Healthy Reminders

Why?

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I have been trying to think of a title for this blog entry and “Why?” seems to fit best.  Regarding the subject I wish to discuss, all my thoughts and questions contain “why” somewhere.

 

For example, why don’t more people read?  Why don’t more people do research?  Why do people have amazing faith in the untrustworthy yet question validity?  Why don’t more people ask MORE questions?  I think there is a lot of effort and work behind wonderment and why questions many rather avoid.

 

You are probably wondering what this blog is all about.  Why?  😉  Gotcha!

 

Hello to you, it has been awhile since I have written, all the same reasons, of course: work, school, life.  I have just been a busy girl!  Oh!  And we have a new dog!  Remember my last post, “Indecisiveness“…well, Mandy Pandy (her nickname) has been in our home since February 19th.  We formally adopted her on February 27th, but that will be another blog!  Here is a sneak peek of our new girl:

 

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Ya…made her wear a sign of shame last week.

 

Anyway, back to it.  My husband and I have been doing vast research on GMOs (genetically modified organisms), GE and GM foods (genetically engineered/modified), organics, Monsanto, politics, pharmaceuticals, etc., for many, many months now.  My husband really preaches it.  Sometimes I just want to hide my head in the sand around our family and friends because he can be quite overbearing with this subject.  However when you get an amazing testimony from someone who happened to listen…that is what this blog is about.  Why don’t more people ask questions?  Why don’t more people listen?

 

We began asking many questions after seeing Food, Inc.  The questions multiplied once we saw Genetic Roulette.  Actually, our questions tripled and our whole lifestyle and eating habits changed.  For the better.  We also learned much from the documentary King Corn.  Of the three, Genetic Roulette answers so many “why” questions and introduces the viewer to critical thinking.

 

So, my husband shared some information with an elevator vendor at a commercial building he oversees.  The guy actually listened.  He watched all three of these movies and told my husband he now “sings the no-GMO song.”  Wow!  This gentleman has started reading labels, he gave up soft drinks, he eats organic food and avoids GMO products.  In just a couple of months he has lost over 16 pounds, has been taken off of his blood pressure and cholesterol medications, and he has been spreading his testimony to his friends and family.  As well, his wife and two children have completely changed their diets.  He is now a believer!  This made my husband’s day and triggered my curiosity as to why more people won’t consider the dangers of GMO’s.

 

Have YOU seen any of these movies?  Do YOU read food labels?  How do YOU feel about GMOs? Do YOU care?  We have so many friends who could care less about this topic or their own eating habits.  Are YOU opposed to eating organic?  Why or why not?  Many dislike the fact that organic food products are higher priced than non-organic foods.  While this may be true, in the long run imagine what you will save monetarily and gain for your health by eating organics.  Don’t get me wrong, I used to LOVE consuming Cheetos and whole cans of Pringles.  I am also not okay with ingesting pesticides, are you?

 

So, I challenge you to do some homework.  I am providing a simple list below.  I guarantee you will be singing the no-GMO song too!  If you are not willing to do this homework, please allow me to ask why?  Again, I am challenging you and would love, love, love to hear back from you and for you to share your testimony.  Because you WILL have one.  Don’t just take my word on it.  Do your homework and ask “why” questions.

One month from now I want to hear from you,

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Homework

1.  Watch the movie Genetic Roulette.  If you wish to also watch Food, Inc., and King Corn, feel free to do so.

2. Start reading all of your food labels.  Avoid products that contain corn, corn starch, high fructose corn syrup, preservatives and soy.  Corn and soy are the top GMO crops.  Any and all corn or soy products you consume, make sure they are organic.

3.  Stop drinking soft drinks.  Period.  Not even diet.  Just give them up.  Substitute lemon water, plain water or organic teas.

4.  Shop, buy and eat ONLY organic produce and food products.  Look for that USDA stamp and organic certification.  Frequent your local farmers markets.

5.  Keep a journal on how you feel, changes you notice.  How is your energy?  Any changes in weight?  Sleeping better?  Consider getting a blood panel done, talk to your doctor about your diet change, and have that blood panel tested again after one month.  Numbers do not lie.  You will be amazed!

 

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Delightful Delectable List!

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Happy New Year!  We are eight days into 2014 and I keep re-checking my Weather Bug Application hoping for rain, instead we suffer with gorgeous days (mid 70’s) and it feels more like springtime stepping into summertime than winter.  Indeed, “it never rains in California“…

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Have you thought about your goals or set priorities for 2014?  Did you create a list?  How did you do for 2013?

I have my 2014 goals typed out and posted right at my desk.  We opened our 2013 memory box on New Year’s Eve and thoroughly loved all the memories and thankful scraps of paper notes.  This is such a wonderful activity to do!

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Take a box with a lid or an empty jar, decorate it any way you wish, place it in a frequented place in your home along with a pad of paper and a pen…then all year long make a note (include the date) of a happy moment, a blessing, celebration, a joy, an answered prayer, special occasion, etc., fold your papers and fill your memory box/jar.  Then, on New Year’s Eve (or even New Year’s morning) read each one and be amazed!  My husband and I love looking back on our year this way.

Anyway, I came across a fabulous blog site today.  I loved “10 Tips for an Amazing 2014”  and encourage you to take some time to savor and taste each part of this recipe.  I cannot pick my favorite ingredient, I loved them all, but one that especially spoke to me I will give you a sneak peek:

5 cups of Focus: find what you’re passionate about. Live it. Breathe it. Own it. Focus on it. Do it.  Be all about it. Not sure what you’re passionate about? Make it your goal to focus on finding that out this year.

Go check it out, I promise you will not be disappointed. Thank you, Lauren, for this fantastic recipe!

With love,

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Friday’s Guest: “Tips For Controlling Your Weight As You Age”

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I am SO GLAD today is Friday!  How about you?

A few months back (quite a few, actually!) I was pleasured to connect with Cole Mill’s writing expertise. Although I went MIA for a bit, his blog certainly did not.

So, please take a moment and enjoy his work, “Tips For Controlling Your Weight As You Age.”  It is full of great reminders and tips…especially for the elderly people my age!

Thanks Cole.  I did not forget you!

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Medical Mystery Solved: GMO’s and Cat Barf

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My husband and I have been on a recent researching frenzy.  The topic?  GMO’s -AKA genetically modified organisms.  Of course we began this journey after watching, “Food, Inc.”  We are very healthy eaters as it is, but since watching that movie a few years ago we strive all the more for organics and grain-fed lean proteins (chicken, turkey, no beef or pork).  We are probably 98.5% Pescatarian (wild not farm-raised fish, vegetables).

So, what does this have to do with cat barf?  A lot, actually.  I am not talking about the occasional hair ball either, rather vomit.  Large amounts of vomit full of food, disgustingly yellowish in color and sometimes projectile in nature.

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I now will refer you to the movie, “Genetic Roulette.”  Trust me, you want to watch this.  I am going to present some evidence here with regards to my cats and allow you to do your own homework.  I really hope this inspires you to make changes in your life and in the life of your pets.  You will be amazed, trust me.

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Back to the cats.  We have five.  Yes, five- and they are all indoor.  For a long while I had them on a seemingly healthy diet based on advertisements and hype.  Gosh, we had them on a variety of foods.  We kept trying to find a food that would eliminate the piles of puke around our house and reduce weight gain.  (I won’t name all the brands here…)  Purina One Smart Blend sounds like a healthy and wholesome food, right?  The chicken and rice formula is what our cats ate.  Here is some of the promises they state:

  • Real chicken is the #1 ingredient, blended with other high-quality protein sources, to help support strong muscles, including a healthy heart.
  • Omega-6 helps give your cat a radiant coat and healthy skin.
  • Enriched with vitamins and minerals for strong bones and joints.
  • Highly digestible so more nutrition goes to work inside your cat.
  • Crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque build-up and whiten teeth.

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But…all these promises do not contain a “non-GMO” disclosure on their bag.  So, anyway…they ate a lot of Purina One Smart Blend.  Our oldest cat, Bageera, was becoming more and more obese, so I switched them all to the “lighter” version.  He became even more obese and all five of them vomited daily, multiple times a day.  (All the same texture and yellowish-bile color.)  They all also began to develop skin issues, dander knots and my oldest cat developed a large fatty mass under his left front leg/chest area.  I finally had enough of cleaning up cat vomit and running our carpet cleaner to remove the ugly yellow stains from our carpet.

Now, let me say that although Purina One Smart Blend (as well as other countless brands of pet foods) use chicken as their “main” ingredient, is this chicken grain-fed or corn-fed?  Is the chicken (or beef or fish) byproducts?  This literally means pieces, leftovers of the worst parts of the animal or fish.  As well, is the rice or corn or soy ingredients organic or are they actually from GMO products?  There IS a huge difference here.  Let me show you.

Once I switched my pets to organic and non-GMO pet food, guess what happened?  (It is truly quite amazing and a miracle!) They ALL stopped barfing.  It has been one year now, and all five of them completely, totally, utterly stopped hurling.  Once in a great while they will cough up a hair ball.  Cats do that, it’s normal.  Vomiting up yellowish-bile piles containing food repeatedly throughout the day is not.  Additionally, their coats shine.  No more mats in their fur.  They have all lost the weight they had gained on the GMO food.  The best part of all is that our oldest cat is now totally buff!  He runs around the house like a kitten and plays with twist ties from bread loaves.  Did I mention that he is almost 13 years old?  His fatty growth has now also almost completely resolved.

In saying all this, please read labels.  Look for the non-GMO label, organic ingredients and know your vendors.  Most corn and soy, as well as other fillers, are GMO grown.  Educate yourselves and be interested in your pet’s health in addition to your own.  There are organic foods available for your pets.  The extra cost is worth avoiding the vet costs, and your pets will forever thank you.  I know mine do.  Daily.  As well, I really love having carpets that are free of yellow barf stains and saving trees from all the paper towels I used for cleaning up the vomit mess.

With love on a Saturday,

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Wine goes with everything!

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First of all, I must apologize.  It has been forever since I have written.  I promise, I will be getting back to it.  Life has been very, very busy for me lately-I am writing plenty for work and school, and this blog has not taken priority.  I have missed being here. Plus, I realized many months ago I no longer wish to save the world.  Nope.  Not a job for me nor one I want. That is a job only God can handle.  Of course, I still love Shakeology and drink it every day  (I encourage everyone to use it too!), but I’m done preaching about it. Everyone is free to make their own healthy choices for their lives, however I am still going to share all about mine with you here.

Anyway, I’m back.  Yesterday I realized that wine goes with everything.  Really, it does.  I am kind of wine grieving this week. If you love wine like I consume it all the time do, then you KNOW it goes PERFECTLY with EVERY single meal, a good book or movie, fireplaces, homework, holidays, family & friend gatherings, chocolate and cheese, every possible food combination, etc.  It is beautiful in a glass, smells and swirls divinely, and tastes better than anything grapes. I was also realizing (once again) how much wine has become an idol in my life.  I am not an alcoholic, but I believe I have been a wine-o-holic for the past several years.  I can stop. At any time.  I do stop.  But I sure miss it when I do.  It’s just that once I pour one glass, I continue pouring.  That is my problem.  Remember my previous blog about my love for wine?  You can read it here to catch up:  http://wp.me/p35YUS-wT

Well, per doctor’s order I am off wine for the next two months.  Sucks to be me, right?  Especially when wine goes with everything in my life. After these two months are up, may be I will continue going without?  I can’t say right now.  However, I do know that if I go back, it will only be occasionally, because my little body is not happy right now.

I am feeling good, day three without wine.  I have more energy, am sleeping sound and have lost 2.5 pounds.  Just in three days, 2.5 pounds!  That speaks volumes and I feel safe to share about that here.  I am choosing to listen to my doctor and to stay consistent for my tummy’s sake and health.  But, trust me, I am missing crying about wine right now.  I have prayed that every place in my life that wine has filled would be replaced by the touch and presence of God.

Do you struggle with something such as this?  I’m interested…

Have a lovely weekend,

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Thanking your Jedi Master, From Apprentice

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Over the past couple weeks I have had “writers block.”  Part of the reason for this is because I do so much writing and editing for work and also school.  Currently my class is British literature, the era long before our 21st century hype regarding nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles, and lately my writing has been geared towards middle English rather than modern English.

Anyway, recently I have been thinking about my coach.

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This is not her, but truly she is my Jedi Master, I am her apprentice.

I want to dedicate this blog especially to her this morning.  Laura, thank you!  You have inspired me to do what I never could have done alone, and was literally failing to accomplish traveling solo.

I do not believe my path crossed accidentally with Laura’s.  I was at a place in my life where I felt one last glimmer of hope and one last strength to reach out.  I honestly cannot even remember how I found Laura, but I am thankful every day for that moment.  I knew I needed some type of additional support and accountability to change my lifestyle, and she was that link.

Do you have a fitness/nutrition/life coach?  Just that extra hand to hold or shadow to follow can make all the difference, trust me.

The most important thing I believe I have learned from Laura is that I am not alone in my struggles or my desires to leave an unhealthy lifestyle.  I have also had to let go of some of my stubbornness  and independence.  She has shown me the importance of “rinse and repeat.”  Consistency is the pot of gold.

Have you been involved in an accountability/challenge group?  The strength of others, similar mindsets and inspiration found in such a group has changed my life.  We are all so very human and there truly is strength in numbers.  Out of these groups I have learned correct ways to eat and count calories (not approximate!), how to make exercise and fitness part of my everyday life (not a chore!), the importance of water, I have been introduced to Shakeology (the healthiest meal of my day and responsible for the disappearance of most ALL of my RA/fibromyalgia pain), and I have lost almost 20 pounds the healthy way!

So, I want to say thank you again, Laura.  You have been such a blessing in my life.  You are the product of the product, and because of your realness, gentleness and also firm reminders, you have so inspired me and been one of the most important reasons for my success today.  I love you, dear Jedi Master!

Will you consider being an apprentice?  Think about “rinse and repeat.”  Also, choose to make a healthy step today if you have been full of doubt or hopelessness.  Join a Challenge Group.  Give Shakeology a try.  I stand behind the Beach Body fitness programs because my life has been changed as a result of being the product of the product.  Now I am here in hopes of inspiring and serving you, just like Laura has done for me.

May the Force be with you.

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With love,

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Open Your Hand

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This morning I have been thinking about how it is impossible to receive something with a clenched fist. The image that keeps coming to mind is that from “The Monkey and The Juggler.” The monkey was unable to receive one or retrieve all the peanuts he held after reaching his hand into a jar because he refused to unclench his fist. He wouldn’t open his hand to let go of one peanut, therefore his hand remained stuck. Ever feel like that? May be you aren’t even aware this is where you are at. I’m reminded this morning to share with you: open your hand. Whatever has been holding you back from the healthy lifestyle and goals you are not meeting, unclench your fist. In order to receive something new we must open our hands and let something go.

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For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to complete my schooling to obtain my degree. In order to do this, I had to give some things up to allow for more time for homework and studying. Yes, it was a stretch. Sometimes a painful one. However, I had to choose to unclench my fist, open my hand to let some things go in order to receive more time.

Do you struggle with eating the right foods? Is temptation too great? Unclench your fist and pick differently. There is such a variety to choose from, beautiful and delicious healthy, clean foods. Does eating clean get boring? Try some new recipes. There are hundreds of creative recipes free for the choosing on the Internet, free cookbooks can be downloaded for your Kindle or Nook, and recipe books are a dime to a dozen at thrift stores or garage sales. Load up half your dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. The more healthy foods you give your body, the more your body will crave those foods. Consider trying Shakeology®, which eliminates unhealthy cravings and increases your cravings for healthy foods.

Is exercise nearly impossible because you smoke? Do you want to quit smoking, and continually fail? Don’t stop trying, try again! Unclench your fist and replace your cigarettes with patches, the electronic cigarette or even medication. Talk to your doctor. Join a support group. Start walking. Drink a lot of water. Rebuild your lungs one day at a time. You can do this! How do I know? Because I HAVE DONE IT! I smoked for years and never thought I could live my life without cigarettes being part of it. I unclenched my fist and let cigarettes go and replaced them with health. I am free, and free to exercise with the full capacity of my lungs. Nothing is impossible with faith and persistent efforts.

Don’t have time for exercise? This can be coined with our kids saying they don’t have time to get their homework done. No more excuses! Set your alarm 30 minutes early, break up your exercise in increments, do whatever it takes and manipulate your schedule to allow for this “me” time for your overall health and well-being. As much as exercise may feel or seem like a chore, IT IS NOT! Exercise and movement are as important as eating, sleeping and praying.

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Most of us know exactly what we are holding in our clenched fist, and it is usually more than one thing. Take some time to quietly reflect on what you are holding on to that is preventing you from opening your hand to receive something else, something better, which is blessed good health.

I thought I would share the story with you also. Think about these things, will you?

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The Monkey and The Juggler

In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.

One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.

Days went by and the monkey was looked upon by the town people with terror. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.

One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”

When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.

The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.

But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.

The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him in a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo. That was the end of the greedy monkey.

Remember to EAT!

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Eat Three or More

The minimum amount of healthy meals you should eat throughout the day is three. Reason being, the body functions 24 hours a day. Eating all your servings of fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins, and fats for the entire day in one sitting would wreak havoc on your body and organs. The body needs time to digest nutrients and distribute them to the appropriate body part or organ.

It is also appropriate to eat more than three meals; however, these meals are considered “mini meals” or snacks. A mini meal is a smaller portioned meal consisting of the same food groups you would eat in a regular meal. Eating five or six mini meals would be equivalent to three regular meals.

Overall Importance

Eating throughout the day allows nutrients to digest gradually, providing you more energy for longer periods of time. Consuming large amounts of food in one or two sittings takes more time and energy to digest, and can lead to many health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, or excessive weight gain.

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Breakfast

A healthy breakfast is necessary for refueling the body. Your body has just gone 6 or more hours without food and has digested any food taken in the day before. It’s not good to start your car with the gas tank empty, so treat your body the same. You can function on an empty stomach; however, you will not function at 100 percent.  Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day.

Lunch

Lunch is necessary to maintain energy. You use the majority of your energy between breakfast and dinner, making it necessary to consume some sort of lunch. This meal should contain carbohydrates, as well as fiber or protein. The carbohydrates supply the body with energy, while fiber or protein keeps you full until your next meal.

Unhealthy foods such as fast foods are not only packed with fat and grease, but they also wreak havoc on your body. Large meals high in salt, sugar or fat can cause high blood pressure or high cholesterol almost immediately and lead to excessive weight gain.

Putting the wrong kind of gas in your car will damage your engine and lead to other issues. Think of food and your body the same way.

Dinner

A healthy dinner is extremely important as this is your last meal of the day. This meal is responsible for what goes on in your digestive tract, as well as how your body repairs itself. For this meal, load up on dark greens and vegetables so the enzymes contained in these foods can clean out excess waste in your intestines. Protein is equally important during this meal to repair muscles, tissues and organs that have been stressed out through the day.

Too much sugar and fat in your dinner could cause the body to store this fat overnight causing weight gain, blood pressure to rise or insulin resistance.

Not eating dinner at all can cause irritability and problems sleeping. A good nights rest is necessary for the body to fully recuperate for the next day.

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Protein

Muscle-Building

MUSCLE BUILDING TIPS:

Tip-1: Eat Enough Food To Build Muscle

Tip-2: Eat the Right Types of Food So You Increase Muscle…Not Turn Into a Fat Pig!!

Tip-3: Combine The Right Foods

Tip-4: Eat Consistently On a Schedule

Tip-5: Eat The Right Foods At The Right Times

Tip-6: Eat “Power Meals” For Added Energy and To Build Muscle

Tip-7: Eat Foods Your Body Requires For Optimal Growth Hormone Production and Health

Tip-8: Eat Enough Fiber

Tip-9: Eat Enough Protein Per Meal

Tip-10: Choose Your Supplements Wisely.

Eating to build muscle is not as simple as just eating enough calories. You need to eat the right calories!  What are the right calories? Foods that are high in nutritional value to promote building muscle and not fat gain! An example of this would be to eat a lean piece of chicken, fish or meat with green vegetables totaling 600 calories rather than deep fried chicken nuggets for 800 calories.  Another example would be to eat a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast instead of a bowl of Captain Crunch Cereal.

Once you are eating good food combinations at each food serving it is important to follow the next step:

Eating consistently on a schedule is crucial to provide quality nutrients for building muscle when your body needs them.  A good rule to follow is to eat every two to three hours and never space two meals more than five hours apart. If you are eating the right foods consistently like this then you should always keep your body in an positive muscle building state.

There are two times when we should modify our meals for maximum energy and to build muscle, breakfast time and post workout. At these two times of day, instead of eating our regular meals, you can increase muscle growth by eating what I refer to as a “mini power meal.”  This is basically a meal which comprises of a quick digesting source of protein and particular energy foods which also digest quickly and help to increase blood glycogen levels as fast as possible.

Guys– to naturally produce hormones your body requires for building muscle, specifically testosterone, you need to give it the building blocks it requires. Testosterone is made from cholesterol ( simplified). To build muscle you need testosterone. This is the main difference why males are more muscular than females. It is because men have higher testosterone levels than females. To give your body what it requires for optimal hormone production you require the right fats in your muscle building diet.

Examples of these fats would include:

coconut oil
animal fats
eggs
Essential oils
butter
cheese

***Stay away from trans fats and hydrogenated fats!!

It is crucial you get enough protein per day and spread it out throughout your day. Protein requirements have been exaggerated for many years in the interests to sell more protein.  At least one gram per pound of lean body mass is required to build muscle and up to 1.5 grams per pound of lean muscle mass is optimal for heavy intense weight training.

There are lots of supplements to choose from on the market and 99% of them are inferior to natural food for building muscle. Natural food is higher in many naturally occuring vitamins and minerals benficial for muscle growth.

Stay away from weight gain powders. These are just empty calories not much different than most junk foods on the market.

Note: Building muscle is no fluke! You need to follow the above eating tips to build muscle mass fast and combine your eating with an effective and proven training and recuperation program.

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I have made a basic list of some of the best protein foods to choose from:

Eggs

Turkey, chicken, fish

Nuts, seeds

Brown rice

Beans

Oats

Cottage cheese, low-fat milk

Whey protein

Tomatoes

Potatoes

Green peppers

Corn

Lettuces

Celery

Cucumbers

Carrots

Broccoli

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Remember, vegetables are complete proteins!  Eat lean, clean and green!

P.S.  If you love spicy, like me,  you will enjoy this high-protein meal below.

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Spicy, High Protein Avocado Breakfast Sandwich And Sauce

An amazing sandwich and sauce. You take butter out of the sandwich, adding in a protein base and avocado instead. This makes this sandwich buttery and awesome!
Spicy, High Protein Breakfast Sandwich And Sauce
Nutritional Info
  • Calories:
    326
  • Protein:
    26 g
  • Carbs:
    27.2 g
  • Fat:
    12.8 g

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup Plain Nonfat Greek Yogurt
  • 5 TBSP Srirachi Hot Sauce
  • 1 Piece Ezekiel Bread, Toasted
  • 1/4 Thinly Sliced Avocado
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Egg Whites
  • Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb Flavor

Cooking Instructions

To make the sauce, combine the Greek yogurt and srirachi hot sauce. If you don’t like your sauce too zippy, then you can cut back on the amount or srirachi you use. The srirachi amount can also be changed if you’re watching your sodium intake.

Next, cook a whole egg, and 1/4 cup egg whites over a medium heat. I like to add Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb Flavor while cooking.

Place the egg on your toasted Ezekiel bread, top with sliced avocado and your srirachi and yogurt sauce, and enjoy!

I love this sandwich and this sauce because you’re taking out butter and using a protein base instead and are then able to add in a healthy fat, avocado which makes this sandwich buttery and awesome!

The Fiercist Breakfast Sandwich of All!

Breakfast is known to be the most skipped meal of the day.  We get up and go, and forget to take the time to fuel our bodies and minds with a healthy meal.  I say, TAKE THE TIME for yourself and I promise you you’ll feel more prone to make healthier choices the rest of the day because you started your day healthy.

News Flash!  Yes, eating breakfast is muy importante amigos!   Why you ask?  Well because your body just fasted for 8+ hours while sleeping and the last meal it had was dinner.

Even while you’re sleeping your body is using fuel for digestion, breathing and all that other stuff the engine inside us does.  It’s miraculous really, and you should be good to it by giving it fuel for the day ahead of it.

So now to SAUCE.  I’m a big sauce girl, I don’t like things dry, never have, never will.  So being healthy, I had to think of an alternative to butter on toast or mayonnaise on a sandwich.

The more you experiment with healthy ingredients, the more of a mad scientist you become, I promise you!  You just, out of the blue, begin concocting new ideas and putting one and one together to create something stellar!

I found it one day while looking in my fridge “concocting” in my head.  I saw the Plain Greek Yogurt and because I LOVE heat in my  food, I saw the Srirachi sauce (found in the Asian section of your grocery store, or substitute any other hot sauce…but Sri is my fave with this).

I mixed the two together and put it on my toast, added thin slices of avocado (another one of my favorite foods. I keep the slices thin because avocados are the “highest calorie fruit in existence.”  No wonder I love them so much) And topped with an egg, bam!   Still, there is so much healthy goodness in an avocado, just eat 1/8-1/4 in one meal and you’re A-ok.

So here’s how you prepare this delectably wonderful breakfast sandwich sauce:

Sriracha and Greek Yogurt

Mix these two together.

Sriracha and Greek yogurt

I put them in a container that I can use for entire week.

Sriracha and Greek Yogurt

What a great color!

Avocado Sandwich

Serving Suggestions

Makes 1 sandwich. (Using 1/3 cup sauce)

The Three R’s

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Rest is an important part of a healthy lifestyle for ALL ages.  It rejuvenates your body and mind, regulates your mood, and is linked to learning and memory function.  On the other hand, not getting enough rest can negatively affect your mood, immune system, memory, and stress level.

The three R’s for maintaining a healthy lifestyle have nothing to do with natural resources and waste management, although those are GREAT things to practice for the environment (reduce, reuse and recycle).  Rather, most importantly, the three R’s that need to be a part of our lives consistently are rest, rejuvenate and renewal.

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Rest

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1. Make time for down time.  Consider a leisurely walk or a 5-minute mini meditation.  Just close your eyes and focus only on your breathing for 5 minutes.

2. Follow a routine.  Consider waking up 10 minutes early each day for some simple stretches to start your day rather than jumping into high-speed mode.  Stretch and wind down before bed each night.

3. Give your mind a break.  Consider participating in an activity that directs your mind to full attention on that task.  Fully “be in the moment,” which will give your mind a mental break from a nagging “to do” list.

Rejuvenate

Rejuvenation

1. Schedule your “me” time.  If we don’t take the time to step back from the chaos, even a few minutes each day, and rejuvenate that emotional energy, we soon run out.  We crash.  Carve out a few minutes EACH DAY to catch up with friends, paint your nails, read, go for a jog, or even just meditate.  That small moment can refill your emotional bucket and ready you for the evenings’ madness.

2. Journal.  Take 15 minutes to think of the positives in your day or something you look forward too.  Write.  Practice gratitude.  Being thankful truly is a natural stress-buster and antidepressant.

3. Splurge and get a massage.  Not only will this ease sore muscles and release stress toxins from your body, but you will feel refreshed, rejuvenated and ready for life!

Renewal

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1. Get creative.  Creative renewal is such an important part of the creative process.  Every mind goes stale after a while.  You need to empty your cup.   Do you paint?  Start an outline or watercolor.

2. Enjoy the outdoors!  Turn on the Discovery channel or tune into David Attenborough or repeats of the late Steve Irwin to get enthused about this wonderful world you inhabit.  Better yet, get out into your garden or the local park.  Go hiking.  Get down on the grass and watch the ants.  Follow a butterfly or gaze closely at a pretty flower.

3. Embrace your hobbies!  Pleasures can bring a lift to your mood.  Because hobbies generally incorporate pleasures into your life, maintaining hobbies can be good for your overall sense of joy in life.  As well, gratifications can lead to a reduction in stress and a sense of well-being, and hobbies are usually experienced as gratifications.  If you want more happiness and less stress experiences in your life, hobbies provide a direct route to gratifications that can lead to this.

* * * * *

The three R’s are just as important as maintaining a good diet and exercise for our overall well-being, and quite necessary for our joy and health.

Wishing you all a rejuvenating weekend,

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The Ascent: Climbing that Mountain!

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I am so happy right now!  Why?  My husband has told me for the past two days how pretty I look, repeatedly has asked me what did I do different, on and on.  This morning he commented that I am “getting skinny” and he sees the difference “in my face.”  Wow.  Looking back through photographs, I see (and cringe) that I had developed a “fat face.”  More like, “wino” cheeks.  If I offend anyone by using “fat” terms here, I somewhat apologize, but it is what it is: truth.  Over the past couple years I had gained a whopping 30-plus pounds!  Put that on a 5’3″ frame, trust me it is noticeable!

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My husband is the sweetest man.  He has NEVER told me I was heavy, I was gaining weight, that I looked fat, or that I was no longer appealing to him.  Did I mention that he is also a very smart man!  We know the truth when we look in the mirror, don’t we?  We see ourselves naked after stepping out the shower and it feels awful when we can no longer fit comfortably into our clothes, or at all.  It’s not so funny after awhile when we have to graduate into “big girl” jeans and joke about it to family or friends.  We know and we want to hide.  The worst thing possible would be hearing it from others.

the-power-of-words

My husband spoke such encouragement to me this morning by choosing the right words to cheer me on: he complimented the changes rather than remarked about my past weight.  I am so very blessed.  I will FOREVER remember the words he chose to coach me forward with my goals.

The ascent is so worth the painful steps, and the most important step is making a decision for change.  Have you considered taking that first baby step yet?  I promise you, you will never regret it or turn back.  The long-term benefits to your health far outweigh immediate gratification.

I encourage you to consider these ten steps for changes you desire.  This is where I started:

1.  Step on the scale first thing in the morning and note your weight.  Wait two weeks or try to be patient and wait until 30 days have passed to weigh yourself again.

Weighing-Scales-1

2.  Take your measurements (chest, both arms, waist, hips and both thighs).

3.  Use a calendar and a journal- document your weight and measurements and pick a start day (why not today?) for a 30-day goal.  (Set 30-day increment goals and watch what happens!)  *Be consistent, this is a lifestyle change, not a quick fix plan.

4.  Track your calories!  Do not approximate!  Write down your meals and snacks in a journal, or rather, grab a free application for your smart phone or computer.  It really does not take much extra time and is such a very important tool.  From here you can determine calorie allowance based on your body and weight loss desires.

5.   Exercise!  Preferably, pick something you enjoy.  Try to get in 30 minutes every day.  Yes, every day.  But, listen to your body.  If you are really tired out or sore, give yourself a rest, but do try to work through muscle soreness.  If you cannot get to the gym or afford a gym membership, why not try some fitness DVD’s you can use at home?  Consider walking.  Grab a workout buddy.  Move and stretch each and every day and journal how you feel and also how you sleep.

6.  Drink your water.  Hydrate daily.

7.  Do not give up!  If you have a down day, dust off and begin again.  Never feel or be defeated.

8.  Remember the six meal rule: Breakfast, mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-day snack, dinner, evening snack.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.

9. Watch your alcohol intake!  (See my story here: http://wp.me/p35YUS-wT)

10.  Allow a flex meal per week AND make time to relax!  Remember also how important sleep is to your weight loss program.

* * * * *

Lastly, seriously consider joining a challenge group (http://wp.me/P35YUS-gz).  The accountability, intimacy, coaching and friendships built have been priceless tools for my success, as well as so many others I have met along my journey, and I have no doubt they would also benefit you with your goals.

In ending, I am celebrating.  Since I have been involved with a challenge group, changed my eating habits and wine consumption, added Shakeology to my diet and consistently make exercise a part of my life, I have lost over 16 pounds since the beginning of this year and I feel FABULOUS!  My RA pain levels have disappeared and I have so much energy.  I am the product of the product, thus I am sharing with you!

Climb that mountain, I dare you!

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