Begin Within Monthly Journal

& Favorite Easy Meals

January 2015; Letter 2

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Hi Friends!


In this new year, I’m doing something a little different. I’m embracing a little weight GAIN.


Ever since I was a teenager I’ve struggled with the image of what I thought I was supposed to look like, versus the reality. Not that I’m so bad :) I’m just not a pin-up supermodel with sculpted shoulders, 4% bodyfat, and giant breasts.


Back in high school I was anorexic for about a year. I also overexercised compulsively. I was 5’ 7” and got down to around 98 pounds at my skinniest. I wore a size 2. My pants were always highwaters because the small waists cane with legs that were too short.


I stopped getting my periods and my mom took me to a doctor to get checked out. The doctor said I was pretty healthy and had 'small bones'. I don’t remember much else other than they put me on on birth control pills to get my periods started. I only took them for a couple of days before I became a hormonal nightmare.


(I’ve never been able to take any form of ‘the pill’, even the lowest dose, without becoming emotionally aggressive, followed by depression when I went off them. The power of hormones!)


Around my senior year of high school I quit starving myself. I remember one morning at the gym, early, getting dressed in the locker room after aerobics. I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and I suddenly saw clearly how skinny I was. Until then I really had always thought I was still too fat. (The power of the mind!)


At that time I was working in a restaurant and I just gradually started eating the foods that had been no-nos. (Mmm, they were delicious!) It wasn’t an earth shaking transition or anything, I just sort of got over it.


Later I became an aerobics instructor and personal trainer. I ate well, worked out regularly, and was almost allergic to that compulsive behavior from before. If anything I became of afraid of missing my regular meals and not getting enough food. On the whole I was pretty healthy for a long time. It was just in the past couple of years that I started to feel like I was falling apart...


After we moved to Argentina (a long story for another day), I took a job selling real estate in an international development that we had bought into. I was very passionate about it and, although I have never considered myself a salesperson, I didn’t see it as ‘sales’ because I really believed in what I thought ‘we' were building.


Fast forward a year later. I was totally depleted and had experienced levels of discouragement I never thought possible. The people I worked for turned out to be frauds (in my opinion) and I saw ‘inside the machine’ so to to speak. What I saw was very depressing.


I had also been wining and dining the clients, staying up late, getting up early, drinking too much wine at night (and coffee in the morning), not always eating well, and getting pretty stressed out at times- the more so as the year wore on and I felt the complete disconnect between what I had thought I was selling and what the reality was turning out to be.


My marriage suffered severely, and my health did too. For about six months what had begun as a few itchy bumps on my chin had been spreading into a rashy patch on my face that wouldn’t go away. And that was just one of many things I noticed, or tried not to notice, that became the catalyst that propelled me to make drastic changes.


There are a few photos of me from the end of that year and I look so wiped out. A friend came to town during that time. I was with a group of people and he didn’t say hi to me. Later he apologized, saying he didn’t recognized me- that I looked so sad and grey.


Anyway, after the 'selling season' ended, my husband and I went on a vacation. I did some soul searching and decided I had to quit the job. That was in April 2013 and in May I got serious about solving my slowly accumulating health problems.


Thus began my 'year of healing’. I kept a food diary every day of what I ate, what natural ‘cures’ and ‘remedies’ I tried, notes on progress and backsliding of symptoms, and slowly but surely I cured ALL of my ailments. More on those in future posts, but you can see a few of the minor self-cures I’ve already put up on the website here.


I kept the daily journaling going until June 2014. It has now been about 8 months since my ‘year of healing’ and settling into a new normal. These days I feel great. I have energy every day, my sex drive is back to normal, I am no longer irritable, I sleep well, I fit in some physical movement most days, and I eat a very healthy and balanced diet.


During that year of healing I got really skinny again, not intentionally, but the dietary changes just made the weight fall off. Since then I’m back to my regular weight. My clothes fit, though a few fit a bit more snugly than before. However, I FEEL so much better that I am truly embracing it. And husband likes my body, especially that I have a bit more ‘booty’.


In addition to the dietary changes I’ve made, I’ve also worked a great deal on other aspects of myself- psychological, emotional, and spiritual- and I can honestly report that I like myself more than I ever have. And it reflects in all areas of my life. As with so many things, it is often the most challenging ones that turn out to be the most rewarding.


I have learned more in the the last couple of years than in the rest of my almost 40 years combined. The number one lesson I have learned is to always BEGIN WITHIN. I’ll have more to say on this, but absolutely everything in life is an extension of us: our thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and actions.


I’ll share more (on many topics) as the months go by. In addition to sharing my journey, I’ll include other tidbits and links that might be of interest.


I expect this to become a conversation, so please feel free to ask questions and share your comments. Add your email in the top right corner to get automatic emails whenever new posts go live.


(You can unsubscribe anytime with just a click. I never want my posts to be your junk.)


And with that, I’ll keep this first letter to a reasonable length and sign off with my favorite easy meals from last month.


With besos,






Favorite Easy Meals


When I need a quick pick me up, or a fast and light meal, I often reach for a simple spirulina smoothie.



• Just blend one banana, a handful of frozen fruit (I love blueberries), 1 teaspoon spirulina powder, and a filet of fresh aloe vera*.


• Cover the above with purified water (or cool ginger tea) and blend thoroughly. I use a hand blender stick which makes it quick to make and easy to clean up.


*For the aloe, I cut a large leaf off of one my live aloe plants. I typically use about half a leaf in a smoothie, sometimes a whole one. Cut the spines off the edges, then cut the green skin off each side. Slide the clear and slippery aloe ‘meat’ into the smoothie. You only want the clear part, not the green skin which can upset the stomach.


Spirulina and aloe are great natural ways to get an extra boost of vitamins and minerals (and protein!). Try it the next time you need something green in your diet. It tastes much better than it looks :)



Lunch Bowl of Leftover Roasted Beets & Plums


I LOVE this dish. I always make extra so I can have some leftovers cold (straight out of the fridge) the next day. Find the full recipe here.




Scrambled eggs are a go-to meal for me. I eat them probably 4-5 times a week for my midday meal. I have them with a piece of gluten free bread, in easy fried rice, with some leftover roasted veggies, with a side of fresh fruit (watermelon is a favorite), or topped with a small avocado.


On this day I had my four scrambled eggs with one of my gluten-free scones (made with white nectarines, which are in season right now, yum!).




Easy roasted carrot sticks make a super delicious snack. I can eat 4-5 carrots in a few minutes when prepared this way.



• Heat the oven to 400F (200C). Peel and cut the carrots into sticks and toss in your preferred baking pan with olive oil, salt, pepper, and chili powder if you like it. (My tummy doesn't like spicy foods. Boo.)


• Bake 15 minutes. Toss, and turn the pan if your oven doesn't cook evenly. Bake another 10 minutes or so until tender and starting to get browned and a little crispy.


Let cool enough to eat and enjoy! Make lots to go with dinner, as 'carrot fries' or make a smaller batch just for you anytime.



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