July 25, 2012 § Leave a Comment
We’re on the 15th act of the 101 days of blogging challenge. Today’s revolutionary act is “Raise Your Sights: Don’t get sucked in by obsessions with six-pack abs and buns of steel. Don’t play “compare the bodies.” Fulfill your best-self vision.”
I can’t remember where I heard this but I heard someone say that we spend so much time comparing ourselves to others, and wanting their bodies, that we are never content. But the thing is, I may never be able to get killer abs or little waist like someone I see on the cover of a magazine because I have a completely different body than them. The goal should always be to be our best self. I don’t care about six-pack abs or buns of steel. What I care about is being health enough to do what I want to do and make the most of this life. Sure I want to look nice in a little black dress or show off in a bikini but I don’t need to get carried away about my waist size or biceps.
Part of being my best self today included going for a walk tonight with my dog Chloe, and making this amazing avocado pasta from Oh She Glows. I’ve been eyeing this recipe for about a year now, but truth is I really don’t love avocados. I love guacamole loaded with onions and jalapeno scooped perfectly on tortilla chips but a straight up avocado is not my friend. So, I really wasn’t sure this was the recipe for me. But with guac already being eaten with my black bean and quinoa wrap and then again as a little treat this weekend, I decided I might as well put the last avocado in the fridge to use for something other than a tortilla chip. And boy am I glad I did!
This pasta is truly exquisite. There isn’t even the faintest avocado flavor. All you get is this amazingly creamy, garlicky, slightly lemony sauce. The sauce itself was a tad hard to mix into the pasta so next time I’m going to blend a little pasta water into it before tossing to make it a bit easier to spread around. I think I’ve finally found another recipe to put my avocados to use other than guacamole. Paired with whole wheat pasta, this is a healthy, quick, delicious dinner ready in no time.
July 21, 2012 § 3 Comments
Today’s revolutionary act part of the 101 days of blogging challenge is “Go At Your Own Pace: A healthy life is more a marathon than a sprint. So start where you are. Choose sensible, sustainable shifts over instant cures and quick fixes.”
To me, this not only means avoid fad diets in term of sustainable long term changes, but also accept yourself in the process. I’m a perfectionist and that “simple” personality trait impacts every single aspect of my life. On top of it I was raised Catholic which means no matter how I shake it, I feel guilty a lot of the time. When it comes to trying to get on the right track and set goals for myself, I get extremely frustrated if I fall short and that frustration is often masked in guilt.
Case in point: I had a really great day. After watching Food Matters last night (highly recommend!) I was excited to keep my plant based diet motivation going. I started my day with lots of water (something I don’t do enough of) and even tried hot water with lemon and cayenne for the first time. This supposedly detoxifies, gets your blood moving, and revs the metabolism. For breakfast I enjoyed my morning smoothie. At lunch I used the leftover black beans and quinoa from dinner last night and put it in a sprouted grain tortilla with guacamole and a salad. When an afternoon craving struck, I enjoyed fresh veggies and spicy hummus.
After all this great eating, where did I go wrong? Dinner. We had been out and ended up at a sushi restaurant. I know I could have ordered the tofu but in that moment I just didn’t want it so I ordered the shrimp. Once the plate came, guilt washed over me. Why didn’t I just ask for some vegetables since I didn’t want tofu? I’ve written recently about slipping on my vegan diet and the guilt that I feel afterwards.
But today I’m reminded that this is part of my journey. I need to accept it and remind myself to go at my own pace. As much as I want to be 100% vegan, every meal, every day, that has been a difficult task for me. I find that I usually end up eating fish about once a month – either due to circumstances like tonight or situations where I really truly don’t have anything else to eat. So today, I’m trying to see the good in my choices the rest of the day, and the rest of this week, and accept tonight as a slip and move on.
Don’t be too hard on yourself either. Remember tomorrow is a new day.
July 20, 2012 § 1 Comment
Remember when your parents were testing your judgement as a teen and would say, if everyone was jumping off the Empire State Building, would you? The answer was always “no” with a dramatic roll of the eyes.
But what if we remove this from the extreme examples of doing drugs, hanging with the wrong crowd, and generally getting into mischief that this question was intended for. What if we re-phrase and ask, “If no one else is willing to make a difference in this world, are you?”
Granted that is extreme, but it is valid. I was recently in a situation where someone very close to me said one person can’t make a difference. This is something that made me incredibly sad. One person can make a difference. An extremely good difference, or unfortunately in light of today’s events, one person can also make a terrible difference.
I’ve heard some people say there’s no point in not eating meat since everyone else does. Whether it be for animals, the environment, or our ever-increasing medical bills and conditions, I want to believe that one person’s food choices can make a difference.
Today’s revolutionary act part of the 101 days of blogging challenge is “Be part of the solution: It’s going to take a lot of strong, clear-headed, high-vitality people to solve the world’s problems. Be one of them.”
I feel I’ve made a difference. As I said yesterday, my husband and my mom eat a mostly plant based diet now. I haven’t given up hope on my sister Many friends have started to reach out asking how they can incorporate this into their lives. That’s a huge difference.
Just because everyone else is eating highly processed foods, hormone plumped meats, and other junk doesn’t mean you have to. You can stand out. You can be different. You can lead. Embrace what some find weird. Find others similar to you that inspire and motivate you and never underestimate your potential to impact others.
As for my dinner plate shown above, my husband made black beans in the slow cooker last night which I mixed with some quinoa and served with a side of heirloom tomatoes. We’re making a difference one plate at a time.
July 19, 2012 § 1 Comment
I never thought about the incredible impact my undertaking a 30 day vegan challenge a year ago would have. I certainly did it in large part because of my friend, but I also think I was a tad bored. Who would have ever thought that not only would I make it those 30 days, but actually decide to stick with it?
My husband joined me along the way and lost weight. My mom gave up dairy, then meat. She’s lost weight. Her arthritis is gone. And the acid reflux she once suffered from, which can be a precursor of esophageal cancer (what her dad died from) is gone! It’s been fun to watch my mom and husband join in and tout the benefits of going meat and dairy free to others. And, I’ve had countless people reach out to me asking how they can try veganism, asking for help and support. It’s a great feeling.
I’m on the tenth act of my 101 days of blogging challenge. Today’s act is “See the bigger picture: Yes, this is about you, but your well-being also affects everyone and everything around you. When you get healthier, everybody benefits.”
We never know what impact our actions will have on others. What started as a little challenge for me has turned into a lifestyle. A lifestyle that not only protects the planet and the animals, but my health and therefore those around me.
Oh and my hubby that I said gave up dairy and meat, he made me a vegan meal tonight. Baked tofu with brown rice and veggies. Who knew these positive changes in my life would result in my husband cooking for me? It was a nice little treat.
July 19, 2012 § 5 Comments
Today’s 9th act of the 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy is “Safegaurd Your Juju: Don’t let yourself get run down, depressed, negative or reactive. That’s when immunity drops, inflammation rages, and unhealthy tendencies strike.”
I was reminded of this last week. Grief has a vengeance. Just when you think things are starting to get better (note that better is relative) grief rears its ugly horns.
I was on the road for meetings. I’ve come to welcome trips these past few months. They provide me a good distraction to my personal life and give me that extra bit of motivation I need. But last week, something went wrong. I remember last year when my friend died someone telling me to deal with the grief head on, that these things have a way of showing up unexpectedly. Last week I was reminded of this.
Day 1 was great. Meetings went great. Everything was good.
Day 2 started great. But slowly throughout the day I could feel myself getting run down. I went to dinner with friends and while my spirits were lifted, I got back to the hotel only to cry myself to sleep. The reality that my dad is truly gone sinks in a little more every day. And for some reason it hit me last Wednesday as I sat in that hotel room by myself.
Thursday morning I couldn’t move. Literally. I had no strength. Just getting dressed was an ordeal. I had meetings starting early. It seemed to take so much effort just to speak a few words. I was emotionally drained. I haven’t felt that bad physically in a long time. I left my meetings early to try and catch an earlier flight but I wasn’t so lucky with the flight gods and had to sit at the airport for hours, waiting. Eventually I broke down. Crying in the airport. A very crowded airport I should add. I didn’t even care.
Once home, I was sure I was sick. Mono was apparently going around at the office. I began stressing about everything I was going to have to rearrange at work if I was out. But I was pleased to find that after a night of sleep in my own bed, next to my husband and my dog, I was better. It was a reminder to me how extreme sadness can truly effect your health.
Being healthy isn’t limited to just what you eat and how many times you exercise. You need to safeguard your juju – your total health of mind, body, and spirit.
Each morning, I make a point to defend my juju with a smoothie. I used to make this berry power smoothie a lot but have since stopped adding the oatmeal and nut butter. Basically I just throw in frozen berries, water, almond milk, chia seeds, maca, raw cacao, and bee pollen (note there is some controversy over whether or not bee pollen is vegan).
Every day I make this smoothie, my day seems to be a bit brighter – I honestly miss it when I’m on the road. It’s my way of affirming to myself that I take my health, and my juju, seriously.
July 16, 2012 § 2 Comments
I’m desperate to catch up with Sarah on the 101 days of blogging challenge. As I’m several days behind, today’s going to be a 3 for 1. Here are acts 5, 6, and 7 of the 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy: Repossess Your Health, Redefine Your Role, and Practice Medicine Without A License. As these three go hand in hand, I think it is OK that we discuss them together today.
Far too often we rely on others and don’t do enough due diligence. I think we spend more time comparing which car or computer to buy then we do considering the state of our health. Afterall, if everything is working right (or seemingly) why worry?
Well, far too often people get very sick or die too soon because they avoided the signs. I really wonder if my dad had signs before his heart attack. He certainly never told any of us if he did. It’s something that constantly nags at me and quite honestly makes me really scared about my own future, and that of those I love.
But what I want to talk about today, is paying attention to the signs you do see – or feel. My best friend passed away last October. She was the brightest, most vibrant, loving woman I’ve had the pleasure of knowing. Her death is a loss to us all and something I’m still grappling with. When I think of her story, it makes me sick to my stomach. She had warning signs. She had a lump. And despite numerous doctors visits and attempts to raise concern over this lump, it was dismissed. You can read her story in her own words here.
Finally my friend took matters into her own hands, but it was too late. By the time she demanded a mammogram, she was told she had stage 4 breast cancer and it had spread. She battled that vicious disease with a vengeance for three years, determined to make it through. In the end, it was another warning sign that she persisted on and that the doctors dismissed that ended up beating her in the end. She had what appeared to be a knot in her neck. They told her to get a massage. By the time they investigated and listened to her pleading for them to pay attention – again, it was too late.
If my friend had been diagnosed early with breast cancer the first time she felt that lump, she would most likely be with us today. If the doctors had listened to her with the second lump in her neck, who knows – but I believe they failed her.
Why are we so quick to listen to others? Why don’t we listen to our guts? I think men want to be strong and disregard warnings, thinking they are invincible. But women, I don’t understand. I think we are just too trusting and scared of being perceived as paranoid. But when it comes to our health – we should be paranoid.
We should be demanding.
We should be ruthless.
Revolutionary Act #5: Repossess Your Health: Reclaim responsibility for your well-being; own your daily choices; minimize your reliance on the broken sick-care system.
It is not your doctor’s job to watch out for your well being. It is your job. Own it.
Revolutionary Act #6: Redefine Your Role: You are not a “healthcare consumer.” You are a human being. You may be experiencing an illness or other health challenge right now, but remember that good health is your body’s natural state.
You are a human being! You deserve an answer. Having anything uncomfortable or slightly alarming is not normal. Trust your insticts. Get it checked out. Even if you might come off as paranoid. Do it. Now.
Revolutionary Act #7: Practice Medicine Without A License: Research your own conditions and treatment alternatives, ask questions, and seek second opinions with impunity. Leverage the expertise of trained pros, but don’t allow it to eclipse your own informed instincts about what’s best for you.
I am still amazed at what I saw my friend go through. One of her final treatment was a result of her finding it on the internet! They weren’t even going to offer it because it was costly and dangerous. Don’t leave your health in someone else’s hands.
No one else has your best interest at heart like you do. Take your rightful place front and center in the health care line and don’t let anyone else tell you otherwise.
July 15, 2012 § 2 Comments
Well, so much for my 101 days of blogging. Three posts in and I was making such strides only to let it fall by the wayside as today should be day 7. I do have a mighty good excuse though. This guy is part of it:
Isn’t he cute? I know, I could hardly keep my hands off him. Two of my closest friends from college, Rachel and Sally (who this little guy belongs to), came in town for the weekend. We enjoyed all sorts of fun – one of the highlights being lounging at our college pool. Ironically enough, the three of us never laid out in college. We were all way too self conscious to be caught dead laying by the pool in a bikini. What were we thinking? We were in our prime! Three beautiful babes. Hah, leave it to us to visit our college pool for the first time, several pounds heavier, and a baby in tow! It was a great experience.
I feel bad for my younger self that I couldn’t relax and have more fun back in school. I was 5’8″, 120 pounds, and a size 4 for crying out loud. And yet I was totally insecure about my body. I always wanted to be thinner, tanner, blonder, prettier, stronger, you name it. It makes me really sad that I let all these things get in the way of spending countless weekends at that pool many years ago and enjoying the fun that we did on Saturday. I think we all regretted it and we enjoyed seizing this opportunity with our far more grown up perspectives.
Today’s revolutionary act is “Celebrate What’s Good: Look for signs of progress (beyond pounds lost) and rejoice when you find them. Give yourself a pat on the back every time you make your health a priority.”
I think a healthy body image plays a critical role in leading a healthy life. Even this weekend I was being too self critical, disliking myself in pictures. Why are we so harsh on ourselves? Truth is, despite the years since college, I can still be very self critical. My friend stopped me and said “You are so hard on yourself, stop it!” That’s what friends are for – to point out the roadblocks and make you better, and boy am I thankful for that. So, I’m celebrating wonderful friends and moving towards being less judgmental – especially with my body image. Every day we look in the mirror, we should see someone beautiful. That is progress. That is something good to celebrate. In honor of that, I’m posting myself in a bikini! I normally wouldn’t and would critique this photo endlessly, but I’m forcing myself to realize the woman here is beautiful and it deserves posting in honor of this revolutionary act.
I hope Sarah doesn’t mind that I’m taking the liberties to do her 101 days of blogging as a cumulative effort rather than a consecutive 101 days given my fun weekend. I’ll do my best to keep pace, but I feel these 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy are so important that I don’t want to miss a single one!
Now for a little exercise, go put on a bikini and try to enjoy some judgement free sunbathing It does a body good.
July 11, 2012 § Leave a Comment
It’s day 3 of our 101 days of blogging challenge and today we’re talking about rebellion and raging against the “machine”. The machine represents the norm, the status quo. Which in the majority of examples is the standard american diet – or SAD diet. And what a sad, sad diet it is. Full of high fat meats and dairy, sugars and processed junk, sugary sodas, and veggie imposters like tomato sauce (c’mon, really?). That last one got me really angry recently. The thought that schools count tomato sauce as a veggie made me want to flip. And I don’t even have kids. I can only imagine how high strung I”ll be over food the day that comes.
Raging against the machine is “using your healthy frustration about the unhealthy status quo to spark creativity and determination.”
I’m a rager every day…
each morning when I make my unconventional smoothie…
each time I stand at the stove…
each time I choose raw…
each time I eat out and say, “hold the dairy“.
Because each time I decide to fill my body and soul with nutritious meals, I defy convention and the status quo and end up with something beautiful – both on my plate and in my belly.
July 10, 2012 § 1 Comment
Today is day 2 of the 101 days of blogging challenge and our topic is bucking trends. “Just because it’s popular doesn’t mean it’s smart or good for you.” Amen! Remember the grapefruit diet? Or worse, Atkins. Yuck. How either of these can be good for you is beyond me.
Somehow I missed the diet bug. It fascinates me that I was able to do this when there seems to be a new diet fad every year and so many people are obsessed with losing weight and getting fit. I guess I’m fortunate that I grew up in a household where dieting wasn’t a concern. My dad was very healthy – always out walking, biking, and going to the gym every morning. My mom raised my sister and I on home cooking. We never went through a drive-thru growing up and nothing ever came from a freezer (which presented its own challenges as I learned to cook). They both always told me I was beautiful so I really never felt the need to watch my calories – plus, blessed with a good metabolism, I was a size 4 until about 21. I could eat anything and stay slim. However at 5’8″ this might have been too thin – and I was sick all the time. It seemed I caught any flu or cold within a 30-mile radius.
Fast forward to today – I’m still relatively lean. I’m no longer the size 4 I once loved, but a size 8 (slowly approaching a size 6, woo hoo!) No matter how bad I want to be a size 6 though – I’m just not a calorie counter or fad dieter. Counting out my meals and feeling guilty for an indulgence is no way I want to live. I’d much rather eat a whole-foods plant based diet and not need to count calories. (Oh and by the way, I don’t get sick anymore.)
I lost 10 pounds in the first few months when transitioning to a vegan diet. Some of that has come back (I’ve just got to stop eating potato chips!) but most has stayed off. After my dad’s death, I’m realizing more than ever, I need to get to the gym. No more excuses now that heart disease is something I need to be concerned about.
In learning about plant based diets I’ve heard and read so many success stories. 10 pounds is nothing compared to most of them. So I encourage you to STOP with the fad dieting. Let’s start a new trend of grateful, unapologetic eating with plates full of nutritious goodies. Would you be willing to join me and stop the calorie counting and instead feed your body with wholesome, nourishing foods that uplift your mind, body, and spirit? The weight falling off will just be a bonus.
What trends do you think need to go?
If you want to join in on the 101 days of blogging your way to revolutionary health, click here.
July 9, 2012 § 1 Comment
I’m in need of a challenge. I miss the the adrenaline I had when I undertook my 30 day vegan challenge. The need to commit and keep my determination fueled me those 30 days and beyond. But now after almost a year of eating a vegan diet, not to mention everything else that’s happened, I am lacking in inspiration. Hence – a new challenge.
I found Sarah’s 101 Day Blogging Challenge on Twitter today. A lofty goal. I dug in a little deeper: the subject is 101 revolutionary ways to be healthy. Now that got me excited. I’m not sure I can stick to 101 days, but I’m up for the challenge. Truth is, eventhough I eat a mostly vegan diet, I could use some inspiration to get healthier. There’s a misconception that being vegan = healthy. It doesn’t. Sure vegans tend to make healthier choices but I can be a vegan that eats potato chips all day and never works out. So – let the motivation begin. If writing for 101 days and rethinking health gets me on the right track, so be it.
Now about defying convention. I’ve always thought of myself as a pretty safe bet. I’m not much of a risk taker. I’d never skydive for instance (maybe never say never). I just tend to go by the rules. But you know, the rules can really be quite boring. And when I think about it, this former art student turned MBA has actually made some pretty interesting moves.
What you see is not all you get. I’m diverse and I like it that way. So maybe I’m not as safe as I think I am? Afterall, what could be more defying than trying to become a vegan! It’s not the easiest thing in the world and it certainly isn’t the norm. Today’s act of defying convention says “Do the healthy thing, even when it’s challenging, inconvenient or considered weird. Take pride in that.”
Challenging – check!
Inconvenient – check!
Weird – mmm hmmm, check!
While I’ve stumbled over the past year and am still trying to find my way, I’m proud of myself for sticking with it. Eating a vegan diet has been one of the most challenging yet liberating things I’ve ever done. And I know my journey has just begun.
The next 101 days should be fun. If you’d like to join in, head on over to Sarah’s blog and check it out. Together we can make a difference and empower others to think differently about their health!