Meditation: Misconceptions and Benefits

There are many reasons why people choose to learn to meditate, and these reasons are as individual as you are. Most people that come to meditation have a sense that something is missing in their lives. Meditation can help to identify what you really want out of life and clarify goals.

I (Rosanne) came to meditation as a way to relive stress and learn to respond to life rather than react, but I’ve found that the benefits have profoundly changed my life on every level: physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.

Here are some common reasons that people mediate, the misconceptions and the benefits of meditation:

Reasons people meditate

  • Activate healing response or prevent disease
  • Learn to focus and be less distracted
  • Relieve insomnia
  • Reduce stress
  • Help to improve focus and make better decisions
  • Help to feel calmer, relaxed, centered
  • Help through life transition, recover after trauma or tragedy
  • Increase creativity
  • Increase performance in sports or work
  • Good for brain connections and memory

Meditation Misconceptions 

  • I need to stop thinking- It is the nature of the mind to think, although we cannot completely stop thinking the practice of meditation allows us to not get carried away and identify with our thoughts, but to understand that our true self is the “thinker of the thoughts”. When we realize that we are thinking, just gently return your attention back to the focus of your mediation.
  • There is only one way to meditate-There are many different forms of meditation, try out a variety to see if there is one way that you especially like. Mindfulness practices as well as breath awareness, mantra, open awareness, walking meditation and body relaxation are some of many meditation techniques.
  • I have to sit on the floor in an uncomfortable position and can’t move- The point of meditation is not to be uncomfortable, but rather to be able to quiet the noise of your mind and get in touch with your true self. Just sit in an upright position keeping the spine straight, sitting in a chair or on a cushion on the floor is fine, as long as you can sit for the desired time.
  • I’m too busy to meditate- Most of us can spare 5 minutes a day, and meditating for 5 minutes is better than not meditating at all. Instead of spending time surfing the internet or watching TV, meditation will relieve stress, and rejuvenate you. Prioritize health and happiness and most likely you will gradually increase your time, especially when you notice the benefits you receive.

Benefits of Meditation

  • Better relationships, including feeling connected to others and the world at large
  • Helps to lower blood pressure and reduce anxiety
  • Helps you to live in this present moment rather than focusing on past regrets or worrying about the future
  • Decreases the need for addictive substances
  • Heightens social awareness and compassion for self and others
  • Increases awareness of feelings, what you pay attention to, and your inner landscape, allowing you to make choices in alignment to your authentic self
  • Deepens inner knowing, intuition and self- trust
  • Increases a feeling of safety and being supported by life
  • Meditation changes the structures in important areas of the brain, increasing neuroplasticity.  Neuro-(relates to the nervous system) Plasticity- (refers to flexibility) or the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.
  • Deepens one’s spirituality

Mindfulness for stress and anxiety

Are You an Emotional Eater ?


When you have a craving what types of food do you most crave? Well, if you’re like many people, you will say that you crave some form of carbs – they don’t call it comfort food for nothing! Whether it’s mashed potatoes, chips, ice cream, or sweet desserts… these are some of the foods that are easy to overeat because they give a quick burst of energy and make us feel “better” (in the short term), but unfortunately we tend to regret these food choices later. Many people use these foods to self medicate, to feel better instead of dealing with all sorts of emotions… food then becomes a drug of choice instead of nourishment for the body.

If you are not sure if you’re an emotional eater (someone who uses food to deal with their emotions) you may want to ask yourself these questions:
Do you eat when you are feeling stressed?
Do you eat even though you are not physically hungry or after you’re full?
Do you eat to make yourself feel better?
Do you reward yourself with food?
Do you feel powerless or out of control around food?
If you eat for these reasons, there is a good chance that you’re eating emotionally. Some other reasons people eat when not physically hungry are:

Lack of purpose
Sadness or loneliness
Feeling frustrated or angry
Not feeling valued
Avoidance or procrastination
Many people may tend to feel guilty after an emotional eating episode and will then punish themselves by going on a restrictive diet. This is the worst thing that one can do as it can set up a pattern of “yo-yo dieting”. Instead, we recommend getting to the root cause to find out what’s really bothering you — and then deal with that. For example, if you are eating because you are bored, find an activity that you can fully immerse yourself in instead of reaching for that carton of ice cream. Pick up the phone and call a friend or relative to connect if you feel yourself wanting to order a pizza because you’re alone. When you get to the root causes of why you emotionally overeat, you will not only nourish your spirit, but eventually you will make better and healthier food choices, as well!

High Protein Diets

High protein diets are trending as of late, but are they healthy or just a passing fad?

In order to follow this type of diet, you need to choose your protein wisely. We recommend getting your protein from whole foods. A complete protein (or whole protein) is a source of protein that contains an adequate proportion of all nine of the essential amino acids necessary for dietary needs. Another complete protein is quinoa. However, quinoa is high in carbs and those who are aiming for a high protein diet often tend to be on a low carb diet. Combine whole grains with beans to give you a protein boost with the benefit of added fiber.
Animal protein is most readily utilized by the body and is a complete protein. When choosing animal sources, be sure to use low fat cuts of meat, grass fed is best. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice piece of bacon? Unfortunately, it is very high in fat and calories so try a slice of Canadian bacon, which really isn’t bacon at all as it’s made from the pork loin, one of leanest cuts of pork. Eggs are another a good source of protein. Fish is also an excellent protein choice, we love shrimp and wild salmon.  Here is an easy and tasty recipe using tuna: lemony garbanzo salad with tuna. It’s packed with protein and will keep in the fridge for a few days.
Keep in mind a serving of protein is approx. 4 ounces or the size of the palm of your hand. You can also use vegetarian sources of protein, however these are not complete proteins by themselves and they must be combined properly to make a complete source of protein. Try to get some protein at every meal to help keep you full and boost metabolism.
Here are some ideas for getting protein in without going overboard.
• Breakfast – 1-2 eggs any style, plain Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and nuts, cottage cheese with fresh fruit, or ricotta cheese on whole wheat toast
• Lunch – Choose tuna, chicken, shrimp or salmon to add protein to a salad, skip the creamy dressings, use oil and vinegar
• Dinner – Turkey chili with beans and cheese and a side salad, bison burger or lean grass fed beef with veggies of your choice
• Snack – Chia seed pudding
High protein diets help with weight loss as they may make you feel fuller longer. However, with high protein diets come restrictions on carbs which leave dieters at risk for becoming deficient in fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants and more. It’s important to monitor nutrition levels while going through any sort of dietary change. This diet can also increase risks of heart disease due to higher intakes of red meat and full-fat dairy. Before starting any diet or weight-loss plan, be sure to visit with your doctor. Too much or the wrong kind of protein may be harmful to your kidneys especially those who have pre-existing kidney problems.



Healthy BBQ Makeover Ideas


Summertime is upon us.  It’s time to entertain outdoors and have a cookout…. but what if you are working hard to make healthy eating choices? How do we enjoy the festivities without blowing it? Here are some suggestions to help you stay on track:

Situate yourself  far away from the food tables to avoid mindless snacking. Instead, focus on  catching up with friends or family.

Add extra nutrients to your appetizer tray by using fresh veggies served with salsa or a yogurt and dill dip.  Guacamole is healthy and delicious (although it’s still high in calories)!  If you decide to use corn chips, be sure to buy organic to avoid GMO’s.

Substitute bison, turkey or portobella mushrooms for beef burgers.  Bison contains considerably less fat than beef. A 3.5 oz. serving of bison contains 2.42 g of fat while the same size of choice beef has 18.54 g of fat. Bison meat also contains fewer calories than beef.  A 3.5 oz. serving of bison has 143 calories compared to 283 in the same serving size of choice beef . (

You can also make shish kabobs with lean chicken, beef, or shrimp. If you are having ribs, then make a rub with fresh herbs and spices and avoid the high sugar content of most store bought BBQ sauces.

Switch out mayonnaise based potato and macaroni salads for pesto based side dishes. Better yet, grill up a platter of a variety of your favorite veggies which can be prepared in advance and served at room temperature. If you make a green salad use vinaigrette dressings rather than creamy ranch style dressings.  Avoid the low fat salad dressings which usually have added sugar or chemicals, homemade dressings are quick to make and taste great!

If you like wine, enjoy a wine spritzer to reduce calories. Drink sparkling water or water infused with fresh fruit for a festive drink with no added sugar….this way you can save those sugar calories for a little bit of dessert!

Stick with fresh fruit or just have a couple of bites of your favorite dessert…sometimes that’s all you need so you won’t feel deprived!

After the meal, plan a fun activity to get moving and avoid the temptation of going back for second helpings.