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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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Stumped?

It’s another Monday,  another week, and one more autumn in sight. I don’t know about you, but while I’m still grasping on to the last rays of summer, my heart can’t help but beat a little faster at the thought of autumn and all the goodies it will bring.  Yeah I know it’s going to be a bit “crispy” and the days will grow shorter, but what’s important is the C.H.A.N.G.E.!

Don’t you just feel like change is in the air? Like an air of expectation is just hovering around you, waiting for you to get a clue? Yes, I was feeling a little bit like I was trapped on that, dare I say it? Wow,that hamster wheel going NO where! I don’t know how I got on it, and I’m stumped at the fact that I’m just finally arriving at the realization  that I’ve been on it these last few weeks.

All that dissatisfaction, pent-up frustration and malaise I was feeling? Now THAT, was my inner self chomping away within and urging me to wake up! Some how, I had allowed personal and health challenges to whittle away at my focus, determination and passion! Damn! What a scary reminder to ALWAYS be vigilant in staying the course and to take care to both nourish and focus on your objective; regardless of whether it’s health, family or carrier oriented.

Okay, now that I’ve had my wakeup call, it’s time to ditch the malaise of that hamster wheel, flex some muscle, and get perspective! I don’t know about you, but I’m glad that my eyes are wide open, the adrenaline is pumping, and now? Well, I’m UNSTOPPABLE! I wonder though, who else is out there feeling “stumped” about where she (or he) is on life’s journey, at the crossroads and trying to get health and fitness, in balance?

All I can say is, welcome to the journey and embrace the change…

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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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If it don’t apply, let it fly!…

Yes, yes, yes and YES! I was listening to some positive words of wisdom from a wise soul at work the other day, and at the end of all her musings, she said “if it don’t apply, let it fly”, in reference to negativity, unproductive criticism, and all those “things” or “people” who want to “help” us kill our dreams before we even have a chance to make our own calculations.

Wow, I do believe I’ve seen that movie! “No, no, you’ve gotta stick to what you know”,”are you still trying to lose some weight dear?”, “your standards are just too unreasonable”, “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”, “don’t quit your day job” ( to start your own business and follow your dreams) and Blah, blah, blah, BLAH! Been there, done it, AND NOT going back down that rabbit hole. It always seems like all the negative ninnys seem to appear in droves whenever you feel like you’ve finally hit that jump off point; where  you’ve gained the strength to take the risk to change and better your life.

My take away from that convo? don’t let your situation, negative criticism (yes, there is a difference between productive criticism vs. the other stuff), or other people’s vision of YOUR potential future, hinder you. If you’re serious about getting fit and healthy, then take ACTION and block out anything or anyone who’s telling you that you’re not being realistic. If that were true, NO one would take a reality tv star as a REAL candidate for president; just saying! Enough about that and back to the issue at hand. This journey has taken me to some interesting and uncomfortable places in my life, but I don’t regret any of it because I’m in a much better place physically not to speak of my mental and emotional health.

All that being said, you do have to be honest with yourself and face the facts about your situation, NOT wallow in them! Once you’ve done that, make a plan, plot your course, and stick to it. Now for the really hard stuff, haha ha…

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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

With both hands…

With both hands…

It’s been another crazy week full of ups and downs, but I’m NOT letting that stop me; nor should you.💪👊 I had to remind myself today that yesterday  was yesterday, and today is A NEW day!
With this realization came the thoughts of that enormous list of things that I have yet to complete-yeah life’s B.I.T.C.H sometimes and the only way to get past those struggles is T.H.R.O.U.G.H.👊 So yesterday gave myself a pass and a kick in the rear today, and you know what? I FEEL FREAKING AWESOME! 😉

😤💪🌞 It’s not because I totally conquered every fear and self-doubt; it’s because I literally pushed through all of that and GOT SOMETHING DONE. That something was powering through a kick ass workout (I’m totally in love with beach body’s hammer & chisel workout 😤) that forced me to face what was right in front of me!
Sometimes to get through a difficult or challenging point in your life, you have to just PUT ONE FOOT IN FRONT OF THE OTHER!👣 Bottom line is, change, improvement, and growth WILL NEVER be comfortable or easy.
D.E.A.L W.I.T.H .I.T.!!
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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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Saturday getting grounded…

Saturday getting grounded…

Another week ends and the promise of another rolls around; that’s my definition of the weekend. It’s that time when I think about all the things I needed to get done but didn’t,  all that I was able to accomplish from my long list of to-dos, and just trying to get grounded to seriously STOP procrastinating about that box of stuff I’ve been avoiding opening up!  Don’t act like you don’t have one too! We’ve all got those “issues” and or “situations” we’ve put off dealing with out of fear, complacency, or just plain laziness.

Well, today is the day I meditate, deliberate, and activate some REAL CHANGE in dealing with my “black box”! I don’t know what’s holding YOU back from moving forward, BUT by the time THIS WEEKEND is done I’ve vowed to myself that come Monday,  I WILL have a plan that I’ve put in motion and I WON’T STOP until I’m D. O. N. E. Getting fit and healthy IS MY VEHICLE for activating change in my life-21dayfix, Hammer & Chisel, it doesn’t matter what workout regime YOU choose to make that physical move; JUST MOOOVE!!!
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Motivation Tuesday…because it’s NOT hump day!

Motivation Tuesday…because it’s NOT hump day!

Time to work up a sweat, get that heart muscle pumping…Uh mm not feeling it? Well that’s what today is all about because when you’re feeling a bit run down but you KNOW you’ve gotta stay on track, you keep digging down until you find that little bit of something-MOTIVATION!
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Mine came from my  workout challenge buddies plus switching up my routine by doing a 20 min yoga session, ha ha! My point is I DID something to change MY position and MY perspective because darn it! WE all hit those bumps on the road to fitness and empowerment. I guess I could lie and say it’s  AALLL sweetness and light *wink* but I wouldn’t be doing you any favors! Suffice it to say, staying on track is NOT a cake walk BUT is it WORTH IT???! YES IT IS!!!

I killed my 20 min yoga session and I got infused with my super shakeology
NOW WE move on…