Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Madness, a year later...

I don’t need to reread my March Madness blog written just a short year ago. I still can remember my pain and anguish...feeling like a fraud (I am a health coach after all) and an out of control chumba wumba with my bar food compulsion.  Part of me embraced the event I look forward to the entire year but the bigger part felt as if I was swirling out of control, having a grand time on the outside yet full of self loathing on the inside.

What a difference a year makes.  Did I just eat an open faced burger on Texas toast, fries on top and smothered with special cheese sauce, bacon and scallions??? Yes, I did and I ate it all with gusto. Did Kentucky win at the last second granting them Final Four status as I devoured this deliciousness?  Why yes. And it was awesome.

Food and fun.  Sometimes they are inseparable.  But this year along with eating crap, I am cooking some pretty darn healthy recipes in between the games. (Serious girl crush on Food Babe right now)

I would like to say eating way healthier was a conscious choice, but it is quite the opposite-  eating bar food has been the conscious choice and I am relishing every moment of it.  I was reminded the other day of the saying, "If you treated your friends like you treat yourself, you wouldn't have any left."  Ha ha, so true.  Let the negative self talk end now.

I am enjoying my slow but steady journey into health.  Beating yourself up will get you nowhere and lasting change takes time, so be easy on yourself.  As I eat my pea and almond quinoa bowl, I can't wait to watch the Final Four at my local watering hole with a basket of the world's best wings and a pitcher of beer with my friends.
courtesy of

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Shrinking my body with Erin Stutland

I have a love hate relationship with exercise.

When I am in the zone I swear I will never stop exercising, but then I miss a day, then 2 days, then it could be months before I get my groove back.  Consistency has never been my strong point.  If I feel amazing while I do it, then why don't I continue?? I can't be the only one. Add some boredom and attention deficit disorder to the mix and it is a wonder that I ever move my bod.

Enter Erin Stutland's Shrink Sessions (aka The Stuart Smalley Exercise Routines)

What?? I have FINALLY found an exercise that I have yet to be bored of.   I have been doing Erin Stutland's Shrink Session at least 2x a week for 4 months and I haven't lost my zest and in fact, gained some. (plus muscle!)
I bought the program after a free 20 minute workout you can download on her site.  It is different than all of the videos I own (And believe me I could open my own exercise video store.  I own that many.) and it was tough!

What makes Shrink Sessions different from anything else I have tried?

I spend a lot of time in my head and I can be my own worst enemy.  Put that combo together and the broken record isn't of flowers and joy but often complaining about life, my body, etc.  I am a relatively happy person but once I started paying attention to what was REALLY going on in my head...well, something needed to between my ears as well as the expanding waistline!

So now, not only am a stronger and firmer (did I mention these are challenging?) but I have a rosier outlook. I have started a new business and let go of some fear that prevented me from living a bigger life.  I find that the mantras stay in my head and I am reminded of them when I need it most.  My clothes fit better and I am wearing favorite items (you know, the ones in BACK of the closet) that I haven't worn in years. So what are you waiting for?  You can try a mini Shrink Session for free on Erin's site.  Be sure to tell me what you think!  My waist has shrunk, my thighs have shrunk, but most importantly negative thinking has shrunk which I cannot say has ever happened with any other workout series.

Movement in your body means MOVEMENT IN YOUR LIFE

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

New and Shiny Syndrome

courtesy of
I may have been a magpie in my last life, or possibly a crow or a raven.  But most likely I was a pack rat (we can discuss my clutter issues in a later post).   I am sure that one of these animals had to be my previous incarnation.  What else can explain my fascination with new and shiny??

I don't read fashion magazines, watch TV (although Netflix is my lover), and allow myself 10
minutes a day of radio news as I drive into work.  I am not a typical spoon fed American.  Also my new and shiny comes in the forms of health items, exercise videos, business opportunities, classes, teleseminars, so I do not have a lot of fancy clothing or tons of shoes...but the obsession for the next great thing plagues me.  I flit about from one great thing to the next and as a moth to the flame my exuberance dies almost as fast as it was ignited. (moth to human translation- a year or less)

Maybe God opened the heavens and spoke gently into my ear, perhaps a brief moment of clarity overcame me, or maybe my new twice daily meditation sessions (new and shiny #14 of 2013) helped me see the core of my being...but it dawned on me right as I was about to sign up for the latest sparkly opportunity that I don't need anything new.  Whoa, who spiked my green smoothie??

Moment of clarity:
Focus on what I am currently doing and do it with all my heart.
Everything I want I already have.
Quit looking for things outside of myself.
Let go of what does not serve me.
Incubate before I jump in.

I will always have many interests and pursuits and if I ever win the lottery we can just delete this post as I will sign up for every sparkly course, class and business opportunity that speaks to my heart.  But now I am going to scrutinize a bit more and I realize that I do not have to say YES to everything especially at the expense of other things I have said yes to.

SOOO, the question is:  Is blogging my newest shiny object?  Set your moth clock and stay tuned and see if I am here in a year :)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Make Your Own Weight Loss Chocolate

Weight loss chocolate?  No, this is not some late night infomercial attempting to scam you.  If you are a certified chocoholic this could be the best blog you have ever read.  This recipe is healthful, takes no time at all to whip up and contains 2 superfoods that have been shown to raise metabolism (plus a whole host of other goodness), raw cacao and coconut oil.  The marriage of the two is beyond words.

My converted microwave:  Smoothie and Chocolate Making Warehouse

The Recipe:
(Thank you Ingrid Arna for introducing me to this daily indulgence)
4 heaping tablespoons of raw cacao
Sweetener to taste.  I use around 1/8 teaspoon of stevia.
1/2 cup of unrefined coconut oil

Melt the coconut oil. Place jar of oil under a warm tap, use a double boiler or create one.  I use my pyrex cup and place it in a saucepan 1/4 full of water and heat on medium.  Once the coconut oil is melted, add the cacao and sweetener and mix well.
Pour melted chocolate into a shallow pan.  You want a thin layer.  I use an aluminum foil lined cookie sheet.  After you have poured your mixture, see below for additions.  Put and keep in the refrigerator. You don't want it to melt.  Break into pieces once cooled and consume responsibly.

Now it's your turn to put a creative spin on it.  Add shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, almond slivers, gogi berries, certified therapeutic grade essential oils (I have tried peppermint, wild orange, and lavender) and spices.  Spice really adds a kick to the flavor.  To date my favorite creations include:  

gogi berries, coconut flakes and pumpkin seeds
curry powder, sesame seeds and coconut 
orange peel, currants and wild orange essential oil
cayenne pepper, almond slivers, and chopped dates

Easy peasy.  May the wind rise at your back and may you always have a pan of this delectable homemade goodness in your fridge.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Mother Nature, A Love Note

My secret camping spot
Third through fifth grade, my family rented a farm house on 27 acres.  It was the first great thing to happen to me, an 8 year old girl trapped in an emotionally and physically abusive existence.  FREEDOM.  There was a barn, a hayloft, kittens, multiple ponds, tadpoles, crawdads, horse hair snakes and two horses owned by our landlord.  I have since forgiven my mother for not knowing how to love me.  How can I fault her for as a girl for she never received very much love or acceptance either.  Those 27 acres took me in and soon became my adoptive mother.  I explored every square inch of this personal paradise. My biological mom had to buy a high powered whistle to call me in for dinner and then again for bedtime.  To this day I believe this was the strongest influence in the making of who I am today.

We moved.

I was almost 12. A big yard but not a refuge. The solution: my bio mom would drive me 3.5 miles to a park with the most phenomenal creek bed that meandered what seemed like forever.  We would synchronize our watches and she would pick me up at a designated time usually 2-3 hours.  Just me, the creek, salamanders, newts, and trees...pure nature.  I was home.  A lone 11.5 year old girl in the urban wilderness.  So thankful those were the days before the internet, cell phones, and parental hyper awareness to safety and predators.  A 12 year old girl these days does not have the same freedom. I am sad for her.

Fast forward 18 years, my mother love stronger than ever and in my longing for her I moved to Montana (and not wanting to turn 30 west of the continental divide).  Found a job selling ads for a weekly newspaper.  Every day after work I hiked the same 4 miles in the same wilderness area.  Was I stuck in a rut?  Not even close.  It is meditative to connect to the same patch of land.  I distinctly remember missing a few days from my jaunt du jour.  It seemed as if whole forest had changed!  New flowers were in bloom whereas some had withered, not noticeable unless you were truly connected.  I have a different job now and those days were long ago but I still feel happiest and most loved when I am amongst the trees, kayaking on a mountain lake, in my garden or on a trail.

Through the pain and misunderstanding of one mother I learned the importance of forgiveness and of unconditional love. Through the generosity of her bounty and absence of judgment I was able to embrace the other.  She got me through the tough times and helped me feel as if I belonged.  I am of a certain age now and am grateful to see the big picture.  I am especially lucky.  I have two moms.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Dandelion: Suburban Lawn Enemy #1 OR Superfood for the Masses?

No, I don't really want the world to end but is it wrong that I was hoping for a little more shake rattle and roll on December 21, 2012?  Perhaps a few days of darkness, maybe the grid going down for a week or so...anything to wake people up!  Instead we awoke to things appearing normal.  Things ARE shaking behind the scenes unaware to those who are too busy watching Survivor than to actually know how to survive but to the untrained eye things seem status quo.  Many are still in the dark about Obama signing the "Monsanto can do Whatever they Flippin Please Act" recently.  Anyone?  Anyone?  Bueller?  Bueller?  Is anyone awake?

Spring has finally landed in Montana and more people are spending time in their yards and gardens.  I look in my yard and get excited at seeing those zig zaggedy leaves and know that wild food is on its way to me.  A gift from the universe.  I am one of  THOSE neighbors.  You know, the one without the perfectly manicured lawn. The kind that displays little tiny flags with bragging rights saying, "Look at how pretty I am. Don't let your dogs walk on me. I am toxic, but aren't I so pretty??"  Nope, I am the one with copious dandelions. 

I have a wish for my manicured community.  My dandelion wish for people is that they would wake up and see the nutrition, get in their yard with their kids, pick them, make wine and salads from them, see them for the bright bold yellow flower that they are and the whimsical seed pod that they become.

The word dandelion comes from the French word, dents de lion, meaning the teeth of the lion.  This most likely refers to the jagged leaves.  A lesser known French name for dendelion is pis-en-lit, meaning wet the bed.  Dandelion is a duiretic, not meant as a bed time snack. 

Dandelion leaves and roots are super nutritious and even the yellow flowers are edible. Historically the roots and leaves were used for digestive issues, breast health, fever, skin diseases, liver support and joint pain.  I was surprised to open up today's paper to find dandelion featured in the weekly food section.   I have long made fritters out of the flowers and use the leaves for salads but have never made dandelion leaf pesto.  I love recipes, but when it comes to pesto I never measure.  Here are the amounts according to The Missoulian.

1-2 cloves of garlic (or more!)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 TBS pine nuts
1/2 bunch (12 ounces) dandelion greens trimmed and chopped
2 TBS finely grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
2 TBS finely grated pecorino Romano cheese
2-4 TBS fruity olive oil
Lemon juice if desired to taste

Blend or food process.  Add ingredients as needed to taste.

Old habits die hard.  I understand.  Before you call the weed man or god forbid get out your Monsanto Round Up, shake thing up.  Pick a few leaves, dig up some root, throw some flowers in a salad and try dandelion for yourself. 

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Interspecies Gay Marriage

I don't care if you have three legs and are purple, if you have found a love so dear that you want to express it with marriage,  I applaud you.

Gay marriage is a hot topic these days and the other night over dinner a few friends and I were discussing it.  I said off the cuff, "Yeah, once gay marriage is OK with the government I am going to see if it acceptable to marry my dog."  "That is what they are saying," they chimed in.  "What?"  "Yeah, people are saying if they allow gay marriage then soon people will want to marry their pets."   "Really?  Are you flipping kidding me?"  Honestly?  People can be idiots.

For years I have talked about marrying my dog.  Mormons have sister wives, why can't I have a dog wife??  There are so many reasons why we are such a good match.  Some human couples aren't this SIMPATICO. 
Others are jealous of our love because:
  1. We understand each other completely.
  2. We are 100% loyal to one another.
  3. We are super protective of each other.
  4. We have so much in common. We love to swim in lakes, hike, nap, camp, watch Netflix and backpack.
  5. We accept each other exactly as we are. 
As no relationship is perfect, cons to this union:
  1. I pay for everything.  I get home from work and the house isn't clean and my dinner is not made.  She doesn't have a job.  She is somewhat of a deadbeat.
  2. Intimacy is an issue.  She doesn't even like it when I hold her paw when we are watching movies.
  3. She doesn't know how to use the toilet.
  4. She is a bit of a bed hog.  
All kidding aside, I think we should shout from the rooftop any time two people are in a commited loving relationship and want to seal the deal in the eyes of god.  Never in my life has anyone else's marriage interfered with my day to day life.  NEVER.