The Dark Side to Clean Eating

What exactly is clean eating?

Does it mean simply cutting out junk food? Or does it also mean cutting out gluten? Perhaps it means going Paleo, or maybe going vegan? What about going on a raw food diet?

I’m pretty sure that if you were to ask several different people what clean eating means, you will get several different answers, including some of the ones I have already mentioned and anywhere in between. There is no single standard to the term as everyone will have their own interpretations of what it means to them.

But as we dig a little further on this term, you will start to see that things are being placed into two categories: clean and not clean. And though that is fine for some people, it can become a psychological disaster for others.

An obsession can begin with clean eating, creating an unhealthy relationship between some people and the food they eat. It no longer becomes something enjoyable. It becomes something they are thinking about all the time, eliminating things out of fear and having enormous guilt when they eat something that is deemed unclean on their list.

Their attempts at clean eating have now turned into anxiety at meal times, leaving some people refusing to eat if it’s not up to their clean standards. Some people may even push away family and friends as the obsession grows.

I’m not saying that clean eating is wrong. Everyone should strive to improve their health through good, nutritious food in the manner that serves them best. But if clean eating has turned into something that creates such a panic-driven lifestyle, it’s time to stop and reconsider what is really happening and to reestablish a healthier relationship food.

Food is fuel. Food provides the nutrients you need to do the things you love.

Meal time shouldn’t be about filled with anxiety. If clean eating is creating a mess of your internal state, perhaps there is something more going on to be addressed that you are using food to mask and control.

Spend some time alone, in meditation and journaling, to begin uncovering what is really going on. Talk to someone you trust about what’s going on.

Because clean eating shouldn’t be a way to control your life. That will only create more issues as you push away or bottle up what’s really going on. Our relationship with food and with ourselves is what will carry us either positively or negatively throughout our lives. Think about it: they are the greatest lifelong relationships in our lives. They are the relationship we need to nurture in a healthy manner if we want to feel like we are thriving rather than merely surviving.

So in the words of Tara Stiles, “Eat like you love yourself.” Whatever clean eating means to you, do it because you love yourself and want to be the best version of yourself that you can be. And if you find yourself starting to head down a path that just doesn’t feel right, I hope that you can find the strength to stop and reevaluate the issue at hand.

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Taking Risks

We get so caught up in what might go wrong that we don’t think about what might go right. We underestimate our true potential.

So we never take that risk, not matter how small, for fear of what may happen… which most of the time, will NEVER happen.

Then we get older and look back in regret saying, “Damn, I wish I would’ve done that.”

It’s as though when we get older we realize that vulnerability and taking those risks is actually a good thing.

Staying in the status quo gets us no where…just comfortable for the time being. But are we truly comfortable when our hearts yearn for something greater? It’s in the unknown that we grow.

What would you do if you knew you could not fail?

Oh, it has risks?

But what would happen if you didn’t even try?

Live a life on your terms that when you grow old you sit back, smile and say, “That shit was real.”

Drop the excuses. Listen to your inner guide. Take those risks. You’d be surprised how often things will actually turn out in your favor.
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11 Morning Rituals That Will Transform Your Life

Morning rituals are much more important than you may have come to believe.


I have come to learn that what I do first thing in the morning will set the tone for the rest of my day, which in turn sets the tone for the rest of my life. Think about it. If I keep doing the same thing over and over again, isn’t that an indicator of the quality of my life?


If you think about your mornings, you’ll probably realize that you already have a set ritual, whether you like it or not. Maybe it goes something like: wake up, check emails, check social media, brush your teeth, drink coffee, get lunch ready for the kids, then rush out the door in a hurry.


If you’re in a bit of a slump and want to make some powerful changes to your life, committing yourself to positive rituals every morning will do just that and more. You will not only nurture your body and consciously create the life you want, but you will be cultivating the most important relationship in your life—the one with yourself.


Here are 11 morning rituals that will transform your life for the better:


1. Wake up earlier

It might sound counterintuitive to some people as you may lose some sleep and think you will be less productive, but it will pay off in the long run. Being able to spend time with yourself before the rest of the world demands your time is absolutely essential for a happier life, one in which you feel like you are thriving. Start by waking up just a little bit earlier each day until you have enough time to do some of the following rituals (or an other of your own) without feeling hurried. Nurturing the relationship with yourself will translate to everything else in your life. Don’t skimp on this. Think of it as an investment in yourself.


2. Gratitude

Spending some time in a state of gratitude is a very basic, yet powerful way to start your day in a positive way. It can be so easy to fall into a trap of negativity and not being or having “enough.” By practicing gratitude, you focus on all the good things in your life, not matter how small. Spend at least a few minutes thinking, writing or verbalizing all that you are grateful for that morning, the day before, the week, the month. You’ll be surprised how much this practice can lift your mood and possibly even notice things you hadn’t before.


3. Meditate

Much can be said about clearing your mind of mental chatter. Just a few minutes of meditation in the morning can do wonders for the rest of your day as you gain clarity and learn to manage stress. There are so many ways to meditate, so keep experimenting until you find a style that works best for you. You don’t have to do anything like completely zen out (but if you do, make sure to set a meditation timer). Simply sitting or laying comfortably in silence while you focus on your breath for a few minutes can be enough to recharge you.


4. Drink 2 cups of warm water 

We are already dehydrated upon waking. Our bodies lose about 2 cups of water every night, so replenishing its water supply first thing in the morning is very important. Not only does it hydrate the body, water also energizes the body and elevates mood, boosts immune system, aids in detoxification and in digestion, as well as slows down the signs of aging. Squeeze some lemon to your water for added benefits.


5. Revisit your written goal/s

Have your goal written somewhere that you can remember to see it every morning. Take a moment to visualize this goal already happening in your life. For a more powerful effect, write a very compelling, emotional and positive reason “WHY” you want to accomplish this goal and use this reason to drive you towards your goal everyday.


6. Focus on how you want to feel

Ask yourself, “How do I want to feel today?” And whatever the answer is, what actions can you take today to feel that way? Because at the end of the day, everything falls back to your emotional state.


7. Write the 3 most important tasks to get done today

To do lists can be endless. Prioritize and pick the top three things that absolutely need to get done today. The confidence and motivation you will get from getting 3 major tasks done will carry over to the next day and eventually drive you to strive for even greater tasks. You’ll also notice that you’ll still get all the little things done throughout the day or you’ll realize that they really weren’t as important as you once thought.


8. Get motivated

Listen to a TED talk or an uplifting podcast. Spend some time reading a book that will improve your life (or listen to the audio version). Feeding your mind with something positive every single day will improve your overall well-being and how you relate to the world.


9. Get active

Do something to get your body moving, whether it’s yoga, a HIIT workout, jumping on a Reformer, a morning jog, or sex. Whatever your preferred workout, just move. It energize your body, elevate your mood, and boost your metabolism. If you are really short on time, at least do some light stretching to get your body ready for the day.


10. Eat (a healthy) breakfast

Starting your day by nourishing your body is vital. It’ll kick start your metabolism and give your body and brain the fuel it needs for a productive morning. If you’re short on time, opt to prepare your breakfast the night before by precutting your green smoothie ingredients and setting them in the fridge the night before so all you’ll have to do is pull it out and blend. Overnight oats is another grab-and-go option, as is having a protein shake among so many other healthy options. Whatever you do, don’t skip out on fueling your body!


11. Smile at yourself

Look in the mirror with your shoulders back and smile at yourself with a great big smile. Changing your physiology, then smiling and seeing a smile will initiate a positive response in your brain. You have acknowledged you. And with everything that happens everyday, with all the directions we can get pulled by people and things, it can be pretty easy to forget to take that moment to acknowledge and reconnect with the deeper part of yourself.





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12 Tips on Becoming More Confident

We were born with the confidence of a blazing star. Just look at how confident small children are. But we just forget this in-born confidence as time goes on as we become influenced by all sorts of external factors. But it’s there– it’s just a matter of cultivating it.

For me, three things that increase my confidence daily are my successes as a mother, the progress in my yoga practice and workouts, and unconditional love. However, I’ve found there are many more ways to work on becoming more confident from the inside out:

1. Keep an open mind and see the potential to grow in every day situations. The good, the bad. All of it.

2. And stop hating! It only keeps you from realizing your highest potential. Being focused on others keeps you from focusing on yourself and keeps you in a spiral of negativity.

3. Be aware of your strengths and OWN them! What are you good at? What do you enjoy? Do more of that!

4. Strive for progress–  not perfection.

5. Know that sometimes #shithappens. Just pick your head up and move on to the next.

6. Believe in yourself. Whatever you project others will pick up and believe about you, too.

7. So be optimistic! There’s power in your words and thoughts. Negativity brought into fruition only undermines your confidence.

8. Work on resolving your fears. Or, if they won’t resolve, learn to work past them. You gain confidence in the small steps.

9. See yourself and others through loving, compassionate eyes.

10. Get physical, whether it’s yoga, weight training, running or dancing. Whatever it is, do what feels good for you. Working out not only does wonders for your body but your mind as well. Celebrate the progress along your journey.

11. Practice gratitude daily. Be mindful of the little successes that go unnoticed.

12. And meditate. Clear your mind of the thoughts that plague you. Get connected to your true essence and shine from deep within. Align yourself with the power of your higher Self so you may live your life to its highest potential.

Always remember: you are a beautiful, capable being, born to do great things in this lifetime. Love yourself fully and own your abilities with confidence!

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Create The Conditions and Allow Yourself to Bloom: The Birth of a Flower

Geez… inhale.. Yeah… exhale… I need to go to the hospital.create the conditions and bloom the birth of a flower summer perez


I had just finished throwing up so violently that I had no idea how I did not smash my face on the porcelein.

Now there I was, lying on the cold stone bathroom floor, 34 weeks pregnant. The last time I threw up like that I gave birth a few minutes later. 

My sister’s car broke down. Oz is at work 30 minutes away. Taxi please.

The cab driver asked if I was going to visit someone or to work at the hospital.

“No, I think I’m having a baby.”


He started to drive a little faster. I can’t imagine a cab driver who wants someone’s water bursting in their back seat.

 Thirty minutes later, I’m going through registration. Really? C’mon. There’s got to be a faster way. 

See, I don’t feel the pain of the contractions as badly as others. I zen out throughout the process. I can make it to the pushing without extreme pains. I just feel uncomfortable tightening. 

I got up to the maternity triage and changed my clothes in the bathroom. A cattleya flower greets me there. A sign that she’s coming? Cataleya was to be her name.

The nurse says I’m 3 centimeters dialated, 80% effaced and baby’s head is at the -1 position, meaning she’s super low. The monitors say I’m contracting intensely (how am I not in extreme pain?). Contractions are 1-3 minutes apart. This baby wants to come out tonight.

But she can’t. She’s too small. She needs to bake for a few more weeks. Ideally 6 more weeks.

They inject me with medication to help stop the contractions. Doesn’t work very well. I’m still contracting hard even though it is starting to pace out. I’m pumped with so much saline fluid that I’m going to the bathroom every few minutes. I want it to just stop. I want to have it all stop.

In time, things slowed down and two days later I was released. My doctor said if I made it to 36 weeks to throw a party. Heck, if we made it to that Friday to throw a party. It was only Monday.

Wow, I’m having a baby. And soon.

bw 34 weeks pregnant

Where did the time go?

I wasn’t ready for her to come right now.

Up to that point, more often than not, I didn’t feel pregnant. Most of the time was spent responding to other people’s needs. I was in such a stressful living situation that I felt as though I was not permitted to just BE. It didn’t sink in that I was actually pregnant and another baby is coming until I was in the hospital. I thought I had more time.

And I needed time on my side. From then on, I committed to living in the moment as much as possible. Every day that passed was a celebration. No need to wait until Friday. We were celebrating now.

jayden summer perez curls valentines

I was soaking up as much time as I could with my son before his sister arrives. Wasn’t I doing this before? I thought I was. But I quickly realized I missed out on things when I allowed myself to be overtaken by other people’s negative dispositions. Being an empath, I can get lost in the energy of those around me if I don’t make a conscious effort to emit and protect my own. No wonder Cataleya wanted out. Or at least wanted to let me know to get my shit together.

Thank you for that wake up call, baby girl.

I found peace in the days that followed, and I felt her love more than ever. And it felt like magic.

Kisses from the womb

On the morning of her birth, she gently woke me up to let me know it’s time we met. I basked in serenity knowing I was going to be face to face with my angel.

It was with the strength I found in serenity that allowed me to have a mostly painless labor and birth. No screaming, no crying, no medications. Just peace. Ok, and maybe a tight grip on Oz’s hand here and there. 

But the moment the doctor handed me her tiny little 36 week body to hold, there was an overwhelming sense of completeness. 

This is it. 

She’s here.

cataleyabirth babypreemie

And she’s perfectEven down to her name. 

The cattleya orchid can live in harsh environments, but given the right conditions it blooms to reveal one of the world’s most beautiful flowers. 

My little Cataleya did just that. And as she continues to bloom, she teach me to do the same. 

Create the conditions and allow yourself to bloom.


create the conditions catalpa bloom

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When Things Fall Apart (and Even When They Don’t), Breathe and Be Love

breathe and be love summer perez

It’s such a simple phrase, but it really does do a lot to calm your body, reframe your mind, and remind you of your true nature. At any given moment you are given the choice to react or respond. So whenever things begin to get overwhelming, out of hand, or just brings a negative sensation to your body, take a moment to breathe. Close your eyes.

Breathe and be love. 

Because that is who you really are. You are, at your very core, pure love. It can be so easy to forget, so easy to get masked by fear we learn as we go through our lives. But imagine how life can change when you start looking through loving eyes and respond with a loving heart. 

When you surrender to unconditional love

When you stop in the midst of all the chaos and remember.

 When you close your eyes and let it sink in. 

Be gentle, be patient, be kind..breathe..and be love

This reminder came to me in a moment of serenity after I had been crying hysterically during the dark times I was having over two years ago. My inner guide’s message was exactly what I needed to show me how to be happy again…how to find peace when things fall apart

Because the more that I show up as love, the more I surrender to something greater than me which in turn gives me strength to move forward. It’s in the remembrance of this divine love that fear moves aside to reveal truth and happiness. And it’s through the expression of love that miraculous shifts occur.

 Be gentle, be patient, be kind..breathe..and be love.

Remember, at any given moment you are given the choice to react or respond…to give into the negative cycle or to acknowledge its existence then gently move past it. If you find that you’ve headed down a path that doesn’t feel good, you find find yourself in negative self-talk in the mirror, screaming at a loved one, or completely stressed out, you can always choose again.

 Each moment is a chance for a new beginning. Simply close your eyes, breathe and choose again. Close your eyes, breathe… and be love. 

Let love give you strength…let love set you free.

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There is Freedom to be Found in Vulnerability

There was a time in my life where I wrote freely online. And everything was straight up.  There was no sugar-coating anything. I was 100% with everything going on with my life.

Dreams, thoughts, hopes, aspirations, lessons.

Sex, drugs, love and hip hop.

Family problems, therapy, abuse, depression, anxiety, eating disorders, school.

And I wrote about how I was getting over a lot of my problems and what I was learning throughout the process. It was quite revealing, but I didn’t see it that way. I simply enjoyed the freedom I felt in expressing the rawness of life and while still bleeding saying BUT I’M GOING TO MAKE IT BECAUSE I AM NOT QUITTING ON MYSELF.

There was a point in college where I was completely out of alignment and a different set of addictions hit heavy. I needed to express my desire for recovery in every aspect of my life while holding myself accountable for it. My blog held my journey.

A few months later I got a phone call from someone very dear to me at the time. My posts were being found and read by people all over the world and it finally reached his awareness. Aaand his parents. Apparently someone sent it to his parents to read. Which didn’t go over to well for him since it described a lot of stuff he didn’t want his parents to know.

I called my sister freaking out, hoping she was by a computer to quickly take down the blog before he could read everything. But she wasn’t home and by then time she was, it was too late. Needless to say, there was a lot of screaming. And crying. And apologies. Well, screaming from his end. Crying and apologies from mine.

I remember his dad telling me that after all of the terrible things I have been through, it is amazing to see how I have learned from it all and turned into who I had become… that it was all incredibly inspiring.

I half smiled and looked down, still ridden with guilt over what happened and how it has affected my relationship. I didn’t allow what he said to sink in. At the next chance I got, I quickly proceeded to delete over two years of my life.

It has been 11 years since that incident and it wasn’t until last week that I realized that this story existed as a block in my mind and kept me from starting another blog. I knew I could help others going through the same things I have gone through, but the fear of rejection that I may receive online from my stories kept me caged. I was half showing up in the world and I knew it. My inability to be 100% vulnerable was keeping me small. 

Funny how fear can create this power that can keep us down if we listen to it. 

Yes, there is ALWAYS a possibility for the rest of my life that someone is going to reject me in some way. And though that fear may very well exist, I shouldn’t let the possibility of a few negative voices keep me from living in and expressing my raw truth through any medium I choose, regardless how ugly that truth may seem. Because what may be deemed ugly lies a lot of beauty. And what lies beyond that fear is worth more to me– and others– than being held back by it.

512b6a26-2My life is my message, just as much as your life is your message. Life has given me challenges that I could not only handle, but also transcend and thrive from. Who am I to not to share my story?

Fear is a cage. There is freedom to be found in vulnerability. And so much more.

Here I am. This is me. And I am free.
Here I am. This is me. And I am free.


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Dance With Me

My body interprets and brings to life the language of my soul
Writing poems with my every breath
With my every movementSummerPerezdancewithme
With my every stillness
But sometimes that poetry forms words
And my hands flow with the words of my tears that I won’t allow my eyes to shed
The energetic buzz of my soul’s love trying to be heard
Written prayers of gratitude and admiration for the beauty of this life
And at times of pain and suffering
But as I express I can feel I am never alone

I can feel it with my poetry
My movement
My stillness
My breath
My tears
My joy
My laughter
My love
My soul feels yours no matter the distance and revels in your poetry
Your movement
Your stillness
Your breath
Your tears
Your joy
Your laughter
Your love
In a poetic dance of souls too beautiful for eyes to see alone
A poetic dance that comes into full view
When we open our hearts and let our light shine
Illuminating the darkness with a flame that can never be put out

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