Write a love letter… to YOURSELF!

My dear friend and an absolutely inspiring woman is on a journey to educate and empower women. Will you help her out?
Hello, all! My apologies for the delay. A Cliffnotes update on what I’ve been up to:
  • Returned from Costa Rica
  • Started working with AMAZING new private and group clients (to add yourself to the list, click here)
  • Got in a yucky biking accident (wear your helmets please!)
  • Began coaching & wellness programming for local business and their employees
  • Have missed blogging TERRIBLY in the meantime!

But I’m back at it and couldn’t wait another moment to share with you the story of my beautiful and inspiring friend, Jillie, and her non-profit organization Love Letters to Yourself. 

Let’s take a look at what she has to say: 
Love Letters to Yourself is a project that was started when I was struggling with my own journey to find self-love. After my parents divorce, my world was turned upside down and I was sent on a journey to define what love meant to me. During this time, I found self-love. After I graduated from college, I had all the dreams and hopes to get my dream job, buy a house, travel the world, and make a difference…all within 1-2 years after graduating. Well, a year after graduation, I was still at home, living with my mom, hating my job, and feeling like I had no purpose or worth. I was at a low point in my life. At this point, I just wanted someone to tell me they loved me. I wanted someone to write me a love letter saying they love me, they are never going to leave, and they love me unconditionally.
Why must this flower tell me my worth?

Why must this flower tell me my worth?

But, I soon realized that this letter would suffice for a day or two and then I would want someone else to write me a love letter because the other one would no longer be good enough. I felt this way because
I didn’t love myself. I wasn’t enough.
So, I decided to write myself a love letter.
This action changed my life.
I made the commitment to myself to love myself no matter what I did, what I said, or how I handled something. I forgave myself for past actions and mistakes I had made. I gave myself patience and understanding, things I gave to others thousands of others, but never thought to give to myself.
Why is self-love important? You cannot love anyone until you love yourself. And, no one’s love will be good enough until your love is good enough. We spend our lives trying to get others love and approval. But, what we are truly looking for is our own approval. You don’t have to change, conform, or sacrifice who you are or what you believe in. You are enough and once you realize that, all other’s love and approval are just a bonus.
Society creates these expectations, regulations, or standards of love. What love is supposed to look like, who we are supposed to love, and how we are supposed to love. But, we are the only ones who truly know the type of love we need. So, this letter doesn’t have to be a letter. It can be a poem, song, picture, painting, collage, or five pages, or two sentences. The only important things you keep in mind are that it is genuine, and it resonates with you. This will be the most important letter you write in life. Once you write this letter, it is not over. This journey of self-love is long one. It is something you will encounter every day, but overtime it gets easier. This love cannot leave in the middle of the night or decide to fade away one day. This love is unconditional and worthy of your attention.
So, take a chance on you. Write a love letter to yourself. I am collecting copies of these love letters to compile a book and use the profits to support women’s empowerment organizations, send girls to school, and take this message globally. I would love your help and support with my mission. Please check out my blog for more guidance and help,loveletterstoyourself.wordpress.com.
And also check out an amazing opportunity I have been offered to help women in Peru, http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/bringing-self-love-to-trujillo-peru/x/4174237. Thanks for your time and energy!
With gratitude and love,

I’m going NUTS!

Looking to add more awesome to your life? Still think PB&J is the end-all, be-all? My friends, as a reluctant alternative nut butter convert, I wish to enlighten you with this beautiful infographic about all the wonders of nuts and how they can (and should!) be an integral part to a whole and healthy lifestyle.

Careful, though. Too many nuts can and WILL make you nuts.

Try it if you don’t believe me.

Still confused about fats? If so, see one of my previous posts about fats.


The Energy Booster We All Forget About

Sleep. Caffine. Sugar. Alcohol. Exercise.  What do you use to cope with those sluggish moments for a quick pick-me-up?  Somehow, we are rarely taught the simplest tool for instant energy. Something that has been proven for thousands of years to work the most naturally and effect…breath! 

Most people hardly think twice about how they inhale and exhale. It happens naturally and our mental energy would be better focused on other things, right?  Not quite.  Breathing can be a passive activity, but by focusing on the breath we can channel and create even more energy and fire for whatever our life demands.  Before we dig deeper, give it a try:

Find a heavy object around you (a big rock, 12-pack of drinks, your purse, whatever) and experiment with picking up the object in one hand.

First Lift it without thinking of your breath.

Next, lift it while holding your breath.

And lastly, exhale first and then on a big inhale, lift your object.

Did you notice any difference?  The third option should have been the easiest.  Why? HOW?!

Um...what not to do.

Um…what not to do.

This part is rarely taught.  When your spine is straight, shoulders relaxed, and heart forward, you can inhale into your belly.  From here, your body creates and utilizes the proper amount of space needed to absorb the oxygen and send it to cells all over the body.

On the other hand, when our bodies are slouched over, or we are only breathing into the shoulders and chest, the oxygen flow throughout the body is restricted, and it becomes less accessible to your cells.  Here’s the anatomy behind it:  The respiratory system is categorized in two groups: Primary (essential for breathing) and secondary.

  1. Primary Respiratory Muscles: the lower part of our torso—the diaphragm, abdominals, and intercostals (the muscles between the ribs).  They are larger and perform most of our breathing work. *We should use these more. 
  2. Secondary Respiratory Muscles: the upper region of our torso—the pectorals, trapezius, and throat muscles.  These smaller muscles aid and allow for adaptability in breathing.  *We use these too much.
English: Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and...

English: Animation of a diaphragm exhaling and inhaling (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inhaling and exhaling our breath into our lower torso, we are not only allowing ourselves to breathe deeper, but we are making ourselves more grounded and stabilized, by lowering our center of gravity.  Benefits of long deep breathing include releasing toxins, invigorating the mind and body, relieving pain, strengthening muscles, strengthening the immune system, improving digestion, and improving the nervous system, just to name a few!  

So that all sounds pretty good, and essential, right? It’s very doable, simply requiring some mindfulness.

  1. Asses your breathing.  Lying down on your back, place a hand underneath your navel.  Take some deep breaths, and notice what’s happening.  Is your belly expanding?  Is your ribcage expanding?  These are good things.  Are your shoulders lifting towards your ears?  Is your stomach caving inward and upward?  Just be aware of what you’re prone to doing, and focus on expanding and relaxing.  Long deep breathing is always a work in progress.
  2. Work on your posture. When sitting or standing, try to keep a relaxed, lifted posture.  This means straightening the spine, rolling your shoulder blades down your back, lifting your chest, and tucking in your tailbone.  Now, that is a lot to think about, but a good thing to practice.  Just imagine and feel the expansion of your breathing capacity as you try it.  It only gets easier over time!
  3. Wear non-constrictive clothing. Tight or immovable waistbands, tight bra straps, neckties, and high heels can all alter your ability to breathe deeply and fully.  Stick with loosely fitted and stretchable clothing as much as possible.
  4. Try breathing through your nose.  Long deep breathing allows for lots of oxygen to circulate through the body, which is a beautiful thing.  However, much of the air we breathe today is full of toxins and pollution.  Fortunately, our nasal passages have tiny hairs that act as filters for our breath.  Additionally, nasal breathing allows for a slower and more controlled inhalation, allowing for a deeper breath.
  5. Listen to your body.  Altering your breath can create subtle changes in your bodily functions, mood, and energy that make a huge difference in the long run.  Slow down, be aware, and treat your body to the oxygen it deserves.

Doing these things will bring you increased energy over time, but in a pinch we can also look to breath exercises instead of reaching for a cup of coffee or taking a nap.  My favorite instant re-charge is called stretch pose.  Lay down on your back.  Place your hands under your lower back to align your spine.

stretch pose

Lift your head and heels six inches off the ground.  Begin a rapid inhale and exhale, either through the nose, or through the mouth with your tongue out (panting like a dog).  Watch your belly expand and contract with the breath.  It’s challenging at first, but becomes more comfortable with practice.

Do this for 30 seconds or more, and then relax and feel the energy you’ve unleashed into your body and mind!

These are just some basics on breathing, but there are many more related elements to it.  If you notice that you could improve from changing your breathing (most of us can), I’d encourage you to do some more research for yourself, or talk to a doctor, yoga teacher, or wellness coach.   Let’s use our body’s natural tool mindfully to increase energy and improve wellness.  Breathe!



Asha is a certified yoga teacher (RYT 200) with an emphasis on Kundalini Yoga.  In yoga, conscious breathing brings prana, or life force and energy, into the body.  Asha likes to deal with another main source of prana…FOOD!  She works as a vegetarian chef at a  yoga bed & breakfast and is working on a digital cookbook for her tasty recipes and knowledge on eating for wellness.  Stay tuned for a preview!

Learn more about…

Breathing: The Breathing Book: Good health and vitality through essential breath work by Donna Farhi (It’s a fantastic book!)

Stretch Pose: Kundalini Yoga Stretch Pose with Anne Novak (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9J7AcNLdV0)

Long deep breathing: Take a Deep Breath (http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletters/Harvard_Mental_Health_Letter/2009/May/Take-a-deep-breath)


What Yoga Can Teach You About Life

What Yoga Can Teach You About Life.

I watched an interview with Sean Corn a while back where she discussed the connection between the yoga mat and life. Sean explained that how you practice yoga translates into how you live your life. The two are connected. What you need to work on in life often expresses itself on your mat during a yoga class. For example if you are someone who pushes themselves too hard, injuring yourself in yoga as a result (e.g. a pulled muscle) you probably take on too much in life, put too much strain on yourself outside of the yoga studio. If you often give up during a class, tell yourself that this pose is “too hard” or that you are “too weak” you most likely defeat your own self in the outside world as well. Maybe you make excuses for why you can’t make it to the studio, putting everyone else’s needs before your own.

Yoga means “union” in Sanskrit, and this union between the practice of yoga and the practice of life is one of the reasons I have fallen deeply and consumingly in love with the practice of yoga.  The practice of Yoga doesn’t always refer to the postures themselves, but rather everything else that goes into the postures (e.g. the mental strength, the need to have a connection to your breath, proper hydration and nutrition, the connection between your mind and body)

I recently finished the book “Hell-Bent: Obsession, Pain and the Search for Something Like Transcendence in Competitive Yoga” by Benjamin Lorr which was all about the author’s immersion into the Bikram Yoga world. This book was soo wonderful. It was funny, honest, insightful and informative. It was entertaining from cover to cover, and there were often times when I would laugh or gasp aloud from what I had read. Lorr made connections between small experiences/concepts and larger existential questions.

In “Hell-Bent” there is one part where Lorr describes a particular Bikram class he took. A large, linebacker-type man was taking a class for the first time and appeared to be suffering and wheezing, right before bolting for the door. The teacher, Esak, (Esak is a Bikram champion, and celebrity of sorts in the Bikram yoga world) stops the linebacker right before he is about to open the door and exit the studio. Esak tells the man that he’s free to go but has a choice. He explains that “Sometimes your yoga is in the postures. Today, your yoga is recognizing that you have a choice”

Esak turns to the class and orders them to “stop listening! Stop thinking! Don’t imagine his class is easier than yours. Don’t flatter yourself with your effort. Right now, this is the person working the hardest in this class. He is getting every benefit he can.”

For the linebacker, his yoga that day was to simply recognize that he had a choice whether or not to leave the hot room. His yoga was to work on the mental aspect of the practice, because that was the issue that arose for him on the mat that day.  Esak explained to the class that even if they were doing the postures perfectly, if they weren’t “putting the same effort into it” they weren’t getting the benefits from the yoga.  Yoga isn’t about the postures, it’s this “union” between the mat and life, mind and body, you and the universe. It’s about doing “work”, and maybe your yoga for now is just to identify what your “work” should be, what issues you may need to work on. Maybe your yoga is to back off and let yourself sit out once in a while, or to stop comparing yourself to the other yogis in the room, or to become comfortable with the way your body looks in the mirror during class. Benjamin Lorr explains that

“It’s a funny thing that way. Someone standing and looking very impressive in the mirror and someone sitting hunched over doing almost nothing. Same yoga.”

Superman drinks milk? Doubt it.

No Milk, Please! The Truth About Dairy.

Hi, my name is Tatiana Barrera, Holistic Health Coach and author of the book “No Milk, Please”. I love the fact that Katie invited me to share with you a little about why “no milk”. Believe me, talking about this is certainly not the best way to make friends at a party, but it sure something I feel needs to be done, to shine a light on the truth, and then let you decide for yourself…don’t we all deserve that power?

The core value of holistic health coaching is understanding that each of us is different and has different nutritional needs. Generalizations in nutrition are not only wrong, but can also be very dangerous to our health. And talking about generalizations…Which is one of the most aggressively marketed food products? Milk! Between the “Got Milk?”, the “Milk, it does a body good” and other related campaigns, we are bombarded with white mustaches and an overrated urge to consume dairy products in order to be healthy. But what is the real truth behind all this? What is the general public missing in this picture?

Inspired by these questions, my book No Milk, Please came to be. In it, I look at the situation from different angles and invite my readers to explore the alternatives to dairy. I begin with the history of human consumption of milk and conclude with actionable tips and recipes to live a dairy-free lifestyle. In a simple and easy to understand language I present powerful information, intended to help open your eyes to the truth behind the billboard, and empower you to make better choices for your own health.

So what is the big issue and why such an aggressive title? Even though I am not a radical person, I figured the title needed to shake the ground a little, as I was embarking in a difficult task: breaking life-long social paradigms. Milk is an ideal food for baby calves, but it is not so for humans, as most of us lack the natural ability to digest it. Let’s not forget we were made to drink human milk as babies, not other animal milks in our adulthood. And this is talking about raw milk with its structure unaltered. If we look at modern days milk, the situation becomes a lot more complicated. Pasteurization, homogenization, added hormones, antibiotics, etc, alter milk original nutritional profile and pose a whole new set of treats to our health when we consume it.

HERE’S THE THING:  our body functions in a very primitive, animal like, manner. It digests and benefits from foods it understands, but when foods become so different from their natural state, the body has a real hard time knowing what to do with them, and that is when problems arrive. Think about it, you are dealing with something that you don’t know how to benefit from, but still need to “pass through”, what do you do? Use up your stored resources to deal with the problem in hand. That is exactly what the body does. Many times it needs to use up its mineral resources, including calcium, to help digest dairy products.

Milk’s advertising focuses on calcium, and its importance for bone health. However, clinical research has shown that dairy products do not contribute to bone health. Milk does contain calcium, but when we consume it, it is so hard on our digestive system that our body has to actually do what I was just mentioning; use up its mineral reserves, which are stored in the bones, to help digest it. So in the aftermath, the calcium balance ends up being lower instead of higher. Makes you really think twice about who is really benefiting from all the milk advertising, doesn’t it?

Superman drinks milk? Doubt it.

Superman drinks milk? Doubt it.

Have you ever asked yourself where elephants, gorillas and even adult cows get their calcium from in order to maintain strong bones? The answer is not a glass of milk from a different species, the answer is grass, and green leafy vegetables!

Several experts in the matter agree to say that calcium in vegetables has a higher absorption than calcium in milk. Dr. Fuhrman and Dr. Barnard, two of my favorite mentors in nutrition agree to say that calcium absorption in some green, leafy vegetables can be as high as 50%, and even higher in things like Brussels sprouts, while the absorption in milk is lower than 32 percent.

Amy Joy Lanou, assistant professor of health and wellness ant the university of North Carolina, and co-author of the book “Building bone vitality” says, after extensive research including over 1,200 studies, that dairy products not only don’t help in the prevention of osteoporosis, but actually contribute to increasing it.

Now, my point is not for you to panic, and certainly not for you to hate me. My point is to invite you to re-learn what you know, and look at milk differently. In my opinion, if we stop looking at milk as a healthy food, and start looking at it the way we look at soda or coffee, we will really be able to change our health. So it is not about never eating a dairy product again, it is about never again looking at them as a healthy food.

Check out my book, there is a lot of empowering information in it that I am sure will benefit you. And there is also an amazing compilation of dairy free recipes from chefs from around the world that you will love.

Love and health,

Tatiana Barrera



Tatianna milk banner



I did a Mini-Triathlon and I’m moving to Costa Rica!

Yes, it’s true. The personal trainer who hated running and hasn’t taken a swim lesson since age 10 has completed a Mini-Triathlon. It was so fun! It was a family affair which made it even better and I cannot wait to actually train and complete a Sprint Triathlon in my near future. Here is me at the end! I won! I swam, biked, and ran my way to pure AWESOME.

Rocked it.

Rocked it.

(I did not win, I just had my picture taken on the winner’s podium).

In other equally as exciting news, I will be moving to Costa Rica for one month to complete my yoga teacher training certification! After four intense weeks, I will be able to lead you that much closer to your inner awesome. I will stay at a yoga retreat center in Montezuma and will hopefully be posting brief updates to you all the while! On account of my absence, I have some exciting guest bloggers lined up for your educational enjoyment:

First up is Tatianna Barrera! She is a fellow holistic health coach and published author of No Milk, Please. Can’t wait to hear what she has in store for us!

Tatianna milk banner

If you would like to be added to my email list to receive breathtaking photos and my marvelous insights on my upcoming travels, please enter it below. All my love to you awesome people! Can’t wait for the adventure ahead.

Eat Fat, Get Skinny.

Hello, my name is Katie. I am a Health Coach, nutrition fanatic, and I LOVE FAT! Yes, it’s true. I love fat– GOOD fats, that is. It is time to rethink everything you’ve ever thought about fats. The government has made saturated fats, and all fats for that matter, out to be the delicious incarnation of the devil. First of all, since when did politicians become experts in nutrition? Second of all, they are wrong. Good fats are the delicious incarnation of everything that is wonderful with this world. Puppies, rainbows, avocados (more on these in a second!), Ryan Gosling, etc.

It is now my goal to include him in every post.

It is now my goal to include him in every post.

Let me backtrack by saying not all fats are good. I am not talking about the hydrogenated fats found in a Snickers bar or in a sirloin steak. First and foremost, we should be eating:

REAL, Natural, and WHOLE foods. 

**We can all benefit from cutting out processed food and limiting our animal-product consumption. ** Good fats are found abundantly in real, natural and whole foods. Don’t be afraid!

So where did the fear of fats come from?

There was a theory from the 1950’s that said there was a direct relationship between saturated fats and cholesterol to coronary heart disease. Here’s the thing: NOBODY has proved it. SO many studies since then have questioned and proven this hypothesis wrong, but alas, the original study’s conclusion remained and the food industry ran with it. Hm…..

If you learn anything from today, make it your next goal to cut out processed foods– especially anything that says “Low-Fat”. This is an outdated diet trend that really means “High-Chemicals, High-Sugar, More Weight Gain, More Depression, More Mineral Deficiencies”. Sounds fun, right? Let’s Be Real. Harvard School of Public Health even found that low-fat dairy products can contribute to infertility, while full-fat, organic dairy can help. Low-fat dairy has also been proven to cause acne. But let’s save dairy for another day….

Here’s the Real deal about GOOD FATS:

FATS chart jpeg

It goes like this:


    • highly stable solids (all carbon atom links are filled, or “saturated” with hydrogen)
    • Found in animal fats (less good) and tropical oils (way good!)
      • EX: coconut oil, coconut milk…aka magic elixir to life


    • your body makes these from saturated fats to use them for awesomeness
    • Most common form: oleic acid. The main component of olive oil (so good!)
      • EX: AVOCADO!!, nuts, nuts, wild-caught salmon, healthy oils (grapeseed, flaxseed, hempseed, coconut, olive, AVOCADO, etc)


    • Most common is double-unsaturated linoleic acid (Omega-6) and triple-unsaturated linolenic acid (Omega-3)
    • YOU CANNOT MAKE THESE in your body! Thus, ESSENTIAL. Thus, **must get them from your food.** (From whole, natural, Real food).
      • EX: AVOCADO!!, trout, olives, nuts, healthy oils

ALL fats and oils, whether from veggies or animals, are some combo of all of these! Like, AVOCADOS.

At long last, the magic fruit itself….


Nutrition Facts

My one true love.

My one true love.

Amount Per 1 cup, sliced (146 g)
Calories 234

% Daily Value*

Total fat 21 g 32%
Saturated fat 3.1 g 15%
Polyunsaturated fat   2.7 g
Monounsaturated fat   14 g

Guess what?? WebMD agrees with me: see?

I love avocados. I put them in everything. My morning green smoothie, my veggie wraps as a “spread”, raw for fun or to take with my fish oil pills (essential!), and my most favorite and famous form: GUACAMOLE.

Looking for the recipe?? Here it is. Granted I cook from the heart and soul, people. Rarely do I follow measurements. Who needs the restrictions, am I right? But I did my best for you. Because I care.


4 avocados

1 med tomato, or 2 smaller roma tomatoes (easier to cut), diced

1/2 large red onion, diced

1 tbs minced garlic

2 tsp ground sea salt

1 tbs lime juice

Cilantro, as much as possible!! Don’t get me started on cilantro.

Jalapenos (optional)


  1. Pit the avocados and empty contents into large bowl. Mash to your heart’s content or until you no longer have anger issues. I add a little sea salt and lime juice here for good measure.
  2. Add the chopped onions, garlic, and cilantro. Add remaining sea salt and lime juice. Stir just until combined.
  3. Wait to add the tomatoes until just before serving. This will help it stay fresh the longest. If eating immediately, as recommended, fold in tomatoes and add any remaining garlic/cilantro/salt/lime juice to taste.
  4. Pair with your favorite organic, gluten-free corn tortilla chips and you have yourself a party.
  5. Seems simple, but you will make many new friends because of this recipe.
  6. You’re welcome.


  1. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Fats and Fatty Acids in Human Nutrition; 2010
  2. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
  3. European Food Information Council; Fats; June 2006
  4. Dr. Andrew Weil, MD
  5. Weston A. Price Foundation
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TODAY IS THE DAY. We have Diem to Carpe.

Attention, attention! Today is the day I begin bestowing upon you my infinite wisdom of all things health, happiness, and wellness. Okay, Let’s Be Real…I rarely know what I’m talking about. Though my educational degrees and passion for nutrition may disagree, you and I are on the same page as we sift through all the garbage out there until we can clearly see our inner-AWESOME™ again. (Not actually a trademarked term, but I’m working on it).

So why should you read this blog? Why should you listen to what I may post on here? Because you are a young woman(or man, or old woman, or Ryan Gosling who is beyond human) who has low energy, extra pounds, and very little time to spend reading the latest research on the new All Fro-Yo Diet, or “256 Things You Must Do to be a Perfect Human Being”. I am here to help you:

English: Ryan Gosling outside a concert for hi...

  • INCREASE your energy
  • LOSE weight (the safe and sustainable way)
  • DECREASE stress
  • SAVE money
  • IMPROVE relationships with food, with others, and with yourself
  • ADD more joy, vitality, and silliness into each and every day!

Does that sound lame to you??

If so, I send you all the good vibes in the universe and kindly ask you to find another blog to read. We are in it to win it, people. Here I will post pictures, videos, recipes, memes, and random thoughts that I believe you will benefit from. I am here to help YOU and your Inner-AWESOME™ (still working on it).

Send me your thoughts on what you’d like to see or learn about here! I have some great things and guest posters lined up for your technological and culinary enjoyment, but remember– this is for YOU. Check our all that I do at letsberealwellness.healthcoach.integrativenutrition.com or on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/letsberealwellnesscoaching. Follow me on Instagram (food and cat pics, anyone?) or Twitter @healthcoachKM

Here’s to REAL life, REAL food, REAL health, REAL YOU!

Why wait?? You heard the man.

Why wait?? You heard the man.