As 2020 begins, I must say say that for me, it brings with it a wonderful feeling of calm. For some reason, already I am in the process of just getting things done. There doesn’t seem to be a hectic schedule to adhere to, nor a list of daunting projects that need to meet a specific timetable. There is however, a feeling that with a little focus all things can be savored, accomplished, and enjoyed!
I think this is what is called being present in the moment.
As I sit here writing in the early morning hours, I am setting my intentions for the day and the New Year before me. I hope to be able to share my innate love of cooking, the inspiration I see in everyday living, and all the wonderful experiences and challenges along the way.
This is what I call ‘A Life Well Lived’!
As I begin the journey into the New Year, I carry with me beautiful and life changing memories from the past year.
I have always loved long walks in the outdoors.
From an early age, I clamored to be outside from dawn until dusk. Not much of this has changed over the years, except that I now cherish the infinite connection I have with Nature. I await the sunrise with the fervor and excitement of a small girl and I chase the sunsets with heart stopping passion.
What I love the most about this photo of me at the summit of Monte Folgorito, Alpi Apuane, Toscana, is the reminder of what it took for me to get there. This was a three year journey of the heart, body and soul. I stood there with my arms raised to the heavens and my heart space wide open.
I know most certainly that I was touched by something far greater than me atop this mountain.
If ever there is a way to get to know your authentic self, take a leap of faith and see where it takes you. For me, I found out that most of my fears were nothing more than cobwebs of old habits clouding my heart. Here in the woods of Tuscany, I cleared away all of my unnecessary anxieties and thoughts. During the 28 days I spent in the woods, I rediscovered me!
“Everyone slips and falls in the woods”,
I was told!
This metaphor for life is so true.
(Although admittedly, there were a couple of occasions that the mud stains on my backside proved this statement verily true!)
A few times a week, I am up before the sun rises. Leo, my 8 year old Australian Shepherd, and I greet the sunrise on these long walks. While the rest of the world is still warm and slumbering, we are patiently watching the kaleidoscope of colors come to life around us.
While there is silence all around, there is also a palpable energy that begins awaken everything!
As I lovingly put away all of my Christmas decorations, I am very appreciative of the opportunities that have already begun to present themselves this New Year! I have been going through each room in my house cleaning and purging the things that are no longer in use. There is something very liberating about letting go of things that no longer serve a purpose and have been all used up. This certainly makes room for new energy to enter where once things were stagnant!
After all the celebrations and merry making of the Christmas Season, I am ready to clean up my nutritional habits as well! It is no secret that coming from an Italian and Polish cultural background, there are infinite holiday traditions that center around food, delicious desserts and even homemade liqueurs! And the hardest thing for me after the Season is over is to let go of all the addictive sugars!
One of the best ways I know to start cleaning up my diet is to make a what I call my Anti Inflammatory Salad. This salad incorporates many detoxifying raw vegetables along with a good amount of raw garlic and lots of lemon juice.
Anti Inflammatory Salad
- 1 large head Romaine lettuce, cut or torn into 1 inch pieces
- 1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed, dried and roughly chopped
- 1/2 head celery, chopped into bite size pieces
- 3 small Persian cucumbers, sliced thin
- 1 heirloom tomato, diced into bite sized pieces
- 1 avocado, diced
- 1 carrot, peeled and sliced thin
- 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese *(optional)
- juice of 1 lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons unfiltered apple cider vinegar
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- fine sea salt, to taste
In a large salad bowl, (I love to use my well seasoned wooden bowl), layer the first 7 ingredients. In a small mixing bowl, add remaining ingredients, and whisk together. Pour dressing over salad and toss thoroughly. Makes 8 servings.
I know that after just a few days of eliminating sugars and glutens from my diet that my energy levels increase. I also feel less joint stiffness and inflammation. So, this January I have been making a real effort to eat ‘clean’. I incorporate lots of water, lean proteins, and vegetables.
It is not always easy to walk away from all the decadent and delicious holiday foods! I’ll leave you with a little saying that I tell myself:
‘I can eat anything I want, I just choose not to it eat right now’!
Here we are at the start of the New Year! I am making room for many new things to come. By cleaning house and by cleaning up my diet, I am creating a solid fresh start to this beautiful New Year!
“ There is only one kind of success: to make your Life what You Want!”