limiting thoughts

Silencing Your Inner Critic, Seasonal Eating and Veggie Gumbo--OH MY!

When I began posting this recipe I thought, "people aren't going to want to eat this in the summer! It's hot! Post a recipe that's about fresh, raw veggies to promote the idea of eating with the seasons!" Those limiting thoughts. Those negative self-defeating patterns. MY GOODNESS, how persistent (and detrimental) they can be!

Then I thought to myself, "self, you are being judgmental and critical. Stop it. Gumbo is eaten in places where people are hot almost every day of their gosh darn lives. I can teach people about eating with the seasons AND post a hot recipe. Both can happen."

See how easy that was?


This post is about silencing your inner critic, eating with the seasons (as a dietary theory) AND making easy and amazing vegetarian gumbo.

Ready, Set, GO!

Silence Your Inner Critic:

This is an easy concept but it's difficult to practice. Basically, my suggestion is the next time you have a limiting thought or a negative self-defeating pattern rears its ugly head---notice it (you can see me using my spiritual practice here) and replace it with a positive one. Literally change the way you're talking to yourself.

Catching yourself doing it is the key to changing it. It's like 90% of the work. That's why I speak about mindfulness so much because it's the THING that's the difference between knowing what to do, or what you want to do and actually DOING it. If you're not aware of what you're thinking or how you're talking to yourself, you can't change the inner dialogue to be less critical of yourself. 

How can you become more mindful? You have to just do it. You have to press pause long enough to catch the things you're thinking and saying and doing. People struggle with this because they run like robots most of the time. 

Once you notice that you've said something critical, re-word it to be more inspiring, empowering or more supportive. See my example above. 

Eat with the Seasons:

Also a fairly simple idea, but often difficult to practice. The goal is to focus your daily diet around what is growing locally around you and in abundance at a specific time of year. For example, since our summer was a bit delayed here in Boston this year, the Farmer's Market is selling a lot of veggies plants and leafy greens--the best their crops can do right now. In the coming months, there will be an abundance of veggies like tomatoes, zucchini, peaches, etc. As the summer ends and fall approaches, you'll see tons of squashes, apples and root vegetables like carrots. Your body may naturally crave the foods that are aligned with the growing seasons---as the weather warms, you will crave light, crunchy water-filled fruits and veggies. As the weather cools in the fall, you will crave rich, warm soups, stews, etc. This theory is awesome and I follow it as much as I can. The biggest bummer for me is finding leafy greens once they disappear from the summer fields of Massachusetts. The ones shipped from Cali just don't do it for me because by the time they arrive, they're pretty wilted and worn out.

If you live in Boston, however, and you have 45 degree weather in mid-June, warm vegetarian gumbo sounds absolutely perfect.

So, here you go! I snagged this recipe from a magazine and don't remember which one so I hope I don't get found out. 

Vegetarian Gumbo

Buy this: 

1/2 cup sunflower or coconut oil

1/3 cup flour

1 small onion, chopped (1 cup)

1 green bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)

3 stalks celery, chopped (1 cup)

1 28-oz can diced tomatoes

2 cups fresh or frozen green beans

3 carrots, sliced (2 cups)

1 parsnip, diced (1 cup)

1 cup fresh or frozen sliced okra

1 Tbs. ground cumin

1 Tbs. paprika

1 Tbs. dried oregano

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Do this:

1) Stir together oil and flour in heavy-bottomed pot until smooth. Cook over high heat for 10 minutes or until roux turns a dark caramel color, stirring constantly.

2) Add onion, bell pepper, and celery and cook 5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Add remaining ingredients a 4 cups of water. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook 40 minutes or until carrots are tender. Serve over rice, quinoa or millet.

Serves 8

Here, the rich dark roux of a Louisiana style gumbo is laced with okra, parsnips, carrots and green beans, but feel free to substitute any vegetables you choose (good opportunity to use what's growing in season...)

Simple, fast and it makes plenty of leftovers.


;) Silence the inner critic, cook what's around you (when you can) and make food that is healthy and leaves leftovers for later when the pace of your week picks up.

It's My Birthday and I'll Eat Where I WANT TO!

It was my birthday on June 5th. I had a wonderful day. Can I tell you why? I listened to my gut.

Do you do this enough?

I have been doing this more and more in my life of late and you know what? It's awesome. Truly. When I wasn't doing this, I was frequently anxious, depressed, sad, angry and I felt like a victim far too often. It was no way to go through life. Hardly a Savored Existence.

The most important part of being a health coach, for me, is to walk the talk. I learned the art of this teaching 8th grade---8th graders smell a phony at 10 feet. You don't wanna mess with them if you aren't going to be an authentic, honest person. From these fine young folks, I learned to show up and be myself--professional but warm and approachable.

So here's the scene for my birthday: my wonderful girlfriend had planned to take me out to the North End in Boston for dinner. We ended up in the entry of this upscale establishment. The host and hostess were dressed nicely but the young woman had a sour look on her face. First sign that something wasn't right.

Because it was such a nice day, my girlfriend immediately asked if we could be placed by the open windows. Sour look #2 from the hostess and attitude-laced comment, "yeah, sure. Whatever," as she grabbed two menus and walked us around the bar and sat us. No "enjoy your meal". No "thanks for dining with us". Nothing.

I opened the menu with a bad feeling crawling in my gut and read my options. I had mentally prepared for simple, authentic Italian food, but the chef of this establishment was reaching for loftier goals with the cuisine. It had ingredients that sounded tasty but weren't what I wanted. I expressed this to my girlfriend. To my right was a placard advertising all the other establishments owned by the restauranteur. It felt tacky and arrogant. Second sign that something wasn't right. This guy cared more about showing off than providing good customer service via his staff.

I wanted to leave. I felt like I should stay because they had already served us water. My girlfriend said about 6 times in a row, "we can leave". I sat. I felt paralyzed.

CUE the limiting thoughts:

I have to be polite (even though they hadn't been). I have to stay there and choose something to eat (when though it wasn't what I wanted to eat). I have to make the best of it (even though it was my birthday and I deserved the best experience possible). I don't want to hurt my girlfriend's feelings (even though she had laughed about it, said it was ok and had encouraged me to stand up so we could leave 6 times in 45 seconds).

Funny how we do this to ourselves, huh?

I looked at her smile. I listened to her words. I listened to my gut that said, "you don't have to eat here if it's not what you want". I stood up and followed her out the door. As we walked out, I turned to the host and hostess and said, "thank you, we've changed our mind." They grunted.

We walked across the street into a different restaurant, Fiore, and received a warm greeting from the woman by the door--like we were family! She was warm, authentic and upon hearing the reason for our visit, said, "HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Let's get you on the roofdeck--it's so nice today."  As we sat down, I literally felt the tension in my gut replaced with a warm feeling of contentment.

This is how life feels when you're living in alignment with your needs and desires and

not working against them.

Can you believe they sent over a waiter named Nick who had the same birthday as me?! What a charming touch! He was friendly, cordial and had great eye-contact.

Warm, generous, down-to-earth customer service. A sunny, breezy day. My loving partner beside me. The food was fresh, tasty and simple. Nothing fancy. Authentic and delicious.

It was a dining event to remember forever and it was only possible because I said, "it's my birthday and I'll eat where I WANT TO."

Empower yourself to live the life you want to live and have the experiences you want to have. No one can do this for you.