The Raw Glow Blog

Category — Raw Food Coaching

List of Heart Healthy Foods – How to Take Care of Your Heart

list of heart healthy foods

In honor of Valentine’s Day in February, I thought I would create a list of heart healthy foods and give you some tips on how to take care of your heart all year long. The heart is the most important organ of the body, in my opinion, without it we can’t survive and we are only born with one! Hope you enjoy my list of heart healthy foods and tips for a healthy and happy heart.

(Some of the below links are affiliate links, yet I really do love and recommend these products!)

How to Take Care of Your Heart

  • Slow it down. Relaxation techniques such as meditation can lower your blood pressure and decrease your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Try this heart centered meditation I recorded whenever you need to relax:

Click here if you can’t see the video below.

Cecilia says: if meditation isn’t your thing, find other ways to relax such as massage, listening to beautiful music, being out in nature, or whatever helps you to relax.

  • Speed it up. Studies clearly show that exercise helps the heart, both by improving exercise capacity and reducing the risk of heart disease and premature death.

Cecilia says: find aerobic exercise that you enjoy such as walking, dancing, or swimming because you are more likely to be consistent by doing something you love.

  • Spice it up. Flavoring foods with more herbs and spices and less salt can enliven your diet while helping to keep your blood pressure balanced.

Cecilia says: preparing food with fresh herbs and spices can be so much fun! There are many quality herbs and spices on the market and I recommend buying in bulk to save money. You can get good quality bulk herbs and spices here.

  • Eat your greens. Research indicates that a diet rich in green leafy vegetables lowers the risk of heart disease.

Cecilia says: if salads aren’t your thing, try juicing or blending your greens for a daily delicious green drink.

  • Magnesium is your friend. Magnesium helps maintain normal heart rhythms.

Try these magnesium rich foods: pumpkin seeds, spinach, Swiss chard, sesame seeds, and summer squash.

  • Get your omega-3s. ALA an anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid that may reduce inflammation throughout the body. Inflammation in the body can damage your blood vessels and possibly lead to heart disease.

Try these omega-3 rich foods: walnuts, macadamia nuts, chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax, winter squash, olive oil, navy beans, kidney beans, and soybeans.

  • Eat the rainbow. A wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables deliver powerful phytonutrients that can prevent and repair damage to cells. That’s the essence of preventing heart disease.

Try these phytonutrient rich foods: blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries, blackberries, carrots, broccoli, sweet potato, red bell peppers, asparagus, oranges, tomatoes, acorn squash, cantaloupe, papaya just to name a few!

  • In summary, for a healthy heart try to relax, get moving, reduce your sodium intake, and try to include as many heart healthy foods into your diet as possible!

List of Heart Healthy Foods

(This list is not all inclusive)

All leafy greens

Magnesium Rich Foods

Swiss chard
pumpkin seeds
sesame seeds
summer squash

Omega-3 Rich Foods

macadamia nuts
chia seeds
hemp seeds
winter squash
olive oil
navy beans
kidney beans

Phytonutrient Rich Foods

sweet potato
red bell peppers
acorn squash

Thank you for visiting the Raw Glow Blog, if you liked this list of heart healthy foods and how to take care of your heart tips please “like it” below. Comments are always welcome.

From my heart to yours!


Get your heart healthy hemp seeds here:

February 19, 2014   No Comments

Starting a Raw Food Diet – Do’s and Don’ts

The Beginning

Many people are starting a raw food diet at the beginning of the year. Here are some words of wisdom from someone who embarked on this journey 11 years ago.

It has been 11 years since I started a raw food diet, and although I am no longer exclusively “raw” (I was for 5 years), I still eat a very high percentage of my food raw. I have also met and consulted with many people starting a raw or “rawer” diet over the years and have noticed a few patterns regarding the most common pitfalls people can make when starting a raw food diet.

When starting a raw food diet. . .

Do your research. There are many great raw food books out there, do yourself a favor and pick up a few. Blogs are awesome (obviously), but books will have all the information u need in one place, no google required. I recommend Becoming Raw for those starting a raw food diet because it covers raw food nutrition and contains a few raw recipes.

It also might be a good idea to research other types of diets that aren’t necessarily about raw  food such as The Body Ecology Diet, or The Macrobiotic Diet . . .(etc.). You can take concepts from non-raw books and apply them to the raw lifestyle while getting a different nutritional perspective.

Online or local classes are also a great way to get up to date information. I highly recommend The Vegan Mastery Online Program which will be opening up its doors soon. (If you are on my e-mail list, I’ll let you know when enrollment opens.) You are a pioneer on the cutting edge, know that you will be a life long learner of health, diet, and nutrition.

Don’t get all your information from one place or one person. Getting a mix of opinions when starting a raw food diet is a beautiful thing because it will help you to decide what will work for you. Also consider, does this information come from a personal experience, clinical experience, or research?

All types of information can be useful, but I take special notice of doctors who have worked with raw vegan populations and can say with authority what they noticed with their patients and what worked and what didn’t. I like to learn from Dr Alen Goldhamer, Dr Rick and Karin Dina, Dr Michael Klapper, Dr Joel Fuhrnam and Dr Ritamarie Loscalzo to name a few.

Do get your blood tested regularly. If possible, get your blood tested before embarking on a raw food diet and during as well. This will help you to avoid any nutritional deficiencies before they become a problem and can help you to chart your progress which can be very motivating.

Don’t stop going to the doctor or the dentist. Many issues can be avoided with a simple yearly checkup and physical. Doctors are the best at diagnosing, even if you decide to use a more holistic approach.

Do make sure you get enough calories. Most raw foods, with the exception of nuts, have less calories than most cooked foods. If you are not aware of this, you can easily become underweight. On the other hand, nuts tend to have more calories than people are used to eating and, if you not aware, you can easily become overweight!

Don’t expect to live on greens alone. As much nutrition as leafy greens have, they have very little calories. Living on just salads and green juices, most likely, will not be enough.

Do make realistic goals for yourself. Do you really need to be 100 percent raw? Why? Is this realistic for your lifestyle, climate, budget . . . (etc.). What makes you feel the most balanced, healthy, and sane? If adding some healthy cooked foods or even a little bit of animal protein helps you to thrive and stay on a healthy diet, then I say it’s a good thing.

I have seen too many people strive for perfection one week only to binge on junk the next. Everyone needs to find their happy place, and for each person it will be different.

Don’t focus solely on the food. You could eat the most pristine diet in the world, but if you are overworking yourself, sitting in front of the TV or computer all day, and not getting enough sleep, chances are, you’re not going to feel very good no matter what you eat.

I personally always feel my best when I’m meditating, exercising, being social, and eating well. It’s all about finding balance and obsessing about food choices and neglecting other areas of your life is not balanced or fun.

Do start small. If you are feeling overwhelmed with all the new information coming your way, just remember, you can always start small by changing one meal a day, changing your snacks, or just by adding more fruits and vegetables to every meal. These small changes will build on themselves until you gradually start to crave and enjoy healthier options.

Don’t isolate. Making any change in life is difficult and especially when you are going against the mainstream way of thinking and behaving. It can feel like you are a salmon swimming up stream. Seek out others on a similar journey, find a mentor, join a group, take a class, or just talk to someone! You are not alone, just slightly different (dare I say extraordinary) than most!

Do listen to your body. Constantly reevaluate whether what you are doing is working for you. Try not to mix your personal identity with what you eat. If you hang out with a crowd that judges you for what you eat, then you are hanging out with the wrong crowd; your only loyalty is to yourself and your health.

Don’t spend all day in the kitchen. Even though there are many gourmet and (complicated might I say) raw food recipes out there, online and in books, just know that the majority of long time people on raw foods only make gourmet raw food recipes on special occasions. For the most part raw fooders eat rather simply day to day.

Think salads, smoothies, soups, and fruit and leave the gourmet recipes for once in awhile. For a better idea of what a long term raw foodie eats I recommend these two e-books How the Top Raw Chefs Really Eat and What Do Raw Fooders Eat?. I am a proud contributor to both these e-books and they are both affiliate links.

Don’t go crazy with the cleanses. There are so many cleanses, fasts, and detox programs available online that it is tempting to want to believe in a quick fix that will clear up years of abuse to your body in one or two weeks. However, in most circumstances, I would recommend resisting the temptation to do an intense cleanse right away. Although in my experience some cleanses can be beneficial; if done improperly, you can cause some major damage and it will make you less likely to follow through on a healthy eating plan in the long run.

Do a supervised cleanse. If you still want to do a cleanse . . . first start slowly by changing your diet and then do some research on the best cleanse for you and your lifestyle. If you can afford to go to a reputable supervised detox or fasting center that is the best option, but if not, try your local colon hydro-therapist or naturopathic doctor. He or she will most likely have a safe detox regime for you that has worked for other patients as well.

Just keep in mind that the whole point of detoxing is to let your body rest and heal, working full time while undergoing most detox programs can do more harm than good. Try and schedule your detox regime on your days off and take it easy for best results.

And of course, before you start any new diet or detox program check with a qualified health practitioner first, especially if you have preexisting conditions.

Also, if you are new to my website, I have some great resources if you join my e-mail list such as raw food starter guide to get you started with some easy recipes and my essential raw pantry items list.

Wishing you a happy and healthy new year, always!


P.S. Any advice for those starting on a raw food diet? Please leave your suggestions in the comment’s section below.

January 1, 2013   4 Comments

Setting Weight Loss Goals Using SMART Goals Criteria

happy family

If you’re anything like me, you have goals for your life that you either think about on a day to day basis or you’ve written them down to remind you of what you want to accomplish.

Last month I attended a life coaching and yoga event by bardo coaching and they had us do a useful exercise where you evaluate your goals and determine if they are SMART. SMART is an acronym that can help you determine whether your goals are worthwhile and achievable. (According to Wikipedia the first known uses of the term occurred in the November 1981 issue of Management Review by George T. Doran.)

SMART Stands For: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-bound

Can you articulate more clearly what you are trying to do?

How will you know that you attained your goal?
Can you quantify or put numbers to your outcome?

Is this goal realistic?
Are there any things that would prevent you from accomplishing your goal?

Is this goal in accordance with your values?
Will this goal really make a difference in your life?

When will you reach this goal?
How long would it take to create a sustainable habit in this area?

The SMART criteria can be used for any type of goal but today we are going to focus on setting weight loss goals. For example, lets say you have the goal of losing some weight. If we measure the goal of losing weight by the SMART criteria we will need to make some changes to make it a SMART goal.

  • Is the goal of losing weight specific? The answer would be no, we can make it more specific by perhaps changing it: I want to lose ten pounds.
  • Is it measurable? Yes, we can measure weight loss on a scale or perhaps by the size of our clothes.
  • Is it attainable? Yes, losing ten pounds is attainable for most people.
  • Is it relevant? The answer to this question will depend on the individual, but perhaps the goal: I want to healthfully lose ten pounds would make the goal not only more specific, but more in accordance with someone who has health as one of their values as well.
  • Is it time-bound? No. We will need to give a time frame for this goal. How about: I want to healthfully lose ten pounds in two months or by (insert date here).

We have now changed our general goal of wanting to lose weight into a SMART goal: I want to healthfully lose ten pounds in two months.

One of my favorite quotes from Tony Robbins is:

If you talk about it, it’s a dream, if you envision it, it’s possible, but if you schedule it, it’s real.

Now that we have a SMART goal, we can start scheduling in activities into our lives that will help us achieve our weight loss goals such as working out, watching what we eat, positive visualizations, and affirmations . . .(etc.)

I hope you enjoyed this article and I hope it will help you to clarify your goals. Please do share your comments.


October 9, 2012   2 Comments

How to Control Food Cravings – 10 Ways to Comfort Yourself Without Food

woman at peace

We all get unhealthy food cravings from time to time that are hard to control.  There can be many reasons why we crave certain foods: it could be that we’re just plain hungry, stressed/emotionally upset, or physically addicted to the foods we are craving. Certain foods are more addictive than others such as high fat and high sugar foods, chemically processed foods, and sometimes we can be addicted to the foods we are allergic to.

However, no matter what the reason for our food cravings we are trying to satisfy a need in us, whether emotional or physical. To put it simply, we are trying to make ourselves feel better. Unfortunately, most of the time, if we give into unhealthy food cravings we end up feeling worse! Fortunately, there are other ways to comfort ourselves without food that won’t make us sick or leave us feeling guilty!

Here are ten ways how to control food cravings and comfort yourself without food. Try them next time the craving monster hits!

Next time you get a craving . . .

Tip #1  Try chewing on something instead of eating such as a piece of sugar free gum, a straw, seaweed, licorice root sticks . . .(etc.)

Tip #2  Try stimulating your mind by playing a crossword puzzle or suduko.

Tip #3  When wanting to zone out and eat mindlessly try flipping through a magazine instead, it doesn’t take much mental effort and can have a calming effect.

Tip #4  Try bringing yourself back to present moment by paying attention to you breath and any bodily sensations you are experiencing in the moment. Repeat the statement, “I am here now”.

Tip #5  Try making yourself more comfortable by changing into sweat pants, letting your hair down, finding a comfortable place to sit or lay down, and or snuggling up with your favorite blanket.

Tip #6  When looking for comfort without using food, try using the soothing effect of heat to calm your body such as drinking your favorite cup of herbal tea, or applying warm washcloth over your eyes or forehead.

Tip #7  Try giving yourself a quick self massage on your hands, feet, shoulders, ears, face, and scalp.

Tip #8  Try changing your mood with different scents. Essential oils are great way to experiment; some scents have a calming effect and others have an invigorating effect. You can use an aromatherapy humidifier, lamp or diffuser or simply pour the oil on a cotton ball and sniff anytime you need it!

Tip #9  Try listening to a piece of beautiful relaxing music such as classical or new age type music that has a calming or uplifting effect on your mood. If you need a quick pick me up try dancing for a few minutes to your favorite energizing music.

Tip #10  Try looking at pictures of loved ones that make you smile, and make sure to have these pictures handy next time a craving hits.

This blog post was inspired by the book 50 Ways to Soothe Yourself Without Food by Susan Albers, PSY.D, so if you liked these tips, check out the book! (Available on Amazon.)

If you have any other ways you like to comfort yourself without food, please do share!


P.S. If you would like some personal guidance on how to conquer cravings I am also available for a  raw food coaching session.

May 3, 2012   4 Comments

Changing Lifestyle Habits – What Inspires us to Change?


One of the things that has intrigued me about human psychology, is how often times we might know what the right thing to do is, but sometimes we do the opposite. For example, how many of us know that refined sugar is bad for us, fried foods, alcohol, or smoking cigarettes; but we still continue to consume them day after day?

Well you might say, people are addicted to substances such as junk food or nicotine and they can’t help it. I would agree with you, especially in cases of severe addiction, but what about the things we don’t do that are good for us such as exercise, meditation, rest . . .(etc.) It can’t be that we are addicted to not exercising or not meditating, right?

You might say, most people don’t have enough information on the benefits of exercising or eating healthy to make an informed decision.  And this might actually be true in some situations, but I have seen too many people go to the raw food expos and the potlucks year after year and I know they have, if anything, an overload of information on the benefits of eating healthfully. Yet, I see them year after year struggle with making healthy choices and positive changes in their lives. Why is this?

And I’m not immune oh no (I wish), I know I should get to bed earlier and exercise more, and not overeat . . .I know the benefits, so why is so hard for me to do the things I know are good for me?

For me personally, I know it is because I don’t make these things a priority. If I made them a priority I would put more energy into making them happen. For example, I recently made it a point to watch a sunset everyday, so I made the extra effort to set an alarm on my phone to remind me. It has worked beautifully and I haven’t missed a sunset since I set the alarm.

This leads me to an observation about human nature. We are easily programmable. This can be a good thing if we are programming ourselves. Like I mentioned earlier, setting an alarm to remind me to watch the sunset everyday has worked like a charm. Setting a routine of preparing healthy food everyday has become a habit I don’t even think about anymore, it has become so ingrained into my life and personality it doesn’t even occur to me to eat junk food . . . but it wasn’t always like that.

Over ten years ago I ate whatever I wanted, which was a combination of Spanish and American Cuisine, and my Mom’s idea of what a healthy diet should look like (think grape nuts cereal, 1% skim milk, chicken with no skin, and a lot of broccoli beef stir frys). I just ate what I was accustomed to eating growing up in my family. I never questioned it, and why would I? Everyone else around me was eating what I was eating and doing fine. Except for, I wasn’t doing fine. I was overweight and had Asthma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and Depression . . .

Like I said earlier, humans are easily programmable and this is good if we are programming ourselves, but not always beneficial if we allow society, our families, and our peers to influence all our choices. Many of us are making decisions about our diet and health on auto-pilot without questioning if there is a better way.

It’s like we are trains on a one way track. Do you know how much effort it takes to turn a train around? Quite a bit. Well it’s the same with humans. It takes a lot of effort to change diet and lifestyle habits and most of us will cruise on that one way track until a major event forces us to change direction. We need an impetus big enough to cause us to shut off the auto-pilot and wake up!

For some people, the impetus might be an illness or when someone close to them gets ill. For others, it might be a traumatic event that causes them to realize life is short. It might be that they don’t want to be a burden on their kids or they want to be around for their grand kids. We all have our reasons that inspire us take better care of ourselves!

I’ve observed that most of the time it isn’t just information that shakes up our world. I’ve never had someone write me and tell me that an article or a recipe that I’ve written inspired them to change their diet. It is always 100% of the time “my story” that touched them.

It’s usually something deeply personal that inspires us. Reading a story or meeting someone who has overcame the same obstacles we are going through can sometimes give us enough hope and enough push for us to prioritize getting healthy and reprogram ourselves.

I hope that you are able to take the time to think about the reasons that inspire you to take better care of yourself and if you need some extra inspiration from the stories of actual people that have changed their eating habits for the better I recommend the e-book “What do Raw Fooders Eat?” available again for this week only.

As I mentioned above, putting a face on the “nutritional facts” can be very powerful. And that is what I feel Nomi Shannon has done with her groundbreaking e-book “What Do Raw Fooders Eat?”. Not only do you get the daily recipes from 48 raw foodists, but most importantly, you get their stories. What inspired them to change? And what are the benefits they received from making the extra effort to eat healthfully?  This e-book might just be the little boost you need to turn your “train” around:)

Click here to learn more: *affiliate link

“What do Raw Fooders Eat?” e-book is available again for this week only Aug 16-23rd (with the 400 dollars worth of bonuses!) due to the many e-mails that were received that expressed disappointment for missing out on the offer. If you were disappointed, I do hope you can take advantage of this offer the 2nd time around!

Click here to learn more: *affiliate link


P.S. What is your reason to take better care of yourself? Please comment in the comments section below.

August 16, 2011   20 Comments