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Two Years Ago Today

Two years ago, on 11/27/16, my mom passed away in the corner bedroom of our weekend home in the country. Bunny loved the country. If you’ve read my prior blogs, you know that food addiction and the resulting side-effects of obesity and depression nearly ended my life at age 16. (link to story here) That was my “To Die For” chapter in life. On the second anniversary of her death, I would like to share a little about my mothers final “To Die For” chapter, taken from her eulogy.

“In the year prior to her death, the baton had been passed from mother to daughter. The one who cared for me was now entrusted in my care. It was the greatest honor and gift to hold my mom’s heart and hand as we traveled this road together.

There was great irony in the hospice journey with my mother. She had a complete colon blockage and could not eat or digest food in any form. I was so worried she would suffer from hunger and cravings in her final weeks, until her oncologist told me about a loophole that would provide her comfort – “pleasure feeding”. Even with a complete colon block, in which food would not pass through and could cause the colon to burst, she could feed for pleasure. Any bites she enjoyed were taken from her system via a feeding tube that had been converted to stomach pump, attached to a gravity bag, hanging on the side of her bed. So here I am, a certified holistic health coach, a whole food plant-based diet activist, feeding my mom anything she asked for, because at this point, what did it matter? She requested a steady stream of toxic treats like mounds bars, ice cream sandwiches and pizza…. Followed by sublingual chasers of morphine, methadone and dilaudid. Did I mention she would exclaim “To Die For” when enjoying her drug of choice, favorite foods? I had become her mule.”

And I heard her exclaim it over and over. ohh…“To Die For”! It eventually took on a different context. Was the toxic food she craved all her life the cause of the suffering she endured and her eventual painful death? The cancer was the final straw, but she had a lifetime of battles with weight, Crohn’s disease, COPD, diabetes, high blood pressure, fibromyalgia and very painful arthritis. And even though in the years prior to cancer, when staying with us for extended visits, symptoms would abate as she ate the plant-based meals I served, she would eventually return home to her habits and to her pain.

My question is why? Why are millions and millions of us willing to suffer when deep down, we know we have the power to within us to heal? Even if we doubt most of the time, we are more powerful and capable of healing ourselves than we dare to believe.

Today, I am choosing to share a picture that, to some, might be difficult to look at. It was taken by my husband as I napped with my mother, unbeknownst to us, in the final moments of her life. She did not suffer alone. And because of her and the charisma, strength and grace she displayed, Barbara Elaine Burns aka Bunny, my shero, I will continue to spread my message (and my life’s work) of compassion, self-empowerment and self-love through nutrition and energy healing.

I love you bunches & bunches mom.

P.S. My mom’s last and maiden name was Burns and mine is Bruns. That’s what happens when an irish girl marries a german boy.

I am passionate about helping others reach their best physical and emotional body. Are you ready for a supportive, interactive approach in taking charge of your life and health? Are you ready to rewrite your story? If the answer is yes, contact me HERE.

Watch this inspirational video   “To Die For” A Double Entendre

Need help rewriting your story?    Let’s get in touch

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Are You A Meat-Eating Vegetarian?

It’s the day before my birthday and I’m feeling nostalgic. Not sad, my heart is overflowing. I am taking time out while the husband is away to think of everything that brought me to this beautiful place in my life.

Would you believe that my birthday, October 1st, is World Vegetarian Day? It was founded in 1977 to promote the joy, compassion and life-enhancing possibilities of vegetarianism. It brings awareness to the ethical, environmental, health, and humanitarian benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle. Now, that’s interesting…. You can read more about it here: World Vegetarian Day

I started this path to compassion, health and preserving our planet as a vegetarian, then progressed to removing all animal foods from my diet (vegan) then evolved to a more healthful way of eating – a whole food plant-based diet, which means eating more fresh vegetables & fruits, less vegan processed foods and limiting or avoiding oil.

Sounds dreadful, huh?

I used to think so too when I considered going vegan in the past, but you know what? It’s not gonna be as hard as you think. If you are like I was, a bit squeamish about meat, grossed out by some of it’s slimy by-products, and uncomfortable when you pass the slaughter trucks on the highway, you might be a meat-eating vegetarian.

Now, you might be wondering what the heck I am talking about. What I’m saying is that most of us love animals. And many of us care for our pets as we would a family member. The average pet parent spends more than two thousand dollars a year, according to new research, totaling over $20,000 if a pet lives to be 10 years old. Some owners believe their pets have vastly improved their lives, 75 percent feel happier after adopting a pet, and 68 percent believe the animal gives them comfort. Some of us regularly cry to our pets and half have even shared a secret no one else knows about. Having a pet can lead to better health and many dog owners credit their improved exercise habits to their pets.

So, you love animals, kitty videos, The Dodo stories, get enraged when you hear about animal abuses and adore your pet. Maybe, you’re one of those rescue angels that uses spare dimes you don’t have, or time that is non-existent, to fund or do the heart-breaking work to save those precious lives that others have tossed away. Your heart is as big as the ocean……. yet you participate in speciesism. You operate from a paradigm that some species are worthier, are owed more, while others don’t deserve the same rights.

You love one and eat the other.

Pointing this out is not meant to be a judgement. It’s a point of view that I wish I had adopted earlier in life. Because from the age of 8, I felt really conflicted about eating meat. Yet, everyone was doing it, and I was told I had to finish my plate, and it was the “normal” thing to do. But after almost half a century of being an omnivore, on January 1, 2012, after watching a movie in which I felt the impact so deeply and irreversibly, it flipped a switch in my brain. I was done. Just like that, it was over. I stopped eating meat and never looked back. Because I loved animals, had such a sensitivity to any suffering, was deeply involved in animal rescue and I had to answer the question, why go to great lengths to save certain species, yet pay someone else to torture and slaughter others? Why live as a meat eating vegetarian when I could free myself of this inner conflict and not contribute to something I would never personally voluntarily do: hurt an animal. And the way I eat now not only improves health and fights chronic disease, it makes me very happy.

Are you a meat-eating vegetarian? Reach out! Because I’m celebrating my birthday, I’m offering you a get started session for FREE. Promise you, choosing something different will bring you to a much more delicious place in your life.

I am passionate about helping others reach their best physical and emotional body. Are you ready for a supportive, interactive approach in taking charge of your life and health? Are you ready to rewrite your story? If the answer is a resounding YES! Contact me HERE

Watch this inspirational video   “To Die For” A Double Entendre

Need help rewriting your story?    Let’s get in touch

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Simple Formula for Eating Plant-Based When Your Family Doesn’t

Two vegans walk into a butcher shop…….

I’m sure there is a joke out there with a punch line at the end of that sentence. It popped into my mind as I started to write, “Two vegan’s surviving Turkey Day without a Family Feud”. Oh, the holidays……

My sister Aimee and I eat a whole food plant-based diet (it’s vegan, but different. I’ll explain that one in another blog). We had a great time with family in Florida for her first plant-based Thanksgiving, although she’s behind the camera in this picture.

So, if your considering eating this way, or are new to it, but your family or partner isn’t onboard, how do you do it?

First, know that it doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. And for the record, there was no concern about us having a family feud on this or any other holiday. Our family has been very supportive of the way we eat. Especially since my sister’s transition to a whole food plant-based diet. Why? Because it probably saved her life. Who would argue with that? She was able to avoid the second heart-bypass surgery, lost 30 pounds, is managing her type 1 diabetes better than ever with a current A1C of 5.6, healed hashimoto’s thyroiditis, liver & bladder disease and is no longer chronically depressed. There’s more, but you get the idea. The only area that may not improve is cognitive function. At one point she was diagnosed with early stage Alzheimer’s, but the diagnosis was downgraded to cognitive dysfunction. The years of seizures and uncontrolled blood sugars took a toll on her brain and it may not regenerate, however, she will be able to stop the decline and is so happy with her progress.

Why am I writing about Thanksgiving this time of year? Well, it will be here before you know it and the picture inspired the thought because we don’t have many of us sitting together for a meal. Plus a friend recently sent an email asking “How do you deal with the switch to a vegan diet when the rest of your family is not onboard? I think that is a huge stumbling block. What a pain to have to make one thing for me and something else for the rest of my family.”

That’s a great question! So, we’ll talk about it today and in the coming weeks, talk holiday strategies in more detail. The good news is that there is a simple formula for eating plant-based when your family does not. This issue usually presents at dinner more than other meals, so that’s where we’ll focus for now.

There are amazing plant-based recipes out there such as: sweet potato & black bean enchiladas, stuffed portobella mushrooms, bean chilis, lasagnas, soups, stews, casseroles, pizza’s, falafels etc. I have served up these dishes to the most die hard meat eaters without complaint. There are also great transition foods such as plant-based burgers, sausages, chicken-less tenders and cheeses. Veganizing comfort foods is not difficult once you learn about the ingredients, substitutions, methods and the nice to have kitchen tools. That’s where a coach comes in and can make the transition more comfortable. You don’t have to have a coach, I didn’t. But, boy if I had known that was an option, I would have signed up right away and saved myself time and frustration.

You’ll most likely not get away with serving your loved ones vegan meals every day. What to do? Make staple foods that the household will eat as side dishes along with their protein of choice that you’ll eat as your main course. What would that look like? Starches like potatoes, rice, pilaf’s, lentils, quinoa, beans, tortillas eaten with highly micronutrient vegetables raw or cooked/roasted, eaten plain or as salads, slaws or dishes. You can make old standby’s like mac & cheese vegan, no one will know, and make buddha bowls or poke bowls and explore spices and cuisines from around the world such as Indian, Thai, Japanese, Caribbean, Mexican, Italian, French or Spanish. It’s amazing how your palate and creativity opens when you go plant-based. You could opt to have more simple meals like broccoli & rice, quinoa stuffed potatoes, or bean burritos with a big salad or steamed veggies. Need more ideas? This is what I did with one giant pan of mushrooms one recent week:

1) Portobello burger
2) Stuffed with fava bean puree
3) In a massive salad
4) Made into a meatless loaf

Your options are endless and the portions, LARGE. This is about quality of food, not quantity. No calorie counting. Eat when you are hungry, stop when you are full. How does that sound so far? If the formula doesn’t seem simple to you, reach out to me at Vegsetter.com for a complimentary” confidence boosting” consultation. I’d love to support you in eating plant-based, even if your family doesn’t.

I am passionate about helping others reach their best physical and emotional body. Are you ready for a supportive, interactive approach in taking charge of your life and health? Are you ready to rewrite your story? If the answer is a resounding YES! Contact me HERE

Watch this inspirational video   “To Die For” A Double Entendre

Need help rewriting your story?    Let’s get in touch

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This Strange Tapping Thing – In Action

The practice of Tapping might look strange at first, but one quickly gets over it when the magic kicks in. I am the “client” in the video below as a colleague and I work with each other on clearing blocks, cliches and limiting beliefs. You too may have some beliefs that are driving your unconscious thoughts and choices. Ever hear yourself saying ” Money doesn’t grow on trees” “Everyone in our family is overweight” “Nobody said it would be easy”. How is that serving you, and how liberating would it be to release these anchors?

Even though I was a magnet to mosquitoes, which was irritating, you’ll see that at around 1 minute and 15 seconds there’s a shift in my body. I recall the moment. What was happening is “happy” chemicals like Dopamine, Serotonin, Endorphins or Oxytocin were entering my bloodstream. Did you know you can access these feel good neurotransmitters any time by Tapping?

If you didn’t catch my blog last week, go back an check it out: Tapping Into a Delicious Life in No Time Flat.

I have used Tapping with great success to help friends, family and clients with pain, anxiety, phobias and panic attacks, but it’s my desire to transmute emotional overeating that inspired me to pursue advanced training. If you weren’t using food as a form of anesthesia, what emotions might surface for you? Sometimes we don’t know the answer to this question because we’ve never been “without” the food. The overeating continues so the emotions don’t surface. Are you numbing yourself and if so, what is it you are trying to supress?

But, this strange Tapping thing is too powerful to NOT use it for just about anything that keeps us from living our most delicious life. EFT uses elements of Cognitive Therapy and Exposure Therapy, and combines them with Acupressure, in the form of fingertip tapping on 12 acupuncture points. Over 100 papers published in peer-reviewed medical and psychology journals, including dozens of clinical trials, have demonstrated that EFT is effective for phobias, anxiety, depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, pain, and other problems. So, if you have any roadblocks to being, doing or having what you most want to experience, I’d love to put this in action for you and show you just how much easier the shift can be.

I am passionate about helping others reach their best physical and emotional body. Are you ready for a supportive, interactive approach in taking charge of your life and health? Are you ready to rewrite your story? If the answer is a resounding YES! Contact me HERE

Watch this transformational video   “To Die For” A Double Entendre

Need help rewriting your story?    Let’s get in touch