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Five Tips to Get Healthier TODAY

January 14, 2011   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share

Since I announced the 50% off sale on the Life and Body Makeover and the DIY Detox Kit, I’ve had a lot of questions about what these products entail and how they work.

I’ll explain it very simply.  I understand how busy you are out there, with a career, a family, friends and then trying to take care of yourself.  I created both of these products to simplify your life.  They take you step by step through a body, mind and soul process of cleaning out your entire life.  I’ve had clients do everything from lose 50 pounds to get engaged after completing the Life and Body Makeover.

It’s always best to explain this by giving examples.  So I’d like to give you five quick ways to help you get healthier today.  Enjoy.

1. You know you need to bring snacks with you, but you always run out the door empty-handed.  Put a large piece of paper on the door that says “Do you Have Food With You?”.  That way you’ll be reminded to turn back around and grab that soup can to open later at work.

2. You know you should drink more water, but you always get distracted. Buy a glass pitcher for your desk.  In the morning, grab some lemons and fill that pitcher up with some tasty lemon water.  Make it your goal to finish the pitcher before you leave the office each day.

3. For sugar cravings – try drinking Egyptian Licorice Tea.  Even if you don’t like licorice, you’ll like this.  It helps balance blood sugar levels and has a great sweet taste.

4. Breaking out?  Try staying away from dairy and aspartame (diet coke).  Both of these have been proven to cause acne with my clients.

5. Feeling spacey at 4:00?  Try doubling your protein at breakfast.  Really, if you have one egg, have two.  If you have no protein at breakfast, than add some.  Try this for two weeks.  That is how long it takes to balance blood sugar levels before you’ll notice a difference.

Ok, so you want more?  More basics, more tips, more whys?  Well, stay tuned because I’ll be writing more next week.  If what you want is more Monica, more sha-bang, then you’ve got to pick up one of our products.  Go here to check it out.


The Mourning of Sugar

January 6, 2011   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share

Many of use are in the midst of moving forward with our New Year’s Resolutions.  We are busy making time for the gym, eating right, and packing our lunches.  Yet, there is something very peculiar that I often notice with my clients and myself when I’m making a major change – a lingering and subtle sadness.

Sometimes it shows up in the form of irritation and impatience with your family, friends or co-workers.  The kind where you find yourself snapping at people and things when you don’t really mean to and you don’t know why.  Sometimes it shows up as self pity.  You just start to wonder how life got so hard.  At other times it appears as random bursts of anger – at yourself or at the world – like when the bus was 15 minutes late today or the guy on the train bumped you a little too hard.  Or the driver in front of you was slow like molasses.

If you find yourself in one of these positions, you might be suffering from a classic case of MOURNING.  What am I mourning – you might ask?  Whatever it is that you gave up as a part of your New Year’s Resolutions.  You see it might seem easy to say, “I’m going to stop eating candy bars”.  But what we don’t realize is that the candy bars actually served a purpose in your life.  They helped you deal with a particular situation – perhaps boredom at work, fatigue in the afternoon or giving you a break.

And when you break up with the candy bar – you are forced to deal with whatever was underneath.  Furthermore, you are losing a relationship that you created with that candy bar.  As odd as it may sound, you will go through a period of sadness while you are letting go of something that did not serve you.  There is an empty space there now that you will eventually fill with healthier food and healthier activities.

But that filling can take some time.  So in the meantime, be easy on yourself. Here are three suggestions to make it easier:

1. Recognize the sadness and don’t push it away.  By seeing that sadness, you give yourself a chance to feel the emotions underneath the sadness as well.  What parts of your life need to be shifted that originally caused you to go to the candy bar in the first place?  Talk to someone – a friend, a coach, a family member about the situation and get some help in making a change.

2. Do a releasing ritual.  I know you are thinking, has she lost her mind?  But really this helps.  Light a candle and bless all the unhealthy foods in your body and in your life in the past.  Appreciate them for the protection and comfort they offered you.  Now blow out the candle and let them go.  By officially releasing the foods, you are allowing yourself to start anew.

3. Know that you aren’t walking away forever.  For many of us, trying to give up sugar forever just doesn’t work mentally.  The more we restrict, the harder it becomes for us to follow a guideline.  Give yourself a chance to go without sugar for a  couple of weeks.  Then add in one sugary treat a week for yourself.  That way, you aren’t walking away forever, just for a little while, a process that is mentally much easier.

So if you’ve just broken up with sugar this year – know that sadness is part of the process, just as in any break-up.  But if you use the suggestions above, your mourning process will be much shorter.  And your success will be that much easier.


4 Tips for a Post-Thanksgiving Refresh and Reset

November 24, 2010   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share

Ok, so usually I write to you before Thanksgiving and give you some tips on being healthy.  But after five years of working with Ideal Balance clients, I think it’s easier to deal with Thanksgiving after the fact.  I’ve met very few souls who can stare down a cherry pie and live to tell the tale.  So if you had a healthy holiday, then I respect and honor your discipline.  If not, now is the time to reset and refresh.

So how is the Thanksgiving binge showing up in your life now?  Well, some of you may be feeling a bit guilty about how much a holiday weekend could set back your weight loss goals.  Or how important it is for you to fit into that great dress for your holiday party.  Others may be prepping for an upcoming beach vacation.  And then there’s most of us who are feeling a little disgusted, tired and bloated after yesterday’s feast.

You aren’t alone if you are gripped by sugar addiction.  The pie is still available and though you’ve told yourself you aren’t going to eat any of it, you’ve already had a slice (not to mention the two bites of brownie and some of those leftover mashed potatoes).

With these four post-thanksgiving reset tips, you’ll be able to re-balance your body, get your energy back and be re-inspired to stay healthier over the next few weeks.  I hope to support you in getting through the rest of the weekend healthier, happier and re-inspired to get back to work on Monday.

1. Put away or dispose of ALL the food. Yes, no need to leave anything out for temptation.  Wrap up the pieces of the pie and put in the deep freezer.  If you leave any out, portion the pieces for yourself and your family for the rest of the weekend.  Put away all the smaller treats as well.  As for the leftover food – make a decision.  Do you really want to eat the rest of those butter laden mashed potatoes?  I know they were great yesterday, but do you need them today?  If not, then it may be best to toss them or take them to work and let others eat them.  I know it may seem wasteful, but would you rather have it on your hips?

2. Start the day with protein to break the sugar addiction. Now that you’ve had a day or two of carbohydrate creations, your body is singing the sugar tune.  It wants more and more of it.  The best way to break the pattern is to have a healthy breakfast with a good amount of protein.  I like having a protein shake with blueberries, half a frozen banana, protein powder and some kale (ok, you can leave out the Kale if you are new to this ‘healthy’ thing).  That way you balance my blood sugar first thing in the morning and am not spiking all day. Now keep eating regularly every 3 hours or so to keep your blood sugar levels balanced and prevent yourself from going into the “need for sugar”.

3. Get Out of the Kitchen. Many of us spend much of the Thanksgiving holiday in and around our kitchens.  Try not making it and the food in it a focal point.  Focus on the living room, the great card games to be had, or a splendid shopping excursion.  The less you make everything about food, the easier it is to resist it.

4. Get out and do some exercise. Just the act of putting on your workout clothes can remind you of your intentions to get and stay healthy.  But a good dose of heart pounding can also stabilize your blood sugar levels and cause the cravings to really diminish.  Not to mention the fact that after a workout, you may not want to waste that 30 minutes of effort with one brownie.  Just going out for a walk around the block will do it.  I know that at my house, I just do the staircase 5-10 times. You’d be surprised at the difference that it makes.

I hope these tips make the rest of the weekend more energetic, more enjoyable and guilt-free.  Please put your comments below and let me know how you are enjoying your Thanksgiving and these tips.  Thanks for you  :lol:


Top Five Ways to Eliminate Sugar Cravings

October 28, 2010   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share

Sugar cravings got you down?  Never fear, I got you covered!

Here are my TOP FIVE ways to Reduce Sugar Cravings Today:

•    Make sure you are eating enough good complex carbs like whole grain rice, quinoa, amaranth and millet.  A good suggestions is to have a sweet potato at breakfast, this will help you body get a good serving of complex sugar in the morning and not crave it all day.

•    Drink more water.  Your goal is to drink at least two liters a day.  The water will help satisfy what your body is really looking for.

•    Add some powdered green veggies to your water.  I like a product called Core Greens which you can order off of my website.  Greens alkalize the body and cause sugar cravings to go way down.  Alkalizing simply means helping the body to balance so you aren’t craving so much sugar, meat and carbs.

•    Change the amount of animal protein in your diet.  If you are eating meat with every meal, try eating less.  If you rarely have protein, then you may want to increase it.  I’ve had vegetarians who add more protein and are pleasantly free of ice cream cravings.  I’ve also had meat eaters who were addicted to sugar.  Then when they cut down their servings of meat per day, the cravings diminished significantly.

•    Try experimenting with an alternative, non-refined sweetener such as agave nectar or stevia.  These sweeteners can help with sugar cravings, but you won’t feel like eating the whole box.


Alternative Health Testing – October 17th!

October 12, 2010   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share

I’d like to take a minute and invite you to come to our Alternative Health Testing Event. The Event is this Sunday, October 17th from 11-3 PM ET.  There are seven spots left (so act fast). Register at

Here’s the rub, I’m just plain tired of hearing people complain about their bodies, their weight, their uncomfortable bellies or their prescription medications.  But what I’m realizing is that most people don’t know just how easy it can be to feel better.

The first place to start is to get information. At our Health Testing event, you’ll get some real under the skin information about what is going on in your body – the kind of information that western doctors don’t really give you.

For example, at the cell microscopy test, you’ll learn exactly how your body is digesting your food and if there are dietary changes that would help you to feel better and lose weight.  During the heart test, you’ll see if there is any build-up starting in your blood vessels.

Honestly, every single person I know should come in and do these tests once.  It’s why my mom and dad few to New York and most of my best friends have done them.  Do yourself a favor – get checked out and use the information to get healthier than you’ve ever been.

You can register for the tests at  Oh and there is a great video there to show you exactly what the tests are like.

PS: We’ve got 7 spots left, so please hurry.
PPS: Bring your family – they could use it too.


My Top 3 Wonder Foods!

September 12, 2010   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share

I want to take a moment to tell you about my top 3 Wonder Foods!  They are quinoa, kale and sweet potatoes.

But why are these foods so great, you ask?  Well, I’d love to explain.

quinoa - filling and nutritious!

Quinoa is a whole grain.  It is unadulterated and has tons of vitamins, minerals in it.  It also contains more protein than most grains.  Because it is not processed or refined, you don’t feel like you need to eat seven bowls of it to feel satiated.  Therefore, you have much more success with sticking to your balanced portions (1/2 cup cooked is one serving of carbs).  Depending on how many carbs you’ve eaten that day, 1/2 cup to 1 cup is great with dinner.

It also contains Vitamin B as well as other great vitamins that really help boost your mood.  Oh and it tastes great as well!  Try cooking it in chicken or vegetable broth for optimal flavor.  You cook it just like you would cook rice and it takes about 15 minutes.  I like to have quinoa with fish or meat with dinner and I often use the extra sauce from my fish to pour on top of the quinoa.


kale - lifts your mood and makes you feel great!

Kale is a mood-boosting green food.  Leafy greens help boost circulation and they help lift you up, both in mood and energy.  My clients and I just seem so much happier after a serving of these great leafy greens!

Kale wilts quickly, so make sure you keep it in a plastic zip-lock once you get it home.  I usually cut the leaves off the stems and chop those up and sautee them in garlic and olive oil.  I also add Kale to my green smoothies in the morning.  I have a Vita-Mix blender that mixes up everything nicely.

sweet potatoes - help eliminate sugar cravings!

Sweet potatoes keep sugar cravings at bay.  They give you a serving of complex carbohydrates that your body needs.  They also give you a nice sweet taste, which your body wants.  I have a serving of sweet potato with a piece of chicken sausage for a nice fall/winter breakfast (about a four inch piece is one serving size).  It sounds a bit crazy, but it keeps the sugar cravings away all day long!

Experiment with these wonder foods and see how you do.  Please post your suggestions for how you use them in the comments on the blog.


Couch to 5K with Ideal Balance

August 18, 2010   |   Written by Karen      Bookmark and Share


I hereby announce that I am going from Couch to 5K in honor of my dad, who has heart disease, and to clear out my arteries since I learned this weekend that I have heart disease on BOTH sides of my family.  I haven’t run in 18 years.  When I ran 18 years ago it was for my high school track team and I was a long and triple jumper and a sprinter – 110 hurdles was the longest race I ever ran.  I did my first three 20 minute runs last week (baby steps, people – I’m 36 years old!). $100 asics, nike earphones, new running clothes and my phone make a huge difference.  I need the name of a 5K in the Ventura County area to sign up for this fall/winter.   I can already tell on each run how well I ate the day before.  Sticking with Monica’s Ideal Balance nutritional advice is an ongoing challenge for me, but I’ve gotten progressively good at seeing the wisdom of her ways, and I have accepted her wisdom that change is a pendulum and we’ll have slippages along the way.  Wish me luck, people. This old grey mare ain’t what it used to be. Or, as my friend Alexis put it, via that infamous quote in Top Gun, it may well be that “Son, your ego’s writing checks your body can’t cash.”


Are you leading a double life?

August 9, 2010   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share

Are you leading a double life? The images of a double life – leather suits, hot bodies, sexy weapons – like something out of Mr. and Mrs. Smith all seem very sexy.  But in reality – many of us live double lives that are far from cool.

We live one life on the weekends and during low pressure and less stressful weeks – when we are healthy.  We pack our lunches, eat salads at restaurants, hit the gym 3 times a week, and go to bed early. Ahhh….those healthy weeks.

Then we live another life during those busy weeks when we have a project due or are traveling like mad – when we skip the gym all together, consume too much sugar and coffee, and are chronically sleep deprived.  We know somewhere in the back of our heads that our unhealthy habits are just making everything worse – but the vicious circle just gets worse and worse.

This is especially difficult if you are trying to lose weight.  Because every time stress hits – the weight loss slows or stops all together.  You are constantly on a pendulum – between your healthy life and your unhealthy one.

I totally understand this plight and I struggled with it when I was in corporate and again today as an entrepreneur.  It’s just plain easier to be healthy when nothing else is going on.  And it is very tempting to use food to make things better after a busy day.  My personal favorite calmer – Reese’s peanut butter cups.

But over the years I’ve learned a few things about stress and overwhelm.  First, letting your healthy habits go – only makes it worse.  You wouldn’t believe the effects sugar can have on your mood – especially after the initial high.  What is really a tolerable day can turn into the “worst day in the world” after you’ve consumed too much sugar! Second, a few rules and structure can make things easier.

For example:

1. The busier you become – the more important it is that you have a set healthy eating pattern and schedule so you can focus on your work or family.  Write out 3 healthy breakfasts, lunches and dinners that you can go to in a pinch.  Make sure you have all the ingredients on hand and just switch between them to get you through that busy period. Also, remember to eat at the same times each day – 3 hours apart.  If you need to, set a timer on your computer.  That way, you aren’t thinking – you eat to fuel yourself and then you can keep going.

2. Don’t stop working out.  Just make it easier on yourself by changing it up or reducing the time.  The most important thing about working out is consistency.  That way when you switch back to your healthy double life, you won’t have to start over.  So if you normally spend an hour at the gym, maybe you go for a 30 minute walk instead.  Or perhaps you do a 20 minute yoga routine in your room before work. Or just do some sit-ups and pushups and lunges.  Just keep moving your body, believe me it will help you to get through your busy time.

3. Use “Healthy Fast Food” Options.  Don’t try to cook elaborate meals when you are in your “too busy to be healthy” period.  And don’t beat yourself up for not cooking.  Try ordering some of the healthier meals from Fresh Direct or picking up a meal from the bar at Whole Foods.  Just make sure you plan for both meals and snacks.  You may also want to try a local healthy food delivery service just for a few days or weeks until you can get through your busy periods.

4. Avoid using food as your reward.  When we are working like dogs, it is tempting to use food as a treat after a long day – a comfortable way to chill out and relax.  Make a list of non-food rewards instead.  Perhaps a long walk with a good friend, a bath, a massage, a show.  Plan the rewards ahead of time so that you can look forward to a shining light at the end of a long day (a light that doesn’t add to your hips in the process).

Just remember this, if you can just keep some “healthy systems” in place during your crazy weeks, you’ll find it much easier to be consistent and to see the weight come off faster and consistently.   You’ll also feel much better during those busy times.

learn how to pull together all of your lives!

learn how to pull together all of your lives!

To check out more on what to eat and how to make it all fit together during your busy times – check out our Life and Body Makeover Program. It contains recipes, meal planners, shopping lists – everything you need to simplify your healthy lifestyle!


Good balance leads to Great Parenting – A Father’s Day Card

June 20, 2010   |   Written by Karen      Bookmark and Share

Father's Day Card1

I’m a good mom – not a perfect mom, but a good mom. I love my kid to the end of the earth, I’m pretty intuitive about her needs, I know how to comfort her, have fun with her, teach her important lessons.

But man, my parenting skills are nothing compared to Andy’s. It’s no contest- I had the edge when I was nursing, but even before I weaned Shing, it was all over. He had her at hello. Maybe it’s because he grew up with a single mom who was incredibly self-sacrificing and smart about her own parenting (with damned fine results). Maybe it’s all the counseling training he’s had. Maybe it’s a god-given talent. Maybe it’s Maybelline. Whatever the reason, I’ve come to peace with the fact that Andy is a better parent than I, and I’m more grateful about it than anything else.

I know, every wife thinks her husband is super-dad. But even if you’ve fallen asleep reading this by now, I’m going continue writing anyway, for me and for him, more than anyone else. Here are my arguments for why Andy is an extraordinary parent, in the deepest sense of that descriptor. He’s extra-ordinary, way beyond the ordinary great dad.

For one, Andy is more strict with Shing than I am. This is not fun for her in one sense, but the consistency is really helping her develop into an amazing little human so far. He is her rock, her Gibraltar. Instinctively, I am certain she knows he will always, always, be there for her – to catch her when she falls, to comfort her afterwards, to come to for help. He’s also teaching her good habits this way, to wash her hands after she uses the restroom, to brush her teeth twice a day, to eat vegetables, to go to sleep at a decent hour. She seeks routine instinctively, finds comfort in it, and thrives because of it.

As she grows older, I know she will also seek his wise counsel (as do I and so many of our friends and family). In fact, I would say that my friends and my family come to him independently (contacting him directly without going through me) for advice much more often than they come to me. He’s generally not only a better listener than I am, but also brings a truly wise perspective on the world that we all gravitate to.

Andy is also really, really fun to play with. I’m guessing this came from years of YMCA camp counseling, teaching music to K-12 kids, and maybe just really feeling like he had to grow up a little too fast (his mom worked a lot of night shifts, so he felt like a bit of a latch-key kid…which also had massive benefits in terms of his maturity and independence). He’s endlessly inventive about play, and genuinely enjoys it. Case in point: at a recent Star Wars birthday party, Andy was the only parent to sit on the grass with the kids while the Obi-Wan Kenobi magician performed. He’s very present with Shing and all kids, and really engages.

Lastly, Andy is generally just more balanced than I am (for now). So he has the energy to handle Shing’s ups and downs. He prioritizes us as a family most of the time, takes care of himself on balance with that, which then circles back to having more energy for the family. He did the cleanse last year that really helped him get even better at the balance he already had.

Happy Father’s Day, sweetheart. We’re the luckiest ladies in the world to have you as the Father in our family.


Father's Day Card2


The Secrets to Eating Healthy at Restaurants.

June 4, 2010   |   Written by Monica      Bookmark and Share
where even the best intentions can be thwarted...

where even the best intentions can be thwarted...

I just spent two weekends traveling.  A weekend in Las Vegas and a weekend in Cleveland to visit my newborn niece, who by the way might be the cutest thing on the planet (not that I’m biased).   And I noticed was how hard it is to eat healthy at restaurants. My clients often complain about this, and when I’m out with my friends, I notice how everyone seems to order what I order so that they don’t have to think so hard about it.

Have you ever had the experience of going to a restaurant with the best intentions to eat healthy – so you order fish and vegetables.  Then when the fish comes, it is covered in cream sauce and the veggies are drenched in oil.  You look at your plate and realize that “healthy” is nowhere on this plate.

Or perhaps you’ve been at a restaurant and made the mistake of walking in hungry and before you realize it, you’ve downed a basket of bread or chips?

For most people, the hardest part about maintaining a healthy regimen is eating out with friends.  You get into the spirit of being with friends or family and just wanting to let go, relax and eat what you want.  Who wants to think so hard about food?  All we want is just to have a good time, right?

I totally understand this sentiment.  But, unfortunately 3 unplanned restaurant splurge meals can be enough to slow your weight loss to a crawl (especially if you aren’t working out).  So, if you are someone who eats out more than once a week – than learning to eat healthy at restaurants may be the ticket to you weight loss success.

So let’s start with mindset.  So many of us associate eating out with unhealthy foods like excess cheese, wine and bread and we associate those foods with relaxation after a long day or a long week.  We also associate comfort foods with having fun and finally being able to let go.  The first place to start is to decrease this association.  Yes, relaxing is important after a long week – but are there other ways to relax?  Could you go for a walk, get a massage, call a good friend?  The next time you are a restaurant and about to order the pasta with cream sauce – ask yourself, what does this food represent to me?  If it’s fun, pleasure and relaxation – then could you get that in another way?  It may take some time, but noticing your habits to let your unhealthy foods be the “fun” part of your life is a good place to start.

Second, there’s a few simple tips that may help.

1.  Never go to a restaurant starving.  Always stop at a convenient store or at home and pick up a protein snack ahead of time.  See my last blog post for more tips here.

2. Decide ahead of time what you are going to order at the restaurant so that temptation on the menu does not get the best of you.  You could even look at the restaurant menu on and take your time to find what is healthy.

3.  Take your time to look at the menu.  There is usually a healthy option on every menu.  It just takes time to find it.  Most people order the first thing that they see on menus that suits them, but you must hunt for that which is tasty and healthy.   If you find that you get embarrassed when you take the time to really look and think – then get the menu ahead of time.

4. Be sure to ask the waiter what is in your food and ask for substitutions.  I just had a client visit a restaurant and ask for a her soup without cream and her entree without cream and low oil.  The restaurant was more than happy to oblige. If you are stuck in a place where you don’t want to be a pain, ask yourself this – Do you want your really want to find your ideal body?  Or would you rather please everyone?

5. Know when you are going to have a splurge meal.  Decide ahead of time what restaurants you love and pick those as your once a week splurge meal.  You’ll find that it is easier to eat healthy if you allow yourself to eat your favorite foods every so often.

I had a client come to me who was a food and wine writer who ate out 4 times a week and was concerned about her health.  We worked on the suggestions above and she started printing out menus ahead of time and deciding what she wanted to order that way.  Before long she had dropped 15 pounds simply by deciding what foods she was going to eat and what foods she could skip.  And her confidence soared.  In fact, it was during this process that she wrote an article for one of the best magazines in the country.

Use the suggestions for inspiration and guidance on your next restaurant outing – and remember that it all takes practice, so please be patient with yourself.

8 Weeks to a Lighter Healthier You!For more information about how to eat healthy in restaurants – you may want to check out week 5 of the Life and Body Makeover.  During that Week, we do an exercise on defining your emotional patterns around eating.  I think you’ll find it super useful.  Check it out here.