Portion im-Perfection

For the past year or so a lot has happened – to me personally, and to everyone in the world – literally. This has caused me, or rather allowed me to exhale long and slow. With that brought indulgences.

I have been awakened to my portion sizes of my dinner meals. I cook healthy foods 90% of the time but for some reason that gave me permission to have a lot more veggies or a lot of lean meat. I dismissed the fact that while I don’t lean on counting calories, the amount of food I eat adds calories, a too many, even if they aren’t empty calories, they add up. I scroll through Instagram, the web or social media and see so many delectable foods, recipes, and such beautiful plating and it’s inspiring. The majority of plates I see are fairly filled to the edges but the most beautiful and inviting meals are the ones that have just enough food on them. Seeing the perfect portion to fuel our bodies reminds me to slow down when eating, taste, feel, smell and thoroughly enjoy the food that is presented.

Food is meant to fuel our fine-tuned body. Mealtime is meant to slow us down, to be in the moment, to gather with family and/or friends and connect. Even when we are in a position that we eat alone, it can be a time to be in the moment, reflect on the day ahead or the day behind us.

Eating is necessary but we need not overindulge. Take a step back and reset your mealtime habits. Take note of how you fill your plate. Take note of how your food smells, looks and tastes. Be aware of when you’re feeling satisfied and take note of how much is on your plate at that moment of satiety. Use that as your guide when you serve yourself in future meals and whittle down your imperfect portion until it is perfect.

Happy, healthy, eating!

My Habit vs. My Goal


Thinning Hair & Hair Health

Your hair, nails and skin growth and health come from the inside. Each of these is fed from our blood. Sometimes we might be lacking certain nutrients, minerals and vitamins which can be boosted by the food we eat and supplements. My personal go-to choices and suggestions to my health coaching clients are to use whole food-based supplements versus chemical (man-made) compounds. They’re not as hard to find as it might seem.

First, healthy hair, skin & nails vitamins & minerals are A, B – Biotin, C, D3, E, Iron & Zinc. Melatonin is also beneficial especially when applied topically. Topical sprays and foams are available. I can guide you and I will attach links to each supplement I would use and or suggest but first a quick guide to how each vitamin helps.

Vitamin A

  • Keeps cells healthy, helps produce sebum which keeps hair/scalp & skin healthy. Sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkins, spinach and kale are all high in beta-carotene, which is turned into vitamin A.
  • Vitamin A can also be found in animal products such as milk, eggs and yogurt. Cod liver oil is a particularly good source.
  • Too much vitamin A can cause hair loss, coarse hair, dry rough skin, cracked lips
  • Recommended daily amount per Mayo Clinic is 700 mcg for women.

Vitamin B & Biotin

  • B-vitamins help create red blood cells, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the scalp and hair follicles
  • B-vitamins from foods include whole grains, almonds, meat, fish, seafood and dark, leafy greens.
  • Animal foods are the only good sources of vitamin B12
  • Niacin, riboflavin, thiamin and pantothenic acid, folate are all B vitamins – a good B complex would be good. I take Thorne myself as it has everything the body requires to function well. Amazon link for Thorne B Complex

Vitamin C

  • Antioxidant
  • Helps the body create the protein known as collagen
  • Helps your body absorb iron a necessary mineral for hair growth

Vitamin D3 (taking magnesium with D will help absorption)

  • Feeds the cells and aids in the production of healthy hair follicles
  • Research also shows that vitamin D may help create new follicles — the tiny pores in the scalp where new hair can grow
  • Food sources are fatty fish, cod liver oil, some mushrooms and fortified foods

Vitamin E

  • Helps prevent oxidative stress and boost hair growth.
  • Food sources are sunflower seeds, almonds, spinach and avocados


  • Helps red blood cells carry oxygen to your cells. This makes it an important mineral for many bodily functions, including hair growth.
  • Iron deficiency, which causes anemia, is a major cause of hair loss. It’s especially common in women.
  • Food sources are clams, oysters, eggs, red meat, spinach and lentils.


  • Helps hair and tissue growth and repair
  • Keeps the oil glands around the follicles functioning properly
  • Hair loss is a common symptom of zinc deficiency (14Trusted Source, 15Trusted Source).
  • Studies show zinc supplements reduce hair loss caused by zinc deficiency
  • However, there are some anecdotal reports that supplementing with too high of a dose can also contribute to hair loss. (Kayla McDonell, RD August 6, 2016)
  • For this reason, it may be better to get your zinc from whole foods. (Kayla McDonell, RD August 6, 2016)
  • Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, spinach, wheat germ, pumpkin seeds and lentils.


  • Hair IS protein. It’s made up of entirely protein. Eating enough protein daily is important for hair growth as well as muscles.
  • Side note: Protein is not always more slimming for the body though it helps. If a person is overweight and doesn’t burn off as much or more energy than they consume, protein can/will turn to fat stored in the body.

I hope all of this helps. A good quality multivitamin is beneficial. AS I stated earlier, a whole food vitamin will be absorbed by the body much better than a typical, cheaper chemical compound vitamin brand.

Daily Multivitamin Supplements: Here are some that I either use, have used and recommend in order of preference

Supplements for hair growth: I have not used but these are in line with needs for thin/thinning hair. They can be found online and some are available at CVS

  • Nutrafol – Nutrafol   – it’s quite expensive but claims it works based on studies
  • Keranique – Keranique
  • Spring Valley Hair, Skin & Nails this is a good brand, [I use their echinacea/goldenseal root as I find it as the brand that works best for me and many other’s I have given it to.] Can be found in grocery stores, Walmart, Walgreens and online.
  • OLLY for Hair – Olly

According to the dermatologist, androgenetic alopecia, hypothyroidism, low levels of vitamin D and iron are among the most common reasons behind hair loss. – (Michelle Henry, clinical instructor at Weill Cornell Medical College)

Bottom line in my professional opinion based on research I’ve done is to take either a daily multi-vitamin and/or one of the supplements I’ve listed. If you choose to take both, I would start with one at a time, giving it 2 months before starting the other one. If you prefer to take only one, I would try the “hair supplements” first. All recommendations I have found in my research recommends to give all focuses at least 6 months to see/feel an improvement. In my holistic nutrition training I’ve learned that every change needs 4 months minimum; whether it be diet, supplements, or exercise.

I hope this little bit of information helps you regain healthy hair & skin. Message me or comment with questions if you have any and I’ll do my best to find the answers!

My research is based on my many years of knowledge and experience being a hairstylist and found from reputable websites/universities/government studies from US, UK, Australia.

Your hair, lifestyle and food coach, Dawn

Visit Every New Dawn

I’ve been doing more writing, coaching on my sister site lately. Emotional healing and catching up from the last three years has been a weight lifted.

I invite you to come on by and see what I’ve been up to and perhaps my experiences can help you release some negative energy and thoughts.

Visit my latest post here, then dig in to read a few other posts.

Stand Tall, Stay Mighty!


Perfecting Meal Portions

I know that I have an issue with my portion sizes, especially at dinner time! I do pretty well all day and when it’s dinner time, I’m not starving because I ate healthy all day but I find myself going for seconds. I say it’s because it tastes so good but in reality, I know that I do it because something is missing in my life so I fill that emptiness with food. I know I do this so why do I keep doing it instead of filling the emptiness with the thing that I truly crave?

Making changes in our lives is difficult and exciting. Making change means going out of your comfort zone, getting creative and being bold to an extent. Making changes sometimes means letting go of the fight inside of us and accepting what is if even just for now. Finding happiness isn’t as hard as we make it out to be, happiness is a choice we make; change is a choice we make.

Portions out of control is something we do that hurts our body and makes us feel bad about ourselves emotionally. Portion sizes are our way of gaining our own control of a situation that we feel is out of our control – but the price is high.

It’s time to make changes. It’s time to fill the emptiness with the truth, the thing that is missing, the thing we long for but haven’t worked out how to grasp it. When you want something badly enough, you can achieve it. You can have that dream, lose the weight, travel to that place of your dreams, have that item you can’t live without – it just takes a little work and a lot of heart.

Begin shifting your focus from food to fulfillment. Write down what you feel is missing from your life, keep that note in clear view so you will see it every day as a reminder of your deepest desire. Take control of portion sizes, if it helps, use a 6″ appetizer plate so you can fill it twice and feel okay with it, or stick to a dinner plate and strictly have just one plate of food. Eat slowly so your brain registers that you’re eating and always remind yourself of why one plate is enough.

Fulfillment of life isn’t filling the emptiness with food, it’s filling it by making your dreams and wishes reality. One plate – fulfillment.


Worn Our Behaviors

Do you get in your own way? Do you make excuses for not meeting your own expectations? These repeated habits are worn out behaviors that don’t bring you closer to your achievements. Think of something that you mentally plan to do upon rising each new day but find at the end of the day that you didn’t end up doing.

Failure is only achieved when you don’t try. Success is the result of every small step you take toward leaving those worn out behaviors behind.

Keep the reminder of worn out behaviors close by and focus on eventually leaving them behind for good; for more successful behaviors.

“Failure is only achieved when you don’t try. Success is the result of every small step you take toward leaving those worn out behaviors behind.”

Dawn Silva – Initiate Wellness

Self-control is easier when your mind and body is busy…

I was deep into my work and didn’t think about food until my stomach growled ‘feed me’. Hunger felt good. We, too often, eat for several reasons from it’s breakfast, lunch or dinner time-even though we ate a big snack 10 minutes ago or because we’re meeting friends and that always involves food; a restaurant or at someone’s home, because we’re bored, watching TV, and many more self-justifying excuses.

I skipped breakfast, bad practice, because I was running a little close for work so decided I’d eat after my first client. Immediately after the client, I began more work, putting food off again until the growling began. I made a sandwich of ham and loaded it with spinach. That was my lunch which held me surprisingly until dinner. Remember, my mind was preoccupied with work all day and it was a welcomed relief.

Three-thirty p.m. came around and I knew I needed to make a dinner plan. I rummaged through the refrigerator, reached for organic stewing beef I had, browned it in a large Dutch oven, added a dark locally brewed beer and some Italian herbs and simmered it for a few hours. It smelled delicious and warming. About 1/2 hour before serving I added potato chunks, carrots, celery, onion, 6 cloves of garlic, and simmered until the potatoes and carrots were tender; I tossed in a half bag of peas, warmed them and we enjoyed a warming, healthy hearty meal. The beef was fall apart tender and the entire meal was fast and simple to put together; I could continue working while it simmered gently.

As each day comes to a close with food choices under control and satisfaction with my food choices, I can look forward to tomorrow with a positive outlook. I look forward to inspiring you to follow your dreams, your goals and intentions and find great success in your self-satisfaction too!

Connect with me via email at Dawn.InitiateWellness@gmail.com


Pantry & Refrigerator Clean-Out

20180319_182341Spring is right around the corner and it’s a perfect time to renew and re-energize all parts of our lives. The first thing I urge you to do is to clean out your refrigerator, cabinets and pantry. Don’t just toss things out to start over – not just yet. The following steps will help you eliminate junk foods and outdated foods, save money, plan a week or two of simple meals using up what you have and clear space for fresher, healthier items.

Grab a trash bag, (and a recycle bin if you love recycling) a pen & paper and a bucket of sudsy water and a cloth.

Step 1 – Go through one shelf/cabinet at a time. Check dates and toss expired items. (if boxed, remove from box and recycle box, toss contents). Wipe shelves down with your wet cloth – wiping out shelves is part of the purge the bad stuff activity.

Step 2 – Write down what items you have left, try to keep them categorized for quick reference.

Step 1 & 2B – Repeat the steps for your refrigerator.

Step 3 – Decide on the coming week’s meals using what you have on hand. Search through recipe books and the internet to find recipes using the ingredients you have. Plan on a few crock-pot meals to make meal-time quick and easy during your busiest days.

Step 4 – Commit to making the chosen meals – commit to eating clean and – commit to being frugal by using up what you have on hand before shopping for more.

When you have used up all of or at least most of your stock and it’s time to shop again, buy the foods that will help you stay on track with a healthy diet and don’t buy in bulk. By buying only what you know you’ll use up, you will save money and time in the future.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be confusing or time consuming. Getting back to basics and stocking up on only what you will use keeps your closet, your trash barrel and your mind uncluttered and it keeps your wallet fuller!


Find Your Freedom from Sugar with These [Easy to Do] Changes

20180228_142413If you’re addicted to sugar it might not be completely your fault. Sugar is found in so many items that you wouldn’t expect to find it. For instance, just today at the grocery store, I needed sour cream and thought why not low-fat since all they truly need to do is skim the fat off and that’s it right? Wrong. The brand I was looking at had three choices, fat-free, low-fat and whole milk. Here’s what I found: the fat-free had 3 grams of sugar per tablespoon, the low-fat had 2 grams and the whole fat had 1 gram; puzzling, yes, to me it is. Why add a bad ingredient to something that doesn’t need it? To make you like it more, crave it more, and want it more. This is the case with so many items. I teach my clients to read labels. You don’t have to study and know every tiny detail about labels but there are basics that help a lot.

You’ll find sugar and lots of it in expected foods such as pastries, cookies, candy, soda, and other desserts, so limiting your consumption of these sweets is very important. It’s sometimes hard to do but once you learn how to curb and even eliminate your sugar cravings, you’ll be amazed at how great you will feel how much energy you will gain and how much weight you can lose!

Some common items that you didn’t know had added sugar; don’t actually need added sugar and to be aware of and steer clear of are:

  • Salad dressing-especially low-fat & fat-free options
  • A variety of drinks, soda, energy drinks, fancy coffee drinks, juice – diet drinks are a bad option as the artificial sweeteners are all chemicals and toxic to your body
  • Mayonnaise – again the fat-free/low-fat options as well as so-called healthier options made with olive oil (they have added sugar!)
  • Ketchup – added sugar, HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) is worse than plain sugar
  • BBQ sauces – also with HFCS, brown sugar and white sugar, a better option is to make your own
  • So-called healthy cereals – many have a load of sugar; even if they don’t taste sweet, they are
  • Breakfast bars & meal replacement bars – opt for the brands with higher protein that carbohydrates
  • Weight loss shakes – meal replacement shakes – again choose higher protein that sugar/carbs
  • Yogurt – choose plain, whole fat Greek yogurt and add your own nuts, berries/fruit, cinnamon, oats & seeds
  • Maple syrup – if it’s not 100% pure maple syrup it’s most likely 100% pure HFCS (high fructose corn syrup)
  • Instant oatmeal – particularly the flavored choices
  • Most foods that are low-fat/reduced fat/fat free have increased amounts of unhealthy sugar

Next time you’re at the grocery store and you’re shopping for items you typically buy, read and compare the labels. Try this for example; Italian dressing and low-fat Italian dressing compare how much more sugar is in the low-fat option. Also, often times, people will use or eat more of the lower fat product figuring it has less fat so it won’t hurt; but more sugar does hurt. The type 2 diabetes rate is increasing every year and it can be reversed if you choose to eat healthy and be informed.

When you begin to decrease the amount of hidden sugar in your foods and body you begin to decrease your cravings for more sugar and increase your health. Your body craves what you feed it most – choose less sugar and more naturally sweet, whole food.


Meditation Integration


What do you imagine when someone says they meditate or that you should try meditating? Meditation is a good habit to integrate into your daily routine. It’s easy to learn and beneficial to reduce stress, ease breathing and anxiety and to help you re-center and ground yourself.

Here’s how to begin a simple, uncomplicated meditation practice. Right now, where you are, take a deep breath in, close your eyes ——- then let it out. How do you feel? Repeat it if it feels good. Just this simple step can bring calm to you.

Try a 5-10-minute daily meditation. Choose the best time for you, early morning, midday, after work or before bed, do whatever works for you. Find your ‘spot’ and make it your space for meditating. Start simply by just taking full breaths with your eyes closed and your body relaxed either sitting or lying comfortably. Repeat full, slow, mindful deep breathing while thoughts scatter your mind…let those thoughts come and let them go. When you feel that your thoughts have left, open your eyes and exhale. Exhale the negative and breathe in the positive.

Give it a try! Make it a regular practice. Do it when you think of it. Inhale and exhale fully throughout the day, it will make a positive difference!


Quick Tips on Staying Warm

20150526_202602With winter months comes the chill factor. Sometimes even layering up doesn’t seem to chase that chill away, so what else can you do to get warm?

Let me first start by admitting that while it might sound like a fun way to warm up, though not very healthy, a shot of whiskey doesn’t actually make you warm; here’s why: “Alcohol may make your skin feel warm, but this apparent heat wave is deceptive. A nip or two actually causes your blood vessels to dilate, moving warm blood closer to the surface of your skin, making you feel warmer temporarily. At the same time, however, those same veins pumping blood closer to the skin’s surface cause you to lose core body heat – the heat you need to survive, especially if you’re stuck in a snow-drift. This effect could lead to fatal hypothermia.” (http://www.discovery.com/tv-shows/mythbusters/mythbusters-database/alcohol-warms-up/)

Here are a few quick tips:

  • Layer up, yes, it does help a little bit.
  • Stay well-fed, it stokes the body’s furnace – make sure you eat quality food, fruit, veggies, nuts, lean proteins, etc.
  • Drink water! Staying hydrated even in colder months keeps your body water balanced
  • Acclimate – reduce your ‘set point’ by exposing yourself to cooler temps which in turn increases your body’s calorie consuming “brown fat” which releases energy as heat.
  • Increase humidity in your home or office – humidity increases temperature.
  • Eat hot soups and stews – they warm you from the inside out!
  • Use a bean bag or rice bag heat pack. Warm it in the microwave for 1-2 minutes and keep it close, in a pocket or hold onto it near your stomach to warm you. They are simple to make, fill an old sock and tie it or get more creative and sew together a few attractive pouches for pockets, laps, and even your bed. Make various sizes. Make a few for your kid’s pockets for those cold days of waiting for the school bus.

I have found that fleece sheets are a necessity in my home. They’re warm when you get in and they keep you warm all night!

Stay warm!