More and more often these days I get asked questions about how to lose weight? Tighten up? Stay healthy? Keep my energy up to work, chase kids, and still cook dinners? Maintain balance?

The answer is: there are no easy answers! But there are definitely tips I’ve picked up along the way and incorporated into my daily life that help the process. Lots of the “crazy” things I do seem strange to friends, were strange to me at the beginning, but have become easy, normal, regular.

I do my best to keep it natural and whole, so looking to other cultures’ traditional ways are often what I guide myself towards. For this list (and I’ll post more in the future!) I’m going to avoid what I believe to be obvious (drink lots of water, avoid processed foods, keep away from sugar…) and focus on what may feel a bit more obscure.

Incorporate any of these, maybe one at a time to see if they are working for you, and definitely let me know how they make you feel!

With a new season upon us, my favorite season of the year!, it’s the perfect time to clean up shop starting from the inside out.

So, with no further adieu:

Chia seeds. Packed with omegas and fiber, they are an easy addition to almost any baked goods, pudding, salad, drink! I add them to my water or tea whenever I can remember to. They give a burst of energy and nutrition without adding any taste.

Turmeric. I add it to my cooking whenever I can. It’s amazing for your immune system and brain! Highly anti-inflammatory, it is also a great compliment to any fitness regime.

Essential oils. Now these deserve a whole post of their own, but I diffuse these in the house, use them in my kids baths, take them internally as remedies. Here are a few ways: lavender is amazingly calming for bath time or diffusing in the house before bed time. It is also a powerful wound healer! I use tea tree for skin conditions of any sort (think rashes, pimples, itchy sun burn). Peppermint is amazing used internally as a digestive aid or in a bath to invigorate tired muscles. Eucalyptus clears stuffy noses and sinuses. Orange is our happy scent. Lemon goes down the drain to make the kitchen smell good! I could go on…

Lemon. I squeeze it into and onto anything appropriate. Water, salad, avocado. It is detoxifying and purifying and also delicious.

Apple cider vinegar. I swig it in the morning and a couple times throughout the day when I’m trying to cleanse or boost my metabolism. It’s probiotic and detoxifying and invigorating! Wakes me right up!

Eat and drink greens. Duh.

When I do eat poorly (cause we all do once in a while), I take digestive enzymes to help my body break down what its not used to eating. This just help the body’s natural processes.

Saurkraut (or anything naturally fermented). Naturally fermented foods contain probiotics which help our digestive system do what it needs to do. Our gut is also the hub for the first stop in our immune system, so keeping your gut healthy keeps you healthy!

Avoid the bread. This one is simple. I avoid bread unless it is really worth it. Don’t all or nothing anything, but in my opinion, bread should be worth it! Wait for what’s good and hold back on the empty calories whenever you can.

Eat enough! Too many people that come to me for help are simply not eating enough. By eating too little we are tricking our metabolism into actually hurting our weight loss goals instead of helping us. This deserves a much longer post, but the short end is this: by eating too little our bodies hold onto calories instead of burning them due to what we call fight or flight mode. Basically our body gets nervous about not knowing when our next meal is coming since we are feeding it so little and it conserves what it’s got instead of burning it off. Got me??! Don’t starve yourself! Ever!

Brain Food

This is my gorgeous, smart, sweet-as-hell friend Shira Burstein:

Shira Burstein
Shira Burstein

Actually, she is my sister's friend, for many many years (I've posted a picture of the two of them from many moons ago at the bottom of this post;)). We have considered her family for a very long time now and I am so proud of the woman she has grown up to become. She wrote me this article and I wanted to share it with you because, well, I love her ideas and insight. So few people connect what we put in our bodies with how they work! Here's a bit of her story and how she figured it out...and quick!

Recently, during a particularly stressful day I found myself grabbing for my 'go to' large frozen pizza and a Ben and Jerrys' pint of Coffee Heath Bar Crunch. I had been so 'good' so healthy and clean in my diet and the way I treat my what was going on? Human beings don't always eat because we are hungry.  We eat for a variety of reasons.  Food can be the tangential encounter to the entire gamut of emotional experiences.  We can eat when we are stressed, lonely, afraid, bored or even use it as a celebration.  The problem with using food as an emotional bandage is that it doesn't solve anything. For me, seeing the bottom of that ice cream container really didn't solve a thing!  In fact the aftermath of the moment caused me to feel guilty and angry leading into unrelenting self-disparagement. I imagine I'm not the only one who has had this experience. The proverbial 'icing on the cake' then turns into another round of emotional eating creating an even bigger problem.  The question remains how do we stop this conundrum? How do I stop it and how do I address the connection eating has with mental wellness when my own clients bring these issues up in my professional life as a therapist?

All of us use food from time to time as a source for either comfort or celebration.  It is when food becomes our 'go to' tool <like my nightmareish  dairy and carb binge>  for coping that we are create  a multifaceted problem.  The foods that we go to for comfort are usually deleterious to our health.  Either loaded with sugar, refined carbohydrates or loaded with saturated fats.  These foods trigger a part of our brain that is linked to addictive behavior. Pringles, didn't re-invent the wheel when they came up with the slogan, "Once you pop, you can't stop!" In fact it should be looked at as a Surgeon General Warning both for our bodies and our minds. There have been multiple studies that have shown that sugar and saturated fats are just as addictive as cocaine. In fact, I find them to be even more dangerous because they are all around us and so easily accessible.

So what is the solution? I started thinking about my training in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. CBT talks about changing maladaptive thoughts in order to change our affect and behavior. The use of helping people challenge and replace the tendency to magnify negatives, engage in self-defeating thoughts and distortions. These distortions can be about who we are and what we are capable, or deserving of for example. CBT looks to replace these negative thoughts with more realistic, mindful and positive thoughts, leading then to positive behavioral choices.

Perhaps we need to recognize the potential danger inherent in these foods and work to extinguish the habituated response that is often triggered first by the emotional catalyst.

If I find myself searching in the pantry or the refrigerator at the first sign of being upset, angry, lonely, tired, anxious  I try and ask myself what is truly underlying on an emotional level?  The more frequently I use food as an emotional salve the stronger that behavior becomes and the more unclear I will be as to what the costs and benefits are of using food in place of using my intellect or self-awareness. Maybe the answer is to find alternative thoughts about the food we put inside our body so that we can fully address emotional triggers and not put ourselves in a dangerous cycle. Food is such a powerful part of our lives. It can be the impetus for ill health both physically and emotionally, or it can be the source of vitality and power. The choice is yours as to how you want to deal with it. What are some ways or techniques that you find helpful when you find yourself parked in the pantry or refrigerator?

Shira Burstein, LCSW


Liza and Shira
Liza and Shira

Combating it all

Love Life and Lollipops- Ginger

Between the stress from moving and this crazy cold season, my immune system has been hit with the worst.  Luckily I avoided any major sickness despite the fact that it went around my house and hit my babysitter and Bar pretty hard. Love Life and Lollipops- Ginger

Here are some tips on keeping your immune system boosted to avoid the flu and some tips on how to heal quick and soothe in case you do get hit:

In avoidance of:

  • Green juice!  Add lots of lemon and ginger.  Lemon helps our bodies detoxify while ginger is an immune booster and anti-inflammatory.  Chlorophyll is like a blood transfusion (not literally of course).  It is chemically similar to hemoglobin, so cleans our blood and gives us a boost.  It's life at it's simplest form.
  • Green tea.  The benefits are too long to list.  Drink it!  Lots!
  • Avoid sugar.  It's bad for everything and taxes your system.
  • Eat whole grains, enough fiber, tons of veggies, beans beans beans.
  • Neti pot on a regular basis and use salt.
  • Take your vitamins!  Specifically a whole foods multi, vit D, omegas, probiotics.
  • Get enough sleep!  I can't stress how important this is.  As a parent of young children, I understand life can get in the way and getting enough sleep can feel impossible, but sleep and stress can dictate how our lives go.  They both control our energy levels and motivation among other things!

In the case you feel something coming on or find yourself stuck with a cold:

  • Use your humidifier and put 5-10 drops each of tea tree oil, lavender, eucalyptus.  If you can find it, replace the tea tree with medieval mix or thieves.
  • Green juice!
  • Take zinc, echinacea, and 1000mg of buffered vit c with bioflavanoids on top of your regular vitamins.
  • For a cough or anything bronchial make a drink consisting of the following: apple cider, the juice of one orange, honey (preferably ginger, garlic, 1/2 onion, cinnamon, turmeric.  Bring it to a boil, let it simmer for 10-15.  Drink it warm!
  • Make a natural chest rub of any oil or lotion you like along with a few drops of eucalyptus and tea tree oil.
  • Neti pot.
  • Miso soup!!

Good luck!  Stay healthy!  Enjoy this gorgeous winter!

Balance Throughout

image via My sister-in-law, Rachel, threw her back out.  She thinks it was too much intense spin class (she's my Soul partner).

Back pain is the worst!  I am prone to getting it (thank mom!) and it's totally debilitating.

So it got me thinking, my back was pretty achy for a while since I have been spinning like crazy these days.  And because of the summer and being off schedule, I'd gotten out of the habit of regular yoga.  And you know I love me some yoga!

But there's only so much one can fit into a day, right?  NO!  Without even thinking too much into it, I fell back into the habit of morning sun salutations.  I'd wake up achy, get Avi off to school, the baby napping, and sneak in some 15-20 minutes of yoga (ok, sometimes it's only 10, but still...).

It immediately transforms me.  I feel lighter, brighter, more energetic.  Less pain, aches, tightness.

Moral of the story: I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN, since it's what I preach to all of my nutrition clients: balance!

Nothing is entirely good or bad for you.  But too much of anything can wear you down.  And without the right counterbalance, you'll fall off track!

So...balance your spin with yoga,  your vegan pizza binge with a fresh salad, too much wine with umeboshi plums, lack of sleep with a hot aromatherapeutic bath...

Take care of yourself!  So push yourself, but allow yourself to relax too, fix what needs fixing and soften where those edges get too rough;)  We can all squeeze a little self-care into our day, even if we don't think we can find the time, it's surprising where we can find it when we need it.

Fridge Staples

Love Life and Lollipops- Better Than Roasted Cashew Butter

Last week, over a recuperating lunch after spin, my friend Ali and I got to talking about my blog and how I want to work on expanding it and yada yada.  Long story short, she said she wanted more direct info, i.e. products to buy, snacks to eat, etc.  So I figured I'd start with my refrigerator staples.  Things I keep stocked all the time, that we can't live without, that make being vegan and healthy, delicious. Here are some of my favorite things (that need to be kept cool):



image via

Hope this is good for you Ali;)

And I'll be doing a series of these types of posts, so if any of you have any requests, email me or comment here:)


Seaweed: Delicious, Healthy, Healing

Love Life and Lollipops- Wakame

image via By now, I'm sure you've all heard how healthy seaweed is.  It's high in B vitamins (which help us with energy, metabolism, healthy hair and skin, reproductive health, among other things), minerals, and antioxidants.  It is superlow in calories and high in nutrients.

So there's no question that you should have more of it in your diet, right?!?  That said, most people I talk to have no clue how to include it.  So I thought I'd include some of the ways seaweeds are part of my daily diet and regimen:

  1. Kombu- I pop 2-3" on kombu seaweed into the soaking water with my beans every time I make them regardless of the recipe.  When I drain the beans I take the kombu (now soft) and cut it up into little pieces and cook it together with the beans.  It helps the digestibility of the beans!
  2. Wakame- I use wakame in my miso soup.  In the pre-miso stage of cooking, I boil it in with the onions and other veggies.  It gives the soup a fabulous flavor and ups the healing quality exponentially.
  3. Nori- I sprinkle nori on top of my miso soup as a garnish, but we all also snack on it at home.  You can eat it plain and it's delicious.  It's pretty easy to find the roasted seaweed snacks around these days too. They're Avi's favorite (mine too).
  4. Kelp and Dulse- I have shakers of each of these that I use as condiments.  They're fabulous over some avocado toast;)

Ok, so time to get to it!  Include some seaweed into your diet today and feel good on the inside and outside too;)

Tea Tea Tea oh and more Tea!

image via I’m a tea freak.  Honestly, I drink tea all day every day.  I love it!  I shy away from black because of it’s caffeine content, but anything else (for the most part) does the trick for me.  I like green tea (usually a fruity one) in the morning, always iced in the warm months, lemon, no sweetener ever, spicy in the winter.

I use tea as a soothing agent, healing tonic, a way of slowing down.  Lately I’ve been mixing a peppermint tea with my nightly hot green tea.  The combination is an amazing digestive aid.  It helps sooth my nerves at the end of a long day and settle my stomach after dinner.  I’m addicted!  When I don’t have a green tea at night I feel unsettled.  It’s amazing how powerful a hot cup of tea can be!

Challenge: Meatless Monday

I've received emails from many of you telling me of your newfound veganism and all the benefits you're reaping from it!  And I can't tell you how happy it makes me to feel a part of that.

Sooooooo, for this Motivational Monday post, I thought I'd challenge you all.  The less meat we eat is better for our bodies and for our environment.  There is a non-profit initiative going on called Meatless Mondays.  Basically, the idea is to not eat mean on Mondays!  Many restaurants incorporate it into their menus and it's catching on with tons of people (even celebrities and the like;)).

I wanted to take this chance to challenge you all.  For those of you who are still omnivore, try cutting out meat entirely one day per week (I guess it doesn't have to be Monday, but make a conscientious effort to really cut out all meat one day per week).  Meat should be defined as beef, poultry, get the point.  For those of you who are vegetarian, try cutting out all animal products (including dairy and eggs).  And for you fellow vegans out there, do your best to have a really clean day.  That means no fake meats or cheeses, fried foods, whites (sugar, flour, again, you get it!).

I think it's important to keep challenging ourselves to be better, try harder, do more.  Otherwise we fall into a rut.  Even if it's a good rut, we can all do a little better.  Life is a journey and we should always be moving forward!

Kombucha Love

Summer feels like a time to detox, lighten, brighten.  My activity level goes up, my eating habits change, add a little of this, take out a little of that, you get the picture.

For a while now I've been loving what kombucha does for me.  Generally it gives me energy, helps detox, aids in digestion, among other things.  It is an age old tonic that incorporates perfectly into my modern life.  I love to have one in the afternoon when I'm feeling a little hungry or sleepy, but know I don't need more food, before or just after a workout, to start my day...

Here are some internet kombucha reads worth checking out (including one from right here at Love Life and Lollipops;)):

Even Baby Bar loves it!  Check her out:

Raw Foods for Summer

Love Life and Lollipops- "Burgers" and salad from One Lucky Duck

Yesterday I met my fabulous friend Shachar Scott for lunch.  We've been friends forever and after so many years, we still love so many of the same things.  I love that she has such a passion for health and food like I do.  It was my first meal at One Lucky Duck and it was beyond yummy!

One Lucky Duck is raw and vegan and totally delicious.  We had "burgers" and salads and then I forced her into sharing a sundae with me (it was unreal).  Everything was unbelievable.  I'd go so far as to say indulgent.

Summertime seems like the perfect time for raw foods.  When our bodies are a bit depleted from longer days, sweating more, being more active, we need those live enzymes to keep us energized.  Raw foods keep us cool, are easy to digest, alkalize our blood, give us direct energy (without asking our bodies to expend much to get it).

So why not try out a raw meal this week?  If there aren't any fabulous raw food restaurants in your area, try just incorporating more raw foods into your home meals.  Think salad, fruit, coconut water, coconut butter or oil, raw nut butters, raw cacao...