Are you sick of being told what you “should” do?

I am, which is why I was inspired to write this blog post. ¬†As an online vegan life coach, being active daily in the online marketing world, I am surrounded by “experts” who have been successful, or somewhat successful (and those who haven’t too) in building their brand, who feel compelled to tell you that because one strategy worked for them, you must do the same. ¬†They automatically assume that there is only their way or the highway, which only leave others feeling confused, overwhelmed, and frustrated.

I often draw analogies between health and fitness and building a business – there are just too many similarities to ignore. ¬†To give you an example: one person can live mostly off fruits and vegetables and build a rock hard body, while others have an impressive physique eating a ton of animal proteins. While I will suggest that the prior person will at least be healthier on the inside, it just goes to show that there are a million different ways to do the dishes, and they all end up getting clean in the end. While I understand that people can get very passionate about their way because they’ve experienced great results, it also poses danger to suggest that there is no other way to the path of greener pastures.

What matters here is that you follow what makes you happy, what feels in alignment with your values, and what course of action(s) will bring the most ease and joy for you. ¬†One common denominator is hard work, coupled with consistency – unfortunately you cannot escape these two factors when you want to create success; in life, health, business or personal relationships. ¬†But other than that – why not learn to listen to your instincts, your “gut”, your inner compass? Only you know what’s best for you and how you like to work. You might be a morning person, or a vampire who wakes up only after dark – when are you at your most productive? ¬†Use that time to create, and ignore the thousands of articles who say that all successful people get up at 4 am. I happen to know quite a few ¬†people who sleep until 9am and are millionaires.

Working with someone, whether that is a personal trainer or coach, that understands and gets¬†you as an individual, sees your unique¬†skills, talents, weaknesses and strengths, becomes super important as you set new goals and decide to embark on new challenges. What I’ve seen in the past, working with women especially, is our innate conviction that we not only can do it on our own, but that we should. ¬†Asking for help is a sign of weakness, or maybe even more – an inconvenience to others. ¬†Nothing could be further from the truth. ¬†Working with others strengthens us, feeds our souls and produces massive results!

There are currently people out there who would feel so fulfilled and happy helping you reach your goals, whatever they are. Looking to lose 20 lbs or get back into your workout routine that can help you feel stronger get more energy throughout the day? Want to start your own business or ask for that promotion but have no idea how to do it? There is someone out there for you that will help you find your north star, keep you motivated, feel inspired and make you see how important it is that you share¬†with the world and how truly special you are. ¬†You are not alone, and you don’t have to go it alone.

Your desires are someone else’s desires too and by taking the first step to fulfill yours, you will give someone else “permission” to pursue theirs as well.¬†

You don’t have to do what ‘everyone else is doing’. ¬†What I encourage you to do, is to get honest with yourself, allow yourself to be you, wholeheartedly and unapologetically – and you will unleash magic into the universe and the energy you put out will come back to you tenfold. ¬†Be different, be bold and be YOU. ¬†I give you permission. Now get out there¬†and just do it!!

For more info about me and my work, go to sunnygandara.com.

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The power of reading daily

The power of reading daily

Yesterday I woke up feeling blah, and I know that it wasn’t the typical “Monday blues” because I don’t really have those anymore after I decided to follow my heart and start my own life coaching business. ¬†Not only am I doing what I love to do, but I am now finally utilizing all my skills, talents and interests and feeling like I am being challenged and living up to my fullest potential. While I always excelled at whatever I was doing in previous careers, I never quite felt like those positions took full advantage of everything I had to offer. It was as if parts of me were hidden, buried, or not allowed to come out.

In my journey of building my own business, there’s a tremendous amount of personal development that happens, whether you are consciously seeking to learn more about yourself or not. You become acutely aware of your strengths, weaknesses, fears, insecurities, sources of happiness and joy, co-dependency issues, limiting beliefs, money mindset and so much more. ¬†Some of it is a thrill to discover, and other things are uncomfortable. But it’s all part of the journey in growing as a person and becoming a better version of yourself.

If you don’t have your own business, or do not ever plan on becoming an entrepreneur, there is one thing I still recommend to all women in mid life who are finding themselves in the so-called “mid life crisis”, and that is to read. To quote Brene Brown in her brilliant book, ¬†The Gifts of Imperfection, “People may call what happens at midlife a “crisis”, but it’s not. It’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re “supposed” to live. The unraveling is a time when you are challenged by the universe to let go of who you think you are supposed to be, and to embrace who you are.”

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This is exactly where books come in. If you are not sure where you are supposed to go, who you really are or what you want to do, there is enormous wisdom in books. Personal development books are great, as are inspirational autobiographies and novels. Allow yourself to just “be”, have an open mind and be receptive to the meaning¬†the words and sentences in the book might have for you. ¬†I recommend reading at least 30 minutes every day, at a time when you feel inspired or the most energetic and open to new ideas.

This is exactly what happened to me this morning, the day after I was tempted to think all kinds of negative things about myself, I felt stuck and a little down. These days happen, no matter how ideal your life is,  simply because we are human beings. Or, as I like to think now, it may have had something to do with the super moon! We are all interconnected, and the Universe has magical ways of connecting with us.  Reading has this magical effect on the way we feel and the way we choose to think, which in turn improves our mood.  Books often transport us to a world in which we want to live, and gives us hope and inspiration to create that life for ourselves.

I decided I was going to devote 2 hours in the morning to reading, simply because I felt a yearning to, and was desperate for some motivation. ¬†It’s a non negotiable routine I started implementing for myself last year as I was starting my business, and it has been a life line for me ever since. ¬†Well, the inspiration came after only 10 minutes of reading this morning, and I got the message I was looking for, as I’m sitting here now writing this blog post, and have materials for two upcoming newsletters and feeling much better about myself. ¬† The books serve as a reminder that we have a purpose, there is so much more to learn, and we all have unique gifts that the world needs us to share with others. And yes, that includes you too!

One of my favorite books of all time, “Women Who Run With the Wolves” by Charissa Pinkola Estes, Ph.D, was the reason why I felt called to start putting more work ¬†out there today. ¬†The book encourages women to find that ‘wild woman’ hidden inside of us, the one we are often suppressing because we are afraid of how we will be received if we allow her to come out, and because we often have been conditioned to become desperate to “fit in”. ¬†If we deny that part of ourselves, she will come out, sooner or later, in a variety of forms, because she will not be ignored. Why not choose to listen to her so you can use this power of yours to your advantage?

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Are you feeling a bit unfulfilled and often think there has to be more to life than this? Then that’s a big sign that you should be doing some soul searching. If you don’t know where to start, start with picking up a book. ¬†Don’t know which book to start with? I just started a book and wine club (because those are two of my favorite things in the whole world) called Books and Barolo which you can join here, and we’ll pick a book every month to discuss and suggest a new wine weekly so you have extra enjoyment while reading. ¬†My hope is that this will grow into a powerful and supportive community of women who all want to better their lives, challenge each other’s thinking, all the while remembering to have fun and insert enjoyment in their daily routine (hence the wine).

Don’t hide who you really are anymore. The true you is so much better, and you will feel an enormous relief in just letting go, and in turn you will be able to indirectly give others permission to live the life they would love to lead as well. ¬†Start reading daily, and watch your life transform!

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Why my life coaching is done with a splash of wine

Why my life coaching is done with a splash of wine

As I am finishing up my year long coaching and business certification program this month, I have done a lot of reflecting on where I am now, where I started and how much growth as happened within me because I decided to prioritize myself and choose me first, for once. ¬†I have shared before that when the light bulb went off in my head, when I finally got tired of saying “maybe next time, ” “no, I can’t” (or shouldn’t, “one day” and “that would have been nice”,¬†magic started happening around me.

First of all, there is enormous freedom in taking responsibility for your own life, because you realize that you and only you decide what happens to you, and that it’s nobody else’s fault if something goes wrong, neither is it their doing when you achieve something wonderful. ¬† There can be a lot of anger, hurt, resentment and frustration when we give our power to other people and put them in “charge” of our own destiny. It is not your boss’ fault for not giving you a raise or for “making you stay those long hours, that’s your decision. ¬†It is not your partner’s fault that you “have” to do the laundry or clean the house every week, you decide. ¬†And it certainly isn’t the weather’s fault that you are overweight because it always seem to be too cold outside for you to go out and run. ¬†Or Ben & Jerry’s for making that damn delicious ice cream that just happens to find itself into your freezer on a regular basis. You get my point.

Secondly, when you start prioritizing yourself and take your happiness seriously, you indirectly give others around you, who want and desire the same thing, “permission” to do that for themselves as well. So many of us live by these invisible rules and regulations in our mind about how we should, must or have to live, when in fact, we don’t even know who ‘they’ are that made them up. ¬†Is what you are doing not making you happy or fulfilled? Then why are you doing it? Or are you, like I was for so many years, waiting for that ‘one day’ or maybe next year, when things will miraculously line up for you, all the things will be perfectly in place and you will be a whole new person, even if you’ve done nothing different to work towards that? Think about it. ¬†Isn’t it time you started loving yourself, and loving life? ¬†I have been able to inspire and support many women since I started my personal growth journey myself, and I can tell you – nothing else tops the feeling of being of value and feeling like I have a purpose – I’ve finally found what I was looking for all these years!

Thirdly, I am embracing being ‘multi passionate’ and that I have a gazillion certifications and interests in a wide variety of subjects, because I have a passion and thirst for life and I never want to stop learning. ¬†So often in my life have I been shamed or met with dripping irony when I’ve started a new journey or moved into a different line of work, by people who just didn’t understand me, or maybe they felt uncomfortable because they couldn’t label me or put me in a particular box. “She’s a lawyer,’ “She’s an athlete”, etc. ¬† Just picture when I was training for a body building competition, while drinking wine and cooking up waffles, pancakes and tacos in my catering company all at the same time! What to do with me!?!

So where am I going with all of this? When I left my position as a wine buyer last year to study life coaching, I knew I would always have a love for wine, because I truly enjoy it, not just the taste of it but the mystery, learning and challenges that come with exploring the wine world.  Just because I have decided to help women find their passion and purpose too, would that then mean I would have put my love for, experience, skills and years of education for wine behind me?
Most certainly not. Because now I play by a set of new rules. They are called MY rules. ¬†In my world, anyone can do anything, anywhere and at anytime as long as it makes them come alive, as long as it makes them happy and is not hurting anybody else.¬† I’m sorry if you can’t fit me into a certain category or understand what I’m doing, but I’m actually having fun, I’m loving life and I would love to show as many people as¬†I can, that it’s possible for them too. ¬†By modeling that you can create your own life the very way you ideally would like to see it, more people will find the confidence to create something beautiful for themselves¬†as well that represent what they are truly about and what they love to do. And as a result,¬†the world will¬†have more brilliant, varied, inspired and happy members, don’t you think?

As for me, I think life coaching and wine has a lot in common, so my decision is that my kind of coaching will have a splash of wine in it Рand some great plant based gourmet food too.  The great Robert Mondavi put it best:

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By that I mean that the food and wine will be a vehicle and symbol of enjoyment as a reminder that we need to do things in our lives for the pure joy of it.  I am a big fan of inserting more PLAY into our lives, and not be so serious all the time. When I speak about conscious living in my life coaching, I mean we also consciously have to select fun and play as well, because it is in these moments we truly tap into our creativity, and get to experience what magic this thing called life is really about.

So if you are looking for your core genius, desperate for more fun in life but think you have to trade joy and happiness for financial security and know that you are not quite living up to your full potential and tired of thinking that must be for everyone else, just not you…. Let’s connect via Skype for an hour, have a glass of wine and chat! ¬†I would love to hear about your hopes and dreams and learn more about you….

You can schedule a time that’s convenience for you right HERE

In the mean time, if I can support you in any way at all, connect with me in my FB group, Books and Barolo,¬†¬†Plant-Empowered Bon Vivant, on my FB page Sunny Gandara or comment here! Wishing you a purposeful, fun-filled and productive week! ‚̧

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Celebrating my one year anniversary as a full time entrepreneur!

Celebrating my one year anniversary as a full time entrepreneur!

Last year on this day, November 1st, I had finally taken the plunge and left my full time job. I felt relieved, excited, a little scared and overwhelmed all at the same time. On Halloween I finished my last day as a wine buyer for a large retail store here in New York, where I had been for nearly 2 1/2 years, and while it certainly wasn’t a bad job (come on, many people would die to have a job that requires you to taste hundreds of wines a month), I knew deep in my heart that I was meant for something else. I was simply out of place. Again.

On November 1st, 2015, many thoughts crept in, like “Will I be able to make a living off coaching people to better their lives?”, to “Where do I start?” to “Oh shit… I’m in charge now!!”… But overall, I was in a place where I really didn’t feel like I had a choice anymore. I was tired of telling myself no to opportunities that came up because I always had to be on somebody else’s schedule, I was tired of leaving my puppies for 10 hours a day, when all I really wanted was to work from home and spend more time with them, I was tired of being in a position where I was living below my potential and not able to utilize all my skills and interests and of course… I was desperate to feel passionate about what I was doing, to feel like I was contributing in the world, and like I was making a difference in somebody’s life.

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For years I had been just falling into work that seemed like it could be a good fit¬†me, without really examining whether or not that was true for me. I listened to other people’s opinions, and ignored my own. ¬†It looked good on the outside – and to be honest, I haven’t exactly had any ‘dud’ jobs at any part of my life; I started out in the music industry working as an international marketing and publicity director and traveled the world with rockstars (and a fair share of rappers!), I worked for a luxury vodka company from Scandinavia where I met a ton of fascinating people, had my own catering company where I had a chance to create some fabulous dishes and work¬†with some really nice people and also of course lately, worked in the wine industry where I got to travel to many of the world’s vineyards and taste wine for a living. But what might seem perfect for others, may not be perfect for you. This is where the key lies. Not to get influenced by other people’s opinion, but finding the courage to go against what everyone else wants you to do, or tells you you ‘should’ do, if, at the end of the day,¬†you are not madly in love with what you do.

Fast forward to today, November 1st, 2016, I sit here and think “oh my, what a difference a year makes!” Not only have I been able to make a living off coaching fabulous women all over the world who want the best out of life as well, but I have streamlined my activities to focus on what is important (a miracle for me who is a bit on the artistic side and like to deal with things at the spur of the moment), I get to spend every day with my fur babies and work from the comfort of my own home, and not have to endure a grueling commute every day and waste time being in a car, and I feel like what I do actually helps people and make them feel like they can do whatever they want to do too. ¬†Most importantly – I can finally be ME! Unapologetically, without having to fit into any type of mold, I can do whatever I want to do, say whatever I want to say, and work with whoever I want to work with. ¬†Sure, there might be a couple of things in my business I’m not jumping up and down to do, but because I have a clear sense of WHY I’m doing what I’m doing and what my ultimate goal is, I gladly do them because at the end of the day they allow me to live a life that finally is in alignment with my values and with my personality. ¬†Having a purpose for why you do things in life, is key to everything.

Another miraculous thing happens too when you open yourself up to be the best version of yourself. You start attracting other like minded people into your life like yourself, who inspire you, show you what’s possible and open up a whole new world of opportunities¬†for you. ¬†I am currently finishing up a year long coaching and business certification program where I have gained 250 new girl friends, talented, ambitious and successful women all around the globe who have the same mission as I do: to be of service and to do something meaningful with their lives. ¬†These women are supportive, lift me up and encourage me on a daily basis. ¬†They want the best for me, because they themselves have found happiness so they can genuinely feel happy for me, in return. That’s what happens when you follow your heart and go for what sets your soul on fire. ¬†These women have such a positive influences on me, I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky and how I existed without this support system. ¬†But everything happens in its own time, and it happened to me this year because I was finally READY.

Now, I will not pretend that it all has been a smooth journey and that I haven’t had days where I found things challenging, a little scary and unsettling, ¬†because let’s face it – as a new entrepreneur when you are just starting to set up your systems and get familiar with your new way of life and of doing business, you don’t really know what your next month will look like. ¬†But I decided that certainty was boring, and it was killing my soul because again – I wasn’t allowed to really utilize all that I had to give. So I traded certainty for passion. That,¬†is what living is to me. I will choose passion and happiness any day over certainty, mediocrity and having a “decent” life. ¬†Because I know great is within reach for all of us!

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There is such enormous freedom in knowing that I, and only I, am in charge of my life, and I have the power to change things I don’t like or am not happy with. There is nobody else to blame or complain about, which is probably one of the best things ¬†having chosen this way of life for myself. I hated feeling like I was giving away my power when I was pointing at other people for the problems or tough days I was going through. As if they were in charge of my day or my life, and that I had to just comply, or else… Like being in a prison!! ¬†I now know that the only person I should be pointing at is myself. If something is not working 100% the way I want to, I examine it, put more work in or revise what I’m doing. ¬†This always works, because I never quit, I keep going because I know I will eventually succeed. Having an unwavering belief in yourself is crucial when choosing a passion based life.¬†

There is so much personal growth that goes on when you choose yourself, whether it is choosing to go into business for yourself, choosing to believe that you deserve that raise, that loving relationship, or even those extra few hours a week where you only focus on yourself and take care of you. ¬†Ultimately, when you have¬†an inner voice that tells you “I deserve more”, it’s there for a reason. Don’t ignore it. ¬†When you start listening to it and respecting that voice, you are respecting yourself, and in turn – other people will start respecting you as well and¬†you will get what you want and need in life. ¬†This is how the Universe works.

Take it from me: it feels SO good to take a chance on yourself and finally make the best out of this one life we’ve been given. If you know what I’m talking about, wonderful, and I’m so happy for you! If not, why not decide to choose to believe that you can do whatever you put your mind to and see what happens?! Most often we end up astounding ourselves. Get in touch with me if you think I could support you – sunny@sunnygandara.com or check out my website for more information at sunnygandara.com. ¬†I believe in you!!

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A bit of my story and announcing my new coaching services!

A bit of my story and announcing my new coaching services!

For those of you who know me well, ¬†know I have dabbled in a LOT of different industries and have a ton of varied interests, traveled the world, lived in four different countries and have always been on the “search” for my ideal life where I could feel like myself and ultimately, just be happy. This might seem like a simple (or foreign) concept to many, but I truly believe everyone is searching for happiness, whether they want to get a promotion, lose weight, travel or make a million dollars. Why exactly do you want what you want? ¬†Probably to feel happy, right? ¬†Let me back track…

I am, as many other entrepreneurial women out there, multi-passionate and have a thirst for life and have never settled for average. ¬†I grew up in a small town in Norway, with fairly conservative parents who taught me that hard work pays off (and was necessary in order to make money), money was to be respected and didn’t come easy, and that I should focus on getting an education¬†so I could get a good, steady job. I don’t think my parents were different from most and my education was very traditional in that respect. ¬†They were simply trying to make sure I would be “safe” and ok in the world. ¬†I was taught not to really make a big fuss about myself, be modest and respectful, and was constantly asked¬†“what will they say or think” if I wanted to do something out of the ordinary.

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I am still not sure of who ‘they’ were, but felt somewhat imprisoned by these strange creatures out there who just sat there all day long judging me, telling me what I could or shouldn’t do. Other people’s opinions and expectations of me became somehow very central to my thought process, and every decision I made started with asking myself “What will they think”…

They” supposedly expected me to either become a doctor or a lawyer since I was an A student, to marry a tall, handsome man and have 2.5 children, buy a beautiful home in a nice town with impressive furniture, a cabin in the mountains (where we would go every weekend) and preferably a boat on the fjord, feel ok with the fact that fun would be over when you are married and that¬†now my day would look something like going to work from 9-5, make dinner, read the paper and watch the news and be in bed by 10. And do it all over again until Friday, when we could finally have some “fun”, go for a hike in the mountains and maybe even have a glass of wine or two on Saturday night! ¬†Sigh…

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Even so, I decided to do something as untraditional as move to the United States to go to college ¬†(San Francisco, to be exact) and spend all my money on my education, despite university being practically free in Norway in comparison. This was because I had become aware that the world was big and I wanted to explore it. Nobody really understood what I was doing, but half way expected me to return to Norway when I completed my education. ¬†I must have disappointed them, because after having spent my junior year in Paris and completing my senior year in San Francisco, I decided to move to New York to try my luck there in the working world, and 20+ years later, well the rest is history. I’m still in NY.

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In New York, I landed in the exciting music industry where I worked for a decade as an international marketing director and traveled all over the world with celebrities, stayed in five star hotels, dined in top restaurants and basically lived la vida loca.  When that journey ended, I felt I was done with the jet set life, and decided to pursue my interests in food and wine. I went from making 6 figures to making $10/hr as a cook in a restaurant, which was quite humbling. I told myself it was worth it, because following my dreams and trying to find my true purpose was more important than anything, and that I could always be making that money again. After all, I had proven it to myself.

After just a few months working as a cook and being a cocktail waitress in a restaurant in pursuit of my dreams, ¬†I decided started my own catering company, Fork and Glass with my husband. ¬† Oh yes- that reminds me: Ever since the age of 18, people back home constantly asked me the same 3 questions: “Aren’t you moving back home to Norway soon”? ¬†“When are you getting married”? and “Don’t you want kids”? ¬†I felt like an alien sometimes, because no, I didn’t want kids (unless you count four legged ones) and I was in no hurry to get married – but when I did, I made sure it was to a man that was Mexican and shorter than me, just for shock effect (not! lol). ¬†And after 20+ years in the U.S. the question “Do you like it there?” seemed kind of redundant and ridiculous. ¬†Yes, I sure do, and no, I’m not moving back to Norway.

Maybe it was the rebel in me, but in between all of this I decided to slim down, double my muscles and compete in bodybuilding shows. Instead of getting pregnant, being in¬†a desk job tolerating life,¬†and giving into the story¬†that my body had seen better days since I was now approaching 40 and that’s just how life is, I strutted my stuff in a shimmering bikini and high heels covered in an orange tan. It felt amazing and I was empowered by the fact that if I wanted to look good the only thing I had to do was make a decision to set a goal and put in the work. Much like anything else in life, you just have to make the decision. ¬†The rest can be figured out.

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While I ran my company and worked my ass off catering (this line of work is not for sissies and I quickly learned doing manual work for 14, sometimes 16 hours a day was not my calling),¬†I was getting my wine education and worked for a small Norwegian luxury vodka brand which was quite fun. Because I was positive, outgoing and interested in networking and learning about new things, ¬†life always seemed to be giving me these amazing opportunities which I accepted and learned from. ¬† I was most definitely grateful for these chances given to me, but I still hadn’t found what truly lit me up, what would give me the feeling of “ah! THIS is why I’m here in this world”.

So I continued searching. I tried working for a wine importer as a sales consultant, and then moved into retail as a wine buyer for a large wine where I stayed for over 2 years, before I came across the world of coaching through my continuous search for “me”.

BINGO!! All of a sudden the lights came on and a whole new fire was lit up under me. I quickly realized that I had been coaching my whole life; I was the person all my friends would come to if they needed to talk something through or had a problem or issue, and I loved hearing about their lives and realized that we are all really challenged with the same things in life. And ultimately we all want the same thing: to be happy. 

I think the most important reason I have been able to see the big picture now, at age 43, of what I am supposed to be doing with my life; to help women find the courage and confidence to design their dream life DESPITE what background they have and programming they have had in life; is when I made the best decision in my life at age 40: To become a vegan.   Might as well stay on the track of being different, right??

I have always been an animal lover, but I didn’t always see the irony of claiming that title in one breath, while eating the ones I claimed to¬†love in the next. I grew up with a dozen cats, chickens, ducks, horses, goats… you name it. But I also loved cheese, meat, eggs and fish.

It wasn’t until my late 30s when my friend started sending me videos of animal cruelty on factory farm, that I started researching and was horrified at what I found out. That this could be hidden from most people was unbelievable . Then what I found even more incredible is that people don’t really want to know, because they have a hard time letting go of the foods they have been so accustomed to. ¬†This was me for many years too. Instead of watching the videos or reading the books, I just turned a blind eye and pretended it wasn’t happening.

Until one day when I realized; I’ve spent my whole life trying to find who I am, who I want to be and what I want to do – and ignoring the welfare of beings I supposedly I said I was so fond of, was not in alignment with¬†being a kind, conscious and truth seeking individual.

So I did something ELSE untraditional: I went vegan overnight. ¬†Which meant I had to say goodbye to any followers of my Norwegian food blog (I spent a lot of time building that community) who only followed me because of my writings about smoked salmon and brown cheese, I had to get my husband used to the fact that we wouldn’t be eating the same dishes anymore (but we found a happy compromise) and I had to get re-educated on the best way to build muscle on a plant based diet (it’s easy and much healthier, by the way). Instead of seeing problems, I started seeing solutions, which became my mantra for my new life.

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So what does becoming vegan have to do with finding your purpose in life? Finding the courage to do what makes you happy and fulfilled, and being honest with yourself, of course. ¬†When I turned vegan something happened inside of me – I felt so true to my nature, so clean, uplifted and positive that I know could make ANYTHING happen in my life. What I had seen as a potential huge obstacle, really wasn’t that hard at all, and so many new doors opened up for me that had been shut before.

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This is what happens if you allow yourself to believe in yourself and your capabilities of doing what you truly want to do, despite what other people say. ¬†How many times have I heard that “I have to be careful, because it can be unhealthy not eating animal foods”, that I’m not getting enough protein, B12, ¬†calcium, iron, etc. Well guess what people: I have been a vibrant, healthy and alive individual for the past 3 years I have avoided animal foods – in fact, feeling better than ever before! ¬†My point is: follow your truth, listen to your intuition –¬†what your “gut feeling” tells you will never be wrong for you!

Don’t believe the hype. ¬†Don’t believe it when people tell you a corporate job is “safe” because you get a steady bi-weekly paycheck, that feeling a bit ‘so so’ about your life is normal, that you have to stay in a relationship that isn’t really making you that happy anymore but is ‘comfortable enough’, that carrying around an extra 20-30 lbs on your frame or feeling aches and pains in your body is to be expected when you are getting older…

Why settle for ‘ok’ when you can have AMAZING??¬† You only have this one life and you SO deserve it! ¬†The world needs YOU and your special talents, give yourself credit for the incredible and very special individual you are! If you don’t quite know what that is for you yet, that’s ok – do what I did, and keep looking! It is SO worth it in the end.

So where on earth would you even get started with this, you might ask? This is why I transitioning from vegan health coaching into life coaching for women just like you… who know that life has more to offer, or more specifically, YOU have more to offer. You have a desire to wake up in the morning and be excited about your day, not dread it. You want to make a difference, feel good, and you want to be able to make good money while having fun at the same time. I get it, believe me.

I am here to help you explore some options for you… Let me get to know you and learn more about your story and we can come up with some ideas together for how you can make yourself happier TODAY. ¬†I can give you suggestions based on our talks, and a step-by- step action plan to get you to where you want to be.

Whether that for you is changing your diet to get more energy or lose weight, changing jobs or even starting your own business, or picking up an old interest or hobby of yours that will get you back in touch with who you truly are and what you love doing,  give yourself a gift and take a chance on yourself for once, today!!

When I finally got tired of saying “no, I can’t afford it”, or “maybe next year” or “I don’t have time,” while secretly feeling super sad inside, I made the best decision ever: ¬†I realized¬†that I only have today, ¬†and I invested in a coach and took a massive step towards improving my life.

I can proudly say that this month I’ve made more than double my salary in my old job as a wine buyer, all while working from the comfort of my own home and spending time with my beautiful pup Scooby, and getting the privilege of coaching amazing women around the world, helping them find back to who they are and what they love to do. ¬†Best job in the world!!

Schedule a free call with me here to see how I can help: https://calendly.com/sunnyg/60-min-discovery-session

I would love to see you find your true happiness no matter what that looks like¬†to you. ¬†Talk soon!! ūüôā

SunnyandScooby

The magic of nutrition; improve your health, feel empowered and change your life!

The magic of nutrition; improve your health, feel empowered and change your life!

For those of you who have followed me on social media for a while either on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, know I am very passionate about food and the power of a vegan diet. I often lead with my dishes, as a professionally trained chef I am admittedly obsessed with creating delicious recipes, because  I want to be able to show people that this way of eating and living does not by any means have to be restrictive, difficult, expensive of overwhelming.

While I love teaching people and my clients about how to successfully transition to a plant based diet, I have started noticing some powerful shifts in their lives once they do adopt this new lifestyle. ¬†This is what I call the ‘domino effects’ of eating plants; you start to notice other areas of your life you are not 100% satisfied with and want to improve upon. ¬†To name a few examples; three of my clients while in my program, decided to leave their current jobs to pursue their true calling in life; they felt empowered to create a new life where their talents, skills and interests are being fully utilized. Another woman who initially came to me because she thought she needed to “clean up” her already vegan diet (you can be vegan and still unhealthy if you resort to processed foods only), but after incorporating whole foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and¬†legumes, her mind became clear, and realized she needed help gaining confidence to pursue her life long passion of becoming a full time singer and songwriter.

thefuturebelongs

This is what I call the power of nutrition. Many people walk around in a haze all day, feeling sluggish, always tired and somewhat dissatisfied with life. They can’t quite pinpoint why life has turned out this way, but have no energy to try to figure it out. ¬†They are trying to feverishly catch up with their daily routine, feeling like there is never enough time, and certainly not any time left at the end of the day for themselves. ¬†Why? ¬†They are eating the wrong foods. How you feel is how you eat, and how you eat is how you feel. It’s that simple. ¬†A diet filled with heavy foods high in saturated fat and cholesterol like meat, dairy and eggs will leave you feeling just that.. heavy. ¬†Eating dead foods like animal products won’t have the power to give you energy. ¬†Choose to fill up on vibrant, colorful and alive foods like fruits and vegetables, and your energy level will automatically soar and you’ll discover that you can do so much more with your day, your week, your year…and your life. ¬† Want a high vibrational life? Eat high vibrational foods.

veggies

You might ask me “can it really be this simple, Sunny? Will all my problems go away if I adopt a plant based diet?” ¬†To that I say, of course not right away, but it’s a start, a big start. Once you feel great in your own skin, miracles can happen. Think about it; if you wake up one day and feel amazing, you’ll automatically kick your brain into gear and want to do something fun, something productive. ¬†You feel like you can tackle anything, and most of all: you feel a sense of happiness. That’s all we are looking for in life, isn’t it? To be happy? ¬†Plant based foods have shown to improve your mood, reduces depression and anxiety, and increases productivity. ¬†Go here to check out Dr. Greger from Nutritionfacts.org’s 5 minute video on this topic.

On the contrary, if your first thought in the morning is you just want to go back to bed, have no desire to start your day, dreading what’s to come and feel all around crappy, you are not going to be in a position to inspire anybody, much less yourself. You might just want to continue comforting¬†yourself with crappy, high fat, high sugar foods, not be up for hitting the gym or getting in your exercise, and the cycle continues. ¬†It goes without saying that you also won’t be in any state of mind to do something meaningful to improve on your life where you may need it; changing your job¬†situation, ¬†better your relationships or find time to take care of the person that is most important in your life; YOU.

Where am I going with this? If you are feeling stuck in your current situation, whatever it is, feeling like you are living below your potential but have no idea how to change it, feeling less than confident you are able to create your ideal life and a bit disappointed with how it all turned out, I can help. ¬†We start with how you eat. ¬†We’ll experiment with introducing more color in your life, beginning with your plate. ¬†Once you start feeling more vibrant and alive,¬†you will naturally gain more confidence to start making some moves towards what you’ve always wanted to do in life. ¬†Things your old self just dreamed about, thinking that life is for ‘somebody else’, not you, not the way it turned out for you. ¬†What would your life look like if you accomplished everything you secretly wish and hope for? My role as a coach is to move you from the “wishing and wanting stage”, to the “creating and accomplishing” stage.¬†

I’m here to tell you that ANYTHING is possible – you can do whatever you want to do, you might just need a little nudge in the right direction, and I’m here to support you with this. Remember; the only thing that is holding you back is you, and possibly, what you are feeding your body.

Get in touch with me here to set up an introductory call where I can learn more about you and for you to hear how I¬†can support you. ¬†Alternatively, email me at sunny@sunnygandara.com – I would love to hear from you and know you’ve got what it takes, so let’s get started today!!!

coaching

 

Are your excuses bigger than your goals and desires?

Are your excuses bigger than your goals and desires?
Today is special day for me – May 17th is my native country’s (Norway) National Constitution day. ¬†Historically, we were always ruled by another nation or in a union with another country (Denmark or Sweden) so we are naturally very proud and grateful for our independence.¬† As with any major holiday, this day is centered around food… (unfortunately not many plant based ones), and all you can see anywhere you go is a sea of red, white and blue, the colors of the Norwegian flag. So naturally I had to place a picture of it here where you can see parts of my home town on the west coast of Norway, Sykkylven.
norskflagg
When I first went vegan, I was scared and worried how I was going to be able to continue eating the foods I love, the foods I had grown up with since childhood. When looking at the Norwegian diet, I would say about 90% of our diet consists of either meat, fish or dairy products in some shape or form. Uh oh!
I had a catering company known for serving animal based dishes, a husband who works as a professional chef and a big meat eater, and a Norwegian food blog with a big following where I wrote about all the traditional foods, and yes – they all were based on animals. Would I lose my audience now?
When it came to family, I thought to myself “how on earth will I go home and visit my mom now, how will my being there change? My mom centers her world around food, and it’s not fruits and vegetables, but cookies, cream based cakes, meatballs, salmon, eggs and herring.
What’s my point here? I had so many reasons to say “screw it, this is too hard”, “I don’t have time or the energy to figure all of this out” or tell myself nothing is going to change by just little old me going vegan. ¬†But I knew my gut was telling me these were all excuses I was telling myself to make myself feel better. ¬† And guess what, the reactions and responses from people weren’t half as drastic as I had made it up in my mind to be.¬† In fact, I was embraced by most of my community, who showed me incredible support. Our story is always more dramatic than reality ūüôā
If you really are feeling drawn to this lifestyle, if you know deep down that this is the right way to eat to improve your health, the environment and help reduce suffering of other living beings , then I invite you to find the courage to go with your heart. Yes, there might be some ‘obstacles’ in the way, such as how will I get my children on board with this lifestyle, and how will I ever eat out at my favorite restaurant again – but let’s face it, these are minor issues and is your fear speaking to you, not your true self. And no greatness was achieved by giving into fear.
It’s funny to me how we think about life and situations sometimes. Just because we’ve done something or eaten a particular dish all our life, doesn’t mean there is something equally good or even better out there for us. Being open minded, curious and willing to explore other options, whether it be traveling, meeting new people or trying new dishes, is what being vegan is all about. It expands your mind, improves your quality of life and helps you get closer to your true self. ¬†I know you have a deep desire to stretch yourself in all these areas of life too, otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this email.
stone
Case in point, today’s recipe! I was so happy to come across a vegan version of “pho” – a Vietnamese, aromatic and flavorful noodle soup that is traditionally based on beef broth and also contains fish sauce. ¬†The vegan version does not lack for flavor AT ALL, in fact I would say it can most definitely stand up to the original recipe, and no animals were harmed in the making of this soup!
I realized this weekend that my mission will be going forward to veganize all the classic dishes we know and love from our childhood, family recipes and memories we treasure so much. I want to show you that it is not just possible, but PREFERABLE to eliminate animals from these foods, and embrace a more loving, compassionate and considerate attitude about life going forward. ¬†I promise you your taste buds won’t be disappointed, rather they’ll be elated!!
A book that has inspired my mission is Robin Robertson’s “Vegan Without Borders”, showing us that we can easily convert authentic dishes from around the world, satisfying our culinary palates and wanderlust. I am sharing her recipe for “Pho Chay” today – a popular street food in Vietnam that is traditionally eaten for breakfast in the southern part of the country, but also enjoyed other times of the day in the north. ¬†I used soba noodles (100% buckwheat) but my husband commented wisely that the soup could probably have used some sturdier noodles such as ramen noodles, or other flat rice noodles. ¬†This is gluten free if you use tamari or coconut aminos and you can also easily eliminate the miso paste.
I made my own vegetable broth from some wild garlic that popped up in my backyard the other day, and it was delicious! But you can use water or regular vegetable broth with great results too.
Here’s my wild garlic ready to go in the oven with some shallots and fresh thyme:
garlicbroth
The broth simmering with some red pepper flakes added, yummm:
garlicbroth1
I hope you will try this out, and agree that no flavor need be lost anywhere if we eat vegan!
Happy cooking and I would love to hear from you if you are interested in following me on my mission to veganize YOUR favorite dish!!
PHO CHAY
8 oz soba (buckwheat) noodles (or rice noodles/noodles of your choice)
6 cups water or vegetable broth
3 shallos or 1 small onion chopped
1 small red bell pepper, sliced thin
2 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps
1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
1/3 cup hoisin sauce
3 tbsp tamari or soy sauce (coconut aminos work too)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil or other neutral oil
8 oz seitan or tofu, drained and cut into strips or cubed
2 tbsp dark miso paste
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tsp sriracha sauce
1 cup fresh bean sprouts, blanched
4 scallions, thinly sliced
1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
Lime wedges, for serving
Cook the noodles according to the package directions. Drain and set aside.
Bring the broth to a boil in a large pot. Add in the shallots/onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, ginger, hoisin sauce and soy sauce. Decrease heat to low and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the seitan or tofu and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
Stir the lime juice into the broth. Remove 1/2cup of the hot liquid to a small bowl. Add the miso paste to the liquid in the bowl and stir to blend well. Transfer the blended miso paste into the soup along with the sriracha. Do not boil. Stir in the reserved seitan or tofu and noodles.
Divide the soup among individual bowls. Top with the bean sprouts, scallions and cilantro. Serve with lime wedges and additional sriracha at the table.
Serves 4.
pho
To receive more recipes like this on a weekly basis and to download a free recipe book that will give you a kickstart of healthy, flavorful and nutrition plant based recipes that will cover you for breakfast, lunch and dinner for an entire week, join the party here: http://sunnygandara.leadpages.co/7-day-kick-start-recipes/
Your body, mind and soul will thank you!!