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The Anti-Stress Hormone + How To Increase It

Sometimes I geek out on biochemistry –– those chemical processes that prompt how we move through life.

Our biochemistry drives our behavior.

Each day, our stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline) run through our bodies influencing many of our imperative functions –– including metabolism, energy, blood sugar, sex drive and sleep.

When our stress hormones are in balance, we feel generally strong, resilient, positive, and joyful.

When our stress hormones are out of whack things tend to go awry:

  • We may try and try and try some more to manage our anxiety, or our high levels of overwhelm and simply find it to be a losing battle over and over again.

  • We may wake up in the middle of the night with our minds spinning and lie awake (in a panic) for hours.

  • We may notice our high levels of stress are destroying our eating ––we crave sugar, french fries and/or a couple extra glasses of pinot to take the edge off.

  • Our thoughts are a hot mess! We may blame ourselves for not being more resilient, strong and grateful.

All we are doing is trying to cope. 🙈

Have you heard of oxytocin (also known as the love hormone)? Oxytocin promotes connection, bonding, and closeness.

Today I want to tell you why oxytocin is my favorite hormone (and maybe the most important of our time!).

Not only is it the feel good, warm and fuzzy, cuddle hormone, but oxytocin also keeps us calm, lowers inflammation and most importantly balances out our cortisol –– the sneaky, chronic and destructive stress hormone that has most of us in a tailspin.

If you are like me, you would most likely prefer your oxytocin be higher than your cortisol –– to relieve chronic states of stress, higher levels of depression and/or anxiety, extra weight gain, and uncontrollable cravings.

The good news is that you can create more oxytocin in your life.

Want to know how? I've got some answers for you today:



Not only are these simple, do-able and user friendly to-do's, but they are so very pleasurable, because oxytocin elevates our pleasure –– so feel free to let it fly!



Yes! You can eat yourself into a more positive and calm state. Balanced-blood sugar, loads of tryptophan rich foods, healthy fats, antioxidants and B vitamins to support your brain chemistry result in higher level of serotonin, higher levels of oxytocin and lower levels of stress.

Be sure to check out the following calming superfoods to feed your body into a more oxytocin induced biochemical state.

  • Dark chocolate (specifically raw cacao)

  • Black sesame seeds

  • Avocado

  • Fig

  • Quinoa

  • Cashews

  • Walnuts

  • Brazil Nuts

  • Wild Salmon

  • Spirulina

  • Sweet Potato

  • Berries

  • Wild Mushrooms

  • Yerba mate

  • Pomegranate

  • Organic Turkey

  • Whole milk yogurt or kefir

  • Eggs

  • Bananas




There are several (high quality) supplements that encourage the release of oxytocin.  On a biochemical level, there are many ways to boost you up. Here are a few to explore.

  • Vitamin D

  • Vitamin C

  • Magnesium

  • Chamomile

  • Melatonin

  • B vitamins

  • 5HTP

  • Tryptophan

  • L-Glutamine

  • GABA

  • L-Phenylalinine

  • L-Theanine


** often times you can find a blend of many of these supplements that will . support your oxytocin. If you need a little help, let me know. Check out our online apothecary HERE



While it may seem like your monkey mind is not on your side at times when it comes to calming and uplifting your spirits, try these mind-practices to boost your oxytocin and shift yourself out of your habitual stress response.

  • Meditation

  • Yoga

  • Gratitude practice

  • Have a good cry

  • Personal reflection

  • Positive affirmation

  • Long deep breaths (to engage to calming side of your nervous system)




Oxytocin is often called the love hormone, the cuddle hormone and even the connection hormone.  Being close to another person elevates our oxytocin.  Try these relational tips and see what happens.


  • Hug someone

  • Laugh

  • Connect with your friends

  • Call a loved on on the phone

  • Give or receive massage

  • Orgasm

  • Give a stranger a compliment

  • Snuggle your pet

  • Enjoy a romantic meal with your partner



When you move your body, you secrete endorphins and oxytocin. These hormones enhance your brain chemistry and are also the primary reason that folks tend to exercise to relieve stress. While cardio works well, you don’t have to go to the extreme, join a gym or become a hard-core athlete. Moving your body in a variety of ways will suffice.

  • Dance

  • Hike in nature

  • Swim

  • Go on a bike ride

  • Do some cardio




Being outside correlates to higher levels of oxytocin. Soak up some sun. Listen to the sound of nature –– birds chirping, rivers rushing, frogs croaking. The connection hormone is also about connecting to nature.

  • Try forest bathing (sit and enjoy nature while doing nothing)

  • Camp in the woods

  • Read a book in the sunshine

  • Sit by a river

  • Garden

  • Enjoy your lunch under a park tree

  • Have a bonfire

  • Sit at an outdoor dinner table

  • Sunbathe




We are social creatures and we are wired to help one another. Giving is a neuro-pathway that has been shown to be a powerful way to creating more joy and improving overall health.

  • Help a friend

  • Make a donation

  • Volunteer with an organization that speaks to you

  • Give advice (when warranted)

  • Help a stranger change a tire

Handling a stressful situation the best you can (with the above knowledge in your back pocket) may help you navigate some of the most common automatic responses to stress that could lead to or exacerbate imbalances in your stress hormones.

Ultimately, you don’t have control of when or what stress life throws at you, but you do have power within your stress response that can be honed and sculpted over time to create a healthier and happier life.

I’d love to hear from you! What is one oxytocin boosting to-do you are going to try? Tell me in the comments below.






Elisa Romeo

There was a time (not very long ago) where the thought of unplugging terrified me.

Single mom. Entrepreneur. (And possible control freak 🙈)

Unplugging felt almost impossible.

Not only did I always feel on call for my kids, but physically leaving them meant calling in a lot of support. Grandparents would fly in, friends would help with carpooling, and I would write endless lists of how our routine worked most successfully for those who were there to help. 

It was a logistical overload.

Taking time away not only felt like a huge project, but even worse, it also brought up so much fear and anxiety.

And, I desperately needed a break.

Over the many years of leading my annual international women's retreats, I began to learn how to manage this inner battle better and better.

The personal value and insight I received with time away is something that can still bring me to tears. 

On one early morning during a Bali retreat –– at approximately 4 am, while sipping Balinese coffee and writing in my journal –– I realized how I had been holding onto so much shame, feelings of not being enough, feelings of not being worthy, for far too long. 

I, in turn, made some big manifestos to myself that morning, promising myself I would learn how to break free from these old beliefs and patterns, that I saw were so clearly holding me back.

As you can imagine, I had some inner work to do, so that a new way of being and thinking would gain a solid foot hold in my life.

To this day, if I notice myself slipping back into those old thoughts and loops, I catch myself much quicker. I tend to the triggers. I know better how to flip my script, so to speak.

That morning changed my life forever. 🌺

I am sharing this with you because I know we all have our blocks in taking time for ourselves ––large or small, near or far. 

My women's retreats have become a perfect way support many women in transforming these blocks, and I now know in my bones that this is my calling. 

I support women (like you!) in taking a break, creating time for reflection and getting out of your day-to-day stressors –– to create some space exhale.

I want you to know that all of your efforts in preparing to get away –– from prepped meals for your family, to play-dates for your kids, to delegating your work, to simply letting go of control –– are all worth it. 

In fact, every single to-do that gets you closer to taking a break and being with yourself in an intimate way is priceless.

I have many upcoming retreats (see below) because I want you to have options, and I want the right retreat to speak to you. 

I am featuring our upcoming Satiate Your Soul ~ Bali retreat because, if you can join me, I know this trip will knock your knee highs off.  

It is pure magic.

Join The Satiate Your Soul ~ Bali Women’s Retreat: Experience a week of nourishment from the inside out where you can live your organic rhythm, connect with like minded adventurers, and step into an experiential and cultural immersion in the sacred land of Bali.

  • Embody: Practice Women's Flow + Yin Yoga 

  • Nourish: Organic food, Balinese cooking classes and inspirational workshops

  • Cycle: Explore some of Bali's most culturally significant sites, rice fields, waterfalls and temples. (all levels)

  • Rest: Relax, Renew, Reflect and Discover

  • Immerse: Enjoy the culture through ritual + Balinese dance + food + goddess study.


Practice yoga amidst the jungle sounds, explore the most authentic aspects of yourself, enjoy an intentional group of women, participate in a traditional Balinese full moon ceremony, immerse into the Balinese culture through women, food, ritual, while basking in the wanderlust of a life changing retreat

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Join us in experiencing this very special and intimate Bali retreat illuminating the devotional and cultural aspects of Bali through the feminine. 

Learn more and register here

Also (and reminder) to give you a little taster of what I teach on this retreat, I want to share with you The Soulful Superfood Series. A *FREE* online experience to satiate your soul. You can join HERE.


“Sue’s ability to lead is remarkable.  She gracefully and intentionally adapts to the needs of the group and is able to dig in to get to the heart of the matter in a tender and loving way.  Her wisdom and thoughtfulness is evident in everything we did.  She is a wonderful yoga teacher and remarkable workshop leader.  Her heart-centered approach allows woman the safe container to be vulnerable and open up in ways that can accelerate growth.  All of our needs are met so we can focus on our intentions and relax into the experience.  Sue’s retreats are always life-changing for me.  I am a more balanced and thoughtful person because of her.”

— Ani (Bali 2016)







I grew up road tripping in a Country Squire Ford Station Wagon.

My father, still king of the road at almost 80 years old, loved going on family adventures on the open Canandian roads.  My parents would put down the back seats, fill the 'very back' of the wagon with pillows and blankets and off we would drive, with Willie Nelson playing on the 8-track. (I know, I just dated myself)

I used to love my turn in the front seat, with the best view of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and the freedom and adventure I felt as I stared (for hours) at the open road ahead.

When I look back now, especially at photos like the one I shared above (obviously I am the one on the left), I see where I still carry this early part of childhood in my DNA.  

Travelling, adventuring, and exploring many parts of the world (not limited to road trips) is still a big part of my life and my passion.  

So when the inspiration came to take Boulder Nutrition on the road, it felt like a resounding YES and perfect timing!!!  

A lot of things have changed in my life over the past few years:

  • Elijah, my older son moved out on his own.
  • My business has become almost 50% online and still growing.
  • I have begun leading retreats SOLO most of the time, which was a new and scary endeavor.
  • I have been able to, and loved to travel both with my amazing partner and often times, all of our kids.
  • My Boulder Nutrition Retreat schedule is full of exciting upcoming trips to beautiful places.
  • I feel ready and thrilled to spread Boulder Nutrition love to a further reach.

My life is always my teacher and the biggest inspiration for my writing and my work. 

Traveling and teaching on a larger scale has been a big dream of mine for many years.  So, I have been planning some travel and adventure while I share my work around the country (and world) and I am thrilled that Ari (my son) will be joining me most of the time. While I couldn't be more excited about the 'open road', I am also intent on savoring these last couple of years with him still at home–my high schooler who loves to road trip with me.

Soooooo, I wanted to let you know we will be heading out on the road (or occasionally by plane) to share my work and my message with as many folks as I can and to share some great adventures together. I will still be working in my beloved North Boulder office most weeks, but fitting in our travel schedule on weekends with the occasional longer stints.

Will I see you?  

Check out locations and dates below and let's talk about meeting up.  If your home town is not on the list, feel free to join me on one of the amazing Boulder Nutrition Retreats coming up – I would love to hang with you!!

Want to see what we are up to?  You can check us out on instagram for daily stories and updates (along with lots of free resources and recipes):



Click the icon below to follow our road trip on Instagram here:

Be sure to peruse all the details for this fall's exciting Boulder Nutrition Road Trip and Retreat schedule (local and international options available).  

PS. If you want to host me in your town, let me know!!



Take a well deserved break, share in the sisterhood, thrive through the practices of yoga, meditation, inspired living, experiential cooking, personal transformation, healing foods and self-care.

**Limited space in each workshop and retreat. Be sure to message me if you are interested. Spaces sold on a first come first serve basis.


" When going away is the first step towards coming home..."





You Will Leave Feeling Better Than When You Came

  She arrived about 20 minutes after our first yoga session started on Friday evening.


Surrounded with a sacred circle of women, a beautiful goddess yoga room, majestic Colorado mountains, and the hint of fall in the air, she tiptoed in quietly to join the circle, moved into child’s pose and began to settle in.


I slowly walked over amidst teaching my class, sat down beside her and started to slowly rub her back.  Tears began to stream.  Big full exhales followed.


“Thank you,” she whispered.  “This is exactly what I have been needing.”


I had personally reached out to her quite a few times to remind her of our upcoming women’s retreat weekend.  I was so glad I did.


Apparently she needed a little nudge.

Even though we know what is best for ourselves, know what we love, how to treat ourselves and what feels good, we so often succumb to our resistance.


Our minds love to point out the reasons why we can’t, why we shouldn’t or why our resistance is logical.


Repeatedly, our resistance takes the form of fears and doubts that prevent us from taking the steps towards what we really want.  They are complicated, sneaky and tenacious.


We have our go-to excuses, stories, limitations, fears, and self-doubts that know exactly how to do their jobs – keep us stuck. 


I want you to live a life you love.


I want that for you, for me, and for all of us.


I want lives where our desires, our intentions, our diligence and our self-care are greater than our resistance to them.


When this is occurring, we manifest our dreams.  When it is not, we most often stay stuck.


So let’s chat ...


What is holding you back?


In just one week from today I will be heading out of town to explore the wild feminine, enjoy the harvest full moon and eclipse, and to rest and restore on our fall women's full moon retreat weekend.


With the time and space to reconnect with ourselves, tap into the transition of the season and create an eagle-eye view on life and things – we can reset.


There are endless gifts of being on retreat...


  • time and space to listen inward and feel. 


  •  time to be outside and connect the energetics of nature and the season. 


  • the ability to gain clear and concise perspective on our lives. 


  • But most importantly, we have a chance to remember who we are, what we want, and what we need to thrive.


Maybe this little nudge will help you overcome your resistance << Test First Name >>.


Maybe this little reminder will create an opening for you to imagine yourself fully embodying your health and happiness.


Are you feeling the call?


If so, come share in the journey with us next weekend.


Reconnect and restore in the majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a retreat designed for your health, nourishment, and body-mind-spirit connection.


Soak in the sacred waters of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, enjoy the delicious organic home cooked meals, and share in the sisterhood of connection and ritual.


Come and watch the LIVE Q and A that I did earlier this week with my special guest, Helen Knight, and just hit reply if you have any questions.



We have just 3 spots left.  Is one of them for you?

There is still time to join us. 

Claim your seat HERE …


Please join me in this intimate and restoring upcoming women's circle that will support you in creating a happy and healthy life you love.



Lean In


"Lean In"


A close friend of mine once said this to me as we were sitting by the pool having a heart-to-heart.


As the warm sun shone down on my face, I cocked my head.  Hmm.  ‘Very uncomfortable.’ I thought.  It was uncomfortable, but also an opportunity for me to dig deeper.


Why did I resist leaning in so much?

  The answer was straight up.  Leaning in was just plain hard for me. I had a lot of stories wrapped up in doing things on my own - the hard way. I used to choose independence, hard work, doing things on my own – a more masculine approach to life and business.


I am not exactly sure where this came from, but my hunch is a combination of my competitive gymnastics background, my resistance to fully embracing my feminine nature, and the need to prove I was strong, bold, fearless and fine doing things all on my own.


It used to work.  I found some personal power and strength living life this way…until I got really tired, pretty overwhelmed, and a little lonely.


It expired.


This ‘solo’ way of living also started to feel exhausting and I noticed so many of my friends and family were creating a supportive and team oriented focus at home and in business.


How did I miss this?


Slowly but surely, I began to practice leaning in.


What I mean by this is I began creating various kinds of support systems in many areas of my life, or leaning in to the ones that were already there.


A supportive partner. 

A business coach. 

A mastermind group. 

A strong circle of women I call my sisters (my biological sister included). 

Two amazing young men (my sons) who always have my back.

Supportive parents.

A couple's group. 

A therapist. 

A psychic. 

An assistant. 

A couple of kick-ass interns. 


My team (personal and professional) is growing fast and it feels amazing.

Summer Solace Series #5: Lean In



In Today’s Summer Solace Series #5 Lean In:

  • Learn the most important facts about support, accountability, and love.
  • Deepen into why we make more progress towards health and happiness with a sacred circle holding the space for us.
  • Read the myth buster about your so-called 'biggest obstacle'


I have learned that for me to become my best self, I need some support, some reflection and some accountability.


I lead circles of women all over the world.  These international retreats, women’s programs, and online courses support dynamic and empowering results for the participants, myself included. (read about some of them HERE)


Women (and men) thrive with support.  If there is one thing I have learned, it is that with the support of a sacred circle of women, the rate of acceleration towards our intentions is more than tenfold.


Transformations happen quicker.  Breakthroughs occur more often.  Follow through is fierce and fabulous... and our resistance recedes (phew).


What if you too, realized that your obstacles in reaching your highest potential or your greatest happiness and even your best self were not caused by your own shortcomings or lack of personal work or vision, but rather that you just need to lean in more.


What if your best self could emerge more gracefully with a sacred circle of women holding the space for you, believing in you, and keeping you accountable?


We know the strongest healing power on the planet is the healing power of sisterhood – women tending to each other with love and attention.   What if you knew you could:

  • Improve your relationship to your life and your health through customized practices that nourish you from the inside out.
  • Overcome personal obstacles by developing an intimate partnership with your mind and body.
  • Live empowered in the way you create your vision and find your personal freedom.


Welcome to your Journey to FREEDOM You can create a life steeped with inner listening, intuition, and living for your highest good.


You can replace those old ways of being that are totally outdated in your life, and no longer serve you in who you want to be today.


You can sculpt your life, your schedule, your eating and your self-care practices to match exactly what you are intending for yourself.


You can put yourself first in your life, restore your life force and have more to give back.


Come join our intimate sacred circles of women who are consciously supporting each other in crafting a life that is about coming back home to your best self.


Here are 2 opportunities for you.




What is YOUR story about support, receiving and leaning in?

There is still time to join us. 

Claim your seat HERE …



The Summer Solace Series is my late summer offering for you to explore your own true nature with respect to health, happiness and inner peace.   My intention with the Summer Solace Series is to make our journey of the feminine feel a little smoother, a lot more whole, while staying deeply connected to ourselves, as women.

During the late summer weeks, I will be sharing some of the gems from my work with women in the groups I lead all over the world.  I will share with you some ways where we can begin to create a loving and female approach to our eating, and our bodies with tastes of some of the myths and archytypes I work with that provide a little extra support.

As we transition into the last part of summer, we energetically prepare for a transition into a new school year, another autumn season, and a time to begin a new pulse that works well for what we are intending for ourselves.

I have also created the Summer Solace Series to share with you some samples and nuggets from my upcoming women’s circles that are beginning in September (one live full moon weekend retreat, and one virtual women’s focus group) with tastes of some of the most potent themes and practices.

Just like the sweetness of a ripe August peach, The Summer Solace Series is my late summer treat for you.  A harvest filled path into the last weeks of summer, a taste of the Sisterhood Circles Focus Group and Full Moon Women’s Retreat weekend that begin this September as well as some summer savoring secrets that will keep you satiated.

Please join me in these intimate restoring and practical upcoming women's circles that will support you in creating a happy and healthy life you love.







The Yoga of Eating ~ Full Moon Weekend Retreat Joyful Journey Hotsprings September 16th-18th Just A Few Spots Left



Explore the female relationship to food, body and soul through daily practice, ritual and a sacred circle of women.  Reconnect and restore your mind and heart in the majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a retreat designed for your health, nourishment, and body-mind-spirit connection.

Soak in the sacred waters of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, enjoy the delicious organic home cooked meals, and share in the sisterhood of connection and ritual.

(Yurts and Mountain Lodge Accommodations ) 

Your restoration and revelations await you.

Reserve Your Queendom 



The Health Wise Sisterhood Circle ~ 2016

The Health Wise SISTERHOOD CIRCLE is an intimate sacred circle of women who are consciously supporting each other in crafting a life to love.



4 great bonuses if you register by September 18th:



Claim you seat sister...your freedom awaits you.



About Sue Van Raes...


I'm a Nutritional therapist, food psychology expert and Lifestyle Coach.

My mission is to help heal the feminine through food, mind-body connection and pleasure. Learn more here.

In our work together we will dive into deep healing for the body and soul while I offer you practical, potent teachings that will open your heart to trust, your mind to possibility and your body to its organic wisdom.

I am chock full of resources for you including INSPIRING content and a wide range of support to help you find your way in all things food and body.

Feel free to read more about me and how I can help you HERE









We Don't Know What's Coming

  Early one morning, just a few years ago, I was busily getting my boys out the door to summer camp – cleaning up after breakfast and coercing them into the car (not an easy feat). 


Most mornings I would keep my phone turned off while trying to get out the door – less distraction = more harmony.


At the final drop off moment, I had a new voicemail pop up on my phone.  If it was any other day, I may not have made time to listen to this new message until much later, but this particular day was different.


As I swiped open my phone, typed in my password, and headed over to the voicemail icon where I heard something I was surely not expecting.


“Hello Sue, this is People Magazine calling.  We would like to set up a time to talk with you.  We are interested in featuring Boulder Nutrition in our next issue.” 



Pause.  Replay. Pause.  Replay.  Pause.  Replay.


Now, I will admit, People magazine had never been one of my personal picks as far as magazines go.  I was more of a Yoga Journal, Oprah Magazine or Natural Health kind of gal.


All of those thoughts swooshed away pretty quickly and I kept hitting replay over and over.



This particular opportunity came to me literally out of left field. 



It turns out, they featured my business and one of my client’s stories in an article about Boulder, Colorado.  It was so amazing to have the experience, the credibility and the opportunity.  Boulder Nutrition got a ton of exposure and Sandra Bullock was on the cover – for real.   I see how many of you are each day and I see my own habits and patterns as well. I see us all trying to live our dreams, craft our best health, change our tired old habits and live into our inherent happiness with a love, passion, and courage.


But something is often missing.


So often, I see us placing personal limits on what we think we are capable of doing.  We repeatedly create restrictions on our success.  We tell ourselves we are not good enough, smart enough, strong enough, determined enough, creative enough, pretty enough or skinny enough.



And most of all, we believe the stories we tell ourselves.



These stories, beliefs, and personal limitations are often very intertwined with our health, happiness and inner harmony.  


We see them reveal themselves in our eating, in how we think of and care for our bodies, and in the way we show up in our life each day.

Last year, when I was on my annual retreat, it was early one morning with my pen in one hand and my journal in the other that this came through:



We don’t know what’s coming.



It may seem obvious but our minds most often disagree.  We make a plan, a to-do list and have clear intentions.  We do manifestation rituals, pray, meditate, chant, mastermind, too and work harder and harder.


But we often forget the most important step of all…



Summer Solace Series #4:  We Don’t Know What’s Coming ~ Change Thoughts, Change Your Life



In Today’s Summer Solace Series #4:


  • Learn the most important part of creating our success and happiness that we so often overlook.
  • Master how to use this new approach as a way to live from the empowered feminine + design a life steeped in health and happiness.
  • Illuminate how to open to possibility without living in a fantasy.


The lesson I learned the day People Magazine called me was impactful in many ways. I was happily reminded that opportunities and breakthoughs can show up anywhere and any time.


What I see myself doing in practice day-to-day is reminding myself that this, and many other things like this, is actually possible.



We All Do It


Change happens from the inside out. Our health is complex. We often think health is about what we eat, or how much we weigh, or what our exercise regiment is at the time.


In truth, our health also includes our beliefs about ourselves, our personal limitations and our internal dialogue – and which parts of each of these we decide to listen to and believe.


Our blood work, our daily eating habits and our supplement programs, are all very important. Don’t get me wrong, but what can really create the breakthrough we are seeking, is getting out of our own inner resistance, and rewiring the thoughts that we can’t do something different. Only then can we start re-writing our stories and seeing the possibility for change and transformation.


What Should We Do?


I am not going to tell you that changing our thoughts and our limiting beliefs is easy. In fact, it may be a complicated process for many of you. It has been for me.


Working with our internal dialogue, stories and personal limitations is a journey, not a finite process with a clear end point. We need to be patient, loving, and kind with ourselves as we practice this process.


Here are a few ways to get started:


Who wrote the script?

Name and identify both the recurring thought/story/belief in its true nature, along with where it originated. Family lineage, teachers, religion, or an old message that you picked up on. Each one has it’s own history. This practice increases our personal awareness and provides a deeper understanding of what is, with more opportunity for making a change.


When you hear your negative inner dialogue, do something to change it.

There are many well-known ways to do this. Recently a client told me she  would shout “STOP” when these old stories popped up.  Here are some recommendations that have worked for me, and many of my clients:


  •  Create a positive affirmation to replace the thought. Keep in it simple and in the positive.


  •  Get up and do something different – get a glass of water, put on some good music, take a break, take a walk.


  •  Create a gratitude or appreciation practice. The energy of gratitude works very quickly. Gratitude is strong and powerful moving us in a positive direction.


  • Make time for quiet, downtime, and inner listening. Sometimes we do not even realize that there is an internal dialogue happening, we just feel the effects of it in our physical and emotional body. We have listened for so long to this repetitive tape in our minds, that we hardly notice it repeating over and over. When we slow down, we have the chance to hear it for what it is.


  • Practice Right Speech: The way we talk can either strengthen or weaken our limiting thoughts and beliefs. Carefully choose your words to amplify the direction you wish to go. Example: If the thought is “I hate my body.” Saying things such as “I am working on a positive relationship to my body” can help steer you in a positive direction.



DOn't Forget To Celebrate Your Successes (big or small).

Making progress in a positive direction with our inner world is important to acknowledge, even if you are still not all the way to where you want to be. We are often so hard on ourselves.  Be careful, kind, and celebrate the successes big and small along the way.

Acknowledge yourself for spending time and energy on YOU.

The Yoga of Eating ~ Full Moon Weekend Retreat Joyful Journey Hotsprings September 16th-18th

Explore the female relationship to food, body and soul through daily practice, ritual and a sacred circle of women.  Reconnect and restore your mind and heart in the majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a retreat designed for your health, nourishment, and body-mind-spirit connection.  


Soak in the sacred waters of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, enjoy the delicious organic home cooked meals, and share in the sisterhood of connection and ritual.

(Yurts and Mountain Lodge Accommodations ) 

Your restoration and revelations await you.

Reserve Your Queendom 

The Health Wise Sisterhood Circle ~ 2016

The Health Wise SISTERHOOD CIRCLE is an intimate sacred circle of women who are consciously supporting each other in crafting a life to love.

You can explore your YES to a commitment that will transform your life in extraordinary ways.

You can live your most empowered life around health and happiness through these POTENT strategies, living rituals and daily practices revealed in the intimacy of this circle of sisters.

You can create a life steeped with inner listening, intuition, and living for your highest good.

You can sculpt your life, your schedule, your eating and your self care practices to match exactly what you are intending for yourself.

You can put yourself first in your life, restore your life force and have more to give back.

Claim you seat sister...your freedom awaits you.

About Sue Van Raes...

I'm a Nutritional therapist, food psychology expert and Lifestyle Coach.

My mission is to help heal the feminine through food, mind-body connection and pleasure. Learn more here.

In our work together we will dive into deep healing for the body and soul while I offer you practical, potent teachings that will open your heart to trust, your mind to possibility and your body to its organic wisdom.

I am chock full of resources for you including INSPIRING content and a wide range of support to help you find your way in all things food and body.

Feel free to read more about me and how I can help you HERE







Fiercely Feminine


It happens,


It was a late summer evening just a couple of weeks ago when I was reflecting on my particularly emotional day.

It was one of those days when I had to take a good look at myself.  One of those days where I didn’t like what I was seeing.  I felt icky and emotionally exhausted by the residue of feelings left over as the day grew close to an end.


In an attempt to explain my inner strife to Jason, I found myself apologizing for my tears, for my pain and the instability that I had been feeling all day long.


He said something to me that no one has ever said to me before:



“You know Sue, you could allow yourself to get messier and I would still love you.”



It may sound simple to you, but I had lived most of my early life keeping my feminine messiness at bay.  The emotions, the inner angst, the feelings that would sometimes well up inside – I was good at attempting to pull it together to keep going.


While that has turned out to be virtually impossible and unsuccessful, I used to live by my own belief that there was very little room in my life for anything messy.  I raised two boys as a single parent, and I often felt that if I let myself get messy, things would fall apart for me and for them.


Now, in more recent years I have lifted this restrictive belief in my life somewhat, but not without a tentative, shy and unsure approach – especially in my relationship.


One of the obstacles I see in women all the time when we are struggling with food, body, self-love, and overall health are these very elaborate coping skills to keep the messiness and emotional chaos of the feminine at bay.



Most of us have received the message that these messy feminine aspects of ourselves are not welcome.


We stuff the unwelcome feelings with anything we can find that works.  These coping skills can often create their own cascade of health issues, imbalances, and challenges, including the relationship we have to food and our bodies.


The next day I shared this significant conversation with a close friend, someone who also is known to ‘keep it all together’ and she also sighed in relief.  “Wow Sue, that even makes me feel more at peace.”


I am now sharing this with you because your relationship to your feminine may be one of the reasons you get out of balance, self-medicate, overeat, under eat, deprive yourself of self-love and self-respect.


This may be the very root of some of the behaviors you have been trying to change for years.



Because this wild and fierce part of ourselves is also our greatest power.

This may be an opportunity for you to change your relationship to your authentic self with a more loving approach to who you truly are in each moment.


There may be a lot of questions about exactly what I mean and how this has shown up in your life.  To begin, let’s peal back the layers one little bit at a time.



Summer Solace Series #3:  Fiercely Feminine




In today’s Summer Solace Series #3:


  • Explore the nature of the feminine in relationship to food and body including some insights on what is often called ‘our shadow side’.
  • Learn the first steps to take to unleash your wild feminine in all her forms  – including the messiness (without a big mess to clean up later)
  • Listen to an ancient myth that speaks directly to your feminine power, shadow, messiness, and unhinged wild wisdom so that you can live authentically and fearlessly from your female power – recorded live from my spring retreat in Bali.


Just to clarify, when I speak of the feminine, I am speaking of our feminine nature. We all have a balance of the feminine and masculine within ourselves. (men included) Our feminine sides are gentle, fluid, receptive, emotional, intuitive, and mysterious, where as our masculine sides are direct, focused, practical, diligent and protective.


We need both the feminine and masculine to survive. Unfortunately, our current cultural paradigms are steeped pretty heavily in the masculine giving us the messages that we should stuff our feminine side more and live predominantly from our masculine sides


This presents a big challenge for many of us, as we have had to develop elaborate coping skills to live in a masculine dominant world.


Food and the Feminine


As you can imagine, this inner conflict can present a difficult understanding of our relationship to eating and our bodies. As women, our cravings change with the moon cycle, our emotions dictate our appetites, and our inner rhythms are not static when it comes to nourishing our bodies with both food and self-care.


There are distinct times when we need more rest and introspection and other times when we feel social and active.


What are we to do?


Developing a deeper sense of our selves with our intuition and body’s wisdom is a good place to start. (Read last week’s Summer Solace Series #2 about Honing your Intuition HERE)



When we are wrought with beliefs that make our feminine rhythm ‘wrong’, it is hard to flow with our feminine. Many of the ways we have been taught may start to feel outdated and ineffective in this exploration. We may need to question our belief systems and expectations in ourselves carefully, so that first and foremost, we can give ourselves permission to flow with our feminine.



Our relationship to our feminine nature is directly reflected in our relationship to food and our bodies. If we tend to ignore our feminine rhythm in our lives, we are likely to avoid our feminine rhythm in our eating. If we have made a lot of static rules and restrictions for ourselves in our way of life, we likely will have made similar static rules and restrictions in our eating.



What I have learned is that I have to listen to my body, and drop the stories that say she is wrong. I have to drop my restrictions, my tight reigns, and begin to soften into acceptance and love for what is, and what is occurring in the moment. I have to honor the rhythms of my monthly cycle, the seasons, and my emotional experiences – eating with more love and acceptance of the fluid, always changing the nature of the feminine.



Unleash Your Wild-ish Side



When I was 25 years old, I was part of a personal transformation group in Prescott Arizona. Each week, as I was witnessed by my group, I would dig into my personal truths.


The very first group I ever attended was themed “Feel your Feelings”.


Don’t we all feel our feelings?


As it turns out, most of us mask our feelings. We stuff, repress, override, and doubt our feelings. We numb, we make ourselves busy, and we neglect creating the space we need to feel.


Hence, the wild feminine is endangered.


Unleashing the wild feminine comes when we give ourselves permission to feel, such as feeling the pain of life, the ecstasy of love, the anticipation of a new experience, and the fear of failing.


~ Rather than the shadow side of the feminine, let’s call her the underworld of the feminine.


~ Rather than imagining wild as an out of control and crazy woman, let’s imagine wild as living in tune with nature, a natural life, freedom, with healthy and integrous boundaries.


As Clarissa Pinkola Estes says: “A woman’s issues of the soul cannot be treated by carving her into a more acceptable form but instead the goal must be the retrieval of the woman’s beauteous and natural psychic form.”


When we gift ourselves with the permission to be living from our wildish nature, we are able to step into the intuitive, wise, expressive, clear, glowing, instinctive truth that each of us are.


Here are some great ways to start:


  • Look at your beliefs about what it means to live in your wild feminine?
  • Give yourself permission to feel your feelings as they arise, free from judgment.
  • Examine where you are in resistance to your true feminine underworld. (aka those so called negative emotions)
  • Take baby steps with a lot of appreciation, acknowledgement and gratitude for how far you have come and each successful moment.
  • Celebrate all parts of yourself (even the perceived messy, chaotic, unpredictable nature of the feminine)
  • Own it sister


Listen HERE to today's story time sit down and enjoy the LIVE recording all the way from this years Bali women's Health + Yoga Retreat.



All we have to work with here sisters is our own attitude towards ourselves, towards our bodies, our health and our happiness.

We do not achieve this by giving up our authentic expression, or by forsaking the joy of our beauteous bodies and minds.

We do this through a deep honoring of our own true nature, self-acceptance, self-love and inner wisdom.


We do this through living life with fervor, creativity and freedom.









The Health Wise Sisterhood Circles  ~ Small Focus groups

Create a powerful vision, commit to your intentions, happiness, and freedom,  while surrounding yourself extraordinary women.

The Health Wise Sisterhood Circles are for women seeking vibrant and inspired living. Find your personal recipe for health and vitality.

Our next group is coming up this September, 2016.






A Women’s Full Moon Weekend Retreat

With Sue Van Raes and Special Guests

September 16-18th

Reconnect and restore in the majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a retreat designed for your health, nourishment, and body-mind-spirit connection.  Soak in the sacred waters of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, enjoy the delicious organic home cooked meals, and share in the sisterhood of connection and ritual.





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Healthy Happy Habits

  I roll over a few times beneath my cotton sheets.  The morning sun is warming my bedroom through the airy bamboo shades.  I slumber downstairs, make my morning brew and saunter outside to wake up slowly under the willow tree with the sweet morning hummingbirds.


On warm summer mornings, I am savor my time to wake up slowly.  Each morning a little creatively different, but most ending with more clarity and peace in how I want to sculpt my day.


In one hand some warm bulletproof coffee or tea, in the other a pen and journal.  The waft of my Balinese insense drifting through the backyard air, and the sweet feeling of having the time to just BE.


I love to move my morning practice outside in the summer.  To sit in meditation with just peaks of sun shining on my shoulders, and the beauty of life all around me.


My summer mornings are savored.


Living from a place of intention is a habit I have been cultivating in myself for many years.  While it is surely not fool proof, as life has its way of sweeping though the day with its own set of agendas, these morning rituals help to set me up for success – whatever the day may bring.


Recently, when I was asked what I thought women (and men) struggle with the most when it comes to health, well-being, food and body – I had to sit and think for a while.




Sometimes it is overwhelm and confusion, sometimes self-sabotage or negative beliefs about ourselves, sometimes a lack of understanding around how to feed our bodies or and souls, but I would have to say the number one challenge we all share is all wrapped up in changing old habits.


In fact, changing habits can be the very obstacle for many women that seem impossible to overcome. 

For the next 6 weeks, I will be sharing some of the gems from my work with women in the groups I lead all over the world.  I will share with you some ways we can begin to create a loving and female approach to our eating, and our bodies with tastes of some of the myths and archytypes I work with that provide a little extra support.


The Summer Solace Series is here for you to lean into.


This is my late summer offering for you to explore your own true nature with respect to health, happiness and inner peace.   My intention with the Summer Solace Series is to make our journey of the feminine feel a little smoother, a lot more whole, while staying deeply connected to ourselves as women.


As we transition into the last part of summer, we energetically prepare for a transition into a new school year, another autumn season, and a time to begin a new pulse that works well for what we are intending for ourselves.


I have also created the Summer Solace Series to share with you some samples and nuggets from my upcoming women’s circles that are beginning in September (one live full moon weekend retreat, and one virtual women’s focus group) with tastes of some of the most potent themes and practices.  

So, without further ado, welcome to the Summer Solace Series... Today, we are taking the first step in changing tired old habits.  These are the habits that keep you stuck.  These are the habits that you don’t like to talk about. These are the habits that move you in the opposite direction from where you want to be. These are the habits that often feel almost impossible to break.  We all have them, so get comfy.


Summer Solace Series#1

Healthy Happy Habits + A Storytime Sit Down Audio Session with Me




Today we are exploring the first step to changing old habits, so that the new habits of the heart can become part of a supportive and conscious path to living.


Today you will learn:


  • The first step to releasing your tired old habits
  • The most common mistakes we make when trying to make a change.
  • How to use myth and ritual to support you in honing your habits. (including an audio storytelling sit down that I crafted for you)



The first step to releasing your tired old habits + a Storytime Sit Down with Me:


Habits are hard to break. I have some I am diligently working on myself. From my eating, my sleeping and my stress management, to how I monitor my finances, my negative thoughts and my self-care. We create them by patterning ourselves in such a way that they become automatic.


In the beginning, all of our habits served a purpose. Often born from an early age, a challenging time, or a learned automatic behavior that we developed to cope or deal with a certain situation.


From the moment you get out of bed each day – your daily breakfast, morning rituals, workplace interactions, the texts you send to your loved ones, to the way you drive home – you are engaging in multitudes of habits and patterns.


Most of these habits are serving you well, allowing you to handle the challenging co-worker, the multitudes of stress before an exam, or the baby up crying all night – you are on automatic more than you realize.


Our minds don’t often discern between the good and the bad habits when operating on automatic. We just keep doing, keep going, and keep trying to manage our lives.


The thing is, a tired old habit is one that did its job back when it was first being created. It may have helped you cope with a broken family, a stressful childhood, or a bully at school. A tired old habit may also have saved you from feeling out of control, feeling unloved or feeling stressed out.


Tired old habits once served an important purpose. Now, can you discern when they have become outdated?


We spend a lot of time looking at where we went wrong, how we got stuck, why we can’t do something different. Self criticism, shame and fear are often the co-pilots of wanting to make a change


What if we looked that tired old habit right in the eyes and said “Thank You”?


“Thank you for serving me well dear friend. Thanks for protecting me, helping me cope, and giving me options for getting though the tough times. I appreciate you. I honor you. And now… I am completely done with you.   You serve me no longer and I send you on your way.”


When we can see these old habits in their true form, full history, and even a little bubble of appreciation for how they have sustained us, we can release them more gracefully.


  • Mindless eating can be a way to comfort yourself when you’re feeling down.
  • Retail shopping online for hours might be a way you avoid interacting with your expired relationship.
  • Drinking too much may be the only way you know how to be social with a certain group of friends.



If you want to break the habit, you have to come to grips with whatever function the bad habit was serving.


What are your tired old habits?


Identifying the habit, and the history of the habit is the first step to making a change.


Try this:

  1. Name the tired old habit you are looking to transform.
  2. Unravel the history behind the habit, when it started, why it served you, and when it expired.
  3. Be gentle with yourself as you appreciate the value the habit served and the acknowledgement of its time to be released.
  4. Drop the guilt, shed the shame.



Join me and listen to today’s feature Summer Solace storytime sit down.   Explore the profound metaphors found in myths, storytelling and archetypes that gently guide us home to our strength and embodied feminine grace.



Listen to our first Storytime Sit Down HERE 



Just like the sweetness of ripe August peach, The Summer Solace Series is my late summer treat for you.  A harvest filled path into the last weeks of summer, a taste of the Sisterhood Circles Focus Group and Full Moon Women's Retreat weekend that begins this September and some summer savoring secrets that will keep you satiated.

Stay tuned...







The Health Wise Sisterhood Circles  ~ Small Focus groups

Create a powerful vision, commit to your intentions, happiness, and freedom,  while surrounding yourself extraordinary women.

The Health Wise Sisterhood Circles are for women seeking vibrant and inspired living. Find your personal recipe for health and vitality.

Our next group is coming up this September, 2016.






A Women's Full Moon Weekend Retreat

With Sue Van Raes and Special Guests

September 16-18th

Reconnect and restore in the majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a retreat designed for your health, nourishment, and body-mind-spirit connection.  Soak in the sacred waters of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, enjoy the delicious organic home cooked meals, and share in the sisterhood of connection and ritual.




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Meet your SABOTEUR...


You made your summertime plans – more exercise, more fun, and LESS junk food.


You started strong.  


The block parties kicked off, the travel plans kicked in and before you knew it, you were eating what felt like a lot of 7-layer dip.


Starting to feel the fatigue of staying up past your bed time too many nights in a row, guilt from what has now felt like an overindulgent vacation, and at a loss for the last time you made it to your women's hiking group - you wake up one morning wondering what happened.


Most of us can remember sabotaging our success, our health goals or our self-care plans.


It's a common problem.  

We ask ourselves why we are stuck, why we can't seem to follow through, and why we continue to live as a person we don't want to be.


Breaking old patterns, releasing our self-saboteur, and beginning anew is key in creating a life we love.


If you are struggling with consistency, follow through; much less a rocking summer plan then today’s 'skinny' is for you...




3 reasons why your Self Saboteur has all the power and how to make a change

(+ A guided meditation to boot)


We often find ourselves loosing sight of being the person we want to be, feeling stuck, and not sure what to do about it.


Our obstacles seem to grow into our demons, and our true potential succumbs to taking a back seat.


Old, ineffective thought patterns and beliefs – the very things that have blocked you up to this point – will stand out loud and clear as you start to befriend your inner success queen, and finally give her back the drivers seat.


Here are the 3 most common self-sabotaging patterns I see around food, body, and health and what to DO about it.



  1. Are you afraid of Failure?


A fear of failure or inadequacy can often turn us away from moving forward. The challenge is too much. It’s as if, once we reveal what we really want for ourselves, we have a sacred contract with ourselves to fulfill it.


Wow, that’s a big commitment.


Maybe it is safer to stay stuck.


Naming our goals/intentions/personal commitments, but then not feeling able to follow through is hard to swallow. All of these fears are totally real.


Try this: Ask yourself who has the power – you or your fears? Try naming your fears. Once they are named, recognized and befriended, they become more powerless.  



  1. Are YOU addicted to your suffering?


One common way we sabotage our own success is related to the addictions most of us have to our negative thoughts and beliefs, and to our own suffering.


For many of us, sitting in our own suffering is a pattern that has formed and become a habitual way we move through life. We are more comfortable with our suffering because it is all we know.


Where do you embellish your own suffering?


What do you get out of it?


In some twisted way, we all get something out of complaining, being depressed, or playing the victim.


Maybe we get more attention, maybe we get to be lazy, or maybe we are simply used to feeling this way, so this state has become the place we feel most comfortable.


Try this: Inquire into your own patterns with suffering, and take a closer look.  Answer the question honestly – what do you get from your suffering? These old patterns may have started in your childhood, in a relationship, or even in a hard phase of your life. There are many opportunities for these patterns to have become habits, but just as many opportunities to change them with love and awareness.


  1. Do you CHECK OUT?


Self-soothing is a high priority in our self-care, but checking OUT is a different thing – it means shutting down, turning a blind eye, or avoiding feeling or experiencing the strong emotions that we may be afraid of (including happiness).


If the pattern of checking OUT is a big one for you, taking gradual steps to checking IN is important.


We need reflection, accountability, structure, and support to create a new pattern.


We need to practice.


We need an intuitive relationship with ourselves first.


Try this: Sit with the uncomfortable. Feel. Listen inward. Crack yourself open. Love ALL of you. The way OUT is always IN.


What this means for our relationship with food, health and body is that if we begin to see the discomfort as merely our brain breaking down old neural pathways and creating new ones and then we can welcome this uncomfortable new way as a sign of progress. We can release the inner voice of the self-saboteur if we know what we are listening for, and learning to recognize when SHE is running the show.

To practice, today’s guided meditation will take you deeper inward towards reclaiming your power and releasing your saboteur once and for all.






The Yoga of Eating ~ Full Moon Weekend Retreat Joyful Journey Hotsprings September 16th-18th


Reconnect and restore in the majesty of the Colorado Rocky Mountains with a retreat designed for your health, nourishment, and body-mind-spirit connection.

Soak in the sacred waters of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, enjoy the delicious organic home cooked meals, and share in the sisterhood of connection and ritual.

Reserve Your Queendom 



Self Care is the New Healthcare

  The early morning sun peeks through my purple curtains these days with a certain kind of spring morning hue.


With the sound of the dawn chorus chirping outside my window, I stir, sensing the break of a new day. The intoxicating fragrances of spring stoke my senses, and the lush green foothills of Boulder are beckoning me to come and play.




For me spring brings busy weeks of parenting teens through final exams, travel planning, family dinners, school performances, creek festivals, memorial day picnics, graduations, work and friends.


It’s full, it’s dynamic, and the weeks can fly by faster then ever.


Do you make time for everyone else, but you?


Self care – the art of listening to our body’s needs and wants from a deep soul knowledge of the self – is simple yet complex.


Self care is simple because it is applicable to humans across all times and necessary to our fundamental human needs.


Self care is complex because in today’s world, we are most often overwhelmed by getting everything done in our days, to then fall into our beds at the end of the day exhausted.


Spring brings fresh energy, possibility and the chance to begin anew. Now is your time to cultivate and create all that you need to THRIVE in your life.


You will know you’ve recognized what you need when you feel the flame of excitement, inspiration and passion growing in your heart and maybe you will even feel a sigh of relief.


Think of having an afternoon nap, taking a warm bath, having time to read your favorite book, a walk in nature, or sipping tea with a friend in the garden. Self care doesn’t have to take up much time, but even just 5-15 minutes a day will change everything for you.


5 things that happen when you practice self care DAILY



  1. You start to prioritize yourself (halleluiah)


Just like any other habit, once you get your self care rolling you gain momentum.


For the next week, what would happen if you made it a point to prioritize yourself every day?


I know this can sound edgy, especially if you have small children, you do service work, or your friends and family really NEED you.


The thing to remember (and this has helped me a lot) is that we aren’t much good when our “CUP” is empty. Try filling up your own cup first, and watch how giving back to your circle of life becomes easier.


  1. You feel more energized


When we take better care of ourselves, we nourish ourselves better, and this creates a surge of energy in our often tired, overwhelmed, and busy lives.


Exercise is energizing. Naps are energizing. Relaxation and down time are energizing. Gardening and nature are energizing. The sky is the limit on how YOUR self care looks.


I promise you that dedicating 5-15 minutes a day (or more) to self care will improve your quality of life and your energy throughout the day.


  1. You get sick less


When we practice self care daily, our immune systems are less taxed, we are more rested, and we attune to what we need to stay healthier.  Your daily self care has a direct impact on your health today, and also  on the future of your health.

Simply Psychology states “When we’re stressed, the immune system’s ability to fight off antigens is reduced. That is why we are more susceptible to infections.”


Try thinking of self care as your essential “Vitamin S”


  1. Your relationships improve


Not only will your relationship to yourself improve, but also, when you are feeling more connected and balanced in yourself, your relationship with others flows more smoothly.


We are better listeners, better mothers, better lovers and better friends when we are well resourced, rested, and harmonious with our day-to-day life.


If you have a hard time doing it for you, do it for the others in your life 



  1. You fine tune your intuition


The art of listening to yourself gets easier and easier with practice.


Your body is always your ally.


When we move through life so fast, always trying to take care of everyone else, we loose the connection to our inner voice of intuition and wisdom.


Don’t worry –YOU are still there.


Tuning into what we need is an important practice for health and well-being – body, mind and spirit.


Eventually, this inner voice of wisdom will guide us gracefully to knowing exactly what we need to be in balance. We begin to trust. We take better care of our beautiful selves, and our quality of life escalates to new levels.


Self care is an act of SELF-LOVE



6 Sweet + Sensual Secrets of Spring


I've got a few spring secrets for you.


We picked an aromatically pleasing purple lilac and carried it with us along the creek path, taking turns inhaling its sweet spring scent all the way through our evening walk.

Walking on my neighborhood creek path is my favorite way to unwind at the end of the day. I find solace in listening to the creek ripple by, and witnessing nature’s articulation as everything comes to life for a long awaited spring.





Something as simple as the sweet scent of a lilac activates the senses, and connects us to the deeper currents of spring.

The 8 limbs of yoga are steeped with teachings and guidance to uplift the heart and mind.

Some of these 8 limbs are very well known amongst the most common yoga practices – for example, the physical practice of ASANA: the practice of the holding yoga postures – whilst others are less trendy and even thought of as the forgotten limbs of yoga.


Pratyahara is one of my favorite limbs of the yoga practice.

This particular limb is defined as the practice of refining of the senses.

Pratyahara includes both the discernment of gaining mastery over the senses in the face of distraction, as well as the refinement of the senses through a heightened awareness.

When we refine, heighten, and savor the sensory experience, we become more present – the senses can only be experienced in the present moment – and we heighten our experience of the world around us – more pleasure, more bliss and more embodiment in all the things we do.

I will tell you how this applies directly to our eating, our bodies, and the beauty all around us in



The 6 Sweet + Sensual secrets of SPRING  


You are a pleasure based being. You are designed to feel pleasure, enjoy pleasure, and embody pleasure through your senses. With just a little attention on this and some tips to cleanse your sensory palate, you too can refine your sensory experience and enjoy the ride just a little bit more.


  1. Slow down


We all know today’s world is fast paced and full. We can’t really change that in the big picture. What we can do each day is gift ourselves the time to slow down. Slow down when we eat, slow down when we walk in nature or slow down when we do our self care practices.


Take a deep breath. It sounds simple but something as simple as a few deep breaths allows us to be in the moment, get centered, and relax our minds.



  1. Cut back on overly sweet or salty foods


One major downside of eating highly refined and processed foods is that our palates become less sensitive to the subtle flavors of natural food.


Choose foods that are made from nature’s naturally sweet flavors or natural mineral rich salt.


When the flavors are varietal and pure, they not only heighten our sense of taste, but they also energetically attune us into more inner balance and harmony.


Sweet – Nourishment and love

Salty –   Courage and fearlessness

Bitter – Purification and detoxification

Spicy – Passion and excitement

Sour – Spiritual fire and passion for life



  1. Engage all of the senses in your eating


Watch the chocolate meditation here


Bringing all of my senses into my eating is on of my favorite exercises. I filmed this video with the release of my book, Health Wise, in 2014. You can apply the concepts of the Chocolate Meditation to any eating you do.


Make your eating more sensual.


  1. Do a little screen time cleanse


When we spend all of our time looking at our devices, our Facebook page, our Instagram account and the latest HBO series, it becomes less likely we are going to notice the sensory experience of a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a purring kitty, or the crackling of a warm fire.


Give yourself some screen free, device free, electronic free time each day.


  1. Touch yourself (yes, you read that correctly)


As we know, there are many ways to touch ourselves. Some are more arousing and sexual then others. What I am talking about here is waking up our bodies to sensual touch.


You can practice this with gentle coconut oil self massage. You can practice this with self-pleasuring. You can practice this with warm comforting aromatherapy baths.


You choose.


  1. Practice Scent Therapy


One therapeutic practice to try is to up your sensory experience in your sense of smell.

It is said that the olfactory sense, our sense of smell, is our oldest sense from the viewpoint of evolution.

Our sense of smell creates strong memories with its powerful, swift and precise presence.

Cool fact ** The sense of smell is even more developed in a woman than it is in a man.

Our sense of smell is deeply connected to our sensual relationship to food, to a woman's eroticism, and to our intuition.

Some doctors call this "scent therapy". This can engage new receptors in your nose, improving your sense of smell over time.

Scent therapy infuses your olfactory system with delightful, potent scents, refining your sense of smell while enjoying benefits of the aromas on your entire body, mind and spirit.

Some scents are more therapeutic than others, while others are more pleasure based as well.

Try essential oils, strong smelling flowers or raw foods that when lightly cooked emit a strong aroma – such as garlic, ginger, tumeric.


Spring is the most sensual and lush time of the year. We can open the spring nuances more fully as sensual sensory beings through all things food, body, sensuality, and self-love with the activation of our senses - pratyahara.



Mimosas, Marigolds, and Mothering yourself

  Do you MOTHER yourself ?

The ambrosial scents of spring have been rolling over me like ocean waves this week.

Instant BLISS.




With a little (or a lot) of spring fever lighting me up, I decided to park my entire mobile office outside on my back deck. Usually, when I notice any resistance to my usual day-to-day stuff – writing, finances, paperwork – I ask myself the question: "What would it take to inspire me?"


This week my answer was SPRING.


Not only did my move outside to work uplift my motivation, but it actually had me looking forward to the writing hours I had allotted for myself this week.


This is one way I MOTHER myself


To really take care of ourselves and tend to ourselves, we have to give ourselves the love we want and deserve first and foremost.


Self Love.


As we embark on Mothers's Day weekend, this year I invite you to practice MOTHERING yourself.


No matter where we are in your lives, what our relationship is like with our mothers, or whether we are a mother, mothering ourselves is the best way to love ourselves this Mothers Day.


Mothering ourselves reminds us we are our own best friends, our own fierce protectors, and our own wise teachers.


Do you have your own back?


Intuitively we know what we need.  It takes a little practice – like strengthening a muscle over time.  The practice is in the PAUSING, being curious, and self inquiry into what we really need and want.



Here are 4 easy and quick 'MOTHER YOURSELF' questions:

What does your physical body need to be nourished?

What does your heart need to be fed with happiness and joy?

What does your mind need to be free, clear, and inspired?

How can you feed your spirit with peace and calm?


If part of mothering yourself requires a little hand holding, don't be afraid to ask.


If mothering yourself involves aligning your health from the inside out with the energetics of SPRING, check out my Spring Fever Cleanse Programs below.


 You can read ALL about the Spring Fever programs HERE.


Here's to all the mothers that have come before us, mothering ourselves, and celebrating the beauty of spring...oh and Mother's day mimosas.




The TRUTH about Transitions

Some transitions are tough,  

I collected all the ingredients for a warming broth, chopped up a yellow onion, grated the aromatic ginger and lemongrass, and turned on the pan to melt the coconut oil.


The early morning chill was obvious, and the forecasted rain was daunting and reminding me to get cozy with a warm pot of soup on the stove.


(You can find the yummy soup recipe on my Facebook page HERE)


Honestly, I wasn't sure if I had yet another pot of soup in me as we are approaching May this week, and warm pots of soup and stew are very much associated with winter for me.

I am the type who likes to put my crock pot away for the summer, not to be seen until the first leaves begin to turn on the trees each fall.


Here in Colorado, spring comes in waves. Waves of warm spring - sit on your deck - sunshine, interspersed with yet another winter storm, usually all the way to Mother's day.


While I personally may be ready to retire this year's snowy winter and celebrate the warmer days and nights of spring, the transition into spring is a little bit less predictable here in Colorado.


I have realized I am not a huge fan of transition 


Whether it be saying goodbye to a loved one, moving houses, transitioning home from a big trip, or the change of seasons, transitions can be a bit daunting for many of us.


My awareness around my struggle with transitions is nothing new. When the transitions get tough, I have learned to take extra special care of myself, use my daily practices and self reflection, and simply bring the transition into my attention while being extra gentle with myself.


If you are craving a strong, healthy and vital spring, let me help you with the transition...


This year's Spring Fever Cleanse programs are designed to do just this. Align yourself with the season with food, exercise, daily practices and self care energetics and see how your spring transition can be extra smooth this year.


You can read ALL about the Spring Fever programs HERE.


Yup, that warm pot of soup last night was just what I needed to curl up with and get cozy as the chilly rain came down.



5 Ways to TUNE In


This past weekend, as I prepared to send my youngest son off on a plane to Mexico for a spring break vacation with his friend’s family, I noticed I had this anxiousness and tightness in my body.


I wasn’t thinking about it much, but when I finally got home after a busy Monday at the office, I had to sit for a minute and ask: What is this feeling about?


It is his first international trip without me, and even though I consciously felt so excited for him, somewhere inside I was having a hard time letting go.



If you find it a challenge to control your thoughts and feelings some days, you are not alone.





These types of feelings, thoughts, or body messages offer us a lot of information when we pay attention. The problem is, often we don’t. Our days are busy, bustling, and full of to-dos that can easily disconnect us from our true inner experience – body, mind and spirit.


When we ignore our inner selves, we learn behaviors to repress the more intense thoughts and feelings. This often leads us down the road to numbing, checking out, over eating, and often self-medicating in a variety of ways.


When we practice TUNING IN, we can actually give ourselves the space to feel what is occurring, give it time to make sense and tend to ourselves in the ways we need in order to free ourselves from the common pattern of repressing our truest nature.


Connecting with ourselves more deeply helps us to connect with others more deeply.


Understanding ourselves – our wisdom and our intuition – helps us to honor the same in another.


Thoughts have information


Feelings have information


Bodies have information


We need a language to understand the insights that come through our body, mind and spirit. This is the language that gives us permission to listen to our subtle bodies, and then take action based on our highest good.


Cultivating a relationship with our WHOLE self is the best relationship on which we could ever spend our energy.


Our true self is our path to happiness, harmony, peace and deep understanding of our fullest selves.



5 ways to TUNE IN




  1. Find Stillness


As you know, our minds can get quite cluttered, full, and busy. We spend so much time exploring and experiencing our outer world, our work world, our family world, that we are rarely called to get to know the universe within us.


Can you sit with yourself without any distractions? If you’re like most people, it’s probably been quite some time. Find a quiet space to sit, pause, and breathe. What does it feel like to slow down, and find stillness? If you are uncomfortable, you are in the right place.


Practicing slowing down and finding stillness is often foreign to us, therefore we need some practice to feel more familiar and comfortable. Eventually stillness can become like an inner anchor that we can count on.



  1. Become A Witness


Living in this super busy world creates stress and overwhelm for almost everyone. It is not our fault. The ways we have lived through struggle, hardship, heartbreak, loneliness, or overwhelm are part of who we are, and the ways we have gotten stronger are assets gained from the past, that are applicable in the present moment. It is just taking time to witness them. No judgment, no shame, no blame. Our inner dialogue can give us information about the current state of our being.


What stories, phrases, and negative thoughts do you repeat to yourself constantly?


Where do you feel it in your body?


How do you want to treat yourself ?


It is a rich practice to become the witness to which internal conversations come up often.


  1. Name the Inner Experience


When we identify what we are experiencing, we give our inner landscape a voice and a space to move through us freely. Use a word that describes what you are experiencing. Do you feel afraid? Angry? Treated unfairly? Scared? Lonely? Bored? Give the feeling a name. Come up with a word that describes the current experience, positive or negative.


  1. Create Spaciousness


For centuries, many traditions, many teachings, many cultures far and wide have referred to creating spaciousness regarding the mind-body connection. Allowing our inner experience to move through us freely gives us a feeling of lightness and freedom.


Breathing is powerful and an effective vehicle to create spaciousness. Even just one conscious breath brings some spaciousness to the inner body. Following the breath with your attention is a simple, effective and easy practice to fit into even the busiest of days. You can do it while driving, while at work, or while in the midst of just about anything.


Simply pause and breathe.




  1. Ask a question


Once you identify what is occurring in your subtle inner bodies, you can then begin the process of self-care, spaciousness, and honoring what is.


Beginning with a question helps to initiate the process of taking care, tending to, and nurturing you.


Try these:

  • What is my hearts desire?
  • What do I really want?
  • How can I love and accept myself today?
  • What do I need to be nurtured?











I was exhausted. 



Life had handed us some big challenges.  I had to discover a whole new kind of parenting, that I was not ready for (or so I thought). All I could do is keep on holding the space and taking care of everyone, but truthfully, I really had little left for myself.




It’s not that I wasn’t doing what I could with self-care each day – evening baths, shutting myself in my room with a good book, of course spending time with close girlfriends – but I knew what I was going through was intense, and I was needed – my 100% was needed.  




Last summer (June 2013), my son lost his best friend in a Boulder tragedy – one that made the front page of the newspaper multiple times, and one that left us all completely traumatized, broken hearted and lost.  




We have had a lot of support, a lot of time at home, and a lot of time to go through the various stages of grieving in a sacred and loving way.  At times, the personal needs of our families get even more all-consuming and full.  Nearly eight months later, we are just beginning to come up for air.  




It happens this way sometimes in life. Often, parenting, working, school, living, and taking care of everything that needs to happen for our lives to run somewhat smoothly can be very overwhelming - especially amidst particularly challenging times.





I knew my time (Sue time) was coming. I could see it on the horizon, and it helped get me through. It did...


 time i needed to breath, restore, pause, and reflect on one of the toughest years of my life.




I looked over my packing list multiple times this particular morning. I checked that I had my passport probably seven or eight times (a habit I have), made sure I had a couple important things in my carry on bag – journal, headphones, novel, essential oil, snacks, and of course my tooth brush (I like to brush on long flights).



I got all of my travel goodies to the front porch just in time for my ride to the airport.




Each year I take a group of women to somewhere exotic for a pilgrimage of deep relaxation, personal inquiry, space, rejuvenation, connection and time to unwind.  




If you are like most of these women, you might understand their overwhelm in the business of the day-to-day.  I sure do. Tired, stressed, burnt out.  This seems to be one of the big reasons women decide to come along on our annual retreat. With all we hold in our lives, it is so therapeutic to take a break, reset, assess, and give ourselves some time just for us.




We make excuses, avoid change, get stuck in our outdated habits, and resist putting ourselves first, but is that really how you want to live?




This week I am going to share with you some very specific health benefits that happen when we give ourselves a break. They are important to know about, part of an important conversation for women, and something most of us could work on, as we are often the last ones on our own priority list.




5 Science Based Reasons Why You Should Take a Break




1.. Sleep more deeply

For most of us who are holding a lot in our days, it is a challenge to “let it all go” at night.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 48% of Americans report a sleep disorder (most commonly, insomnia) and women are 1.3 times more likely to report a sleep disorder than men. The biggest contributors to sleep issues are stress, anxiety, depression or poor sleep habits. 

When we take a break, we retrain our sleep cycles and studies show these new habits most often continue even after we return home.

I recently learned from a master teacher that the best way to release stress, trauma, and pent up emotions in our nervous system is to rest.  It sounds so simple, and yet many of us find it so hard to make the time to rest.


2. Gain perspective

Underneath a lot of our suffering are our outdated old habits, the way we sabotage our happiness, and the age-old way that women forget to take care of themselves.

Our inner voice that tells us to listen, to slow down, to nap, to take some downtime – most often get overridden with turbo gear, muscling through, and our fast paced world.

Something has to change.

I spent years silencing that voice. Then one day, that voice said, "I can't do this anymore."

The pain of staying the same became greater than the pain of change and I dove into spending time on giving myself a break and creating downtime.   It was time to break out of old patterns and into a life where I felt free, connected and could become my own priority.



3. Lower your body mass index

Yes, it’s true. The stress hormone, cortisol, does no good for your waistline. High cortisol levels lead to higher insulin levels. Both of these sneaky hormones store body fat when they are out of balance.

When you give yourself time to slow down, rest, and release your stress and overwhelm, you biochemically tell your body to release excess weight around your mid-section.

Not only is this pleasing to most women, but it also creates a healthier body composition for the long term.



4. Balance your hormones.

According to the Chopra Institute, doing fifteen minutes of deep belly breathing twice daily has been shown in several clinical trials to increase balance of the female hormones, as well as improve a woman’s sense of well-being. 

Learning a mind-quieting technique such as meditation or yoga, will help decrease stress hormones and allow the body to function more efficiently.

Imagine how much time you have to breathe deeply, meditate, and rejuvenate on vacation or retreat.



5. Improve your longevity

"It is important to engage in multiple leisure activities, both as a way to enjoy life more, but also to potentially have a benefit on increasing long-term health and decreasing long-term stress" University of Pittsburgh's Mind-Body Center.

Your long-term health will thank you.

Understanding that stress, fatigue, and burnout are responsible for most degenerative disease, often helps us to take our prescription for peacefulness a little more seriously.




3 Ways to Say I LOVE YOU

  Last night I spent Boulder's snowy evening with the CU women's group called FEEDING FEARLESSNESS.  These amazing young women are dedicated to healing their relationship to food and body with their whole hearts.


As the falling Colorado snow flakes began to cover the roof tops and tree tops around time, our heart opening conversation led us to our vulnerability and our depths.


One aspect of our conversation determined how, almost always, these unique struggles many women experience come from bigger root issues that are unresolved, overwhelming or scary to feel.


Most of us don't like discomfort.

Loneliness, guilt, heartbreak, shame, anxiety, sadness, grief, anger and sometimes even joy can feel like too much for us to hold.





This week I want to share with you 3 ways to say I LOVE YOU (to yourself) so that you can cultivate more SELF LOVE and SELF CARE while expanding your ability to feel and accept all that you are.


1.  Equanimity:  Often referred to as being in balance, there is actually a little more to the true definition of equanimity.

The fullest expression of the word includes the ability to be at peace and remain calm in the face of uncertainty or a difficult situation.

The human psyche doesn't normally like uncertainty or difficulty.  This is a practice where, over time, we can build our fortitude.

Start with baby steps, start where you are, and remember...


This too shall pass

2.  Compassion:  Being self-compassionate means that whether you win or lose, or surpass your sky-high goals, you still extend the same kindness and sympathy toward yourself, just like you would a good friend or a child.


Compassion towards the self is a deep breath, a self-care practice, or a positive affirmation that fills up your self love cup.


How you speak to yourself changes everything.  Embrace your imperfect self.

3.  Acceptance:  According to the work of Byron Katie, learning to LOVE WHAT IS, is about dismantling our current state with the exercise of revealing how our deepest beliefs are often based in misunderstandings with ourselves.

It takes courage to face reality without telling ourselves a story that things should be different. Ultimately, it means living in a state of love — a lot more of the time.

Be sure to check out the 3 offerings I have for you below,  so you can continue to build your SELF LOVE and your PLEASURE POWER this month.





Join the #7 day Self-Love Challenge: Online FREE Course We begin February 8th. Have a love affair with yourself.

Through daily efforts learn to forgive yourself, put yourself first, recognize your strengths and do something you love each and every day!


Eat Clean ~ Talk Dirty Online Workshop February 12th!

The Power of Pleasure Explore your relationship with food, pleasure and SEX. With Sue Van Raes, Costen Aytes and Leslie Jones.

Eat Clean Talk Dirty

Care for a little Bali MAGIC?

When going away is the first step towards coming home...

EatPrayYoga Bali




10 Consciousness and Kitchen Quickies

  With the warm Colorado sun warming me through window at Boulder’s local tea shop – Pekoe Sip House –  I sit this morning, (with my Mate Latte)  and start to clear off my emails from the past month.


My email is, as usual, overflowing with my favorite writers and bloggers, and today, almost all themed with the new beginnings of 2016.


The New Year is always full of so many opportunities to renew.


Whether you are a goal setter, a resolution lover, or one who strives to live with intention each day, we are bombarded with hundreds of ways to create a fresh start, even if we are half way through January.


Social media, emails, articles and advertisements are rolling in with a brilliant range of options.


So today, I decided to offer you a perfectly FREE and favorite way of mine to remember #healthisourgreatestwealth.


Center of Health Quote


In the spirit of supporting you in your health goals for the year, whatever they may be, I want to share with you my top 10 ways to setting up your sacred space, the center of your health, with just a little more mindfulness.


I have found after working for over 12 years in the field of mind-body health and nutrition, that there are a few  “set yourself up for success” gems that I want to be sure you know about.


"The CENTER of your HEALTH is in your CONSCIOUSNESS and in your KITCHEN"


Creating sacred space for yourself crafts the energy to expand our visions into in reality.

A sacred space brings forth a container for your coming year of self-care, nourishment and vitality.

Creating a sacred space for our lives and our health can be two fold:


  • Living in alignment with our true nature, and our body’s most authentic needs.


  • Keeping our thoughts about ourselves supportive, loving, and kind.


My top 10 ways to create sacred space for vibrant life and health:


1.  Eat nourishing whole food that is free from processed sugars, additives, preservatives, and refined ingredients.

2.  Create mealtime rituals that give you the time  to sit down and enjoy a peaceful meal.

3.  Craft a positive affirmation about your body.

4.  Take some time each day to nurture yourself.  Try asking the question: “What can I do to nurture myself today?".

5.  Sit peacefully and reflect each morning on how to customize your day to match your health goals, your energy and your to-do list.

6.  Listen to your body – it is always your ally.

7.  Drop the guilt - I know this one is tough, but living wrought with guilt is even tougher.

8.  Give yourself down time each day, leading up to and including a good night sleep.

9.  Give yourself permission for pleasure. (all kinds of pleasure)

10.  Make YOU your #1 in 2016.



Join us for a MAGICAL week in BALI this spring.






Happy Solstice Weekend

  It was just a few days ago when Ari, my 15 year old son, eagerly hopped in the car after school.


He is my spirited Solstice tree elf.  We always pick out a tree together, and proceed to bring it home to have a overwhelming time getting it to stand straight in the tree stand.


As we looked through all the different kinds of trees, I found myself asking a fellow customer which kind she thought "smelled" the best.  She ironically looked at me like I was a little crazy.


"Which one SMELLS the best?" she asked.


I quickly realized not everyone is going for the best smelling tree.


After some crazy sawing and a few too many pine needles on the floor, we managed pretty well this year.


My favorite part of the solstice is sitting in the dark with my very fragrant tree, it's white lights twinkling in my living room creating that oh so sweet glow.


I love the Winter Solstice.  It always feels so mystical to me.  The darkest night of the year, the most inward introspective time, the returning of the light, and a sense of holiday shimmer in the air.


This year, take the journey with me in these dark nights, and let's find some magic to enjoy in our lives together and some ritual to ignite our hearts.


Dark Night Delicacy #2 is here for you.

Solstice Rituals and Relvelry



  • Learn WHY rituals are so potent in our lives
  • Check out some of my favorite Solstice rituals
  • Enjoy some new wintery recipes over the holidays.


The Dark Night Delicacies are my holiday treat for you this year.  A candlelit path into the darkest nights of the year, a taste of the Eat.Pray.Yoga Online Course and Community that begins this January, and a wintery wise wanderlust that will keep you connecting inward to your winter warrioress.




Winter Solstice Rituals and Revelry

Ritual is one way the soul often craves connection, presence and sweetness. We have been doing ritual in so many realms throughout time to fulfill this part of our souls desire.


Cultures far and wide have included rituals for centuries and now much research is showing that the human ENJOYMENT and CONNECTION is heightened through ritual.


Some rituals are small - like lighting a candle before a meal.


Some rituals are super involved like a Japanese Tea ceremony, or a pagan May day Beltane celebration.


We are going to start with just a few of my favorites for the darkest night of the year.  Feel free to customize these ideas into rituals that work for you and your family.

  1. Solstice lantern lighting: Embrace the dark by leaving lights off + lighting lanterns or candles at dusk. Decorate mason jars and place a small candle inside OR try the shimmery candles that clip onto your holiday tree and safely light them. As you sit by candle light, set your intentions for the returning of the light.  You can find the clip on candles HERE
  2. Create a fire releasing ceremony: Write down what you wish to release. One by one, as you write each one down, burn them in the fire.  You can use a fire place, wood stove, or outdoor bonfire.  I have done variations of this over the years with my women's programs and retreats.
  3. Commune in nature: Take a long walk in the woods, and consider bringing a headlamp if you wish to explore the dusk or dark.  Leave an offering of seeds (such as sunflowers), flowers or herbs out for the birds and other wild creatures.
  4. With the returning of the light it is often said to be a powerful time to set new intentions, goals, or put visions into motion.  Some consider this time to be the true New Year.  Write a list of all or your burning desires, and visions for the upcoming year and the returning of the light.  Meditate on the clearest path to see them come to fruition.


Wintery Wise Recipes

Butternut and Buffalo Paleo Stew




  • 1 lb buffalo cubes for stewing
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled, de-seeded and diced;
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 4 carrots, diced
  • 6 oz. mushrooms, sliced
  • 6 oz. spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup chicken/beef/mushroom stock
  • 14 oz. diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. dried oregano or 2 drops oregano essential
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


Warm up a skillet over a medium-high heat. Brown the buffalo cubes in the skillet for about 1 minute per side. Transfer the meat to a crock pot. Add all the remaining ingredients, except for the spinach and the mushrooms, to the slow cooker. Give everything a good stir, set the slow cooker to low and cook for 6 hours. Add in the mushrooms 30 minutes before the stew is done. Add the spinach just before serving.



Yoga Pose of the Week


Light your hips on fire with this yummy hip opener this week. No matter how flexible your hips are, you can find some sensation in your body and warm your entire hip socket and pelvis up with a little Solstice warming fire.

A few things to remember about Fire log (or double pigeon):

  • Sitting up on a blanket can help. Propping a block under your top knee will give you some extra support.
  • Flexing your feet will help to protect your knee joint.
  • As you inhale let your torso rise and expand your chest. As you exhale let the knees become a bit heavier and draw more sensation into your hips.
  • Bow forward if your hip flexibility allows. Remember to breath and track the warmth and sensation in your body.



Begin your Descent

  The Tugboats crashing upon the waves as they crossed through the city was the perfect backdrop for a festive dinner out in the city of Williamstead, on the island of Curacao.


This particular night was even more significant for the townspeople (and lucky for us) as it was the night (December 1st) when Williamstead lit their holiday lights on the floating bridge that so beautifully lit up the water with its colorful reflections.


Dark nights and winter holidays are celebrated worldwide.


Sun kissed after a glorious Caribbean vacation with my sweetie, we are returning home to embrace the dark nights before us, and the holiday festivities to be had.


When the dark nights come each year, I have finally begun to look forward to my personal descent into the darkness. What I used to consider cold, stressful and tender has now become a time I cherish each year.


When I say descent, what I mean is my descent into my inner landscape - through all her peaks and valleys – where the darkest nights of the year have become a great teacher and revealer of my own insight and vision.


Some would say this descent is known throughout time, myth, and story as a descent into the underworld. Others see it as the most potent nights to pray. Many share insights on how to vision with clarity and precision for the upcoming New Year. The dark nights expand to cultures worldwide with unique and diverse wintery wisdoms and rituals.


For the next 5 weeks the Dark Night Delicacies are designed to share with you some of my most favorite winter recipes, rituals, and ways to reset and replenish.


Dark Night Delicacy #1 is here for you.

Solace and Self Care





  • Learn the biggest challenge women face over the holidays.
  • Three ways to begin your own dark night descent embracing winters wisdom.
  • How to restore your life force and your energy easily.


This is my holiday treat for you this year. A candle lit path into the darkest nights of the year, a taste of the Eat.Pray.Yoga Online Course and Community that begins this January, and a wintery wise wanderlust that will keep you connecting inward to your winter warrioress.


Dark Night Delicacy #1



Have you been busy bustling and hustling to get ready for your holidays? Amidst all of the gift buying, holiday parties and decorating things can get pretty zany out there.


I hear about it all the time from my clients, my friends, and my family. The most common complaints we all know: tired, drained, doing too much, over extended, and trying to please everyone else.


This is the # 1 challenge women face each holiday season.


The energetics of winter remind us to hunker down, slow down, and restore our prana (life force). We benefit from cooking our food slow and long, finding coziness and warmth together in our families and communities, while warming our hearts with connection to ourselves and others we love.




This year, turn over a new “snow flake” and give to yourself first. You will have plenty more to give to those you love when you do.


How you might ask?


That is exactly what The Dark Night Delicacies are for. Little winter weekly wisdoms to inspire you and remind you that you can live as your own winter warrioress.


Spend some quiet time each day.


This commitment to yourself  is simple yet totally profound. Quiet time does not involve the TV or computer. It does involve a long cozy walks in nature, a warm ritual bath, a quiet place to meditate or journal, or your favorite juicy novel and a bowl of sumptuous organic popcorn.


Join us this weekend: The annual Women’s Winter Wanderlust Day Retreat right in downtown Boulder CO.  

Come and join us as we retreat for a day nourishing ourselves, indulging in a women’s circle of intention, connection, and practice as we find our clarity, grace and power within - at Shine Restaurant and Gathering Place.






Our mats and our practice can act as a perfect reflection for the inner witness. It is helpful to come to your mat with a specific intention that will customize your practice. Allow your focus to turn inward with every breath tuning into the subtle body and the inner observer. Listen for intuition, insight, physical cues, and sensation that are rich with information and winter’s wisdom.


Pose of the week







Malasana has a descending and grounding quality and is a good pose to practice whenever you need to foster a focus of inner listening and serenity. Try B position: reach your palms back behind you, palms to the mat, with your upper arms in between your legs. Drop your chin to your chest and focus your breath on your back body. As you turn your gaze inward and calm your nervous system, begin to listen inward to the messages of intuition that come through your awareness.





Winter eating entails preparing seasonal whole foods that can be stored, canned, or kept for the colder days of winter. Emphasize warming foods that stimulate digestion, circulation, and immunity.


Soups and stews

Root vegetables

Beans (especially adzuki and mung beans)

Miso and seaweed

Garlic and ginger


 Thai Carrot Soup


  • 1 yellow onion
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 lb carrots (approx 4 cups)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 cups veggie stock + 2 cups water
  • ½ cup almond butter
  • 2 tsp chili sauce or sriracha
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • Coconut oil to sauté

Heat in a large pot over medium heat

Dice onion, garlic and carrot. Saute veggies with coconut oil. Add veggie stock and water. Season the pot with salt and pepper. Bring to a low boil and cook for 20 min or until veggies are soft.

Transfer to blender, or use submersion blender. Add almond butter and chili paste/sriracha and blend until smooth. Sitr in coconut milk. Optional – add a smidge of honey.




The Art (and science) of Curbing your Cravings


The Art (and science) of Curbing your Cravings



Like you, I’m no stranger to cravings. I know how they can feel overwhelming, out of control, and truly crazy, when it comes down to it. I’ve been there. I spent years living off coffee and carbs.  My cravings were running the show, all day every day.  Not only did I not feel satiated, energized or content, but I also had intense bouts of hypoglycemia, migraine headaches and brain fog. I learned some important strategies for more success and now I can authentically say “It doesn’t have to be this way.”  


Are you also stuck in sweet seductions, carbohydrate coddlings, and bread-y binges? We often feel stuck thinking our personal will should be strong enough to battle the craziness of these common cravings. The reality is that most of our cravings have nothing to do with our personal weaknesses, our emotional favoring or even our habitual madness. What’s really going on has much more to do with our biochemistry.


Check out the most important things to know about cravings, and free yourself from the craving craziness once and for all with these six steps below.


1.     How LOW can you go?
If you can start off the day with a low glycemic breakfast you will conquer your cravings much quicker.  One particular study showed when you eat a low glycemic breakfast, you crave less food in the form of carbohydrates and sugar throughout the day (Ball et al.). Your steady insulin and blood sugar will insure your cravings are calm throughout the rest of the day. It is not really magic at all, but it does feel like a miracle.


2.     Smart Snacking 
When snacking, try eating foods high in protein and fat instead of carbohydrate heavy on-the-run snacks. Foods like nuts, avocado, whole milk unsweetened yogurt, organic meats, cheeses, and protein shakes will keep your insulin so happy in between meals.


3.     Healthy, Happy, WHOLE
Carbohydrate quality is a big culprit in how our cravings unfold. The more processed the food, usually the more of a blood sugar bomb. If we can eat carbohydrates in their whole form (such as brown rice, sweet potato, steel cut oats, quinoa, or a tart apple) we will find these whole carbohydrates are much more gentle on our blood sugar. Cleaning up our carbs makes all the difference. Go for the good stuff.


4.     Consistency is KEY
When we wait too long between meals, we are taking an insulin risk that usually ends up in us getting too hungry, and making a choice that is more impulsive. Planning on little dense snack bites often will keep you satiated and satisfied and beyond the crazy cravings. Eating regularly throughout the day creates a healthy metabolism, and happier hormones (aka Insulin).


5.     Intuition Is More Powerful Than Intellect.
The body is wise. We inherently know what we need and by taking just a few seconds to listen, check in, and inquire as to what would be the next best food move. As we start to balance out and fine tune, we will notice we can trust our food intuition more and more. Try to take a few moments to slow down, take space, and check in. Make your plate your practice.


6.     The Flavors Create the Fervor
In both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda there is a distinctive art and science to balancing the 5 flavors. Each flavor is known to bring a different quality and energy to your body and mind. We so commonly find our plates are full of sweet flavors swinging the balance of flavors way off center. Check in with each plate of food, and see if you can find a representation of the majority of these flavors: sweet, bitter, salty, sour and spicy (pungent). In the intricacy of balance of flavors, your palate will be pleased.


Works Cited

Ball, S.D., K.R. Keller, L. J. Moyer-Mileur, Y.W. Ding, D. Donaldson, and W.D. Jackson. “Prolongation of Satiety After Low Versus Moderately High Glycemic Index Meals in Obese Adolescents.” Pediatrics 111. 3 (2003): 488-94. Web. 22 Feb. 17.