Meaningful Monday: Awaken your brain

I had big plans last week, in terms of this blog.

And, then….they just didn’t happen.

Instead, this happened…



(that’s a picture of nothing happening, btw- total relaxation)

I apologize for only squeezing out one post last week, even though I was on vacation and had PLENTY of time to write some really good ones.

I will attempt to get back on a normal schedule this week.

But, as I sat and thought about why I didn’t write last week, I thought of this blog’s title and contents……

the importance of a ‘real’ vacation

I say ‘real’ because I mean having no worries; no schedules; no deadlines; and no routines. A total ‘turning off’ of the social world (even though I did catch up on my daily FB feeds); getting far away, even if it’s in a remote area; and turning off the noise around you, to hear the waterfall or the birds or the ‘nothing’.

I admit, that this is kind of hard for us ‘type A’ personalities to do…not have a schedule, even on vacation.

But, when we do it, we do it 100% and come back feeling relaxed, refreshed, and re-energized!

Why vacate:
This most recent post article stated that 40% of Americans don’t use all of their allocated vacation days.


I cannot imagine this as I use all of mine. In fact, I already have mine planned for next year (sort of).

I have listed some highlights from the article on why you should take those vacation days allocated to you, to which I’ve added some insight:

1-Your body needs a break, as restoration is importantI believe not only is it important to vacate work, but it’s also important to vacate your exercise program, sometimes called rest days-Now, I would never condone lying on the couch,  not moving for 7 days. But, taking a break from running, the gym, etc…can do your body good-I managed to squeeze in 3 good and strenuous mountain hikes while we were gone-they were thought of hikes or pleasure walks or getting some fresh air rather than exercise and that made them extra special

2-Letting your brain ‘day dream’ allows you to better solve problems and be more creative-I agree with the article in that I’m always on task oriented mode, from work projects, to volunteer projects to my workout routine to planning out meals for eating healthy-the downtime I had on vacation, where I didn’t work or plan, just played, will surely allow me to be more creative and insightful going into this next week

3-The more (shorter) vacations you take, the merrier you will beI 100% believe in this-This is why I often use my vacation days for long weekends, especially around holidays-  these ‘mini vacations’ allow me to unwind and recharge in a ‘mini’ kind of way – as the article says, ‘spread out the happiness’!




One other article had these ideas to offer;

1-Taking a vacation will help you live 20% longer-Yes! Anything to live longer, correct?

2-Women who take 2 or more vacations per year are less likely to be depressed, tired, or unhappy with their marriage-I  believe that alone time with your spouse, even if you have kids and can only get away for an evening or night, is necessary to revive a marriage, to let all the worries of normal life go, and to just relax and rekindle why you 2 got together in the first place

3-You get to be a kid again, in that you don’t have a schedule or routine –I have honestly never looked at it like this but I suppose it’s 100% accurate-this is why we thoroughly enjoyed our hikes and our time playing in the snow this past week…we were able to let all of it go and just be a kid!


With that said, you still have time to take those vacations and be a kid..don’t let your company keep the time you’ve earned!

If you work for a company that gives you vacation time, they give it to you for a reason…so you can be the best employee and come back feeling refreshed and alive!

Did you take a vacation this year? Where did you go?

If not, why? (You know you don’t really have to go anywhere…’staycations’ are the thing now!)


 Coral islands, Maldives - 10 Fascinating Places To Visit One Day
Wow! This could certainly revive and refresh one’s brain!















Wildcard Wednesday: Get your gobble on


So, tomorrow is the big Turkey Day!

Did you know that

  • 46 million turkeys are consumed each year on Thanksgiving
  • turkey consumption has increased 110% in the USA since 1970 (104% in the world)
  • the turkey industry alone employs 20,000 people in the USA
  • in 1970, 50% of all turkeys consumed during the year were on Thanksgiving Day-now, just 29% is consumed on Thanksgiving meaning that more Turkey is consumed all year long

Wow! That’s a lot of turkey talk!
Without going all PETA on you, I will say just think about that…one single day…46 million. That’s a lot of birds to raise, kill, and eat on one single day.

In the past, the main bird has gotten a bad rap health wise. However, clarification needs to be made or understood……………………….


As you may have guess, it’s actually all the other sugar-laden, 5 cheese, bread topped sides you consume that are bad for you (and that add to that turkey coma)!

Here are some turkey tips: (source)

The pros

  • Turkey is a rich source of protein.
  • Skinless turkey is low in fat. White meat is lower in kilojoules and has less fat than the dark meat. A typical turkey consists of 70 per cent white meat and 30 per cent dark meat.
  • Turkey meat is a source of iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.
  • It is also a source of vitamin B6 and niacin, which are both essential for the body’s energy production.
  • Regular turkey consumption can help lower cholesterol levels. The meat is low-GI and can help keep insulin levels stable.
  • Turkey contains the amino acid tryptophan, which produces serotonin and plays an important role in strengthening the immune system.
  • It is also a source of selenium, which is essential for thyroid hormone metabolism. It also boosts immunity and acts as an antioxidant.

The cons

  • Turkey can be high in sodium.
  • Some meat, particularly prepackaged slices, can be processed and contain other substances.
  • Turkey skin is high in fat.
  • Research suggests large amounts of tryptophan can make you sleepy.


So, besides my most recent tips for battling post Turkey coma that I posted this week on my facebook page (seen herebe sure and like my page!), I offer this solution to ensuring that you have a balanced meal on turkey day that will leave you feeling satisfied and full…….

Offer to bring a side to the gathering

Revolutionary, I know, and quite possibly it’s not an option to bring a side.

But, if you do, why not make it a nice, healthy side that offers the same great tasting punch as those 5 cheese maccaroni’s that Aunt “what’s her name?” brings…..

Here are some of my favorite, tried and tested, sides that I promise will make your family & friends say “this is healthy?” Say whatttttt??????

Parmesan Lemon Zucchini - Damn Delicious

Parmesan Lemon zucchini

Seriously…this zuchinni is so great and easy to make…prep the zuke slices ahead of time…then saute up! I ensure you they will be all gone!


Boil, smash, season, bake. These are the BEST potatoes ever. From the Pioneer Woman.

crash hot potatoes

These are fantastic (a repeat in our household),  especially piping hot out of the oven. Boil them up (even in the micro if you are short on time or energy), smash them, drizzle with oil and spices, and then pop them in the oven 15 mins before T-day time! They will be devoured. I promise! (btw-potatoes aren’t bad for you either 🙂 )


Creamy+Parmesan-Garlic+Quinoa+is+an+easy+side+dish+that's+packed+with+protein+and+family-pleasing+flavors.+@Iowa Girl Eats+|

Surprise everyone at the gathering by bringing quinoa! I bet you there’s one person that is curious about quinoa’s taste (and added complete source of protein healthiness). Shock them with this delicious parmesan garlic quinoa that goes from pot to table in 20 minutes! Yummo!

Thanksgiving- Caramel Apple Dip And Apples

Is this not the cutest thing ever?
Surely, if they don’t think it’s cute they will love the apples and caramel? Who doesn’t love caramel apples for T-Day and fall?!?!?!?

Have a great holiday all!

Watch your portions, enjoy some protein, and most of give thanks to the many wonderful loving people around you sharing the day with you.
Because, without friends and family, what do you have?


As always, the opinions of the recipes above are all my own-all references have been linked-I was not compensated to promote any of these recipes or products-I simply have tried the recipes and love them, along with turkey-gobble, gobble!










What do you mean there’s no coffee?!?!?!?!?

So I didn’t exactly get a ‘meaningful Monday’ post up yesterday. Oops!
Honestly, I was too busy working on my juice experiment and thinking about all the delicious chicken, egg, and veggie dishes I plan on having come Saturday.
Jk….sort of.
So, myself and 2 other victims ( I mean followers) are doing a 5 day juice reset, or detox if you will.

Basically, you drink 4 juices per day ( 2 in the form of juices that you throw in the blender to make a hearty smoothie) and you can have an avocado, banana, decaf teas ( preferably peppermint), and a raw vegan bar if you need it.
I’ve consumed each, on every day. 🙂
I’m sure you are thinking that this sounds like too little amount of food for nourishment but honestly I haven’t been as hungry as I thought I would be.
We know that veggies and fruits, in its purest form, are loaded with vitamins and nutrients.
Sure, I may not be getting as much protein as I would with eggs or chicken but I won’t go ‘protein deficient’ in just 5 days!
I can tell you this much. When its time for a juice, it’s time for a juice for blood sugar maintenance. My grogginess tells me so!
Here’s what I can’t have: sugars and caffeine.
Yea…. Caffeine.

This may have been my face on Monday morning…or Tuesday.
No sugars or caffeine has definitely been the hardest part of this experiment.
Finally, at the end of day 2, I have shaken the withdrawal headache, for either sugars or caffeine or both, and finally feel good (which could be from the 1/2 cup of unsweetened black tea I had around 3 pm today-I needed it, BAD!).
In fact, I felt good enough to go to the gym and exercise tonight.
Anyway, why am I doing this , you ask?
Not to lose weight but to (1) gain control of my sugar and caffeine habit and (2) because I love a good challenge!.

Habits can be broken
Mine is not a pretty habit.
Coffee in the morning, tea at lunch, iced coffee in the afternoon, and sweets ( several pieces of candy) in the afternoon.
This has been my world for the last couple of months. Plus too much bread, Halloween candy (darn candy corn), and birthday cake (delicious but I felt like I shouldn’t waste not ONE.SINGLE.PIECE), all of which are loaded with sugars!
Sure…my coffee has 1 teaspoon of sugar; my tea is half unsweetened and half sweet; and my iced coffee, which I make, has 1 teaspoon of sugar.
This has been my justification…..but all that adds up!!!
I’ve been trying really hard to eat right and healthy and exercise 5x/ week and have made significant progress.
But if I continue to eat sugars like I’ve been doing, then my efforts will go unnoticed, by me. The work will not be effective if I don’t have my eating on target.

Challenge or change is good
So, I’ve put myself up to this challenge.
I’m resetting my body.
I’ve done a reset before, with fruit and veggie smoothies, but only for 3 days. So I know what goes along with this….the withdrawal headaches, dreams of great foods, etc…

So far I’ve realized just how much cooking and eating healthy foods plays a role in my life and, honestly, how much I miss cooking.
I enjoy trying new recipes. It’s what I do when I come home from the gym in the evenings.
A juice doesn’t take that long to make….then what? Nothing is on tv. Heck, I may as well go to bed.

The future of juicing for me
With that said,I won’t be going to an all juice diet after this 5 day challenge.
I enjoy cooking and eating real food with substance and texture and I enjoy experimenting with healthy recipes.
But I would like to get into a routine of having one juice per day, likely in the morning, and having only 1/2 cup of coffee per day.
No tea. No extra coffee in the afternoon and to limit my sugars to 1 or 2 weekend splurges.
That should be a challenge in itself.

So, tell me, would you ever participate in a juice of this nature? For 3 days or 5?

What kind of challenges do you like or would you like to see here?


Stay tuned for another follow up on Thursday (or Friday)!

Juice on people!

10 Easy Juicing Recipes for Beginners. #juicing #prolificliving @Prolific Living

Btw-If yuu are just getting started on juicing, or want to, this is a great, basic juice to start with-it’s super sweet and tasty! Just a hint of the ginger takes the juice up a notch. Trust me…I promise.


Disclaimer: As with everything, the opinions are all my own. I was not compensated for doing this 5 day juice. My grogginess was created solely by myself.


Wildcard Wednesday: slow and steady

What does it mean to be consistent?
Webster defines it as ‘constantly adhering to the same principles.’
Synonyms include dependable, expected, logical, persistent, rational, steady, unchanging, and uniform.
Antonyms include varying and irregular.
I think the one that speaks to me the most is steady and uniform.
How consistent are you with

Your goals?
Your healthy eating?
Your workout routine?
Your job?

Without getting to personal, let’s talk about the one that applies to me the most and maybe you too: exercise.


Human beings are naturally impatient and today’s world of quick fixes and instant gratification ( and everything) doesn’t help matters.
This article says that no matter what we do in life we will not achieve the success we want unless we work at it day in and day out for months and months. This applies to your exercise program, too. You can have the best diet and trainer in the world but if you lack consistency you will get no where.
A constant routine will take some time to get use to and develop.
However I have a few recommendations you can do to get into the groove of a routine a little faster:

1-pick an exercise program you like and want to do- this could be a new challenge like running a marathon; an old hobby that you want to return to like dancing or swimming; or joining a gym and taking part in group classes, both new and familiar- have fun or you will never be consistent

2-set a time to work out everyday and try your hardest to go at a consistent time every single day- I once read to schedule your exercise like you do appointments ( on the calendar)- this way you are sure to show up

3-get a workout partner- accountability and motivation, even persistence from a partner on day when you least want to go to the gym, always helps- sometimes a good swift kick in the butt is all you need

4- if you don’t feel like going to the gym or exercising, do it for 10 mins- if you still feel crappy, then stop- it is likely at this point that endorphins will be kicking in and you will finish your workout-I recently heard this strategy, applied it on one of my lazy days, and was proud to say it worked- remember: no one ever regretted getting up and exercising, just not starting

5- exercise first thing in the morning or on your way home from work- I do not exercise in the morning, unless it’s like 9 am on a Saturday morning- however I do go to the gym straight from work- no stopping by my house for clothes or a snack as I know I will find something that needs my attention ( probably the pups)- this keeps me structured

6-keep a journal of your workout plan and progress- log your activity everyday- I write or find 12 week plans, log them in a journal and add my progress everyday- this is the difference between training and just working out- your training to get stronger- yes I’m that anal person in the gym that carries around my little book-but it sure is fun to go back and reflect on how far I’ve come

I promise. That if you get a plan and be consistent you will see results.
It won’t be fast. Remember it took you days/ months/ years to get where you are now.
But be consistent.
Don’t jump from plan to plan.


So what do you think?
What are you consistent with and what could you improve on?

Remember: life’s a journey….not a race. Exercise is also a journey….to be your best self! 😉

Meaningful Monday: Don’t crash

Welcome to the start of a new week, gang!

I watched a 13 minute video on you tube the other day about weight loss and thought I would share the contents with you.

The video is titled ‘How to Lose Fat and Keep it Off’, by Dr. Layne Norton , PhD Nutritional Science.

I so wish I had seen this years ago when I went from one crash diet to the next.

I highly recommend you watch it. However, if you don’t have the time, the highlights are below, with my commentary (of course).

First, let me state one thing.

I realize I present to you a lot of videos and information on a daily basis. You may see this as information overload.

So be it.

However, my theory on all of the information that I read and watch is this: read it and take away something….small or large…life changing or not.

No, you don’t have to believe everything you read or see on my page or the internet. It’s the internet…who does?

But, you can be informed and educated.

With that, here’s what I learned:

  • Crash diets do NOT work for the long-term
  • America doesn’t have a ‘weight loss’ problem-we have a ‘weight maintenance’ problem-we can lose weight, we just can’t keep it off
  • 80% of people who went on a crash diet gained that weight back in one year and 1/3-2/3 of those people put more back on than they lost(My commentary:I did a lot of this in my 20’s-I won’t say that I ever put a lot more back on than I lost but I definitely gained all back that I lost)
  • (My commentary: this is key and you really have to stop and think about what he’s saying for it to sink in) Studies have shown that the # of times you diet in your life is directly proportionate to the amount of fat you gain over the same period of time (My commentary: Meaning that you if you’ve dieted 10 times in your life, which isn’t that far-fetched, then you’ve likely gained 10 lbs in that time frame that you dieted)
  • the focus should be to lose the fat but to also maintain the fat loss

don't "diet," just eat healthy. it's better than going on any crash diet, which can ultimately lead to weight gain.

So, you say….well, yes, I want to lost the fat but how?

He goes on to explain…

  • the most effective diets are the ones you can stick to for the long haul.. 6 months, even years-if you can’t envision yourself on the diet 6 mos. to 1 year from now, then you will likely rebound (My commentary: Therefore, if you are trying to lose fat and are on a very unrealistic, non sustainable 1000-1200 calorie diet per day, with exercise, this will never work for the long haul-most people do not have that much will power to sustain this kind of lifestyle)
  • the slower you lose the weight, the more likely you are to keep it off-restrictive diets (My commentary: like I mentioned in the 1000-1200 calories/ day are considered to be restrictive…maybe even ultra restrictive)
  • consistency is key to weight loss (My commentary: very, VERY important-stick to something-don’t bounce from one crash diet, i.e. grapefruit diet, to the next diet, i.e. Atkins)
  • the most preferred weight loss method (in his opinion) is to eat a ratio of carbs, protein and fat,  which is called ‘flexible dieting’ or counting your macros-( My commentary: you can search on ‘carbs/ protein/ fat for weight loss’ and there are tons of links-for the serious-minded exercise or fitness followers, I would recommend looking at this one or this one-find the one that works best for you, your habits, your body type, and lifestyle-take into account your goals; your level of intensity and exercise; enter your macro information into a database to track your carbs, fat, and protein, like My Fitness Pal-it’s not a perfect app but it’s a good start)
  • if you are eating right, watching your carbs, fats, and protein, and moving/ exercising, then have the piece of birthday cake…or the glass of wine…just not the entire bottle (every night) or the entire cake-don’t deprive yourself or you are setting yourself up for failure, rebound, and weight gain ( My commentary: this goes along with my eating right 80% of the time and 20% of the time enjoying myself)
  • the pace at which you lose the weight does not matter-consistency is key


So, what one piece of information did you take away from this article?

I think the most important concept that I needed to hear (again) is that ‘consistency is key.’

You are worth more than a weight loss gimmick. Invest in yourself!

Find a lifestyle of eating that works for you for the long haul…not just tomorrow or next week.

My husband said something key the other day (although I would never tell him) that really put our lifestyle and eating into perspective:

“We don’t have a bad lifestyle (or diet, if you will)…we have a bad meal (occasionally)”

Sometimes the bad meal (or choice, per say) can be helped (as in ‘we should have made the better choice that was available’) and sometimes there is no other choice (i.e., we had a hot dog at a music concert not too long ago-it was a toss-up between a mystery meat burger…or hotdog…and we all know what they are made of, right? 🙂   )

In closing, try to provide meaning to your meals this week…plan them out…don’t have a bad lifestyle/ diet, maybe just an occasional bad meal!

Failing to Plan is Planning to Fail | YouAnew Lifestyle Nutrition

One of my favorite quotes

Have a great Monday

Disclaimers: As always, I have referenced the video and links in my blog, giving credit where credit is due-statements are direct quotes from the video and my commentary is in italics-my commentary is totally my opinions, formed from reading, researching, and learning about eating right for the long term-I was not compensated for reviewing this article-I simply enjoyed the video and thought I would share

Before you begin an exercise program, be sure and consult with a doctor first

Wildcard Wednesday: The healthiest spaghetti ever!!!

I thought I would share a simple, low-carb, low fat, low calorie healthy recipe with you.

I’ve mentioned spaghetti squash on here before and I think I even mentioned using it as a substitute for regular spaghetti dishes (in fact, I think I promised this recipe over a month ago-ouch!).

I know what you are thinking…really? Good? How can anything like this be good?????

And by no means is this recipe intended to replace any traditional Italian spaghetti dishes. It’s merely a substitute..,when you want to shave some calories and carbs but keep the same great taste ( hey-extra calories for wine).

Trust me guys…try it. It’s simply delicious!

Health benefits:

It’s the time of year for everything squash (besides pumpkin). They are everywhere in the grocery store, in all colors and sizes. Green, orange, yellow…round, oblong, funky shaped…small, petite, and extra large!

But did you know that spaghetti squash (and likely all squash varieties) are high in folic acid, potassium, vitamin A, and beta carotene.

Wowzer!!! Eat up!Spaghetti Squash

The recipe:

A tried and true recipe (if you want to call it that) for any kind of squash, is to cut it in half, scrape out the seeds, spray/ rub with oil, sprinkle with seasonings of your choice, and roast at 400 for 1 hour. Simply delicious, even put back into the skillet to ‘fry’ it up a little…..

However, if you want something different…something to replace or satisfy that spaghetti noodle craving that you are having…then, don’t blink or you may miss a step or two of this fabulous recipe! 🙂

Spaghetti Squash with Meat Sauce


1-Put the whole squash in the microwave for 3 minutes-this is to soften the squash so that you can cut it
2-very carefully, slice the squash into 2 pieces
3-scrape out the seeds-you can save to roast separately (but I never remember to do this)
4-spray/ rub the squash with oil (I used coconut oil-use whatever oil you choose)
5-sprinkle the squash with seasonings-I used simply S&P
6-Lay the squash cut side up on a sheet pan & roast in a 400 degree oven for 1 hour
7-when the squash is cool enough to touch, scrap the squash in a bowl with a fork, like spaghetti



8-While the squash is cooking, brown the ground meat (I used beef; however, I bet turkey would be just as good)
9-add the mushrooms to the meat, if you choose-we love fungus and add mushrooms to any and everything! 🙂
10-add the pasta sauce to the ground meat-here’s a tip to take your pasta sauce up a notch: add about 1 teaspoon of sugar to the sauce while cooking-I’m not kidding…it takes the pasta sauce, homemade or store bought, to an entirely new level!!!!
11-plate the spaghetti squash with meat sauce and ENJOY!!!

(please pardon the horrible picture taking-I’m blaming the wine)

I’m not kidding friends…unreal!!!


You can enjoy two platefuls of squash and meat sauce and not feel guilty with these statistics:

  • spaghetti squash-46 calories & 10 g. carbs per 1 c. serving
  • spaghetti noodles-221 calories & 43 g. of carbs

Plus, the spaghetti noodles are (likely) ultra- processed and the squash is from the earth!!!

Winner, winner!!!!

Let me know if you have tried this and love it…or hate it!

Do you enjoy squash? How do you like them cooked?

As always, the recipe is my own as are my opinions-I was not compensated for any product referred to in this post

Wildcard Wednesday: Why juice?

There’s a new health channel in town.
Food Matters TV…or FMTV.
Have you heard of it?
Likely not because 1) it’s not included in your standard cable package and 2) you have to subscribe to it for, I think for around $10/ month, more than Netflix.
Hopefully, in the future, some of the shows and programs will either be available for free or on Netflix.

Anyway, it’s a total health channel, devoted to movies about exercise, health, and eating right.
I do subscribe to the email service and last week they were offering a week of free movie previews.
I’ve only watched one movie so far and it was all about juicing!!!!

3 medium carrots 1/2 small, ripe pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into pieces 1 large orange, peeled and cut into pieces

(this one looks really tasty-surprisingly, carrot juice is one of the best)

The movie:

I chose to watch “The Big Juice Experiment: Super Juice Me” by Jason Vale.

The movie is centered around 8 people, all ages,  from around the world with combined total of 22 chronic diseases among them, consisting of: diabetes, ulcerative colitis, asthma, allergies, Chron’s disease, sleep apnea, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and lupus.
Yea…bad stuff.

Most of the ‘patients; (as I will call them) are in pretty bad or dire (desperate) shape; taking a series or boat load of prescription medicines on a daily basis, none of which seems to be helping; and all are overweight and relatively unhealthy.

The ‘patients’ are to stay at a ranch in Spain for 28 days (nothing like Biggest Loser with it’s extreme exercise programs) in which they are to eat & drink only juices as prepared by the ranch; exercise and move daily; and basically, heal their body to hopefully rid it of ailments and medicines.
Basically, they are reclaiming their health!

What struck me most about all 8 patients is there will and want to make a change…to want to get off all the drugs…to want to lose weight…and the willingness to give 28 days of juicing a try.

Why juice?

Experts in the movie (which consisted mostly of Doctor’s, Nutritionists, and dietitians), proclaim the following about juicing:

  • as we eat processed foods, we are impairing our digestive tracts-fresh, natural juices of veggies and fruits repair those digestive tracts by allowing the nutrients from the juices to get absorbed in our tracts
  • Juices remove the toxicity from the body, enabling you to feel better, faster-definitely something we all strive for
  • weight loss reduces inflammation, increases vitality and energy-juicing does all 3 of these

It goes on to explain how we as a society are addicted to fat, sugar and salt, much like a crack addict; that traditional Dr.’s treat the symptoms of an illness, not the cause; drugs are a toxin; and that inflammation is the root cause of all disease.

Some of this is not new information …in fact, I’ve even talked about some of these areas on the blog before.

But the one thing they did say that I kind of ‘latched on to’ and made me think is one specialist said ‘we are the only creatures that cook our foods, meaning you don’t see a gorilla with a BBQ. ‘

Hmmm…..I like a good grilled piece of chicken and some roasted vegetables but I definitely see his point on this….cook the items and lose some of the nutrients, where, if you juice in the raw, you get all the nutrients.

The results of the experiment & my perspective

Every single patient

  • lost weight, some significantly
  • had a decrease in BP levels
  • had lowered cholesterol levels
  • showed no diabetic indicators or symptoms at the end of 28 days
  • had no symptoms of sleep apnea (a direct result of weight loss)
  • showed no asthmatic or allergy symptoms
  • all were able to remove some level of their prescription drugs

Was the experiment hard for the patients?

Absolutely! Yea, 28 days of juicing would be hard, even if you had someone make a different juice for you every day!

However, it appeared that the patients thought the results of the experiment far outweighed the struggles.
In fact, many of the patients incorporated some sort of juicing plan into their regular daily routine, continuing to see results long after the experiment.

I enjoyed the movie, although I thought it was a little long (which I relinquished by fast forwarding through the slow parts).

I really enjoyed seeing how happy and healthy the patients became at the end of 28 days.
It seems that this was a last resort for a few of them and to be able to ditch some or all of there drugs…drugs the traditional Dr.’s said they would have to take forever…brought complete happiness to them.

I am a believer that a lot of our ailments and diseases (especially chronic) are brought on by our lifestyle and food choices and that you can reverse the problems through proper nutrition and diet.

If nothing else, the movie made me think more about including more veggies in my diet, and even including juicing more, which I already try to do at least 2/ week.

And, good news for you…there’s still time to see this movie and a couple of more interesting ones (as there’s an encore presentation starting over the weekend).

Go to the website, register your email, and you can watch the movies for free!

My questions to you:

1-Would you ever do a juice of this nature?

2-What do you think of the juice experiments?


 I’m seriously contemplating a week of juicing in the near future. I just need to determine when…is anyone interested in participating to see how much better you could feel; to see if you could shed some pounds; and to see if you could shed some ailments and maybe reverse the clock?

Let me know your responses and thought on juicing!

A video:  Kris Carr teaches you how to make her favorite green juice recipe, answers green juice FAQs and shares her green juice recipe infographic.

(this is a really good source for juicing recipes-I’ve tried a few and they are seriously delicious)


As always, the opinions are my own-I was not compensated to watch or review this film-All references have links attached for the original article




Meaningful Monday: Practice

Hi gang!

I watched a movie on Netflix over the weekend I thought I would share.

Btw-We love Netflix (all you can watch $7.99/month) and practically despise syndicated network television.

Gone are the days of ‘funny’ sitcoms like Friends, Seinfeld, and Will and Grace!

Anyway…..about that great movie on Netflix…..

As you might guess from the title, it’s a movie about being happy, or learning how to be happy!
Weird, I know, but it was really great!
It highlights why people are happy; what makes people happy (which may surprise you in some parts of the world); why you may not be happy; and the steps to take to work towards being happy.
I highly recommend it!

I absolutely LOVE watching ‘feel good’ movies that I can learn something from and take away something from!

Here are some of my favorite parts of the movie, without giving too much away:

  1. physical activity (like exercising, hiking, swimming, walking, etc…) increases your dopamine levels which increases your happiness levels-see, I knew there was another reason why you should be exercising!
  2. Happiness in a person is 50% genetic (scary), 40% determined by your surroundings and things you do, and 10% determined by experiences you create-I’m not too fond of these statistics so I am going to work extremely hard on that 10%!
  3. A few ‘keys to happiness’ are one’s ability to recover from adversity more quickly (the movie provides a powerful example) and having the support and love of family and friends (the movie also provides a heartwarming, tear jerking story of one man’s fight to provide love and a sense of care to the sick, homeless people of India–really emotional and makes you stop and think about what you have and how you live your life)
  4. Japan is the least happy country-see the movie for why…but here’s a hint ….WWII
  5. Once you start showing gratitude, compassion, and care for other individual’s besides yourself, then you start thinking of things bigger than yourself-these are known as ‘spiritual emotions’
  6. Being happy is a skill, much like riding a bike or playing golf-you have to practice being happy-practice to cultivate happiness and altruism
  7. The things we ‘love to do’, not ‘have to do’, are the building blocks of a happy life-we must play, experience new things, stay in contact with friends and family, and do more meaningful things
  8. The more happiness you have, the more everybody else has-I think that’s part of the ‘give back’ movement-share the love and happiness 🙂
  9. You can be happy, even in dire, complicated, or even horrible situations-but you can rise above and in the end, be happy (the movie provide another powerful example)

Lord, please help me teach my children this!!! I can't do it alone....

I know a lot of my friends (and readers) are volunteers, either through social organizations, work, or church.
I definitely think that by volunteering and showing compassion and love to individuals not as fortunate as you, creates happiness. If I had children, they would be volunteering, on some level.

As a volunteer, who  hasn’t had one of those moments, when leaving the volunteer site, where your heart felt warm because you knew you brightened someones’ day or helped someone?
I know I have experienced these moments and those are the things I remember the most. They brought me happiness and my happiness was shared. 🙂

I highly recommend this movie to all my friends; their children (it would be great for kids-no vulgar language or scenes); church groups; social groups; etc….!

I think #6, practice being happy, is my favorite piece of the movie and the thing I will take away and work on!

What do you think of the items above?

Will you watch this movie?

What do you do to ‘practice being happy’?

Let’s try to practice being happy this week.

Share with me your experiences of what makes you happy?

And, if you watch the movie, tell me what you think!


Sunday's Inspirational Quote & Song for the Day!


 All of the recommendations are 100% my own opinion-I was not in any way compensated for watching or reviewing this movie-links to the movie are provided-I simply enjoyed it and wanted to share



Wildcard Wednesday: Transformation

Let’s talk a little about exercise and transformation.
Actually, let’s talk about transformation right now and learn that it’s possible at any age, at any weight, and at any point during your life.
We all know how important it is to exercise, not only to maintain (or lose) a specific amount of weight but also for heart and overall body health.
With that said, I’m not necessarily talking just about exercise in the form of cardio.
First, let’s go back….

My earlier ‘self’:
All my life, I danced ballet, even in college.
Lots of cardio. I was in great shape and could pretty much eat whatever I wanted (burgers, fries, sweets, yeast rolls, etc… you name it).
Naturally, after you do something for 20+ years you eventually get bored; the body starts to change with age, and work, and real life post college; and you realize it’s no fun being in a ballet class with teenagers, when you are pushing 30, nor is it fun wearing a tu-tu with a few extra pounds attached-not pretty and not gonna happen.
So, I started doing cardio (ellipitcal and stair stepper to be exact).
For hours….boring…eventually picked up running…boring, even though I sucessfully completed several 5K’s, 10K’s, and half marathons.
Was I fast runner? No. More like a jogger (a ‘slogger’-a slow jogger).

I run like the wind... OK, more like a breeze right now... But, I STILL RUN!!!
Hey. No one ever said ballet dancers make good runners!
But, I did enjoy the sense of accomplishment with running…the fact of setting a goal and sticking to it and I lost some weight.
Not a lot, but enough to notice a change.
Then, I said “self-you really don’t love running…why the heck are you spending so much time doing it?”
Don’t get me wrong. I still run, but short-er distances. I may decide to run another race, as I do love a good challenge and I know that cardio is good for me.
But, I still desired more change in my body….

Change thy ‘self’:
So, after reading several blogs and following many facebook pages on exercise and the benefits of weight training, I decided to give weights a serious try.
It’s now 2 years later and I’ve seen a lot of change.
No, I haven’t lost a huge amount of weight.
However, everything I had has shifted and moved around, for the better, and it’s in different places and proportioned differently. (1lb of muscle is 3 times smaller than 1lb of fat-yes!)
Does that make sense? The fats moved and turned into muscle.
Where I use to weigh less and wear a size 10 in clothes (my heaviest), I now weigh more and can squeeze into some 6’s, although I’m normally an 8.
Do I still have work to do?
Yes. Remember, I’m working to arrive at ‘my own best self’, while enjoying the ride and journey…and it’s all a journey.
But, I feel good about what I’ve accomplished thus far in my weight training.

What’s my plan:
I now warm up with 10-15 minutes of cardio, then do 45 minutes of weights 4-5 days/ week, and try to throw in a couple (two or three 30-45 minute sessions) of either cardio running or spinning) or High Intensity Interval Training (or ‘HIIT’-this is where you do other types of exercise to get your heart rate up and body moving, mostly body weight  exercises like push ups, jumping jacks, jump rope, etc.. for a higher intensity but shorter period of time-here’s an example).
(note: HIIT is the new buzz word and I promise to come back to explaining this. In the meantime, google or pinterest it. There are tons of exercises. )
This plan works for me and makes me happy, most days.
I try to listen to my body and know that maybe I’m tired and need an extra rest day, or two, but I don’t push it…unless I’m sick. After 2 days, I get back at it. Otherwise, laziness sets in.
Will this plan work for you?
Maybe…or not. You have to find something you enjoy to do, do it, and do it with great intensity.
However, and here’s where I’m going with this….

The new way of thinking:
Give weights a chance!
Get off of that treadmill…or elliptical.
Sure, warm up your muscles, but then get into the gym and lift…and lift heavier than 5 lb dumbells (groceries weigh more than that).
Don’t worry.
You aren’t going to start looking like this.

Stock vector of 'Cartoon bodybuilder'


I promise. Ain’t gonna happen.

And, if you don’t believe me, or my story, or what I’m telling you, just click on the links below and see transformation story after transformation story…I’m not talking about Jenny Craig or WW stories….these women lost the inches and made huge transformations by clean eating, consistency, and working out with weights…it took months even years….many with 60+ pounds to lose, all in mid-life…many with kids, jobs, husbands, etc… (hey, they are like some of us!)

(btw-I encourage you to read all of these stories and subscribe to all of there newsletters or follow them on facebook- they are all personal trainers and frequently publish exercise plans, recipes, and motivational stories-they are truly inspiring)
Here’s what I’m asking of you…today..we will get to the nitty gritty of exercising later….

Make a plan
Get a plan
Meet with a trainer
Buy a dvd or app to follow an exercise program that includes weights
Start small
Write out your daily or weekly goals and plans-this always helps and then you can check off your weekly accomplishments

Because you know what all of these women had….
A goal
A dream to be healthy for there family…for their kids

They were all consistent with training and eating (20% of change is exercise with 80% happening in the kitchen by eating clean, not a DIEt….a lifestyle change).

Consistency is key.

You know what they didn’t have….excuses! They were consistent with exercising…every day…every week…they thought about eating right and what went into there mouth….

They stopped with the “but she’s young…”, or “she’s got more time than me”…or “it’s in her genes” excuses.

excuses excuses excuses

Honestly, that’s a load of crap that you tell yourself to make an excuse for yourself and why you aren’t trying (harder) to make the change.

Stop it. Now.


Sugar Bee Crafts: my word of the year, 2014 slew of change quotes

In the next weeks, we will talk about why and how weight training is important; why so much cardio is not that great for you; what kind of plans I use; examples of training plans; and why consistency in training is key.

For now, take my word for it and start the change. Be the change. You will be one step closer to your ‘best self.’

Isn’t that something you want for yourself? To be your best? We only have 1 chance…..

Don’t you want to be the best person you can be, for you and your family?


Do you lift weights? I know some of you do…dumbells,  kettleballs, crossfit, etc….

Why do you lift?


If not, what are you afraid of?

 Inspirational Quotes To Get You Through The Week (January 7, 2014)


Wildcard Wednesday: Orange is the new…

Not black.
Although, we started watching that series…and wow! Not recommended for children (or adult children)!
Actually, we stopped about 3/4 of the way through the series due to lack of interest.
I know! Wth? I think it was more like ‘too much shock factor’.

Anyway…today is the first day of National Breast Cancer Awareness month.

I bet you thought I was going to say Fall, right?

Well, yea, but for a while, it will be everything and all things pink!

With this in mind, I attempted to center my post this evening around breast cancer.
I wanted to find something different.
Something new and inspiring or hopeful about the disease.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find too much promising……which is kind of sad.

So, I dropped it and thought about going to another topic.

Then, I made this for dinner and absolutely had to share!

Sesame Chicken Fingers


simply recipes

I know. I’m rambling.

Sesame chicken fingers!
These are delicious!
I’ve actually grown to love this food blogger and website, just like so many others.
I love the fact that the recipes are 1) simple (probably where the website’s title come from-duh!) and 2) contain ingredients that I have at my house (usually).

From start to finish, this recipe took 1 hr, and that included cutting and roasting some carrots.

Here’s the breakdown of dinner-but be sure to see the website for specific instructions!
These would be a huge hit with kids and adult kids alike!


Clockwise from top:

1-Soak the chicken tenders in a buttermilk-soy sauce mix-I was only able to marinate for 25 minutes-longer would have been better

2-Toast up some breadcrumbs and sesame seeds-the recipe specifies panko breadcrumbs, which are great tasting-however, I didn’t have panko

3-Cook at 400 for 18 minutes-suprisingly, then were done at 18 minutes and tender delicious!

4-served along side some roasted carrots and a baked sweet potato, which I cooked on Sunday-btw, if you don’t serve coconut oil on your sweet potato you are missing out on all things delicious! Yes, the same coconut oil that you moisturize your body with and put on your hair (maybe 2 separate containers-one for the bathroom & one for the kitchen)-coconut oil is delicious, by the spoon, but equally as good in recipes and smoothies and it is soooooo healthy for you!

Then, while eating, I found this post about preventative Breast Cancer measures, and suprisingly, and it happened to tie in with my dinner….

Orange is the new

I did get back to the title of this blog.

Basically we should be swapping your pink ribbons for orange vegetables, like the carrots and sweet potatoes that I had for dinner!

The latest research shows that women who consume the most carotenoid-rich fruits
and vegetables reduce their risk for breast cancer by about 19 percent, according to Susan Levin, M.S., R.D.,
director of nutrition education for the Physicians Committee and author of Applying the Precautionary Principle
to Nutrition and Cancer guidelines, which was published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition.
Carotenoids are colorful pigments found in plants that provide an ample supply of cancer-fighting antioxidants.

Oh my!
That’s reason enough for me to double, triple up 2-3 times per week!
That’s huge!!!!!

And it’s not just limited to orange…we need to eat green and red colored veggies, like spinach, kale, pumpkin (PUMPKIN!!! JUST IN TIME), etc…

I promise to get started on a pumpkin recipe, or two, this weekend and share some squash recipes next week!
Spaghetti squash if the first one up…..

In the meantime, clean those sweet potatoes (the smaller the sweeter); wrap in aluminum foil; and cook for 1 hr in a 375 oven (or until soft-remember they keep cooking once you take them out).

This is a good Sunday afternoon cooking project to have and eat on all week.
That’s a meal prep!
And, should you get tired of eating them all candied and roasted with coconut oil, mash them up and put them in some muffins!


Tell me: how do you like your sweet potatoes?

Have you tried and loved/ hated coconut oil?

Have you made any of the recipes I’ve posted thus far?

 Take care and enjoy the journey, friends!


Disclaimer: these are my personal opinions, experiences, and readings on subject matters- references to readings and websites are linked- I was not paid to promote a service or product, as my opinions are purely ediotrial related