Monday, September 30, 2013

Get Out There To Expand Your Knowledge!

I'm going to format this post a little differently by telling you a story.

The other day, on my lunch hour, I popped into a little wine shop near my work. I was looking to buy a bottle of wine to go with my dinner for that night and, as someone who loves absolutely everything about wine--its body, its texture, its juiciness, its color, its fragrance, et cetera, et cetera--I decided to strike up a conversation with the store's wine buyer to see if he could recommend a bottle to me. I told him what I was looking for (sort of) as well as certain flavor profiles I didn't care for (oaky Chardonnays?  NO THANKS!). In addition to receiving his own personal recommendations, I also came away with so much knowledge. I drank it up--no pun intended! 

I learned about Tokaj, a Hungarian wine that is orange in color. I learned that it cannot be called "Tokaj" here in the United States due to Hungarian licensing laws but can be called "Jakot," the backwards spelling of "Tokaj." Flavor-wise, it's a little nutty, with subtle undertones of spices like cumin and coriander and is very dry with a short finish. 

I also learned about this type of sherry, Menzanilla, made only in Spain. The way this sherry is made is different from others in that there is a "flor," which is kind of like a fungus, that sits atop the sherry in the oaken barrels and eats the yeast. It's aged for a year and then bottled. There is also "Fino" sherry, which is created in the same way as the Menzanilla. The only difference is the region in which the two sherries are made. One is closer to the water, which results in a much more humid inward wind and the other, farther from the water, resulting in a drier wind.  These climate factors affect the final taste of the sherry.  What is that taste? Well, while discernibly "sherry," the Menzanilla tastes nothing like Harvey's Bristol Cream. It's dry and crisp and has just a complex flavor, much like a wine!  

I entered the shop wanting just a single bottle of wine and came away with that, a bottle of pretty darned good sherry, and newly acquired knowledge!

So why am I dedicating the better part of this post to writing about wine and sherry? It's because I'm so passionate about wine.  I learn what I can from drinking it but that can only teach me so much. There's a much larger world of knowledge out there just waiting for me! I need only ask the right people--and the same goes for you and inquiring into your passions!!

Yes, you can read Wikipedia or Google permutations of various search terms relating to your interests but I invite you to get out there! Do a little research (okay, you can use gGoogle for that) and see whom you might be able to go and talk to about what it is you're passionate! It doesn't even need to be a formal event. Maybe it's something as little as talking to the farmer at your local farmers market about different zucchini (your favorite vegetable) varietals, or maybe it's asking the guy who draws your blood how he came to have that job since you've always been interested in becoming a medical assistant. Whatever your passion or interest, learn more about it by getting out there and connecting with other, like-minded individuals.

In conclusion, please let me know what your passions are.  What are YOU doing to get out there and expand your knowledge?  I can't wait to read your comments--they just might inspire others too!

With love, light and happiness,

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Eat Better to Feel Better (With Recipe!)

It's no mystery that the better you eat, the better you feel!  So if you find yourself in a slump, maybe you're anxious, tired, depressed, even, think about what you're eating.  The feelings you're experiencing are likely being triggered by your food intake.

It might not even be that you're eating "unhealthfully," per se, but maybe something you are having regularly just ain't serving you!

While I don't have all the answers for you and your individual self (although if you'd like to work with me and schedule a free health consultation, click here!), I am offering a recipe for a green smoothie that might help kickstart things for you and turn your mood--and energy levels--around!

Green smoothies are such a wonderful way to get in healthy fruits and vegetables because they taste AMAZING! Or they can, at least.  Rest assured, this one does!

I will mention that you should stick to this exact recipe when you're getting started--and maybe even if you're not!  Why?  There are SO many smoothie recipes out there with everything but the kitchen sink in them--banana, flax, chia, shredded coconut, almond mylk, spirulina, wheat grass, pea protein, blueberries, pineapple, parsley, cucumber, hemp hearts, avocado.

You get the idea.

The more ingredients you put into a smoothie, even if they're "healthy" ingredients, the more work your body is going to have to do to digest everything and this can be a lot of work for the body, even though it's essentially a liquid so K.I.S.S.

Oh!  And make sure and "chew" your smoothie.


Banana-Berry Green Smoothie

Serves 1

(Add in this order)

1 c. filtered water
1 T. ground flax seed
2 kale leaves, stalks removed (similarly, you can use one cup of tightly packed spinach)
1 banana, cut in halves for easier blending
1/2 cup berries, heaping (here's where you can be creative and decide which berries to use!)
Small knob ginger

Blend everything and enjoy!  Warning:  this smoothie is tasty so you'll want to chug it down but please resist the urge to do so!  You want to S-A-V-O-R it and chew ;)

With love, light and happiness,

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Your Version of Health

Choose kale!

Make it to your mat!

Nix that coffee!

Phrases like these--or derivatives thereof--are floating all over health cyberspace, as well as in print right now.  Kale is the new romaine.  Yoga is the best form of physical activity and should be practiced daily.  Coffee is bad news--swap it for green tea.  The phrases are well intended, encouraged to motivate people towards health, but they might not be healthy for every person.

While by no means untrue, claims like these do not apply to everyone...and certainly not all of the time!  Being healthy is about listening to your unique self and what it needs in that moment.  By honoring that, you are being healthy!

Let's begin with the kale.  Sure, it's a nutrient-rich food.  When eaten raw, in particular, it has the potential to provide the body loads of enzymes that help make the body strong and healthy.  If one has a fragile digestive system, however, he or she may not be able to break down that kale and reap from it all of its nutritious benefits.  The inability to break down the kale may lead to stomach upset, including gas and bloating.  Doesn't sound very "healthy" to me!  Some easier-to-digest romaine might be a better option for that person!  (If this is you, by the way, when selecting romaine, try to search out the greener heads--the lighter-colored ones or more lacking in nutrients).

Let's look next at the yoga example.  There is no doubt that yoga is an excellent practice for improving one's mental and physical health.  However, if a person is exhausted at the end of an especially long work day, and isn't feeling all that well, practicing yoga after work might not be the "healthiest" option.  He or she might benefit more from a nap and reap from it greater health benefits!

Lastly:  coffee.  There are certainly valid arguments for giving it up but there are also a lot of arguments for drinking it so figure out what's "healthy" for you!  If coffee is something you truly enjoy and gives you energy in the morning, then drink a cup and know you're getting some valuable antioxidants!  If you're drinking upwards of five cups a day, and getting headaches with any fewer, then maybe you need to assess your "healthful" relationship with coffee.

Bottom line?  What is "healthy" for some is not healthy for all.  Honor yourself and make healthy choices that serve you, now...and be sure and share those choices with me!

With love, light and happiness,

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Love the You of Now


It is human nature to compare.  We compare what this summer is like, relative to last.  We compare this season of our favorite TV show to the previous.  We compare the spaghetti our mother-in-law makes to what our own mother makes (hers is better).

But we also compare ourselves--not just to others but to our past selves, particularly our past selves.

However, we're not the same person we were a year ago, or yesterday, for that matter, so to compare any part of ourselves--our physical bodies, our level of confidence, our careers, our amount of free time, our motivation to cook--to that person just isn't fair.  To try and compare these two people, essentially, would be like trying to compare Stanley Kubrick's The Shining to the 1997 remake.  You just can't do it!

We are constantly evolving and, as such, becoming a different person each and every moment.  This 'new' person may manifest herself over a long period of time or maybe just a little while, but this new person is incredible!  It's exciting to be a new person today!

So you used to have hair the color of roasted chestnuts that's now streaked with gray?  Call that gray silver and look at each strand with delight.  View the strands as obstacles you overcame in your life that made you the strong, vibrant person you are now!  

So you used to have the energy to wake up at 4:30 am before work to exercise but now would rather sleep?  Honor your present body and mind and focus on the good you're doing for it by allowing yourself sleep.  Think about how what you need in your life right now--that is, what your present self needs--is rest and not intense, 4:30-am cardio.  It doesn't matter that the you of "then" needed it, the you of "now" doesn't, so don't waste your time thinking about her!

I'd love to know who you all are now!  What are the amazing qualities that make up your present selves?  Do you fully embrace these qualities or do you let comparative thoughts to your past selves bring you down?  Please, if you do currently compare yourself, stop it now and begin to focus on the AMAZING you of present, and share with me who that person is!  Hopefully by sharing, you'll be able to focus on that truly special person too and begin to cultivate even greater self love.

With love, light and happiness,

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Do For You!

I was all set to write a post about this probiotic yogurt I've been making lately.  I took a picture of it this morning in preparation for my post this evening as well as brainstormed some of the benefits of healthy gut flora I wanted to share with you all!  Well, the events of my day inspired me to write about something else.  The probiotic post will come but today I want to write about doing for you!

What do I mean?

Do, or act, with no other incentive but to please yourself!  This is to say, do things for the sheer reason of making yourself feel good.  It's, of course, wonderful to do things for others, or to do things that you think will earn you approval or accolade, but if we set out to do things with expectations and those expectations aren't met, we are left feeling discouraged, sad, unworthy, incapable, etc.

The list goes on.

And while the other person (or persons) whom you were initially trying to please will be unaware of your now discouraged/saddened/what have you state, YOU are aware.  You are left with those negative feelings.  You cannot control outcomes, nor can you control the feelings of others, but you can control your own.  When you let others dictate your happiness, consciously or unconsciously, you are relinquishing control.  When you act out of the hope of pleasing someone else, you are setting yourself up for potential let-down.

So, please, I invite you to commit to doing whatever it is you do with no other incentive but to please yourself in that present moment.  Do things blissfully and with no expectations.  Do for you!

Pick up that piece of trash in the elevator, not with the hopes that someone will see you doing it and praise your actions, but because it's the right thing to do and will make YOU feel good.  Compliment your coworker's blouse, not with the hopes that she will reciprocate by telling you she likes yours, but because you know it will make her feel good, which, in turn will make YOU feel good.  Commit to posting to your blog, not with the hopes that it will be recognized by some huge company who wants to hire you on, but because it touches and helps people, some of whom you're not even aware.

When you proceed through life acting--living--from a place with no expectations, you take total control of your own emotions.  Others' emotions or reactions are out of your grasp but yours belong to you and you alone.  Those you do have power over.  You can choose happiness, bliss, contentment, misery, sadness, hatred, joy, dissatisfaction, etc., and having choice, even over negative feelings, is a pretty cool thing...because it's your own.

With love, light and happiness,

Monday, September 16, 2013

How to Eat More Veggies (with Recipe!)

To a lot of you, the idea of eating a daily salad to up your veggie count is less than appealing.  This is especially true for those of you who are at the far other end of the "health spectrum,"--getting your veggies in the form of fried potatoes, ketchup and maybe the occasional iceberg lettuce.  I'm not here to judge, though.  I'm here to help and that is why I offer you another option for increasing your daily intake of vegetables:

Make a soup.

Yep, that's right.  Soup.  Soup is amazing because you can pack so much nutrition into it, season it to your preference and manipulate it anyway you want (in the form of a puree or chunky broth), all while getting in your veggies!  Pureed soups are probably the best for camouflaging the less desirable veggies but if you like all the ingredients going into your soup, experiment with a less uniform texture, ie. not a puree.  Think minestrone or chicken noodle!

With you I'd like to share by latest FAVORITE recipe, which was made my own but inspired by the Streaming Gourmet.  I encourage you to try this recipe out and let me know hoe you like it!  Please also leave comments as to how YOU get in your daily vegetables!  If you currently aren't eating enough veggies, I hope this post will inspire you to start...or at least make soup :)

Sage-Infused Sweet Potato and Pumpkin Soup*


-  2 T. olive oil
-  1 large yellow onion, thinly sliced
-  1 c. pumpkin puree
-  2 sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into 1/2 inch chunks
-  1/4 c. fresh sage, chopped
-  4 cups water (or low sodium vegetable stock)
-  6 heaping T. almond milk
-  1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
-  2 tsp salt
-  Freshly ground black pepper to taste


1. Add the olive oil to a heavy-bottomed stock pot over low heat.  Add the onions and stir to coat with the olive oil. Sauté gently, stirring occasionally for 40-50 minutes. Make sure that onions to over-brown. If necessary, add a little bit of water or a touch of olive oil towards the end to slow down the browning process.

2. Add pumpkin, yams and chopped sage.  Stir to coat with caramelized onions. Increase heat to medium. Sauté for 5-10 minutes until yams and pumpkin pieces have softened and browned a little. Add water or stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. You can either blend all your ingredients in a blender or use a handheld immersion blender to puree the soup.

4. Stir in the cream and add the nutmeg, salt and pepper. Warm the soup over medium heat.

5. Ladle into bowls and garnish with one sage leaf and a few roasted pumpkin seeds.

*Recipe inspired by Amy at the "Streaming Gourmet"

With love, light and happiness,

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Your Health Journey

Variations of the phrase "health journey" are floating around all over the place right now--online, in health magazines, on Twitter, you name it!  But what does this phrase even mean?  What is a health journey?  Believe me, it trips up the likes of people like me, who are super into health, as well as people who wouldn't know a stalk of kale from a Swiss chard leaf.

While there is no definitive definition out there, I am here to share with you my interpretation of what a "health journey" means to me, and it really doesn't matter if my interpretation is "correct" or not.  It's how I apply my understanding of the phrase to my life.  The same goes with you and your application of the phrase to your life!

We're all on a journey.  We're constantly discovering new foods and ways of preparing them, deciding what to take or not take with those foods, be it supplements, herbs, what have you.  We're doing things for our body, mind and spirit, all in an effort to be "healthy."  Some of us think more about this than others but we all are making these discoveries about ourselves each and every day.  This is the health journey.  It's discovering who we are and meeting ourselves with where we're at in the ever-changing present moment.

I have found, from being in health school right now, and by connecting with people who are also into healthy living, that "healthy" seems to equate to "best."  When it comes down to it, people make all sorts of lifestyle choices in an effort to become their best self, and once there, they have completed the "journey."  That is to say, once they think they've found the answer to x, y or z, there's nowhere else to progress.

But does the journey ever end?  Do we want it to?  What would it mean if we finally became our healthiest self, and what would happen?

So let me answer these questions, again, with my own understanding.

First of all, the journey never ends...and we certainly wouldn't want it to!  Part of living is D-I-S-C-O-V-E-R-I-N-G what works or doesn't work, and just when you think you've found the answer, it changes!  This makes life exciting and interesting.

To speak more specifically to health, let me address food.  Certain foods support our physical, day-to-day lives.  Certain foods make our tummies happy.  Certain foods allow us to feel vibrant and energetic.  However, these foods differ from person to person and even within the same person, these foods change...constantly.  What served you once might not serve you in the future.  What upset your stomach in the past might not now.  What you used to dislike you might now love.  Be open to change within yourself.

I offer you, in closing, and as some sort of relief, that we will never be our "healthiest" self.  One's health journey will never be over and we'll never reach an end destination.  Even if you think you have reached a point where there's nowhere to improve, you'll find there is!  So will begin a new phase of the journey.

With love, light and happiness,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Changing Dread Into Gratitude!

As I was walking around the city before work this morning, I was thinking about how happy I was and how fortunate I was to be in such an amazing place. I fully appreciated all of  the diverse sights around me.  I marveled at the hazy sky, with pink light peeking through a slit, and I inhaled the smells wafting out of just-opening bakeries.  I also appreciated that I had the time, energy and motivation to even take a walk at all before work. Later, at lunch, I went to an incredible farmers market only minutes away from my work.  Upon reflecting on this outing, I was able to appreciate the fact that I have access to local, fresh, abundant produce and that I work in a city where I can find a farmers market any day of the week!  

So enough about me and my good fortune, right?  You’re thinking, Why do I care about this...right?!

Well, the reason I’m sharing all this with you is because I want you to find appreciation, contentment and joy with wherever you’re at in your own lives.  You might not live in a city you love and you might not have a job that stimulates you but how can you reassess your current circumstances to view them more positively?  Without changing anything, what can you appreciate already in your own life?  Where can you find joy and contentment?

I practice at a yoga studio that teaches a different theme each month.  This month, lessons are being taught on the Yoga Sutras.  My teacher began class the other night by talking about this very thing: joy and contentment.  She used the example of how, when she used to make her daughter’s turkey sandwich every night before school, she would dread it and label it as “one more thing to do.”  She then shifted her way of thinking, though, and began to view her daily motherly task in a different light.  Rather than dreading it, she actually started to look forward to making the sandwiches because she was doing it out of love for her daughter.

While you can’t necessarily change your current circumstances or your day-to-day tasks, you can certainly change how you view them.  You can begin to do the same things but with a mindset of greater appreciation, joy and contentment.  The capacity to do so already exists within you!

Please share your own experiences with this.  Are you prone to negativity or do you consciously try to stay optimistic and positive?  What tasks or life circumstances greet you daily that you can start to take on with greater zest and gratitude?  Will this come easily to you?  Are you already working at overcoming pessimism and negativity or did my post inspire you to change your current ways?  

I eagerly await your thoughts and comments :)

With love, light and happiness,

Monday, September 9, 2013

Turn The Beat Around!

Today was one of those days where I just was not feeling well. My stomach was causing me some attitude, which, in turn, was bringing down my overall mood. Despite being aware of the power my stomach was having over me, and despite wanting to not let it bring me down, I was having a really hard time actually doing it!

Now, I keep a  journal in which I write (among other things) daily thoughts, intentions and goals. Next to each goal there are little bubbles that I either fill in or put an "X" through at the end of each day, as having either accomplished or not accomplished that goal. Usually, I'm able to fill  in those bubbles with pride but occasionally I have to "X" them out. 

This morning one of the goals I wrote down was to go to yoga after work. Little did I know my stomach would cause me such upset as the day progressed and so around 2:00 pm I made up my mind that I was not going to go to class. I was bummed about not being able to go, and already foresaw an "X"-filled bubble, but I accepted my decision as meeting my body where it was at in the present moment and honoring it. 

4:00 rolled around, though, and I reassessed how I was feeling then. I still didn't feel great but I did feel slightly better.  That's when I decided I was going to go to class, and so I did. 

Attending class and connecting, energetically, with the other students--not to mention moving my body!--helped me feel tremendously better--much better than if I'd gone straight home. So even though I made up my mind earlier in the day that I wasn't going to go to class, I allowed myself to be open to change. 

I turned my beat entirely around. 

You, too, are never stuck or locked in to a decision you've made.  Like me, you can always turn your beat around. While it may sometimes feel like your path is predetermined--that your mood has to stay solemn, or your job has to stay mundane, or you have to start your day "this" way--it isn't! Utilize the wonderful gift you've been given that IS free will and implement change! Yes, this is definitely easier to do some times than others but you can always do it!  Please remember that!

So with that said, I'd love to know how many of you let predetermined, "set-in-stone" thoughts control your actions? Do you make up something in your mind and then stick to it unrelentingly or do you adopt to the ever-changing circumstances that make up life? Share your experiences, please! I'd love to hear them!

With love, light and happiness,

Sunday, September 8, 2013

What's Next?

I've been thinking about this question a lot lately.

I do stuff--and sometimes don't do--in an effort to "get it done" and move on to the next thing.  The thing is, though, once we move on to the next thing, we're then thinking about the next thing after that.  It's a vicious cycle.  We've never "arrived."

The question "What's next?" is one that pops up hundreds of times each day.  The question, in a sense, directs our lives!  We ask ourselves this question, consciously or not, in order to know where we're going.  In thinking ahead, though, we aren't living in the now.

Say you're peeling garlic.  You chop off the hard, nubby base, peel the skin and begin to slice it.  As you're slicing it though, you're thinking about how after you finish slicing it, you're going to saute it in some oil, to which you'll then add some veggies, which is going to become a stir-fry with the rice, which you also need to prepare.  You then think you should be doing rice preparation first instead of chopping garlic since the rice takes longer to make and you don't want to be eating at 9:00 because then you'll be getting in bed too late for your early day at work tomorrow, and, boy oh boy, it's going to be a long day.  Luckily, you're having dinner with a friend after work so all you need to do is make it through the day and get all the stuff done you need to and then you can relax and enjoy dinner...except even then you'll be thinking about the next thing after dinner!

See what I mean?

Unfortunately, thinking ahead is often not as innocuous as how to orchestrate dinner preparation.  Usually it's more self-destructive in nature, occupying the form of worry, fear or stress.  While we can't totally zap thoughts like these and say "I'm not going to think ahead; I'm not going to worry/fear/stress," we can definitely work at it, and by doing so, we'll be able to cultivate greater happiness and contentment by living in the present, which is the ultimate goal, after all!

Here are three easy ways I've devised to be more present:

1.  Literally SAY what it is you're doing.  Preferably, do this somewhere privately so you don't get weird looks, but if a public space is all you've got, then try it out!  "I am walking.  My left foot is stepping down and now my right foot is.  I am looking at my feet as I speak in order to observe what it is I'm doing."  I know this sounds nutty but I GUARANTEE you you will not be thinking about Wednesday's dinner if you try narrating your actions in the moment you're doing them!

2.  Create atmosphere.  Whatever you're doing, be it a blog post or folding laundry, create a space in which you feel present.  For some, this might mean lighting candles and opening the screen door in order to hear the birds outside;  for others, it might mean turning on Pandora and turning off all overhead lights!  Whatever your environment of choice, create it for yourself!  By so doing, you'll be focusing your senses more on what they're actually experiencing in their immediate, physical surroundings, rather than thinking ahead to other things that don't actually exist.

3.  Lastly--finish all the "have tos."  If you get all the stuff done that you dislike or need to do, then you'll be able to focus on the enjoyable [hopefully] actions of the moment and not dreading the next things because they'll be done!

So I ask you, are you living presently?  What, if anything, do you do to stay in the present moment?   Please share your thoughts!  I'd love to know, too, if you found helpful any of the suggestions I offered!

With love, light and happiness,

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Be Kind to Yourself!

So many of us find ourselves on a particular health kick at one point in our lives or another.  "I'm going to eat this way" or "I'm going to eliminate these foods."  While it's great to clean up one's eating habits, I want to encourage you all to take a less dogmatic approach and be kinder to yourself! 

Yes, eliminate gluten if you have Celiac disease.  Yes, swap flax seeds for chia seeds if chia seeds cause you violent stomach upset.  Yes, cut out peanuts if you're allergic, for crying out loud! But PLEASE try not to take an "all or nothing" approach to food just for the sake of doing what you think you should be doing.

So much of life is about pleasure and enjoying the things you truly love.  While I'm not encouraging gorging on your grandma's prize-winning triple chocolate cake every week you go to visit her, I am advising you--especially those of you who are so hard on yourselves--to lighten up a bit and practice some self kindness!

You are BEAUTIFUL! Your soul was put here to do amazing things and to make a difference in the world.  Acknowledge these things and treat yourself with kindness.  Fully embrace and love the soul that is YOU.

While this may sound radical to some, I invite you all to grant yourself a meal of kindness.  Order your very favorite dish (or make it) and dispel any thoughts of, "Oh, this isn't good for me" or "This isn't offering me any nutrients."  Just enjoy it and be present with your meal.  Take a break from the strict rules you've applied to your day-to-day way of eating, be it consciously or not, and loosen the reins!

Love fried chicken with buttery mashed potatoes? Then HAVE some and enjoy them entirely. Do you swoon over pistachio ice cream?  Order yourself some--make it a large, in fact!  The next day you can go back to eating however it was you were, but maybe you'll approach your habits differently.  Maybe you'll be a little kinder to yourself...who knows!

Tomorrow, though, PLEASE, grant yourself that favorite meal.  Don't critique or judge your choice and don't worry about its "healthiness."  Just enjoy!  You are a beautiful soul who was put here to do amazing things. You deserve to treat yourself with kindness, compassion and self love. Part of that is, most certainly, nourishing your physical body with healthy foods but it's also about relaxing a bit and indulging in your very favorite things from time to time by nourishing your soul!

Please share your comments and let me know what you indulged in and how the experience was~

With love, light and happiness,

Sunday, September 1, 2013

How To Make A Killer Salad

There are few things you can do to better your overall diet than to eat a salad every day.  Whether it's its own meal or an accompaniment, make an effort to get in more daily greens!  Not sure how to start?  I'm going to help with that!

Before I dive in, though, let me say that I use the term "salad" very broadly. Basically, a salad for me is a plate of many exciting elements, the most prominent being greens.  However, it's what's you pair with those greens and how you dress it up that really makes it zing!

So without further ado, I give you my "must haves" for killer salad creation!

1. Variety of Greens
With the term "variety," I'm not implying you have to have a lot of different types of greens going on within one salad. Although that can be fun and exciting, what I'm suggesting is that you vary your greens from salad to salad and try out new greens at the supermarket that look interesting to you!  Find yourself on an arugula kick?  Maybe try out radicchio for a change of pace to see if you like its peppery notes as much as--or more than--arugala's!
Some more suggestions for greens variety are:  spinach, romaine/romaine hearts, kale (dinosaur or green), endive, frisee, leaf lettuce (red or green), butter lettuce, watercress.

2. Dynamite Dressing
Dressing can make or break a salad. You should choose a dressing that is going to compliment your greens and other ingredients without detracting from them. You've also got to dress your salad completely. I recommend tossing the greens, along with the ingredients, in a separate bowl and then transferring to a plate.  You want to coat everything so that each time you go to take a bite, a new flavor combination awakens your taste buds.  Furthermore, I'd recommend making your own dressing.  Homemade is ALWAYS better than store bought and there are thousands of recipes for dressings online.  You're sure to find one that sounds good!  Also consider the greens you're using when deciding on a dressing. Delicate greens, like watercress, aren't going to hold up very well to a thick, creamy, ranch and a light, bright vinaigrette will be totally lost on kale salad so consider these things too!

3. Protein
Whether it's plant- or animal-based, make sure your salad contains an element of protein, otherwise you're going to be left feeling dissatisfied and wanting more after the meal's end.  For some, your protein might be pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts, and for others, it might be three ounces of chicken breast.  Whatever your protein of, make sure and include it!

4.  Crunch
Salads are, by nature not crunchy (unless you're dealing with a huge chunk of iceberg, perhaps) so I like to incorporate an element of "crunch" into my salad to add more texture.  While it's all fine and good to "chew" leaves and cucumbers and maybe sprouts and whatever else, I need something with actual crunch--something that requires more than just ten or so *chomp, chomp, chomps.*  To accomplish this, I love throwing on some Mary's Gone Crackers or topping it with toasted nuts or seeds!  My nuts/seeds of choice are:  almonds, hemp hearts, pumpkin seeds.  You could also try your hand at homemade croutons!  That'd be dee-lish and certainly offer you crunch!  Toasted chickpeas are also really yummy--and provide you your necessary protein!

5.  Fat and Acidity
I lumped these two together because you certainly need them both.  The fat I'm referring to is, of course, healthy fats, like avocado, nuts/seeds, cold pressed olive, coconut or flax seed oil (in your homemade dressing or perhaps drizzled right on top!).  You can, of course, have multiple fats on your salad--just don't go too overboard.  I love topping mine with avocado and hemp hearts.
To cut that fat, though, and offer your salad more flavor complexity, make sure and also include some element of acidity.  Again, this could be done by adding lemon juice or apple cider vinegar (ACV, for future reference) to your dressing or zesting lemon peel over the top of your salad.  I, personally, really like adding fermented veggies to my salad but some other great suggestions I'd recommend are artichoke hearts, pickles, roasted tomatoes, maybe capers, to name a few!

So what next?  Get makin'!  Add to your salad other vegetables that you love--peppers, olives, mushrooms (okay, they're a fungus), sprouts, carrots, etc.  Herbs and spices can also really liven up your salad!  Don't combine too many things, though and go overboard by tossing in all the contents of your fridge, especially if you're just getting started.  Take care to create a salad of textures and flavors that really compliment one another...and hit all my five notes!

Here's a salad to get you started.  It's my favorite right now:

Assorted mixed greens
Julienned carrots (like little matchsticks, for those of you who don't know!)
Cucumber discs
Edamame (maybe a 1/2 c.)
Fermented vegetables (again, about a 1/2 c. but I really love them so I make it HEAPING)
1/2 avocado, thinly sliced
Toasted pumpkin seeds
Freshly cracked black pepper

Toss all ingredients together, except the pumpkin seeds and pepper.  Use enough ACV to coat everything but not so much that the leaves drown.  When incorporated with the avocado, the ACV turns into a creamy kind of dressing!  Transfer mixture to a plate and top with the toasted pumpkin seeds and black pepper to your liking :)

*Note:  As you may have noticed, the shape of the vegetables in my salad are all different.  One has an entirely different culinary experience depending on how veggies are cut so take that into account too when deciding whether to chop yours carrots or peel them into ribbon-like threads!