Learn More About the Angel Way, Annie and Karen

Monday, February 28, 2011

Soothing tired skin...an Angel suggestion

Lately, I've been enjoying a salt water bath every other day.  I don't stay in the tub longer than 15 or 20 minutes, and I like to add snips of the fresh herbs I've managed to nurse through the winter...rosemary, sweet basil and aloe.  This morning I was thinking about the facial I enjoyed on vacation... and was wishing I could replicate its soothing feeling on my skin. 

Any suggestions, I asked, as I prepared my tub. And sure enough... this is what the Angels said to do.  This mask is especially energizing for "mature" skin (like mine.)

You will need

3 regular aspirin, uncoated. 
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons fresh finely grated potato

In mortar and pestle, grind aspirin to fine powder.  Add honey and potato, stir well.  Apply mixture to face and throat, avoiding the area around your eyes.  Leave on approximately ten minutes.  Rinse off with warm water, pat dry.  The salicylic acid in the aspirin as well as the enzymes in the honey will act to stimulate and exfoliate the dead cells on top.  The potato contains agents that help fade age spots and is also beneficial for blemishes. 

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Living "now"

One of the hardest things for me is to remember to live in the present moment.  As a single mother, I was always worrying about something.  As a writer, there's always a reason to fret.  I spend a lot of time wondering if I do such and such, or say such and such, what will happen next.  And usually, I can think of so many bad things that might happen next, I can scare myself right under my covers. 

Yet every time this happens, I "hear" the Angels, reassuring me, reminding me to breathe, to relax, to focus on the one small thing I might do to change or ameliorate my present situation.  My life is changing dramatically right now.  I'm standing on the threshold of a whole new phase of my life - and as exciting as that is most of the time, sometimes, it's really scary.  When I feel myself starting to become overwhelmed by the fear, I slow down and stop to the extent that I can.  Then, I take a few minutes and just breathe. 

Mindful breathing is a wonderful way to connect to your sense of the present.  According to the Angels, most of us walk around all day without giving much thought ever to the miracle of respiration that happens in our bodies every minute.  Connecting to the sensation of the breath entering the lungs, filling the deep spaces, enabling the essential oxygen to enter our cells, grounds us in the moment.  The breath can quite literally become a lifeline, or an anchor, stabilizing our emotions and the rest of our energy around the flow of air.  This image, of our physical bodies anchored to a pulse of flowing air is a wonderful metaphor.  When I remember that what flows in and through me and keeps me alive at every moment is that column of moving air, I become more aware of the other invisible aspects of my being as well as the invisible energies all around me.  Then I know I am not alone. 

The world can feel like a chaotic, ever-changing, sometimes frightening place.  The Angels urge us to take some time every day, breathing and paying attention to the intangible elements that sustain us. 

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Sunday, February 27, 2011

Three ways to win....

In honor of March as National Nutrition Month, Karen and I are hoping YOU - our Angel followers and members of our Facebook Group will help spread the Angel's messages.  As a bonus, we're going to offer some prizes - all organic or hand-made, of course! - for those of you who help the most. 

There will be THREE ways to win...and THREE great prizes:  each winner will receive a basket of Angel-inspired gifts that include a lovingly created mini art-journal - perfect for planning and listing and an herbal tea, chosen specially for you.

So please consider helping us...here's how to win:

1.  The person who recruits the most members to our Facebook Group.
2.  The person who retweets our tweets on twitter.com the most.
3. The person who recruits the most followers to our blog. 

For 1 and 3, please have the person leave a comment telling us your name, and for 2, please send me a tweet (@anniekelleher) to let me know you've retweeted.  Thank you so very much!!
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Saturday, February 26, 2011

Prizes! There will be prizes!

Did you know March is National Nutrition Month?  In honor of this, Karen and I are turning to YOU to help us spread the word about Eating...the Angel Way.   Both of us have experienced so many positive changes since adapting the Guidelines into our own lives.  Both of us know so many people who have found "peace of plate."  Both of us know so many people who have experienced positive changes since embracing the "Angel Way" of eating...and all the healthiest people we know already followed the Guidelines without realizing it!

We hope you'll help us.  And to give you incentive, we will offer (at least!) three wonderful prizes as well as (at least) three different ways to win.  Categories will be in things like - recruiting blog followers; retweeting on Twitter, mentioning us on your blog and Facebook. 

If you've followed the Ten Guidelines, you know all the wonderful changes that are possible.  The Angels want the word spread because we cannot heal the public aspects of our lives on this planet until we also begin to heal our fundamental relationship with that which sustains us personally.  Please help us fulfill this aspect of the Angel messages.

More details to follow....coming soon!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ten Angel Way Guidelines NEW PAGE

See our new page where you can download and print the Ten Guidelines!
Post on your fridge or shrink the size and carry in your wallet or purse!


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Starting your day...the Angel Way or, Detoxing, part three

How does your day begin?  In quiet meditation, perhaps with some gentle yoga or stretching, a warm bath, an energizing cup of tea?  For most of us, mornings are just the prelude to very busy days...perhaps you genuinely don't have time to add one more thing into your morning routine.  Taking even five minutes to sit, breathe, meditate or stretch can seem like just one more chore. 

The Angels suggest, however, that just as taking the time to eat something nourishing will fuel your body for the work it's about to do, takng a few minutes to focus and to pay attention to the entire state of your bodymind can help you accomplish that work more efficiently and more productively, with greater clarity and sense of purpose.

As part of your Spring detox, the Angels suggest pay attention to your daily routines and rituals.  Don't necessarily try to change them, or add to them...just notice them.  Try carrying a small notebook or journal - such as the beautiful ones my friend Rose makes at Walk In the Woods, LLC  - and notate the order in which you habitually do things.  You may find, as I did, ways to streamline, or change habitual routines to make them more satisfying, such as switching to mostly organic and green cleaning products.   Small changes can make big differences over time - one grain at a time the ants move mountains.

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Monday, February 21, 2011

Eating organically...the broader implications

The eighth guideline, "Eat as locally and organically as possible," is at first glance as simple and straightforward as it sounds.  But the reasons for it are not. 

All foods contain energy.  The energy in food is shaped by the experience of the food as it was raised and produced.  It is affected by the energy of the people who harvest and handle it, so that by the time it reaches our tables, it can carry energetic imprints both positive and negative. 

According to the Angels, these energetic imprints, whether or not we are aware of them, can affect us over time.  As you follow the guidelines, you may find as I did, that you become more sensitive to the energetic imprints in foods.  It therefore becomes easier to make the organic choice more often than not, because of the "feeling" in the food.    

According to the Angels, as more and more of us make the organic, humane, respectful choice more often than not, the broader world will begin to shift.   Because food production is the fundamental human activity upon which our entire culture rests, this is an area where our personal choices can have some very public impact. 

Remember when you're thinking of detoxing your body that detoxing ourselves is as much about detoxing our environment, and that environment includes not only the food we put into our bodies, but where it comes from, how it's produced, who brings it to us and how all those beings are treated.   We can begin by making the kindest, healthiest, most respectful choices for ourselves, but ultimately, true detoxification can only happen when all of us extend those same loving, kind and respectful choices to the entire planet and every being on it. 
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Thursday, February 17, 2011

Paying attention or, detoxing the Angel Way, part two

Have you paid attention to yourself today?  Paying attention to yourself is not quite the same thing as being nice to yourself or doing something nice for yourself.  Paying attention to yourself is about being true to yourself.  It's about acknowleging how you really feel and what you really want - if only to yourself - at any given point in time. For many people, especially those of us who are caregivers, paying attention to ourselves is something we very seldom really do.  When my children were small, for example, I frequently found that when I did take time "for myself" I was so exhausted I felt numb.  Paying attention to yourself, however, can happen at any time or place, in the middle of a hundred things. 

Paying attention to yourself can mean you stick to your guns in an argument, or you screw your courage to the sticking place (to borrow from one of my favorite writers) and ask for the schedule change at work you've been wishing you could have.   Paying attention to yourself might mean saying "no" politely,  as well as indulging in a treat.  Paying attention to yourself is about finding ways to validate your own emotions - both positive and negative - for yourself.  According to the Angels, an important aspect of detoxification doesn't mean getting rid of negative feelings or thoughts.  It's about acknowledging those emotions, and paying attention to them, rather than repressing or denying them.

The Angels urge us all to pay attention to ourselves every day, even if only for a minute or two.  The Angels urge us to recognize all states of our being without judgement.  The Angels understand that for many of us, food becomes the means by which we express some of our deepest and most critical beliefs about ourselves. 

For example, I had a friend who was so uncomfortable expressing her negative emotions - most especially anger - that the way she dealt with conflict was to simply shut whoever she had a conflict with out of her life.  What was extremely interesting about this woman was that she denied herself all red meat, dairy, wheat gluten, soy, caffiene and alchohol.  This was all without any medical or other alternative diagnosis of any kind of food allergies or any other condition that might indicate the need to embrace such an ascetic regimen.   She didn't have any particularly spiritual or political reason either - she was neither vegan nor vegetarian, since she would eat poultry, fish and eggs, and found many vegan or vegetarian dishes unacceptable because of the inclusion of wheat or soy.  The last I heard she was considering giving up eggs.  According to the Angels, her food choices (or in her case, food eliminations) reflected her emotional state of denial.  The way she treated food reflected how she treated people...and most importantly of all, how she treated HERSELF. 

Taking time therefore, every day, to acknowledge what it is we might want or feel or need at any given point in time is an important step in accepting every aspect of ourselves - even those we might prefer not to acknowledge.  The Angels see nothing negative about the emotions we often label negative - our emotions evolved to keep us alive.  Fear, grief and anger are part of our human experience. The Angels urge us to begin to embrace these aspects of ourselves by paying attention the next time we feel afraid, angry or sad, not repressing or denying them.  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chobani...The Angel Way Recipe-- Guacamole Alternative

I have to say I had never heard of Greek style yogurt until Annie introduced me to Chobani Yogurt. Being a yogurt lover, I can't believe I did not discover Chobani sooner. Perhaps the Angels intervened on my behalf and I am so glad they did because I have so many ways to love Chobani:

Chunky Chobani Chicamole

I don't like guacamole that much but I love my Chicamole!

1 large can of chick peas (the really big can of Goya is one I use)
1 small cup of plain chobani yogurt (six oz)
seasonings of your choice-- examples:
artichoke hearts--diced very well; sundried tomato; grated parmesean or romano cheese, chopped pitted olives; diced green or red pepper; etc

alternative:  raisins, 1 tbsp honey, cranberries (these items are spooned in after the chicamole is blended)

I use a Magic Bullet blender.
I place the yogurt in first, then the chick peas, blend and tap down any chick peas that aren't going through the blending process. I'll add a teaspoon of water if the mixture is too thick and pasty. Olive oil can also be used. Blend again. Spoon through mixture. if there are too many unblended chick peas, spoon and mash, then blend again. Continue until you reach the consistency you like. I like mine a bit lumpy because I like this mixture:

on bread instead of cream cheese
for dipping chopped veggies or crackers for a snack
to keep my pita sandwhiches closed I will put a light layer on the pita and fill with veggies, falafel or turkey

If you make the variety with dried fruit, use Chobani with honey, instead of plain.

The Angels just love Chobani-- high in protein, low in fat, great source of calcium! And it tastes sooo good how can your spirit not dance with delight!

Monday, February 14, 2011

"Doing a detox" the Angel Way...should you or shouldn't you?

The light's more golden, the air is a balmy 52 degrees and the days are perceptibly longer.  Even though several feet of snow still blanket the New England ground, I can feel spring coming.  This is the time of year many people start to think about "doing a detox." 

As I'm sure all the readers of this blog know, a"detox" diet or cleanse is a food or supplement regimen designed to help your body release toxins or accumlulated wastes that may have built up in the tissues or organs.  However, according to the Angels, for most adults who are otherwise healthy, a detox may be unnecessary, and even potentially harmful.  

It can be very easy to overdo a detox, to the point of depleting the body's own reserves.  Beneficial bacteria can be wiped out, or imbalances created which can leave you feeling weak.   Commerical detox regimens can be expensive.   So here it is... spring is coming...what can you do to bolster your energy in the next few months and help yourself feel as vibrant as a spring sunbeam? 

According to the Angels, if you give your body the nutrients and water it needs to perform its many functions, and limit the amount of man-made chemical substances you ingest, your system is perfectly capable of detoxifying itself.  The liver and kidneys are miraculous organs that science can only attempt to replicate...consider how clumsy the dialysis process is.   A healthy detoxification won't occur overnight, and the differences at first may seem subtle.

The Angels urge you to allow four to six weeks and to follow these gentle suggestions:

- Increase your water intake to 6-8 ounces at every meal or snack.  Herbal teas and coffee without sweetener counts.
- Eliminate to the extent possible all manmade chemical addivities or presevatives.  Choose processed foods made only of natural ingredients.
- Consider adding herbs such as astragulus root, dandelion, chickweed, dulse or ginseng to your diet.  Investigate ayurvedic, Chinese or American herbal systems and see what resonates for you.  Consult an herbalist or ayurvedic nutritionist if you feel you need more direction.
- Eat a serving of fresh leafy greens at least three times a day.  Watercress, parsley and "spring mixes" in the grocery store are all great choices.  Dress lightly with olive oil and lemon, or other fresh herbs.
- Salt only to taste and avoid adding salt during cooking (unless it's to water to make it boil faster.)
- Make the organic, free-range, cage-free, no hormone added choice as often as possible.  This is especially important when considering dairy products or meats.
- Consider drinking a cup of warm water with the juice of half a fresh lemon every morning. 
- Add fresh papaya or papaya enzymes to your diet.  The enzymes in papaya can be as effective as prescription drugs at minimizing heartburn or "acid reflux." 
- Try to eat at least one full rainbow every day, or one serving each of a fruit or vegetable in all five colors: red, orange, yellow, green and blue/purple.
- Move your body.  Dance.  Do yogo.  Run up and down steps.  Walk.  Go the gym.  Whatever it is you love to do, do it.  For at least twenty or thirty minutes a day.  You deserve it and your body craves it. 
- Follow the Guidelines - especially Four, Five and Six - at least two days out of every three.     
- Practice deep breathing with awareness for three to five minutes a day.  Simply sit wherever you happen to be.  Take several deep breaths all the way into your belly, hold for three or four counts, and then fully expell it.  Allow yourself to connect fully with your breathing.    

As with any behavior changes, go slowly.  Perhaps incorporate one change at a time, or make a committment to allow yourself to skip one of the tips every day.  Moderate your behavior by giving yourself breaks - try to be consistent two or three days in a row and then give yourself a day or at least a meal "off."    The Angels urge you to be aware of your body as the miraculous creation that it is - a living manifestation of the Divine and to trust that it is capable of bringing itself into holistic balance.  
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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

What feeds YOUR soul?

For the last ten days, I've been spending a large portion of my day doing what feels to me like one of the most nourishing things I can do for myself:  staring at the ocean.  I'm not a very energetic vacationer, because watching the ocean is what feeds my soul. 

One of the most important aspects of Eating...the Angel Way is to take some time learn not just what your body is hungry for, but also what the rest of you craves.  Your mind, for example, may enjoy the mental stimulation of doing crossword puzzles or playing along with television quiz shows.  Your emotions and creativity need expression and validation.  Your soul has deeply rooted needs and desires as well. 

Spending even a few minutes a day engaged in something that feeds your particular soul may be a different as doing a random kind deed, meditating or praying, attending a religious service, or spending time in nature.  As you begin to apply the Guidelines to your own life, you may find it easier to identify what it is that makes you feel spiritually refreshed and whole.  You may even see ways in which cravings or desires for certain foods are related to spiritual or emotional needs.  

The more aware you become of the root of these cravings, and what fuels the need, the more likely it is you will find additional ways to feed your soul that engage all your senses - and not just taste.   Slowing down to savor your food like Angelina, will help you practice savoring all forms of nourishment ...and not just those you eat.   

Monday, February 7, 2011

Eating Like a Child: Slowly, Gently, Loving Every Bite

A few nights ago, I turned from the sink where I had been washing dishes after a family dinner, to observe The Angel Way in action--right at  my kitchen table. My almost five year old daughter was eating a mini-ice cream sandwich. After every bite she said "mmm".  She closed her eyes. She licked her fingers between bites. She took small bites, as if to make this special treat last even longer. When the ice cream dripped over the edge of the soft chocolate cookie, she'd try to catch it with her tongue--giggling when she made a mess on her face (or hands or the table I had just cleaned :))

"This is sooo good Mommy. Thank you for this special treat. I love it!" she said.

Hmm. Isn't that something. This ice cream treat was about the size of a deck of cards--not even quite as long or thick, hence the term mini. My husband would have been on his third serving had he been sitting here with us. I would surely have been finished in just three bites. And my daughter could have done the same, but she didn't.

Instead, she ate The Angel Way-- without knowing anything more about the Guidelines than the rainbow and white-light foods. She had a little sweetness and never asked for seconds because, as she said, "It was just the yummiest to my whole body!"

Wouldn't it be wonderful if every one of us ate everything on our plate as a child often does: slowly, gently, loving every bite.


P.S.  A few nights later, my little girl ate an Andes mint the exact same way. Now, you know how small  those mints are. It was truly inspirational!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Always hungry...always tired?

One of the more surprising correlations I've been reading about lately are the recent studies that show how inadequate sleep can affect our appetites.  Not enough sleep causes a chemical cascade in the brain that literally triggers our appetites.  Thus, many people who find their appetites difficult to "control" may be not so much hungry as sleepy and not so much undisciplined as over-scheduled. 

Sleep is frequently the first thing we cross off our lists.  Many people I know sound as if they pride themselves on how few hours of sleep they can "get by on." And yet, by denying themselves time to rest, recuperate and refresh, these people are actually sabotaging themselves.

Adequate sleep is crucial for good health.  Making sure you get enough sleep for you should be a top priority and possibly the perfect place to begin any wellness regimen.  Naps count -if you can't get as much as you need at night, schedule time for a nap.  Don't apologize to anyone for your need to nap, either -  a fifteen or twenty minute power nap and you'll be far more productive if you give in to your need for sleep than if you rely on food, caffiene or other substitutes to make up for the deficit.
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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Entering Mid-life...the Angel Way

Human females are unlike any other animal - we menstruate, and then, with at least a third of our lives before us, we stop.  This "change of life" is much like the one that turned our bodies from children into adult women; this new change is just as sweeping and just as fundamental. 
According to the Angels, the key to managing these sweeping changes is to acknowledge, first of all, is that physically, your body IS changing.  You are NOT going to look like the woman you were at 20, any more than you can look like the child you were at 10.  Menopause is truly a time of initiation into a woman's new life as the Wise Crone.  Most of us aren't aware of how profound these changes are and try to hold on to what is perceived to be "lost."  I actually had a "friend" tell me I was going to feel "like shit" if I didn't take something called BioIdentical Hormones. 

However, having survived the midlife years with equanimity, no health challenges, very few hot flashes, I can attest it is perfectly possible to go through these years without resorting hormones or artificial supplements of any kind.  The key, according to the Angels, is to be truly present to the state of your bodymind as it undergoes these changes. 

In Susun Weed's wonderful book, Menopause the Wise Woman Way, the initial step of your initiation is isolation. As menopausal changes intensify during the premenopausal years many women find themselves desperate to be alone.  This is a bona fide need of your entire bodymind.  If you don't honor this need, you may well find yourself snapping at the people you love the most - even if they are only preschoolers.   Even a few hours retreat at a quiet park, a meditation center, or a place like Wisdom House in Litchfield, CT, can be extremely helpful to the emerging Crone. 

Susun Weed offers these other tips to help nurture your body through this transition:

-Nourish and tonify your entire hormonal system. Menopausal changes occur not only in the ovaries, but also in the adrenal, thyroid, pancreas, pineal, and pituitary glands. Herbal allies are remarkably safe and effective glandular nourishers.

-Increase the number and amount of calcium-rich foods you consume. No single effort will repay you more richly. High levels of calcium in the diet protect you from osteoporosis, heart disease, and emotional swings. Green leafy vegetables (herbs and weeds) are exceptional sources of calcium - as well as the other critical minerals.

-Find some regular physical activity to fall in love with. Even gentle exercise, done regularly, helps maintain peak bone mass, strengthens the cardiovascular system, and insures deep sleep.

- Gain up to a pound a year for ten years. Thin women have more hot flashes and an altogether more difficult menopause than women who weigh more.  Fat cells produce estrone, a kind of estrogen.   This is the reason that your body tries to gain weight during this time.  If you don't listen to this innate wisdom, and won't let yourself gain some weight, at least stop trying to lose weight.  Remember that dieting decreases bone mass and weakens the heart.