10 Healthy Alternatives for Natural Weight Loss

swap store produce for farmers markets

10 Healthy Alternatives for Natural Weight Loss

Here are my top 10 healthy alternatives to common foods.Whether you’re looking to lose weight or live a healthier lifestyle Keep in mind, you don’t have to replace everything all at once. You can even create a swap out list along side your grocery list and work the replacements into your meals over time.

Healthy Alternatives are not a compromise, they are a path to effortless weight loss

not a healthy alternatives datepaste - healthy alternatives

Replace sugar with Stevia raw honey or date paste


Stevia is all natural and has zero calories, carbs or sugar. Raw Honey has other health benefits, which include anti-microbial, heart-healthy and anti-inflammatory effects. It does break down in your body the same as sugar so while it has nutritional benefits, treat it as sugar. Date paste is an easy sugar alternative loaded with calcium, iron, magnesium and fiber.


soda - replace for healthier eating as healthy alternatives soda watersoda - healthy alternatives Skip the soda and drink sparking water or Kombucha

There is nothing “good’ about soda pop and a healthy alternative is a vital change. Sparkling water will provide the fizz you may need without all the chemicals and sugars. Kombucha is a fermented beverage loaded with probiotics which are good for digestion and intestinal health.



milk as healthy alternatives milk almonds healthy alternatives Replace milk with almond milk

Unless you’re drinking Kelfir or milk from grass fed cows, skip the milk, period. Of course there is plenty of research around whether we should even be drinking it at all (not Paleo is only one), but that’s for another time.  Almond or other nut milks contain calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium. zinc,B-6, folate, riboflavin and others.


mustard healthy alternatives mustard for mayo as healthy alternatives Use mustard instead of mayo

If you cant live without the mayo, at least try veganaise, they are less likely to contain GMO related fats and other chemicals. Read the labels! Outside of the caloric benefit of mustard over mayo, it’s healthy. It contains antioxidants along with turmeric (anti-inflammatory). Mustard seed has also been classified as a super food due to it’s nutrient dense anti cancer fighting benefits.


salad dressing store as healthy alternatives salad dressing as healthy alternatives Replace store bought salad dressing for homemade vinaigrette

Store bought dressings are laden with GMO fats and other chemicals that have zero benefits to our health. With homemade dressings you have control over the ingredients. Use good fats, like olive oil, almond oil or grapeseed oil.  You can even use just a good extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


market store as healthy alternatives market farmer as healthy alternatives Shop local farmer’s market for fresh in season produce instead of large grocery store chains

In season produce has more nutrients due to a shorter “shelf” life. When in season produce isn’t available, the next best option is frozen. It goes from farm to freezer keeping its nutrients.


Seasonal eating supports local farmers markets and keeps you fit for life Click To Tweet


salt-shaker-as healthy alternatives salt-pink as healthy alternatives Replace your table salt with Himalayan salt

The processing of table salt has removed all of it’s minerals. Himalayan rock salt contains over 80 minerals.  Some of the benefits include balancing PH, increasing hydration, balance electrolytes, lower blood pressure and improve circulation.


peanutbutter as healthy alternatives peanutbutter almond as healthy alternatives Replace processed peanut butter with almond butter

Peanuts are actually legumes and are not Paleo. That could be enough but I’ll continue.  Peanuts contain high levels of Omega 6 which can lead to inflammation. They contain aflatoxin with is actually a natural mold that is the source of people’s peanut allergies. These aflatoxins are also a potent carcinogen so replacing peanut butter with alternative nut butter will help cut down on your toxic load exposure from the environment.  Almond butter is a good source of vitamin E, an antioxidant along with trace minerals and is more nutritionally dense then peanut butter.

Healthy alternatives are not a compromise, they're a new experience.... Click To Tweet

oil vegetable as healthy alternatives?oil coconut as healthy alternatives Swap your vegetable oil for coconut oil

There has been enough press around the hazards of GMO foods/oils.  Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides that metabolize differently and has proven to increase energy, reduce candida (yeast), improve brain health, reduce hunger  help with may brain disorders. There are about 100 more benefits of using coconut oil, but bottom line, it’s definitely earns it’s role as a superfood.


croutons as healthy alternatives croutons sliced almonds as healthy alternatives Use almonds instead of croutons on salads

Croutons are high in sodium ,carbohydrates and do not offer much nutritional value.  Almonds are loaded with vitamin E, fiber, protein, healthy fats, manganese, magnesium, cooper, B12, phosphorus and loaded with antioxidants. It can also help with weight loss. Almonds contain many nutrients that are hard for the body to breakdown. Therefore, 10-15% of the calories can’t be absorbed.



Check out more delicious and healthy recipes here

Avocados – 5 health benefits of this super food in your diet

Avocados – 5 health benefits of this super food in your diet

Avocado a super food gift from nature

Avocado is a unique super food fruit that is very healthy for you. The avocado is different than most fruits in that it has a much higher nutritional value and is considered a ‘superfood’. It is loaded with essential nutrients that are good for your body.  It has many healthy attributes along with a great taste and makes a great addition to your pantry.

Avocado is a positive Paleo food.  If you are not familiar with the Paleo diet or lifestyle, it is a word to describe the ancient cave man diet.  These early hunters and gatherers ate mostly nuts,  berries, meats and other good whole foods, with none of the farmed grains that are part of many mainstream diets. We really love eating Paleo, as it gives us a simple framework to good healthy clean eating. One of the other major benefits we’ve found with Paleo, is we stay satisfied between meals, reducing the need for snacking, and the temptation for less healthy foods.

avocados super food1-Avocados Are Full of Good Nutrients

Avocados have many vitamins and nutrients. Vitamins B, C, K and E all in significant amounts. There is over twelve percent of potassium per serving in these green bumpy fruits; its why they call them a super food! The fruit is also very low in sugar, which has many health benefits, especially keeping inflammation at bay.  The carbs that exist in avocados are mostly dietary fiber. It also contains smaller amounts of trace minerals like zinc, copper and iron. These fruits taste great and they are nutritious too.

chicken-bacon-avocado-lettuce-wrap - super food2-Avocados Contain “Good Fat”

Over seventy percent of calories in avocados are made up of fat.  They contain some protein and NO trans fats.  The good news is this green super-food contains ALL good fats.  This is great for healthy eating. There is only a half gram of saturated fat in this wonderful fruit.  Eating good healthy fats can actually lower your body’s cholesterol, provides a more stable, slow release energy source.
hass-avocado-super food

3-There are no GMO Avocados

There are no varieties of avocados that have been modified in the lab, so you don’t have to worry about your avocados being GMO (Genetically Modified Organism). It’s tough alligator like shell prevents pesticides from making it’s way into the tasty fruit.  This fact puts Avocados onto the clean 15 list each year.  The clean 15 helps to indicate which produce we need to buy organic (the dirty dozen) and which are ok to buy non organic (the clean 15).

Avocado super fruit helps with pregnancy - super food4-Avocados are a natural source of Folate

One of the most important nutrients for expecting mothers is folic acid or folate. Folate is the natural form of this B vitamin and better than having to take the synthetic form. Folate helps to prevent the baby from having any deformities. The lack of this vitamin can also lead to depression in adults. Folate from avocados provides the natural source of the vitamin that is readily absorbed by your body.

green-smoothie-super food5-Avocados Are a Good Replacement for Dairy

They can be used in many of your favorite recipes that require dairy. A good example is to use avocados to make a creamy dressing or instead of butter when baking.  They make great thickener for smoothies or shakes and even work with ice-creams and other deserts as a cream replacement. The durability of the fruit makes it one of the finest super foods you can include in your diet.


Below are some of the recipes from our site that contain Avocado

[ultimate-recipe-grid name=”Avocado Recipes” template=”default” images_only=”true” filter=”” multiselect=”true” match_all=”true” match_parents=”true” limit_author=”” limit_by_tag=”ingredient” limit_by_values=”Avocado; Avocado Dip” sort_by=”date” sort_order=”DESC” limit=”30″]What’s your favorite use for avocado in your daily meal plan ?

The key to improving Your Financial Health – Step 3

As promised, here’s the next instalment in my guide to achieving Financial Health.  If you haven’t done so already, I highly recommend reading the previous 2 steps, before you continue with this article.

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 1

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 2

Improving Your Financial Health – Step 3

To have choice

In “Step 1″ I mentioned a number of phrases that encapsulate what “Financial Health” or “Freedom” meant to me, I have included them below.

Full awareness – (of my Financial Position)
The ability to be open and honest – (with my family)
To have choice – (where we spend our money)
Ability to handle “surprises”
Guilt Free Spending

In this post, we are looking at the 3rd phrase, To Have Choice – (where we spend our money)

Grasping this idea, is one of the most single most freeing things you can do for yourself and your financial health situation.  Take your “choice” back when it comes to finances & spending.

I have personally found it invaluable and see the amazing effect it has on others, as they get to grips with the concept and implement it over time.  The truth is, you can have most anything you want, but consciously knowing what you REALLY want is key.  The choices you then make come from a more balanced place.

Let’s face it, it is rare, unless you are in the top 1-5% financially, that you can have everything!  Having to make choices is inevitable, what I want to be sure of is that we FEEL we really have a choice.  That’s the freedom side. Having choice is aligned very closely to peoples idea of happiness, for many it’s seen as rite! Often, particularly with financial decisions, we feel bound to take a particular path.  We feel there is no choice!

Some things we want are pure fantasy right ?  Some things are a necessity, I HAVE to have it/do it/spend it.  NO! I want to share with you an example from my own life.  One which shaped a number of decisions I’ve made since, and not just in my financial health planning.

Say hello to your inner child

Children's financial health
Start financial health checks at a young age

I’ll talk about my “inner child” here.  It’s a concept a number of people are familiar with, in this case it’s that little part of you that says “I want xxxxxx“.  I’d always tried to quiet that voice, to shut it up or ignore it, saying, “you can’t have that!”, “don’t be ridiculous!”, “how can we afford that!” etc etc etc.  What I found was that voice just got stronger, “I really want xxxxxx” or “I’ve just got to have xxxxxx“, and on and on, the cycle went.  I would feel dissatisfied, I never had enough, life wasn’t “fair”.  Any of this sound familiar ?  The more I tried to push that voice down the more I would want to do whatever “it” was, and the more dissatisfied I became.  I had to break the cycle.

When it happened for me, it was a revelation, and I’ve been grateful for it every since.  The concept was introduced to me by my Guru, in the UK, about 8 or so years ago.  I kept saying “I really want an Aston Martin DB9”,  I had pictures of it on my computer wallpaper, I knew the stats, I was even upset when I heard they TRASHED 6 or so of them making the remake of the Bond film – Casino Royale.  They could have given me just one of them!  Although I had this dream, it didn’t make me happy, I didn’t believe I would really ever be able to get it.  I DIDN’T HAVE THE CHOICE.

My guru challenged me to fully accept the desires my inner child had.  To “work with it” to help it FULLY investigate the actuality of having an Aston Martin.  I was uncomfortable with this approach at first, but I went with it.  I truly looked into what it would take to have one.  What would it cost, insurance, purchase, lease costs, fuel, maintenance etc.  I got quite excited, I was taking this seriously and you know, it turned out I COULD have an Aston Martin. It did come with some choices. However, even before making any decisions, I noticed something…

My desire to have an Aston Martin had diminished significantly

The more of a possibility it became, the less strongly I felt about getting one.  To this day, I still like the idea of owning the prestigious Aston, but I am totally at peace with whether I have one, or not.  In fact, I would go as far as to say I rarely think about getting one.

Now I had a choice… I could actively choose one thing over another.  Once I was fully aware of all the facts, the need diminished, I could make a decision I would be at peace with.

The other thing that happened at the time, was I realized I no longer resented the things I felt were holding me back.  I was no longer trapped by the life I had, by the restrictions I had felt were placed on me.  It became clear, although I could have had the car, I would have to sell the house & live in the car. The house was our family home, I love my family, therefore (and this is important) as my desire had subsided, I could fully understand and enjoy the life I already had. No resentment, with full ownership for the choices I made.

financial health is freedomI have reminded myself about this example many times in my life, and eventually it becomes an ingrained attitude.  Your car is off the road, you feel like you have no choice but to spend all this money to get it fixed. Do you feel angry? “NOW I have to spend $$$$ getting this car fixed.”  Truth is you don’t.  You can not get the car fixed! You can walk, take public transport, ask friends for a ride.  But you want the convenience of driving yourself… so now you WANT to get the car fixed.  There is a huge difference, a difference in how you feel.

The multi pot budgeting approach, then helps further with this concept.  You put money away for things you need/want and are a priority for you.  Then when they happen, you have ALREADY made the choice to spend the money, after all, you saved specifically for this situation.  Even less stress.

In summary

  1. You always have choice, you just have to be at peace with the outcome
  2. Always pay attention to your inner child, ignore it at your peril
  3. My Multi pot budget approach is built on choice, on understanding what is important to you & then working to provide it

The History and benefits of Reiki explained in five minutes

The History and benefits of Reiki explained in five minutes

get-reiki benefits of reikiA number of people have requested more information about the history and  benefits of Reiki, so I felt it would be useful to include the text I was given when I took my first Reiki class and received my level 1 attunement.  There is a lot of background here, but it gives a really good feel for where Reiki originated from, what it can do, and how it came to its current form.  It also addresses some of the more controversial matters around the cost of Reiki attunements.  These are just facts as I had them delivered to me, so please take them as such.

Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…

The History and benefits of Reiki

There are two different stories surrounding the history of Reiki. The first story and the one that is mentioned most commonly in the books available on Reiki portray Dr. Mikao Usui as a Christian. The second story claims the Dr. Usui was in fact a Buddhist Monk.


Dr. Mikao Usui

Dr Usui - History of Reiki -benefits of reiki Dr. Mikao Usui was born in Japan on August 15, 1865. The more common story about Dr. Usui states that he was the Principal of Doshisha University, a Christian university near Kyoto in Japan. It says that one of his students asked him about healing and why people could no longer heal the way Jesus could. As he could not answer the question, he resigned from the university and started out on his quest for healing. He is supposed to have travelled to Chicago where he studied for 7 years and received a degree in technology.

A letter from Doshisha University in Japan where Dr. Usui is supposed to have taught and a letter from Chicago University (Divinity School) both show that they have no knowledge of any Mikao Usui having either taught or studied at either establishment. In fact the University of Chicago did not even exist in the time when Dr. Usui was thought to have studied there. It is thought that Mrs. Hawayo Takata believed that if she introduced Dr. Usui as a Buddhist monk during the 1940’s then no-one would be interested in Reiki as the visions of Pearl Harbour were still fresh in the memories of the American people.

The other Story that has been verified to some extent and is more plausible is that Dr. Usui was interested in healing and the life of Buddha. He wondered why Buddha and his disciples could heal physical illness and why this power had been lost.

Dr. Usui made it his life’s work to rediscover how to heal the physical body. He started by visiting various Buddhist temples to ask the monks if they knew how to heal the physical body. Invariably the answer was a negative one. They were concentrating on the mind, as it is the belief of Buddhists that all disease comes from the mind first.

One of the monks of a Zen monastery he approached told Dr. Usui that they no longer knew how to heal the body. They used to, but this had been lost over the years through disuse. The monk was also interested in healing and he invited Dr. Usui to study with them and in so doing, granted him access to their secret library. In order to study these manuscripts Dr. Usui eventually had to learn Sanskrit. It was in the Indian Sutras, written in Sanskrit that he found part of his answer. Dr. Usui discovered a formula that would allow him to contact a higher power in his meditation.

Dr. Usui decided to go to the holy mountain of Kurama to fast and meditate for a period of 21 days. Dr. Usui sat on top of the mountain with 21 stones in front of him. Every day at dawn he would throw another stone away and spend the rest of the day in deep meditation. On the twenty first day he threw the last stone away and shortly afterwards saw a very bright light in the horizon that was coming straight at him. He realised that this light contained a message and he was about to receive what he had been looking for all of his life. The light was incredibly strong and he realised that in order for him to receive the instructions the light would have to strike him, he knew that as the light was so powerful it might even be too much for him and it might have killed him. Dr. Usui had a choice of whether of not he wanted to accept the light. He decided to receive the light and accept whatever may happen to him, he had no idea of the benefits of Reiki that were to come.

The light Struck Dr. Usui on his third eye and knocked him unconscious for some time. During this period of unconsciousness Dr. Usui had an out of body experience and was shown a bubble of light with various symbols in them. He memorised the symbols and as he did so he received an attunement from the light so that he was able to use the symbols. This is how Dr. Usui was initiated to Reiki.

When Dr. Usui regained consciousness he was full of energy even though he had not eaten for the past 21 days. He set off to go back to the monastery and as he came down the mountain he tripped and his toe started to bleed. Instinctively he put his hands around the toe, the bleeding stopped and the pain went away. He knew then that he had received some healing powers with this first experience of the benefits of Reiki. On his way back he had a full meal, which is something you simply cannot do after fasting for 21 days. The meal caused no adverse effects on him whatsoever. During his meal the innkeeper’s daughter who had a very bad toothache was attending him. Dr. Usui felt that he could help her and so placed his hands near her jaw where the pain was. After only a few minutes the pain had gone.

Reiki treatment - History of Reiki -benefits of reikiBack at the monastery, he discovered that the abbot was in bed crippled with Arthritis. He proceeded to relate his experience and at the same time successfully treated his friend’s problem.

Dr. Usui then spent the next 7 years taking care of sick people in the slums of Tokyo. Unfortunately he noticed some of the beggars that, although cured of physical illness, had returned to a life of begging. He spoke to many of these beggars and came to realise that for these people the life here was far easier than the life in the mainstream society where they had the worry of money for paying bills etc. Dr. Usui had realised his mistake and that the person receiving healing must ask for it and that there must be an exchange of energy. This can be money, goods, work or anything really. Without the person asking for healing or exchanging energy he believed the healing would not work.

After this realisation, Dr. Usui went around Japan and looked for people who wanted to be healed. He practiced and taught the benefits of Reiki throughout Japan for the remainder of his life. Before his death on 9 March 1926, he gave the master  Reiki attunement to 16 teachers, one of whom was Dr. Chujiro Hayashi.

The Emperor of Japan heavily decorated Dr. Usui; he is buried at Saihoji temple in the Toyotama district of Tokyo. On the following pages is a translation in English from the inscription on Usui’s Memorial –


“Someone who studies hard (i.e. practices Reiki meditation) and works assiduously to improve body and mind for the sake of becoming a better person is called “a man of great spirit.” People who use that Great Spirit for a social purpose, that is, to teach the right way to many people and do collective good, are called “teachers.” Dr. Usui was one such teacher. He taught the Reiki of the universe (universal energy). Countless people came to him and asked him to teach them the great way of Reiki and to heal them.

Dr. Usui was born in the first year of the Keio period, called Keio Gunnen, on August 15th (1864). His first name was Mikaomi and his other name is pronounced Gyoho (or Kyoho). He was born in the village of Yago in the Yamagata district of Gifu prefecture. His ancestor’s name is Tsunetane Chiba. His father’s name was Uzaemon. His mother’s family name was Kawaai. From what is known, he was a talented and hard-working student. As an adult he travelled to several Western countries and China to study, worked arduously, but did at point run into some bad luck. However he didn’t give up and trained himself arduously.

One day he went to Mount Kurama on a 21-day retreat to fast and meditate. At the end of this period he suddenly felt the great Reiki energy at the top of his head, which led to the Reiki healing system. He first used Reiki on himself and then tried it on his family. Since it worked well for various ailments, he decided to share this knowledge with the public at large. He opened a clinic in Harajuku, Aoyama Tokyo—in April of the 11th year of the Taisho period (in 1921). He not only gave treatment to countless patients, some of whom had come from far and wide, but he also hosted workshops to spread his knowledge. In September of the twelfth year of the Taisho period (1923), the devastating Kanto earthquake shook Tokyo. Thousands were killed, injured, or became sick in its aftermath. Dr. Usui grieved for his people, but he also took Reiki to the devastated city and used its healing powers on the surviving victims. His clinic soon became too small to handle the throng of patients, so in February of the 14th year of the Taisho period (1924), he built a new one outside Tokyo in Nakano. His fame spread quickly all over Japan and invitations to distant towns and villages started coming in. Once he went to Kure, another time to Hiroshima prefecture, then to Saga prefecture and Fukuyama.

It was during his stay in Fukuyama that he was hit by a fatal stroke on March 9th, of the fifteenth year of the Taisho period (1926). He was 62 years of age. Dr. Usui had a wife named Sadako; her maiden name was Suzuki. They had a son and a daughter. The son, Fuji Usui took over the family business after Dr. Usui’s passing.

Dr. Usui was a very warm, simple and humble person. He was physically healthy and well proportioned. He never showed off and always had a smile on his face; he was also very courageous in the face of adversity. He was, at the same time, a very cautious person. His talents were many. He liked to read, and his knowledge of medicine, psychology, fortune telling and theology of religions around the world was vast. This life-long habit of studying and gathering information certainly helped pave the way to perceiving and understanding Reiki. (I think this refers to his experience on Mount Kurama). Reiki therapy not only heals diseases, but also amplifies innate abilities, balances the spirit, makes the body healthy, and thus helps achieve happiness. To teach this to others you should follow the five principles of the Meiji Emperor and contemplate them in your heart.

They should be spoken daily, once in the morning and once in the evening.

1) Don’t get angry today.
2) Don’t worry today.
3) Be grateful today.
4) Work hard today (meditative practice).
5) Be kind to others today.

The ultimate goal is to understand the ancient secret method for gaining happiness (Reiki) and thereby discover an all-purpose cure for many ailments. If these principles are followed you will achieve the great tranquil mind of the ancient sages. To begin spreading the Reiki system, it is important to start from a place close to you (yourself), don’t start from something distant such as philosophy or logic.

Sit still and in silence every morning and every evening with your hands folded in the “Ghasso” or “Namaste”. Follow the great principles, and be clean and quiet. Work on your heart and do things from the quiet space inside of you. Anyone can access Reiki, because it begins within yourself!

Philosophical paradigms are changing the world round. If  the benefits of Reiki can be spread throughout the world it will touch the human heart and the morals of society. It will be helpful for many people, and will not only heal disease, but also the Earth as a whole. Over 2000 people learned Reiki from Dr. Usui. More learned it from his senior disciples, and they carried Reiki even further. Even now after Dr. Usui’s pass­ing, Reiki will spread far and wide for a long time to come. It is a universal blessing to have received Reiki from Dr. Usui and to be able to pass it on to others. Many of Dr. Usui’s students converged to build this memorial here at Saihoji Temple in the Toyotama district.

I was asked to write these words to help keep his great work alive. I deeply appreciate his work and I would like to say to all of his disciples that 1 am honoured to have been chosen for this task. May many understand what a great service Dr. Usui did to the world.”

Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…


You will probably have noticed a difference in the spelling of Dr. Usui’s forename in the translation – Mikaomi as opposed to Mikao. These are effectively the same name in Japanese; it’s simply the case that Mikaomi is a more literal western translation of Usui’s forename. Everybody has always used Mikao and so this is the most common pronunciation of his name.


Dr. Hayashi

Dr Hayashi - History of Reiki - benefits of reikiDr. Hayashi (1878 – 1941), a retired naval officer, was interested in Dr. Usui’s work. Before his death, Dr. Usui initiated Dr. Hayashi as a Reiki Master in 1925 at the age of 47.

Dr. Hayashi is responsible for breaking Reiki into three degrees and setting up new hand positions. Up to that time, Reiki was given in a series of attunements and could be given in a very short period of time (Dr. Usui himself was given Reiki in one powerful attunement). Dr. Hayashi opened a Reiki clinic in Tokyo, near the Imperial Palace, and kept detailed records of the treatments given. His clinic consisted of a reception room and a large room with 8 couches and 16 practitioners working (2 per patient). The practitioners worked there from 7 to 12.00 and did house calls after this till 7 p.m. Dr. Hayashi designed the system of hand positions taught during the first degree and their initiation procedures.

One of Hayashi’s students was a lady called Hawayo Takata. Hayashi forced his own death by mentally rupturing the arteries to his heart on May 10, 1941. During his life, Dr. Hayashi initiated 13 masters (including his wife).


Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…


Hawayo Takata

Hawayo Takata - History of Reiki -benefits of reikiHawayo Takata was born on 24 December 1900 in Kauai, one of the Hawaii islands. She was of Japanese origin and her father worked in a local sugar plantation. She married Saichi Takata who was the bookkeeper of the sugar plantation, where she eventually worked herself. Her husband died in October 1930 at the age of thirty-four leaving his wife and two children. Takata took over the keeping of the family and eventually suffered from a nervous breakdown, abdominal pains and lung problems.

When her sister died, she went to Japan where her parents lived, to inform them of the loss of their daughter. Whilst there, she went to hospital and was diagnosed with a terminal illness and rushed for surgery.

Whilst waiting for the surgeon, she is supposed to have heard a voice that said, “The operation is not necessary.” She wondered if she was dreaming but realised that she was fully awake. The voice once again repeated, “The operation is not necessary.” Not knowing what to do, she decided to ask the doctor if there was another way. To the surprise of the staff in the operating theatre, she got off the operating table and looked for the surgeon and asked him if he thought there might be another way to get rid of her problems rather than operate on them. The doctor told her about Hayashi’s clinic.

She underwent a course of treatments at Hayashi’s clinic. Just by laying their hands on her, the Reiki practitioners described her symptoms accurately. This impressed Takata and gave her the confidence to go ahead with the treatment. She was curious about the heat she received whilst the two practitioners were treating her and thought that they may be using some heating apparatus. She looked under the couch for it and found nothing. Then she grabbed one of the practitioners’ sleeves thinking that some heating equipment was hidden there. The startled practitioner laughed at her when she explained what she was looking for. He told her about Reiki and how it worked.

As she progressed with her daily treatment, her condition got progressively better. She decided that she also would like to learn Reiki. In a country where man was king and Japanese pride was high, she was told that Reiki should stay in Japan and that she could not be initiated. Takata was a stubborn person who did not take no for an answer. She went to her surgeon and asked him for a letter confirming that she was sick and needed Reiki daily. Eventually Dr. Hayashi was impressed with Takata’s persistence and initiated her in First Degree Reiki in the spring of 1936. She was initiated in the Second Degree in 1937.

She went back to Hawaii in the summer of 1937 and invited Dr. Hayashi’s daughter over. She knew that Dr. Hayashi would never permit his daughter to travel alone and that there was a good chance that he would come with her and possibly initiate her into a Grand Master. She was initiated as a Master on February 21, 1938. Hayashi registered her Masters’ Certificate at Honolulu and gave her the rights to practice and teach in the United States (only). Her Reiki Masters’ certificate shows her as being a Master (not a Grand Master).

Between 1970 and her death on 11 December 1980, Mrs. Takata initiated twenty-two Reiki Masters. These twenty-two are listed below –

George ArakiDorothy Baba (deceased)
Barbara McCulloughMary McFadyen
Beth GrayJohn Gray
Ursula BaylowRick Bockner
Paul MitchellIris Ishikura (deceased)
Barbara Weber RayBethel Phaigh (deceased)
Ethel LombardHarry Kuboi
Wanja TwanPatricia Ewing
Virginia SamdahlShinobu Saito
Takata’s SisterBarbara Brown
Phyllis FurumotoFran Brown


benefits of reikiPhyllis Furumoto

Phyllis Furumoto is Takata’s granddaughter. Prior to her death, Takata asked Phyllis if she wanted to become the new Grand Master. Phyllis at the time turned the offer down. Takata then asked Barbara Ray to become the new Grand Master. Barbara accepted. Phyllis subsequently changed her mind and Takata also initiated her as the new Grand Master without telling Barbara Ray. As you can imagine, this has caused some friction over the years.


Barbara Ray and the Radiance Technique

Barbara Ray has since then formed her own system of healing and benefits of Reiki. This was originally called the A.I.R.A (American International Reiki Association”. This has since been renamed to “The Radiance Technique”. Barbara has added 4 new degrees to the Reiki natural system of healing, taking the benefits of Reiki to another level.


Virginia Samdahl

Virginia Samdahl was the first Occidental Reiki master. Takata initiated her in 1974.


The Reiki Alliance

The Alliance was formed by a group of Reiki Masters in May 1983. It has a set of guidelines on how Reiki should be taught. Any Reiki Master can apply for membership. The Alliance itself does not teach Reiki. It recognises independent Reiki Masters.


Usui Shiki Ryoho – The Usui System of Natural Healing

The word Reiki in Japan is used to describe any system of healing. Dr. Usui’s method of healing is called “The Usui System of Natural Healing” or “Usui Shiki Ryoho”.

Since Dr. Usui, Dr. Hayashi or Takata did not leave any written records; we rely on what was passed on from Master to students as being the way Reiki was always taught. Reiki originally did not used to be so structured. Dr. Usui himself received Reiki in one powerful attunement and initiated his students to the benefits of Reiki over a short period of time. The length of time that you now have to wait between each level has been introduced by the Alliance. Mrs. Takata herself often initiated her students to Reiki 1 and 2 during the same day.

Dr. Usui after his experience with the beggars in the slums of Tokyo added the idea that one needs to give something in exchange for the benefits of  Reiki. This could be money, work or whatever depending on the means of the person receiving. Dr. Hayashi introduced the hand position and Takata added the fee structure.

Many new Masters have made changes to the way they teach Reiki. Some of these changes are beneficial some are not. Barbara Ray for example introduced 4 new levels to Reiki. Her students are no longer given the name of the secret symbols during their initiations. She changed the name Reiki to Radiance techniques.


The Origin and further benefits of Reiki

Reiki (pronounced ray-key) is a form of healing that comes to us from Tibet. “The Healing Buddha” is a 2500-year-old book that describes a form of healing very similar to Reiki. The benefits of Reiki are passed on from Master to student. Unless it is passed on it will be lost, this unfortunately is what happened. It was not until late 1800 that Dr. Mikao Usui rediscovered Reiki. Reiki is a very simple technique that may be learnt by anybody.

reiki-kangi3 - History of Reiki -benefits of reikiREI – Spiritual Wisdom

The direct translation of Rei from a Japanese dictionary is “Ghost”.

The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words best translated as ‘Sharp or Clever spirit’ REI means ‘The higher intelligence that guides the creation and functioning of the universe’.

Rei is sometimes translated into Universal. The meaning of Universal in this context signifies Supernatural Knowledge or Spiritual Consciousness. This wisdom comes from the Higher Self. Rei is intelligent it understands everything. It knows the cause of problems and has the knowledge to deal with them.

KI – The Life Force

The direct translation of KI from a Japanese dictionary is Vapour or Mist.

Ki is the Japanese word for Chi in Chinese, Prana in Sanskrit and Mana in Hawaiian. It has also been called, Odic force, Orgone, and Bioplasma etc.

Ki is the life energy often called Universal Life Force. It is a force that animates all things. All creatures, objects or living things have this life force. The life force flows inside and outside all living things. This is what allows us to get up in the morning and work, play and function as human beings. When this life force becomes low, we feel run down and illness may set in. When this life force flows freely, we are much less likely to get sick. Ki animates everything we do; it is responsible for our emotions, dreams and daily performance.

Practitioners of Martial arts understand this life force. It has been recognised for at least 4,000 years as it was mentioned in the ‘Yellow Emperors Classic of Internal Medicine’, which lists thirty-two different kinds of Chi. Perhaps the most popular and well-known Martial Art to employ the use of Ki is Aikido with literally means ‘The way of coming into harmony using the forces of nature and the universe.’

Spiritually Guided Life Force Energy

Reiki is intelligent. It is guided by the consciousness called Rei. The practitioner can do very little to influence this energy.


The $10,000.00 Fee

As previously mentioned, Mrs Takata introduced this around 1970. She believed that Japanese people have different values from ours. They work for the same company most of their lives and have a very high set of values that may not be present in the Western mindset. She wondered how to create this respect from would be Western Reiki Masters. She decided that one thing Westerners respected was money and fixed a fee of $300 for Reiki 1, $800 for Reiki 2 and $10,000 for Reiki 3.

These fees are still charged by Alliance Reiki Masters. Independent teachers are not bound by this code of conduct and can charge lower fees. This in turn will mean more Masters become available. This will contribute to more people learning Reiki and a healthier planet with more people taking their health into their own hands.

Click here to discover my personal Reiki program and how I can help you…


My Quest for the Best Paleo Bread

The Best Paleo Bread Quest Begins…

My quest for the best paleo bread started because one of the hardest things to give up when you first remove Gluten from your meals is bread. I have found many store bought brands but not all Gluten free breads are created equal. Read the labels and you’ll  find many not so healthy ingredients. Hence my quest for the best Paleo bread began. Not only did it have to taste great, but it had to be easy to make. Suitable for a non-cook, non-baker. There are tons of recipes out there but, as I’m sure you’ve experienced, they don’t all turn out quite like the picture or taste great. After all, isn’t great tasting food what we want?

My 5 rules for recipes

I am not a cook or have ever really enjoyed cooking. In fact, if you told any of my friends or family that I’d be baking my own bread, making my own granola or vegan grounds they would think you were crazy.   Therefore, I have a few ground rules when it comes to making things at home.

  1. Easy, meaning few ingredients, few utensils, and no complicated cooking methods. Sifting is as complicated as I get.
  2. Reusable ingredients. I have to be able to use the ingredients in other recipes which means they need to be pretty basic cupboard items.
  3. Meals have to be pan/stove to table in under 30 minutes. For baked items and some of my staples like granola and vegan grounds, I’m willing to allow more time because I’ll be saving time in prep during the week.
  4. Has to be nutritionally balanced and accommodate an average breakdown of 20% carb, 55% fat, 25% Protein. ( as a meal or full day breakout not always as an individual item)
  5. Has to taste great! ( defined as I would want seconds)

Over the years, I’ve found a few that fit the bill. They each have a different texture and taste which means they are better suited with some foods or condiments then others. Here are a few of my favorite finds, links to where I’ve found them (if available) and the meals or snacks I’ve used them with.

  • Flax Bread: Maximized Living. Has a very earthy flavor and spongy texture. Works best with hearty meals like soups, sausage sandwiches and burgers. Also works well as a fried egg sandwich and I enjoy it toasted with a bit of almond butter.
  • Coconut flour bread: All Just Choice. This is one I’ve experimented with combining a few recipes and baking tips. Lighter in texture then the flax meal bread. Not as dense and a bit sweeter. It’s great with dairy free butter and natural preserves. Still a great option with eggs and makes good French toast. Yum!
  • Jalapeno Skillet Corn bread: The Recipe Hacker. Yes, it’s Paleo and there is NO corn! We ate this with soup or a vegan chili but to be honest, I would eat it for desert. I have to make it now without the Jalapeno’s (nightshade) but it is still just as good. It’s a little more effort ( ok 2 steps vs 1) but was extremely worth it.

While all the above are great in their own right, none really worked well as a basic sandwich bread that I would use for a PBJ (Peanut Butter and Jelly) sandwich. I have to admit, I do miss those and it’s such a staple lunch box option. I started to wonder if my quest was doomed, could there be a ‘best paleo bread’ or would I never find a replacement for basic sandwich bread I used to enjoy?  Then I came across a Paleo bread recipe from Elana’s Pantry. She has a great site full of a variety of Paleo friendly recipes.

I have to admit, I was a little hesitant at first. The coconut flour bread had become my default go to bread because it tasted great and had only a few ingredients. I was looking for ways of upping the protein content, bread after all, no matter which way you slice it, will always be higher in carbs than protein.  At first glance, Elana’s recipe looked more intense but when I compared the breakdown, it won out so I gave it a try. In actuality, all the ingredients are staple items in my kitchen and once I put it all together it was just as quick and easy as the other Paleo bread recipes. When I compared the nutritional breakdown, Elana’s recipe won out.


BreakdownElana’s Paleo BreadPaleo Coconut Flour BreadMaximized Living Flax BreadThe Recipe Hacker Jalapeno Corn Bread
Calories / slice11394221*337
Carb %12201519
Fat %71696970
Protein %17111610

*to be fair, the slices are large but in all honesty you wouldn’t want them any smaller J


The final result of the best paleo bread…drum roll…..

Elana’s Pantry is the best Paleo Bread! It was moist and not overpowering with flavors which makes it a great option for PBJ.  My version of PBJ, is really ABJ (Almond Butter & Jam).  I add a tablespoon for Almond Butter and a tablespoon of Mrs. Miller’s homemade Guava Jam. This jam is made with all natural ingredients. Not to mention I love guava and it reminds me of growing up as a kid in Hialeah. My inner child was extremely happy at 371 calories. Our Avocado dip was great on some thinner slices toasted. Imagine using it for bruschetta?! Give the paleo breads a try and let me know what you think along with how you chose to pair them.  I can’t wait to hear about your creations!

 Coming up Next … the quest for the best Paleo Vegan Bread. This one is in the making and I could use your help. If you have a favorite Paleo Vegan Bread recipe that fits all the “rules”, Please comment below. I will post the outcome next month… the saga continues.


Why You Should Use Oils for Natural Sunburn relief

Got Sunburn ? Quick & Easy Remedies with oils for natural sunburn relief

I hope everyone in the US had a great 4th of July celebration! While sunshine is a good source of Vitamin D, if you happened to get too much exposure and are nursing a sunburn today, here are some of oils I use for natural sunburn relief.

natural sunburn relief with oil Hydrate

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. Drink water with lemon, mint and cucumber to rehydrate. Coconut water is also a great source of natural electrolytes.

aloe-vera-natural sunburn relief Aloe Aloe

Aloe Vera is a long time natural remedy for cuts and sunburns. If you have a plant at home, simply take an older leaf from the plant, slice it down the center and apply the sticky healing liquid directly to your sunburn

spray gun for natural sunburn relief ACV

Apple Cider Vinegar diluted with water. Place in a spray bottle and keep refrigerated. You can also add a mint tea bag. The cool spray will be refreshing and feel great on your skin.

oils for natural sunburn relief Essential Oils

A combination of 10 drops lavender, 10 drops helichrysum essential oil mixed with ¼ cup of coconut oil. Massage gently on sunburn area. Helps sooth, nourish and repair the skin.