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A quick and healthy fall recipe: baked butternut squash and kale

Happy Fall everyone and blessings this weekend! I just wanted to share one of my favorite Fall dishes that’s loaded with flavor and tons of nutrients! Stop over to my new site at Freedom At The Crossroads , for the complete recipe!

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Yes, there is a cost…healthy too?

Contrary to what you might believe ,  there is a cost associated with everything in this life. whether it’s a nice shiny car, or even a smile, yes it will cost you something ; the question is what are you willing to pay for it?! It sounds somewhat cynical and jaded but the real truth is that ,  even something as intangible as a smile cost something, even if it’s not financial; it’s all about value and yes, personal development too!

Earlier this month I had an opportunity to briefly volunteer and attend a summit on food systems, sustainability and food insecurity, hosted by FoodTank. While it was largely informative and inspiring, this only served to drive home my earlier points-there is nothing more important than our health and wellness (i.e. mind,body, and spirit). Why? Without healthy, pesticide free food and by extension, good health, WE can achieve nothing of great value or worth.

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Access to healthy (and sustainably sourced) food, a.k.a. good nutrition, plus a regular fitness routine (i.e.various exercise regimes) form the foundation for a balanced, healthy and fulfilling life .The reality is that an unhealthy community or society, is ultimately doomed to unproductivity and death as its members succumb to illness and disease brought on by poor nutrition (i.e. obesity ,  diabetes, etc), inactivity and excessive stress.

I’m not saying that nutrition is the cure-all for all diseases, but it is, a critical weapon in our arsenal for staving off a number of illnesses, diseases and environmental stressors that severely limit both life expectancy and quality of life. Experience has shown me that the old adage,  “medicine after death” still remains true. It’s far better to prevent disease rather than be in a situation where pharmaceuticals (i.e. medication) are necessary and in some instances, rife with their own set of issues (i.e. “side effects). While I’m grateful for the pharmaceutical  breakthroughs to fight diseases etc, the truth remains that a healthy body (fueled and protected by pesticide free foods and phyto-nutrients, exercise, etc) is a far better option.

If you’re waiting for big Agra-business (a.k.a. CAFO’s, packaged food industries, etc) to put your health and wellness above their profit shares and share holders, it ain’t gonna happen! Bottom line? We need to become our own food (as well as health) advocates and educate ourselves  about where our food comes from, and not rely on the food industry to police itself. Food (what we consume) is intimately connected to our health and the health of the environment.

You might ask, who has time for all that “research”? The answer to that is, WE all do if we care about our health, eating foods that have been sustainably farmed (i.e. non-toxic farming practices, minimal use of pesticides, etc) and our environment. We’ve entered into and era whereby we no longer have the luxury of being ignorant about our food systems (i.e. the global climate crisis and food insecurity). It is way past time where we all need to fully engage with ourselves, our environment,  and our food systems if we ever hope to have healthy and fulfilling lives. Now that is true freedom to me !

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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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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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Monday fitness goals…

Monday fitness goals…

Hmm so what’s the plan? Do some HIIT, yoga, hit the hiking trails real hard, head to the gym for some group exercise class (*yawn*), go for a run? Just WHAT? Aright, rant alert here! I’m so tired of the excuses as to why a large number of Americans are so unhealthy, stressed out, keeling over at their desks from being overworked, etc!! YES that’s ALL TRUE! But what’s also true is that we Americans are kings and queens of fear driven bondage-bondage to our employers, our jobs, and just plain old mediocrity! Sorry that smarts but I’M ALSO included in that sad number, so Baam!

We all have our issues, but at some point you have to be WILLING and COMMITTED to breaking the yoke around your neck and just crying out “enough IS enough”! Enough with being overworked and underpaid by employers, enough with being afraid of taking the risk of becoming your own boss, ENOUGH with living an unhealthy lifestyle-JUST ENOUGH! This is where I’M AT on my fitness and lifestyle journey; I’m done with working for someone else and his/her narrow assessment of my skills, gifts and potential and definitely DONE with being overweight and unhealthy! I look back this Monday and all I can say is, WOW! I’m finally doing it; stepping out and taking the risk to becoming my own boss, and literally controlling my own destiny, BOOMSIES!!

I love the NEW ME I’m becoming and I love the fact that there are other positive women out there pushing and supporting me on this journey! It’s HARD to get started but it’s definitely worth it, and here is where I end my little rant for now , ha haha! THIS is why I started this journey AND NOW it’s time to share that opportunity with other people who WANT and are WILLING to do the same for themselves and their families-DO IT because you know YOU ARE WORTH IT! Enough said and onward to the JOURNEY!

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picking up daisies…

picking up daisies…

So ONCE again I’m reminded why I need to be grateful to be alive AND on the pathway to good health and living life to the fullest! As I’ve mentioned before, I work in healthcare and I’m currently trying to finish my graduate program in this field; that aside, my past has created in me a passion for wellness and that of everyone around me 🙂 I don’t like to dwell on personal loss or tragedies, BUT when it comes to remembering how far I’ve come I can’t brush it aside. Today I met a someone today who made me THANKFUL to God that I’m on track to being the healthiest I’ve ever been AND MY OWN business to boot!! Woot, Woot! Boomsies!! As I think about this woman I met earlier today, I was nearly in tears (she was soo emotional and in tears) over the fact that today, April 17th 2016 marks the last day of chemo for her. Oh my good GOD, HOW do you respond to that? All I could do was say a prayer for her and leave her room before I started to cry my eyes out too because some years ago, my mom lost her battle with cancer and that still tears me up inside when I think about her 😦

I’m still maddened and passionate about women’s health and access to health in a system where healthcare (the best treatments, trials, etc) are accessible mainly to the wealthy and or privileged! You can argue that we ALL have healthcare here in the U.S. BUT I SAY, THE QUALITY of THAT HEALTHCARE is just as IMPORTANT as the QUALITY  of said healthcare. I say this because although we had health insurance IT FAILED my mom and ultimately contributed to her loosing the battle with cancer. Until WE become civilized enough to REALIZE that quality healthcare is a RIGHT and NOT A PRIVILEDGE , we ALL will experince unnecessary loss and quality of life.

That’s not to say that we as individuals do not bare responsibility for own health, WE DO, but it also must be equally accessible to ALL who need it! Which brings me back to this woman I met earlier today. Why was she soo emotional and WHY was I almost as emotional as she? It’s because WE BOTH recognized the personal and financial costs associated with battling such a deadly disease, and not only that, to come out relatively unscathed (financially speaking; as in not out on the streets because you lost your life’s savings trying to cover the costs of co-pays and other bills,etc).

THIS IS ONE of the main reasons I decided to change my life, my health, and my professional focus to fitness and mind-body wellness! As an old adage states “Prevention is better than cure” and “medicine after death, is the worst tragedy”. THIS IS WHAT MATTERS TO ME: PEOPLE, THEIR HEALTH, AND QUALITY OF LIFE!!! What a calling and a personal and passionate call to action people; and THIS is where YOU find ME. It’s hard yet rewarding, BUT what an AWESOME way to live life!!

I’m a team Beachbody coach, and this is my story….journeying to fitness, health, and renewed sense of purpose!! 🙂 🙂

 

P.s. here’s my day at the beach contemplating my place in the universe, he hehe…LIVE WELL!!
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TGIF!

TGIF!

Hey, hey, hey! It’s Friday and I’m so ready for the weekend. While I’ve yet to complete my to-do list for this week, I can’t allow myself to fall into that vicious cycle of beating myself up and getting discouraged about not getting EVERYTHING done! Wew! So glad I got that one out of the way. At least I can say I’m finally bringing to stick to my list, Ha haha…live and let live I always say. Anyway another week bites the dust and I just want to say I’m grateful for better health, a solid fitness and health plan that is GETTING AWESOME results!!! Woot! Woot!

Why am I so excited? Well ? YOU try going jumping through nearly every pseudo fitness/weight loss plan plus a gym membership (going nowhere I might add) for like 2 YEARS, and see how ya like it! I STILL had the weight and crummy health and I was going nowhere fast. FINALLY, I was SOO done with the fad diets, the dubious weight loss gimmicks and so-called “trainers” at the gym who just bleed dry (of $ money$). I learned that a dubious regime plus a lack of proper support is almost as bad as nothing at all. Also, YOU’VE got to reach the point yourself where you tap out and say “ENOUGH”! If you’re not there yet, keep going where you’re headed because a LACK of commitment EQUALS no follow through and ultimately, NO RESULTS.
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I’m not trying to be a downer for anyone who is struggling in this area because I GET IT! I’ve BEEN THERE GOT RID of the T-SHIRT SOO NOT buying another one; you get where I’m going with this so deal with it and be honest with yourself. By the way, I’m a chatty Cathy incase you’re interested in getting on board with me and my motley crew of fitness sorjourners, he hehe! 🙂 😉
We’re all going a little cray, cray too on FB: click on this link >>Facebook<<

Wow, Women’s health talk right now!

Wow, Women’s health talk right now!

I was just watching the news (hmm mainstream media actually had some intelligent info for a change, ha ha ha ) and the talk was about PCOS  (polycystic ovarian syndrome ; primarily how it affects fertility and the big shocker (to me, I did not know this) it’s connection to diabetes.  Wow,  did YOU  know it’s also both a risk factor AND cause of diabetes?! Shut the front door!

Seriously,  the is huge for me because if have people close to me who are dealing or have dealt with fertility  issues  (some a happy ending, while others not so much ). Although I thought it was informative it was also a downer and drove home the fact that OUR HEALTH CARE system REALLY needs to be UNIVERSAL and not optional! The costs of IVF,      and some of the other tests alone, can easily sink you debt to the point of bankruptcy!  This is freaking crazy in a day and age when SOO many other countries in the world are SMART (and have far fewer politicians who’ve been bought and paid for by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries *cough*) enough to get a clue!

Anyway! The point is,  if you’ve got this condition, it’s  best to either freeze your eggs (even if you don’t have PCOS this is a good idea because your fertility numbers decrease outside of your 20’s), check your AMH levels (simple hormone check that’s a good fertility  indicator), etc.

Yeah, yeah I get it! No pressure right?! Riiight! Seriously,  no wonder women are nutty when it comes to this topic! We’ve got a health system working against us (for the average middle class family, this is a lot of debt) and on the other, seemingly biology is not on our side either  😦
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Ding, ding, diing! Dinner time…

Ding, ding, diing! Dinner time…

Ok soo I decided to experiment with dinner yet again! I love seafood; if it lives in the ocean I will literally eat it, lol 🙂 So what, I’ve got a seafood addiction. Sue ME. Anyway, back to my story; I decided on seafood pasta using mostly organic  products-the result? Uuhm uhm GOOD!

Not only that, I proved once again that, you don’t have to end up homeless in order to go organic. I’m so tired of the nay sayers talking about how unrealistic it is to eat mostly organic foods! Heck, if we didn’t spend so much money subsidizing big agribusiness and the fast food industry, we’d ALL be able to eat organic (or mostly so) foods 😉

P.s. here’s the end result featuring mostly organic fixin’s
plus my 2 buck chuck vino from my local Trader Joe’s , he he he 😉

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Seafood medly sauteed with organic broccoli, & mini bella mushrooms!

 

Quick, quick, ahh!…easy and healthy meals on the go!

Quick, quick, ahh!…easy and healthy meals on the go!

Hands up, if you work long hours!

Eating healthy on the quick IS NOT quick!!

Literally have NO clue where to start?

Alright, note to self, enough with the whining already! What did those Paleo chicks do back in the day? I mean come, surely they had a tad more challenges and inconveniences than we, modern Homo sapiens  sapiens, ever had?

My deepest sympathies to y’all 😉 In all actuality we all through out the ages have had to find ways to eat well enough and often enough to propagate the species; regardless of the tech. I also think we have a tendency to make things more complicated than necessary;  case in point is how our food makes it to our tables. Getting “educated” about “conventionally” grown produce and “factory” farming (i.e. large numbers of animals packed in cages, yuck, yuck, yuck!) was almost enough to turn me off food altogether.

There’s hope though 🙂 Thanks to sustainable and humane  ( organic and local food farming, co-ops, etc) cultivation practices, we can all breathe a sigh of relief knowing that WE don’t have to break the bank to gain access to pesticide free, sustainably grown, and humanely reared livestock FOOODS! YEAH!!!

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After all that, cooking is easy! As I’ve mentioned before, I buy mostly organic foods and stay away from the “dirty dozen” ; those fruits and veggies that tend to get treated  with high amounts of pesticides,  and when I DO eat meat /poultry / fish I’m a little nutty about their origins! 🙂 😉

Soo I leave you with a quick healthy recipe starting with:

Your basic ingredients:-

1. Cup  of steamed organic brown rice& quinoa medley (available Sam’s Club, or other retailers)

2. 1/2 cup of organic mini bella mushrooms

3. 2 cups of shredded organic greens (psst! I got mine at traders Joe’s )

4. 1/2 cup of Sea food medley or other protein sources

5. 1 teaspoon of curry powder, 1/4 teaspoon of spices paprika and a pinch of sea salt to taste (you can also subst. 3 table spoons of stock instead)

6. 2 cloves of chopped garlic
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Next, sautee your garlic in one tablespoon of cold pressed organic sunflower seed oil ( or any other oil that has a,high smoke point; I love coconut oil too! 🙂 ) with the dry ingredients and then toss in your brown rice-quinoa mix and veggies. Lightly sautee your seafood medley  separately (approx. 7mins ) and then toss everything together and Voila!  All done! Yep, it only took me 15mins and I was out the door with a healthy home cooked meal, Boomsies!

Next stop, the everything shake staring ALL THINGS SHAKEO, lol 😉 Also known as breakfast on the go, lunch on the go, guilt free frozen dessert smoothie, etc.. can someone say, FLEXIBLE!! Ha haha 🙂