Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rum Balls!

 Healthier Holiday Rum Balls 

One of our long-standing Christmas traditions is making rum balls together. My daughter and I spend a day at my mom's house preparing these small yet power-packed seasonal treats.  I recently changed the recipe a bit to introduce healthier options to creating a tried and true favorite!



3 cups of gluten-free (chemical-free) animal cookies or grahams (or combo of both is good)

1 1/2 cup of finely chopped pecans

3 TBSP. honey

2 1/3 TBSP.  unsweetened 100% powdered cocoa (I use Ghiradelli)

1 1/2 cups of "Spectrum Decadent Blend" (available at Whole Foods, Mother's or other more natural grocers)

1/2-3/4 cups of unsweetened, reduced fat, 100% organic grated coconut

3/4 cups of Myer's Dark Rum

1/4 cup organic powdered sugar 

Pulse all the cookies until they are finely blended into a mix that looks a bit more course than flour.   Place in a medium bowl and add the cocoa, a cup of the nuts, all but 1/4 c. of the coconut, honey, and Spectrum mix.  Blend all dry ingredients until it is free of lumps.  Mix in the honey and then slowly mix in the rum, making sure the consistency is just right.  Blend thoroughly then cover and place in the refrigerator for about 45 mins.  (you don't have to refrigerate first but it makes the rolling easier and less sticky) **Note: the mixture should neither be too runny or too dry.  You might have to experiment with how much rum you add so go slow.   If it does get too "wet" you can add some cocoa or any of the other dry ingredients before you refrigerate.  

In a large ziplock bag add the rest of the coconut and the pecans.  Add the powdered sugar.  Lock the bag and shake all ingredients together.  

Take the rum mixture out of the refrigerator and begin to roll small, individual, bite-size balls, placing them one by one into the ziplock and gently shaking them up, making sure they are completely covered with the dry mix.  Take the balls out one by one and place in small,  wax paper lined cookie tins.  (I don't like to layer them because they lose their shape)   

These make nice, yummy gifts and they are so easy to make!  Put a bow on your tin and deliver to your favorite people.  Warning: don't let under-age people get a hold of them.  Also, since the rum is not cooked-off they can be slightly intoxicating if you eat too many.


Monday, October 23, 2017

Powerful Pumpkin Protein Smoothie


     (Thank you Paleo Hacks site and Cat Ebeling)

It’s PUMPKIN time again!! Pumpkin coffee, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin ravioli, pumpkin pie, pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin beer, pumpkin potato chips and more!  Thank you Paleo Hacks site, my husband and I will be adding this to our morning "green protein drink."  I guess it will be orange for the season!
While pumpkins are chock full of beta-carotene (the pre-cursor to vitamin A), and fiber, they are also low glycemic, meaning that pumpkin does not cause blood sugar levels to rise, helping you lose weight. Pumpkin is also great for your eyesight, beautiful smooth skin and has powerful disease-fighting capabilities.
However, keep in mind we are talking about pure pumpkin, not that pumpkin spice muffin you’re eating or your pumpkin spice mocha latte frappe! The sugar and refined flours cancel out the benefits of the pumpkin.
That beautiful bright orange color of pumpkins comes from the antioxidant, beta carotene, which not only turns to vitamin A in the body, but is a powerful antioxidant that protects against heart disease, cancer and diabetes. In fact, a recent study from Brazil showed that diabetic rats fed beta carotene reduced oxidative stress that helped prevent heart disease and disease processes caused by diabetes.
Beta-carotene is not the only diabetes-fighting nutrient in pumpkins. Two other compounds found in both pumpkins and fenugreek, trigonelline and nicotinic acid, have been shown in studies to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels by improving insulin resistance, according to researchers in Japan.
Pumpkin’s high fiber helps you feel full longer, which is a great aid in weight loss. And it’s low glycemic properties also help to keep your body in fat-burning mode—not fat-storing mode. Pumpkin’s powerful antioxidants also help fight off cancer and boost the immune system. A pumpkin-protein smoothie can be the perfect post-workout recovery food—since pumpkin is also full of potassium, along with its vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
Pumpkin can be eaten roasted, baked or steamed, similar to sweet potatoes or squash. It is a delicious addition to curries and soups as well. Don’t  forget to eat the pumpkin seeds, too, which are best lightly roasted. Pumpkin seeds are known to boost levels of serotonin, the ‘feel-good’ brain chemical.
Try this amazing pumpkin smoothie!


1/2 cup (approximate) organic pumpkin, canned or fresh baked
1 small or 1/2 regular/large tart apple
Protein powder of choice (vanilla works best with this recipe)
1-2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp turmeric
Handful of greens if you wish—baby kale, spinach, chard, etc.
Your milk of choice: real raw milk, coconut milk, almond milk, etc.
1 Tbsp of coconut oil


Mix in blender until smooth, add milk until desired consistency. Add a few ice cubes if you like it cold.
You should also know that this recipe is an almost perfect low-glycemic snack for Diabetics, due to it’s blend of fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants, and a reasonably low amount of sugars and carbs that impact blood sugar.  Speaking of Diabetes, make sure to read this page next:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

What's In What You're Putting On Your Face?

If you read "about" on my website here or if you have read any of my writings before, you will know that I have always been interested in health of the body, the mind, and the soul.  Each part of ourselves effects the other because we are intimately connected--- we were designed that way.  When one area of our body suffers, the others do too.  Ignore this truth and our health deteriorates, sometimes with no symptoms.  Honor this connection, and do whatever we can to maintain great health, and the rewards are too many to mention!

 So lately I've been struggling with the truth that the U.S. allows well over 1300 ingredients in cosmetics that are not allowed in most other developed nations. This is scary since I've been mostly ignoring this.

The United States has not passed a major federal law to regulate the safety of ingredients used in personal care products since 1938.   Why?  I'll let you come to your own conclusions but I think it's about the almighty dollar.

 I am not a big make-up person per-say but always elect to apply mascara (for these light blue eyes with light eyelashes that "disappear" if I don't darken them).  I know, I know,  I did recently try fake eyelashes but I experienced some negative symptoms and my eyelashes looked great, but my eyes and the surrounding skin didn't.  There's lots of chemicals in the glue, etc so that was a very bad idea!

  I will wear lip gloss or light colored lipstick, and a bit of tinted moisturizing foundation plus blush. And always after I spend too much time applying non-toxic sunscreen (at least I've done that for the past several years)  I prefer very light coverage unless I am going to a "fancy" party where I do love getting made-up to look glamorous but this only happens about 3-4 times a year.     Here's a photo of the "real me!" (with mascara)

Me being a bit silly on our boat but this is the REAL me so what the heck?!

I am what you'd call a more natural gal, probably because I workout 4-5 days a week, live on a boat part-time,  and who has time to constantly reapply make-up after sweating or swimming?  Really.   My mom and my daughters are the same way,  so call it a family tradition or whatever.  The point is...this is really not a post about make-up but it's about health.  

28 countries have banned 1400 ingredients which are allowed in the products we put on our skin and use on our hair. (The U.S. has only banned 11) As a health advocate and practitioner I'm always concerned about what I put in and on my body and what I recommend to others who trust me.

What I want you to know is this---I am not going to be silent about the issue of unhealthy make-up any longer.  To prove it I just joined a company who is involved in advocacy and in an attempt to change national policy as it applies to the ingredients that are allowed in most all U.S. cosmetics.    Our families are too important.  Our children and grandchildren are worth it.  We are worth it!

For more information or if you want to join me on this new mission go here:

I will be hosting monthy health "parties" both in Orange County and in Los Cabos, to help people understand the importance of educating themselves about the products they are using in their homes, in their bodies, and on their bodies. Stay tuned!  😀

 To contact me:  Donna@DonnaSchuller.ocm

Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Power To Grow Beyond Your Pain

You’ve probably heard the popular motto that most athletes ascribe to, “there is no gain without the pain.”    
My son’s girlfriend, Saige just completed the Orange County Marathon after many grueling months of training, and an even more grueling 26.2 mile race last Sunday.  I got to see her, up close, as she crossed mile marker 7, 14, 20, and then ultimately the finish line.  As she crossed through these mile markers I could read the various expressions on her face, while she also passed through a multitude of emotions.
 It is taking Saige days to get her feet feeling normal again and I’m sure her emotions and her spirit are renewing as well.   And guess what?  Any day now she will be back to the same demanding training again, preparing for her next marathon.   

 I spent almost nine years practicing the martial art of TaeKwonDo and it took long hours of training, several days a week.  I also experienced a few painful physical injuries along the way, as well as some emotional ones. I had to hear a lot of flack from people who questioned why I would want to practice martial arts in the first place?  

Saige, running the OC Marathon.  Somewhere between miles 0-14?
 Sometimes we choose to endure certain painful situations, like the sacrifices we make in order to compete in athletics.  I know from personal experience that I've grown in many ways through these physical endeavors as they also challenge my mind and my spirit. 

 One of my goals in life is to also grow in those challenging and painful times that are not of my choosing.   I'm referring to those occurrences that seem to come out of nowhere--- like the loss of a job, painful family issues,  needing to relocate a home or an office, the end of a relationship,  a personal diagnosis of illness... or the illness of a loved-one,  or the sudden (or not so sudden) death of a loved one.  

Through my sufferings I strive to find a greater purpose for my life, which includes looking into the future and trying to picture a favorable outcome.  I also find that while in the middle of my trials I always have a choice.  I can rely on and further develop the good, humane, loving, compassionate side of myself--- my God essence.   Or I can allow my suffering to bring out the most broken, discouraged, negative side of my being--- my human side.

 I believe my suffering can only be experienced by myself and for myself.  No one else is feeling or going through what I am going through even though our outward circumstances may be the same.  This is where my faith comes in.  I can draw on God’s strength and power when I don’t feel like mine is adequate for the situation--- for the season I’m in.  God was, is, and forever will be;  therefore unchangeable no matter what I (or anyone) go through.  I strive to understand that God lives beyond the three dimensional world that I live in, which is the here and now.  He is all knowing and all-powerful.  He knows the beginning and the end, even when I am confused.

Allowing myself to be comforted by God, and a belief in the greater good, has kept me sane, compassionate, and alert to finding some reason for everything. 
These are a few of the ways my suffering has helped me become a better person and a stronger person:

-I learn to share in the pain of others. Empathy.
-I see God at work in my friends, and sometimes people I hardly know, all around me. 
-I learn to appreciate loved-ones (spouse, children, extended family) in new and powerful ways.
-I learn to love more unconditionally.
-I realize that I don’t get to choose when and how I experience pain.
-I lose control in the tough times I go through, which I do not like, but instead I learn to live with and in, the process--- the journey. 
-I see that this life is temporary and it goes by so fast.
-I learn more trust.
-When going through my “dark night of the soul” seasons I become a more fully developed, a more mature version of myself by learning to let-go of what I think the outcome of any situation should be. 

With each passing hardship I learn to dig deeper, to go deeper than I ever thought I could; to draw hope from the deepest inner places, when I think there’s nothing left.
 And somehow through it all, my pain propels me forward in this fragile, yet strong human body, on this challenging spiritual journey, that we call life.  

Saige finishes the OC Marathon, 2nd place in her age group, 9th of 545 women ,77th out of 1489 total men and women!
For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.
 Philippians:2:13 NLT

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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Mindfulness Can Literally Change Your Brain

Mindfulness Can Change Your Brain

"Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is---his good, pleasing and perfect will."   
Romans 12:2
The business world is abuzz with mindfulness. But perhaps you haven’t heard that the hype is backed by hard science. Recent research provides strong evidence that practicing non-judgmental, present-moment awareness (a.k.a. mindfulness) changes the brain, and it does so in ways that anyone working in today’s complex business environment, and certainly every leader, should know about.
My friend, Dr. Daniel Amen contributed to this research in 2011 with a study on participants who completed an eight-week mindfulness program. We observed significant increases in the density of their gray matter. In the years since, other neuroscience laboratories from around the world have also investigated ways in which meditation, one key way to practice mindfulness, changes the brain. This year, a team of scientists from the University of British Columbia and the Chemnitz University of Technology were able to pool data from more than 20 studies to determine which areas of the brain are consistently affected. They identified at least eight different regions. Here we will focus on two that we believe to be of particular interest to business professionals.
The first is the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a structure located deep inside the forehead, behind the brain’s frontal lobe. The ACC is associated with self-regulation, meaning the ability to purposefully direct attention and behavior, suppress inappropriate knee-jerk responses, and switch strategies flexibly. People with damage to the ACC show impulsivity and unchecked aggression, and those with impaired connections between this and other brain regions perform poorly on tests of mental flexibility: they hold onto ineffective problem-solving strategies rather than adapting their behavior. Meditators, on the other hand, demonstrate superior performance on tests of self-regulation, resisting distractions and making correct answers more often than non-meditators. They also show more activity in the ACC than non-meditators. In addition to self-regulation, the ACC is associated with learning from past experience to support optimal decision-making. Scientists point out that the ACC may be particularly important in the face of uncertain and fast-changing conditions.

Source: Tang et al.
(Source: Tang et al.)
Source: Fox et al.
(Source: Fox et al.)

The second brain region we want to highlight is the hippocampus, a region that showed increased amounts of gray matter in the brains of our 2011 mindfulness program participants. This seahorse-shaped area is buried inside the temple on each side of the brain and is part of the limbic system, a set of inner structures associated with emotion and memory. It is covered in receptors for the stress hormone cortisol, and studies have shown that it can be damaged by chronic stress, contributing to a harmful spiral in the body. Indeed, people with stress-related disorders like depresssion and PTSD tend to have a smaller hippocampus. All of this points to the importance of this brain area in resilience—another key skill in the current high-demand business world.
Hölzel et al.
(Source: Hölzel et al.)

These findings are just the beginning of the story. Neuroscientists have also shown that practicing mindfulness affects brain areas related to perception, body awareness, pain tolerance, emotion regulation, introspection, complex thinking, and sense of self. While more research is needed to document these changes over time and to understand underlying mechanisms, the converging evidence is compelling.

Mindfulness should no longer be considered a “nice-to-have” for executives. It’s a “must-have”:  a way to keep our brains healthy, to support self-regulation and effective decision-making capabilities, and to protect ourselves from toxic stress. It can be integrated into one’s religious or spiritual life, or practiced as a form of secular mental training.  When we take a seat, take a breath, and commit to being mindful, particularly when we gather with others who are doing the same, we have the potential to be changed.   source

(Thank you Dr. Daniel Amen.  I posted this from something he wrote about)

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