I often wonder what the world would look like if we stopped focusing on our differences and became aware of how very similar we are.
What if instead of seeing "enemies", we learned to recognize ourselves in others?
What would the world feel like if we decided to replace our fear and prejudice with love and compassion? What would the world look like if we stopped pointing the finger outward and instead, turned it inward?
What if we all became a little more interested in being the best versions of ourselves, instead of focusing on how others could be better?
What if every day our mantra was: "How can "I" do better?"
What would the world look like then?
Some may say this kind of thinking if "idealistic", but from what I know about the human heart, I know it is entirely possible.
We are not the destructive, violent, uncompassionate species that media makes us out to be. The acts of violence we see around us in the world isn't us - its "fear in motion".
We've all been made to live in fear and we've all been forced to react to this false sense of "being under attack" ALL THE TIME.
But are we? Are people really out to "get us?"
I don't think so.....
Most people I meet just want to live their life in peace and comfort. They want a life of meaning, purpose and fulfilment. They want food, shelter and friendship. They want to experience beauty, wonder and grace. Most people don't want to fight - they just want to live.
I mean, Isn't that what you and I want?
So who are we fighting really? Who's the big bad enemy?
The Americans? I know a LOT of American's and the are awesome, smart and kind.
The Muslims? I know a LOT of Muslim's and they are awesome, smart and kind.
The Immigrants? I know a LOT of immigrants and they are awesome, smart and kind.
I could go on and on - but the answer will always be the same. In the end, I think we're all awesome.
But we can't ALL be awesome, right? I mean, if we're all awesome, then who are we fighting?
That's a great question and I have many theories (but those are for another day).
Today I just want to talk about us, you and me, and how very similar we are when you focus on what really matters - that we are Love incarnated.
Yes, we (you, me, them) are love. The spirit inside you is pure, loving, kindness. Believe me when I say this - you are good and the very essence of you, is in fact, love.
You, me (and even the person you fear the most) has a heart that was meant to Love, it's just that somewhere along we way, I guess we all got lost......
But I want us back. I really do. I want YOU back. I want everyone back. I miss you all because deep inside, I can feel your heart and it makes me so sad to be apart from you.....
But how do we become reunited again? How do we unite together as one super human AWESOME race that says, "you know what? I'm Done Living In Fear. I choose Love."
How do we do that?
Well........I think we just decide.
We decide that we won't let fear rule us anymore. We decide that the path of least resistance doesn't serve us anymore and we commit to not only finding the essence of Love within, but we commit to sharing that Love with everyone and anyone that crosses our path - yes, even the ones who scare us!
Even the ones who do terrible, ugly, ungodly things. Even the ones we "GASP" currently hate.
Because that's what loved ones do.
When someone we know is lost we rally up the troops and we go out and find them!
No matter how deep in the woods they are! No matter how many obstacles get in our way! No matter how long they walk in the wrong direction!
We find them!
Because they CAN be found - and not with threats, violence and war - but with LOVE.
We choose love. Because THAT is who we really are.
We are love.
We are the ones that hold out our hand to our "enemies" and say.....
"I'm done fighting. I choose you."
And how do we do that?
We realize that fear is no longer serving us and we simply decide....
To Let Fear Go and Have Faith in the Love "Within".......
To Health and Happiness,
Carmen Lisa xo
P.S I know letting go of fear it hard. I struggled with it my whole life, but I refuse to be a slave to it any longer. If you want to learn how I let go of my fear, you can read my story here: How I Let Go of Fear.
Lately, I’ve been thinking long and hard about what I want to do with my time on this planet.
I’ve been asking myself, “Carmen, what do you want to experience in life?” What do you want your life to look like? What do you want your life to feel like?
And each time my soul responds with…..LOVE.
I want to be surrounded by love.
There is something sacred and magical about love, like God has somehow tethered our souls and reunited us; as though the distance we created between us no longer exists and we are finally free to love one another unconditionally.
I don’t know about you, but Love really feels like magic to me.
I truly am “in love with love” and sharing my heart with you is what I want to do with my time on this planet because nothing makes me happier than witnessing love.
The smallest gesture of gratitude between friends.
The helping hand of a stranger.
Accepting each other for our differences.
Forgiving people for their mistakes……..
These expressions of love truly melt my heart.
Do you ever think about this sort of thing?
Do you ever ask yourself, “What do I want my life to look like? What do I want my life to feel like?"
The truth is I think about it every day, but up until now I was afraid to share it with you.
I was afraid that you would judge my belief in love and God as being “bible-thumper-esque” (even though I’m not religious) or you'd think I was an “impostor” (because I’m not religious) LOL. Sigh! How could I ever be truly open with you with those thoughts running around in my head?
Truthfully, I think I was afraid that if you really saw me, you wouldn’t like me anymore…..I guess in the end, I was afraid to be me. I was afraid to take off the mask, ditch the filter and stop “fitting in”.
Yes, after years of acting on stage, giving presentations, and speaking at conferences I, Carmen Lisa MacPherson, was afraid to be seen.
Wow. That was a big “Ah Ha” moment for me.
But in that moment of honest and loving fear I realized something wonderful………………
“If you try to please everyone, you please no one.
But if you stay true to yourself, yes, some may hate you,
But at least they will see how you love others and how others love you.”
Ah, yes. Love is magic.
I’m an intense person (in case you couldn’t tell) and while I love teaching people about holistic health and natural healing, I can only do that from a loving and sacred place deep within my soul. I’m what many would call, “a little too much”, but for people who are sensitive and feel as deeply as I do – I’ve come to realize that I’m “just right”.
So even if you don’t get my “over the top” proclamations of love and unity, I hope you can at least find comfort in the fact that no matter what you do, someone in this world (i.e. ME) cares about you.
And while it's true that loving deeply can sometimes lead to abandonment, rejection and judgement – I’ve learned that love is definitely worth the risk.
Love is worth the fear because Love is worth more than any “thing.”
Love is everything. At least, love is everything to me.
So here I stand, loving you, and while I may run from religion due to all the horrific things people have done “in the name of God,” that will never stop me from running towards a loving God with open arms.
From now on, I won’t be afraid to open my heart and let you in. I’ll be brave and let you see me just as I am – an imperfect, loving (with a little dash of “weirdness” to keep it interesting) kind of girl.
And you know what? I’m OK with that.
So that’s my big secret.
I love you more than words could ever say. I guess you’ll just have to find a way to deal with that my friends.
Of course, my blog post wouldn’t be complete without a delicious recipe for you, so here’s a scrumptious dose of “Nutrition for the Soul”
Nutrition for the Soul
Fold two hands together,
borrow peace that’s in your heart
Add one cup of acceptance
And divide in equal parts
Dissolve the hate within you,
Finding mercy is the key;
Chop the grudge in tiny pieces
And sprinkle forgiveness to set it free.
Stir in love and laughter,
Set the dough with your good deeds;
Toss with genuine kindness, then
Share with those in need
Add several cups of hope,
Don’t forget your light within;
Nothing is impossible,
If we promise to begin.
The amount of people served,
All depends on me and you…….
This recipe can feed the world,
If we really want it to.
- Carmen Lisa
So where do you stand? Is fear holding you back from doing what you really want to do?
Are you sacrificing your own identity because you’re afraid others will judge you?
Are you sacrificing your health because you’re afraid to ask questions and make changes?
Are you sacrificing your dreams because you’re afraid to make goals that you might not achieve?
Hit reply and let me know.
We “sensitive souls” need to stick together.
To Health and Happiness (and above all else….Love),
Carmen Lisa xo
P.S How many times do you think I used the word LOVE in this post? LOL
You totally want to ditch your scale, don't you?
If you're like me, you have this weird kinda relationship with your “weight” and I totally get it.
One day you're feeling sexy and confident and the scale is singing your praises. The next day you feel like Shamu (yes, the whale) because the damn scale said you were 2 lbs heavier.
Ugh! WTF, right?
And yes, we are all aware that the way we look doesn't "define us", but that doesn't mean we don't feel pressured to look a certain way and be a certain weight, right? #thanksmedia
Here's the thing - while maintaining a healthy weight is important it's not as important as the circumference of your waist (and this is great news for people like us who are mostly concerned about thunder thighs, cankles and the odd "chin fat"). LOL!
So here we go, let's take a look at our waist circumference and see how we do....(well...you look at your waist and I'll look at mine, OK?).
Waist Circumference (AKA “Belly Fat”)
Do you remember those fruity body shape descriptions from high school where you checked to see if you were more of an “apple” or a “pear”? You know - the apple's were described as being kinda round in the middle (aka kinda belly fat-ish and beer belly-ish) and the pear's was described as being rounder on the hips and thighs (aka thunder thighs and bubble butt)?
Wow, uncomfortable flashback to grade 11......
Anyways, THAT is what we're going to be talking about today.
Can you guess which shape is associated with a higher risk of sleep apnea, blood sugar issues (e.g. insulin resistance, diabetes, and mood fluctuations) and heart issues (high blood pressure, blood fat, and arterial diseases).
Yup – the apple!
And it's not because of the “muffin top” (i.e. the subcutaneous "under the skin" fat). The health risk is actually due to fat that's inside the abdomen because this fat covers your liver, intestines and other important organs needed for your body to function properly.
This internal fat is called “visceral fat” and this “un-pinchable” fat is what you need to be most concern about.
The reason the visceral fat can be a health issue is because it releases fatty acids, inflammatory compounds, and hormones that can negatively affect your blood fats, blood sugars, and blood pressure. These changes in your blood sugar also tend to cause unnecessary fluctuations in your mood.
Unfortunately, apple-shaped people are at much more risk for visceral fat than pear-shaped people.
So how do you determine if you are an apple or a pear?
The easiest way is to just measure your waist.
Women, if your waist is 35” or more (pregnant ladies are exempt, of course) and men if your waist is 40” or more, you could have what's known as, “abdominal obesity” .
An even better indicator is to calculate your Hip-to-Waist Ratio.
- Measure your hip circumference at its widest part.
- Measure your waist circumference at the belly button or just above it.
- Divide your waist circumference by your hip measurement.
- Use the chart below to determine your risk factor.
Of course this isn't a "diagnostic tool" so don't panic, but a large waist circumference does increase your risk for developing sleep apnea, blood sugar issues and heart issues, so it's important to be aware of it so you can start making the necessary lifestyle changes PRONTO.
Tips For Reducing Belly Fat:
High Fibre Side Dish for Reducing Belly Fat!
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. In a bowl toss sprouts with garlic, oil, and lemon juice.
3. Spread on a baking tray and season with salt and pepper.
4. Bake for about 15 minutes. Toss.
5. Bake for another 10 minutes.
6. Serve and Enjoy!
Tip: Brussel sprouts contain the fat-soluble bone-loving vitamin K - so you may want to consider adding them to one of your weekly meals.
To Health and Happiness,
This is one of my favourite recipes because it makes a delicious meal that is quick and requires very little clean up.
It's also very versatile.
You can make the tortilla chips, or simply buy organic corn chips at the grocery store. You could also enjoy the fillings with some tomato, lettuce, green onions, green chilli's, and salsa in a burrito or taco. The sky really is the limit!
Plant-based meals are AMAZING and this recipe is a great way to experiment with vegan cuisine. I personal haven`t come across a single person who doesn't love this (the "walnut meat" is especially awesome)!
Quick and Easy Guacamole:
Final Step: Plate it Up
Happy Canada Day Everyone!
Who doesn't love to celebrate with a delicious chocolate treat , right?
Today, I'm sharing with you "THE" Ultimate Homemade Chocolate Bar because they taste better than ANY of those "chalky tasting" bars you buy at the health food store and they're GOOD FOR YOU!
Because you are making them from scratch, they are 100% natural and free of any preservatives.
Plus, they are super convenient because they are quick, easy to make, and will last up to a month in the freezer.
1. Mash the Banana
2. Add all the dry ingredients: Oats, Coconut, Flax Seeds, Chia Seeds, Vegan Protein Powder, Maca Root Powder, Cocoa Powder and Cinnamon. Mix it Up.
3. Add the Raisins, Gogi Berries and Carob Chips. Mix it up.
4. Time to add the wet stuff to hold it all together. Add the Banana, Vanilla Extract, Peanut Butter, Maple Syrup and Coconut Oil. Mix everything up. TADA! PESTO! Homemade Protein Bars!
5. Spread the mixture into a baking pan or something similar (a baking sheet would work as well) and then place in the freezer for 2-3 hours to firm up.
6. Once firm, cut them into 15 even squares and individually wrap them in plastic wrap.
Ingredients: Many of these ingredients can be substituted, so get creative. Instead of raisins, you could use dried cranberries or dates. Try using honey in place of maple syrup, etc. Go wild!
Storage: Keep them in the freezer or fridge, individually wrapped. They soften up quickly at room temperature and they should keep for a month or more in the freezer.
The Link Between Stress and Fat Loss
I’ve been studying nutrition and the effects food has on the body for close to 17 years and I can assure you; losing fat and getting to a healthy weight is about SO much more than “calories in – calories out”.
Food is definitely important, but your lifestyle choices and what’s happening in your life on a day-to-day basis can either make or break your weight loss efforts.
I bounced up and down on the scale FOR YEARS before I figured this out and believe me, I felt like a total FAILURE every single time that scale went up again.
I felt like it was all my fault because CLEARLY, I didn’t have the dedication or will power to reach my goals. I felt stuck. I felt frustrated and my weight loss attempts always left me feeling utterly hopeless…….
What’s the point in trying if we always end up feeling disappointed, right?
If you’re nodding your head yes, you’re definitely going to want to keep reading.
Last week, I talked about the importance of getting adequate sleep (it’s crucial if you want to reach your weight loss goals), but did you know that stress, anxiety and being overwhelmed can actually stop your weight loss efforts in their tracks?
Stress fat is real, people!
I struggled with it for years, so I know from experience.
Strategy #2 - Reduce Stress
I realize it’s not easy to reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, but you have to get a handle on this if you want to finally reach your weight loss goal and, more importantly, STAY THERE.
Having high-stress levels, is not only harmful to your health, it’s harmful to your waistline and if you’re like me and you also happen to be an HSP (highly sensitive person) – look out stress belly!
When you are constantly under stress, your hormone levels, such as cortisol and insulin are elevated. The elevation of these 2 hormones sabotages your weight loss efforts and can actually cause you to GAIN WEIGHT.
Say, what Carmen?
I’m not kidding.
“Feeling stressed can create a wide variety of physiological changes,
such as impairing digestion, depleting valuable nutrients,
decreasing beneficial gut flora, and decreasing your metabolism.
It also raises triglycerides, cholesterol, insulin, and cortisol levels.”
But at the same time, I hope you feel a little better knowing this.
Stop blaming yourself for your failed weight loss attempts, okay?
It’s not your fault!
You just didn’t know that how you were FEELING was actually the underlying problem.
You’re likely doing an excellent job eating right and exercising and if you aren’t, it’s probably your feelings of stress and overwhelm that are causing you to overeat.
So how do we fix it?
You need to get control of your emotions.
This doesn’t happen overnight and that’s why it’s a huge part of my “stress-free weight loss system”, but there are two things you can start doing today to help you get closer to your weight loss goal.
You need to learn to accept who you are and how you operate.
Your feelings and thoughts matter. They are real and they have purpose.
Just because you spend more time than others thinking things through and analyzing the future doesn’t mean you’re “broken” or have a “disorder”.
You’re a thoughtful, conscious, introspective person and that’s a GOOD thing!
For the next week, I want you to be mindful of your thoughts and accept them for what they are. Don’t fight them or push them away and don’t ignore it when something doesn’t feel right.
Honor yourself this week and appreciate that you have a mind that actually cares about what happens to you in the future.
The truth is, a lot of our anxiety and stress is caused by other people telling us that we need to be different………
Buy a notepad and keep it with you at all times this week because whenever a stressful or anxious thought enters your mind, I want you to write it down.
I want you to write down your thoughts and feelings because it’s important to know WHERE they are coming from and WHY they are distressing to you.
Sometimes our anxiety is justified in the moment, but most of the time we feel stressed and anxious because we have some unresolved issues that are lingering from our past.
Once you have your concern(s) written down, I want you to ask yourself, “why does this bother me” and continue to ask that question until you get to the root cause.
Stressful thought: I’m going to be late for work.
Why does this bother me?
Because I have a meeting this morning.
And why does THAT bother me?
Because everyone will stare at me when I walk in the board room.
And why does THAT bother me?
Because I don’t like being the center of attention.
And why does THAT bother me?
Because I’m not comfortable with people looking at me.
And why does THAT bother me?
Because I’m afraid people will see how fat I look in these pants.
And why does THAT bother me?
Because I don’t want people to see me as a “fat person”.
And why does THAT bother me?
Because I know I’m better than the way I look and I’m embarrassed when people see me looking this way.
Bingo! Now we are getting somewhere……
Do you see how it works?
Being stressed and anxious is rarely about what we think it is (i.e being late for work). It’s usually due to some unresolved feelings we have about ourselves or past experiences (i.e being embarrassed that we “look fat”) so this exercise is a really great way to get to the bottom of your true feelings.
These are big steps and they take practice so I want you to start there and let me know how it goes.
I also want you to know that I’ve been where you are and you are not alone.
If you get stuck, or have questions, head over to my Facebook Page and let me know how I can help.
Did you miss Part 1 of the New You Blog series? Check it out HERE
Til next time,
Have you said “bye bye” to sleeping through the night?
Are you feeling exhausted or “running on stress hormones” all day?
Do not fear, because I have some great tips (and an amazing recipe) for you!
The science of sleep is fascinating, complicated and growing and I’m completely obsessed with it!
Sleep is this daily thing we do and yet researchers are just beginning to understand how it helps us and all of the factors that affect our ability to get the recommended amount each night.
I really need to stress this - Sleep is super DUPER important because it affects just about everything in your mind and body!
Studies have shown that people who get less sleep tend to be at higher risk for health issues; including diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. OMG, right?
Not to mention the side effects of slowing down your metabolism and contributing to weight gain, hormone imbalance, and inflammation. Ugh, stress fat is real!
And don't forget the impact lack of sleep can have on moods, memory and decision-making skills.
It may even negate the health benefits of your exercise program? (Gasp!)
OMG – What aspect of health does sleep not affect, right???
Knowing this, it's easy to see the three main purposes of sleep:
Do you know how much sleep adults need?
It's less than your growing kids need but you may be surprised that it's recommended that all adults get
7 - 9 hours each night. For real!
Try not to skimp!
(Don't worry, I have you covered with a bunch of actionable tips below.)
I'm Carmen Lisa!
My mission in life is to share my simple philosophy for better health and greater happiness.
JOIN THE SMOOTHIE CHALLENGE
Mind, Body and Spirit
with the Gifts of
Living Food and a