I know I shouldn’t be eating this but…

Please enjoy today’s article from Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Pure Joy Academy as the guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self  Blog. ~ Chris

21 Days to Break the Habit! Part 1 of 3
A 3-week path to more mindful eating habits

We’ve all heard it before, “chew your food until its liquid”, “don’t watch television while you eat”, and “put your fork down in between bites”; don’t eat fried foods, blah, blah, blah…

These are all well and good as far as a theory goes, but when the fork meets the fudge, what is actually going on in our heads? Stress and hurriedness is a big part of our modern life, and it is most likely here to stay. So instead of trying to resist what persists why not just go around it for a moment or two? What I mean by this is that even though life is busy and we have lots to do every day, we can still carve out a few precious moments to ourselves, and mealtime might just be one of those perfect moments.

You don’t need to start by thinking that each meal has to be the perfect mindful meal, or that you can never watch TV or read a magazine while eating, because that is just unrealistic. What you can do though is take even one part of that meal (perhaps the first 5 minutes) to check in, breathe and be grateful. For the next seven days in this 21 day journey, practice the 4 Bs of mindfulness around eating:

  1. Be curious:  Am I hungry? This is a good question to ask before you go looking for something to eat. Especially if it is a snack vs. a meal. Sometimes though, even meals can be eaten mindlessly and not out of true hunger just because it’s mealtime. So before loading your plate or picking up your fork ask 3 simple words: “Am I hungry?”
  2. Breathe:  This leads to my second principle. You may decide, even though you are not hungry, and even though you think it might not be the healthiest choice, instead of saying “I know I shouldn’t be eating this but…” Take a moment to stop thinking any negative thought and take a deep breath (or 3). A long, slow breath. If possible just close your eyes for 1-2 seconds (try it now). That’s it! Now your heart may be beating just a bit slower and you may be a little more present before taking that first slooow bite. Enjoy it!
  3. Be grateful:  Take a moment to say thank you (silently or shared with your family or friends) to the abundance that you are about to enjoy. Who grew your food? Who picked your food? Who drove your food to the store? Who prepared your food? How are you able to afford to buy this food? Just take a moment to say thank you to just one person who contributed to your meal.
  4. Begin Again:  I love the words of Esther Hicks (Abraham-hicks.com) “I can begin again.” If you forgot where you are or what you are doing and you find yourself half way into a container of ice cream with no idea how you got there. STOP! Start at step 1 and begin again.

Bringing Pure Joy and Gourmet Bliss to the Planet,
Elaina Love
Elaina Love is the Owner/Director of PureJoyPlanet.com and is also a professional Chef, Instructor, and Detox Counselor at Pure Joy Culinary Academy. She is a Lifestyle Counselor, co-owner of Pure Joy Academy.

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .


Over the last year many people have asked me what I have been doing differently because they have seen an increase in my mood, energy and 20 pounds melt off of my body.  What I have done is changed my lifestyle so I eat to live rather than live to eat.  Seventy percent of my daily diet includes eating raw foods, juicing and incorporating supplements into my daily regimen.  Since this has become a very popular question and topic within my circles of clients and friends, I decided to let the best of the best educate you on the topic.  Elaina Love, author of three recipe books and founder of Pure Joy Planet and Culinary Academy will be a guest columnist every Friday in the Journey Back to Self blog.  So, without further ado, Ms. Elaina Love

Why and how to eat a more plant strong diet

Everyone knows it is healthy to eat fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables every day.  That isn’t a new concept.  A plant strong diet encourages us to make these foods up to 80% of our diet.

Water – Fruits and vegetables are rich in pure water.  Our bodies are 70% water.  Even though we should still drink water upon arising and between meals, consuming a water-rich diet keeps us well hydrated and lessens the need for extra water.

Proteins – Heat damages proteins, causing the amino acid chains to congeal.  These large protein molecules may be unusable and even harmful to the body, causing inflammation and other problems.  Unheated plant proteins such as nuts, seeds, sprouts and greens may be 100 times more available to the body than heated proteins.

Fats – Fats are very sensitive to heat (think of avocados and flax oil).  Heated fats have lost their antioxidant qualities, and are known to be carcinogenic.  Heating any fat also makes it sticky (think of a lasagna pan), which can cause blockages in the arteries and digestive tract, inhibit the absorption of nutrients, and reduce the body’s ability to transport oxygen.

Digestion:  Assimilation and Elimination – The simple carbohydrates in fruits and vegetable are readily used as energy for the body.  In raw fruits and vegetables, more vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients are available to be used by the body.  The soft, soluble fiber in fruits and tender green vegetables also makes them easy to digest and assimilate, and aid in elimination.

Acid-alkaline balance – Processed food, cooked meat, grains and dairy, sugar, starches, pollution, and stress leave most people too acidic, which prevents optimal cellular activity and immune system functions, and leaches alkaline minerals from the body.  Diseases are more likely to form in an acidic environment.  Ripe fruits, vegetables, greens, sprouted nuts and seeds and some sprouted grains (buckwheat, quinoa, millet, teff and amaranth) are alkalizing.

Adapting to a plant strong diet

Simple steps to adding plant foods to your diet:

  1. Start the day with 16 oz of pure water, maybe with a little lemon juice added.  Then have green juice or green powder (such as Vitamineral Greens) mixed with water or some fruit.
  2. Begin typical lunches and dinners with a salad, maybe with avocado or soaked nuts/seeds (be careful of dairy laden, high fat and sugar dressings that are typically sold at stores and served in restaurants).
  3. If you snack, eat fruits, raw vegetables, and/or green juices as between meal snacks instead of other snacks Drink pure water between meals.

If you just do these three steps, you will automatically be eating about 50% plant strong foods.

Then, begin reducing or eliminating unhealthy foods from your diet.

  1. Start with processed foods (junk food, white sugar and white flour, packaged snacks).
  2. Then reduce animal products.
  3. Then reduce cooked starches.

It can be helpful to keep a diary of what you eat and how particular foods affect you.  An easy way to plan dietary changes is to make 3 lists:  Foods you regularly eat, foods you sometimes eat, and foods you occasionally or rarely eat.  Evaluate which foods you would like to eat more of and which ones you would like to eat less of.  Choose a maximum of 3 changes to make at any one time.

Here is a recipe (one of Chris’ favorites) to get you started:  All you need for equipment is a blender and if you don’t have one, you can use a shaker bottle.  Enjoy!

Easy Caesar Salad


½ cup extra virgin olive oil or flax seed oil

2 TBS lemon juice

½ cup water

2 large dates or 2 Tbs. honey or xylitol (for low glycemic)

1 Tbs. light miso paste (find this at health food stores)

3 medium cloves garlic

1 ½ tsp. prepared Dijon mustard

2 tsp. dulse flakes (a seaweed that you can find at health food stores)

¼ tsp. Celtic sea salt or a Himalayan salt (any salt will work)

  1. Blend in a blender or hand mix, crushing the garlic first.
  2. Store in a glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.


1 cucumber, peeled and cubed

1 tomato, chopped

4 scallions thinly sliced.

15 black olives

Bringing Pure Joy and Gourmet Bliss to the Planet,

Elaina Love
www.PureJoyAcademy.com Raw Food Culinary Academy
www.PureJoyPlanet.com Products and Recipes

Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and .

Moving Town to Town – Up and Down the Dial

As Donna and I are making our trek across country, one of the main things keeping us quite entertained is SiriusXM radio.  We are finding ourselves moving from the 80’s hits, to Love songs, to the Comedy channel (when we need a good laugh to relieve the driving stress).  As we reminisce about old times, old flames, high school and what lies ahead for both of us we are taking note of how much we have changed over the years and all that has happened to make us the people we are today.

Did you ever notice how certain songs immediately bring up a memory of a person, time in your life or a place?  Some good memories…some not so good.  As I move my whole life out west, I find myself experiencing a boat load of feelings.  Although I am extremely excited to be moving out west and moving in with my good friend Elaina Love of Pure Joy Academy, I am also grieving the endings that are occurring at the same time.  We grieve not just when a loved one dies but when anything “dies” or ends in our lives; a job, relationship, a move, a thought pattern, etc.  The grieving process is the same.  That grieving process is filled with emotions that are attached to even older emotions from past experiences that were similar that all need to be released to allow room for new, wonderful emotions and experiences to enter.

We use music to soothe our emotions and lift our spirits.  Music is made of vibrations, which is one of the reasons why certain songs bring up certain memories.  Remember we are energy beings that vibrate…we vibrate depending on what feelings we are experiencing at the time.  Certain songs correlate with what feelings we had at a certain time in our lives.  Music, smells, places and people can trigger certain memories that have been recorded in our personal history, bringing up with them the memory and all of the emotions associated with it.  Music is a wonderful way to release emotions and balance!

Take some time today to think of what is changing or ending in your life.  Instead of fretting over it and worrying about your future, bask in the emotions that are coming up – good or bad.  Really feel them and allow them to release themselves.  Use whatever healthy soothing mechanism works for you:  music, reading, talking to a friend, spending time in nature, singing, etc.  Do something that allows you to have the space to experience what is coming up.  Don’t fight it and don’t be afraid.  You are a Divine being, always protected and every choice you make teaches you lessons that lead you a little closer to your Divine purpose.

Sometimes we have to forget what we know to make space for what we do not know to enter.

Donna and I are having a blast singing our little hearts out to every old song we hear…with some honks from truckers as we do so!  It is fun, healing and makes us smile!  J

Try it…it works!

Singing out loud (not well, I might add),


For more information about Chris Sopa International, Inc. go to www.ChrisSopa.com.