‘Mindless to Mindful Eating’ Success Story

Kelli and her family

Kelli and her family

Recently, Enliven Wellness Works sat down with Kelli Marchman Rivera to discuss her recent successes after completing the Mindless to Mindful Eating Corporate Wellness Program. Here’s what she had to say…

EWW: What positive health/mind/behavior changes have you experienced since the start of the program?
KMR: I am in control!!! Eating was taking over my life. I ate for every reason in the world except for being hungry. Since starting this program, I now am paying attention to what my body is telling me, and giving it what it asks for. Putting down my fork was the first step. Now, as a family, we eat more unprocessed foods (my husband is so excited about our new crock pot!), and we take the time to sit down with no distractions and enjoy each other’s company. And I’ve had my son tell others about how big your stomach actually is (a fist) and how much food it can hold. I LOVE hearing this thinking taking hold in my family.

EWW: How would you describe your health before you started Mindful Eating?
KMR: As an older teacher, I was eating to control stress. My weight was creeping up the scale, cholesterol was an issue, and I was always tired. I had also noticed the shape of my body changing, and while a little extra around the middle is common in 40-somethings, I was unhappy. I felt out of control, and it was time to do something. The Mindful Eating program came at exactly the right time for me. I used to eat everything on my plate without really enjoying it. Portion control was my biggest issue. Even now I still find myself eating everything on my plate. I just use smaller plates, or put half away before putting the food in front of me.

EWW: What motivated you to make these changes? 
KMR: As a teacher, there are many things that are beyond our control. Teacher evaluations, unruly kids, long hours, and new curriculum every year take its toll emotionally and physically. Eating was one thing within my power to control. And now I can.

EWW: What keeps you motivated?
KMR: My body is changing. While I do not own a scale, and never will, I feel that my clothes are fitting a little bit better. My mood is happier. Control does that. And in the back of my mind, the idea that being healthy will keep me around longer to take care of my family will always motivate me. I’ve also been talking to others about being mindful. While some have been resistant, I’ve had a couple come back and say, “You know, I tried putting down my fork, and I really did begin to feel satisfied before I’d finished the food.” Success!!! Friends in the program have also helped me. It’s nice to see a fellow mindful eater in the hallway, and celebrate successes together.

EWW: What are your future goals?
KMR: I will continue to eat mindfully, one day at a time. With the holidays coming up, this will be interesting. But no more diets! I am in control of me! I choose what I will eat, and this has freed me up from the guilt involved in what I used to think of as “cheating”.  I have also begun a weight training program in the mornings (Body Electric on PBS) that makes my body feel stronger. And I will continue to wear my pedometer. It’s a great motivator to get moving.

EWW: Do you have any advice for others who would like to improve their health but realize now that diets are not the answer?
KMR: Pay attention to your body. Slow down and listen. Food is not for comfort. Food is just for staying alive. Put your fork down between bites for just one meal. And see what happens. 


Enliven_Logo_sprout_1Enliven Wellness Works provides a full menu of workplace wellness solutions.  To learn more, contact Jennifer@Enlivenwellnessworks.com or click here.

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month 2014

September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Childhood obesity rates remain high. Obese young people have an 80-percent chance of becoming obese adults and are more likely than children of normal weight to become overweight or obese adults. As a result, they are more at risk for associated adult health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, stroke, and several types of cancer. Attacking the obesity problem while children are young is our best hope to eliminate an obesity problem when these children are adults. Ready to take action? Check out these tips and more to help improve the health of our children at LetsMove.gov:

  • Keep fresh fruit in a bowl within your child’s reach to grab as a quick snack.
  • Take a walk with your family after dinner.
  • Plan a menu for the week and get your children involved with the planning and cooking.
  • Turn off the TV during meals and share some family time.
  • Talk to the principal about organizing a school health team.

Let’s call national attention to this epidemic! For more information, visit http://www.healthierkidsbrighterfutures.org/home/

4 Steps to Beating Sugar Addiction vs. Cold Turkey


In my last entry Is Willpower the Problem, or Is It Something Else? I identified sugar as a highly addictive substance, more addictive than cocaine. That’s significant when you consider the effects on your mind and body. So many people are identifying the symptoms of a sugar imbalance in themselves, known as Candida. Candida can present in so many ways – brain fog, sluggish immune system, fungal infections, skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, and learning disorders; just to name a few.

This brings up the question – now that I know how bad it is, what do I do to eliminate it from my diet? So many go for the all or nothing approach; banning anything that contains sugar from their diet including fruit. This is an approach that tends to be recommended often, but it may not be the best approach for you.

Consider this, if you feed your body and brain a toxic substance every day for ten, twenty, or more years, your body may actually depend on it to function. If a person that has consumed alcohol heavily over many years just stops drinking one day, they may experience seizures and other violent physical symptoms. Yes, the alcohol is not good for them, and yes they should discontinue its use; however, suddenly stopping something your body has been receiving for many years can send it into shock. The same is true for sugar. Most people are addicted to sugar; it’s what most food companies have intended so you will buy their products. After many years of enjoying store bought cereals, spaghetti sauces, and even many brands of peanut butter your body is used to a daily dose of sugar that has accumulated into that imbalance called Candida. When you suddenly stop consuming sugar, the Candida monster inside your gut gets hungry and travels through your system looking for sources of sugar. This can create a systemic condition, and you really start experiencing unpleasant side effects such as arthritis, fibromyalgia, depression, irritable bowel syndrome, and high cholesterol.

Every person’s body and background are different so their needs will vary, but some general ideas to assist you in cleansing your system and breaking the sugar habit are:

1. Cleanse

There are many good quality supplements that target Candida. Usually, someone in your health food store can help you locate these. As with any supplement, strive for food based so your body absorbs it more readily. A good probiotic will help your gut flora in its quest for balance. Another option is clay. Many are finding that a glass of Bentonite Clay daily will help cleanse the body of candida and its die off toxins. It is best paired with a good quality fiber supplement, and of course lots of water.

In addition, we put together a kit to cleanse the body from the inside out, and the outside in. It’s the Kalusion Candida Kit, which contains a Sugar Buster Tea to balance the blood sugar, cleanse the liver, and quiet the cravings, Bentonite Clay, and Control body oil to absorb Candida healing moisture into your body.

2. Ditch the liquid sugar

Begin eliminating sugar from your life with your drinks. Soft drinks and juices contain enormous amounts of sugar that many just don’t think about as they sip back. A 12 oz can of soda contains 39 grams of sugar. Yikes! I know the diet soda option may sound like a good alternative, but artificial sweeteners are actually even worse for you, so avoid starting a nastier habit when giving up sugar. Instead opt for water, seltzer with natural flavors, unsweetened iced tea, or fruit infused water.

3. No thank you to processed foods

With 80% of processed foods containing added sugar, it’s just a good idea to avoid them all together. Opt for real foods such as the vegetables in the produce section, or the meats in the meat department. Not to be confused with packaged lunch meats, hot dogs, and sausages. If you are buying packaged foods; always read the ingredients. Strive for foods that contain 5 ingredients or less, and make sure you know what they are, and that sugar is not one of them. Also, just because the package says organic it does not mean sugar free. Other foods to be wary of are low-fat, non-fat, and gluten-free. They often have extra sugar added.

4. Enjoy the process

Have fun creating new recipes, and enjoying new tastes. You are creating a new lifestyle, and a new you. As you reduce sugar from your diet, you can taste the natural sweetness in fruits, nuts, and sweet vegetables. It’s like an awakening of the palate. Enjoy these foods again for the first time.

As with all things worth achieving, this won’t happen overnight. It’s a journey that will lead you to new places, until next thing you know you are feeling fantastic, and looking great. That’s a worthwhile trip!

kaluwa pic 2013Kaluwa  is “the Dancing Health Coach”.  She has graduated from SUNY Oneonta with a BA in Human Biology, and the Institute for Integrative Nutrition  as a Certified Holistic Health Coach recognized by the American Association of Drugless Practitioners.  She is also a  Certified Group Fitness Instructor, and a Dance Instructor. Kaluwa enjoys healthy living, and “walks the talk”. Her family shares the passion and enjoys activities together such as growing herbs and vegetables, cooking, walking, rollerblading, dance, martial arts, meditation, yoga, and learning and playing at every opportunity.

Vacation and Nutrition: Making the Best Choices While Still Having Fun

I recently returned from a 5 day cruise to the Caribbean.  Being in the health and fitness industry, I was a little concerned about my access to vegetables.  I had heard about the extensive amounts of food available on the ship, but I never heard about what kinds.

Actually, I was a little hesitant about the adventure, but put my best “food” forward and had my mind set on having a great time.

When we arrived on board, it was lunchtime; so we headed to our first meal.  Much to my surprise, there was an entire salad bar to choose from, inclusive of all the veggies I could want.  They even had an oil and vinegar option for dressing.  Score!

Now, there were plenty of other things to choose from including soft serve ice creams, desserts, fried foods, pizza, chips, etc., but there were healthy options available 24/7 as well.  My point is: no matter where we are nowadays, there is a “healthier” option available to us. More so, up to us to make that choice.

So, how do we start making the healthier choices?

What if all the comfort food is calling my name?  Does it mean I can’t have any?

No. That is not what I am saying.  Rather, making healthier choices can mean anything from eating a smaller serving size of ice cream, to filling up on salad and fish first, to then, if you are still craving dessert, have more after the healthier stuff.

Do yourself a favor: listen to your body. 

Your body does speak to you.  Think about if you are truly hungry for the brownie or if you are hungry for it because you see it and it’s in front of you.  And maybe you do not have “comfort food” every single day but rather make a “better choice” by opting for it every other day.  Whatever your habits are now, try and be a little bit better a little at a time.  It all adds up, I promise!

The result is a healthier, happier you.

So, go on that vacation or go out to dinner with friends and family.  It’s OK.  Just remember that it does not have to be all or nothing.  It will not be the last time you go to dinner in your life, so you don’t need to gorge.  Rather, sit back, enjoy the people you are with, be in the moment, and enjoy your food.  Actually taste it – You won’t regret it.


Tracie Hammond

Tracie Hammond has a B.S. degree from the University of Southern Maine. She is a certified nutritional consultant from the Global College of Natural Medicine, a certified personal trainer, and she holds many other fitness and nutrition certifications. Tracie uses the integrated approach to wellness, combining nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction techniques.  Tracie empowers her clients by coaching them to set realistic goals, identifying their strengths and obstacles, and setting weekly strategies to overcome these obstacles.


Nutrition for Exercise Performance and Refueling

How do we make the most out of our exercise sessions?  With proper nutrition of course!

The body must be properly fueled with “real foods” in order for the body to function at its peak.

If you are thinking, “Well, I don’t eat healthy but I can still lift weights and run 2 miles”; think of what you could do if you did eat properly, and how much better you would feel doing it!  Our bodies need proper vitamins, minerals and amino acids to produce energy.  Each and every cell in your body needs this (yes, this is true!). We obtain these important nutrients from eating lean proteins such as lean animal meats or vegetarian sources such as beans, along with a variety of colored vegetables, fruits and healthy fats inclusive of olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed & avocado.

It is suggested to eat proper portion combinations of a lean protein with non-starchy veggies, such as spinach, arugula, bell peppers, cucumbers, etc., along with healthy fat ANYTIME of day except for after your workout.

AFTER your workout it is suggested to eat equal portions of lean protein and veggies (possibly a little fruit too) with 1 serving (size of a clenched fist) of a starchy carbohydrate, such as potato, sweet potato, brown rice or sprouted grain.  Having the starchy carbohydrate after exercise will help refuel your body for optimal performance at your next workout session.

So, there you go!  In a nutshell:

  • Perform both aerobic and anaerobic activities (see my article on “Endurance or Strength Training” which is best for tips and ideas) for a well balanced lifestyle with optimal health gains
  • Anytime prior to exercise: Eat a portion of lean protein (size of palm), variety of non-starchy veggies (up to size of 2 clenched fists), and healthy fat (size of your thumb) at all meals during the day
  • Post Exercise within 2-3 hrs: Eat a portion of lean protein (size of palm) non-starchy veggies and fruit (up to 2 clenched fists combined), and add a portion of starchy veggies (size of clenched fist) within 2 hrs after your workout
  • And of course, don’t forget to drink your water!

Now get to it, and enjoy! Your body will thank you for it, I promise.

Tracie Hammond

Tracie Hammond has a B.S. degree from the University of Southern Maine. She is a certified nutritional consultant from the Global College of Natural Medicine, a certified personal trainer, and she holds many other fitness and nutrition certifications. Tracie uses the integrated approach to wellness, combining nutrition, exercise, and stress reduction techniques.  Tracie empowers her clients by coaching them to set realistic goals, identifying their strengths and obstacles, and setting weekly strategies to overcome these obstacles.


Content over Calories – Trust Your Inner Guide

[re-post from The Soulful Seed Blog with author permission]


As I journeyed to kitchens, gardens, co-ops, farms, and cafes, I discovered a huge obstacle to discovering healthful food with flavor. It wasn’t due to my lack of food education, and fact-finding was not a real issue.

The real problem was my lack of awareness. Realized how owned I was by the numbers we have assigned to food. I was so devoted to adding up calories that I didn’t listen to my body — or give it what it needed. And boy was I missing out.

Because it is the contents of our food that matters.  Not the counting of its calories.

If I was going to surmount this high hurdle, I had to overcome the mental games, the rigid belief system, and the “for sure facts” I had formed concerning calories.

Calories: those evil little critters that could play havoc on my body, and my mind. Calories: that are, after all is considered, not the be all and end all of good, healthy living.  Calories: oh, just forget it!

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that eating a literal bus-load of cream all day every day is good for you. My point is that eating for nourishment takes away the “need” to think about calorie counting. Tell me, what quicker way is there to take away the joy of food, than by assigning it numbers that redefine its meaning to you?
Thus, I began the joy of label reading.Not only did I have to unlearn, I had to let go of all the things I read, assumed, bought into, and most of all, became so attached and fixated with. Despite the experiences that awakened me, so powerful was the urge to CONTROL my body and how food affected it, my diet may as well have been made into a spreadsheet.  What I needed to be doing was to nurture my body and to feed it with love and care.

I seemed to go back and forth on my approach to eating. Eat this! No, don’t eat that! It took me a while getting sucked into different rules and diets for the notion to set in that our relationship with food is really about joyful dining, feeling good, eating well, and honoring our bodies! Let us not forget choosing real, slow food shows our respect for our farms, the farmer, the cook, and the caretakers of our shared planet.

I could venture into all kinds of empirical  data, detailed science and proof behind the calorie story – but as you can tell I am a “Feeling” kind a girl and well, is seems to work well for me. Facts are true until you tap into the heart, and from there the truth only gets bigger and better. Intuition and the desire to tune in have given me amazing results – which I am grateful for. When you choose to begin the journey of self-discovery it should always begin with your heart, and then your mind will follow.

Labels seemed to get in the way of my willingness to go for the taste, flavor, and the pure yum behind my love of food. I seemed to get totally stuck on the first line: Calories! Once in a while I would venture to the sugar, often even the sodium numbers (which can be of value – most especially in canned items such as soup). So I was moving onto some of the content concerns we should have, but let’s be frank, I, like many, was stuck on calories.

Yet in truth, the real information comes as you scroll further down, down to the real truth: contents. And not just what a product is Made of, but also who grew it, what farm it come from, who baked it. Whose love is in that container?  It goes without saying that Less is More, and quality rules.

Anything you can’t pronounce or that sounds like it comes from another planet—or even worse goes on and on and on—back away and move on. Keep that inner compass on! Listen to your intuition.

Time and time again the branding and the labels are not in sync. That beautiful picture of a glorious farm with the words, “natural,” “wholesome,” “healthy,” is designed to look dreamy and perfect but what is the reality of the place your food was made in? Plus, labels can be so confusing. Flip the carton and you see a ton of items you know you do not want in your body and reams of ingredients you have never even heard of, let along know where they came from. How about some truth in our food labels?

So this “feeling” kinda girl might suggest you learn to look for love in those labels. Look for less: the fewer ingredients, the better. Look for the thing that sings—LALALALA—I want to go home with you…and by that, I mean simple, fresh ingredients that inspires and excites you.

Look beyond the labels and their numbers.  Labels can be a sure fire way to learn the basic facts; consider them your guides that support you in your journey towards self-empowerment when choosing what to eat. The question is which part of the label will help you decide what is right for you?

Choose well, as you are choosing not only a product but a way of life.  A moral decision on who to support – a deeper decision based on you following your inner compass!

It’s your birthright to know what is in the food you are eating. Enjoy your creative desire to do the best thing for you and your family! Look for the love!

Because when you look for the love, you are most likely to find the real, nourishing food. And when you eat what nourishes you, your body will be satisfied. When you are satisfied, you will find happiness. And when you are happy, and healthy, and I say the word “calorie” to you, you will look at me with an awareness that no label can express.

Have a delicious day.  Eat well – you deserve the best.

Your foodie friend,

Susan Huff

 Awakening into Real Food – Forget About Calories, Connect with Nourishment

Soulful Seed’s Susan Huff is an organic gardener, a chef, and a slow food follower – that is to say she is a true lover of real, nourishing, local, and sustainable food. For thirty years, Susan has created thriving community, school, and home gardens from scratch, and has brought delicious, nutrition-dense, whole-food meals to the Tampa Bay community.  By teaching home garden creation, food growing, menu planning, kitchen optimization, and cooking, Susan connects her clients to the art and soul of good eating.  Learn more about Susan and her training at www.thesoulfulseed.com.

Juicing Workshop at First Unity Campus on November 17

By Joran Slane Oppelt

Why is everyone talking about juicing and why should you care?

Enliven Wellness Works is proud to be a sponsor of this upcoming workshop alongside Integral Church. The workshop will be led by our good friend Kelly Lessem (Squeeze Juiceworks, Kelly’s Yoga and Massage Garage).

Join us on Saturday, November 17 from Noon – 2 p.m. for a discussion on home juicing, cleansing, and what the heck it all means. See a live demonstration of real, raw food being juiced and taste the delicious results. A Q&A session will follow with some socializing, snacks and refreshments.

Register here / RSVP here on Facebook.

Juicing 101 [Workshop]
Saturday, November 17
Noon – 2 p.m.
First Unity Campus – Friendship Hall
460 46th Avenue North, St. Petersburg, FL 33703; (727) 527-2222
$10 in advance; $15 suggested love offering at the door

TESTIFY: Read Joran’s transformative daily journal from his five-day juice cleanse.

About Joran Slane Oppelt – Marketing Director, Father, Husband, Musician, Reverend, Maintenance Man – Not necessarily in that order.