Tune into the magic

Tune into the magicI cried today. I let the tears come up and my throat clench. I let my chest constrict and the salt brush my lips. The tenderness is heavy and light in the same moment. Opening so completely to who I am, who WE are, is almost overwhelming. WE hold all that IS within ourselves.

The cold my grandson caught from his parents is in my chest. My voice cracks when I speak. We are vulnerable; and we are capable of healing. Within each of us there is fatigue and push, and expectations so high they are mind boggling – and there is a deep knowing that we can do it. 

Our self-judgment rules. We know we don’t know everything, but we know a lot. We resonate when we are in alignment with our passion. We know when we act out of true love. We know when giving takes more than just a material gesture and comes up out of our bones. We know how good it feels, how right it feels, when we are awake to a much bigger perspective than the tedium that clutters the to do list.

Henry is 15 months old. He is my first grandchild. He is amazingly connected to what is true and whole. He is not distracted by petty external situations that we let drive ourselves mad. He is alive in each moment. When invited to help water the outside plants – he is in, hook line and sinker. He stands strong, grinning ear to ear, shirt soaked, plastered against his belly and thick with dirt, mud splatters reaching up over his cheeks and even eyes! This is living! I am here! CELEBRATE! Allowing him that freedom to fully BE is a gift. He is safe. He can explore. His world is right there fully in the mixture of water and dirt, sunshine and Dad.

Our world is similarly available to us, if we learn to stay put. If we learn to not be lured away into what is next. We can tune into the magic. We can touch the richness of our being. We can welcome the freedom of delight. We can BE, if we can just push the pause button on simply doing the next thing.

We were in Palm Springs for an Institute of Functional Medicine advanced Cardiometabolic conference. My son, his wife, and Henry joined us. The drive back to their house was two and a half hours. We carefully scheduled the drive to occur over his naptime, which is typically one and a half hours. I got to sit by him, his little fingers mushing the skin on my forearm as it rested on the edge of his car seat. He’s a great little traveler.

The sun was bright, the sky was blue, the flight home was a red eye, so we veered off the freeway to explore Idyllwild. The switchbacks were endless, the mix of evergreens and rocks inviting, and the gentle vibe of the place refreshing. The trip expanded so arrival home was already just past the usual dinner hour. We had stopped at Sprouts Market, and had fresh dinner ingredients ready to go. We all jumped out of the car heading into what’s next.

Not Henry. When released from his car seat, he made a beeline across the front lawn to the far corner of the house where there is a small recess before the tall solid wooden fence connects the side of his house to the neighbor’s fence. He passed the downspout, curved around low, small bushes, and confidently turned around and sat down in the mulch, back against the wood. Still. Present. Not moving. Not pulling off berries or picking up pieces of mulch.

I was on Henry duty while the car was getting unloaded, so I was close on his tail. But when he stopped and sat down, I was puzzled, so I just watched. He looked at me – no expression. I sat down, too. Right in the grass facing him. He was regal. Buddha like. The knowing came – he’s GROUNDING. After all the travel, he was home, and connecting. Not a squat for pooping. A definite deliberate sit. In the mulch. Back against the wood. I was the student, he the teacher. I closed my eyes and sank into the earth as well. Home. Energetically home.

We are so much. We are sometimes too busy to hold it all. Why not sit, and sink – into the moments, and connect with what is true and whole?

“Truly I say unto you, unless you… become like children… ”

Familiar phrase? Deep wisdom. Are you seeing and LIVing this moment AWARE? Choosing to be present will ground you – into who you really are. Join me, in thanking all the beautiful and pure little Henrys everywhere. Honor them and keep them whole as we awaken to the abundance of each moment.

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges

Spiced Sweet Potato WedgesRoasted sweet potato wedges are a quick, easy side dish that often show up in our house on veggie burger night, or TLT sandwich night, or black bean soup night… The list goes on. The wedges of sweet potato take all of 3 minutes to prep, roast in less than 30 minutes, and are somewhat forgiving if the rest of your dinner timing doesn’t line up quite right (they can hang out in the oven for a while after you turn it off). They are that perfect add-on to any meal that doesn’t seem like quite enough on its own (like soup leftovers from earlier in the week), and leftover wedges crisp up nicely in the toaster oven for lunch the next day. Because sweet potatoes keep in the cupboard for a week or two, I usually buy a couple extra at the store so that I always have one on hand to fill the gap. So far, the little guy seems to always reserve some shelf space in his belly for sweet potatoes.

After tossing the wedges with a touch of olive oil, I like to play with the spice blend used to season the potatoes. You can never go wrong with good old salt and pepper, but try experimenting with salt plus one or two other spices to have some fun and keep it fresh. With a simple black bean soup the other night, I started with salt, added cinnamon to complement the sweetness of the potato, and chili powder to pair with the flavors of the black bean soup. Plus, the combination of sweet potato and spices feels like a real treat even while loading your system with all kinds of goodness.

Other spices to explore include cumin, garlic powder, paprika, and hot pepper flakes. 

Feel-good Facts:

Sweet potato: A wonderfully healthy addition to any meal, sweet potatoes are also one of the best bang-for-your-buck choices, as they are nutrient-rich, filling, and relatively inexpensive. Adding sweet potatoes to your meal gives you a great dose of carotenoids, beta carotene, vitamin A, C, D, iron and magnesium. Get this, they may even have a unique anti-cancer protein.

Cinnamon: Seek out Ceylon cinnamon, which is the true cinnamon, and you’ll benefit from its hearty levels of anti-oxidants. Cinnamon is anti-microbial, fights inflammation and supports your immune system.

Spiced Sweet Potato Wedges
Recipe type: Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten-Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4

Roasted wedges of spiced sweet potatoes are the star side dish for any weeknight meal that needs a little something extra.
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp chili powder

  1. Set oven to 425.
  2. Prepare potatoes. Scrub potatoes and trim ends. Cut potato in half at the equator. Stand one half of the potato on the cut surface and cut in half again. Take the quarter of the potato, lay it on the largest cut surface and cut into six wedges. Repeat this process with the remaining ¾ of the potato.
  3. Toss the wedges with oil on a baking sheet. Sprinkle salt, cinnamon, and chili powder over wedges and toss again.
  4. Bake for up to 30 minutes, tossing the wedges at the 20 minute mark. If the potatoes are done, but the rest of dinner isn’t, turn off the oven and leave the wedges to sit for another 15 minutes if necessary.

Have fun with spices: Try substituting cumin, garlic powder, paprika, hot pepper flakes. To up your spice game, check out Smitten Kitchen’s Roasted Spiced Sweet Potato recipe.

What spice combos do you like best?

Kale Super-Start Smoothie

Kale Super-Start SmoothieKale. It’s all the rage, and for good reason! Packed with antioxidants and phytonutrients, like the carotenoids for skin and vision (lutein & zeaxanthin), as well as calcium, iron, and vitamins K, A & C, it’s a cholesterol-lowering, anti-inflammatory, detoxifying powerhouse. We know we should be eating it, but how?

This tropical smoothie treat is a favorite in my family to make sure we start our day with a kale boost. Given its detoxifying powers, kale is actually a perfect morning food. All night as you sleep your body is working to clean out your system, so a serving of kale in the morning helps to move those toxins out. Plus, one of the best times of the day to eat fruit is in the morning, on an empty stomach. Therefore, morning + kale + fruit = best case scenario!

Kale Super-Start Smoothie Ingredients

All it takes is 3 minutes. The fully formatted recipe is below, but here is all you really need to know: 1 cup kale, 1 medium banana, 1 kiwi, ½ cup water. Blend. Done.

Oh, and by the way, it tastes GOOD, and our little guy agrees. I started making this smoothie a few months back when our one-year-old was transitioning off pureed baby food and starting to eat real, adult food. While, as a baby, it was easy to include some kale puree in his mashes, I wasn’t sure how I was going to get kale into him now. Kale salads just don’t really fly with the little ones. Enter, this smoothie. We whip up a batch almost daily and he sips this along with his breakfast or at snack time, or whenever he’s ravenously finished everything on his plate and we need to grab something quickly from the fridge.

In summary, a 3-minute recipe with just 3 ingredients (+ water) and your whole family is off to a superfood start to the day.

Kale Super-Start Smoothie
Recipe type: Breakfast, Beverage
Cuisine: Vegan
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 1

A 3-mintue, 3-ingredient (+water) smoothie to get your day off to a kale-filled, antioxidant packed, start.
  • 1 cup kale
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 medium banana
  • 1 kiwi

  1. Blend kale and water together for about 15 seconds. This helps to achieve a smooth consistency.
  2. Add peeled banana and kiwi. Blend for 15 seconds.
  3. Drink.
Optional / Add-ins:
  1. Add more water if you like a thinner consistency to your smoothie.
  2. Some of the water can be replaced with non-dairy milk for a creamier consistency.
  3. Add a handful of ice with the banana and kiwi if you are drinking right away.
  1. Once you’ve incorporated this smoothie into your daily regime, try substituting organic berries for some, or all, of the banana. Organic berries have less sugar than bananas and pack an added antioxidant and phytonutrient punch.


Not the destination, but the journey

Hiking the trail to Machu PicchuIsn’t it interesting how one can hear a phrase or a saying over and over – or even see it made into a poster with a glorious scene behind the words – and think we get it? “Yeh, yeh.” We dismiss it, and go on. Minimal impact.

[I put that yeh, yeh in quotes and smile when I write it because I can clearly hear my, then 11-month old, grandson Henry nonchalantly repeating that phrase throughout his day as he maneuvered from one area of investigation to another. He had been walking for about two weeks at that time, and – despite multiple episodes of dropping onto his little cushioned butt – the challenge of arriving at delicious locations at will had become second nature. It was Thanksgiving, and we were all staying at a beautiful home in Boulder that was designed with a completely open floor plan offering a multitude of excursions for Henry while still within my hearing range. He was not really babbling – but would simply call out “yeh, yeh!” Since he is my first grandchild, I of course assigned divine knowing to his exclamations. He was clearly saying: “I already know all this mundane stuff guys” – as he verbally checked it all off the list of remembering.]

Now let’s get back to the original phrase I wanted you to consider. You have probably even used it yourself at some perfect moment. 


You got this – right? Well I thought I knew it, until I LIVED it – over an unforgettable week a few years ago. My son and his wife (Henry’s parents), and my husband and I hiked the Inca Trail into the back of Machu Picchu. It was just the four of us with our local guide and his staff. Mount Veronica was one of a multitude of spectacular snow-topped beauties we met along the way. We crossed paths with the same young couple a few times – otherwise, no people. Sweet solitude.  Peaks, valleys, ancient hand-carved steps, flowers, birds, a few grazing burros, creeks, the occasional butterflies, and the vast blue sky – these were our companions. The rhythmic cadence of our boots when the trail ran along ridge tops or the irregular clomping as we sought our footing on the unpredictable rocks – these were the sounds. 

The air was thin over Dead Woman’s pass. The moss under the outcroppings was cool and moist. The night sky was spectacular when we camped above the clouds and the moon and stars reflected off those mountains. We danced in that celestial light – feeling part of that world which is marvelous and raw. We spoke reverently. We went off trail to meditate – to join in at even a deeper level. The Sun Gate awaited us on that last day. Tiny little awkward steps designed to throw you backwards to your death led up to our arrival at the world destination Machu Picchu.

Immediately on the other side of the gate were tourists, hundreds of them, seemed like thousands of them – in large groups, from all nationalities, all with cameras, sunglasses, funny hats and designer clothing. They were talking nonstop – all together and all separately. Many on cell phones shouting into the machines, “Hey Mom, I’m in Machu Picchu.” The force of the noise, the irregularity of their movements, the simple presence of all of them was overwhelming. We hung back against the wall. Too stunned by the humanity to be able to honor the sacredness of the location.

IT IS NOT THE DESTINATION. No siree!!!!! Our desire to connect with the history, the culture – our hopes of honoring the wisdom and intellect of their ancestors – was achieved ON THE JOURNEY, not at the destination. And so it is with all of life. It is who you are right now in this moment – in this place in time where you are breathing. The taught and perpetuated emphasis on getting to the future – in a bigger house, in a better job, in a perfect relationship, in any environment where you feel you have arrived – is robbing you of the abundance of NOW. That destination out there only exists in your mind. 

The only thing that exists, really, is now. How centered can you stay when you decide you have to hurry? Do you celebrate the chaos of the morning ballet of getting up and getting going? Are you grateful for the warmth of the water on your skin? Do you pause to bask in the steam of your morning drink? Does the fact that you can walk register its glory with you? Free will is amazing. So many ways to BE. So many ways to connect with what IS. So many choices in how to experience all the gifts – big and small.

One of my teachers once asked what it was I wanted to do with this life – and I eagerly replied: pay off my debts, see that my children are settled and safe, and go somewhere where I can have the time to meditate all day – and be in that expansive Bliss. He paused before replying and a little smile curved his lips: You can live in that Bliss WHILE you complete those chosen tasks.

What a clear message. Now. Live Now with the fullness available. Tune in to the abundance of each moment. FEEL the abundance of what IS, right now. Sure there are bills to pay, and people to see and things to do. KNOW that while you are DOING all that you do, you can BE in the JOY available to you. By quieting your mind, and letting go of the need to be in control of the entire universe, you can connect to the wondrous expansive celebration of NOW. It takes some shifting and some practice, but your sights can settle back from the DESTINATION into the divine moments of the JOURNEY.

I am humbled by the wisdom of my body

Matcha tea in a mugI am humbled by the wisdom of my body and inspired by its patience, by its willingness to put up with all that I do wrong, by the fact it never stops trying to heal me. It supports me and brings me life. It knows what works and what doesn’t.  Yet until I got clean and embraced all natural, whole foods – I could not FEEL it. I am getting better and better at tuning in.

Today I was supposed to complete a spreadsheet, create the outline for a contract, and reorganize my kitchen table full of notes to myself about all the ongoing projects. I did none of that. I cooked. I did not warm up stuff. I cooked. I let my soul lead.

An All Natural Feast for the Soul

I got a little crazy – three skillets. Three different kinds of oils. Hijiki (Someday, when I travel to Japan, I am going to harvest some of this mineral-rich sea vegetable myself). I had to soak it before I could use it. I did not rinse it quickly, but soaked it in spring water, filtered spring water.

It all started with rummaging around in the kitchen while my tea water heated. Matcha tea from Japan – ceremonial grade.  The word ceremonial pulled me in – “Ceremony:  an honoring.” The start of a beautiful weekend at home deserved just that.  I settled into the moment – glass bowl, bamboo scoop, matcha powder (brilliantly green), filtered water heated to perfection, bamboo whisk (whisking in gratitude, lifting up love), a froth – slowly forming on the surface – remarkable, gentle. This becomes the first gift to my system. Warm, vibrant, healing.  I sip, two hands cupped around the bowl, as if in prayer.

Twenty minutes later, I began to gather the ingredients, uniting the community of goodness – flax meal, hemp seeds, chia, macca, pea protein, coconut oil, walnuts, wild organic blueberries – pancakes, mine, original, filling, wonderful.  But today, the usual maple syrup drizzle seems too harsh. Yes vegan. Yes gluten free. Organic. No refined sugar, but too sweet. So, how to achieve a sweet touch while not raising up glucose levels too quickly? How do I create…

That is how it started. A whole day of culinary creation simply flew by, happy and whole.

Later, after a beautiful meal of fresh vegetables, plant proteins and sea vegetables, my whole being is content and at peace. I am aware that my core is deeply satisfied. My gastrointestinal tract is not disturbed – it seems to be humming. The thought of adding anything is unpalatable. I frequently ‘need just a little bite of something ….’ to stop the searching,  or craving. Tonight if it was handed to me, I would easily and happily say, ‘Oh, no thank you.”  Crazy right?

This is what I call balance. This is the state in which nourishing my body correctly allows it to stay aligned with my core vibration – remember the ‘humming’?  The energy of the food itself was balanced – so I stayed in balance. Nothing too dense, or too light; nothing too baked down or whipped up; nothing but clean whole food.

Listening to My Body

My body teaches me.  It affirms what my mind believes to be true. It responds clearly and simply. When we clean up our system of processed, fast, microwaved, packaged ways of eating – ‘picking up’ something on the run, eating while doing six other distracting things – standing, or meeting or emailing – this is the basis for healing.  Wow, I get tired just writing about how silly we get. 

I went where I was led today. Yes, I had the opportunity to be home. That opportunity arose because I said NO to some people; I kept the schedule clear, I honored myself.  I lost myself in creating something for myself. I gifted and tended to myself and am now listening to my inner voice – with joy

This is healing. This is in harmony with the innate healing wisdom of my body. Oh yes, as a medical doctor who has been studying, reading, attending, and processing – I am trying to use all that I have learned. It is when I get the chance to live fully that I celebrate. I know truth when I experience it. I am excited for the opportunity to give back and share all that I have learned – about food, stress, diseases, and relationships, with others – and with yourself. Health and healing. I am making great progress on that journey. Join me, it’s going to be fun.

Saturday, listening.

Hearty BBQ Lentils

Hearty BBQ LentilsThese days the holy grail of weeknight dinner is one that is healthy, hearty, packed with flavor, and, most importantly, comes together quickly. A dinner that checks all those boxes and makes great leftovers is a keeper. I first made these BBQ lentils a few weeks ago and they have been making an appearance on the dinner menu every week since. They are adult and toddler approved.

French green lentils are quick and easy to cook. Water and lentils go in a pot, boil and simmer, then drain. You can’t mess it up and they cook just long enough for you to get the rest of the meal together in the meantime, and I really mean that. I make this dinner with a 16-month old playing with Tupperware at my feet! I love French green lentils for this dish because they hold their shape better than other lentils and this is a dish where you want some texture (not mush!). Lentils are the star of this dish and besides being deliciously nutty and earthy they offer a fantastic source of clean protein, iron, zinc and folate. The carrots are there to offer the whole supply of beta-carotene (Vitamin A!), and celery alkalinizes the system.

Lately I’ve been serving the lentils over a baked sweet potato with a simple arugula salad for a complete meal, and an extra dose of beta-carotene, fiber, Vitamin C, potassium and calcium from the potato, and immune strengthening powers from the greens. Drizzle a quick sauce of Dijon mustard and maple syrup over the lentils and sweet potato for an extra flavor boost. Leftover lentils are a delicious snack right out of the refrigerator, scooped up with a hearty cracker. Try Mary’s Gone Crackers Super Seed crackers (gluten free). They are our hands down favorite.

Hearty BBQ Lentils
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 4

A quick and satisfying meal for the whole family, these hearty, BBQ lentils can be served over sweet potatoes or on a cracker as a snack.
  • 1 cup french green lentils, dry (aka du puy lentils)
  • 4 cups filtered water
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium carrots, ¼ inch dice
  • 2 stalks of celery, ¼ inch dice
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • ½ cup of your favorite bbq sauce*
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tsp worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp tamari

  1. Cook the lentils. First rinse the lentils. Add to small pot with water. Bring to a boil then simmer for approximately 25 minutes or until tender. Drain. Alternatively, follow cooking directions that accompany your lentils.
  2. Prepare sauce. Mix BBQ sauce, ketchup, water, Worcestershire sauce, and tamari in a small bowl.
  3. Chop and cook vegetables while lentils cook. Cutting the carrots and celery to a ¼ inch dice allows them to cook quickly. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan or skillet and heat over medium heat. Add onion, stir to coat, and cook for 2 minutes. Add carrots and celery and continue to cook until carrots soften and onions are translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add cooked lentils and sauce to the vegetables in the pan. Stir to combine and heat through.

*Inspired by the vegan BBQ lentils from The First Mess which she serves over a gorgeous millet polenta.

*I’ve been making this dish with Hak’s BBQ Sauce Thai Chile Tamarind. The tamarind gives the dish a sweet tanginess that I love, but I’d love to find a great, naturally sweetened BBQ sauce. Let me know in the comments which sauces you love!

Abundance 101

Sunrise in Tasmania Abundance

FEEL the abundance of what IS.

Peace, joy, contentment. Financial freedom. Fulfilling relationships. Health. LOVE.

Sign me up, right?

These goals are what motivate me to get up, get out there and keep learning. A life full of these experiences is much more real than the adolescent dreams of the movie stars, or lives of stunning music performers or the beautiful people. Yet we spend our lives trying to accumulate all the necessary things for that perfect life: the coolest partner, an eye catching body, stylin’ clothes, sweet car, impressive home, chic neighborhood, top job, impressive portfolio. Striving and striving and planning and scheming to get all those ducks lined up. Fretting and worrying, stressing and fussing to make it all happen. THEN we will be happy. THEN we will “have it all.”

Yet how many people with all the right stuff just aren’t happy? Still something missing. Do I need MORE? Bigger, better, MORE? Well, maybe, so let me try…

Hold on. PAUSE. Breathe. Do it again. A good, big expanding breath and a relaxing exhalation. What is the feeling of right now? What really IS available right now?

Warmth. Food. Shelter. Clothing.

So the place is a little messy.
Budget not unlimited.
Work has gotten a bit crazy.
Kids take a lot of time.
I can breathe. I can see. I can think. I have choices.

Being mindful of and grateful for the present is great. Good job.

But go in deeper, and FEEL the abundance of what IS. You are alive. You have life, right now in this moment. You have potential. You can learn to become aware of your original source. You can go inside and remember who you really are. You can experience yourself as unlimited and magnificent regardless of any outside circumstance.

All that stuff you “NEED”… Impermanent, ever changing. The car can get wrecked, the job can evaporate, the house burn down, the loved one can die… God forbid, but possible.

Who you really ARE is unaffected by gain or loss in the external world. Recall the stories you have read or heard about unbelievable people who kept their spirit intact despite all odds. Amazing. The human spirit. Abundant.

Learning to experience yourself as just that spirit, pure energy, your original source, will help you KNOW the abundance that you ARE. No longer limited or defined by the props that we seek. You can feel that abundance in every moment regardless of the chaos around you. We came into this world as that pure energy. Visualize a newborn – they enter the world with nothing, no gear. Yet we bury our awareness of that energy through the domestication process of becoming a citizen of this earth and accepting the belief systems of our families, teachers, communities. We bury it so deep some people never reconnect with that original state of BEING.

Quieting your mind though meditation can help reunite you with the true source of abundance within. This is where you will find the joy and peace that you seek. You ARE all that you long for. ABUNDANCE.

What is LivAwareMD?

Welcome! I’m Dr. Martha Hackett, founder of LivAwareMD. I put together this one minute video as a quick introduction to what LivAwareMD is all about. I invite you to watch and listen and then let us know what you think. Even better, come check us out! Thank you for being here.

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