Monthly Archives: October 2012

Celebrate Your Life!

Have you ever noticed that most of your ordinary days, your triumphs and your defeats, even life and death, revolve around food and drink? What do you do to help the new mom next door with a new baby, two other kids under four and a husband who works a 60 hour week?? Bring food. What do you do after the funeral of your great Uncle Martin? Eat and reminisce. What about holidays spent with family you see once a year? Eat and reminisce. Your husband’s promotion at work? Out to dinner of course! Meeting up with a girlfriend or two? Will it be coffee or cocktails? I’m sure you feel me by now.

Sometimes uncomfortable news is easier to give over a beer at your favorite bar because you know your soon-to-be-ex-husband refuses to cry in public. Or at the table of your local mexican restaurant because you know your mother won’t make a scene.  I know because I’ve been at both tables. The first one years ago and bless you Donnie for not making it more difficult than it already was. The other table, however, was a few short days ago. The mother of my husband’s children, I hate calling them my “stepkids” because they mean more to me than that, came to visit from California with her husband. What’s the first thing we did? We all met for dinner. Along with the young man Courtney has been spending time with.  And the “uncomfortable” news? I’m sure, smart readers, you’ve guessed it.  C ( we call her “C” sometimes), had to tell her mom she’s pregnant. At 19. Seven months after moving out on her own. Oops. Reactions ranged from tears to rage all in the span of few moments. Tears because although we are excited to have another grandchild, (we have precious Owen, who is three and half, back home in California with my oldest son Billy), we know the road she is travelling won’t be easy. Doable, of course. Just not easy. The young man took the verbal licking from all the adults at the table for the rest of the meal, while we encouraged and consoled and considered the new momma and the future of this instant little addition to the family. Over food. And drinks. Lots of them. Just kidding.

 

“Food” for Thought

GMO. BPA. MSG. Foreign, toxic, highly allergenic ingredients most of you eat or are exposed to daily. You know about pollutants in the air you breath and the chemicals in the water you drink. Conventional produce. Vaccines. Amalgams. All deadly to your wellbeing. But you are further poisoning yourself by what you expose your thought life to. The movies you watch. The music you listen to. The news you read. The job you do. The people you choose to spend time with. Was that movie inspiring?  Is the music uplifting?  Does your job give you purpose? How about the people you hang out with, do they motivate you to be your best self?

Now, I don’t know about y’all, but I do know one thing. I don’t roll out of bed in the morning and head straight for the television. And for some reason, the last few weeks, my husband is obsessed with the Today Show. No offense, Matt, Savannah, Natalie, Al, but I really prefer the early morning quiet with my cup of hot tea while I’m making breakfast for the boy, instead of the sound of my über sensitive husband crying on the couch because of yet another tragedy. The disappearance and consequent murder of little Jessica. The soon-to-be-extinct red orangutans. The unfairness of Natalie at the news desk instead of as co-host. He insists he NEEDS to keep up with current events. Fine. I get that. But he has USA Today on his phone. And all the news updates he could ever want on the new computer in his office. On the giant, up-close-and-personal, 32″ monitor no less. Why, oh, why does he have to expose me to it? There’s no escaping. The living/kitchen area is connected and the T.V. is right there in my face. I am well aware of the murder and mayhem, crime and corruption, worries and war that are happening in the world and in my neighborhood. I just don’t want to hear about it on a daily basis. Especially first thing in the morning. Please, honey.

And what about the silent movie that plays over and over again in your own mind? The constant drone of not being good enough. Or pretty enough. Or thin or happy or rich enough. Well, dear readers, guess what?  Your health is as affected by the thoughts you think as by the foods you eat. Garbage in. garbage out. Forget about your weaknesses and focus on your strengths. Reassess what is relevant and valuable to your life and ditch the rest. Surround yourself with positive people. Know your purpose. Every day is a new chance to remake, recreate and redirect your thoughts and energy. The ability to transform your life starts NOW!

Be Vibrant!

Tonya

Bringing Back the Family Dinner

For the first time in a long while, we sat down as a family and ate dinner. We invited our now-grown and-on-her-own daughter and her roommate, and made our active 15-year-old son cut short his social activities. Of course, he brought Tommy with him. We love Tommy. We think of him as a son. In fact, today is his 17th birthday. His home life is a challenge and yet you will not meet a nicer, more respectful, hardworking young man. Always ready with his quick wit and charming smile. A testimony to not letting the struggles in life get you down. And one of the reasons we’ve decided to make Sunday night dinner a priority. Along with, of course, spending time with our own children. Something we don’t take advantage of often enough. It makes me think of the three kids I gave birth to.  Grown and finding their own way into adulthood, more than a thousand miles away, without the benefit of eating around their mother’s table. It reminds me of how much I miss their physical presence in our life.

My husband and I eat dinner together most nights but Trent (the 15-year-old) usually comes in later having already eaten or looking for a quick snack before bed. We do “Taco Tuesday Nights”, which is a family favorite but not often enough. Last night was great. We chatted and laughed and enjoyed each others company without the television blaring or phones ringing. Considering there were four teenagers at the table that says a lot. Dinner was actually short and sweet.The boys left to go meet up with a pro-bike team that was in town and Courtney and Caleb left to finish up their errands and chores before starting another work week, Much like what responsible, adults-in-the-making do. Good for them.  The only thing left to do was to enjoy the homemade vanilla ice cream I had made for dessert! Creamy goodness with sliced almonds toasted in a bit of coconut oil! Boy, did they miss out!

I called Courtney a short while later and asked her what she thought about setting Sunday nights aside for dinner. She was all for it. Especially since Caleb’s mom and dad just moved across the state line, more than five hours away. No weekly family dinners for him. Until now. So Caleb, this is for you too. Another place to call home.

How about you, dear readers? Does your family eat a traditional, sit-down-every-night-together meal? Or are you more of a hit-and-miss mess? How about those of you that live alone? Wouldn’t it be nice to serve a home cooked meal to others that might enjoy some human companionship and conversation?  Food brings people together. Invite your neighbor, or your co-worker or that family member that lives right around the corner and you never see. Food brings people together. Sometimes family is more than sharing blood. It’s sharing your heart and your table. And for this girl, nothing brings me more joy than feeding fresh, wholesome food to anyone who graces my table. Especially Tommy. Happy birthday son!

Be Vibrant!

Tonya

Mary Poppins Was Right

” A spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down,” sang Mary Poppins innocently enough. The bitter truth is, your sweet friend sugar is trying to kill you. Look around. Sugar, in all it’s forms, is in everything. Your soft drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, “vitamin” waters and is hidden in most other processed food. Infant formula is now loaded with sugar equivalent to a can of soda. Isn’t that great? Let’s start poisoning our young from birth. Because that’s what sugar is. A metabolic poison. It promotes weight gain, feeds cancer cells, and accelerates aging. You don’t have to be smarter than a fifth grader to see the ever expanding waistline of America. My husband and I people watch at the mall from time to time, and here in the panhandle, where beef and more beef rules, 1 out of 2 people and entire families are overweight. He sometimes has to keep me from accosting people. I prefer to think of it as reaching out. I just want to ask a simple question. What is stopping you from taking better care of yourself?  I ask this in coaching sessions with my clients. Reasons are many and varied. Emotional eating. Budget. Stress. Time. Some just don’t know. These things I can address but some really don’t care which really makes me sad, because I can’t help that.  Even sadder still, obesity increases the risk for deadly diseases such as diabetes, kidney disease and heart disease.

Let’s avoid the sweet confusion by taking a look at sugar in its various forms.

  • Simple sugars – Dextrose, fructose and glucose. Your body metabolizes these differently.
  • Sucrose (table sugar) – 50% glucose and 50% fructose.
  • High fructose corn syrup – 55% fructose and 45% glucose.
  • Sugar alcohols – Xylitol, erythirtol, mannitol, sorbitol, and glycerol, Incompletely absorbed in small  intestine. Causes gas and bloating in some.
  • Agave Nectar – Falsely advertised as natural. Highly processed and up to 80% fructose.
  • Honey – Has many health benefits in its raw form,  in moderation.
  • Stevia – A South American herb whose leaf is 300 times sweeter than sugar, safe and natural.
  • Lo han – A safe, natural sweetener from the Chinese fruit luohan guo, used for years in TCM.
  • Sucralose (Splenda), aspartame, saccharin and acesulfame k (Sweet One, Sunett) are ARTIFICIAL sweeteners and should be completely avoided due to detrimental health effects.

Nearly every cell in the body utilizes glucose. With fructose, however, the metabolic burden falls on the liver. And because most people are now consuming about 130 grams of fructose per day versus the 15 grams or less per day a mere 300 years ago, well, you can imagine how your poor liver feels. So, where does the excess fructose go? To your backside. Your belly. Your thighs. It is turned into FAT. And triglycerides. And VLDL, the very bad low-density lipoprotein that increases the risk of coronary artery disease, high blood pressure and stroke. Still make you want to have a glass of orange juice and a toasty, frosted pop-tart for breakfast? Only 41 grams of sugar folks! To make matters worse, the more sugar you eat, the more sugar you want, the more effective your body becomes in absorbing it, the more metabolic damage occurs. Try eggs with some veggies and sliced avocado. Or plain, greek-style yogurt with sliced almonds and fruit.  Fair warning. Be careful with fruit consumption. Although fruit contains fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients it also contains fructose and it’s the cumulative effect of fructose that is toxic. Berries of all kinds are the best choices with most being 8 grams or less per cup, Your average apple has about 9 grams. Dried fruits are much higher and should be consumed in limited quantities.

Do yourself a favor. Take a 21 day sugar-free vacation. Try limiting yourself to 25 grams a day or less. Maybe then you’ll be singing, “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!” instead.

Less of this

More of this

Be Vibrant!

Tonya

Wow, Really Joe?

Inspiration is everywhere. You just have to look for it. Take this morning for example. While wracking my brain, trying to pick out one, of the too many numerous things I’m passionate about, it hit me. Ok,  it didn’t literally hit me, but I heard him on the phone. His name is Joe and he works for the same company as my husband. They were chatting on speaker phone, so you could hardly call it eavesdropping. Anyway, Joe is like most of us, trying to fill our plates and our bellies, fast and cheap. Joe works on the road a lot. He lives primarily on the fast food dollar menu. I overheard him making a joke, about stopping to get a .79 cent 64 ounce soda, before dining at the restaurant famous for their all-you-can-eat,  white, doughy bread sticks and unlimited iceberg lettuce salad special. Smart shopper right?  Since the restaurant charges three bucks for a soft drink?

People have all kinds of excuses for eating poorly. Most are lacking one or more of three things; time, money or energy.  But doesn’t it make sense that if you use your time wisely, you could have more energy AND save money? The truth is in the cooler. As in the portable, take-me-on-a-picnic, good ‘ol ice chest. There is an endless array of sizes and styles to suit anyone. Of course, the important thing is WHAT you put in it. (Sorry honey, I’m not thinking chocolate milk and mini powdered sugar donuts.) I’m thinking more along the lines of some fresh slices of cucumbers and cashew hummus or maybe some almond butter and a big Honeycrisp apple . Maybe some big chunks of sharp, cheddar cheese and some sort of jerky, I like turkey or venison. Or some tuna salad scooped up with sweet baby bell peppers.  Since we’re headed into cooler weather what about something warm and satisfying like a hot thermos full of homemade soup or stew? Or some stick-to-your-ribs chili? The variety of things to take on the road are limitless.

What’s missing here is the plan. Many of you live from moment to moment and catch something to eat on the run. Like Joe. Like most of us. However, with a little pre-planning you CAN eat healthier. Write down a few menu ideas and make sure you shop for everything to complete those meals. This saves from those last-minute, oh-yeah-I-forgot, trips to the store. Keep in mind meals that work both for dinner and for lunch the next day. Take some time to clean and prep your vegetables. Make some hard-cooked eggs and if your family eats rice, prepare a big pot of whole grain, brown rice to use in meals throughout the week. Use that huge timer saver you have tucked away. You know, your crock pot. Getting up a wee ten minutes earlier in the morning, to put your goodies of the day together, will improve both your health and your wallet!

Hardy man’s lunch box

Raw Cashew Hummus

1 cup raw cashews, soaked for four hours

1/4 C tahini (sesame butter)

1-2 garlic cloves

juice of a fresh lemon

Sea salt and fresh, cracked pepper

Drain water from cashews, saving some water for processing. Place together in food processor or blender with next four ingredients and process until smooth and creamy, adding water as necessary for desired consistency. Season to taste. Enjoy with a medley of fresh veggies!

Be Vibrant!

Tonya

Stop! Don’t Eat That!

Stop! Don’t eat that! I’m embarrassed to say that you hear this phrase a lot at my house. With a 15-year old son still at home and a husband you who isn’t always compliant with my food freakiness, they tend to slip a few things by. For instance, last night, the two of them went to gas up Courtney’s car ( she’s one of the five) and came home with fudgsicles. Really? I swear, I just had this conversation, seven minutes earlier, with my congested husband, that he refrain from any dairy for a minute. And here he was halfway through his bar. Ugh!

If I can’t get through to my nearest and dearest, how I am  going to get through to any one else? Then I remember. Oh, yeah, It’s not MY responsibility to MAKE anyone do anything. I’m just the messenger. The teacher. I share information with dozens of people a day. Some take something away from it and actually apply it while others come to me again and again asking and wondering about the same old things.

But here is something that is quite serious that everyone who is in charge of feeding themselves or their family should pay attention to. It’s genetically modified food and crops: corn, soybeans, canola, cottonseed, sugar beets, most Hawaiian papaya and a small amount of zucchini and squash. Genetically modified organisms are made by forcing genes from one species such as bacteria, viruses, (and in Monsanto’s case, their herbicide, Roundup), into the DNA of a food crop or animal to introduce a new trait and which have never been in the food supply. The majority of processed food on the shelves at your local supermarket are filled with them and have been as far back as 1966. Why should you care about what these biotech companies and manufacturers do to your food?  I’m sorry. Did I say food? I meant Frankenfood. Nothing that comes from a manufacturing plant resembles real food. And if Monsanto’s altered foods are harmless, why are they paying millions of dollars to avoid labeling their products containing GMO’s? Because they don’t want you to know they’ve put profit before people. They don’t want you to know that they are poisoning you. Monsanto’s “improving agriculture, improving lives” has backfired miserably. Would you call increased pesticide use and lower yields successful? How about the near 125,000 farmers in India who committed suicide due to crop failure and massive debt since planting GM cotton?  It’s not just processed food you have to look out for. It’s conventional dairy with their GM bovine growth hormone (look for no rBGH or no artificial hormones on label). It’s factory farmed meat and poultry fattened up with good ‘ol GMO grains. A recent scientific study showed that 70% of the female rats and 50% of the male rats that were fed a GMO diet, died prematurely.

We are supposed to be the smartest nation on the planet. Why then do countries like Japan, New Zealand, Ireland, parts of Australia, Europe and dozens of others ban GMO’s? Because the people have voted with their forks and their dollars. For the voting population in California that has the labeling GMO bill coming up, please vote yes on Prop 37. The rest of the country is watching you and maybe I can say, “Stop! Don’t Eat That”, a little less.

             Avoid these companies!

Be Vibrant!

Tonya!