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Brookhaven Retreat Blog
Monday, 31 March 2014 15:42

DIY Anti-Aging Mask

Aging can be an extremely difficult process to deal with. Bright skin, full cheeks and lack of wrinkles; we all want to look youthful forever and may find ourselves stressing over the natural signs of getting older. Many natural skin care products can cost hundreds of dollars with multiple different steps that can feel like a chore just to apply. These products may work wonderful, but there are some extremely simple, cheap and effective homemade skin care recipes that can be completed in 15 minutes for instant results.

Admittedly, when I look for any “do it yourself” self-care ideas, I look for recipes with the least amount of ingredients. So when I discovered this remarkably effortless face mask using two ingredients that I already had at home, I had to try it - and I fell in love.

Here it is:

  • 1 egg white
  • 1 teaspoon of organic/raw honey

All you have to do is mix them together; then wipe your face down with some warm water to open up your pores; rub mixture on your face until you feel like your skin is thoroughly coated (you will probably have leftovers). Leave the mask on for 15 minutes and pat off with warm water.

I saw instant results. I felt that my skin was tighter and glowing, and the mask evened out my skin tone and texture.

Why does this homemade mask work? Raw honey is full of antioxidants and is great for slowing down the aging process. It is a natural antibacterial, so it is excellent for the treatment and prevention of acne. It opens pores while moisturizing skin, creating an instant glow. Eggs are packed with nutrients that not only benefit mental health and enhance mood, like choline, tryptophan and tyrosine; eggs are also great for our skin. They are full of proline, which helps build collagen and anti-inflammatory vitamin B3. The egg white tightens skin, reducing the appearance of fine lines instantly. Potassium in it works to moisturize skin and the riboflavin eliminates free radicals.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Monday, 31 March 2014 15:34

Tiny Changes

“True life is lived when tiny changes occur.” - Leo Tolstoy

I have written about changes many times. There was a time when I didn’t understand that life around me was truly changing. I was younger and just moved through life with blinders doing what I was “supposed” or “expected” to do. At some point, early in my freshman year of college, I decided I was utterly unhappy. I hated the college I was going to, I hated living in a dorm, I hated my roommate, but most of all I hated myself. I stopped looking in the mirror, I stopped going to class, softball practice, essentially anything I thought I had control over. At that point I decided I needed to make a change; something needed to be different because I couldn’t live my life any longer feeling so unhappy.

I took my “blinders” off and experienced reality shock because I had never stopped to smell the roses in my life. I always had to be somewhere or meet someone or complete some task. I wasn’t ever allowed to just be. The world outside my extremely boxed-in vision was huge and fast and scary. Though I noticed how beautiful trees were and how wonderfully warm the sun felt against my skin, I was scared to expand my vision.

And then mental illness set in and I figured my life was over. I suddenly was being called “the bipolar” when I was in doctors’ offices or hospitals. I lost my name. I lost my career. I lost my independence. I folded myself comfortably into the protection of misery and stayed there feeling sorry for myself for quite a while. I was comfortably uncomfortable. I would think about things I would like to do; things I would like to accomplish; things I would like to be different, but my immediate response would be to tuck in tighter so I didn’t have to risk anything bad by making a change. I couldn’t take any more bad.

Over several years I started to open the cocoon. I started thinking more clearly about what I might want to do. I kept saying to family and friends “I’m gonna…” do whatever, but no change was happening. Then a dear friend of mine handed me a folded up paper from a project on which she was working and it was a quote that said, “true life is lived when tiny changes occur.” Suddenly things became clearer to me. I could think and talk about change all I wanted, but true change was never going to happen until I actually started DOING something different. Change can be movement, growth, or sometimes regression but it always implies action.

When I finally realized that small steps were just fine in my journey of life, the outside world didn’t seem quite so scary. I could suddenly start walking the steps toward completing my Master’s Degree because I realized it was just that – steps, not a leap from here to the end. How many opportunities I’ve missed in my life because I wasn’t willing to DO things different? I wanted to think things different but that doesn’t work. Change is still not easy, but I am at a point in my life that I am no longer going to miss opportunities because some negative change might be included. Sometimes we have to backup in order to gain our footing. Even backward steps are “tiny changes” and are still certainly “true life.”

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Sunday, 30 March 2014 04:49

Company Pot Roast

This Company Pot Roast may take some preparation, but it’s worth the wait. Using a crockpot, this dinner can cook itself while you are at work or running errands! The delectable sauce and tender roast easily make this one of the best Sunday (or any day of the week) dinners.


  • 1 (2-pound) boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut in half
  • ¼ cup lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-cup beef broth
  • 1 (.35- ounce) package dried morel mushrooms (or shiitake)
  • 1 tablespoon cracked black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste
  • 2 medium onions (about ¾ pound), quartered
  • 1 (16 ounce) package carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
  • 16 small red potatoes (about 2 pounds), halved
  • 1-tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 ½ tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons water


Combine roast, soy sauce and garlic in a large zip-top plastic bag, seal it and marinate in refrigerator for at least 8 hours, turn bag occasionally.

Bring broth to a boil in a small saucepan; add mushrooms. Remove from heat; cover and let stand 20 minutes. Drain mushrooms through a cheesecloth-lined colander over a small bowl, reserving mushroom broth mixture.

Remove roast from bag, save marinade. Sprinkle roast with pepper, gently pressing pepper into the roast. Combine tomato paste, reserved roast marinade and reserved mushroom broth mixture, stir well and set aside.

Place mushrooms, onions, carrots and potatoes in a 6-quart electric slow cooker and gently toss.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add roast, browning well on all sides. Place roast over vegetables in slow cooker. Pour tomato paste mixture into pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Pour tomato paste mixture over roast and vegetables. Cover with lid; cook on HIGH 1 hour. Reduce to LOW, and cook 8 hours or until roast is tender. Place the roast and vegetables on a serving platter; keep warm. Reserve liquid in slow cooker and increase to HIGH.

Place flour in a small bowl. Gradually add 3 tablespoons of water, stirring with a whisk until well blended. Add flour mixture to liquid in slow cooker. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes or until gravy is slightly thick, stirring frequently. Serve gravy with roast and vegetables.

Yield: 8 servings

Serving size: 3 ounces roast, 1 onion wedge, 3 carrot pieces, 4 potato halves, and about ¼ cup of gravy

Recipe from: Cooking Light, Easy Winter Recipes, March 2011

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Friday, 28 March 2014 22:26

Hula Hooping

Self-Confident Attitudes
One Small Step for Brookhaven Retreat
One Large Step for the Ladies at Brookhaven Retreat

When we are met with challenges that seem too much for us…how do we win? Invariably, by that almost indefinable something called poise…and poise is the subtle outward show of inbred confidence.

At Brookhaven Retreat the conditioning of the hula-hoop is a valuable tool for women struggling with self-confidence. The repeated practice of hula hooping physically conditions and impresses flowing and complex movements into the core of the hooper. She learns to carry herself as if she were born by nature to effortlessly do so.

Confidence is an attitude that changes your thoughts and thoughts change your world. Also, attitudes are nothing more than habits of thought and like all habits they can be acquired. The practice of hula hooping builds the mental attitude of confidence, which more surely determines success than does raw aptitude. The woman who knows she will triumph makes the opportunities on which she capitalizes and her driving opportunism is born of ingrained confidence.

The first step in acquiring this positive attitude of confidence must begin with the desire to have it and the perpetuating drive to pay the price of practice for it. Consider that the hoop is a space or a place for a community of one. It is round, smooth and possesses no dark or shadowy corners. The embrace of the hoop is like a perfect partner reflecting only the mastery of the hooper. As the hooper finds the uniqueness of her own hoop dance she is able to feel the personal flow within her, it becomes more powerful than the outward reflections of a mirror, which does not touch her and has no soul. The physical skill of hooping transfers the feelings of poetic movement into the imagination where the hooper is the creative master of her own body even when the hoop is at home and in the closet. She has become accustomed to the physical strengthening of her core and the feelings of poise and self-confidence.

Confidence means acknowledging one’s talent, believing in one’s learned abilities; understanding that it takes her complete commitment to certify fearless grace and victory without regret. Every rhythmic gyre of the hoop exercises the mastery of complete commitment. Nothing else and nothing less will do. From unquenchable desire, based on personal discipline there arises an aura of pride that envelops and molds her self-perceptions.

What is a winner?...Someone who finishes having given it her all. This exhilaration is more than mere compensation for all the drudgery, all the toil. It is the pinnacle of self-fulfillment. It is pure achievement, gratifyingly earned and justly enjoyed. Confidence changes your thought and you change world.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Friday, 28 March 2014 04:57

How to Become Happier


If you have turned on the radio in the past month it’s likely you’ve heard the hit song “Happy” by popular artist, Pharrell Williams. This song has gained so much esteem that the Grammy-winning artist teamed up with the United Nation Foundation to celebrate the International Day of Happiness on the first day of spring. With upbeat lyrics like “can’t nothing bring me down” and a catchy melody, it makes perfect sense that it sits at the music charts no.1 spot: It makes us happy.

Happiness is hard to define because it means many different things to different people. But there is one thing we all have in common; everyone strives to reach his or her own happiness but often looks toward the wrong place. The journey to a happy, healthier life takes a little effort. But small changes and additions to our daily routine can cultivate a healthier mind, body and soul.

Here are 5 simple actions proven to boost your mood:

Exercise: Physical activity is well known for releasing endorphins that improve physical and mental health. Spend time outside gardening, not only does it relieve stress, it can provide light to moderate exercise.

Interact with animals: It doesn’t matter if you are a dog person or a cat person; pets have a wonderful effect on mood. Even just petting an animal increases pleasure in the brain.

Volunteer:If you don’t have a pet to play with take time to volunteer at the local animal shelter. Volunteering benefits others while improving your over all well-being. Soup kitchens and after school programs are always looking for help.

Show kindness: This can be as simple as opening the door for someone or sharing a piece of cake. Making other people happier in return makes you happy!

And lastly, listen to happy music: As this whole blog is about, happy music is scientifically proven to improve our moods!

“The grass is greener where you water it” – Neil Barringham

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Thursday, 27 March 2014 03:39

Why All The (Crime) Drama?

NBC’s hit show Law and Order, Special Victims Unit has become a staple in many American households – now well into its 15th season. Sergeant Olivia Benson (played by Mariska Hargitay) has become one of America’s darlings, as she manages to treat the victims with tenderness and care, while relentlessly pursuing the perpetrators. Upwards of seven million viewers tune in each week to hear these opening lines:

“In the criminal justice system, sexually based offenses are considered especially heinous. In New York City, the dedicated detectives who investigate these vicious felonies are members of an elite squad known as the Special Victims Unit. These are their stories.”

These stories, though, hardly seem to belong to the detectives. Yes, we love watching Ice-T and company track down the bad guys. The stories, though, belong to the victims.

What strikes me as I watch shows like this (as well as the many, many other crime dramas) take over both prime time TV and syndication, is the reality that underlies the fiction that they portray. We sit, for maybe an hour or maybe several hours if we catch the USA marathon, and are entertained by these stories.

But what is entertainment for most of us is reality for many. Statistics show that one in three American women will be sexually abused during their lifetime. One in four women and one in six men will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18.* As someone who has not experienced sexual assault, I cannot begin to imagine what those brave women and men have gone through. I can speculate, though, that this kind of show would be insulting at least – if not downright traumatic to watch.

I doubt that crime shows are going anywhere soon, but I do wonder how we as a culture justify giving such high entertainment value to something that is so real and harmful to such a large part of our population. Perhaps the shows teach us to be more vigilant – to protect our children and ourselves. Perhaps they give us an insight into the extreme courage that victims must have in order to criminally pursue their attackers. Perhaps they show us the faults and loopholes that exist in our criminal justice system.

Or perhaps we just use them as an escape – a mindless and entertaining hour.

Next time you find yourself plopping down on the couch or in your favorite chair, surfing the channels until you hear the iconic “dun dun” of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, remember that for many, these “stories” are real. So maybe during the first commercial break, instead of going to the kitchen for more chips, you can grab your computer and visit RAINN, the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network to find out how you can help:

*From WOAR: Bringing communities together to end sexual violence.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 06:24

I was … I am

I once was weak … Now I am strong – physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.

I once was nobody … Now I am somebody.

I once was apathetic … Now I am caring.

I once was insufferable … Now I am somebody I want to be around.

I once was making poor choices … Now I am intelligent, trustworthy, and responsible.

I once was going through the motions … Now I am committed for the long haul.

I once was unlovable … Now I love and am loved.

I once was stagnant … Now I am evolving, learning, and teaching.

I once was uninterested … Now I am motivated.

I once was unimaginative … Now I am creative.

I once was ashamed … Now I am open and sharing.

I once was willful…Now I am willing.

I once was barely holding on … Now I am full of zest for life.

I once was scared … Now I try; I am courageous.

I once was thankless … Now I am forever thankful.

I am … a survivor.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Tuesday, 25 March 2014 03:41

Quintessential Winter Salad

Try this colorful kale salad for a powerful combination of essential nutrients. This salad combines variety in color, texture and flavor for ultimate taste bud satisfaction.


  • 3 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

  • 1 tsp. Dijon mustard

  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh mint

  • 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 bunch Tuscan kale, ribs removed and leaves finely shredded

  • 2 Tbs. toasted pine nuts

  • 1 Tbs. finely grated Manchego cheese
  • 2 ruby grapefruits, peeled and segments removed from membrane

  • 1 large avocado, peeled and cut into chunks

  • 2 Tbs. pomegranate seeds


  1. Combine lemon juice, mustard, and mint in small jar, and shake well.
  2. Add olive oil, and shake well again.
  3. Toss kale with 4 Tbs. dressing in bowl.
  4. Add pine nuts and Manchego, and toss to combine.
  5. Divide among four plates.
  6. Heap grapefruit segments and avocado chunks on top of kale, drizzle with remaining dressing, and top with pomegranate seeds.

Serves 4

PER SERVING: 348 cal; 8 g pro; 24 g total fat (4 g sat fat); 32 g carb; 2 mg chol; 83 mg sod; 9 g fiber; 12 g sugars

Lemons have antibacterial and immune-boosting ability. They have been used as a weight loss aid because of their affect on digestion and liver cleansing. Lemons contain citric acid, magnesium, vitamin C, bioflavonoids, pectin, and limonene, which promote immunity and fight infection. The vitamin C in lemons is important for making and repairing collagen, the elastic-like substance found in skin, ligaments, and other body tissues, and hence are beneficial for healthy, firm skin. Mint oil relaxes the smooth muscle of the digestive tract to soothe a wide range of stomach woes, including indigestion and gas, and may help ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. Peppermint also aids in thinning mucus when battling a pesky cold.

Kale - 1 cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. Along with Vitamin A, kale contains the antioxidants zeaxanthin and lutein, which promote eye health. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Kale provides more nutritional value from fewer calories than almost any other food. Kale is also rich in sulforaphane, which keeps blood vessels healthy and has been shown to have anticancer and immunity-boosting properties.

Avocados contain vitamin E, monounsaturated fat, vitamin B6 and folic acid, which help reduce the risk of heart disease. Avocados contain glutathione, powerful antioxidants that helps fight free radicals, boosts the immune systems, slows aging process, and encourages a healthy nervous system. The avocado oil is added in many cosmetics because of its ability to nourish the skin and make your skin glow, and it aids in treating psoriasis, a skin disease that causes skin redness and irritation.

Pomegranates contain nearly half the recommended dose of vitamin C, which is vital for a strong immune system as well as forming collagen, the structural component of your skin. Pomegranates also contain phytoestrogens, which can help balance your hormones as well as help prevent cancer.

Published in Brookhaven Blog
Monday, 24 March 2014 03:07

Ingredient Spotlight: Asparagus

Asparagus is a spring vegetable that is as versatile as it is nutritious. It is loaded with nutrients that fight aging as well as reduce risk of disease. Ancient Romans used asparagus to treat many medical conditions including arthritis. Here is a closer look into this spear shaped plant:

Full of vitamins:
Asparagus is rich in vitamins A, C, E and K and the diabetes friendly chromium. Chromium assists insulin in transporting glucose into the cells from the bloodstream. The folate found in asparagus works with B12 to promote better mental health. Sufficient intake of folate while pregnant also prevents major birth defects of the brain and spine.

Fights free radicals:
It contains glutathione that breaks down free radicals, fighting against breast, bone, colon and lung cancers. The large quantities of antioxidants in asparagus neutralize free radicals that damage cells, slowing the aging process.

High blood pressure:
High levels of asparagine, an amino acid, helps the body get rid of excess salt. Asparagnine is a natural diuretic, benefiting people suffering from fluid accumulation, high blood pressure and other heart diseases.

February through June is peak season for asparagus, so it will be cheaper and fresher! Asparagus can be prepared many ways, is low in calories and high in health benefits. This spring, find some time to experiment with one of nature’s delicacies.

Published in Brookhaven Blog

Looking for a quick and simple dinner? This low-calorie shrimp skewer with white beans, rosemary and arugula recipe takes only 30 minutes and is packed full of nutrients and flavor!

Leafy greens such as arugula are a great source of Vitamin A, C, and K, which promotes mental health; while rosemary’s aroma can boost your mood, increase circulation and improve digestion. And white beans are low on the glycemic index; contain fiber and protein; and contain a large amount of antioxidants.

As the weather warms and the evenings are brighter, bring out the grill and give this simple but delicious recipe a try!


  • 16 fresh or frozen extra-large shrimp in shells (about 1 lb)
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons minced)
  • 4 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
  • ¼ cup lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons oil-packed dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 cups lightly packed arugula leaves, fresh spinach, and/or watercress, tough stems removed
  • 1 15-oz can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup thinly sliced red onion
  • 8 long sprigs fresh rosemary (optional)


Thaw shrimp, if frozen. Peel and devein shrimp, leaving tails intact. Thread shrimp onto four 8-inch skewers, leaving a ¼-inch space between pieces. In a small bowl combine 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, the minced garlic, and 1 teaspoon of the rosemary. Brush all of the oil mixture over shrimp on skewers.

If using a charcoal grill, place skewers on the rack of an uncovered grill directly over medium coals. Grill for 8 minutes or until shrimp are opaque. For a gas grill, preheat grill, reduce heat to medium. Place skewers on grill rack over heat. Cover and grill till opaque.

Meanwhile, in a very large skillet combine the remaining 2 tablespoons oil, the remaining 1-tablespoon rosemary, the sliced garlic, crushed red pepper, kosher salt, and black pepper. Cook over medium-low heat about 8 minutes or until garlic is lightly browned, stirring occasionally. Stir in lemon peel, lemon juice, tomatoes, and parsley.

Add half of the arugula, the beans, and onion to mixture in skillet. Cook, tossing constantly, just until arugula begins to wilt. Add the remaining arugula, cook, tossing constantly about 1 minute more or just until arugula is wilted.

Divide arugula mixture among four dinner plates. If desired, remove shrimp from wooden skewers and skewer two shrimp on each rosemary sprig. Serve shrimp with arugula mixture.

Note: When using wooden skewers, make sure to soak in water for 1 hour before grilling.

Source: Sonoma Diet Cookbook


Published in Brookhaven Blog
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We are a private pay treatment center and do not accept any type of insurance. Costs associated with care are the responsibility of the client.