kuyam blogs

kuyam blogs

Vegetarian Essentials

As people are becoming more conscious about what they put into their bodies, many are eating vegetarian. There are many benefits to removing meat from the diet, but if it’s not done correctly, it can be detrimental to your health. By eliminating complete proteins, you can deprive the body of essential nutrients. This can lead to muscular damage and nerve failure. Eating vegetarian can be healthy, as long as you’re giving the body everything it needs.



For vegetarians who give up dairy, the ADA recommends at least 1000mg of calcium (equivalent to 3 cups of milk.) Calcium can be found in alternative dairy products, such as almond milk, (beware of brands that contain high sugar contents) and dark green, leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale and bok choy.


Vitamin B-12

B-12 deficiency is common in vegetarians. B-12 is important for the performance of nerve cells, and speeds neural transmissions, which helps with brain function. It is also important for the reproduction of healthy cells. Naturally, B-12 can only be found in animal products. This vitamin can be taken orally, but is most effective when administered via shots.



Some people think that giving up meat means giving up protein. Whole grains, such as barley, farro, and especially quinois, are high in protein, as are beans, nuts and seeds. Vegetarian proteins can sometimes be tasteless. Cooking them in a savory vegetable broth, or combining them with flavorful dressings can make them more palatable.



Iron, which is mainly found in red meat, is needed for the production of red blood cells, and helps convert blood sugar into energy. A lack of iron leads to anemia, and can trigger a breakdown in the immune system. Dark green vegetables, especially kale, are high in iron. Eating foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, berries and peppers, help the body quickly absorb iron into the bloodstream.

A vegetarian diet can be rewarding, as long as your nutritional needs are being met, even if by supplements. It’s important to consult a doctor or a nutritionist before committing to giving up meat. It also helps to buy a good vegetarian cookbook.

Dating: What You Should Talk About On A First Date

There is no denying that making conversation on a first date can be grueling and down right awkward. Those long pauses and awkward silences, punctuated by long sips from a glass of red wine, can feel like an eternity and there is not one dater who will tell you otherwise. The silence can be deafening, as you struggle to find a topic to fill in the dead air; to assure yourself and this person that you have stuff in common, that you might be a match and that maybe you should take this date to the next level- aka, the salad course.

So the million dollar question is what should you talk about that will minimize any awkward silences and give you a window into this person's very essence and soul. And most importantly you need conversation starters will help you determine if you actually can hold a meaningful chat with this person that doesn't make you want to cut a hole in the floor that will swallow you whole.


1/ Ask your date about the best part of their day

Everyone likes to talk about themselves and their answer is sure to give you a window into their soul and how they define their happiness. Their answer will not only spark conversation but allow you to see if you are a good match.


2/ Ask your date about their favorite childhood memory

We all have one and it is a non invasive open-ended opportunity for you to find out more about your date's past without forcing the conversation.


3/ Ask your date about their dream vacation

This is a great way to get intel on what their dreams are, and what kind of future they hope to attain. It can serve as the catalyst for much deeper conversation about their broader life's goals and can help you decide if you think you would fit into their life's plan (or if you even want to for that matter).


4/ Ask your date about the last great book they read and or film they've seen

If your date cannot remember the last book they read that will speak volumes about his/her personality. Of course if the last movie they've seen is a documentary about wolves that will also provide a keen insight into their likes and dislikes and whether those will meld well with yours. This conversation starter can either be the greatest way for the two of you to bond over your love of 'The Hangover', or the quickest way for you to determine that the fact that this person has not read a book since high school is a deal-breaker.

Clutter Free Lifestyle: How Can I Simplify My Life?

There is not a question that comes up more in my work as a Feng Shui consultant than How can I simplify my life? There aren't too many people unaffected by the state of the world these days. Life is busy, time is moving fast, we’re having trouble keeping up.

I hear people reminiscing about the slower pace of past times: Remember when we’d go to the park on Sundays? Remember when we’d ride our bikes every evening after work? How come we never see our college friends anymore? The response is always—we’re too busy.

For some of us, life is like a smorgasbord and we want to try a little bit of everything. Although it all sounds fun and engaging, it isn’t long before we’re overwhelmed. Sometimes we get saddled with stuff we really don’t want to do, but something called responsibility kicks in leaving us no choice. However it comes our way, we are seeing that we’ve got more commitments than we did in the past and we’re not always enjoying it.

If people are asking someone like me how to simplify, they are obviously expecting some kind of answer filtered through Feng Shui principles. Here are some suggestions that I’ve used to help me through a particularly un-simple phase and ones which I’ve shared with clients:


Keep only things that you love

If you’re not sure, get rid of it. Your sanctuary/home/office should only include items that support you.


Take nine minutes each day to de-clutter

Clutter is the biggest mirror to us about feeling overwhelmed. Start in one area and stay there until the area feels like it can breathe again-until it feels simple.


Simplify your emails

Get rid of those daily emails that some people send if they’re not serving you. Set your boundaries so you can feel in control.


Experiment with a Zen look in your bedroom

Simplicity will impact you in a very positive way. Keeping things simple in your bedroom can help you sleep and provide enlightening dreams.


Don’t get disconnected from nature

Consider a short walk-even if it means to the corner and back. Nature will teach us how to be simple if we can stay in touch with it.


Although the question about how to simplify your life could be a lot more involved and specific, I’ve intentionally kept the suggestions, well, simple. Although simple, they do take consideration and intention. Just because the universal world is speeding up, it doesn’t mean we can’t create our own personal world that is slower and more meaningful. Keep your space simple and your life will follow.

Fitness: Practicing Pilates Safely

Pilates is no longer confined to the mat. There are now Reformer, Megaformer and Superformer classes. They all build flexibility and stability, and create long, lean, beautiful muscles. Pilates is often used for the prevention and treatment of back pain, and is great for those recovering from injury. But in the more advanced classes there’s a greater chance of getting hurt, so it’s important that you practice safely.

Before you begin a Pilates class, do your research. There are a variety of classes offered, so it’s important to find the one best suited for you. For example, if you are recovering from a back injury, you definitely don’t want to do a Megaformer class. Be sure you go to a reputable studio and that the teacher is certified. Read reviews, look at a studio’s website, and be prepared for what you’re getting into before you step onto the mat or reformer.

Form is essential in Pilates. Bad form can lead to many types of injuries. Keep it in the core and don’t put any strain on your back and neck. This contributes to the most common types of injuries in Pilates. If your core isn’t strong enough yet, modify. Put your knees down while doing a plank, or don’t go so far in a squat or a lunge. If you start to feel any pain in a pose, be sure to alert the teacher and ask him or her to check your form. Most importantly, always listen to your body.

Especially if you’re a beginner, you don’t want to jump right into a Pilates class. It’s best to take it slow until you’re familiar with the poses. If you’ve never done Pilates before, don’t start with a Megaformer class. Take a regular reformer class to get used to the equipment and then you can work your way up. And it’s best that you don’t look around and compare yourself with other students, otherwise, you may go too deep too soon. There are people of all ages and all levels. Do what you can do according to your own personal needs, not theirs.


Clutter Free Lifestyle: Donate Or Toss It

January is Get Organized Month, and I say the way to celebrate is "just say throw" to your clutter. One easy way to clear clutter is to toss or donate things you never use anymore or that you never really needed.

Is your utensil drawer so full you can barely close it? Are the plastic containers breeding in your kitchen cabinet overnight? Are you ever going to use that Bundt pan again? Here's a list of a dozen things you can donate, trash, or share with your friends so you end up with a clutter-free and more peaceful home.


Kitchen Utensils

Do you really need all of those duplicate spatulas, scrapers, and servers? Offer some to your friends, then donate or trash the rest of the dups.


Coffee Mugs

Do you drink enough coffee or tea to justify all of the mugs you are keeping? Same advice here, choose those you love and donate the rest.


Plastic Containers

Do you have more tops than bottoms, or vice versa? Match up the tops and bottoms, then toss the singletons.



Are those inexpensive florist vases really worth keeping? Keep a few of the prettiest ones and get rid of the rest.



Are the issues on your night table more than 2 months old? If so, you'll probably never read them and they will be put to better use if you donate them to a school or arts center.


Unread Books

Do you have a stack of books you "should" read but never get around to it? Time to donate them to the local library or trade them online through sites like www.paperbackswap.com.



Are you holding on to clothes for when you lose weight? You'll actually feel lighter if you get rid of them and make room for new clothes in smaller sizes.


Kids' Artwork

Are you keeping every masterpiece? If a creation is not worth framing and hanging, take a photo of it and toss the original.



Do you have a jungle of power cords and electronic paraphernalia in your desk drawer that may or may not work with your current equipment? Match up the cord with the gadget and let the rest go.



Do you even know if the sheets in your linen closet fit the current size of your beds? Keep two sets of sheets per bed, then find out if a local animal shelter can use the rest.



Are any of the prescriptions or OTC drugs in your medicine chest expired? Keep the meds you're taking, then take the rest to your pharmacy rather than flushing them or throwing into the trash.



Have your kids outgrown the toys in their rooms? Help them choose toys to donate to less fortunate children, especially right after a birthday.

Feng Shui Tips: Get Your Year Off To A Great Start!

Craving a fresh start is often filled with restless excitement. After all, making a fresh start is often associated with a dramatic change: moving to a new place, starting a new job or quitting an old one, vastly switching your diet, diving head first into an exercise routine or some other big switch that flips your life in a great way.

While sometimes a monumental change is necessary (and you'll know if it is), often it's a small and meaningful change in perspective that creates a whole new way of viewing life. Feng Shui in my way is about your personal experience of your life and your space, and a small shift in that personal experience can revive your experience of life. Small shift = fresh start! Here are a few Feng Shui shifts that can help you jump start a fresh start at any time:


1/ Rethink a route

Your experience of your neighborhood has as much impact on your life as your experience of your own home. Can you change your daily route to the grocery store? Can you take the stairs instead of the elevator? Turn left instead of right? Being a creature of habit can be comforting, but new scenery keeps you on your toes and is a simple form of freshness.


2/ Refine a routine

You can elevate a daily experience by adding some fresh sensory goodness. What if you found an essential oil to wear that enhanced your yoga class? Try new dressings for salad? Warm up your bathroom before your morning shower? Try playing some new ambient music while you work? Smell, touch, taste, temperature, sound, texture and more take the ordinary to a new level.


3/ Revive your walls with art!

Fresh art is a fresh start in itself where your home is concerned. If you are timid about buying art, try some vintage shopping for art that moves you. A dynamic piece of art that you see when you first enter your home creates a fresh impression of your whole home for both you and guests as well.


4/ Replant houseplants that have been growing too big for their pots

Your plants will grow bigger, and, symbolically you are creating more space for growth in your own life.


5/ Revamp your front door

You don’t need to paint a door red to make it Feng Shui-friendly, but a revamped front door will speak confidently to the world about your fresh start. Whether it's a new coat of paint, a bigger door handle, more polished or prominent apartment numbers or some creative adornment like a wreath or a doormat that represents your personality, a front door that shines is a great way to welcome in new energy and new people!


6/ Remember what makes you special

Stumped as to what your “brand of genius” might be? Visit friends who make you feel amazing and see how they reflect your best self. Indulge in hobbies and passions. Start celebrating small victories as well as big ones in your life. Deciding to bring more of your personal genius to your whole life is both an absolute fresh start and brilliant Feng Shui for every day. Happy New Year… any time of year!

High Intensity Workout Without the Risk of Injury

Several years ago, I fractured my ankle from running. I pushed myself too far, too soon. Since then, I have been susceptible to injuries if I put too much stress on my joints. At first, I struggled with not being able to run, or do a high intensity cardio class. I’m a fitness junkie, so for me, the more extreme, the better. But I have found ways to get that high intensity workout, without the risk of injury.


Cardio Barre Classes

Barre classes are no impact workouts known for toning and lengthening the muscles for a sinewy dancer’s body. Kick it up a few notches, and you have cardio barre. These are high energy classes that get the heart rate high and the limbs to shake uncontrollably, so your body will burn calories all day long.


Power Yoga

Power Yoga is an off shoot of Ashtanga yoga, and popularized in America by Santa Monica’s own Bryan Kest. These classes are an up-tempo series of vinyasas and strength exercises, and while the room is typically not heated, this form of yoga will definitely make you sweat.


Megaformer Pilates

Pilates performed on a Megaformer is often describes as Pilates on steroids. The Megaformer enables you to work on several muscle areas at once, and at different angles, using straps, weights and springs. This amped up version of a Pilates class is harsh. There are no breaks, no mercy, and you will be shaking within the first few minutes of class.



Spinning is of one of the most popular low impact workouts that doesn’t stress your joints. With so many indoor cycling classes to choose from, it’s good to shop around to find the best workout for your needs. For a high intensity spin class, find one that incorporates weights and high intensity interval training.


Even though the above workouts are not high impact, they are intense and not recommended for those new to exercise. Be sure to inform your instructor if you have had a recent injury so they can help you with modifications if necessary.

What To Eat Before You Exercise

Some people think that working out on an empty stomach can help you lose weight and achieve a slimmer, toner body. The truth is, it can have the adverse effect. When your body is hungry, it goes into survival mode and takes protein from the muscle. This can actually slow the metabolism and cause you to lose muscle mass. Eating before you exercise is essential. You may not want a heavy meal before hitting the gym, but there are some lighter snacks, that when eaten an hour or two before, can help you power through your workout.


Simple Smoothies

Simple smoothies are the perfect pre-workout snack because they are high in carbohydrates, which keep you energized, and protein, which helps prevent muscle damage. Smoothies are also easy to digest. Just add some protein powder, fruit and coconut water or milk, and blend.


Whole Grain Crackers

Whole grain crackers with almond butter is a protein packed snack that is lower in calories, yet very satisfying. Be sure to choose an almond butter that doesn’t contain any added sugar, and a cracker that it made with unrefined grains. Some of my favorites are: Mary’s Gone Crackers and Wasa.


Protein Bars

Protein bars are an easy go to, and very convenient when you don’t have the time to fix a snack. Just be sure to read the labels, since many can have even more sugar and calories than a candy bar. Quest Bars have less than 200 calories and very little sugar and taste amazing. Elemental Superfood bars are raw, gluten free and packed with protein and fiber. They are also extremely easy to make yourself.


Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is an ideal snack, because it is light on the stomach and packed with the necessary protein and carbs. It’s great for the high intensity workouts that include plyometrics or interval training. For an extra boost of energy, add some granola and fruit.



Oatmeal is a great pre workout food because it slowly continues to release sugar into the bloodstream, keeping your levels nice and steady. Add some banana to help with nerve and muscle function, and you have a high powered snack for a high powered workout.

Valentine’s Day: Share The Love With Your Friends

Valentine's Day is more than just another Hallmark holiday. It is a day for showing our love and appreciation not only for our romantic partners, but all those we care about, including our friends. Reaching out to friends on this special day lets them know you’re thinking of them. It also expresses the gratitude you have for them being in your life.

Friendships can be detrimental, especially during times of need. They are the shoulder we rest our heads and cry on; they are the sages who impart us with astute advice. They help us stay on the straightened path and become our sounding boards during times of contemplation. There are also many health benefits of having close friends, so it’s true to say, that friendships are good for our overall well being.

Friendships actually heighten our moods. Studies have proven that when females bond, the hormone, oxytocin is released in the brain. This is known as the “feel good hormone.” It reduces stress, helps fight depression and creates an overall better disposition. During a study at UCLA, Dr. Laura Cousino Klein discovered that friendships also lower our blood pressure and cholesterol. “There’s no doubt that friends are helping us live longer,” Dr. Klein stated.

Friendships are good for our mental health as well. Our friends not only serve as therapists and confidants, they help boost our feelings of self worth and increase our sense of purpose. They can aid in coping with life changing traumas such as divorce, or the death of a loved one. Friendships can also decrease the risk of dementia since engaging with others helps to keep the brain fit.

As our busy lives progress and we get caught up in the day to day, sometimes we temporarily lose contact, even with those closest to us. Valentine’s Day is a wonderful day to reach out to our friends. Send a card or plan a phone call instead of typing out a text. Let all those who are good for your health, know you how much you love and appreciate them.

Clutter Free Lifestyle: Sell, Re-gift Or Get Rid Of Unwanted Gifts

Christmas and Chanukah is over, or rather, it's just another year until the next one! But please don't take long to figure out what to do with any unwanted gifts you've received this year. Studies show that most people receive at least one holiday gift they have no use for, and at least half of them keep it in the misguided hope they will find a use for it one day.

This correlates with surveys I've done in my workshops I've taught. The number one reason people keep stuff they don't use is because they hope it will come in useful someday. Yet when they reflect on the actual wisdom of this, most freely admit it never does. And what they fail to take into account is the stagnating effect keeping such items has on the energy of their home, and the corresponding stagnating effect this has on their life.

Some people keep unwanted gifts out of loyalty to the person who gave it to them, to which I say, if it's a genuine friendship, then keeping the gift can get in the way of it. Every time you look at the object or think about it, you remember your disappointment and your energy drops. As the old saying goes, it truly is the thought that counts. It's far better to accept the love that was given with the gift and let the physical item go.

Which brings us to re-gifting, a clutter-busting method many people now practice. It can be a risky business, I know, and I will never forget the smile on my friend’s face when I gave her a photo album I'd never use since I scrapbook, only to discover she had given it to me many years before. Knowing I was a professional organizer she took it in good humor.

In case your own relatives or friends aren't so understanding, a safer and wiser choice may be to go online to sell unwanted gifts, or give them away to someone who would like them and can use them. Depending on where in the world you live, eBay and community websites such as Freecycle or Craigslist, can help with this, and all report massive increases in listings, starting from Black Friday and continuing for the remaining days of December each year. Charity shops also report a flood of extra donations of items in the first weeks of January.

If you are brave (or brazen) enough to ask whoever gave you the gift for the receipt, you can return a gift and get a refund or exchange it for something you do want, which is probably the happiest solution of all.

Another option is repurposing. That ugly mug you received may be the last thing you want to drink your tea out of each morning, but could make a water cup when painting. Or you can break something down into its component parts and find a use for some of them, such as keeping the inside part of a ghastly-looking cushion and using it to re-stuff something else.

Of course, if you take up any of these options, you also have to change your own attitude about the gifts you give. It would be hypocritical not to. My own attitude is that if I give a gift to someone and it amounts to instant or eventual clutter in their life then I certainly don't want them to keep it. I would much prefer they sell it, re-gift it or throw it away if necessary. I give the gift and let it go. It's entirely up to them what they do with it. I know how the stuck energies that collect around such objects can stagnate a person's life and don't ever want to be responsible for contributing to that!