May 31, 2014

What Motivated Me to Pursue My Passion

Wednesday I talked about how tough it is to work full time and try to juggle the gym, responsibilities and blogging/marketing/social media.  Today I am going to share what I plan to do about it.

About a year and a half ago, or so, I had an extreme struggle with a co-worker who was mean, rude and hostile the first time I met him in a group meeting.  We were required to work with one another and he was an extremely demanding person and the rude behavior and hostility continued.  Everything that pertained to him was considered a priority in his eyes.  That meant he expected me to drop everything I was doing and put his things first.  Regardless of how important other people's issues were or how long my list of duties were, he did not care and he made it clear.  I am sure we have all experienced an unpleasant party at work and I certainly had prior but he was by far the worst individual yet.  I am not sure how this was even allowed in the workplace as he had made other people cry in meetings by being so rude.  Unfortunately, his manager and my manager did nothing so I continued working in an extremely stressful, hostile environment.

One day I woke up and did not want to come to work and I hated my job.  It was overwhelming and disheartening because I have never experienced that before.  I have always been easy going and I adapt quickly.  I have always liked my job and co-workers.  I dreaded having to see him because I was worried about what type of confrontation he was going to create.  That is when I decided to begin looking for another job but then I realized that another job was not the answer because there was probably some asshole at a new place too.  Solution?  Find my passion and pursue that.

That brings me to when and why I created my Facebook fan page and Twitter account.  Next was this blog and just recently was the Instagram page I created.  Pinterest and Instagram are still, both, extremely new to me.  I have been diligently marketing and focusing on social media to create a brand and awareness.  I am continuously in training classes, watching videos and applying the techniques I have learned.  I am proud to say that if you Google Tricia Coniglio, you will find me all over the first page of Google.  If you click on images, same thing.  Although, there are a few random pics of peeps I don't know.  Somehow there are pics of Fitness Blondie which I think is really cool because if I am going to be associated with anyone I am glad it is her!  There are a couple other images of blogs I have seen but not so much follow so I don't really know how that works.

What I am missing is the mighty marketing dollar.  As an average person, working a regular job, fitting into the normal part of the economy - I don't have thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to dump into campaigns to promote, grow and spread the message quickly.  I have to grow slowly and, thus, spread the word slowly too.  Which is OK but as I expressed in Wednesday's blog it is really difficult to get my ass to work day in and day out when all I really wanna do is show others how to lead a healthy lifestyle so they can stick around to see their kids grow up & have kids.

Let me just take a moment to say that now I get along fantastically with that co-worker but we had a long road getting there.  Furthermore, he has backed me in meetings when there were some nay sayers (or other rude individuals) so we have progressed tremendously.  And I have to say I am actually thankful for the unfortunate situation because had it not been for that nasty time I would have never thought of pursuing anything that I had to grow and build myself.  My passion.  I have always been entrepreneurial minded in the sense that I wanted to buy a business and own it.  But I did not have visions of starting from a pebble on the ground and building my way up from there.

I am still at ground level.  I have gathered quite a few pebbles and put them together to build a foundation.  A strong one.  That is tough and unbreakable.  But so far it is only a foundation.  Which leads me to my next quest.

I considered being a group instructor but I was still barred by the tired ol' time constraints of this thing called a job.  I thought about training 1 or 2 classes per week so that I still had time to train myself but I already know the road that will lead to.  It is the same one of many group instructors doing the same thing on a part time basis.  Burnout.  So WTH do I do?  Sit back and wait for the money tree to rain on me and supply me with the funding necessary to chase my dreams?  Well, duh.  Gotta have funding.  And duh again that I am back to square one.  Well, maybe square 59 (not square one) because I have come a good distance in my venture.

I have been thinking about buying a fitness franchise.  There are a lot of things that I really like about a particular place and it may allow me to submerge myself into the daily routine of what I really love.  Work does not really seem like work when you love it.  The franchised fitness group is called Amenzone Fitness and it works with just the body weight and tires.  It is a primal concept, thus the term "primal fitness" and builds strength, stamina and supports the mind as well.  I have seen a friend of mine successfully lose A LOT of weight and keep it off.  I have seen many others do the same thing.  The really cool thing is that they also have created a 501c3 to fight childhood obesity.

There are a lot of great things about this company so I am in the midst of deciding if I should pursue buying one.  There are a lot of things to consider and I did not know where to begin.  I believe that all things that happen are meant to be and we also have the power of free will so sometimes we do things that were not really intended for us and I do not want to make a mistake.  With that I have to rely on the power of the word to be delivered to me and I do not really know how to listen to that because I am not really religious.  Just a believer which I think is good enough.

In the meantime I have decided to invest time into researching funds sources, grants, lending and ways to creatively (or traditionally) come up with the funds to cover the expenses of getting this built and going.  Why?  Because I want people to be healthy and I want people to be free of disease and illness or ailment.

The crazy thing about my passion it that it took a crappy circumstance to motivate me to make a change.  Otherwise, had I been fa-la-la-ing along in my happy-go lucky-life I would have been happy staying right where I was.  Which was not making a difference in other people's lives in the way I know and love!

Tomorrow's post will be about what steps I took to come to the conclusion of pursuing my next venture and what I will do next.

What are you doing to pursue your dreams or passion?

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May 28, 2014

Confessional Shit Storm.... Literally (Rated R for language)

Today as I was reading a funny post about a blogger's confessions I could not come up with anything funny or clever because one of my long time friends has cancer that continues to spread.  I sent her a message months ago about nutrients and supplements.  Today I sent a message about food encouraging her to look into the benefits of changing some of her eating habits to help with the treatments she is receiving.  I really hope that she can make some adjustments to her nutrition to help the treatments she is enduring.  The problem is that cancer facilities do not usually talk about nutrition to help them along the way.  It pisses me off because there most certainly is value to what we put in our bodies and why they fuck they don't share that with the patients is beyond me!

Today is my first confession blog and I am going to dump today's frustrations.  It is kind of a poopy pants confession so I will not link up to spread the shit sandwich.  I am frustrated with the way my life is going right now.  I am not where I want to be and I work continuously to reach my damn goals and they are not there.  I am tired of working a 40 hour a week job then working on marketing, blogging and social media on top of that.  I love working on my stuff (the marketing, blogging and social media) but I have little free time for family and friends and little time to do the normal people stuff like laundry, cleaning and errands.  I have a system/schedule to fit it all in but there are not enough hours in the day!

Sometimes I feel like my message is more valuable to me than to others.  For example, the world is loaded with illness, cancer and other shitty ailments and I just want to fix it.  I just want people to be healthy. But that is not always what peeps want to read about.  What benefit would that be?!  More happy, healthy people.  More happy, healthy families and friends.  Lower health care costs, less taxes on the people.  

I am grateful for my job because it has supplied me with income to support myself and I have wonderful benefits and way more paid days off than anybody I know (except the Europeans) or any job I have had in the past.  But - and it is a big BUT - I have to put that first and I don't want to.  I have to put my passion 2nd and I don't want to.  I want to put my passion first and I feel like that is a much better benefit to the community doing that than where I currently work.  I have my place in touching people's lives where I work but I don't think it is quite the magnitude as it is in showing others how to be healthy... and sometimes save their life.

I am struggling with finding a balance in doing it all.  And I want to hurry up at it.  I want to spread the message of health and happiness to the masses.  Large masses.  Like preachers in huge churches.

I am also tired of trial and error.  It takes for fuckin ever!!  Even though it is an evil necessary, it seems like a waste of time because it isn't productive - except to show me what not to do.

As I write this it is just a negative ass dump.  I am poo pooing on everything and it is not an uplifting funny blog at all.  Well, as I re-read this some of it is kinda humorous!!  I prefer to be uplifting and I would like to be funny but sometimes I am too serious to be funny.  That part I can deal with but the part where I don't have adequate time to do what I need to do is a bummer.

I constantly remind myself that it weren't for my job I would be frantic doing what I do from home.  I would probably wish that I had a job and be stressed out over the fact that I did not have one.  This is what I do to make myself feel better about having to go to work every day.  I don't have to do this all the time because I am typically happy.  But when I hear about how people are suffering and sometimes a change in their diet is all they need - I just want to scream at the medical industry.  We need medicine and medicine needs nutritional information.  There is so much for any doctor to learn that it is impossible to learn everything to treat every single person.  What would be nice is to incorporate natural foods with the medical industry.

Please understand I am not suggesting we can cure all cancer and/or ailments with proper eating but I will share a story of a family friend who changed her eating habits upon being diagnosed with cancer.  The doctors said she needed surgery right away to have a double mastectomy and treatment but she refused.  We thought she was crazy but she did it anyway.  She purchased her foods at the co-op, which is a place where the items are all organic, and this was in the 80s so organic stores were not as convenient.  Her skin was an orangeish hue because of all the carrots she ate.  She beat cancer and lived another 25 yrs until she started eating outside of what she had adopted upon being diagnosed with cancer.

What would be nice is to spread the word about weight loss because health depends on it.  Obesity is a killer and causes so many health conditions.  What would be nice is to teach people about food addictions.  It would be nice for people to know that most of the shit in your house is toxic.  Not to create a scare but to create awareness so we can use healthier versions.  I am not going to start making my own soap - I use toxic stuff too but I alternate it with natural stuff too.  It is highly beneficial to know so that we can eliminate toxicity when and where we can.

You know what would be really nice?  To be independently wealthy so I could spread the good news to everyone 40 hours a week!

That's it.  Thanks for coming!  LOL

What do you think about this shit storm?

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May 26, 2014

Bad breath Bandits

Have you ever talked to someone whose stank ass mouth was killing the air you were trying to breathe?  Not to mention burning your nose hairs at the same time?  No way are you gonna open your mouth and let that putrid nastiness touch your tongue.... eeewwwww!!!

Sometimes it is simple.  Garlic, onions or some other stinky food.  Sometimes it is just plain old halitosis.  Bad breath can be caused by poor dental hygiene, gum disease and even diabetes or other health conditions.  Crazy about the diabetes part but obvious on the dental hygiene part.

I was reading an article a couple weeks ago and I thought I would get some nifty tricks to ward off onion and/or garlic breath but it said:  brush your teeth, brush your tongue, floss and go to the dentist.  Ummm...duh!  I happen to eat a lot of garlicy oniony stuff so I like to keep up on ways to reduce and eliminate any possible odors coming from my mouth.  Besides, I don't want to be that person that others cringe at or turn their head the other way while speaking to them so they can have some fresh air.

Dry mouth can cause bad breath because there is no saliva to wash away the build up of bacteria on a person's teeth or all other areas in the mouth.  There are products that are designed especially to produce wetness in the mouth.  Of course, I am an advocate of drinking lots of water all day.  Additionally, mints and gum are a great way to continue producing saliva throughout the day.

Infections in the body such as kidneys can cause an odor as well so if you cannot figure out what in the world is causing bad breath besides smoking, lack of brushing, lack of flossing and obvious things, then consider visiting your doctor.

There are things like gum and breath mints but did you know that nutmeg is a natural deodorizer for your breath?  If you are like me and like your food spicy then this is great to know.  We all know that spicy things like salsa make our breath bad but that is because of the onion and garlic.  But what about things like fresh jalapenos and red pepper?  Did you know that hot foods, even the ones that are not stinky, still make for a stinky mouth?  Sprinkle a little nutmeg on your salad or cottage cheese and it can even be added to certain dishes to help combat bad breath naturally.  Nutmeg is more fore desserts like pumpkin pie so I found that it is a taste that you kinda have to get used to unless it is paired with the right things.  I supposed you could add it to your coffee with cinnamon.  :)

Parsley is not just pretty on your plate it is also great to gnaw on after a smelly meal.  It helps neutralize odors in the mouth and you can resume back to life without the worry of scaring off whoever you are talking to.  Parsley has chlorophyll as does basil, cilantro and mint, says Dove of How Stuff Works.  The cool thing about chlorophyll is that it combats bad odors internally by neutralizing them AND it is phytonutrients.  Phytonutrients are fabulous for the immune system and can be obtained through green foods like broccoli.

Cilantro compliments salsa and other Mexican or Spanish dishes and a little sprig afterward may do you and your friends a favor!  You are probably not surprised about mint but basil, maybe.  Same goes here, you can chew on a sprig or leaf.  Mint and basil can easily go in a tea or other beverages.  

Cinnamon is another natural way to get odor under control.  Simply sprinkle on a variety of things such as yogurt, smoothies, protein shakes, cereals, oatmeal and more.  Or just grab a stick and swirl it in your tea!  Plus, cinnamon is great for regulating blood sugar.

Don't be the bad breath bandit!  Do the things we already know such as brush, floss, dentist, etc. but also use a natural trick or two to keep bad breath at bay.

What do you think about these ideas and what are some other ideas?

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May 23, 2014

Beautiful Butterflies

We went to a butterfly aquarium last Friday and it was really pretty amazing.  We learned that butterflies fly north for the summer and south for the winter.  I never paid much attention to the fact that they are never around in the winter time and now I know why.

We viewed a short video that showed trees, literally, covered in millions of these gorgeous miracles of colorful life.  It reminds me of a little flower bush I had in my front yard when I was in my 20s.  It had little yellow flowers, like the ones above, and it attracted butterflies.  So every morning I would go hang out before getting ready for work and enjoy the beauty of these little flying creatures.  

This one kinda reminds me of a dragon and I have never seen a black butterfly before.  Usually just orange and black.  There was a variety of colors but my favorite was the blue ones.  I only got one shot that was semi-OK.  

The house we live in attracts bees but not butterflies.  Actually, we have had 3 bee hives and I would much rather the butterflies!  Hopefully the bees do not return. ... Litttle bastards!!

I cannot actually picture myself taking care of a butterfly garden but I could easily take care of those little yellow flower bushes cuz they don't require much.  

Anyway, I have an old injury that is extremely aggravated and has made it where I have not worked out all week.... boooo.  It has also made it so I have had a massive headache every single day- quite yucky.  With that I am not feeling very creative or inspirational so I will try again tomorrow.

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May 22, 2014

How to Lose Weight if There is a Birthday Party or Event

Doesn't it seem like every time you start a fitness routine or weight loss plan that something comes in and creates a gigantic obstacle for you to overcome which makes it IMPOSSIBLE to succeed?  Life gets in the way every f-ing day!!  There will always be a birthday party, anniversary, congratulations, wedding, baby, bachelorette, holiday, vacation, and, sadly, even funerals to go to.  So WTH do you do?  How can a person ever be successful in losing weight?
The first thing I want to point out is that there will always be an event to attend.  There will never be a shortage of these things so why is it that we place such high value on the food at these events?  Next thing I want to point out is that the event is about celebrating that person, right?  Or that special occasion.  So what is it about the food that we value so much?  Good point.  It is not that we value the food.  It is that the food offered is typically something extra delicious that is not going to help us succeed in losing weight.  By extra delicious, that usually means fat, fat and more fat.

That reminds me of when I broke my arm.  My dad was trying to be helpful and went grocery shopping for my brother and I (my bro and I were roommates at the time).  BTW, he frequently shops at Sam's Club or Costco so he shows up with family size potato chips, cans of chili and a HUGE tub of butter and other shit I did not usually eat.  This shopping story was within a couple of days from when the break occurred.I was already feeling sorry for myself because I could not work out, could not work (I was practicing massage at the time) and could not do a lot of basic stuff on my own.  Believe me, I learned how to do almost everything on my own as I was in a cast and sling for 8 months!!

I was making room in the fridge and as I was spooning out the contents of the old butter to put into the new giant butter; I was wondering what made him think we would eat this crap.  And while I was feeling sorry for myself I started crying, which made me angry that I was so vulnerable and helpless (again, this was before I learned how to do everything on my own with just one hand/arm)  and I said, "this shit is just gonna make me fat!  Fat, Fat FAT!!!"  And each word 'fat' got louder and louder.  My poor dad.  He asked if I wanted him to take it all back - he was just trying to help.

 Point being, I was already in a tough position in reference to life and my fitness and then all this unhealthy crap gets put in front of my face.  We all know this stuff tastes good too which makes it that much more of a struggle and this same concept can be applied at the events we get invited to.  We have to eat, that is a fact but the choices we make determine if our health is on the good side or on the poor side.  We also know that what we eat can lead us to be overweight or maintain our weight.

People are supposed to be strong and healthy at young ages but, unfortunately, the trend with health is going downhill.  A large percentage is because of diet.  Check out these stats that show the most common indicators of death.  Please note that diet and inactivity are leading risk factors for causes of death.  Interesting fact, per the Center For Disease Control, is that the highest percentages of these are in the south, where food is commonly referred to as 'comfort food' and is known for being soooo good but also soooo unhealthy.

The tragedy has led to a lot of family time and neighbors, friends, family and the church have so generously brought food to his mother's house every day.  While my bf and I have been spending a lot of time over there, we are also there for meal time.  You can probably guess where this is going.  There  have been cookies, cakes, cheesy foods, carb-loaded foods and little fruit and veggies.  I am not complaining in the slightest!  I am grateful for this because it means his family does not have to cook but I am saying that this is a great example of a situation where food choices were limited - even more limited than being at a party or other event.

So what do you do?  Make the best of the situation at hand.  Ask yourself:  Is it really necessary to eat what's offered at each and every event?  What will happen with my goals if I do?  Remember, there will be no harm whatsoever if you avoid unhealthy foods.  Matter of fact, you will be doing yourself a favor in the health department and in the waist department!  The first scenario I will talk about is an event other than dinner or lunch where there will still be appetizers, finger foods and snacks.

My suggestions are to eat a salad before you go.  Make it a light salad without starchy veggies (like Edamame, corn or peas) and leave off the cheese and croutons.  Choose a light dressing such as a light vinaigrette and measure out the serving.  In my experience, as a weight loss consultant, people are still going to have a bite or 2 while at an event so it is unrealistic to suggest eating dinner before hand because I found that they were eating dinner and then snacking at the party/event.

Next, drink plenty of water at dinner and keep a water in your hand at the party this way your hands are full and you can do something rather than eat.  Stay out of the kitchen and away from the food table because being near this area can promote mindless munching.  If you must eat, pick a couple small finger foods and do not go back for seconds.  If you are anything like me, you should scope out what you think looks the best which will eliminate the  possibility of eating your couple items and then seeing something that looks SO scrumptious that you HAVE to have it too.

If you are at a dinner or lunch the obvious pointers are eat salad and veggie FIRST and a full glass and a half of water.  Veggies should have little or no dip.  I always forget that fruit has a special dip too but that is so sugary and full of calories that you should not even look at it!  Believe me, after a while of no dip your taste buds will adapt and it will be no biggie but you have to start somewhere.  You will probably be full by the time you have had your salad, water and veggies and may not even want anything more.  If you do (want/need more), take extremely small portions.  Think of fine dining and how itty bitty the servings are but how you are always satisfied in the end.

Sometimes there are no veggie options at all.  If this is the case you will want to have the full glass and a  half of water and then go home.  J/K!!  Again, think fine dining.  Get a small serving of meat and if there is a sauce or cheese try to get a piece with as little sauce and/or cheese as possible.  Pasta, breads, tortillas and other carbohydrate items should be limited.  You are probably asking, what does 'limited' mean?  It is difficult to gauge at a party so I recommend eyeing what looks like a tablespoon or 2 but no more.

Dessert should be avoided but if you cannot resist, there is no shame in asking to have your serving split in half.  If it is preserved just eat half and throw the rest out.  I promise nobody will be mad.  Remember, it is just as wasteful to consume your body does not need as it is to throw it away.  Once you do this a few times people will expect it and will not make any more comments about how you can have a full piece 'just this one time'.  You and I both know it is NEVER just that one time.  It is just one of many since there are many many events in life.

Enjoying life is about enjoying the people and events.  Food should be used as fuel and nothing more.  The hard reality is that food is used as a crutch to help sooth a variety of feelings.  It is the focal point at many events so it makes it difficult to stay on track when trying to lose weight.  Nobody ever said life was easy and food is one of those things we have to work at.  The health risks outweigh the short-term benefits of eating an extra piece of anything just for a few seconds of satisfaction.

What are your favorite tips?

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May 21, 2014

Satisfy Sweet Tooth Cravings with Healthier Options

Many people crave sweet sugary treats and those are not only bad for your health but also bad for the waistline.  I am an advocate of just about everything, in moderation, but when trying to lose weight or to become more healthy it is a great idea to ditch the sugar.

Why is sugar 'bad'?

The body must metabolize it into glucose and when sugar is consumed the body spikes the insulin hormone which makes it more difficult for the liver to process it.  Spikes lead to crashes, which you have probably heard of.  Which, by the way, cause the cravings for more sugary stuff.  We all know that excessive sugar can lead to Type II Diabetes but did you know that it can also affect the liver?  We need the liver to filter out all the toxins we come in contact with all day long so I vote for keeping the liver healthy.

Sugar naturally occurs in many things that are good for you such as fruit.  The difference between fruit and other sugary treats like doughnuts, cookies, candy, soda, etc. is the way the body metabolizes this.  Fruit has fiber which slows down the absorption of sugar, greatly reducing the spike in insulin.  Reducing or eliminating the spikes will help the body crave this crap less and less.  And, of course, the health benefit is what I am going for.  So how do you satisfy a sweet tooth until the body regulates itself and stops craving sugary treats?

1.  Substitute pretzels, candy, soda, etc. with fruit such as oranges, pineapple, apples, pears, bananas, mangoes, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes etc.  If you are a person who is trying to lose weight you should consider lower calories options and only consume the higher calorie options in moderation.  I created a list of a few snack options in another blog that you can read here and it gives details on high and low calories fruit choices.  I recommend checking it out so that you can get an idea of what a 'high calorie' fruit choice may be.  Sometimes fruit in place of a cookie or ice cream does not sound satisfying does it?

2.  Turn fruit into a masterpiece by slicing a peach, strawberries or apples and bake it with some honey drizzled on top.  It is delicious and as satisfying as apple or peach pie!  The best thing about this is that honey is a natural sweetener which is a better option than sucrose or fructose.  Please keep in mind, there is still sugar in it so you don't want to go hog wild with it!  Additionally, there's no crust!

3.  Body building friends: substitute the honey on the apples and peaches using cinnamon and Truvia or even coconut sugar.  Truvia is a combo of Stevia, which is naturally derived from a plant called the Stevia leaf, and a little bit of processing.  It has 0 calories but is slightly processed.  I will say it tastes great and I used to use it all the time.  Coconut sugar supplies the lowest glycemic levels as the spike in insulin is by far the lowest when compared to all other sugars and it has trace amounts of nutrients.  Remember, it is still sugar so use it sparingly.

4. I like low fat plain Greek Yogurt with honey.  I like to add Chia seeds with a few cranberries or pomegranate.  You could also add fresh fruit to this, in place of the cranberries/pomegranate - again, using the honey sparingly.  I will admit that Greek Yogurt  has a tart taste that can be overwhelming if you are not used to it and if this is the case I will share what I did until I got used to it.  I sprinkled some Truvia with a light amount of honey.  This way I was not adding all the calories from the honey, yet I was still getting the benefit of something sweet and flavorful.

5.  Along the lines of Greek Yogurt is also the fruit Greek yogurt.  This is definitely going to be higher in calories and sugar but since it comes in a single serving there is no option to over consume (unless you eat more than one container).  If consumed occasionally, it is a much healthier option than ice cream.  Close to the same number of calories but the ingredients will be slightly better.

6. There is an awesome trend of frozen yogurt with fruit.  Be wise with this as frozen yogurt also contains as many calories and sugar as ice cream but better ingredients.  A better substitute would be to make your own.  Look at this fantastic recipe where all  you do is put fruit on a skewer, roll in yogurt and freeze!  Thanks Martha :)

7 & 8. Applesauce with cinnamon is one of my favs and it is important to look for ones with no sugar added.  Don't worry, you can add your own cinnamon and Truvia.  My personal preference is the organic kind just because I have a hang up with eating organic apples.  It has been a long time but I used to get pumpkin in a can then add Truvia and cinnamon or pumpkin spice to it.  Let it sit in the fridge for a couple hours then enjoy.  Pumpkin has 40 calories per serving!  That's nuthin'!

9.  Chia seeds added to unsweetened Almond Milk then placed in the fridge overnight will soak up all the milk and turn into a pudding consistency.  Add fruit and a sprinkle of coconut sugar or Truvia to make a sweet treat that also adds benefits of fiber and fruit.

10.  Frozen bananas rolled in yogurt and some dark chocolate chips or nuts or other delicious items.  For example (recipe here ---->)I got some chocolate covered pecans and walnuts, smashed them up and rolled it.

11.  One last, no fret idea.  Kettle cooked popcorn.  Only 140 calories for 2 cups of popcorn with some pure cane sugar and some sea salt. Non-GMO corn and no other crap.  Love it!

Ditching the sugar all together may not be an easy task but learning to combat the cravings in a smarter way than giving in to them will be much more desirable to your health and waistline.

What is your favorite sweet satisfaction?

PS, I have to say how much I love the hump day blog hop and its creator, Liz at Fitness Blondie.  If you would like to join the link up and meet new peeps, here you go.

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May 19, 2014

Weekend Recap and Delayed Mother's Day

This weekend was much needed to catch up on all the things we have not done over the last couple of weeks.  I have not blogged much, have not done anything fitness oriented and have not done any marketing which makes me feel like I have really dropped the ball.  As many of you know, my boyfriend's brother passed, and I wrote about how precious life is in this blog.  Now I am catching up.

A couple weeks ago we planned to celebrate mother's day for my grandmother this weekend.  We try not to do it the day of because it is always such a loooong wait.  She picked Olive Garden and I was a bit worried about what I was going to eat.  Why?  Because I have been eating like shit!  People have been so generous and so helpful by delivering meals but they are comfort food and not health food.  Cookies, baked goods, pastas, cheesy food like enchiladas, chicken pot pie - the real kind, not the reduced calorie kind- and other really really delicious stuff.  In the midst of it all I have had little time to go to the gym and have eaten what was available.  This makes a squishy environment for my body so I have to rev up the engine and remove the squishiness!  Is 'squishiness' a word?  I don't think so but I think it's funny :)

I will add that there have been salads available but I have not been following my own advice or doing what I know to be valuable and important.  Ya, I've eaten the salads but I have also eaten the other scrumptious foods.  This is the face I am making as I recollect the lemon bars and chocolate. ----------------->

I am kinda beating myself up over it but that is not gonna help anything.  It is important to take action and follow through with a plan.  Stressful situations seem to lead us to eating crappy, doesn't it?  The fact is, I struggle with eating right which is something that I realized about 3.5 years ago.  This is also when I realized I have an addictive personality but that is for another day.

So I leaned on the lord.  I knew I could not rely on myself to pick a healthy option at Olive Garden because everything that tastes good comes in the form of pasta and sauce and calories.  If you are not a believer in God, you can ask the universe for assistance in this -or whoever/whatever you believe in or pray to.  It works.  Higher power is much more divine than what we can ever do!  I asked for guidance in making the right choice even if I want something else that looked good.

I had soup - the kind with broth and a couple small potatoes and some small pieces of sausage.  I ordered crab topped chicken which also had some tomatoes on it.  It came with a scoop of mashed potatoes and I took half of it off my plate right away. My bf & I decided we were going to share each other's food and the chicken came in 2 pieces so it was easy for me to get rid of half.  He ordered grilled salmon and broccoli but I only had him give me less than 1/4 of his.  I ate a few bites of each item then boxed the rest.  Basically, I ate like a human instead of a ravenous beast!

We ordered desert which came in mini cups which I love because it is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth as well as be social.

My gma opened her gifts and we played with my cousin's daughter then went home.  

We went to the gym, did cleaning, laundry, shopping and all the boring stuff that we have to do in life.  We also went to the butterfly exhibit which was amazing - way more amazing than I thought it would be.  Pics to come in another post because I still have to fold sheets!

What did you do this weekend?

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May 18, 2014

Frozen Banana with Yogurt and Chocolate Recipe

It is getting hot and we are reaching for ice cream, otter pops, chocolate dipped ice cream on a stick and so many other sugary, unhealthy options.  This is sooo easy to do and if you have kids, it will be fun for them to help make.  Even more fun eating!  My favorite part is that it is a much better choice for a snack than ice cream or other sugar choices.

You need:

2 large bananas
1-2 cups low fat plain Greek Yogurt
8-12 chocolate covered nuts or
A handful of semi-sweet dark chocolate chips and/or peanut butter chips
4 skewers

To make:

Cut each banana in half and crush the chocolate covered nuts and spread thinly on parchment paper.  If you are not using chocolate covered nuts then spread the chocolate and/or peanut butter chips thinly on parchment paper.

Put about 1 cup of the yogurt onto parchment paper and put skewer through 1 of the banana halves.  Roll the banana through the yogurt until it is coated.  Next roll the banana through the topping you chose and place onto another piece of parchment paper.  Add more yogurt if needed/desired.  Freeze for a couple hours and serve.

Personally, I don't like chewing through anything that is frozen solid so I like to take it out of the freezer when it is firm yet not solid.  If there are leftovers and I am having it another day I like to let it defrost about an hour or so until it isn't quite so solid.

Cool thing is you can do this with blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, pineapple and lots of other fruit.  It is a better sugar choice by using the fruit than a bowl of ice cream and you are squeezing in a tad bit of protein in the yogurt.  Plus, adding texture and an extra dollop of sweetness with the toppings.  Just a gentle reminder that the more topping that is added, the less healthy the snack becomes :)

What is your favorite healthy snack?

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May 15, 2014

Life is the Most Precious Thing You Can Lose

This post is going to be about loved ones and the value of life itself. Many of you may know we recently lost a loved one.  My bf's brother, Jon, who was only 27 years old and a person who was loved by all.  He was musically inclined, played the drums and was a DJ.  He was pretty f n bad ass!

His passing has made me reflect on some things in life that are extremely valuable.  That is the value of life and the quality in which we live it with one another.  Take for example all the people airing their dirty laundry on Facebook.  Getting in arguments, tiffs or all out fights with friends, family or otherwise.  I see it daily.  Talking shit on Facebook.  Directly or indirectly to whoever or whatever the situation was.  What if the person that was directed toward died?  Then what dumb ass?!!  We take for granted that life is precious and short.

Most of the time we can be certain that no disasters or tragedies will occur but if they did, is there something you wish you said to someone?  Something you wish you did not say?  Each day should be treated like it is the last because I don't know about you, but I don't want to carry around guilt for the rest of my life about my behavior, words or actions.

My bf & I have gotten into little spats or disagreements and there have been times that I was so angry that I did not care if I went to bed mad.  He won't allow that and I am so grateful for that because I seem to be a stubborn ox sometimes!   Thankfully, he has made it so we have never done it.

Ever since Jon passed, a song has popped in my head a bunch of times.  Bro Hym by Pennywise and the lyrics go like this:

To all my friends, present past and beyond Especially those who weren't with us too longLife is the most precious thing you can loseWhile you were here the fun was never endingLaugh a minute was only beginning 

It has made me thankful that I still have my brother and I am so sorry that my bf's brother is gone.  My bf is going through the pain of learning to live without him.  His mother is learning how to live without her son.  Then I see stupid little temper tantrums on Facebook and I am like WTF?!!  WTH is so bad that dirt laundry must be aired there?  Take a minute to really reflect on the situation.  Is it that bad?  If it is, consider speaking to the person directly to try to resolve it.  Before you do, try to maintain a good temper, positive attitude and go in it firm that you are not looking for a fight or argument, but rather resolution.

It is OK to communicate when something bothers us but since life is so precious we should value every minute of it and not waste it on nonsense.  I hope all your brothers, sisters and children live to be old - very old!  And I hope that the relationships in your life are healthy and meaningful because life is the most precious thing you can lose!!

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May 12, 2014

How Much is Your Health Worth?

How much is your life and your kids' life worth to you?  What about your significant other?  If you had all the money in the world, what would you be willing to pay to ensure you always had good
 health?  What if you could buy a pill that that promised a long, healthy life?  Would you buy it and how much would you be willing to spend on it?

If you are anything like me, there is a budget so there is no such thing as 'any amount of money' or 'all the  money in the world' but the fact remains that my health is highly valuable to me.  The life of my mother, brother, grandmother, bf and other loved ones are critical to me.  If there was some awesome invention that allowed me to guarantee their health I'd do it.  I might have to be on a payment plan but I bet many of you would be willing to invest in it as well!

On the other hand, what if there was a product or pill on the market that was a known carcinogenic (cancer causing) and you could buy it then use it.  Would you?  Sort of a silly question, right?  I cannot really think of anyone that would be a good candidate for this type of product.  I do not envision any back orders or people lining up in stores to buy it right away.  The crazy thing is - we do!!!  We are willing to spend our hard earned money to buy things that damage our cells, cause cancer and can kill us.  I am not talking about alcohol or anything fun like that.

I am talking about simple things like pesticides, arsenic, parabens and other household items like deodorant that contain cancer causing agents, preservatives - such as nitrates- chemicals and/or compounds.  A typical deodorant is about $4-$7.00 depending on the brand.  Pesticides are on EVERY produce option there is, unless otherwise noted.  Parabens are in almost EVERY lotion and arsenic is in chicken, baby rice and much more.  Lotion can cost all the way up to $10.00 per bottle and we use it daily.  Slathering it on to help moisturize our skin.  Pretty smelling lotions, sensitive or just plain lotion.  Doesn't matter, most of them have parabens and we pay for it.  All of it.

I bet you had no idea about the arsenic in chicken!  This started a long time ago because the chickens were getting intestinal bacteria that was killing them off or preventing them from growing big enough to yield much or enough profit.  I do not really know what 'enough' profit means but the idea, back then, was the the kidney and livers would filter out this dangerous toxin yet it would efficiently kill off the bacteria.  Indeed it killed off the bacteria and, indeed, liver and kidneys do filter.  However, what was unknown was that the whole body would absorb this poison and would be consumed by humans.

Once this was discovered one would  think we would search for an alternative but I do not know why an alternative was not researched.  We just continue using the same old primitive method with no regard for the humans who consume it.  Yes, arsenic is carcinogenic and you can read about it on the American Cancer Society's website here.  Personally, I would be willing to pay a little extra for my chicken to be without it because my health is worth it!

So why is it that we complain about the cost of organic products or up charges for salads versus fries?  Commonly, people express that eating healthy is more expensive than not.  For example, a bag of chips is cheaper than a fruit or veggie tray.  This is absolutely true.  However, I can sit down with a bag of chips and eat half or more of it and feel unsatisfied.  Then I will be hungry again an hour and a half later.  Or I can eat a serving from the veggie tray and feel satisfied, consume something nutritionally valuable AND have several servings leftover for other meals.

What about restaurants?  I was at Applebee's last week and ordered Mexican Tortilla soup as an appetizer because it was not the typical tortilla soup.  It was not a cream broth and it had a ton of veggies.  Then I subbed the fries for a house salad.  When the server told me it was an up charge of $3.29 I almost told her never mind but then I realized I was devaluing my health.  Yes, money is important to me and I have a difficult time paying more for things than I should have to but my health is worth more than a couple or few bucks.

I did an experiment at the grocery store to compare the cost of buying organic produce versus non-organic.  I have always had a few items that I prefer buying organic but not all of them... because of the cost.  Then I realized I have been paying to put carcinogens into my body.  Just what I try to prevent.  I would NEVER buy a pill that would guarantee cancer or even give me a good chance of getting yet I was buying regular fruits and vegetables.

I wondered just how much more expensive is buying a week's worth of organic produce than my usual purchasing patterns.  My typical pattern is to buy organic apples and, recently, I have not been buying organic bell peppers, strawberries or blueberries on a regular basis.  I have found myself thinking about it a lot lately so I did a test.  Last weekend I bought all thin-skin fruits and veggies organic.  Thick skin like bananas, avocados, oranges, etc. are not as crucial as the skin absorbs most of the pesticides so I did not include them in the test.

I bought 6 apples, 4 pears, 2 red and 1 green bell peppers, red leaf lettuce, kale, and broccoli ALL organic.  And guess how much I spent?  $14.45 and I do not think that is too expensive.  It is very close to what I spend weekly anyway AND I get the added benefit of not buying cancer.  Obviously that is a loose statement because there is no guarantee that all of us will get cancer but there is a guarantee that I am avoiding known carcinogens by getting that way.  Just a little perk which I happen to like because my health is worth it!!  So is my bf's health and he eats what is in the house (and then some) so it is a little insurance that he has a better chance of being healthy.

We already have a head start at illness because of the above things I listed.  Nitrates are in our deli meat and I am an offender of buying deli meat for sandwiches.  When I see "nitrate-free" on sale, I get it and who knows, maybe I will take the plunge and start buying only nitrate free in the future.  Yes, nitrates are known carcinogens also.  There's also a long list of things I have not mentioned because that could take all day... well, all week and I do not think you want to read an article/blog that long!  So why not give the body a break?! 

I vote for helping the body out in little areas that I can by spending a few cents more to really get some peace of mind.  My health IS worth a few cents....even a few dollars per week.  Is yours or your kids'?

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