Wednesday, December 29, 2010


I use to suffer from debilitating migraines a few years ago. The migraines started in college. Who knows? Maybe it was all the “stress” from reading a few hundred text book pages a night or having to “grow up.” At first, I thought I was getting a regular headache and I’d try taking the usual meds like Tylenol or Advil. But that did nothing to alleviate the pounding, throbbing pain located usually over my right eye and the right side of my head. To me, a migraine feels like lighting striking and crackling in my head…incessantly. I can barely talk and I feel like pulling my hair out from the excruciating pain. At its peak, I can barely open my eyes; it hurts to look at any light. I need to be in a dark and quiet room. I can’t move or even lie down. I have to be in a sitting position propped up by many pillows, slightly resting my head. I’m so nauseous it feels like I need to throw up. The times I’ve waited too long to take my meds, I’ve actually thrown up. Imagine throwing up while your brain feels like it’s banging against your skull and it’s about to come out of the top of your head. And all you're doing is dry heaving. Trust me, not fun at all.

Once I learned to manage the pain and became aware of the triggers and symptoms that identify my migraine, I was able to significantly reduce my migraines. 99% of the time, I can tell when I’m about to get a migraine. I have several signs, each time it varies which symptoms I get but it’s the same two or three. Either my neck muscles on one side, usually the right side start to tense up and shoot pain up through my head…pulsating…throbbing pain…boom…boom…boom. Or, I wake up after what seemed like a great night of sleep and I feel exhausted, somewhat spacey, and foggy. It feels like I’m dragging my feet all day until I realize why and that If I don’t take something soon, I’ll have a full blown migraine in a few hours.

Some things that can at times act as triggers are red wine, aged cheeses, too much chocolate, and MSG(mono sodium glutamate) which can be found in processed and Chinese food. Also, when I fly, the change in air pressure can sometimes give me a migraine. I didn’t pass the medical portion of the national pilot’s exam due to this, something about being incapacitated and a danger in the air, if I were flying a plane…whatever…

The first prescription med I took to alleviate my migraine was Esgic. Esgic is butalbital, acetaminophen and caffeine. Esgic worked for a while but then I needed something stronger. So, the doctor put me on a cocktail of butalbital, aspirin, caffeine and codeine. The side effects of these drugs are drowsiness, dizziness, light headedness, severe impairment of judgment, euphoria and sedation. Not to mention that butalbital is a barbiturate. Yes, as in an opiate, a highly addictive substance. Codeine is also an opiate. I barely remember the doctor mentioning something about it being addictive but I really didn’t pay attention. I just wanted a quick fix to my pain. Now looking back and reading the “fine print” on the risk and adverse effects, I wish I had paid a little more attention.  Thankfully, I didn’t become dependent on the butalbital or the codeine.

Since butalbital and codeine are controlled substances, it became a hassle trying to get a prescription every month. So, I started looking for ways to manage the pain that didn’t require a prescription. With the recommendation of a great doctor, I tried Alleve and Excedrin migraine. I take Alleve to relax my neck muscles and Excedrin migraine for the migraine itself. Till this day the over the counter cocktail of one Alleve and one Excedrin migraine for me has worked. I can’t take the recommended dosage of two Excedrin migraine tablets because it really upsets my stomach. It’s crazy that the medication I need to take to alleviate the migraine makes make me queasy and makes my stomach hurt. That’s so absurd! Which gets me thinking about all those prescription drug commercials on the air...

I’m appalled at the side effects of the different prescription drugs that are out on the market. Have you ever really listened to a prescription drug commercial?  In the first part of the commercial, all the positive effects are listed. Then towards the end at a much faster pace, all the negative side effects are listed while the happy music is playing in the background and everyone is smiling. It's kind of eerie...

So, is it worth it...taking meds that have nasty side effects and can be hazardous to your health? It’s really up to each person to decide if the benefits outweigh the side effects. I avoid the use of prescription drugs as much as possible but I will be the first to take them when I really need them. When I’m in the grip of the most excruciating pain with no relief in sight, for me the answer is simple…drugs please! I’ll investigate later what triggered the migraine and then hopefully avoid that trigger in the future. Since my “journey” with migraines, I’ve become more aware of all the side effects a medication has. Whether there are any adverse effects of combining it with other medications. Whether there’s an alternative option, one that doesn’t require prescription drugs. Just because the doctor recommends it, I don’t fully take his word for it. I research what I’m taking. I ask questions, I’m informed. I read the label that’s attached to my prescription. Remember you are the one paying the doctor, not the other way around. It’s your prerogative to ask questions.

Between doing yoga, meditation and taking the time to properly rest and avoiding common triggers, I rarely have migraines that last two or three days. I still get them from time to time but I’m prepared and take the necessary measures to stop it before it becomes debilitating.

Do you know what’s in the medication you are taking?

in love and pleasure,
Holistic Health Counselor

References: Wikipedia

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Eating on the Fly

A few years ago, when I worked in corporate America, I worked from 9 to 5 and I had an hour for lunch. Now in the majority of offices, the work schedule is 8:30-5 with a half hour for lunch. And in other jobs, they even have longer work hours with practically no lunch break. So, what’s wrong with this picture? In the name of productivity, does creativity and digestion go out the window? I think so. Don’t get me wrong, I know you are there to work. But I also know you need an adequate break to recharge and properly nourish yourself, for the creativity to flow. 

Does this sound familiar? When lunch time comes make a mad dash for the door in search of food. When you get to where you are going to buy're stuck waiting in line..ugh! glance at your watch...then you look at the look back at the time you are looking at the cashier with daggers in your eyes, wondering what could be taking so long!...your blood pressure starts look at the time again...your breathing becomes shallow and you start it worth it?...Do I even like this job?...Could I be doing something better with my life?...What’s holding me back from pursuing what really gets my juices flowing? In the middle of fantasizing what your ideal job would be...your number is called...FINALLY! You run back to sit at your desk or the lunch room and scarf down your somewhat passable food. If you are eating at your desk, one hand is shoving food in your mouth, while the other is holding the phone as you listen to your voice mail or answer emails...trying not to spill food on yourself and wondering whether you’ll have enough time to go to the bathroom before the meeting...which is in five minutes! C'mon! Really? You can feel the indigestion setting in and you reach for the Pepto Bismal or Tums. Who schedules meetings right after lunch? And why?!

So, how do I maximize a thirty minute lunch break?...I bring my lunch to work or I have it delivered. Before I start eating, I take a deep breath to center myself and slow everything down...slow down the thoughts racing through my mind...slow down my breathing. I resist the urge to chow everything down in a few bites. Instead, I slowly chew every morsel...savoring every bite. If you eat or better yet...swallow your meal whole, in less than three minutes, not only are you not going to feel satisfied but you'll have indigestion. You are also bypassing part of the digestive process that occurs in your mouth. The enzymes in your saliva break down starches in the food while you are chewing, making it easier for you to digest and assimilate the food more efficiently which is less taxing on your digestive system. You should be chewing your food until it’s liquid before you swallow. How many times do you chew your food before you swallow? 

The next time you sit down to eat, notice how you are feeling. Are you stressed out? Are you holding your breathe? Is your breathe shallow? Are you distracted by the TV, the computer or the phone? 

What can you do or stop doing, to be fully present while you nourish yourself?

in love and pleasure,

Certified Health Coach

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Exorcist

We stuff ourselves with our unresolved feelings. What happens when we stuff ourselves? We feel full, dull and weighed down. We are too busy to delve into those “feelings” that stalk the recesses of our mind. We are too busy to be derailed by actually feeling the sadness that is wrapped around our heart. We are too busy to feel...maybe another another time or in another place. It sounds simple enough but what do you think happens to those repressed feelings? Do they go away quietly? Do they vanish into thin air? Think again...
Just like a balloon, if we keep on filling it with air beyond it’s capacity...the pressure builds until it can no longer contain the air and the balloon pops with a loud noise, startling everyone within ear shot...We are just like the balloon. Eventually, we are going to “pop” and scare everyone around us. You know who you are...stuffing down those feelings...a ticking time bomb...waiting...waiting for the right moment, waiting for the least insignificant thing to set you off. And then...BOOM!  You are in an all out rage, spewing venom, torching villages, head spinning. You’ve become Linda Blair in the exorcist. Your eyes bulge and your claws come out. You are ready to strike at the first person in your vicinity. You go for the jugular. You are letting out years of frustrations. If looks could kill, everyone would be dead in your immediate line of sight. You don’t even know why you are mad. You just know that someone wronged you and you are going to make sure they won’t get away with it. You don’t care that the person in front of you was guilty of only one transgression.  You are still going to let them have it for all of those that came before him or her. And then after you’ve simmered down and taking a hold of yourself. You realize, you’ve annihilated and cut down with a machete another human being. Was it worth it? Do you feel light and completely free? No. Now you have do deal with the guilt.
Or you do what I use to do. Stuff, stuff and stuff myself like a Christmas turkey until I was bursting at the seams and then the dam would break and there is nothing, I mean nothing to stop the flood from coming. Years ago, I was at a wedding. It was a beautiful day, everything was perfect or so I thought. I was sitting there enjoying the ceremony. Taking it all in, the flowers, the joy, the happy couple, everyone smiling and then it hit me like a ton of bricks. My eyes started to mist and this undeniable dread started rising from within. It felt like waves, tsunami like waves coming towards me, full force. And I knew, that no amount of squeezing my eyes shut or breathing deeply was going to stop the torrent of tears that were about to be spilled. So, I got up quickly and headed straight towards the restroom. I must have been in there for at least an hour...sobbing uncontrollably, letting all those suppressed feelings I had, out. Let me tell you that after that, I made a promise to myself to deal with my feelings as they came up. It was an utterly humiliating and humbling experience to be so raw, vulnerable, to have red puffy eyes, globs of snot everywhere and everyone asking me what was wrong. 
“Good girls” are not suppose to express their feelings or speak up.  All of us to some degree, are raised not to express our true feelings. Men are told not to cry and girls are told not to show anger. So, the majority of men are good at expressing their anger, dealing with the problem and moving on. They are not so good at expressing their “sensitive” side because that’s just not what men do. It’s okay for women to cry but not express their angry because we don’t want to be labeled as a bitch. So then no one is expressing or dealing with their feelings in healthy ways.  I’m not saying that anger doesn’t serve it’s purpose if used wisely. Anger like any other feeling, is just that a feeling. Feelings are neither right or wrong. They are  just feelings. It’s the action or actions that we take because of the “feeling” that  can be wrong or detrimental. We are angry because our needs are not being met. We are angry because we give our power away and let people overstep our boundaries. We are angry at ourselves because we don't love or respect ourselves enough to speak up. If we use our anger to propel us forward, it can be very empowering. Why are you angry? Where did you not speak up for yourself? How can you use this awareness to have your needs met in a healthy productive way?
How do I diffuse my anger so that I don’t go Mt. Vesuvius on anyone? I have an "anger hour." I learned this from a fabulous trail blazing woman. I time myself. It could be for 5 minutes or longer. I prefer five minutes. When the timer starts, I let it all out...everything that has been bothering me, is released. I’m mean full blown. It helps to play really loud music. One, to get in the mood and two, so that the neighbors won’t hear you. You can use a pillow and smack the bed or use your fists. You can kick and scream...jump up and down, whatever works for you. I also go to the gym put on my boxing gloves and release it on the punching bag. Just be careful not to hurt yourself or break anything. A friend of mine broke a lamp while she was smacking her pillow around. When the time is up, I stop, take a few deep breaths and center myself. I let it go and move on with the rest of my day. Maybe I’ll revisit my anger tomorrow...but I sure won’t let it lurk in the dark, ready to pounce unexpectedly.
In order to let your feelings move through you and out, you have to feel them. Let your body process them. I wish there was another way but there isn't.  Give yourself permission to own all your feelings, so that they don’t hold you prisoner...waiting to escape.

in love and pleasure,

The Twinkie Angel

Monday, November 1, 2010

SPAM and Other Mystery Meats

I no longer eat meat or chicken. But as a child, I ate all kinds of meat products. And I mean, all kinds. Since my mom worked her ass off to provide a decent living for us, there were days that she was not “inspired” to make dinner from scratch. So, one of the meals she’d serve was fried Spam. Yes, spam, the “mystery meat.” For those of you who don’t know what Spam’s a canned, pre-cooked meat product. It comes in a metal tin, covered by a thin layer of gelatinous glaze.  Basically, it’s chopped pork shoulder meat, ham, salt and water. I also ate Vienna Sausages straight from the can while my mother food shopped. Vienna sausages are mini little “hot dogs” also covered in a gelatinous glaze. I would somehow wipe all that guck off and nibble on each mini sausage. Did you know that to keep the “meat” from spoiling and preventing the growth of the bacteria that causes botulism, sodium nitrate is added? Here's an interesting high amounts, sodium nitrate is toxic to humans...the sodium nitrate used to prevent spoilage has been linked to certain cancers.  I also found out that sodium nitrate in a different chemical formulation is used in “photography; a corrosion inhibitor; and in the manufacture of rubber chemicals.” Really?

Eventually, I realized that there was something wrong with eating “meat” that came in a can. So, I stopped eating it and I completely forgot about it. But recently, I was curious to find out what was in my favorite childhood food. And then I grossed myself out. I found out that vienna sausages are a combination of pre-cooked chicken, beef, turkey and pork (or blends thereof) finely ground to a paste consistency and mixed with salt and spices, notably mustard, then stuffed into a long casing, always thoroughly cooked, after which the casings are removed as with hot dogs. Nasty! Do you really think they are choosing the best quality meats? And what are the blends?

All these pre-cooked meats are sold as a convenient and inexpensive alternative to purchasing real meat. If I was stuck in a bunker or nuclear shelter and there was nothing else to eat, spam would be my best friend. But I’m not. I'm lucky to live in a time and place where fresh whole food is available. I have plenty of options like farmer’s markets, food Co-Ops, supermarkets like Whole foods and even Publix, the local supermarket which has an organic section.
Now let’s look at our beloved fast food hamburger. Just look at the video below the McDonald’s hamburger doesn’t decompose at all...after years! So, what is in the “meat and buns?” Is that even meat between those two fake buns. And if that doesn’t alarm you, why do you think eating it twice a week, makes you gain 10 pounds? The body does not know what all those “ingredients” that are combined together to produce a McDonald's hamburger are. Therefore, the body can not properly digest them, break them down and move them along your system for proper absorption and disposal. So, naturally, it’s going to “sit” somewhere in your body as an accumulation. What do you think that accumulation turns into?...I’m not asking you to stop eating hamburgers. I’m asking you to choose actual beef, preferably organic, hormone free or farm raised beef. I’m asking you to eat real bread, bread that will get moldy in a few days. I'm asking you to eat more whole foods, foods that actually come from nature, rather than highly processed ones.

Why would anyone willingly put toxic chemicals in their body? They wouldn’t! But like with everything, we “trust” people in authority to protect us and we blindly believe what we are told. It sort of makes sense, since it’s one less thing to have to think about in our hectic lives. But it’s our job to take care of our bodies and what we put into them. It’s our right as consumers to question what goes into our food. If you are not an advocate for yourself, then who will be? If you are not an advocate for your child, then who will be? Do we want to leave the decision about our food and our health completely in the hands of the government, the FDA, corporations and the physicians? I don' scary as it may be to speak up for yourself, it's scarier to live in ignorant bliss, giving away your power to those who do not have your best interest in mind... Who are you giving your power away to?

in love and pleasure,

Nutrition Counselor

References: Wikipedia

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yuca in my Cup

When I was a child, I was sent to live with my extended family in Colombia. Overall, the experience was amazing. Not only did I get to really know my aunts, uncles and cousins but I also learned how to read and write in Spanish. 
The only glitch in this adventure was the food. Lunch time was the worst part of the day for me. I was use to public school lunches, not to two course meals every day. The first dish was soup with either vegetables, beans or lentils and the second dish consisted of rice, potatoes and some kind of meat. These were big did they expect a child to eat all that?...really?!
I’d “sit” at lunch for hours while everyone else was taking their “siesta.” Everyone was napping, the only noise in the house came from a hand held radio blasting classical music into my baby cousin’s aunt's idea, she read somewhere that listening to classical music while a child slept made them smarter. I’d sit at the table by myself, sloshing around my cold, greasy soup with my spoon. I was not allowed to get up from the table until I had finished everything on my plate. It was one of those, I tried everything to eat my food within a reasonable amount of time and not end up sitting there for hours. I tried shoving big spoonfuls of food mixed in with the delicious natural fruit juices, to wash it down...but that didn’t work because I’d run out of juice really fast. Then I tried the “not breathing method”...where you hold your breathe, put food in your mouth and quickly swallow, there’s barely any chewing involved in this know the one I’m talking about. I even tried putting the  food in my napkin to make it “disappear” but I got caught. It also didn’t help that I was really stubborn and would rather sit there, talking and singing to myself, then eat cold and slimy, congealed soup.
Of all the foods, it was yuca that I hated the most. Yuca is a starchy tuberous root called cassava in the US. In Colombia, it’s usually cooked in soups. It is served in soups or on the side with your meat and rice dish, drizzled with sofrito. I hated the texture, it's very starchy and sort of stringy and it stuck to my teeth...the sensation in my mouth, was like finger nails scratching chalk board. Now imagine that cold...yuck! On this particular day, when I was served yuca for the millionth time, I had had enough. I was tired of sitting at the table for hours. I decide to do something about it because I sure wasn’t going to eat it! The solution was to get rid of it. But how? I could throw it in the garbage...but that would be the first place my aunt would look...I could chug it with juice?...hell NO! I sat their devising ways to get rid of it and then it hit me!  The cup! Yes! I quickly put the yuca inside the mustard colored tupperware cup. Yes, tupperware, it was all the rage then. Now that I had it in there, it was time to “show” my empty plate, run to the kitchen and dump the yuca in the trash camouflaged by many napkins, without getting caught. It worked! I “ate” in record time and was off to nap and play. I thought I had gotten away with it, until my aunt called me into the kitchen after my nap. I walk in and she’s holding the cup...I was so busted! I just stood there waiting...waiting for someone, anyone to save me...My aunt was trying to keep a straight face while trying to make me confess...I could tell that she was impressed by my ingenuity. After what seemed like an eternity of staring at each other, she let me go, no punishment...I don’t remember much after that...I guess, she gave up trying to make me eat things I didn’t like. Thankfully, I wasn’t “scarred” by the experience.
Many years after that, I was reintroduced to yuca as an adult. And this time, I fell in love with it. I was searching for good Latin cuisine in Manhattan and I came across, Cuba restaurant located in the Village on Bleeker St. When I walked into this small, warm and cozy restaurant, I felt instantly transported...I can’t say to Cuba because I’ve never been but it definitely didn't feel like I was in NY, specially on a cold winter’s night...between the cigar making in one corner and the live Cuban music in the other, I felt like I'd come home. As I looked around taking it all in, very excited to have found a decent Latin restaurant, something caught my eye. I asked the waiter what were the perfectly shaped, crispy brown morsels at the table next to mine. He told me they were “dedos de yuca” or yuca fries. Really? That’s not what the yuca I’m use to looks like? It actually looked appetizing.  He convinced me to try them, or maybe the smell did. The yuca fries arrived with a Cuban garlic mojo sauce. I slowly reached for one, dipped it in the mojo and took a tiny bite, just in case I had to “hide” it in my napkin...some habits never die...but there was no need for the napkin, the yuca fries were finger licking good! I could eat yuca prepared this way, every day. I sat there wondering why this had not been invented before? Ok, I surmised it had been invented a long time ago. I just hadn't been privy to it before...I guess better late than never...Now I’m hooked on yuca balls from Whole Foods, pictured below. Thank you Edilka for introducing them to our champagne club! 

If someone would have told me, that I would end up “loving” yuca back then, I would have thought they were crazy. Now, I can’t get enough of it. I’m also grateful that I didn’t end up with food issues from being “forced” to eat everything on my plate. Any parents, aunts or caregivers out there, please don’t “force” your child to eat something you wouldn’t eat. Be a good example and eat it yourself. Find creative ways of making and serving it. If you are stuck on how to do that, send me an email. I’d be happy to help!

in love and pleasure,

Nutrition Counselor
The Twinkie Angel

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Dancing Feeds My Soul

Yes, that’s me in the video. It’s a student performance. I practiced for what seemed like an eternity, for a three minute performance. Too bad the quality of the video is not the’s a bit blurry and you can barely see me. If you look carefully, I’m the one that comes in and out of view, at the top right corner. 
What would prompt me to "perform" in front of people? My love of dance, my belief in trying things at least once...well, at least things that I love.
For me dancing and specially salsa dancing is hypnotic, energizing, sensual to the point of erotic. As soon as I hear a song, my heart expands and starts beating to the tumbao(basic rhythm in afro-Cuban music), to the beat of the congas, the timbales and the other seductive rhythms that make up a good salsa song. I start singing out loud. If you’ve ever danced with me, you’ve experienced this first hand. My head starts bopping, my hips start shoulders gently move, making a very seductive figure eight. My feet start moving and the rest of my body follows...and then my soul takes over. I am in a trance for as long as the song will hold me. No one else exists. I’m in the “zone,” time and space do not exist...I can “feel” where my partner will lead me next. There are no words, just an energy exchange, a feeling of where to go...we are perfectly in sync, gliding on the dance floor...and then the song ends and the spell is broken...until the next song of course!
My journey with dancing started in the womb and it goes back generations. We are a family of dancers on both sides. It’s in our blood. I’ve been dancing “Colombian Salsa” since I was little. When I moved down to Miami from NY, I learned that there were many other salsa styles, so I started learning. I learned Casino with Salsa Mia and I learned On1, On2, Cha Cha Cha and Bachata(although this is not salsa) with Miami Salsa Driven. What started as a hobby has turned into a passion. I’ve met so many amazing people and great friends dancing Salsa. 
Dancing feeds my soul. When I’m dancing, I lose track of time and I don’t get hungry...When you are doing the thing that you love, it fuels you and energizes eat only for nourishment and not out of boredom. What feeds your soul? 

in love and pleasure,

Nutrition Counselor
The Twinkie Angel

Friday, October 8, 2010


I had the most amazing birthday! I got every one of my birthday desires. I'm extremely grateful to my dear friends for helping me fulfill all of my birthday desires. I had the best celebration ever! I'm truly blessed to have relationships that are healthy and nourishing.
I believe you need to have different types of friendships for different areas in your life. No one person can be it all for you, as a friend or romantic partner. I also know that true friendships take time. You need to cultivate and nurture them. You can’t insinuate yourself in someone else’s life without having some common ground and an appreciation for who they are. A great friendship is nourishing and unfolds slowly, it can take up to’s like an onion, you are peeling back each other’s layers, one layer at a time...taking care to respect and honor each other at every stage.
I have a movie friend, dancing friends, divorced mom friend, mom/sister friend, a friend that cuts through the bullshit but does it with compassion.  
I met my dance friends while taking salsa lessons here in Miami. They’re no longer just my “dance” friends...I consider them my family here. They are fabulous dancers and teachers, I’m always learning from them on the dance floor as well as off it. We've become such great friends that I’ve put them in charge of wiping clean my computer's hard drive and erasing any "naughty evidence" in my apartment. Not a day goes by that we don't text, email or call each other...and not a weekend goes by that we don’t see each other. Just like we're addicted to dancing salsa, we seem to be addicted to each other's a healthy way of course.
I have a friend that is like a mother and sister wrapped in one. She is my cheerleader, bodyguard, partner in crime....she’s promised to help me bury the “body,” if there ever is one. She’s known me since my Catholic school days...she’s seen me in kilt and knee highs. We’ve gone on the Staten Island ferry just to chat. Once, we went to the movies and we paid for our tickets in coins....yes, all in coins. She kept on telling the guy selling us the tickets, to look at how pretty I was.  She also kept on telling him what a sweetheart he was for taking all of our coins as payment. We've done so many crazy and fun things together that it would take an entire book to talk about them.
Then I have my yoga soul sisters, We’ve been through yoga training, self growth courses, divorces, babies and many laugh out loud outrageous adventures together. One lives in Paris, one in NY and the other in Australia. I talk to the one in Paris every day and with the one in Australia, at least once a week, usually when I’m driving home from dancing...since there’s a 14 hour time difference, the timing is perfect. Weeks may go by where I don’t speak with my friend in NY but when we do speak, it’s like we never skipped a beat. We are so in sync that we can basically read each other's minds. The distance between us doesn’t get in the way of our friendship.  
My other soul sister and wing woman lives here in Miami. She is my decadent and glamorous partner in researching pleasure. We conjure all kinds of fabulous invitations and fun when we are out on the town. We support each other in the creation of our respective businesses and desires. She reminds me that my desires are never too big and that I deserve every one of them.
My friend and beach companion, is my grounding friend. We walk on the beach in the mornings, weather permitting. We walk for miles, catching up on each other’s lives, our plans, business strategies and we have a running commentary on the naked sun bathers and joggers. Yes, men jogging naked..not a pretty sight, contrary to popular least not on this stretch of beach.
My healing friend, is my source of restoration and coming home to myself. As a healer, I firmly believe in taking care of my body, mind and spirit. So, I make sure that I have regular healing sessions from her, a healer other than myself. Not only do we share a similar path in our healing work but we’ve also been through a few self growth courses together. The last of my core friends, is my spiritual mentor, she is all about love and spirit. She is patient, fun and someone I can share my spiritual growth and skills. Her encouragement and knowledge are always available unconditionally.

I have many other amazing friends, too many to mention. I am very lucky to have a treasure trove of quality friendships.
All my friends bring different aspects to our relationship, each one adding to the whole of who I am. When they say, “it takes a village,” they weren’t kidding!...My village is made up of these women along with my mother and daughter....without their encouragement, support, “permission” to be “me,” laughter, love and compassion...I’d be a little less brighter. Their light and love shone on me, makes my light shine brighter.
Thank you ladies, for holding my hand, wiping my tears, rejoicing in my victories and laughing at my outrageous adventures! 

in love and pleasure,

Nutrition Counselor
The Twinkie Angel

If you are ready to create deep, nurturing and long lasting relationships with your family, friends, partner and food, call me to set up a free Health Consultation.

Friday, October 1, 2010

My Bucket List ~ Skydiving

What is a Bucket List? It's a list of things to do before you "kick the bucket" (i.e., die)....I rather call mine, a desire in all the fun things I can’t wait to do! 
Fortunately, I’ve been able to do most of the things on my ongoing desire list. Yes, ongoing because as I cross off an item, I add two or three more. So, as I sit here on my very comfortable couch, on the eve of my birthday....I find myself revisiting the things I’ve done and the things I still desire to do...wondering when I can check them off... 
So far, I've gone back packing, sky diving, scuba diving, surfing, snow boarding and motorcycle riding. The most amazing experience has been sky diving followed by back packing for two months through Europe. I think they go hand in hand for me...because of the many fantastic experiences while back packing, I came back more open and ready to live my life to the fullest...ready to hurl my self into the vast unknown, literally and figuratively.
The skydiving school I went to was in upstate New York. I don’t remember the name or even know if it’s still there since it’s been years since my jump. As soon as I voiced my desire to jump, I was able to enlist three other adventurous souls. The four of us, three guys and myself, arrived early in the morning to get a few basics out of the way. Like signing our lives know the forms...are you healthy?...we are not responsible in case of an accident...who’s next of kin?....After all the paper work was filled out, it was time to gear up.  
I put on the canvas like jumpsuit and moved onto the instructional part...One of the jump masters showed us how to check the altimeter, a wrist-mounted instrument that shows you how far up you’re from the ground or how close you are getting to it...great idea since you need to pull the ripcord at 6,000 feet to deploy the chute. He showed us how to read the very subtle yet meaningful hand signals and how to position our bodies, making sure we don’t flay our arms and legs. Any sudden moves in the air could send me and the man straddled to my back, spinning in the wrong direction. Yes, the man literally attached to my back like sky diving terms, “tandem.” Yeah...I wasn’t prepared to be that close to a stranger, now imagine the guys doing a tandem dive with male jump masters straddled to their backs...let me tell you, there’s nothing left to the imagination...I was really hoping that I wouldn’t feel anything extra, extra back there....ewhh!...and that the instructor loved his life as much as I did mine, to make sure our parachute was working properly. I must say that I really enjoyed watching the guys' reaction, realizing what was about to “happen.”Lol.. all the instructors were male, all the jumpers except for myself were guys and they were shit out of luck....there was a lot of nervous laughs and a lot of chest love them!
Once “training” was done, it was time to attach to my life line and get on the very small, loud, smelly single turbine plane. We sat on the floor and waited as the plane climbed to 13,500 feet. As I sat there, I did a mental check list...Elton John looking goggles on, check...dorky cap on, check...narly instructor attached, check.....a lot of nervous men farting in the plane, check....GROSS!..really! When we had climbed to 13,500 feet, the door to the plane was opened, thank you, fresh air!...We stood up, waddled over to the door and waited...And then it was time to jump, to let go, to surrender, point of no return, deep breathe....GO! 
Air...air, in the form of wind forcefully smacking us, making it hard for me to smile as the skydiving photographer wanted me to. Yes, that's me in the pictures I've attached...There are no words, so I’ll try my best to describe the feeling of free falling really fast but feeling like I was suspended in the air for the longest time even though it actually was seconds. Time seemed to stand still, my world was quiet. My heart was bursting...seeing the world from this vantage point was magical...and I didn’t want it to end! For a few brief moments I had forgotten that I was attached to another human being...until I pulled the ripcord and our bodies jerked to a temporary stop....I was back to semi-reality, still falling but at a much slower pace and enjoying the view....happy to be alive, blood pumping through my veins.....spirit soaring, feeling like I was capable of accomplishing anything! Many people describe skydiving as a “rush.” For me it was more of a Zen experience. Those few seconds of free falling were the longest and the most connected I’ve ever felt....
So, to continue on  my journey of researching, here's a list of the things I would like to do in the near future....go race car driving, travel to Africa and help build a well, home or school and then go on Safari. On the Safari, I’d like to stay in a decked out tent or super fly tree house. I’d love to visit my best friend and soul sister L in Australia, scuba dive the Great Barrier Reef, chill in Byron Bay and Bondi Beach. Master Cha Cha Cha, On 2 and some shines. These are just a few desires that I have, can’t tell you all of them...have to keep a few juicy ones to myself...

Usually people wait for a tragedy or a life threatening disease to re-evaluate their lives. Don’t wait for a tragedy to do the things you have always longed to do. If you don’t know what interests you and gets your juices flowing, it’s time to “research.” Explore the things that interest you, try them out. If you like something, keep at it. If you don’t, let it go and try something else. Many things interest I’m always taking courses, reading and/or exploring. I was asked once if I would ever stop taking courses or “researching” all that interests me. I answered, “NEVER!” I love to learn, explore, immerse myself in all things that bring me pleasure and joy. I will continue to explore and learn till the day I die.

in love and pleasure,

Certified Health Counselor

Enjoying my life!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Soul Food

Yoga is my mind and body's soul food. My love affair with yoga started more than ten years ago. I don’t remember what prompted me to explore it.  What I do remember is going to the Integral Yoga Institute in New York and browsing in their book section after I had gotten the courage to enter this Mecca of spirituality. Even though, the staff was extremely friendly, offering me different class options and saying Namaste every chance they got, I was not ready to venture past the book section just yet....When I try anything new that has the potential to be life altering, I like to research my subject, feel it out and get familiar with any terminology used. So I bought a “how to yoga book” with lots of pictures and grabbed a schedule of classes and events.
As I walked to the train station through the grungy yet quaint West Village neighborhood, I remember being excited and wanting to jump right in and learn all that I could. But I wasn’t ready to expose my interest in yoga by reading the book on the train. Back then, yoga wasn’t as popular as it is now, with yoga studios literally everywhere.
As soon as I got home, I opened the book and completely immersed myself…days later, when I “thought” I knew enough, I started trying to imitate the poses in the pictures. Do you know how hard it is, reading the text, looking at the picture and trying to get your body in that position? Hard!..Frustrating and a bit discouraging, not at all what Yoga is about…Yoga can be a challenge but it should be a steady ascent to the Divine within you. I highly recommend that a newbie take a beginner’s class or workshop. One that slowly walks you through the poses and the breath before you attempt to follow a book or DVD, so you can learn the proper alignment and prevent any possible injuries. If you are too intimidated to even attempt a beginner’s class then take a few privates. Private instruction is tailored to your level and specific needs. It's a worthwhile investment since all the attention is solely on you. If you are on a budget, hire a student teacher, many of them need the practice and they are extremely eager to give you the best yoga experience at a rate that benefits you both.
 After taking a few classes, I was eager to expand and grow my yoga practice. I kept trying out different studios and teachers, to see which resonated with me.  The more classes I took, the more I was getting the nudge to explore the possibility of an in depth yoga training...maybe a teacher training? I wanted to learn enough of it, so that I could do my own sequence of poses at home. But a teacher training? I wasn't sure. So, I kept pushing the thought away. Just looking at some of the poses and the level of commitment required gave me anxiety.
 A few months passed and I was standing in some airport’s book store browsing. I can’t remember where I was going to or coming from. I love airport magazine stores...something about the look, feel and smell of new books and magazines makes my heart skip a beat. I usually buy a magazine that is filled with fluff pieces and lots of pictures. Something to distract me but not enough to keep me from falling asleep on the plane. So there I was, staring at the wall of magazines, zeroing in on the Yoga Journal publication, pretending I was looking at something else. I stood a safe distance away….toying with the idea...I walked away to another section, picked up a glossy picture filled magazine, trying to distract myself….it wasn’t working. I replaced the magazine and I went back to where the Yoga Journal was. I stared at it, willing it to give me answers…..”Should I buy it?….but I’m not the crunchy granola type...I’m more glam than crunchy….or am I?” As I picked up the magazine, I said in a low voice, “Ok, I’m officially the weirdo buying the Yoga Journal...” I practically ran to the cashier, paid for it and shoved it in my bag, casually looking around to see if anyone had “seen” me. But I was secretly dying to board the plane so that I could read it from cover to cover.
 When I started reading it, I got the chills. This was definitely what I wanted to do! In what capacity, I didn’t know but I knew I wanted to learn all there was to learn about yoga. I think I even got teary eyed but who knows, I could be making it up in my mind for dramatic effect. I folded over the corners of practically every page that contained interesting articles. I was vibing with the articles, the quotes, the pictures of the models in different twisty positions. I wanted to immerse myself in everything yoga! I specifically wanted to learn the basic poses so that I could replicate them at home. I also wanted to learn how to adjust myself in class, so that I could rely less on the teacher...since sometimes, the classes are so packed that it is impossible for the teacher to assist everyone.
After researching the different programs and different styles of yoga available in Manhattan, I found a studio, yoga style and program I liked. It was ISHTA Yoga, I could do a one month long, 200 hour teacher training intensive. And if I wanted to learn even more, I could take the advanced training for an additional 300 hours. If I did both programs, it would be a total of 500 hours of teacher training. For the 200 hour training, I would be committing to five days a week from 8AM to 5PM and on some days until 9PM. The 300 hour training was a nine month program with classes held every weekend. I would basically be eating, sleeping and breathing yoga. And I would have to either quit my job or ask for a sabbatical….I had a lot to think about.
I decided to do some “recon” and take a few classes, to see if this place was for me. I started with one class, which I loved! And ended up going three times a week. In the beginning, I hurt in places I didn’t even know I could hurt. But I would walk out of class completely blissed out, loving the whole world. I stretched, lengthened and contorted my body in unimaginable ways. One of the side effects, was an improvement in my posture. I stood up straighter, and I looked and felt taller. And I fell in love with the studio and the teachers. But I was still undecided about doing the program…..Until I spoke with ML, a relatively new friend and one of my first champagne buddies. I told her about the yoga program and the concerns I had. She waited patiently until I finished and then said, “Margarita, you have to do this! You should see yourself when you talk about it, you light up! You can also hear it in your voice, there's a certain ring to it.”…..She was right, so I did it!....Greedy me, I did all 500 hours! Thank you ML!
I’m so grateful I did it! I met three of my best friends in the program and they have been my life line ever since. The program also blew my mind, strengthened my body and gave flight to my soul. 

One perk of the program, was an unlimited yoga pass. I could take as many classes as I wanted! I was going there practically every day. Yes, I was doing that much yoga...I remember one particular class; it was a level 2 class. We were already halfway through it. I had been so focused on my own breathing and correct alignment; I had failed to notice the pregnant woman diagonally in front of me. I probably didn’t notice because from behind you couldn’t tell she was pregnant. But she had to be at least in her 6th month…..I was impressed and inspired. I got back to focusing on my breathe for the rest of the class until the very end, when the teacher told us to get into a pose of our choosing before corpse pose, the last pose of the class where you get to do nothing  but close your eyes and relax....and if you are lucky the teacher comes and "massages" your forehead and neck with lavender essential oil. This is my favorite pose!....While I was still thinking which pose to do, I see the pregnant lady calmly doing a headstand in the middle of the floor, no assistance whatsoever…..Are you kidding me???...Wow! I'm pretty sure my jaw dropped to the floor while I was pretending not to look....I can’t do that and I’m not even carrying any extra weight.  I admit it, I was a tiny bit jealous....just a tiny bit...but then I thought, “Good for her!” She’s probably been doing yoga for a while and knows what her body is capable of...on the other hand, she probably can’t do other poses that I can easily do, whether it’s due to her condition or because her body is not flexible in certain ways that my body is. Eventually, I was the one doing a headstand, forearm stand...still working on my hand stand though...
We are all on different journeys; we should honor and respect that in ourselves and others. Just because we are “Grown Ups,” it doesn’t mean we should have it all figured out. We should go for what lights us up, like yoga did for me...You never know what will happen when you decide to go for “It" and step out of the box and out of your comfort zone

in love and pleasure,

Thursday, September 16, 2010


You know how some days you just need a hug, just to feel a connection….human contact….We are so busy these days that even when we are around our friends and family, we rarely touch. In our society it is often taboo or even “bad manners” to be so touchy feely. 

A few weeks ago, I found myself craving a hug….a big man hug. I wanted that masculine protective energy wrapped around me that only a father or brother can give unconditionally, no strings attached. I wasn’t going to be around any of the men I trust and feel comfortable enough to ask for a platonic hug….What to do?

Then it hit me! I needed a massage from a male massage therapist. Yes! It had worked before. I picked up the phone and immediately made an appointment. What better way to have a man "show up." He has to be on time otherwise he’s fired, so he’s reliable by default. He does what I tell him to do…ok, because I pay him...small technicality...He has to completely satisfy me while keeping his hands in the designated “safe” areas.…and at the end of the service, I owe him NOTHING but a tip. I don’t need to massage him back, or take turns to make it “even.”….lol…And the only expectation I have, is to get a deeply relaxing massage....Before I go any further, let me just say that I also love female massage therapist because when I need nurturing, reassurance and compassion, they offer that and more. Their touch is very healing.

So, I booked a 75 minute treatment, fully taking advantage of spa month. For those of you, who have no idea what this’s an amazing bargain! During certain times of the year when spas are experiencing low season,  these spas will offer their services at discounted prices. Even some of  the fancy spas do this, so if you’ve always wanted to go to one but thought it impossible, nothing is impossible! Not only do you get a great discount but you also get to enjoy all of the spa’s amenities…the sauna, steam room, lounging areas, pool…all of this is included in the discounted price!

My appointment was set for early in the morning. This particular spa is a hamam, Turkish style baths, with do it yourself hydrotherapy treatments. One of the do it yourself treatments is to submerge yourself in the jacuzzi and then immediately submerge yourself in the cold plunge pool, "shocking" the body into releasing toxins stored in our cells while also improving circulation. All I know is, that after I’m done, I’m sooo mellow and blissful….now can you imagine this combined with a massage? Heaven!

I wanted to arrive an hour early. Since I’ve been to the hamam many times before, I have a ritual that helps me get into the groove of things. I check in, get my robe and almost run to the deliciously warm marble floor. Yes, warm marble! You see there’s a tiered section right when you walk in that is heated marble, kept this way by hot water running under it...I disrobe…..yes, nothing under but my bathing suit!....forgot to mention the hamam is unisex, men and women share all the common areas. I grab two towels, place them on the floor and lie down. Ahhhh…I’m home…with my eyes closed, I adjust myself finding the perfect position. I take a deep breath in....and I slowly exhale....releasing any tension I might have…I breathe in again and exhale again, this time melting into the floor, letting the warm marble embrace me. I always fall asleep. For how long? I don’t know but it feels so good when I wake up and open my eyes. 
As luck would have it, on the day of my appointment, I forgot that school started an hour later! I no longer had the hour to luxuriate in the hamam before my massage. “Ugh! Not good, not good!”….and so my relaxing day was spiraling downward...into a stressful car race south bound on traffic jammed Biscayne Blvd. I could feel myself tighten up, barely breathing, telling myself, “relax, breathe, breathe….your timing is perfect.” I arrive….frazzled with a minute to spare, trying to look and feel calm. I’m told told that my massage therapist is running a few minutes late. Yes! Wait…is that going to cut my appointment short?….oh, It better not or someone is going to get it! Fortunately, it didn’t. I had time to put my robe on and relax a bit in the lounge area. No time for the warm marble but I could do that after.

I was greeted by Max, massage therapist extraordinaire. He asked me in an undeniable Italian accent, “Are you ready?”.....Oh, Yes, I’m so ready, massage me into submission please! He leads me to a  treatment room where the most heavenly music is playing, my favorite, Deva Premal’s chants.  I can already feel myself floating into the stratosphere as I lie on the table covered in the warmest of blankets, shielding me from the room’s cool air. Max starts, massaging, kneading and pressing, unraveling all the knots I have. He has “magic fingers.” His fingers seemed to be dancing on my back….swiftly, with the deepest pressure while still being gentle...How was he doing that? I was enjoying his touch, mentally complimenting him, saying, “that’s good, how about higher?” The next thing I know, he's massaging the very spot I was thinking of…What! No, has to be a coincidence…so I thought again, “Max a little to the left, please?” A few seconds passed and he moved to that spot! OMG! He can read minds, great! I don’t have to talk, I love it. I don’t know if he can read minds, or not….I believe he was just so in tune with my body, he knew what it needed.

After the massage portion of the treatment was over, he leads me to the hamam and he gives me water infused with lemon. He leaves me there, promising to return shortly.....When Max returns, he is carrying bowls filled with fragrant concoctions and he’s wearing a sarong?! Yep! A sarong….this should be interesting? In the name of self care, I surrender to this experience. I lie down in a bed of plush towels. There’s one for my head, one under my knees and quite a few under my body.  Let me tell you, if you are not use to receiving and being pampered, it can be a little weird and intimidating to have all that undivided attention on you. Thankfully, I’m all about self care and “researching” all kinds of self care rituals. So when he gently “threw” water on me, from my feet to my neck, prepping my body for the scrub, it was quite startling and hysterical at the same time. I kept my eyes tightly shut, to keep myself from laughing. Those of you who know me, know that I laugh at the drop of a hat. For me, not to bust out laughing, was a feat.  As I kept my eyes tightly shut, I thought, “this is one for the books! Now how can I surrender to the experience and enjoy the rest of the treatment?” After a few seconds, I had it! I’ll “be” Cleopatra! And Max can “be” one of my servants, giving me the royal treatment I deserve. Yes, I can totally do this! ...Cleopatra had it made. 
Using coconut milk and a small towel, Max started scrubbing my feet making his way to my neck. He scrubbed my legs, my belly….scrub, scrub, scrub….everything was perfect, until I started wondering how the pressure in his scrubbing had remained the same even though he was reaching from the bottom of my feet all the way to my arms, using his hands…..or was he?” “Oh, don’t look, don’t look, please don’t look! If you look, you’ll break the spell! Don’t do it!”….curiosity got the best of me, so I peeked with my right eye….."NO! Be Cleopatra, think Cleopatra! Breathe, oh please erase, erase the blurry image of Max scrubbing me with his foot!” I kept on telling myself not to think about it and to go back to pretending I was Cleopatra. It sort of worked. Thankfully, the treatment was over in a matter of minutes and I was washed down with water again.  Then Max walked me to a stainless steel bathtub filled with hot water and lavender salt crystals.  He held my hand as I got into the bath, immersing myself in the sweet aroma of lavender. The hands on part of the treatment was over. Aside from the small glitch with the “foot,” the whole treatment was fabulous! Max sure knows what he’s doing.

As I floated in the water, and I digested the whole experience, I thought…You can be married and touch starved. You can be having sex and still be starved for love, warmth and touch. Most of the times all we really need is a hug, a pat on the back or someone to really listen to us and “get us” at a deeper level. In my case, all I needed was a good massage, a chat with great friends and a truly sweet hug from my daughter. 

Remember to love up the people you care ask for hugs and to give them more often.

in love and pleasure,
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