Recipe: Let me see that Sushi Roll 🎵

Have you ever woken up with an ear worm in your head? For us it was “Tootsee Roll” by 69 Boyz. We took inspiration from that for our lunch and changed the lyrics a bit as we sang “let me see that sushi roll!” throughout the house. The bunnies’ ears perked up as we danced and sang our way through meal prep and it really made the day shine. You can have the same (dancing optional) with this delicious, plant-based meal.

It also doesn’t have raw fish and is gluten-free!

Our secret? Marinated mushrooms with carrots and fresh, juicy cucumber. The combination wrapped inside of a rice-filled nori wrap is a total *chef’s kiss*.

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Servings: 2-3

Equipment: sushi mat and chopsticks, optional but very helpful

Ingredients

2 cups cooked sushi rice (follow directions on package)

3 nori sheets

4oz of baby bella mushrooms, sliced

2 carrots, cut length-wise

1 cucumber, cut length-wise

1 tbsp tamari (gluten-free soy sauce, or use coconut aminos)

Pickled ginger, optional

Wasabi, optional

Instructions

Soak and cook rice according to directions; while that’s going, cut mushrooms and vegetables. Place mushrooms in a pan with some olive oil and stir-fry on low, stirring occasionally until they look a bit dry. Add your chosen soy sauce or gluten-free alternative and keep moving mushrooms for about 5 minutes. Lay out sushi mat and a nori sheet on top. Spoon cooked rice onto nori sheet and spread it to cover the sheet, leaving about 1/2 inch at the top uncovered. Place sliced vegetables and marinated mushrooms into the middle of the nori sheet and then carefully, roll the nori sheet with contents, use sushi mat to squeeze roll (this will help the content stick together). Place sushi roll on a cutting board and, using a sharp knife, slice pieces that are about 1/2 to 3/4 inch. Serve the roll on sushi plates or regular ones with chopsticks as well as ginger and wasabi, if desired. You too may “feel a whoop coming on” – enjoy!

Recipe: Berry Coulis 🍓

“It’s 5 o’clock somewhere” is a typical rationalization for an alcoholic beverage earlier in the day. Similarly “it’s warm and sunny somewhere” is one of our favorite ways to declare that it’s always time for ice cream, especially with a berry coulis on top.

What is a coulis?

A coulis is a sauce made from puréeing and straining fruit, or vegetables. A fruit coulis is often added to desserts, as you’ll see suggested below.

Is a coulis cooked?

It doesn’t have to be – the definition above means that you could just blend or purée the fruit and strain it, keeping it raw. Some like a warm coulis added to ice cream, cheesecake, or baked goods.

Here’s a berry coulis that you can add to vanilla bean ice cream, our plant-based Banana ‘Nice’ Cream, or even to decadent gluten-free pecan brownies. Stay tuned for that forthcoming recipe!

Prep time: 3 minutes

Cook time: about 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 pint fresh or frozen berries (we used raspberries)

1 tbsp maple syrup

1/3 cup water

1/2 lemon, juiced (optional)

Instructions

Add all ingredients to a small saucepan and heat on medium-low, stirring and mashing the berries down as they cook. You may also want to use an immersion blender. Cook until the sauce is at desired viscosity or thickness. Strain if you desire the remove the seeds. Otherwise, pour your berry coulis over your favorite dessert(s) of choice to add another dimension of flavor and texture. Enjoy!

Client Spotlight: “You’re a Magician!” 🧙

“You’re a Magician!”

“The first few days I felt like nothing changed with my symptoms which was frustrating. However, by day 4, my digestive system was 90% better and I hadn’t had stomach issues for the first time in a long time. On day 7 though, I noticed pains in my knees and legs had lessened quite a bit. This wasn’t something I was expecting at all. It’s been such a relief to not have my leg and knee pains and it’s taken a weight and worries off my shoulders. I noticed as I bent down to grab my dog leashes ‘oh, that didn’t hurt’ which was unusual for me.

My stomach pains have almost completely gone away and bloating has decreased a lot. I don’t feel sluggish in my body and can move throughout the day much easier.

I was looking for some insight on the foods that were helping and hurting me and I definitely got that and much more!! Guidance through the different phases has helped in my understanding and how I should move forward with my eating habits.”

What new strengths have you developed from the experience?

“Just knowing what’s good for ME and knowing what I need to limit or avoid all together. I feel I have a better understanding on how these foods will react with my body and am able to make some better choices in the future.

I didn’t know if I would have the willpower to stick with this. Though once I saw results and how much better I felt, I won’t be going back to bad habits and will continue to make better choices for my health.

I’ve enjoyed discovering some new foods and healthier options. I do not enjoy cooking but I was able to find some options that work for me and have been experimenting with new recipes.”

What do you see as the major insights as part of going through this experience?

“Discovering my knee and leg pains were symptoms of my diet. I had no idea and thought it was because of my age, even though I’m not that old (mid-40s). Knowing what I need to avoid or drastically limit, helps me stay healthier and pain free.”

What have you done differently to how you operated before our working together?

“I used to read labels and try to get the healthiest options. Though I know now what works for me and what doesn’t, so reading labels is even more important. I know to look for other options that won’t cause reactions in my body and/or know that I need to drastically limit certain foods to keep my body regulated and happy.

So much of our health is tied to our diet. Having this part ‘under control’ will trickle into every other aspect of our lives – mentally and physically. It plays such a big role and I’m so happy that I have the tools to know more about my body to create a healthier future.”

Angela Pennock Mailot, client

Columbus, Ohio

Owner, Marang Studios

—-

This is one of the most ‘magical’ transformations we’ve seen! The stomach issues resolved 90% in just the first few days of our protocol. It was a surprise because she didn’t think her leg and knee pains were “tied to diet in any way, shape or form. It’s an absolute bonus – I’m thrilled!” She lost 6lbs within a month, found other foods she now loves, and has a 25% reduction in symptoms by her third follow-up appointment. She also mentioned having a sense of freedom “it’s like when you get out of debt – you can breathe”. Because of being pain-free and having better mobility, she is able to engage in physical activity – returning to soccer or even her beloved gardening. This client took a leap of faith in getting tested and following her protocol, and her results are well-deserved!

Everyone has a different pathway to success. The initial assessment gives us a well-rounded view of your current diet, stressors, hormone and gut health, physical activity, and the symptoms pointing to a root cause. Then we personalize a plan to fit.

If you’re curious about potential food sensitivities, you can read more about testing and results and schedule your complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started on your healing path.

5-Minute Weekly Breakfast Meal Prep 🥣

When it comes to eating a healthy breakfast everyday, we have constantly innovated new recipes and iterated efficiency ‘hacks’ so that none of us needed to be in the kitchen longer than 10 or 20 minutes each morning. While the mission has been successful, we have doubled-down on this quest. The result? ONE MINUTE each morning is all that is needed for us, and you, to have hot breakfast and coffee!

You might be asking yourself, by what kind of sorcery is this possible? It’s a fair question, as the laws of physics do continue to exist on my stove.

Fortunately, you will not require any spells or incantations for this enchanting breakfast outcome. All you need is five minutes on a weekend to make this magic happen. Here are some tips:

We love a lazy Sunday as much as the next person. To help pep us up for 5 minutes of breakfast prep, we have 1-2 favorite, energizing songs queued up. May we suggest “Si no le contesto” by Plan B or a long-time favorite “Drunken Lullabies” by Flogging Molly. Play beat-the-song as you put ingredients together.

It’s a good idea to have all your necessary containers clean and ready. We gathered glassware and lids for this little adventure.

Have a plan. We chose to have our ‘magic potion’ coffee and oatmeal. Basically, you choose what you want to have with your meal items and put the non-perishable ingredients in the containers.

Some ideas for the coffee cup: instant coffee, collagen, protein powder, herbs or adaptogens

For the oatmeal container: oatmeal, chocolate, greens powder, hemp seeds, goji berries or other dried fruit, nuts

That’s it! On the day of, just add hot water and fresh fruit, if desired. There you go, a healthy one-minute breakfast all in less time than it takes to do a drive-thru run. You’re welcome!

Have more time for delicious, semi-leisurely breakfasts during the week or weekend? Check out our other delectable and nutritious ways to start your day:

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Southwestern Skillet

Cherry Almond Pancakes

Great Goji Groatmeal

Enjoy!

🤯 Therapy vs. Life Coaching 🧠

therapyvslifecoaching

“Maybe you should talk to someone”

You agree with the suggestion but then feel overwhelmed about next steps. Maybe you don’t want to see a “shrink” and you feel a sense of shame around managing your mental health. Perhaps you’re unsure of the level and type of care you need. Psychiatrists and psychologists are different in that the former is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication while the other is not a medical doctor, though they might hold a doctorate degree, and usually specializes in talk therapy. The term “therapist” encompasses those who are trained and licensed to provide a variety of treatments or to help rehabilitate people. So how is therapy different from life coaching? This guide will explain what each role and area excels in to help point you in the right direction.

The Benefits of Therapy & Life Coaching

Therapy is typically used to treat mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. It involves talking to a therapist about past experiences and current feelings in order to gain insight into the underlying causes of a person’s struggles.

Life coaching, on the other hand, is more focused on helping people achieve specific goals and objectives in their life. The coach works with the client to identify areas that need improvement and then creates an action plan for how they can get there. Life coaches often help people find clarity around their purpose in life and create strategies for achieving success in various aspects of their lives such as career, relationships, finances, and more.

When to Seek Support From a Therapist or a Life Coach

Therapy and life coaching are two very different approaches to help people reach their goals. Therapy focuses on understanding the root causes of a person’s issues, while life coaching is more goal-oriented and action-focused.

In the field of psychotherapy, many of the founders were focused on the patient’s background and childhood. Therapy is the appropriate place for getting a diagnosis and dealing with unconscious, repressed emotions and trauma from the past. Additionally, brain disorders, addictions (e.g. alcoholism), anxiety and depression, and personality disorders (e.g. narcissistic and borderline personality disorders) are within the purview of therapy. Looking into the past with therapy can be the place to start when people feel they cannot function in their lives or that their career, relationships, and other aspects of life just not working. These people might find it hard, if not impossible, to pull themselves up by their bootstraps much less pull themselves off the couch.

Outside of this, there are many issues that don’t require therapy in order to be solved. With life coaching, instead of being stuck in the story of the past, you’re creating a new narrative for yourself. There’s an analysis of your current state and then a distinct movement forward. Changing thoughts and behavior along with active problem-solving are involved. This person tends to be ‘functioning’ in life but they want to do, be, and have better. Support around optimizing and thriving to get to the next level is the name of the game. These people aren’t severely depressed and struggling to get out of bed; instead, they might be thinking of how to best structure their morning routines for increased productivity.

Think of functioning on a spectrum; there is non-functioning (which could include people with severe anxiety and/or depression, suicidal thoughts, or PTSD), functioning being more in the middle (being able to get out of bed and hold down a job, etc) and then thriving. Therapy can really help move from non-functioning to functioning. Life coaching can really help people move from a functional level to more of a next-level way of playing the game of life.

Therapy vs. Life Coaching: How do They Differ?

A therapist and a life coach are both professionals who can help individuals to make positive changes in their lives, but they do so in different ways. Here are some key differences between the two:

  • Training and qualifications: Therapists are trained mental health professionals who have a degree in psychology, social work, or a related field. They must also be licensed in order to practice. Life coaches, on the other hand, come from a variety of professional backgrounds and may or may not have formal training in a specific field. Some life coaches may be certified through a coaching program, but this is not required in order to practice. here is a responsibility for self-regulating and appropriately referring out clients who need therapy.

  • Approach to treatment: Therapists use a variety of techniques, such as talk therapy, to help individuals address and overcome mental health issues or personal challenges. Life coaches don’t “treat” anyone; they help individuals to set and achieve specific objectives, and may use techniques such as visualization, goal-setting and accountability to help their clients make progress.

  • Past-focused vs. future-focused. In short, therapy tends to be more past-focused and life coaching is more future-focused. Through focusing on the past, as well as present concerns, therapists can help individuals identify and work through underlying emotional issues. Life coaches, on the other hand, focus more on the present and future. They can help you develop a sense of purpose and satisfaction in work and life, resilience, meaningful connection with others, and create more joy and balance in life so that you can optimize fulfillment.

  • Scope of practice: Therapists are trained to work with individuals who have mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or trauma. They are qualified to diagnose and treat these issues. Life coaches, on the other hand, do not diagnose or treat mental health issues. They focus on helping individuals to achieve specific goals or make positive changes in their personal or professional lives.

Overall, the main difference between therapists and life coaches is the scope of their practice and the approach they take to treatment. While both can be helpful in making positive changes in one’s life, it is important to choose the right professional based on your specific needs and goals.

Recipe: Honey & Pistachio Rice Pudding 🍚

As we’ve established in previous articles, winter is not the time to go on a deprivation diet nor feed our bodies with cold salads or smoothies. Instead, what we want to do is 𝐧𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐡 our bodies with warming foods which will enable it to better perform its detoxifying duties.

This Honey & Pistachio Rice Pudding recipe is just one of many in the upcoming Express Detox: Winter Edition. The masterclass includes recipes and menu-planning for the 10 days. We use real food, no weird supplements or energy powders. Enjoy this pudding as a breakfast, snack or dessert during these cold winter days!

Disclosure: some of the links below are affiliate links or discount codes, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may make a commission.

Cook time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

1 cup rice, cooked

1 can coconut milk

1 cinnamon stick (or buy in bulk like we did)

1/4 cup pistachios

1/2 tsp organic honey (optional)

Instructions

Cook the rice or use previously cooked rice (from package in link above or leftovers). In a sauce pan add the rice, along with the coconut milk and cinnamon stick. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until flavors have melded. Remove from heat and serve in a bowl with pistachios on top and a drizzle of honey. Enjoy!

💀 Don’t Diet in Winter: Why

It’s been at the top New Year’s Resolutions for at least the past 50 years: “lose weight” or “improve diet.”

At first glance, these goals seem health-promoting and socially acceptable. What usually follows though is a rather rigid set of rules around eating: what to eat, how much to eat, when to eat, what to avoid. This is popularly referred to as a diet and, it’s the worst. Especially during winter. Here’s why:

What’s wrong with dieting?

Anyone who has followed these rule-bound ways of eating will probably tell you two things: yes, they are losing weight and how many days left until they can come off of the diet. This points to a few problems with a restrictive diet:

1. The most popular diets are built primarily on deprivation. And absolutes. There is solemnity to the rules, as if divinely written onto tablets like the 10 Commandments rather than one person’s opinion written on paper. As long as you follow the rules of the diet, you’re a saint. Otherwise, you are one of them, the sinners and failures of the world.

2. Diets are often crazy-making in all their rules and even choosing the right diet (as many are contradictory). Is it okay to eat 1/2 cup of brown rice per day or should you be grain-free? Is the paleo diet better than a vegan one? Confusion abounds before even starting.

3. It’s not intuitive or customized at all. For example, most diet books will tell you to eat something specific, like half of grapefruit with a piece of whole-wheat toast and peanut butter for breakfast. It completely ignores the fact that you might be on a medication with which grapefruit interferes, that one of your kids is allergic to peanut butter, and that you are gluten-sensitive. So, is that a “healthy” breakfast? Maybe for someone else, but not for you. Following the diet’s recommendations might just cause more issues than it solves. Also, it usually encourages using willpower to deal with cravings rather than learning how to sate them.

4. We are often dieting for the wrong reasons. We think being thinner or leaner will automatically improve our lives, but we haven’t even addressed our thoughts or the areas of life we want to improve and how to get ourselves to step into the next version of ourselves. Confidence can, and does, come from many other aspects of life that don’t involve squeezing yourself into a smaller size.

5. Lastly, they are not sustainable. Diets don’t work. Once our days of waiting for the 3-day raw juice cleanse or 30-day paleo diet have come to an end, we often slip right back into our bad habits of late-night snacking, sweet treats, having “cheat meals”, or rationalizing stress-induced overeating.

What’s wrong with dieting during winter?

This has got to be one of the absolute worst times to introduce a cold, low-fat, crash diet.

Among the many mistakes of dieting discussed above, the added the layer of this season can cause things to go south pretty quickly.

From an Ayurvedic perspective (here’s a primer), there’s an ancient, time-tested and rather intuitive way of eating and caring for your body in each season.

If we look at what the earth produces in each season, it gives us a clue as to what we should be eating to maximize our health. Spring is a wonderful time to have salads, greens, berries and sprouts. Summer is when we can eat plenty of fruits and vegetables being offered by our gardens and farmers markets. Fall and winter is when the squashes of the season, nuts, meat or plant-based proteins, hearty grains, and root vegetables are best. Cooked, warming foods are key during this cold and dry season.

People generally, in their quest to cut calories, often decimate the fat in the diet. On the face of it, this change makes sense – fat has more than twice the amount of calories per gram of carbohydrates and protein. However, what is often not taken into account is that during the winter season, our bodies need healthy fats to help protect our skin and lubricate our joints.

This is simultaneously an old and new way of looking at how best to fuel our bodies with nutrition. Though we all often act like every day of the year is the same, especially with foods being available year-round in grocery stores and our with temperature-controlled environments, the fact is that we need to live in concert with winter.

The antidote to winter’s cold and dryness is eating warm, nourishing, oily foods. That’s why you’ll find you’ll find the recipes for meals and beverages that support your body’s detoxification processes in our Express Detox: Winter Edition masterclass.

💍 My Precious: Pomegranate

If you are a Lord of the Rings fan, you probably got the movie reference from the title and ring emoji alone. Gollum, a rather unfortunate-looking character, is so completely obsessed with the Ring that he calls it “my precious”.

Unlike Gollum, we are less passionate about rings than we are about the ruby-red pomegranate seeds that become available this time of year. The fruit is supremely scrumptious and it offers a whole host of benefits to your body. Let’s explore:

When are Pomegranates available?

The pomegranates in the United States tend to come from the warmer parts, such as California. The fruits need the hot, hot heat (not the band) in order to grow well. The delectable fruit becomes available to us starting in late September and extends through November. Fortunately, because pomegranates do well in storage, you should still seem them available in December and possibly into early January. In summary, it’s available now so run and get yourself some!

Nutritional aspects of Pomegranates

These juicy fruits pack a flavor and nutritional punch! They are a great source of fiber, which can help with constipation, weight loss, and balancing blood sugar.

Pomegranates have vitamins and minerals, including: calcium, phosphorus, folate, magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. This fruit also has antioxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties which can help the brain and urinary tract, boost physical performance, benefit the cardiovascular and digestive systems, and assist in disease prevention.

What ice cream can’t do, pomegranates can!

How to use and eat Pomegranate

You could eat the seeds themselves as a meal or a snack. We like to have it as a breakfast on its own, with nondairy yogurt, or with the Amaranth for Breakfast recipe (subbing the fruit in for the strawberries).

Pomegranate pancakes are also really good and they have a bit more crunch than blueberry pancakes.

For lunch or dinner, some like pomegranate in their salads or in a rice pilaf.

For dessert, we’ve even put pomegranate seeds on vegan cheesecake and made a syrup out of it.

You are only limited by your imagination.

Let us know – after having fresh pomegranate seeds are you too calling them “my precious”? How do you like to eat yours?

In the Client Spotlight with Teresa Curtiss! 🎉

How did this program change things for you?

This program was a game changer for me. I knew I had food sensitivities and thought I had cut all of them out of my diet, but yet I was still sick. I learned that I had a reaction to some of the healthy things I was eating daily [emphasis added]. I finally have a list of foods to stay away from, no more guessing at what might be the issue. I stay clear of these, plus some additional food intolerances, and I feel great. 

What surprises and new strengths have you gotten from this experience?

I have my health back. I’m starting to enjoy food again instead of dreading eating and getting sick. I was just sticking with the same items that I thought were safe, not wanting to try new recipes.

My diet has opened up to more options now that I know what to avoid. I’m surprised at how much more variety of foods I can eat now. Even though there are quite a few foods I need to steer clear of (for now), I still have more options than I did before. I’ve just recently gone back to recipes in my cookbooks that I loved in the past, but thought they were making me sick. I can eat them again with no issues.

What is the thing you benefited from and/or enjoyed the most so far?

Getting my health back!

I had hoped to find out all the foods I had a food sensitivity to and to relieve my symptoms. I didn’t know I could feel this good again! It’s wonderful to be able to consistently feel good and not have to worry about my symptoms interfering with my day and holding me back from the things I want to accomplish.

I really appreciate our time together and definitely hope to stay in touch (I just referred someone to you last week).

Thanks,

Teresa Curtiss


Imagine something ‘healthy’ you eat almost everyday – like a banana or maybe some kale – and it actually being the culprit behind your symptoms! This is one of the reasons why it’s important to assess for food sensitivities and intolerances – a problem food could be flying beneath the radar because it’s a ‘health food’. Luckily, Teresa has figured out some of the major ones and her symptoms have improved! Could identifying potential food sensitivities do the same for you? Find out here and schedule a complimentary, 20-minute Discovery Call to get started!

Your Guide to ‘Good’ Grief 😭

There is a terrible thing that awaits us all. Anyone fortunate to live long enough and be born into a loving family, have meaningful life experiences, and to deeply love others will, in fact, know the anguish and suffering of loss.

Grief is a strong, oftentimes overwhelming, emotion of deep sorrow. At the root of grief is a sense of loss – whether it’s the death of someone they love, a divorce or fracture of an important relationship, a miscarriage, or a terrible diagnosis (loss of health, staring death in the face). What’s left? The abrupt, raw wound is the tremendous absence felt from a loved one’s physical death, or the end of a dream about living ‘happily ever after’.

While we aim mostly to look on the bright side of life (also, an excellent Monty Python Life of Brian song), when someone close to us recently passed, we knew it was time to address the part of life that is The Suck – the 50% that isn’t ‘good’ but is the price we all pay for being here in life. When you’re feeling zombiefied by grief here are some Q+A’s and ways to help you cope:

Do I have to go through grief? Can’t I just skip it somehow? There’s got be a ‘hack’ for this…

The importance of participating in your grief and actually feeling your emotions is that it 1. allows healing to occur and 2. doesn’t compound the issue by adding on over-eating, over-drinking, or over-whatever-short-term-pleasure-actually-hurts-you-in-the-long-run.

It’s a choice: willingly enter the heart-rending, swamp of difficult emotions knowing it’s part of your path forward to healing OR try to avoid and numb-out with food, work, or alcohol only to STILL have to go through the swamp AND now there’s extra weight or a burdened liver carried on with you.

How long does grief last?

Grief is tricky. You might think to yourself “oh, I haven’t cried the past two days, I guess I’m moving on to the next stage to get out of this mess”…but NOPE, grief will pop up out of nowhere and sock you in the nose. It could be song you hear while driving in the car, a phrase you heard your loved one say, a random memory, even an annoying commercial…and you’ll find yourself in tears once again. Expect the unexpected.

Grief isn’t linear and it’s not just five stages. You’ll likely bounce from denial to regret, confusion to despair, anger to bargaining, trying to accept to depression…over the course of months or even a single day. Grief is not a race you can run and be done with. Accepting that simple fact will probably do more for your mental health than trying to force your way through it.

As Dodinsky said, “Grieving is a necessary passage and a difficult transition to finally letting go of sorrow – it is not a permanent rest stop.” Onto entering the ‘sad swamp’ and tips to guide you through your grief:

1. Listen to your favorite sad songs. Our brain thumbed through some old CD racks in a dusty corner of our hippocampus and served up a song we hadn’t heard since 2002 – Do you Realize by the Flaming Lips. We were promptly reduced to tears. Very apropos; thanks brain.

2. Allow yourself to cry. You’re not a robot and neither are we. “Tears have a wisdom all their own…They are the natural bleeding of an emotional wound, carrying the poison out of the system. Here lies the road to recovery.” – F. Alexander Magoun

3. Hydrate. It’s time to take very basic care of your physical body right now. There’s a good chance that in this stage you’ll feel like you’re plodding through heavy storm clouds. Don’t forget that you’ll need to replenish your body with water on a regular basis; set alarms if you need to.

4. Read mournful poems. In our brief research, we found a plethora of poems for every occasion of loss. Heartbreak over a romance ending? The loss of a parent, sibling, or child? Check out poets from Robert Frost and W.H. Auden to Rumi. In some ways it’s really comforting to know others have been through what you’re going through since time immemorial.

5. Eat comfort food. Not too much. Try to get a plant in there every once in awhile. This is a paraphrase/ parody of Michael Pollan’s rules for eating, but seriously, food is an important part of our culture and our memories. Making your Italian nonna’s meatball recipe, with extra cheese, might just be one of the most nourishing meals for your aching soul. Maybe it’s the candy bar you and your bestie shared back in elementary school days. Go for a bit of comfort food and maybe add in a vegetable somewhere in your day.

6. Let yourself sleep. Staying up until the wee hours of the morning, looking at photographs of your loved one or watching Netflix might be exactly what is needed for a night or two, but if your kids are still waking up at 7am to go to school, the 4 hours of sleep you got probably won’t be enough to help you mentally, or physically, get through the day. Being sleep deprived + a bundle of raw nerves = more easily cracking the emotional wound wider or snapping at others. Be gentle with yourself and allow extra time for sleep and rest.

7. Anchor yourself in nature. The lovely person we, and the world lost last week, had an amazing garden. Each family member took time meandering around the yard, or sitting in her favorite outdoor chair, and observing the life that she had engendered and mothered. Hiking or walking in a local park can be a soothing, if temporary, balm for grief. Nature helps to ground us all and reminds us that, while none of us can escape the seasons of life, can anticipate and try to work within them.

8. To work or not to work? That’s a good question. Only you’ll be able to answer it for yourself. Some people go right back into work because they feel they can’t take time off; others might use it to distract from the pain. One of our missions in life is to help others heal and have whole, healthy lives so, for us, working our ‘magic’ in coaching clients is rather cathartic. It’s an anti-dote to the external circumstance outside of our control: we may not be able to help the recently deceased but we *can* help the living.

9. Beware the second arrow. One of the teachings of stoicism (and Buddhism) is to not suffer twice. The first arrow – death, heartbreak, illness- causes pain and is often outside of our control. The second arrow – anger, regret, anxiety – causes suffering and this is a choice. Mindset work and challenging typical stories “if I had one more day with her” actually can help a lot here.

10. Clean. Or don’t. This is another tricky situation. While most of us feel better in a freshly tidied up and vacuumed environment, this may not be a time where even any cleaning gets done. While we were spending 13-hour-days in the ICU last week, all we could really do when back at home was to try to make a quick meal and load/unload the dishwasher. That was enough. Now, especially with needing to declutter and maintain the home of the person we lost, on top of our own, the balance needs to shift. It’s a season. Bottom line: if it makes you feel better to exert some control over your environment, clean til your heart’s content; if you are super-fatigued and burnt out, give yourself a few days without cleaning (or ask a friend/hire someone).

11. Let friends and family help you. Many of us Americans are taught to be independent, individualistic and self-reliant. An additional layer to those in the helping professions is that often they have the hardest time accepting help. And so it is with us. Some of your friends will jump right in with emotional and tangible support. They will offer or insist upon providing: homemade soup and cookies, gift cards for meal delivery from your favorite restaurant, tactical decluttering or clearing out of the deceased’s house. Other friends will probably flounder a bit with the “right thing to say” or how to support you. That’s okay, you’ll probably need to think of an option – “hey, I could really use a hike and a hug. Let’s meet next week” or “can you tell me what steps you took to clean out your aunt’s house when she died?”

12. Get in touch with a bereavement counselor or therapist. People who are trained to be great listeners can help you tell the story of what has happened, explore the complexity of your grieving feelings, and offer a hand to help you back up to face a new reality after loss.

You’re not alone. We all enter the sad swamp at various times in our lives. Take care of yourself, ask for help (professional, if needed), and we’ll all float on alright.