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Happy New Year!

The New Year is back and it’s definitely time for the NEW YOU! I just wanted to remind you all that my site has grown and moved to Freedom At The Crossroads and I’ve got a brand new post up about fitness, diet, and performance. You can check this and more right now! http://freedomatthecrossroads.com/5-key-nutrients-needed-optimal-fitness-health/

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Nuts not fluff: Incorporating Nuts and Seeds As Part of a Healthy Diet

my-first-design-1People often ask me why I’m so obsessed about seeds and nuts and I could rattle off a whole slew of information (see sources below) about why they’re so great. After watching their eyes invariably glaze over from information overload, I’ve since discovered that less is more, and simplicity is a gem worth appreciating. The simple answer lays in the fact that we (meaning homo Sapiens) are at our optimal health and fitness when we adhere to a diet that is both diverse and nutritionally dense. This is in both the historic and evolutionary record ( I won’t bore you with the details) as well as the current health crisis many in the industrialized (as well as underdeveloped nations) are facing in terms of ever-increasing numbers of diabetes, cancer, as well as autoimmune diseases.

It is no small coincidence that our propensity for, and our over indulgence in so-called “quick” and “processed” foods have a strong connection or link to the incidence of the above mentioned diseases and associated syndromes. The bottom line, is that processed foods, our dependency on them, coupled with a lack of adequate exercise (daily), has brought us to the brink of a near pandemic. Add to that unsustainable environmental and agricultural practices, and a grime picture begins to unfold for the human race; but a solution for one problem at a time please.

In simple terms, nuts can be defined as “small dry hard-shelled dry fruit or seed with a separable rind or shell an interior kernel” (Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition). A much more detailed definition is provided by the National Institutes of Health (see National Institutes of Health website) which states that nuts are “nutrient dense foods with complex matrices rich in unsaturated fatty and other bioactive compounds: high-quality vegetable protein, fiber, minerals, tocopherols, phytosterols, and phenolic compounds.” Translation? nuts constitute a dense powerhouse store of complete nutrients (i.e. fats, fibre, carbohydrates, etc).

All that being said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. While nuts are nutrient dense, they do contain fat and that means you must balance their intake with other sources of vital nutrients that contain fewer calories as well as fats. The key take away here is “BALANCE”; in terms of nutritional intake (i.e. amount per serving, etc) as well as lin proportion to other nutrient sources. For instance, a balanced intake of nuts (and or seeds, i.e. sunflower walnuts) at one sitting relative to other nutrient sources, would be equivalent to 1/3/ cup or 1 and 1/2 oz of nuts 3-4 servings per week for a 1,600 calorie diet and 4-5 servings per week for a 2,000 calorie diet (American Heart Association: 2013 Healthy Diet recommendations;Eckel, Robert H. et al. “2013 AHA/ACC).

While similar to seeds in terms of nutrient content, seeds are, in simple terms, the embryonic stage of a plant housed in a protective outer shell or hull. The dietary guidelines for seeds are similar to those for nuts, but the caveat remains the same; balance, balance, balance, is the mantra we should all stick to when it comes to nutrition, health (mind-body) and fitness. Why am I pushing them? I’m a firm believer in balance and the pivotal role it plays in our health and fitness within the context of a healthy and free lifestyle. My own personal experience alone has driven home the inherent power of a well-balanced and nutrient dense diet; not only that, from a physical fitness perspective, a poor diet will doom you to failure and injury (i.e. failing to fuel your body the nutrients required for both recovery and muscle growth).

From a female perspective, I’ve come to learn the importance of incorporating dietary balance into my daily regime as a means of negating undesirable effects of changes in hormonal levels, stress, and illness recovery. While nutrition and fitness alone can not wholly stave off the negative impacts of illness, disease, time, and so forth, they are powerful resources in our arsenal that are available to help us achieve optimum fitness, health, and the freedom to pursue our goals and passions.

Remember, getting fit and healthy requires that you first make the decision, develop a plan, and take action. For more information as well as assistance regarding how to get started on your journey, join the FitTribe of fellow women who are getting stronger everyday!

Please follow me at my new website:

http://www.freedomatthecrossroads.com

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References

Eckel, Robert H. et al. “2013 AHA/ACC Guideline on Lifestyle Management to Reduce Cardiovascular Risk.” Circulation, vol. 129, no. 25 suppl 2, Dec. 2013, doi:10.1161/01.cir.0000437740.48606.d1.

Ros, Emilio. “Health Benefits of Nut Consumption.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/pmc3257681/.

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PAIN!

Today I want to talk about pain. There are different types and levels of pain, but today I realized that we are all going through various issues and even painful experiences in our lives. It’s NOT that I didn’t know this, it’s more like the power behind this truth hadn’t sunk in until today (meh, I’m thinking I did, but I needed to be reminded ). Today I was blown away by a woman’s confession to me on Facebook about how she has been struggling with weight gain, how she lost weight only to start gaining the weight once more. I’m going to skip the details and just say, DAMN!

There are so many people struggling with weight issues, body image, self-esteem (related to these same issues), and the boat-load of other crap that comes with it!😐
Today? She’s now reaching out to me and taking those FIRST few difficult steps to freedom and empowerment. I feel so blessed to say SHE IS NOT ALONE and NEITHER ARE YOU!👍😉 that’s why I am so emotional right now as I sit here and write and tell my story and share helping someone else CHANGE her life AND her story, because there are so many more narratives just like this; gut wrenching accounts of other women out there struggling in isolation and in some cases, shame, simply because they need some help and support!

THIS IS MY MISSION and MY calling; there a lot of women out there who are hurting who are suffering with physical setbacks coupled with weight gain, anxiety, depression poor health poor eating habits, unhealthy lifestyles and just all-around spinning on that hamster wheel!😥
and so today I am moved to reach out even more women who are looking for someone who is authentic who is Sincere who is real who has gone through the same struggles on this fitness journey and so I want to pump in Courage I want to motivate every woman out there who is other secretly trying to do it all alone, to just STOP!🚦 STOP trying to do it all alone without support, feeling ashamed because you need some help. Bottom line?

WE ALL need a little help sometimes, and to those who say it’s “not that hard to do” YOU DON’T speak for everyone out there, so NOW WHAT?!DId, did, did i stutter?! EXACTLY! 👊Reardless, im going to continue my journey and mission as I live the fit, reaching out to the rest of my “tribe” of women on the journey to health, fitness, empowerment and joyful authenticity.🙅
Moving along to speaking and connecting with all those in need of some knowledge, help, and encouragement because I RECOGNIZE that I am NOT alone on this adventure.👊😤 Wow, now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, time to move on to the next exciting phase as I continue the journey to achieving fitness in my body, spirit, and mind. I’m in it to win it, kick some ass doing it, embracing the ride🚘 and taking My Tribe along for the journey2👣
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Diva Skin? seriously?

Yes I have issues with breakouts a.k.a “eruptions”, discoloration , and just general stuff that only I can see, haha ha! Anyway, short of hiding yourself beneath a vail or becoming one of the mole people, the only sane and effective way to love the skin you’re in, is to KNOW your skin. What does that mean? S.I.M.P.L.E.! GET to know the skin you’re in; literally, make a, what I like to call, “a skin diary” in which you catalogue all the things you love about your skin, what you hate about it, and THEN make a list of ALL the products you’ve been using on your skin for the last month (longer, if you can actually recall it).

Once you’ve completed that list (yes, that’s why I said make a “diary” ’cause this is gonna take a minute ), break everything down from what you use on your skin daily as well day vs. nighttime skincare regimes. Believe it or not, this actually WORKS!! So well in fact, that    in my case, I actually started saving money because either I found out that I was doubling up on unnecessary product and or over stimulating my skin; which equaled D.I.S.A.S.T.E.R. for my Diva skin. While I love my skin now (thank you mom and dad, for good genes, plus sage skincare advice from both doctors and a knowledgeable mom-yes natural and ancient / traditional skin remedies that minimally processed win out every time! Boomsies!), this was NOT always the case.

In my teens and twenties, I ignored a lot of the advice that was handed down to me and I usually ended up crying and babbling to my momma about my terrible skin, my life was over, blah blah blah; you know the usually teen scream, ha haha. Anyway, once I got over myself and started really caring about my skin, what I put on it, and IF my Diva skin was loving my skincare regime, THAT’S when I had my AHAH moment. Once you start treating your skin like it’s a living thing, only THEN will it give you a break (no pun intended *wink*).

This brings us right back to, exercise, diet / nutrition, and mind-body wellness. I don’t think I need to beat that dead horse again BUT, I will; what you put into your body, whether or not you exercise, mental health, etc, ALL of these “THINGS” impact YOUR SKIN!!!  Stress and poor nutrition will kill your skin from the inside out-Those eruptions you’re so “frustrated” about? Yeah, they’re probably tied to your those ding dongs, burgers and fries you’ve been chomping on at work because you were too harried to pack a healthy and nutritional lunches this week alone. I don’t know about you, but it’s been my experience that when overly stressed, I eat crap (junk food is the panacea of emotional and stress eating), don’t really feel like exercising or engaging in anything productive.

I’m just being REAL about my issues, and maybe it’s something you have or have not experienced, BUT this was an area I felt like ranting about so here you’ve got it! For all of you have “celebrity star” skin, you know, the kind that NEVER seems to have issues; just perpetually PERFECT skin (yeah, STOP lying!), this may not be all that informative to you. But for the rest of us on planet earth, STOP and evaluate your skincare regime, your health and fitness as well as your mental health. Blessings on the Journey!wp-1461196251819.jpg

Get uncomfortable!

Get uncomfortable!

 

Too many times we get stuck because we get too comfortable in our lives, the status quo, our fears, and jobs that while they may not be our passion, at least they “guarantee ” a regular check / pay so that we can continue to pay our bills and go on the proverbial ” vacation” or “stay-cation” (I  soo hate that made up word,  for vacations you can’t afford to go on!). Still, being uncomfortable is not a feeling I’ve been encouraged to feel-especially during my formative years (i.e. childhood ). Now, I find myself growing and expanding beyond my comfort zone and that’s huge! Imagine breaking free from the weight, expectations and demands of people, situations and entanglements that if you’re honest, you should have long since terminated.

It’s scary but necessary and while it might be nice to stick with the comfortable and mundane-that won’t take you to the NEXT level! Fear, mediocrity and a lack of established  boundaries will not just hinder you from moving forward, they will also chain and enslave you to your current place in life. I know, it sounds depressing BUT, that old phrase? “Use it or lose it”? It’s true; if you don’t grow you will stagnate and atrophy (metaphorically speaking, of course! ).

Well what does that have to do with working out, blah blah blah? A LOT actually; if you don’t work out you lose muscle, strength, flexibility and even your health (depending on how far you go). The same way you train and work out your body, recognize it’s limits / boundaries and uniqueness, ARE the same exact strategies you use to develop internally as well as set limits for yourself and others (i.e. what’s acceptable for you in a relationship, when to say no, etc ).

Only YOU can make those calculations, and that ability and experience comes through A.C.T.I.O.N. There is really no way around it if YOU ARE serious about not just your physical fitness, but your emotional and mental health as well. For me, getting fit and healthy is the gateway for all things positive, empowering, and growth inspiring! This journey is oh soo exhilarating, but also demands that I let go of my fears and “baggage”-Wow! SCARRRRY!!!🙈

Bottom line? Be true to yourself and own it all, the good, the bad and yes, the ugly (sorry I couldn’t resist the movie reference; it’s a classic action flick / spaghetti western , and I’m an action/ Scifi buff so sue me!😜). Just, stretch yourself…👣wp-1465063791377.jpg

In memoriam…Done with the past and on the future!

In memoriam…Done with the past and on the future!

Yes, really! It’s the Memorial Day Weekend and in the spirit of it all I say, “Good riddance to the past”! (that includes yesterday too😉). Days like this just help me to put the past and the present in perspective-haven’t hit that fitness or life goal yet? Forget yesterday, and keep pushing forward until you get there! I’ve come to realize that no matter what I’m going through, the whole point is, I LITERALLY have to go THROUGH it in order to get to the otherside.

No one else can do it for me; just me, myself, and I 👣😉 While it’s true that you can “bring” a friend along for the journey, the hard truth is that YOU have to find that core strength within, that will help YOU push forward to the finish line.😤💪
As the saying goes, “you can take the horse to the water, but you can’t make it drink!” MY thoughts on that one, drink up, ’cause NOTHING will happen until YOU do!😤💪👣
Here’s to the >>JOURNEY!
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Hmmm, how’s that list coming along?

Hmmm, how’s that list coming along?

Well, how is it? You know that long list of to-dos that you were planning to tear through at the speed of light, like X-men’s blowing through the baddies all in a single flurry? Yeah, that one!
The bottom line is, NOTHING will change if I DON’T MOVE! So I decided to get my butt back in gear and REMEMBER why I started on this journey 💪👊 Maybe that’s not your story, but I know I’m NOT the only one who has or is struggling with health issues, trying to lose weight or is just straight up trying to make the switch to a healthy lifestyle. image

I’ve found tremendous support by becoming both a beach body coach and partnering with an awesome challenge group filled with people striving for the same thing. It’s HARD I won’t lie, but IT’S worth it, and most importantly, I’M WORTH IT!💪👊 What about YOU,out there? Are you struggling too? Need some help and motivation? Feel free to get on board the crazy train to fitness, ha haha😂
Follow this>>link << and let's get off the hamster wheel!!

Starting a new week…

Starting a new week…

So I decided to stop dwelling on the past and things I’ve yet to complete and just knock it out. You know just get things done in spite of my fears and stop spinning my wheels! Everyone has fears, unless you’re just plain ole bat sh*t crazy, or an automaton. Either way, we all have places we’re afraid to go on the inside and we end up handicapping ourselves for no good reason, at least that’s what I found out in my own case👊

So today is yoga stretch and recover day where I relax a little and let my body do it’s thing on the inside! Too much or top many high intensity workouts can lead to damage and or injury, so LISTEN TO your body.😉👂

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What about YOU?
Here’s an >>example<< of my session today

Oh my skin!

Oh my skin!

Okay, okay!  Enough about the skincare recommendations!  Here’s the thing, your skincare recommendation is only as good as the “person” who’s giving the review 😐😉 My point is, I’m not recommending ANY product that 1. I wouldn’t use myself ( and I’ve got the diva skin to prove it), 2. Can’t back up their claims (i.e. nontoxic,  cruelty free, etc) and 3. Community and environmentally friendly!

That’s just my rant I guess, but the bottom line is that you need to investigate or research these products for yourself; realizing that a “recommendation” is just that, a RECOMMENDATION and it’s up to you to fact check this stuff!😉

Not only that, some of the stuff people are “reviewing” is mostly all fluff and no substance and waay over-priced to boot! Granted some of it’s worth it (especially if you have very sensitive skin, etc) but a lot of it just doesn’t past muster💄💲Also, just because it cost an arm and a leg or just your first born child *wink* DOESN’T MEAN IT’S ACTUALLY any good or effective so save your money!💲💲

Bottom line, if you don’t take care of your body from the inside out (eat healthy and nutrient dense foods, exercise, etc) even the most expensive “elixir” on the planet ain’t gonna change that rocky road skin into a baby’s butt; sorry I know the truth hurts sometimes, but there you have it!💄😕
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If I don’t use it or haven’t tried it, I’M NOT recommending it…and so I leave you with those few gems and happy skincare hunting!
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FIT Tuesday…

FIT Tuesday…

Another day has come and gone  but Tuesday is still going strong, ha haha! Yes I worked up a sweat >>hammering and chiseling<< my way to being fit and ooh so much stronger than I was yesterday!  I guess you could say I’m just a “bit” EXCITED when I look back over the last six months and say to myself “you’ve come a long way baby”!
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Getting fit, healthy AND STAYING that way MUST be maintained;  you don’t just work to get there and then expect to magically stay that way! Ha ha, DUH! Good luck with that fantasy! 😦 😉

What’s your yardstick for measuring healthy? I hope it’s not “skinny” because frankly, there’re A LOT of UNHEALTHY skinny people poping up all over the Internet! A distorted body image is a great way to end up unhealthy and possibly lose your life! Eating healthy, having a great exercise and accountability regime IS THE BEST thing you can do for yourself! 😉

Remember, there’s no shame in admitting you NEED TO change your lifestyle; it doesn’t matter where you start, JUST DO IT ALREADY! !!
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P.s. I’m currently huffing my way through team Beachbody’s Hammer and Chisel workout regime with Segei and Autumn C….No pain, no gain! Ha haha…good pain, good pain *wink* 😂😂💪