Learn More About the Angel Way, Annie and Karen

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thought for today...and everyday

I don't know who authored this beautiful sentiment, but it was sent to me by a dear friend who very seldom forwards anything.  I sent it on to all the wonderful women I love.  Feel free to copy and paste this into your email and keep it going! 

May today there be

peace within. May you trust that you are exactly where

you are meant to be. May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are

born of faith in yourself and others. May you use the gifts that you have

received, and pass on the love that has been given to you. May you be content with

yourself just the way you are. Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow

your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love. It is there for each and

every one of us."

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Eating...the Angel Way: Book Update

As many of you are aware, Karen and I have completed the manuscript of the book, Eating...Angel Way and we are in the process of exploring our publishing options.  As the Internet has exploded and ereaders are becoming a viable option to traditional books, we have many more choices to consider than ever before. 

Over the next few weeks, we both welcome your kind thoughts of support and your prayers to help us sort through all the information and to make the wisest choices that will enable us to spread the Angels' loving messages to as many people as possible. 

If you would like to be put on our list to receive publishing updates and news about when Eating...the Angel Way will be available in book form, please email me at AnnieKelleher@aol.com

Friday, March 25, 2011

Athletes and Eating…The Angel Way

Just as there are myriad books about dieting, eating and health for the average person in good health, not to mention persons with specific medical concerns, there are an equal number of books on sport nutrition and nutrition for athletes.

If you are "in training" for a specific sport or athletic event, be it playing field hockey, competitive swimming, running a marathon, trying to make an Olympic team or simply wanting to be in top shape for backpacking in the Grand Canyon (like me!), then you may wonder if The Angel Way is right for you.

Yes! Eating…The Angel Way is wonderful for athletes and athletic individuals.

The foundation of The Angel Way begins with learning to listen to your body's unique needs for nourishment, as well as rest and repair. A person, such as myself, who trains in pursuit of a goal that is something more than wanting good health, is wise to listen to her body in such a way.

If you are an athlete / athletic individual and you follow the Angel Way Guidelines you will be able to nourish yourself with the rainbows, white light foods and brown foods that are ideally suited to the demands you place on your muscles and cardiovascular system. Now, you will also find experts suggesting you eat six meals a day, certain quantities of protein and carbs and fats. When you receive such advice and ultimately try such approaches to eating "for athletes", ask yourself:
  • How do I really feel?
  • What is the result I am seeing, mentally, emotionally, physically and yes, spiritually/energetically?
Personally, I have tried the advice of many other wellness professionals about what to eat, when to eat, how much to eat, and how long to stick with the often limiting diets prescribed to get me into 'peak performance' - sometimes with less than beneficial results.  I have seen young athletes begin in earnest to "eat for the event" only to perform their personal worst in the competition. What went wrong? As I look back on my own experiences, I realize that many of these approaches are overly prescriptive.   They don't encourage the athlete - or want-to-be athlete  - to listen - really listen - to her or his own bodymind. 
According to the Angels, our understanding of the complicated dance of the body in breaking down the food we eat into nutrients and waste products is in its infancy.  Many experts fall into the trap of believing that what works for them and lots of others must therefore work for everyone.  The only real "expert" on any given individual is that individual herself.  If we don't pay attention to our unique needs then ultimately, we are unlikely to perform at our best, whether that be in competition, in practice, or in our everyday lives where we have just as much stress and nowhere near the fun.

Whether your goal is to play your best on the soccer field, to win a medal, or to keep up with your kids, your inner athlete can benefit by listening to the Angel Way.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Body image: do you love the skin you're in?

An article on alternet.org today reminded me of the reason the Angels wanted the messages about the Guidelines shared:  most of us don't love our bodies the way the Angels wish we would. 

The way most of us view, talk about and punish our bodies saddens the Angels very much.  For the Angels, our bodies are moving miracles of form and function, and the dazzling diversity among us are the reflections of our unique aspect of the Source we all contain.  The Angels are saddened to see the scars left by the suffering we inflict upon ourselves and each other. 

But for many of us, it can feel like an uphill battle.  I began this journey five years ago in an attempt to make peace with the fact that my body was changing, my diet was a mess and my exercise habits were nonexistent.  I had done enough deep work that I understood that my habits were not simply the result of willful laziness - I was reacting to something, something that I could feel all around me and embedded in my bones. 

I wanted to make changes, but I wanted to make changes for the right reasons, not because anything or anyone said I "should." The Angels gave me a reason I could embrace:  to rejoice and celebrate this marvelous body with which I was blessed. 

Please don't think that it's a perfect body according to current standards.  No one is coming to photograph me wearing a bikini on my 52nd birthday - at least I hope they aren't.  At 5-3 (and a half) and 150 lbs, I am, to say the least, a long way from the size 4 I used to be at the height (or should I say the depth) of my exercise obsession.  I'm solid and strong and flexible.  I weigh ten pounds less and I've adopted eating and exercise habits that keep me feeling good about how I am treating myself. 

When I stopped treating my appetite like an unruly child and stopped banishing it from the room, and listened to what "it" really wanted, what it turned out I "really" wanted to eat were clean, local, organic foods.  I found I preferred the taste of free-range eggs, for example, over their pale caged counterparts.  When I stopped listening to the cultural messages that made "fat" a dirty word, I felt free to add what I knew to be healthy fats in healthy doses - enough to keep me satisfied for something that is as necessary to our well-being as sugar. 

Feeling good about how I treat myself became my reason to make fundamental and serious changes to my diet and exercise habits.  But even more importantly, it's helped me accept this new body that looks -at least to me - much different from the one I had what seems like just a few years ago. 
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Saturday, March 19, 2011

What's the single-most important Guideline?

One of the most frequently asked questions about the Ten Guidelines is "Which one is most important?"  Because the Guidelines work together to create the framework upon which any individual can design their own healthy eating plan, it's difficult to say which one is the most "important." 

However, the Fourth Guideline - "Eat a rainbow every day and white-light food at every meal" - is probably the Guideline that can have the most immediate affect upon most people.  If you begin to eat at least one serving of a fruit or veggie in every color of the food rainbow - red, orange, yellow, green and blue/purple - every day AND to ensure you eat a complete protein food at least three times a day, you will begin to feel the beneficial effect within a relatively short period of time, sometimes as soon as three to five days. 

As the body begins to attune itself to the taste of whole foods, and begins to receive adequate raw material with which to repair itself, people often find that their cravings for highly processed and/or artificially sweetened foods begins to naturally diminish.  Because the color of the food stimulates, refreshes and rebalances the corresponding chakras, "eating a rainbow" ensures that the energetic body is nourished as well.  People start to notice differences in things like hair and skin and nails, increase in energy level or beneficial changes to their sleeping patterns.  Preferences or dislikes for certain colors can point the way to deeper work. 

This year, spring begins with a super-full moon in Virgo - an excellent energy with which to embrace positive and healthy eating habits, one of the most fundamental acts of healthy self-love we can show ourselves.  Loving yourself in this way not only provides the basis for a healthier lifestyle for you - it also links you to the source of the food - the plants, animals and people who provide it.  All beings are manifestations of the Divine Source and the fundamental energy of that Divine Source is Love.  Eating a rainbow every day and a white light food at every meal can help you, ultimately, feel more connected to that Source and aware of it in every aspect of the planet.  This of course, then relates to Guideline #8 - "Eat locally and organically as possible."  As you can see, all the Guidelines are intimately connected. 

The Angels suggest you try "eating a rainbow every day" and "eating white-light food at every meal" for two or three days in a row,and see if it makes a difference in how you feel. 

After all, They say, you deserve it. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Antidotes for Feeling Fat: Good Vibrations!

I find this guidance very helpful and the wisdom behind it is clear and accurate.

Often "feeling fat" is a dumping ground for other emotions. Feeling fat can be related to the weight of the world you carry-- literally, the challenges of your busy life weighing you down. It is certainly true for me as I balance, work, family, friendships and personal aspirations.

If we are not choosing, by how we eat and how we move and how we care for ourselves, to lighten the load, then the heaviness builds around us.

All  of the suggestions Annie posted are in tune with leading edge science:  we know exercise can be as effective as medication for alleviating mild depression and anxiety (and has even been shown to help with more significant clinical bouts of these maladies of modern times). Movement strengthens the bodymind on a neurochemical level.

If you bring a positive attitude to exercise of any kind-- one of JOY, then exercise doesn't become another thing you HAVE to do, it becomes something you choose to do for you-- to raise your vibration.

To be sure, if you exercise for vanity sake alone-- for appearance, to drop weight, to please someone else in your life-- as many women have done and too many women (and girls) still do-- you only add to the pressure cooker feeling all around you. To move simple as a way to enJOY the experience of your bodymind and spirit is freeing....and will lift you out of the heavy feelings that can so easily lead to feeling fat, weighed down, frumpy, ugly ____ pick your term.

Remember Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Gosh those abs on Mark Wahlberg! I digress. GOOD VIBRATIONS. What a song. Turn it on. Get a move on-- Raise your vibration!

How will you LIFT your bodymind and spirit up to a higher vibration, today?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Feeling "fat"

It's the time of year when I start to think about peeling off the layers of sweaters and turtlenecks I've cocooned myself in for the last few months.  Invariably, no matter how dedicated I've been, hiding somewhere in the recesses of my psyche is that awful phrase: "I feel fat!"

"I feel fat" is an uncomfortable feeling.  It can strike at any time, it seems - no matter how many potato chips I've avoided, or how many rainbows I've eaten.  Most of the time I find that when I stop to think about it, it would be more accurate to say "I feel bloated," or "I feel overly full," or "I feel sluggish." But the way I process the feeling, it usually comes out as "I feel fat."  

The Angels have suggestions on what to do the next time that overstuffed sausage feeling overtakes you.

- First, if possible, drink a cup of hot water, with the juice of half a fresh lemon or lime.  Drink the water slowly, and if the juice is too sour for you, add a small amount of honey.  Consider eating a slice of fresh, dried or frozen papaya.  Or, the tablets sold at most health food stores can be a helpful alternative. 

- Stretch and breathe.  A single sun salutation, done with awareness, and attention to breath, can be very helpful in overcoming energy slumps that may be the root of the "heavy" feeling.  Sometimes I realize I'm not so much feeling "fat" as feeling tired, and if so, I try to take at least a few minutes to rest.  However, if you're not tired, stretching while taking slow mindful breaths is a wonderful way to refresh your entire bodymind and to get things moving in a sluggish system. 

- Move your body - even for just a few minutes.  Walk or jog, even a mile or for a set length of time.  Lift some light weights, jump some rope, challenge your kid or someone else's to a game of hop skotch.  Ride your bike, swim a lap. Dance. Crank up the volume and unleash your inner rock star.  The point is not to punish yourself or to make yourself feel bad about how you feel; the point is to create literal physical movement, so that as you feel your body burning calories, the rest of you shifts to more active state as well. 

- Check in with yourself.  Take a few minutes and perhaps journal about what's going on in your life.  To the extent possible, give any stresses, worries, challenges, or expectations to the page.   See that by putting it down, you aren't necessarily making it magically go away or resolve itself, but that you ARE shifting the energetic "weight" to a more stable holding place - the written word or the computer document.  Allow your journal to become the place where you "carry" some of energetic burden. 

- Eat something raw, fresh and green, dressed in apple cider or wine vinegar.  Make a green salad the centerpiece of your next meal.  Experiment with different types of lettuces, herbs and other greens to find your favorites.  For example, I love watercress, spinach, dandelion and other "spring" greens.  Include a source of protein, but no brown foods, sweets or fats.  Drink water - hot or cold - with fresh squeezed lemon or lime, or an herbal tea that appeals to you.  Avoid carbonated beverages if you can. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Teas and Tisanes...a request from a Facebook Friend

According to experts, only drinks brewed from the leaves of the tea plant, Camillia sinensis, can technically be called "tea."  Tea has been considered beneficial for as long as people have been keeping records of drinking it.  Chinese scholars for centuries credited tea with healing properties and as a remedy to all sorts of ailments from ulcers to skin lesions to depression.  In England in the 17th century, tea was believed to cure headaches, giddiness, heaviness, colds, dropsy and scurvy among other things.  Made with boiling water, tea was free of bacteria, which made it a much healthier alternative to plain water.  And tea also contains vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

According to Linda Osborne in the"All About Tea Knowledge Cards," "black tea contains more fluoride than a comparable amont of fluoridated water.  Tea also contains calcium, zine, B vitamins, and folic acid.  Green teas in particular contain antioxidants found nowhere else. 

Tea also contains caffiene and the longer the leaves have oxidized, the more caffiene it contains.  Black tea has the most.  However, to give you an idea of the amounts, a five ounce cup of coffee has 80-115 milligrams of caffeine.  A cup of black tea has no more than  40, and green tea prepared in the same manner only 3.  Linda Osborne suggests that tea can be decaffeinated at home by pouring off the first cup of water after 30 to 60 seconds, and adding new water to steep the leaves a second time. 

A tea made from any other plant is more properly called a herbal infusion, or a tisane.  Their use is even more ancient than tea's. Plants commonly used for such infusions are chamomile, ginger, peppermint, lavender and lemon verbena.  Depending on the plant, all parts may be used not just the leaves, including the roots, bark, berries, and seeds. 

According to the Angels, teas and tisanes can be considered part of one's daily rainbow as a green food primarily, because they're plants.  However, certain teas or tisanes, such as lavender, because of the color of the part used to make the tea, can be considered a blue/purple food as well.   An infusion of golden calendula flowers would be considered yellow, and luscious hibiscus, red.  Thus, teas and herbal infusions can be another way to ensure you not only eat a rainbow every day, its a way to ensure you're getting adequate water.  Herbal teas, with the exception of yerba mate, don't contain caffeine.  Check out our friend Rose of Walk In The Woods, LLC for more on making wonderful herbal infusions. 
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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Easing through changes...the Angel Way

Any time we're confronted by changes, whether they are changes of our own choosing, or changes that life presents us with, the Angels urge us to be extra gentle with ourselves.  They urge us to slow down, even if only for a few minutes, and really pay attention to ourselves, to our hungers, to our wants, desires and needs on every level of our bodymind.  Even changes we decide we want or need to make - adding in exercise or a meditation program or a few minutes of yoga - can be difficult to sustain.  Conventional wisdom says it takes 21 days to turn a new behavior into a habit, and more recent research shows it actually takes four to six weeks.  Dr. Mala Matacin at the University of Hartford spoke extensively to Karen about how hard it can be for individuals to make proactive changes. 

The Angels suggest that if you wish to incorporate a new behavior - say, for example, eating more colors, or walking or meditating - that you pick one or at most two behaviors or activities to focus on per day.  Allow your focus to be on something you decide to succeed at.  Celebrate that success, and then the following day, try something different, and focus on that.  Alternate your focus according to where your energy feels like it wants to go, or even, where it might not want to go but you know better...like, for example, to the gym.  Going to the gym,every other day ultimately will result in your working out on average four days a week.  Meditating and doing yoga on the days inbetween mean you also do that four days a week.  In this way, you can address all the needs of your bodymind with flexibility and sensitivity and without pressure to change everything all at once. 

 In this way, you will build an experience of successes, and the cumulative effect, over time, will be an overall healthy one.  You will also be a lot gentler and kinder to your self. 
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Sweetness and Cushion-- Sweet Research, Sweet Revelation

"You may realize that you need to make profound changes in some aspect of your life.  According to the Angels, once you begin to address the other areas where cushioning and sweetness are issues, it becomes easier to make the healthier choice." 
Annie Kelleher's recent blog post on the Angel Guideline for "every body needs a little sweetness; every body needs a little cushion." 

This is the Guideline that I, personally, have the most difficulty with embracing. Not that I don't appreciate the wisdom in the Guideline-- I absolutely agree all things, all flavors of the earth, belong in our diets in balance. Somedays we will indulge more than others-- life itslef is a menu of choices and experienced to be sampled, enJoyed, experienced. The foods we choose are a part of the experience.

In my life, right now, I am facing a number of choices that revolve around my children's developmental needs; family-life-work balance; medical concerns that have surfaced and getting back in synch with dreams I have for myself, independent of the roles of mother, wife, chauffer, friend, volunteer and so forth. Somethings gotta give and lately it feels like it's me. Or it's been quality time with my kids or blowing off friends or volunteer projects and feeling lousy about all of it. There's not a lot of sweetness nor cushion wrapped around my experience at this point in time. i feel my body yearning for something sweet- but not too much-- no, that would be B-A-D. Last thing I need to worry about now, in the midst of everything else, is an extra inch of cushion around my waist. And this is not for vanity's sake. When I'm a few pounds off from my "comfy range"; when I'm a few days ( or in this case weeks) out of synch with the exercise routine that helps me feel strong and healthy from the inside-out, then I don't feel like I'm supporting myself, being kind to myself.

And, here I am, on a trip to visit family, and Annie is posting about sweetness and cushion. Are the Angels talking to me through her?  Seems so. Seems like someOne is reminding me about balance and kindness and reminding me to look at things through the lens of this Guideline about Sweetness and what may be lacking in my life, as a whole, not just in my diet/ nutrition habits. And in turn, I LISTEN better for what it is I really, truly need at this time and, with a little prayer, hope that I make the best choices for all.


Health Benefits of Chocolate (from the website Live Science)
Cocoa and health: a decade of research
Karen A. Cooper, Jennifer L. Donovan, Andrew L. Waterhouse and Gary Williamson (2008)
British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 99, Issue 01, January 2008 pp 1-11

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What about chocolate?

Chocolate is probably the single food item most people ask about.  "How do the Angels feel about chocolate" is usually one of the first three or four questions everyone wants to know.  After all, chocolate is one of the things we usually "give up" or try to "cut back on."  Chocolate is described as "sinful,"  and generally considered to be one of those foods that you're better off avoiding all together if you're serious about losing weight.  Just yesterday, in the ladies' locker room in the gym, I overheard two young girls discussing the foods they were eliminating from their diets in order to lose some weight - which they definitely did not need to lose AT ALL.  Sadly, at least to my way of thinking, chocolate was at the top of their lists.

According to the Angels, chocolate is wonderful food that can be categorized as a "green" food - it's part of a plant, after all.  Chocolate contains anti-oxidants and other substances that are beneficial to the body, and the brain.  A recent study (which I will ask Karen to look up when she returns home!)  showed that chocolate can be incorporated by healthy people into a healthy diet with no unhealthy effects.  Even Dr. Dean Ornish shared with Karen during a phone interview that he eats a piece of dark chocolate every day.

The "problem" with chocolate - as with all foods - is in the processing.  It's what we do to it to turn into the treat that creates the imbalance.  Chocolate laden with highly processed sugars and preservatives isn't any more good for you than any other kind of food would be.  But an organic chocolate bar or a cup of fair trade cocoa made with just a few natural ingredients can be a wonderful indulgence that soothes your entire being... bodymind, heart and soul.  Chocolate, or cocoa powder, can also be added to other types of food - Mexican and South American dishes incorporate chocolate in other things besides desserts or treats.

As with all foods, the Angels urge us to make the kindest, most loving choice as often as possible.  Everybody, say the Angels, needs a little sweetness in their lives.   

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Feeling cushioned, feeling sweet

Maybe you've added a few extra pounds over the winter, maybe you have a few extra you'd like to shed.  Spring is a great time to rev up your metabolism and many of us feel the urge to begin making healthier choices.  So what if it's appropriate for you to limit your fats and sweets?  What are some ways to make it easier to make the healthier choices, even when every cell in your bodymind feels like it's screaming: "EAT THE ICE CREAM.  WITH HOT FUDGE." 

"Everybody needs a little sweetness and everybody needs a little cushion" is the guideline which addresses this issue.  The Angels suggest we approach limiting intake of fats and sweets by examining all the other areas of our lives - emotional, spiritual, intellectual, and physical - to see if we are experiencing feelings of being cushioned and sweetness in all these other areas, or if there are deficits.  Frequently, when we look at our lives holistically, we may see places where, for example, it's easier to eat something high in fat than to address our underlying feelings of not having enough money.  If we lack a feeling of being cushioned and supported in some crucial area in our lives, we may turn to dietary fats to create the literal cushion.  If we lack a feeling of sweetness in our lives - if we tend to focus too much on work, for example, and don't make time for fun - giving up our favorite candy may only make us feel even more deprived. 

It is in this state of energetic imbalance and rebellion, then, that so many of us live when we decide to limit these kinds of foods.  Therefore, it is very helpful, according to the Angels, that when it is appropriate to limit these foods, we examine our lives carefully and look for places where we may be feeling less than cushioned and ways to increase the amount of sweetness that don't involve the intake of food.  For example, setting aside every five or ten dollar bill you receive can create a monetary cushion that can help address feelings of financial lack.  Buying clothes that have soft textures, comfortable shoes or a plusher comforter for your bed are other ways to feel more "cushioned." 

Or, it might even be time to look for a new job, find a new place to live, or make more time for fun.  You may find you need to address toxic issues in your relationships.  You may realize that you need to make profound changes in some aspect of your life.  According to the Angels, once you begin to address the other areas where cushioning and sweetness are issues, it becomes easier to make the healthier choice.