Monday, August 22, 2011

What's Bugging You (really!)

Seems like everyone is freaking out these days.

But the true cause isn't always politics. Negative emotions can offer important information if you can recognize the underlying problem. And so often the real cause isn't what we think it is.

Last night I had an anxious dream about my business. I entered a state of mind I call the "Doom Zone." This is the alternate reality where one is destined to FAIL.
The "Doom Zone" feels very real, and very serious.
The Buddhist nun Pema Chodron uses the Tibetan term "Shempa" to describe this state. Another popular term is "Discursive Mind". No matter what you call it, it isn't fun.

The good news is, once you are able to recognize this state for what it is, it loses it's power. Better still if you can let go of the storyline that's running through your head (usually something like "Everything Sucks") and recognize the underlying problem.

Once I let go of the doom and examined how I felt physically, I realized my anxiety was due to stomach irritation caused by an Advil I took earlier. A little aloe vera to cool my guts and morning meditation relaxed my brain and I'm a happy camper again.

Steps to uncovering the cause of your DOOM

1. Recognize your state of mind.

2. Become willing to question if the cause is what you think it is.

3. Touch into your body and emotions for clues about the real source. Are you experiencing any unrecognized pain? Are you hungry? Sleepy? Overworked? Have you been following the news too closely?

For more detailed instructions on this process, check out the book Loving What Is by Byron Katie

Common hidden causes for anxiety include nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities, liver issues and hormone imbalances. Lab tests and support from health professionals such as myself are very helpful in these cases.

If you would like to read stories about how my clients have benefitted from these services, click HERE.

If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area or Central Valley, check out upcoming Kombucha, Pickling and other cooking classes HERE.

Best wishes,
Ilah Jarvis Nutrition Consultant

Monday, March 29, 2010

Reposting from Eat Better Feel Better Facebook fan page

So I'm not the blogger I thought I was. On the other hand, posting on my Facebook fan page is just plain fun. So what gives? Shorter format, the trend to post links to sites and articles, easy access to my regular Facebook page (yes, I'm a Facebook junkie) suddenly made regular posting a dream. So my new goal (we shall see how well this works) is to repost my Facebook entries here, for you non-Facebookers. So expect to see shorter posts, more links, and I will continue with the recipes and photos, because, let's face it, these are fun.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Back for 2009

Hooray for 2009! I've been off the grid for the holidays, but I'm back, with lots of new exciting projects for the new year. I plan to give a number of talks on nutrition around California, and now I'm completely sugar free and taking copious notes for my program, Taming the Sugar Beast, which will consist of a teleconference call January 23rd, a handout which contains all my secrets to reducing cravings and explanations way we love the carbs so damn much. I'm excited to be incorporating the phone into this program. I mentor new Nutrition Consultants on a monthly call, and it is great to sidestep the issue of location and commute. It really doesn't get any more convenient! To learn more about this program go to my website here:

I just finished watching FAT: What no one is telling you, a PBS special. Very interesting, a good reminder of what a complicated issue weight is. I did go nuts whenever the medical professionals told people just to cut calories and reduce fat, it takes so many years for cutting edge scientifically based information to enter mainstream medicine, it's ridiculous. I also went crazy when the couple who had hired personal trainers, doctors and therapists still didn't have a clue how to prepare a healthy meal. Clearly people need what I have to offer.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Turkey Stew

Post-Thanksgiving is the perfect time to make a large batch of stew and freeze the left overs in glass jars. These can be thawed late December when you are exhausted from the holidays, don't want to cook, and turkey begins to sound pretty good again.

Here's a stew I made last night, using Thanksgiving leftovers:

1.5 cups of left over turkey, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 cup of gravy
1 cup mashed potatoes
1 cup cooked and seasoned brown rice (Not sure I would use bread stuffing)
3 large shitake mushrooms, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
2 small turnips, chopped
1 cup red cabbage, chopped
Water to cover
2 teaspoons of poultry seasoning (combination of sage, oregano, thyme, savory)
salt to taste

I prepared this stew in the extra lazy fashion- just put all the leftovers and vegetables in a pot, added water and seasoning, let it cook on medium heat until the carrots were tender (about 30 minutes), and added salt to taste. There is lots of room for variation, if you have leftover fresh corn, pearled onions or other vegetables, throw them in. Don't think I would include the marshmallow yams, though.

Trick for freezing: Use glass jars! Tupperware leeches toxins into food, particularly if it's rich (like this stew.) Save your jars with lids, fill them up two inches from the top with stew, cool them in the refrigerator and then freeze them.
If you are a big soup maker like me, Crate and Barrel has heavyweight jars with wide mouths, and plastic lids. It's easy to slide out the frozen stew, the lids just pop off if you accidentally fill them too high (liquids expand when frozen) and they won't crack in the freezer. They are also nice enough to use as drinking glasses as well.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Developing Compassion For Yourself

The biggest issue everyone struggles with, is not so much how to eat healthy, as how we relate to food and self care. We tend to label all foods as being good or bad, and then we judge ourselves and others according to how we eat. This is a set up for pain, especially when we remember every diet rule we have ever learned. This is a game we CANNOT win.

Instead of hating yourself or feeling superior, is it possible to simply observe yourself, without judging? In meditation we call this "dropping the storyline" and make an effort to notice the complex feelings that are occurring underneath it all. As Albert Einstein said, can you give up "trying to solve a problem with the same mind that created it?"

If you would like to learn more about this practice, I recommend you check out books by author and Zen Buddhist teacher Cheri Huber. My favorite book is "There's Nothing Wrong With You, Going Beyond Self Hate", which is written in hand script and includes drawings. If you prefer a more formal approach, try "How to Get Where You Are To Where You Want To Be". She has written numerous books, but most focus on compassionate self observation.

I will be giving lectures titled Mindful Eating on this topic in upcoming months around the San Francisco Bay Area. For announcements, sign up for my newsletter at www.eatbetterfeelbetter on the upper right hand corner.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Scones Recipe!

I have received several requests for this recipe since we made them in our class!

Here it is for your viewing pleasure, just in time for Thanks giving. Please note that you can convert most baked good recipes that use baking soda/powder to be gluten free if you use a gluten free flour (amaranth, brown rice, teff, buckwheat or any combination of these) and add the water/flax mixture, which will hold your bread together, in place of the gluten.

Experiment with this recipe! Add other kinds of dried fruit or nuts, or make them savory by removing the spices, agave nectar and prunes, increase the salt and add savory herbs such as oregano, thyme and/or paprika. If you are really feeling crazy, add some crumbled goat cheese or fresh corn.

Walnut Prune Scones

Preheat oven to 375 degrees
3 tablespoons flaxseed
1/2 cup water
3 cups brown rice flour
2 teaspoons ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder (Hains brand is gluten and aluminum free)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 cup of prunes
1/3 cup of walnuts
1/2 cup of oil (Almond, olive, macadamia or melt coconut oil or butter)
1/3 cup of agave nectar
2/3 cup of nut milk or water
1 teaspoon of vanilla
zest of one lemon

Grind flax seeds until fine
Combine flax with water or nut milk, stir with a wisk and let sit. It will become thick and gooey with time
In a separate container combine rice flour, spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda (which you might want to sift to break down any lumps.) Mix to distribute ingredients evenly.
Chop nuts and prunes into dime sized pieces, and add along with the lemon zest to the dry ingredients, mixing with your hands so the prunes and nuts are completely coated.
Add agave nectar, oil, 2/3 cup of nut milk and vanilla to the flax and liquid mixture, and stir until smooth.
Pour wet ingredients into the dry, stirring just enough so that everything is mixed together.
Coat a 1/3 measuring cup with oil, and lightly pack with batter. On two medium un-oiled stainless steel cookie sheets, fling the measuring cup of batter onto the sheet, so that the batter falls onto the sheet in a cup shaped pile.
Bake the scones for 10 minutes. Turn the sheet 180 degrees and switch racks if you use more than one to ensure all scones are baked evenly. Cook another 6-10 minutes, depending on when they smell and look done.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Nutmilk and scones

Being someone who generally avoids milk and wheat, yesterday was pretty exciting when my dear friend Lauren, owner of Nutmoo ( came over and taught us how to make vegan gluten free prune walnut scones and walnut milk. Here are the scones!

The other wonderful thing about this class was that I didn't have to teach it. I love to teach, but it's nice to be a student for a change, and Lauren is so much fun to watch. Now I need to find someone else who will do all my promo for when I teach! Here's Lauren working her special mixing techniques for us!

For the record, homemade nut milk is so much yummier than the store bought stuff, contains no stabilizers or preservatives, and costs a fraction of the price. Plus you can use any kind of nut or seed.
Here's how to make the nut milk magic happen!

Nut Milk

4 ounces of nuts
Filtered water to cover the nuts
3 cups additional water
Pinch of salt
1 Tablespoon of agave nectar or sweeten to taste

Soak the nuts and refrigerate overnight
Pour off the water
Combine nuts and 3 cups of water in a blender and allow to blend on high between 5-10 minutes depending how powerful your blender is. The mixture is ready when it becomes very opaque and the ground nuts will be very fine. Increasing the ratio of nuts to water will make a richer milk. Strain the mixture with an nut milk straining bag (available online.) This bag can be used numerous times.
Add salt and agave nectar, and stir thoroughly.