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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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Getting it right, for YOU!

I’ve since arrived at the conclusion that when it comes to weight loss, fitness, and over all toning and conditioning, every woman’s body responds differently. I’m always amazed at all the lies and downright hurtful gimmicks aimed at women! Dang IT! We women seem to be the targets of a lot of negative media and social attacks! Part of it stems from the larger problems within our society that are currently being stirred up and played out on the  socio-political stage.

Given all the shifting undercurrents we are being subjected to as well as marketing aimed at all of our insecurities, it’s no wonder that women across the board are more stressed, overwhelmed and feeling pressured to not just fit every role created for us, but to also live up to standards that have little or no basis in reality! Don’t even mention those that are being forced upon us by segments of society that seek to strip women of all the socio-political gains we have fought for over the years. Am I pissed and ticked off? Duh!! Yes! WHY  you might ask? Well it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that “THIS” whole “THANG” (forced social, political, and gender roles) has to do with power and “WHO” gets to wield it over some one else.

It’s unfortunate that we still still live in a world and society where there are those among us who seek to subjugate, control and dictate to other human beings simply because “they” will it to be so. I’m on a rant today because we WOMEN are still forced to deal with this crap in the 21st century while the other segment of the population glibly marches on with their “special” privileges. NOW, with that context nailed down, add to the mix an unhealthy body image, a skewed relationship with food, etc-EXACTLY! A life out of balance and on that hamster wheel going nowhere! 

The most obvious signs of imbalance for us women tends to be an unhealthy image of our bodies (or ourselves in general), weight gain, insomnia, and so forth. How do get off that crazy train? STOP! Do some real soul-searching and then, make a DECISION, get a PLAN, and then, take ACTION! I never said it would be easy, but you’ve got to come to the realization that YOU are WORTH IT! Why we women struggle with self-worth is NOT a hard thing to figure out when you look around the media and society in general. Hmm, I never saw myself as the proverbial feminist before but if that means, NO more trying to please everyone, NO more trying to fit some one else’s ridiculous image of the ideal woman (i.e. shape, color, size, personality, behavior, etc), and DEFINITELY  NO more “trying” to dictate my biology, THEN F***KING SIGN ME THE HELL UP!!

Now that I’ve got that off my chest, “back to the regular programming”, ha-ha! Bottom line, we women need to stop beating up ourselves about what we see in the mirror or how others perceive us, and just focus on our individual truths, places that need growth (and do what needs to be done to get there), realize that we need to put our health and fitness at the top of our own lists (because if you’re unhealthy there is nothing you can do for anyone else if you’re dead!), and engage in those things that will bring BALANCE and FULFILLMENT to our lives. Now, that IS my “WHY” when people ask me about why I do what I do, but the real question is, WHAT’S YOUR’S? ARE YOU finally FED UP and sick and tired of being sick and tired??

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#TGIF: Time to, relax, relate and release!

So it’s Friday and, WHAT? Well, it should mean or translate into a powering down, reconnecting with our inner selves, and releasing (letting go) of the stresses of the week, and the past. LET IT GO! Hanging on to regrets and that old dead “woulda, coulda, shoulda” only leaves you with a sense of failure, frustration and an inability to focus on reorienting yourself so that YOU can achieve your goals.

That’s not to say that reflection isn’t necessary or that regret is all bad; what I am saying these things have their own place within the context of a well-balanced life. If we don’t reflect (in a constructive manner) on where certain things went wrong in the past, we are more likely to repeat those same mistakes. In a similar manner, if we are incapable of feeling regret (again, within the proper context), that speaks to a lack of personal development or growth as well as a lack of emotional depth.

All of that aside, knowing when to a “system shutdown” is part of living a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Remember, “fitness” and “health” applies to more than just the physical; it’s also about the mental and emotional aspect of who we are as individuals.

Experience has taught me that the fitness journey is more than weight loss, eating clean, exercise, etc. It’s about the mental and emotional components of who we are, coming in to balance and alignment as part of living a healthy and fulfilling life.My advice? Take the weekend to get outside, break away from technology, connect with the earth (a.k.a. get some nature / outdoor therapy) and decompress! Blessings on the journey…👣

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Body Talk…

So you’ve finally decided to dive in, accept the challenge, join the fit tribe, get your program in gear and now you’re…OFF! Well before you get too comfortable, I’m going to put a little damper on your personal party by injecting a bit of reality! I’m not trying to throw you off, i’m simply trying to give you ONE powerful tip as you embark on this lifetime fitness journey.

A lot of times it is so easy to get into a routine and then set our minds on auto-pilot; you have the right program for your fitness level (at least you think you do), your nutrition plan is all worked out, BUT you are MISSING one component that can make or break you (in terms of whether or not you succeed or quit and fail). What is that one COMPONENT? It’s called listening to your B.O.D.Y! That’s right, engaging in a physical self-check of how different parts of your body are responding to your workout routines will go a long way toward helping you avoid injuries and possible failure.

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Sunday free for all!…

Working on the weekends is soo NOT my favorite thing to do especially when the sun is calling, the temperature is rising, and…need I say more? It’s not that I mind per se, it’s just that summer is my hands down, shake your booty to the summer sounds, FAVORITE season!😎🎋☀️ Why? It’s because summer means life, adventure, connecting with nature and other people, UHH! It’s so hard to explain, but I just love it, ha haha.

Speaking of seasons, THIS is a brand new one and it’s time to reflect, decide, plan and ACT on all those good things I’ve been ‘planning” to do since the beginning of the year; HA HA! I don’t know about you, but if I stop MOVING, I STOP DOING and that my fellow travelers, IS NOT GONNA BE MY STORY! I’m just saying, it took me a while to get my groove back (mind, body, spirit) and I KNOW how HARD that struggle can be along the fitness journey. Think about it; I went from having my health and fitness in the dumps, being terribly insecure, having body image issues, etc, to where I am NOW and finally enjoying this “colorful” adventure.⚒👣

That’s not  to say I’ve hit everything on my list of to-dos, it just means that I’m in it to win it, get ready to fuel up for the next ride and GO, go, go! I KNOW I have a purpose and passion here on this “terra fIrma” and I am equal to the task! What about you? Still sitting on life’s sidelines? Hoping for a clue to help you regain your own personal power? Reclaim YOUR BODY and FITNESS? Contrary to what you may have seen on the Sci-fi channel, reality tv, and the like, there is no magical “A HAH” moment or chanting involved in CHANGING YOUR life.😜👁💡n

That’s right, the Stars will not realign themselves for your benefit, nor will the universe alter it’s current path of expansion; the ONLY thing you need to know is, YOU     Have to ACT. There you have it, the big hairy monster in the closet-FEAR of the unknown, of stepping outside the comfort zone, coloring outside of the lines! WOW! Ain’t it glorious though? Didn’t know you had it in you; huh? Boomsies on the journey2 y’all!…👣

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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

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No “Expert” required…

Okay, break out the tissue on this one because you might need it after I’m done! Here goes: be honest, I mean REALLY  be honest with your self-do you really think you NEED an expert to tell you you’re going nowhere fast, a hamster on someone else’s wheel, working on someone else’s dream? And do you NOT already know that you’re over-stressed, over-worked, over weight and slowly killing yourself because YOUR HEALTH sucks?!

I G.E.T. I.T.! Really I do know what that’s like! A few years ago I hit a rough patch in my life (relationship and health issues, etc) and though I’d like to say I’m totally over it all, that would be a lie. Yes I’ve grown a lot, but I’m still battling through health issues; the only difference is, I FINALLY got tired of looking in the mirror and NOT liking what I saw. This wasn’t because I was some evil “Borg” Queen (oops, my inner Trekkie speaks again *wink*) out to crush everyone in her path in order to climb the professional ladder, or even just a sad excuse for a human being; my problem? FEAR! It cripples and hinders even the best of us, and if you don’t get a grip on it, it will trap you on an endless cycle of discontent, failure and hopelessness.

In my case, the most obvious symptom was being over weight, unhealthy and stressed to my breaking point. I’m not going to go into a long story or get :preachy” but I will say this, YOU WANT CHANGE? Take ACTION otherwise you’re really not at your breaking point, AND YOU’RE just wasting your time and anyone trying to help you get on track; Yep, I’m talking about me! I CAN NOT help you get to where you want to be unless, YOU DECIDE and COMMIT to the journey too…

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Start Now…
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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