Sustainable Halo

A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song. – Chinese Proverb

Settling In July 30, 2009

Filed under: Celebrate,Gotta Have It!,Sewing the Seeds — Simple Jess @ 2:09 am

Well, even though Mr. Nagel is away, we are settling into our new home day by day. The community here is so welcoming and kind. I have already met a lot of new people and the boys have made several new friends. One of our next door neighbors is also a young military family and they have two young boys as well. Little did we know we would have built in playmates upon arrival!

One of their boys had a birthday party at the pool on Saturday and it was an adorable celebration. I have to give props to my neighbor, Katie, since she is due to have her third child 2 weeks from now. Her pirate and treasure themed bash was simple yet very special with a couple of very unique touches: a combination that we love here at Sustainable Halo. The kids got to battle over gold coins and don bead necklaces as they splashed away the afternoon heat. One thing in particular that she did was special order pirate cupcake toppers from Etsy and had them customized. I do not know how she did all of this in her final days of pregnancy. It was simply amazing! Check out the seller, they are VERY cute. Etsy can be a bit of an obsession, but its worthy,especially because you know you are supporting the handmade community.

I am grateful for my new friends and community as a whole.

Love and light,


Gratitude July 27, 2009

Filed under: Mind, Body and Spirit — Simple Jess @ 5:33 pm

Today, I had a first.

I had a my very first moment of spontaneous gratitude. I have tried over the years to connect with God. I have tried to be a good Christian, a good citizen, a good wife, a good mother, a good person and so on.

I did not know what it meant to just really give yourself up to creation. The past year has been a watershed of growth and connection for me. I have been easing into a true state of curiosity and openness to spirituality and God. It has not been easy, as it should not be, but it has enriched my life and multiplied as I move along.

Today, I was open and my heart was filled…completely spontaneously. I asked. I prayed for this. It did not come to me all of the sudden but there were signs and subtle messages. I now KNOW that I will continue to receive this love if I stay the course. My heart was filled with gratitude today and I give thanks. I share this with you because I simply do not know what else to do but follow my heart. That is what it says to do.

If you have any words please share below:

To all of you, with grateful love and light,


Young Coconuts July 20, 2009

Filed under: Food, Food, Food! — Simple Jess @ 2:36 pm

As I my interest and experience in consuming natural foods, unprocessed foods, I have stumbled upon young coconuts a lot. They have always been a daunting prospect and I did not think I would really enjoy the flavor since I have tried coconut juices on the market and did not like them.

But, I decided that I cannot knock it until I try it. I have been eating more raw foods for awhile now and felt like I was ready, my palate was ready. I am always trying to find things give my children to drink that are healthy and whole so I thought they might like to drink the water out of the coconut: fun for a kid, right?

I started by referencing Natalia Rose’s book The Raw Food Detox Diet, which I use quite a bit for information, inspiration and great recipes. I remembered reading her instructions for cracking one and needed to refresh my memory. Wouldn’t you know it? I opened the book right to the page of instructions the first time! I love serendipitous moments like that, I see them as a pointer that you are moving in the right direction.

Her instructions are great and I only have a slight variation on them:

She recommends that you purchase a cleaver. I am still not sure what she means by this but I used my large Japanese butcher knife and it worked fine. You will also see an example that I am providing from another website at the bottom of this page.

She also recommends that you use a wooden cutting board. I took this one step further and placed a kitchen towel over the board for extra grip and also to catch any loose liquids that escape. This is bound to happen when you are first trying this out.

Now, you just lie the coconut on its side and aim the pointy top in the direction of your strong hand. I am right handed so I aimed it toward that arm. Then you keep your other arm down, do not bother holding onto the coconut. It will stay put and you do not want to risk a cut. From there you systematically strike the coconut at the head with your strong arm. Don’t go crazy just lift your arm up about shoulder height, bring it down gently to spot where you want to hit and then swing up and strike down. Use your other hand to turn the coconut and do it again and again until you have made your way around the whole coconut. The top will either pop off or pry off and you have liquid gold inside.

So, now that I had it open, and my two little boys were standing still in awe of what their Mommy had just done, I poured the liquid into cups for us all. Peter, my 15 month old, was straight away in love with this drink. Graham, 2 and a half, had a few sips and then asked for juice: I prepare fresh pressed juice for them most days. Then I started to scoop the coconut flesh, which was surprisingly soft and, especially at the bottom, gelatinous. Peter was equally charmed with the flesh part and Graham was equally nonplussed. I really liked the liquid. The flesh was alright but it might take me awhile to really catch on there. I am excited to have this as another weapon in my arsenal of replacements to the more current, processed foods available.

If you are unsure of what a young coconut is it is important to ask your grocer. I buy the ones that are shaved down, white with plastic wrap and are refrigerated at the market. Also, I have found a great website resource that has great instructions with photo demonstrations. They show you how to make a coconut smoothie! The company is Living-Foods and they also sell cases of the coconuts if you are interested.

I will share any recipes or other uses I find with this wonderful new food discovery in future posts!

Be sure to tune in every week during the month of August, as I will be presenting my Summer Cancer Prevention series of articles, including an Interview with Charlotte Gerson, daughter and protege of renowned cancer healer Max Gerson, MD!

If you have any questions or comments I encourage you to submit them in the box below!

Love and light,


Summer is in the Air! July 18, 2009

Filed under: Inspirations,Mind, Body and Spirit,Nature — Simple Jess @ 11:25 pm

Earlier this year I wrote a post titled Spring is in the Air. I wrote about a sad experience that I had in my Virginia house. In short, someone killed my praying mantis and it was devastating! When I wrote that post I was really mourning the loss of all of the plants, squirrels, birds, etc. that I was moving away from and hoping that they were taken good “green” care of after my departure to San Diego.

I was going into the unknown: moving my family to the other far side of this nation and leaving the safety net of familiarity. I would like to update those who care to know that I have received confirmation that its all good:) Prepare yourself for a bit of mushy and possibly flaky waxing on about what makes my heart swell.

I have my tomato plants growing in the hot summer sun up on our rooftop deck and this morning I went out to water them. It would have been so easy to miss, as is usual with a praying mantis, this very little creature resting neatly on a twisted vine of my plant. Upon closer inspection I noticed that it was missing one of its long hind legs, making me love him even more. I have immediately become protective of my new little friend and hope that he lives a happy life up on our deck.

As the sun was setting tonight, I wandered up there for one last look at it. It had moved to a new position and just sat there looking at me. There was no fuss when I bent in close for a good look. It was calm and collect. This is therapeutic to me. Why? I do not really know. I do know that I take great pleasure in the simple things in life and the presence of this creature is epic to me.

What do you find to be epic in the saga of your life? What speaks to your heart? Whatever it might be, give it some attention and love because I am sure that if you do that you will see it flower somewhere else in your life. I think that is why meditation is so great. It is an opportunity to focus in on nothing and let yourself flow with the simplicity of life. Tonight, I will go to my roof and meditate before bed. I think my little green friend will enjoy the company and I will nurture my spirit.

Be sure to tune in every week during the month of August, as I will be presenting my Summer Cancer Prevention series of articles, including an Interview with Charlotte Gerson, daughter and protege of renowned cancer healer Max Gerson, MD!

Love and light,


Laurie Berkner

Filed under: Adventure! — Simple Jess @ 12:36 pm

This post is completely self indulgent, I know. But every now and then a girl has to take advantage of the platform. My children and I LOVE Laurie Berkner. Her music and rhymes speak straight the hearts of children but are catchy, quirky and respectful enough to get Moms hooked too! It is wholesome and good fun.

For all of my San Diego friends and readers, pay close attention! All you have to do is request that her band visit your town and a tally is kept of attendance requests. If your city merits a concert, it will get one! Here is the link to check it out:

Demand Laurie Berkner Band in San Diego!
Laurie Berkner Band in San Diego - Learn more about this Eventful Demand

View all San Diego events on Eventful

Of course, if you live somewhere else and would like for her to visit your town and put on a show for your little humans just put in your zip!

I have never seen her live but we have so much fun with her music and videos at home. I can only imagine how great one of these shows would be.

Love and light,


Dairy What? Got What? July 16, 2009

Filed under: Food, Food, Food! — Simple Jess @ 1:40 am

I am so tired of seeing Got Milk? ads! Every time I see an athlete pose in the name of the dairy industry I get increasingly agitated. There is this misconception that to be a successful athlete consuming low fat dairy is a must and why do you think that is? One of the top offenders of this perpetuation is this very successful and profitable line of milk and dairy ads.

If you are made sick, disturbed by or maybe even just laugh at the tobacco industry’s ruthless seduction of consumers than you should be able to see how slick the dairy industry is. This is another topic that I plan to elaborate on, the nutritional value of dairy versus other foods in my future posts and newsletters. For now, just think. There is a strong resemblance, huh?

What put me over the edge was an ad with Dara Torres. Dairy Torres? Yuck! What? This is not my effort to take anything away from a successful female athlete. She has earned all of her accomplishments and I admire her for that. I just do not like my admiration to be exploited. Why did she do it? Well, she probably consumes a fair amount of dairy. Is that the reason she is a super athlete? NO!!!!!!!!

If you are curious to know if someone can be a super athlete without consuming dairy or animal products period, stand by. I will show you. But let’s just stay with this for a moment. This is a prime example of marketing gone bad and the selfish tunnel vision that even Olympic athletes fall prey to when they spend too much time parlaying their name, their brand, into $$$$$$$$$$.

Do not let yourself be fooled. Do not succumb. Do not lay down and let marketers decide how you fuel your body or those of your family. It is a shame and I can say that even though I am not a super athlete, I have been a very active woman for many years and know that it is NOT necessary to eat dairy.

If you question this or are just curious, please check out this website.

You will surely read about Brendan Brazier, a phenomenon as an athlete and also an inspirational person in his efforts to stand up for ethical and healthy eating. He focuses on the energy in fruits, vegetables and grains as being the cornerstone to an athlete’s training and lifestyle. I have to admit, I have a bit of a crush…

I have girl and boy crushes but I have to say that, with all respect, my crush on Dara Torres is dead. I no longer have a fascination with her but hope the best for her. She has a lot of time to learn and improve, just like the rest of us, and she deserves to experience it all on her own curve.

I will leave you all with a link to Epicurious. It is another mention from her website and if you scroll down, you will see my comment as well as some other peoples’, even though I was a little slow in responding. I was happy to see that this sophisticated foodie website had a good dose of educated and passionate viewers that took the time to keep it real! There is a whole and superior level of energy food out there and it is sad to see that we have lost touch with it. Eat your fruits and vegetables, people!

Be sure to tune in every week during the month of August, as I will be presenting my Summer Cancer Prevention series of articles, including an Interview with Charlotte Gerson, daughter and protege of renowned cancer healer Max Gerson, MD!

Keepin’ it real,


Finding Your Center July 15, 2009

Filed under: Inspirations — Simple Jess @ 11:09 am

Yesterday was one of those days.

It started early and kept banging away at me all day. I tried to turn things in a positive direction by taking the boys for a long walk along the ocean, at the Strand bike path. This is almost always a joy for all of us and I get my exercise in since my husband is deployed and cannot stay with them while I run.

My neighbor invited us to join them at an impromptu birthday picnic at the park at noon, (these are all new friends since we just moved here and I really wanted to attend,) just as we were heading out for our walk. I thought to myself that this would be great but not likely, since Peter would be ready for a nap when we returned. I shared this with her and passed along birthday wishes.

Just as we got out of the village and onto the bike path, Peter began screaming and I realized that he had tossed his pacifier, my crutch when we are out. I sang him some songs and he quieted down. He began talking to himself and I figured we were good to go. Then as we made it out even further, he started screaming. Then Graham started bucking himself back and forth in his seat and I knew we were in for difficult ride. Most of the bikers that passed us shared smiles of sympathy, which are nice and very much appreciated but just not enough to extinguish the fire in a mother’s chest when her kids are uncontrollably acting up.

I was able to calm Graham down and warn him that his behavior was not welcome but Peter was over the top and would not stop. Now, the positive in this is that it forced me to run home with jogger, which I had not felt like doing yesterday since I was in a funk. So I got more intense exercise than I would have. But it really just fueled the beginning of a brush fire day.

As my patience with my kids dwindled, my headache increased and and after receiving some sketchy news, all I wanted to do was crawl into my bed and lick my wounds. This was impossible so I pushed on. I tried to use my skills at centering myself with imagery but turned to a bag of Newman O’s instead. My will was abandoning me and I just couldn’t wait for the kids to go to bed.

Once that became a reality, I was able to relax a bit but the tension and stress of the day were there to stay. I watched a movie, instead of cleaning up the house and downloaded my Changed Your Thoughts, Change Your Life: Living the Wisdom of the Tao audio CD to my IPOD. My plan was to try the long walk again in the morning but listen to Dr. Wayne Dyer’s soothing voice and words of wisdom this time around. My will is strong and even though yesterday was the kind of day that sort of levels me, I prayed myself to sleep and asked for a simple morning of joy with myself and my kids. Hopefully, my kids will cooperate today, as they usually do.

I did not find my center yesterday but instead found myself spinning somewhere in the fray. I think we all do sometimes. Sometimes all we have is our will and when that fails us, just our faith.

If at first you do not succeed try, try again and know that I am out there trying too…along with many others. We are all one and today I send out a message of strong will and encouragement that if you are struggling with anything, DO NOT give up and for carrot’s sake give it your all. You are worth it: we are worth it.

Be sure to tune in every week during the month of August, as I will be presenting my Summer Cancer Prevention series of articles, including an interview with Charlotte Gerson, daughter and protege of renowned cancer healer Max Gerson, MD!

Love and light,