Start the week off right with laughter

He who laughs lives longer.
Have a fabulous week and fill it with tons of laughter!
-S

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My Inspiration

I absolutely love that more and more women nowadays are starting to adopt a different mentality around body image and being beautiful. Growing up I always saw in magazines, it was the women with thigh gaps, a concave stomach, large breasts, and prominent hip bones that were deemed “beautiful”. Now I would just like to add that if this is your body naturally, you are beautiful. However, it is the lengths that girls/women go to, to achieve this look that I do not view as beautiful.

On the other side of things, I can look on Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr, anywhere really and see posts of strong, healthy women who are embracing that fitness and health win out over being emaciated. I absolutely think this is amazing since I find our idea of what beautiful is has become so skewed over the years.

Beauty lies in the uniqueness of each individual both inside and out.

So with that in mind, I propose to you my idea of beautiful and a goal for myself.

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This is Vanessa Redgrave at 74. My goal is to be as independent and active for long as I possibly can, while reaching for optimal health.

“Movement is lotion for the joints.” -The words of my lovely Bikram teacher the other morning.

-S

 

Do One Thing a Day That Scares You

As the quote goes by the lovely Eleanor Roosevelt, “Do one thing a day that scares you.”

When was the last time you followed this?

ImageWell for me it was this morning at 8am. Bikram Yoga. I had bought a Groupon for 20 classes, thinking I was going to be head over heels for it and be this rock star yogi person. Well I went to my first class back in August and never returned. Truthfully I just think I was not mentally ready for it.

For all of you not familiar to Bikram, its quite different from regular yoga. For one you are performing a sequence of 26 postures in a 105°F room for 90 minutes. Did I forget to mention there is also 40% humidity? So needless to say after my first class I was not hit with the urge to go back instantly the next day. Then as it usually happens life got in the way, and before I knew it, it was now 2014 and my classes were about to expire. I have gone from doing Bikram once every 6 months to now everyday for the next two weeks. I do have to admit something though… I love it! Months ago when I went, I thought I needed a friend to go with me. (So at least I knew there was another crazy person out there willing to go into the heat!) However, now that I was faced with the challenge to use up all my classes in time, I had to go alone. Now I am not one that needs a friend to go to the grocery store or leave my house in general, but for Bikram I definitely felt I needed that extra Imagesupport.

With that in mind I would like to ask you a question. Where are you feeling supported in your life and where are you not? If you are not feeling supported in an area that you would like, how can you change this?

For me Bikram was one of those things. While I would have loved support on it, it was really something I needed to do on my own. I now look forward to the heat. It is my hour and a half to let my mind go and simply just be in the present. It is an amazing mental and physical exercise that leaves my mind at ease and my muscles and joints feeling great! I tend to have really inflamed joints from old sports injuries (although I am rethinking that these days and attribute 90% to my diet over the years. Specifically gluten.) and the heat and deep stretching has really helped them so far! I leave there drenched in sweat, feelings of accomplishment and most importantly revived and able to tackle whatever the day throws at me.

In the comments below, share something you would love to accomplish in the next week that may be ever so slightly outside your comfort zone. It is amazing the possibilities that arrive when you simply open up the door and invite them in.

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The week is young, go out and conquer it!

-S

Is Bigger Really Better?

For years we have seen produce magically getting larger and larger every year. It not only will have more volume to feed your family, but looks as if it was just hand painted for you, it’s that perfect in its’ complexion. This would seem like a miraculous accomplishment of mankind, right? Now just because the fruit or vegetables may look appealing to you, do you know exactly what was done to them to make them that way?

Now I am not trying to slander Monsanto here (though in my opinion they do deserve it), there are many more people on the web that Imagecan do that for me. My mission in this post is to merely shed some light on some of the ludicrous practices that Monsanto uses in order to “save” the world by being able to feed it. [A quick side bar on that. How can Monsanto feed the world and save it if 26 countries have banned their products? Then that poses the question, Why hasn’t the US? Or, why is it so difficult to just get them labeled for consumers to be aware of?]

In my attempt not to be too lengthy here (because this article could really go on for days), I will say a few quick points and then have links to other articles more in depth on the matter if you wish to read. One of the points of GMs (genetically modified) is so that fewer pesticides can be used. However, at what cost does this come about? This new one really just makes your head turn when you think about it. Injecting scorpion venom into the cells of cabbage. Makes a whole lot of sense and of course it can’t be harmful to us. Well if I were them I wouldn’t want that being put on a label either! Now if your head isn’t spinning enough yet, this one may just do it. It shows a lovely connection between officials working for the FDA and “former” (I really felt air quotes were needed on that one) Monsanto employees.

Here is another article showing the growing support for anti-gmos.

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Next time you are at the grocery store here is a quick tip to help you determine which kind of produce you are buying. Do you know those little stickers that you find on apples, bananas and well all produce for that matter? They are PLU (price look-up) codes and contain 4 numbers typically. Now there are 3 numbers to remember here: 4,9, and 8. A 4 stands for conventionally produced. For example, a conventionally produced yellow banana will have the PLU code 4011. A 9 signifies that a product is organic. So for that yellow banana you would now see 94011 as its code. Last but not least, if you see an 8 in front of the PLU number it shows that an item was genetically modified in some way.

Image How can you help the fight against GMOs? Simply avoid buying them. When more and more people start avoiding them and decreasing the demand for their product (hopefully!) they will stop showing up on our shelves. Your local farmers need and want your love! So if you know any in your area or a local farmers market, try talking to them and making friends. While it’s great to know the person whose growing your food, you might also get some awesome deals along the way too! However, if you’re into protests, rallies and that type of thing go for it! I am sure it won’t be too difficult to find something in your area.

Just a little food for thought for you all!

-S

What is your truth?

“When it comes to you, only you have the best knowledge and advice for what is best. Believe in your instincts even if they may seem Imagecrazy, because deep down this is where your instinct is speaking from. This is your truth. Follow it. Do not waiver from it.”

Take some time today to think of where your next step might be.

Ps: Make sure it includes lots of laughter in the process!

I hope you all have a magnificent week full of great ideas, good friends, and smiles!

-S

Dairy & Gluten-free Lasagna

About two months ago I went to an acupuncturist to get help with two things: joint pain and GI discomfort. I have been dealing with chronic joint pain for about eight years now, but every now and then I decide to reach out to different experts to see if they may have an Imageanswer to the pain for me. It has gotten to the point that I only feel the pain while I am working out or putting more stress than usual on a certain joint, but I am SO thankful not to feel the pain at rest anymore! The majority of this change has occurred so far from rest (I used to be a competitive gymnast, so when I say rest I mean not intensely working out for 20+ hours per week) and cleaning up my diet to reduce inflammation. I added in lots of herbs like turmeric and ginger on a daily basis, ate lots and lots of greens, whole grains, and stayed away from white flour, sugar, and processed foods as much as possible. However, with all of these changes I made I still felt a good amount of pain in my joints and would get uncomfortably bloated after having a meal. During my visit to the acupuncturist we discovered that I have milk allergy and gluten intolerance. This made a lot of sense to me because I would notice after meals with cheese or gluten I wasn’t feeling too hot. My joints would become stiff, my stomach felt uneasy, and my mood would fluctuate.

I am not a big fan of conventional dairy anyways, so at this time I was eating raw milk products, which my mind felt good about, but my body didn’t quite agree with it. I know it is really easy to eat a certain way because of society, or a certain diet makes sense in your mind that it is the best way to eat for optimal health. The only problem with listening to our minds is sometimes they don’t know what’s best for us. Our minds go by logic, which is great for the majority of things that we must do in life. Then again on the flip side of things, our body is vastly intelligent and you can be sure it will tell us if something is not working for it. I have these friends who go by the name Rawbrahs that always say, “Get out of your mind and into your senses.” This is so true for not only living your life, but what you are putting into your body. Eating should be an intuitive process, not a logical one. Try it out. Allow your body to tell you what it needs and not the other way around. Those cravings we all get are not your body trying to sabotage you, but a cry for something that it’s not getting. Now this does not mean that your body needs a snickers bar though! Cravings need to be decoded at times, which is something I can definitely help you with if you have questions.

Now as far as the no gluten goes I am so thankful to have friends and family who will accommodate my new changes. This is especially true when traveling and I found myself eating out more than I am used to. I am very good at preparing meals that are gluten-free, but still working on being comfortable eating out and knowing all my options. Since I have cut out gluten and dairy, I have noticed my joints are less stiff, that awful bloating feeling is gone, and my mood does not go haywire after a meal! These are all beautiful changes that I have seen in a short time span and can’t wait to see what happens after implementing them for several more months.

Now on to the goodness!

Dairy-free, Gluten-free lasagna

This recipe is really what your heart desires and I just give you the guidelines. You’ll notice I did not give measurements. My reasoning with this is I want you to experiment. See what your body tells you is right, and what balances right for your taste buds. This can be easily vegan as well, just omit the meatballs. Here is what I used.

This requires at least 30 min to overnight prep in order to soak the cashews.

Coconut oil

Portabella mushrooms

Green pepperImage

Onions

2 garlic cloves

Tomatoes

Basil

Mom’s Meatballs

Mom’s pasta sauce (I’d gladly share, but she hasn’t shared with me yet! Just use your favorite pasta sauce)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Noodles:

Roughly 1/8in thick slices of zucchini

Cashew “cheese”

*Recipe was taken from this awesome site, ohsheglows. Since I have never made it before I wanted to follow a pros advice!

Pick a dish size you would like. I used an 8x10in bread pan.

Set the oven to 350°F.

Sauté the onions, garlic, peppers, mushrooms, and any other veggies you would like in a pan with coconut oil, salt & pepper, and any herbs you would like to give your dish flavor.

While the veggies sauté, prepare the cashew cheese according to the instructions from ohsheglows.

Layer the bottom of the pan with a thin coat of sauce. Put a layer of raw zucchini down, sautéed veggies, meat, small amount of sauce, cashew cheese, thin slices of tomato, basil and repeat until your pan is full. Top with sauce to keep the dish from burning/drying out.

Put in the oven until bubbly. Takes approximately 30 minutes depending on your oven.

-S

It’s 2014… lets take the leap already!

Every year we say we are going to do this and going to do that and the majority of the time we don’t. I invite you to take the leap (figuratively speaking) and leave your fears behind you in the plane. Image

Now if your not the type of person that wants to jump out of a plane like myself, believe me I know most people would not jump out a perfectly good plane, but do something that scares you and gives you that wonderful butterfly feeling in your gut. This could include asking for that promotion at work, taking a spontaneous vacation, singing loudly somewhere other than your shower. Whatever it is for you, I encourage you to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Your life is here to live for you and you only. Too much of the time, myself included, we let others opinions on what is the “right” thing to do get in the way of what is truly right for us. The best thing I Imageknow to do in these situations is to get another perspective. Do your best to remove yourself from the situation and get a birds eye view of everything that is going on. That is such a beautiful way to see the whole picture and get clarity on what your next best move is for YOU.

Take a look at what has possibly held you back in the past and ask yourself if it is still holding you back today. If it still presents itself, is this something that you can change or let go of? When we let go of fear, doubt, or whatever it is holding you back and we just act first, well this is where we can truly surprise ourselves of what magnificent things we are capable of.

Last but not least I would like to leave you with this to think on.ImageFollow your arrow and you will never be steered wrong.

-S