my butt look good and cookies don't.  My sneakers are the hypodermic needles and the road is my juice.

If you're the type who has other addictions, ie to food, you are likely to be the type who will get an endorphin high from exercise.  Want to know how I bring it on?  I work really hard and get out of breath and then I slow my breathing way down.  Two or three deep breaths and I'm singing The Carpenters at the top of my lungs and blubbering over the beauty of the world. 

2.  There are good looking guys at the gym
Yes, I am this shallow.  I'm also happily married, but hey, I'm not dead.  Super fit women are inspiring too, but unfortunately, they're a rarity.  So see, it's not a perverted sex thing.  I just am heavily inspired by the well-taken care of human body at it's peak of fitness and beauty.  You are too, no use denying it.

3.  I get to eat more
Simple math here.  Expend alot of calories and you can eat them back and still be in caloric deficit.  I could never fit cake into my life without gaining if I wasn't regularly working out.  I like cake.

4.  Me Time
Sixty glorious minutes without mommy this and honey that.  MY favorite music blasting in my ears and no one complaining that South Pacific is totally lame.  One hour to get lost in my daydreams of being 17  years old and having to choose between a beautiful vampire and a hot werewolf.  Maybe I am confessing a little too much?

5.  Problem Solving
Every idea I have EVER had in my life, has come to me during a run.  I can sit in front of this computer for HOURS of mind-numbing writer's block or stuck on some stubborn problem but 10 minutes into a run I am having breakthrough after breakthrough.  Getting married, going back to school, moving to Israel, having babies...  blame it all on the Nikes.

6.  The Regular Stuff
Strong heart, low blood pressure and cholesterol, good blood sugar, lubricated joints, flexible muscles, depression banished, body trim and toned, skin firm and smooth, confidence built, pride activated, and if I need to outrun anything, the knowledge that I CAN.

7.  It's fun
If it's not fun, you're doing the wrong kind of exercise.  You will be working out for the rest of your life so it'd better be a good time...

See, I told you there are cute guys at the gym!
OMG, if he sees this I'm dead.
You should see him in his spinning shorts!

Run, Walk, Swim, Bike, Spin, Dance, Tennis, Golf, Basketball, Soccer, Ski, Skate, Lift Weights, Stretch, Yoga, Jump-rope, Kettle Bells, Body Weight Exercise, Pilates...  SO many choices. Don't let me catch you saying "But I don't LIKE exercise!" There's got to be something you at least don't hate.

A man's health can be judged by which he takes two at a time - pills or stairs. ~Joan Welsh

The word aerobics came about when the gym instructors got together and said, "If we're going to charge $10 an hour, we can't call it jumping up and down." ~Rita Rudner

If your dog is fat, you're not getting enough exercise. ~Author Unknown

My always ready, not fat, running partner.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Stay the Course!

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there."  - Will Rogers

In past blog posts, we have discussed how to get motivated to begin, and how to set yourself up on the road to achieving your goals.  That's all well and good, but there's a tiny little GIANT phenomenon that often happens next, which I call:

"I want results yesterday and when they don't come immediately I will throw in the towel because clearly this is not going to work fast enough."

Whooooaaaa!  Listen folks, we spend the majority of our lives eating as we please, contemplating exercise that we never get around to doing, and getting fat and out of shape.  This process usually takes YEARS.  We don't gain 50 lbs overnight.  The body holds onto it's natural good shape as long as it can under our years pf consistent abuse and neglect.

But one day we look up and say "Crap, how did I get like this?!  I need to change.  I need to change NOW!" So we plunge right into a diet and exercise plan, purge our homes of contraband food, and start making these calculations... you know the ones...  "If I lose 2 lbs a week, then by Cousin Murray's Bar Mitzvah, I will have lost a jillion pounds and will fit into a size zero and wow everyone with my gorgeousness."

Sometimes that's a good thing and it works for a time.  Problem is, after Cousin Murray becomes a man, our goal is reached and with nowhere else to go, we most often go back to how we were before.

I don't work this way.  When people come to me with this sort of regime on their minds, I see if I can talk sense into them and if I can't, a parting of the ways is what happens next.  There is NO quick fix, magic bullet, hang-on-with-white-knuckles-until-I get-there, flash in the pan funny business in my health coaching practice.  How it goes when someone comes to me, is that we decide together on 3-4 achievable goals or habits to work on every two week period.  Only when those are accomplished, do we move on to the next goals or habits.

This is the way to build the habits that will support life-long changes.  Trying to do everything at once makes your brain explode.  Trust me on that. 

It took me two full years to lose 70 lbs.  And another two years I think to really stabilize there.  Is that a long time?  What has happened with your weight in the last four years?  How many attempts at Hurry, Hurry Dieting have you made and where has it gotten you weight-wise?

The other thing, is that it's not like you are only perfect or feeling better when you get all the way to your goal weight!  You will feel skinny and awesome after losing only a couple of kilos.  (Just like you feel fat and lousy after gaining a couple).  The entire process is a joy!  If it's drudgery, you are on the WRONG PATH!  If it takes drudgery to get to your goal weight, it's going to take drudgery to stay at your goal weight.  Consider yourself warned.

Losing weight permanently requires patience and consistency.  It requires practicing your new habits every single day over and over again.  You should start seeing results in a few weeks, but if you don't, the answer is not to quit in frustration, but to take a good honest look at your nutrition plan (and yes you need to have one and be following it!) and your physical and mental training programs (ditto on these!) and see if you need to make any changes.  If something doesn't work, then you need to change it, not abandon it entirely!

One of my clients just passed the 20lbs gone mark!  Do you think she feels as though it took too long?  Or do you think she's just super excited to be 20lbs thinner??

And now in a brazen attempt at non-sequitor, would you like a new recipe??  If yes, please head on over to where I have written a new blog post on Safe BBQing and included a yummy Miso-Tahina BBQ sauce recipe and pictures!

As always, I would totally appreciate some positive comments over there.  I'm a little worried that criticizing the Universally-Adored-Grill and blaspheming hot dogs, is going to get me in a bit of hot water.  Any support, would be greatly appreciated!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another Round of Sugar Detoxing!

The 7-Day Sugar Detox: July 21- July 28, 2010
19:30 - 21:00
Kfar Saba, Israel (address to be provided on registration)
Cost 200 nis

"I took part in Emily's last 7-Day Sugar Detox and am happy to say it launched me into an entirely new, healthy lifestyle.  I am now fifteen pounds lighter and no longer look to Sugar and Sweets to fill my emotional needs." -L

"Until the Sugar Detox I had no idea how much my sugar intake was affecting my moods and my looks and how sneaky little Sugar was robbing me of my goals!" -B

"Emily's food is the best!" -S

Whether you define yourself as a full-blown "Sugar Addict" or you've just got a pesky Sweet Tooth, please join Holistic Nutritionist and former Sugar Addict Supreme, Emily Segal, for 7 days that will permanently change your relationship with the white stuff.

We will meet as a group in Kfar Saba for 2 evening sessions, first, the evening before we begin and last, the day we finish up AND enjoy email support all the days in between. This way you have full support and accountability to stick with it.

Topics covered:
-Why do we crave sweets (and chocolate) in the first place?
-How sugar and artificial sweeteners are destroying our health and our future and why chocolate is good for you if you know how to eat it right!
-How we can enjoy sweet tastes without ruining our health. I will bring you right into my own Kosher kitchen and share my best and most delicious, healthy sugar- and artificial sweetener-free recipes. My clients LOVE this part!
-How to put an end to destructive Emotional Eating for once and for all.

Additionally, during the 7 days of the Sugar Detox I will be guiding, inspiring and supporting participants every day on our own private yahoo group. No matter how many times you've tried to kick sugar in the past, this time I will give you all the tools to succeed!

Here is a sample of the some of the amazing recipes I will share. All of the recipes are Sugar-Free and Artificial Sweetener-Free. They use NO honey, silan, stevia, barley malt, or maple syrup. All the sweetness comes from natural, whole fruits. Additionally, all recipes are wheat-free, Kosher and Vegan (no animal ingredients of any kind).

And yes, they still taste DELICIOUS!

Whipped Oats for Oatmeal Haters (Oats are great blood sugar stabilizers)
Decadent Choco-Oats
Granola and Museli
Baked Apple Oats
My Famous Raw Brownies
Almond Crunch Cookies
Peanut Butter Balls
Fudgey Date Nut Torte
Apple Pie
Chocolate Mousse
Banana Ice Cream with Raspberry Sauce
Pecan Fudge
Chocolate Tofu Fudge
Lemon Poppy seed Cookies
Strawberry Mylkshake
Halvah Smoothie
The Art of Making Great Fruit Smoothies and Green Smoothies
Aduki Bean Squash Stew (Aduki Beans are especially helpful in combating sugar cravings)
Cream of Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Sweet Sensation Root Vegetable Medley
Carrot Raisin Crunch
Salad Dressings to Live For

If you'd like to attend - and I hope you will - please send me an email to or register through my website

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I've Got Butterflies in My...

I finally had my appointment last night with the Gastroenterologist and that was the official diagnosis:

"Butterflies in Tummy"

No, that's my SELF diagnosis.  His was more medically accepted:  An infection that damaged the stomach lining. 

I am getting better.  I asked him the question so many of you ask me:  How could a person as health conscious as me, get so sick for so long?  He replied that the speed at which I have recovered is actually quite remarkable.  I guess it's all how you look at a thing.

But I want to run with the whole butterfly metaphor for a minute if you don't mind. 

Back when I was in the midst of the 100-Day Vegan Challenge, I tried to express that something was happening to me on the Spiritual Plain, that I didn't quite understand or know how to explain.  I felt, like I was, well, turning inside out.

And then I got sick.

And while sick, I had this deep need for turning my energy inward, getting quiet, circling my wagons, being still....

Sound like anything familiar?

We all know that when the caterpillar enters the cocoon, he rests there before undergoing his metamorphosis.  But did you know that he actually turns to MUSH??  His entire body dissolves before it re-forms.  Ick, right?

Well, that resonates pretty strongly with me right now - the icky mush thing.  I'm still in it, but I do feel that I am slowly solidifying and that the person who cracks out of this thing will be very different than the person who went in 4 months ago.

Do you guys think that's totally weird?  Well, too bad.  It's my blog and I will babble on mystically as much as I want, because GUESS WHAT?  I've got even more to say and it turns out that being fully who I am and not apologizing for it, is an enormous part of all this!

You see, one of the healing modalities I study is the Chakra system.  Chakras are energy wheels that run along the center of the body.  There are seven of them and if one gets unbalanced, energy gets stuck in that area and causes emotional, physical and spiritual problems.

The 3rd Chakra is the yellow one up there called Solar Plexus.  It's located right over the stomach, right up there high center abdomen.  You can find it by putting your three middle fingers right in the soft spot where the sternum ends.

For four months, as I have traveled from doctor to doctor, they have all asked me "Show me where it hurts"and I point exactly to the center of my 3rd Chakra.  Do you want to know what the 3rd Chakra represents?  OK, I will tell you anyway:

3rd chakra = The Seat of One's Personal Power  3rd chakra directly affects one's ability to project their will into manifestation. (Holy Yoga Batman! This is exactly what I have been struggling with!)  This center is one that is constantly challenged in humanity . The majority of people are constantly having their power chakras challenged whether it be at work, in our relationships, or simply within ourselves. Power struggles are constant in our daily grind. An under active third chakra can lead to a true feeling of powerlessness. An over active 3rd center can be just as detrimental as an under active one and may result in the over powering of others, typically for selfish desire.

The root of this problem stems from not transferring the energy of the 3rd center up through the heart center. The power that stems from the third chakra, balanced in love will lead humanity to a grand state of peace and well being.  The 3rd center is commonly associated with the “core” balancing activities that many aerobics focus on. The focus on this core, or power center, allows people to feel in control of their own destiny.

As it is located in the belly it is also tied into the digestive system.  When the 3rd chakra opens, there can be tremendous emotional upheaval. Lots of painful unconscious material can erupt. Vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, nausea and other digestive troubles can accompany this opening.  The newly unfolding 3rd chakra can make one emotionally and psychically hypersensitive.


So why blather on about all of this butterflies and yoginis and bright balls of yellow light?  Because it illustrates perfectly what I do for a living.  When a client comes to me they often have some sort of physical complaint: over-weight, poor digestion, fatigue, bloating/gas, high cholesterol...  and what is happening to them physically is never just about the physical.  We see Western doctors to heal our bodies and believe you me, when I am sick I want an MD to help me get better!  But beyond the cure of symptoms they offer, is the root of the problem, which unless addressed, will just keep manifesting in a variety of ways.

I don't suppose it's always about chakras, but when I look this kind of thing up for people, they are usually pretty surprised at how well it matches up with what they know to be true inside.

So, me?  I am happy now to just hang out here in my mushy cocoon, doing my sit-ups and core work, channeling the 3rd chakra energy up to the 4th - the heart - and when I'm done, something really cool is going to emerge.  So, I hope you'll stay tuned!