Friday, July 8, 2016

My daughter…my favorite achievement

Every day, my beautiful daughter reminds me why God created me. My biggest cheerleader, supporter and accountability partner, she saved my life when she asked God to select me to take on my biggest job ever, her mom. I didn’t know it at the time or that I was even up for the job but she and our heavenly Father knew better. I have had the privilege of watching her grow up into a beautiful young woman that I truly admire.

Just recently, she was awarded a grant at college for the next year. I told her, “I want you to take full advantage of that grant and take a full course load this semester so you can get that much closer to finishing your first degree. So I am going to get a part time job so that you can concentrate on your studies”. She said to me, "Mom, what about your business? I am more concerned about that, to be honest. What you do matters. Helping people get healthy is urgently needed in our community. They need you even if they don’t know it yet”. I was at a loss for words. Here I am, a mom, trying to make sure that my baby girl makes progress toward her dreams and here she is making sure that I don’t take time away from mine. The fact that she ‘gets it’ is amazing to me it also proves that she has watched my struggles through the years and knows that ignoring your health can create a life or death situation where you are literally forced to reconsider your unhealthy choices.

My daughter validated me in that moment. She continues to amaze me every day. I cannot begin to tell you what a privilege it is to be Raven’s Mom <3

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Working hard and working well for your integrity’s sake not for recognition

Do you get more satisfaction when you receive recognition for a job well done?

Are you someone who works hard because you have a sense that it is the right thing to do to contribute to the greater good?

I find it more rewarding to work with a sense of urgency – like what I am doing is contributing to the big picture, like what I do matters, so it is important to do it well.  I get much more fulfillment out of the experience than if I was looking for recognition.  Don’t get me wrong, recognition is cool. It does feel good to be appreciated for my hard work.  But let’s face it - your work could very well go unnoticed and then what?  If I don’t get praise for a job well done I stop putting in effort?  Let me leave you with this thought…

Monday, April 25, 2016

Social Media - A Place To Make Your Light Shine

Opening up Facebook, Twitter or any social media platform and you just never know what you’re gonna see anymore. It could be a quote from the bible, a motivational post, (these are good, yes?) but someone spillin’ tea about someone else or someone just saying something generally negative? I don’t know about that. Why not allow this medium or other social media be a forum where you can let your light shine?

Personally, I use social media for business mostly so I have some skin in the game to make my timeline a positive place to visit. So for people who follow me, I make posts that add value and positivity to their lives. Frankly if anyone wants drama, they can watch The Young and the Restless.

Social media could be used as a tool for accountability, though. There are people in the public eye that are respected as role models that end up getting caught doing things that, if we knew about it, wouldn’t be our role models anymore. I get it. We can’t do things like we did in the old days. We can’t just do whatever we want. Paparrazzi shows this all the time by posting pics of people in compromising positions. YouTube is a common forum to show people getting caught up in all manner of wrong doing. I suppose there is some value in that on some level. But when people just post negativity for sake of entertainment, then it becomes unnecessary. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

At the end of the day there is only so much you can control right? So what do I do to “brighten up” my timeline? I carefully choose who I am friends with. For instance, if I get a friend request from someone that I am not familiar with, I carefully look over their profile before I accept their invitation. I make sure they don’t have anything in their timeline that I wouldn’t post. I don’t mean it has to identical to my timeline or even very similar to my content. But it does need to be generally positive in nature. If it is positive then I accept them as a friend. After all, they may be able to use what I have to offer and I may benefit from making them a friend. At the end of the day, I want to be able look at my timeline and have value added to my day and I hope to do the same for the friends and followers I’ve gained in my social media. That way we have both been served.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Happy Friday! What's for lunch?

Chicken Bruschetta Salad Wrap


3 ounces chicken, cooked

1/2 ounce fresh mozzarella

1/2 cup mixed salad greens

1/4 cup tomato, chopped

1/2 ounce peppers, red, flame roasted

2 tablespoons basil, fresh, chopped

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

1/2 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1 low carb flour tortilla, 6"

Dice chicken and cheese. Toss with next 7 ingredients. Place on tortilla. Wrap or fold and enjoy for lunch

Makes 1 serving.

Tip: For additional servings, just multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you would like to make.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Eating Healthy is too expensive! Is this a myth? PART II

Now let’s talk about the next step…preparing meals with nutrients that are good for the body and keeps the body performing optimally. As you can probably guess, I do a lot of my own shopping and I tend to spend a lot of time around the periphery of the supermarket. For those of you who don’t know the periphery is usually where produce, dairy and fresh meats, which I lovingly refer to as “real food” live. So in produce, I get my greens, fruit and fresh seasonings like thyme, basil, garlic. Then I visit the section where I can find all things dairy like milk, eggs, cheese (not processed). Finally, there are fresh meats like beef, lamb, chicken and fish, all of which are fantastic sources of protein. Healthy eating is not only affordable but simply delicious!

Next time you are in the supermarket, ask yourself…Are you getting enough green stuff on your plate? Like broccoli, spinach, collard greens? Do you put a little extra lettuce on a sandwich? How about some complex carbs like sweet potatoes, zucchini and squash. If not, these are the types of veggies that should be in your shopping cart along with lean protein and dairy foods in moderation according your own ability to tolerate certain foods. (we all have our thing, right?)

Save time, save money.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Eating Healthy is too expensive! Is this a myth? PART I

Honestly, I don’t know how to answer this question anymore. Personally I think it is a common misconception. So, I will offer this-If you are someone that eats out of cans or other pre-packaged foods, then you MIGHT have a point. On the other hand, if you are someone who eats out 5-6 times a week at fast food joints and other “low cost” restaurants, not so much.

The thing about eating healthy is that half of that effort can be accomplished by cooking meals at home. You see, even if you are not cooking the “healthiest” meals at home, you are definitely doing better both in the pocket book and with what’s on your plate when you prepare your meals at home. You know the ingredients, you know how clean the environment is where the food was prepared and you know what you like to eat! In every way that counts, shopping for your food and cooking from home is definitely the way to save money and eat healthier.

If you have some time, watch the following video that demonstrates that you can prepare a meal at home in less than 30 minutes a day. If you don’t have time right now, put it on your calendar to watch later on. Stay tuned for Part II where I talk about shopping the “real food” sections of the supermarket and I share tips on how save time and save money.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Good Eats-Baked Fresh Cod with Mixed Vegetables

Happy Friday!

Let have fun with a new recipe

Baked Fresh Cod w/ mixed vegetables (Single serving)

6 oz of fresh cod

1/4 cup chopped yellow squash and zucchini

1/4 cup chopped yellow and orange peppers

½ tsp seasoned salt

1/8 tsp Italian seasoning

1/8 tsp dried parsley

1 tbsp crushed garlic

½ onion chopped

2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

The fun thing about this recipe is you can toss all the ingredients in the baking dish you will use to bake the fish and veggies in. But you still have to do it in a specific order. With your fish and veggies already in the baking dish add your dry ingredients (seasoned salt, Italian seasoning and dried parsley) then add your wet ingredients (crushed garlic, onion extra virgin olive oil). Pretty hard, huh? Make sure that the fish and veggies are evenly coated with the seasonings. Bake it for about a half hour and that’s that! Serve it with uncle ben's brown ready rice or another side of your choice for a little extra carbs or by itself. There are plenty of healthy carbs in the squash and peppers. For additional servings just multiply the ingredients by the number of servings you would like to make.

For more recipes like this click on the My Daily Recipe tab on this blog to start receiving great recipes that take than 30 minutes or less to get dinner on the table!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Overheated and Cranky? There is HOPE!

Menopausal Women: How do you alleviate those pesky symptoms?

If there was a way that you could eliminate almost all of the symptoms of impending menopause, menopause and post menopause would you want to find out what it was? What would you be willing to do to be rid of hot flashes, night sweats and wanting to cry and burn the house down at the drop of a hat?

Exercise and good nutrition do wonders

I know what you’re thinking. A little bit of exercise and eating an apple a day instead of a cupcake is not going to get rid of these mood swings. My hot flashes are not gonna go away because I lifted a dumb bell. Girl, please!

This is exactly what I thought when I was at the end of my rope and I knew something had to change. I was so depressed that there were days that I just stared into space wondering how my life had deteriorated into… this!

It was on that same day that I was at my lowest when I saw that infomercial advertising a workout program that changed my whole menopausal experience. Once I started working out the right way, with the proper guidance, I was able to lose weight, get healthy and it wasn’t long before I started feeling better about myself and about life. My hot flashes were significantly reduced over time and because I didn’t feel like I was on fire all the time, my whole demeanor changed. Imagine that!

How to get started in exercise-Start walking!

You don’t have to get started in exercise using DVD programs like I did. Walking is a great way to introduce your body to regular exercise. Start off slow. You can walk around the block in your neighborhood. Take a walk during your lunch hour. For at least 15 minutes everyday, walk at a moderate to brisk pace. Then increase your time and distance over time. For instance, start week 1, walking 15 minutes every day at a moderate speed. Week 2, increase your time to 20 minutes and aim to walk a little faster than when you first started in week 1. You will increase your distance when you increase your speed. By week 3, you might to increase your time to 30 minutes of walking at a moderate to brisk pace. By the end of 30 days you could very well increase your speed to a light jog. By the time you start month 2, you are definitely going to find yourself feeling better about life while your body gets stronger and your mind becomes renewed. You will make exercise a habit that you do not want to break.

Don’t forget about your nutrition

While there are several supplements out there that may reduce our symptoms, there is nothing better than good nutrition to quell those hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings. Getting on a meal plan that was sure to give me the nutrients I need helped a lot to give me the balance my body desperately craved. But you know what? Making small, gradual changes in your diet can also support hormonal balance. Start introducing more fruits and veggies in your meals. Now if you’re someone who hardly ever eats any fruits or veggies, then I would avoid introducing fruits and veggies that you have never had before. Have something that you think you would enjoy and you would likely keep in your diet. For me, it was apples, bananas, grapes and pineapple. Not gonna lie…with the exception of apples and bananas, I was eating my fruit out of a can at first. But then I created a habit of buying fresh fruits and veggies when I was introduced to a meal plan. Now it is just second nature to buy fresh fruits and veggies, whether they are in season or not.

You could do worse…

You could do worse than exercise and improve your nutrition to significantly reduce the symptoms associated with menopause no matter what stage you’re in. One of the best things my doctor did after my surgery that put me in premature menopause was NOT prescribe ANYTHING. It forced me to find a holistic way to get ME back…maybe even get a better ME than I have ever been. Exercise and good nutrition could save your quality of life. I know it saved mine.

Monday, March 21, 2016

How do you turn a bad situation into something good for you? Change your mindset!

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Do you ever wonder how some people who are faced with adversity seem to find the bright side while others fall victim to self-pity? Not gonna lie, I have hosted the pity party on more than one occasion. Chips didn’t fall where I expected and there was hell to pay. But there comes a time when you have to put on your big girl pants and realize that things happen and you have to roll with the punches. You can’t spend a lot of time being mad about what didn’t go according to plan. All you can really do is CHOOSE to learn from the experience and move on or CHOOSE not to learn and stay stuck.

It starts with a decision.

When you decide to change the way you think about things you CHOOSE to change your mindset. What does that mean? Well, speaking from my own experience and process of learning how to basically change my mind, there was a point that I simply got tired of being angry when things did not go as planned. I started doing things like taking a deep breath, stepping back and saying things like, “Will becoming angry change this situation at all?” or “Will becoming angry make this situation worse?” or “ What are the consequences for no response at all?” and most importantly, “What can I learn from this experience?”. I found that when I took a step back and tried to look at bad situations objectively, it made it that much easier to cope with the adversity that I was faced with. Is there any opportunity that could arise out of the adversity? Sometimes when you take a deep breath and think about it for half a minute, you are likely to see the “bright side” of a bad situation. For example, at the last minute you could be asked to work a double but you had plans that night. The person that you would be working for is always calling out of work, you don’t like them, you don’t think they have much integrity and this would be a serious inconvenience. There is absolutely no one else who can do it and if you don’t, this could mean a serious detriment to your company. So you’re not happy about it but you do it. You work the double. Now you have a decision to make. Do you spend the entire shift upset because you couldn’t do what you planned to do? Do you spend the shift scowling at everyone in sight? Or do you decide to make the best of it and look at the bright side. Will you say to yourself, “You know what, his loss is my gain. He may have given up a day’s pay but I’m getting paid time and a half”. Or will you spend the time at work being so angry that you are no service to yourself or anyone else? It starts with a decision.

Make the best out of every situation

You have to make the best of every situation no matter how terrible it is. By no means am I suggesting that this will be easy. What I am suggesting is that you take a step back and ask yourself some key questions before you lose your cool over a situation that very well may be beyond your control. Ask yourself: Will becoming angry (or succumbing to any other negative emotion) change the circumstances I am faced with right now? Will becoming angry make this situation worse? Is there any opportunity that could arise out of this bad situation?

The power of positive thinking

The power of positive thinking is a real phenomenon that works wonders to allowing us to cope with bad circumstances. This is not just a cliché. Thinking positively did not come easy but when I made the decision to change my mindset and CHOOSE to look at the good in even the most troubling situations, I was much happier. The truth is there is very little we actually have control of. So if we look at things from a positive perspective, usually we can find opportunity in adversity and CHOOSE to make lemonade from lemons. In the end, it’s all about CHOICE.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

What’s got you down? I DON’T KNOOOOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!

Over the last few weeks, I had been out of sorts. I wasn’t sure what it was. Was I sad, mad, depressed… I couldn’t tell you. But what I did know was I was not myself. For years, I had developed a habit of being a positive person. I woke up in the morning and made the decision each day to be happy and make every experience a positive one. Somehow over the last few weeks, I was allowing circumstances to dictate my state of mind instead of allowing my state of mind to determine my circumstances.

I knew something had to change. I just didn’t like myself or my situation. I couldn’t go on like this. I got up Monday morning and started exercising again. Did I mention my workouts had dropped off as well? Anyway, I started with flexibility on Monday. Tuesday, I practiced a dance routine that I have been trying to make my own since I was first introduced to it. Even though I took off yesterday, I have felt rejuvenated like something just happened where my attitude changed and my mood changed. I was happier, smiled more and frankly, I was more fun to be around at work and at home. After just a couple of days of low to moderate exercise, weeks of feelings of melancholy just seemed to disappear.

Why is exercise so important?

I realized quickly that the reason I was feeling down and out is because exercise was slowly disappearing from my daily routine. I went from exercising 5-6 days a week to not exercising at all. This was a huge shock to my body, mind and spirit. What occurs in the body during exercise is pretty phenomenal. Feelings of euphoria that I am experiencing now is due to the endorphins (those “feel-good” hormones) that are released and frankly continue to “simmer” for days afterward to generate a sense that anything is possible and engenders an overall positive attitude.

Sometimes when people talk about exercise, it’s not all about losing weight, gaining muscle and getting 6 pack abs. Frankly, 80-90 percent of those kinds of results come from what you’re doing in the kitchen anyway. Advocating exercising at least 3-5 times a week has a lot to do with keeping you sane in the midst of so much confusion that occurs in everyday life. I know, for me, it keeps me focused at work, I handle problems better and I just feel good after a round of high powered (not necessarily high impact) exercise. When I exercise regularly, something happens in the body that just seems to balance everything out.

I will never go so long without exercise again. Even if it’s just a 15-20 min HIIT or flex training, I’ll make sure that I strive to exercise daily. It’s doesn’t just do the body good, it also gets the mind and soul right as well.

Take the time to say thanks!

When you have a mentor and a good friend or family member that is truly a 'ride or die', you gotta thank them from time to time. You...