Diary of Decisions Day 1 of 90

I was listening to my 14 year old share his highs and lows, something we do at dinner every night. We each go around the table sharing what was a high for the day and what was a low. Some people call them thorns and roses. So anyway, on this particular night he shared something that really moved me and inspired me to take action, not the kind of action that only lasts for a short time but instead the driven and passionate step of action that really moves you to jump up and do it right that instant.

Before I go on, let me just start with a little disclaimer: this shared journey or “raw reality” will be unedited, raw and purely authentic. I get in my head too often about how perfected each conversation needs or I want it to be. The disclaimer: each and every Diary entry will be in its raw form, my pure thoughts, fully transparent and entirely from the heart.

On to the Diary of Decisions, as I mentioned above, the highs and lows sharing drove me to a decision I have been giving excuses to for almost a year. I don’t have the time, I don’t have the space, I don’t have the tools or proper equipment……..blah blah blah blah blah! You get the picture and I am certain many of us have all been there at multiple times in our lives for multiple “decisions”. This one really stuck………My 14 year old shared his high – “I am starting exercising to gain muscle and strength by the end of the year”. First of all how smart is he that he automatically acknowledges it will indeed take a year or so to accomplish this goal. Smart kid, I learned something in that very moment……….

1 . we set too high of expectations in too short of a period of time.

2. We don’t clearly define “why” we are making the decision.

3. We allow others ideas of how it should unfold deter us from even starting.

4. He declared it right away, there were no “I think” or “I want to”. Just straight up…..”I am”.

I asked him a few questions like, what time or day are you doing your exercises, and what types of exercises are you going to do, and lastly we talked about nutrition to support his workouts. As a Holistic Nutriton Health Coach I thought for sure he would be all ears and ready to take notes. Ummmmm. big fat nope, so I did the next best thing. I pulled out my P90X dvd and played the very first intro for it. I am a genius, it went over all of it and it didn’t come from me. Sometimes even WE need that 3rd party validation to get the information to sink in and take hold of us. He watched, he asked a few questions and then processed his thoughts. He is an inward processor so new changes take a few hours to allow him to develop the plan of attack that best fits his personality. Like I said, smart kid!

Back to my decision, like I said I have been allowing excuses for quite some time and honestly it gets old to keep hearing the same sh!% come out of my mouth about the same damn thing. Just take action I kept telling myself. Well I certainly did!

Dear Diary, on Tuesday, March 10, 2020 I started my Core Four training for the next 90 days. Pray for me people I know it will be hard, I will be sore and probably not able to walk up a flight of stairs. I have to remind myself to take it slow and steady and to just keep going. So here is my plan –

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A. HYDRATION – Increased my water intake to 1/2 to 3/4 body weight, added MSM for extra absorption, and spun in a vortex for enhanced molecular structure.

B. NUTRITION – Meal planned for 7 days on each Friday, with a shopping trip on Sunday. Prep ingredients for the week. My focus is tone and definition with some small added muscle gain so my 80/20 meals will support this. I’ll share those as I go on.

C. SLEEP – Bed by 9:00p.m., 5 out of the 7 nights, and up by  5:30a.m. I’m older so apparently I have been needing more sleep.

D. EXERCISE – I’m am learning new methods for an almost 50 year old body. As I continue to move I will focus on different parts of the body for the best results. For starters it’s mostly plyometrics and static contractions with a few weights.

Now, adjustments will be made along the way and so I am extremely happy with my decision to take action and I look forward to the results. Mostly though, I look forward to sharing my next high and low………..

Find your purpose!     Burn the ships!   Take action!

What do you need to take action on? I’d love to support you, add to the comments section below

Decision maker, Jackie

 

Omegas are the new Carrots

There’s a good reason for the common belief that carrots are good for your eyes. Carotenoids, the pigments that give carrots their orange hue, accumulate in the eyes, where they protect against UV light. But, there’s a new kid on the block when it comes to supporting healthy vision – omega-3 fatty acids.

Just ask Dr. John Paul SanGiovanni, an accomplished eye health researcher at the National Institutes of Health. He was recently interviewed about omega-3s and their role in supporting eye health, and to celebrate Healthy Vision Month, we’re sharing some of his insights.

Omega-3s and Your Eyes

The omega-3s DHA and EPA are both important for eye health, specifically, the health of the retina. You can thank your retinas for translating light into visual images that allow you to see. (That’s where all those rods and cones you studied in high school live.)

DHA’s main job is structural: it helps maintain healthy cell membranes. EPA’s role is functional: it helps cells communicate with each other. EPA is also used to make important antioxidants. That’s critical, because the delicate retina is particularly prone to free radical damage.

According to Dr. SanGiovanni, DHA is highly concentrated in the retina, just like carotenoids. In fact, there is more DHA in the retina than any other tissue of the body! That gives us a good indication of how important DHA is to eye health.

Eat More Omega-3s, See Better

Dr. SanGiovanni points to studies going back over twenty years showing that people with higher levels of DHA enjoy better vision. Later research, which looked at intake (in other words, how much DHA and EPA you consume) rather than status (in other words, the level of these fats measured in your blood) has found over and over again that the more rich in EPA and DHA that food you eat is, the more likely you are to have healthy vision.

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Omega-3s are essential fatty acids, which means your body needs them but does not make them on its own. As a result, you need them to get them from your diet or from supplements.

Yet just as most people don’t consume enough fruits and vegetables daily, they’re also lacking in omega-3 fatty acids. In fact, according to a recent study, 90 percent of Americans do not get enough omega-3s in their diet.

How to Get More Omega-3s

Most people know EPA and DHA are abundant in fatty fish such as salmon, cod, and mackerel, and that’s a good place to start. But you can also get them from algae, which is not only vegetarian, but also a sustainable resource.

The Juice Plus+ Omega Blend capsules contain omega-3s derived from algae, rounded out with a broad array of other omega fatty acids — 3, 5, 6, 7 and 9 — from plant-based sources such as pomegranate seeds, sea buckthorn berries, raspberry seeds, tomato seeds and safflower seeds. Just like the other Juice Plus+ Blends, the Omega Blend bridges the gap between what you should eat, and what you do eat, every day.

What’s your favorite way to get enough omega-3s? Share in the comments below!

Road Trip Yahoo!!!

In an ideal world, we would all take plenty of time to plan, purchase, and prepare a cornucopia of healthy snacks any time we took the family on a road trip. But life doesn’t always cooperate with our lofty intentions. And so, unless you are a preternaturally organized person, you will inevitably find yourself mid-road trip at a convenience store, looking for a healthy snack for yourself, your partner, or your kids. What are your best options?

Most convenience stores do have some healthy offerings; the main challenge is avoiding all the less-than-healthy temptations, especially if you’ve got a kid in tow. I know I need to keep my five-year-old’s attention away from the candy aisle whenever we go into one of these places.

Going in with a plan can help, whether you’re negotiating with your child or your inner child. Before you open the store door, decide what kinds of foods you’re going to look for. You could even try to make it a game or a treasure hunt.

Low-Hanging Fruit:
As soon as you enter the store, check the counter for fresh fruit. Are there apples or bananas? Don’t worry about the fact that the fruit is wildly overpriced compared to what you’d pay in a grocery store. The mission right now is not to save a few bucks.

Mix and Match:
Is there a refrigerated area with pre-cut fruit or veggies? These are sometimes packaged in trays with hummus, cheese, nuts, or a hard-boiled egg. Oftentimes you can buy these items separately and combine them until you’ve created a pretty healthy meal.

Go Nuts.
A bag of nuts is always a good snack option. Nuts have protein and healthy fats, and they provide the satisfying crunch you might get from chips. Raw nuts are preferable to roasted, because roasting can damage the healthy fats and create a harmful substance called acrylamide. But if roasted nuts are your only option, they’re still better than almost everything else you’ll find in a convenience store!

It’s All Greek.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find some plain Greek yogurt, which is high in protein, in the dairy section. The plain part is important, because conventional single-serving yogurts have almost as much sugar as a 12-ounce soda! I carry a little bottle of liquid stevia (a zero-calorie, low-glycemic natural sweetener) in my purse at all times so I can sweeten just about anything without adding any sugar. My daughter loves the taste.

Drink It Up.
Water’s always a good option, and if you drink  Plant milk, it’s almost always available. Plant Milk is a good source of calcium and vitamin D, and it has some protein, too. Bottled tea or coffee might seem like a good idea if you also need a little energy boost, but it’s almost always heavily sweetened, so check the label. You’re better off getting a cup of joe that’s been brewed in the store so you can control how much, if any, sugar you put into it.

What’s your go-to healthy(ish) convenience store snack?

Pineapple Not-So-Fried Rice

Ingredients

14ounces non-gmo extra-firm tofu, drained

2tablespoons gluten free soy sauce, I use Tamari

1– pineapple, or 11⁄2 cups diced pineapple

1tablespoon coconut oil

— onion, thinly sliced

— Pink Himalayan Sea salt

3– cloves garlic, minced

2teaspoons curry powder

1teaspoon ground coriander

1teaspoon chili-garlic sauce

3/4cup cashews

— carrot, peeled and shredded

1/2cup frozen peas

1/2cup raisins

3/4cup cooked rice, preferably brown basmati or quinoa

1/4cup vegetable broth

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease a small baking sheet.

Press the tofu to get out as much water as possible. After pressing, cut the tofu into 1⁄2-inch cubes. In a bowl, toss tofu with Tamari sauce until each cube is coated. Place in one layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 35 minutes, turning the tofu a couple of times with a spatula. Remove from oven and set aside.

To prepare pineapple, cut in half lengthwise using a sharp knife. Remove the flesh and cut into bite-sized pieces. Set aside 11⁄2 cups for this recipe, and save the rest for another use (see here for other uses) Reserve the shell for serving.

In a large skillet or wok, heat oil over medium-high heat and sauté onions until soft and lightly browned. Season with pink salt. Add garlic, curry, coriander, and chili-garlic sauce, and let cook a few more minutes. Add cashews, carrots, peas, raisins, rice, broth, pineapple, and tofu. Cook until heated through and adjust salt to taste. Serve the rice or quinoa like they do in Thai- land—in the pineapple shell!

Raw Joy, Jackie

The Swamp Monster Breakfast Smoothie (Great Post-Workout Recovery!)

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Yield: 1-2 servings (depending on how much liquid you added) The Swamp Monster Smoothie is a great way to start your day after a hard workout! This recipe is just a template – feel free to add/subtract ingredients to make it even more awesome!

Base ingredients:

  • 1 big leaf kale, thick stem removed (or 1/2 cup packed fresh spinach)
  • 1 carrot, peeled
  • 1/2 inch piece ginger root
  • 1/4 avocado
  • 4 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 Tbsp nut butter (I use my homemade almond or cashew butter)
  • 1 Tbsp raisins
  • 4 dates (or another 1 Tbsp raisins –but it might come out too sweet)
  • 1 tsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed
  • 1 packet of Juice Plus Vanilla Complete 
  • 4-5 frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup almond milk
  • 1/4 cup or more coconut water (or 1 small cucumber)
  • dash of cinnamon

Optional ingredients for an even healthier smoothie:

  • 1/2 tsp light miso paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp wheatgrass
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp spirulina
  • 1-2 Tbsp dark cocoa powder
  • Up to 1/2 cup other kinds of frozen fruit or berries (I like blueberries)

Instructions

  1. Add all of the base ingredients and whatever you’re using from the optional list to a high-powered blender (see note below).
  2. Blend everything together until smooth, 2-3 min depending on your blender, stopping halfway to check on the flavor. At this stage, you can add more of any ingredient to your taste (add more raisins/prunes to make it sweeter). If it’s too thick, add more almond milk/water.
  3. Once it’s smooth, pour into a glass and enjoy!

 Notes

If using a regular blender (other than a high speed blender like Vitamix or Blendtec), stop blending often and scrape down the sides to ensure even blending.

Raw Joy, Jackie

10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meal Ideas in under 20 minutes

Ask just about anyone what keeps them from switching to a plant-based/vegan/healthier diet, and one of the most common answers (besides ‘I love my cheese/bacon too much’) is likely going to be, ‘I just don’t have the time to make those elaborate meals’.

Okay, I understand that making a fresh, wholesome plant-based dinner every night sounds like too much work, especially if your schedule runs crazy, you work long hours, you’ve got kids, etc.

So today I’ve made a list of 10 meal ideas that will show you how to have a quick and healthy homemade meal even when you’re pressed for time. Nothing fancy or complicated, just 10 meals that’ll keep you from making a bad decision even when all else fails.

Staying on track with your plant-based diet has never been easier – after all, where there is a will, there is a way, right?

10 Fast and Simple Plant-Based Meals to Save the Day

1. Chickpeas + [BBQ sauce/teriyaki/salsa] + rice. A quick and easy meal that’s full of flavor, and provides a complete protein: toss some home-cooked or canned chickpeas with some flavorful vegan sauce (make sure to read the label to avoid junk), and serve it on a bed of rice (use quick-cooking microwaveable rice if pressed for time). Got 30 minutes? Make it a little fancier by baking the chickpeas like I do in my BBQ Chickpeas and Rice recipe.

2. Green salad on a bed of cooked grains. Use any fresh salad veggies you have on hand, and serve them over a cooked grain of choice – barley, rice, quinoa, millet, etc. You can either use the quick-cooking varieties (stock up in advance), or make a large pot of grains once a week and use it as you go. Don’t do grains? Mix in some quick-roasted potatoes, like I do in my Warm Potato Salad recipe.

3. Hummus and veggies in a wrap. This is my go-to combo for lunch and sometimes dinner: spread a tortilla with hummus, throw in any available vegetables (I love kale, red onions, carrots, tomatoes and olives), squeeze a bit of lemon juice over the mix, and wrap up burrito-style. Healthy, tasty, never fails.

4. Quick stir-fry. Microwave a bag of mixed frozen vegetables, toss in teriyaki sauce or a combo of equal parts of soy sauce and brown sugar, and serve over a grain of choice. Want more protein? Add some edamame or other beans to the veggie mix.

5. Loaded baked potato. Rinse a medium-sized potato, microwave it for 3 minutes, cut it open with a fork along the top (be careful not to burn yourself with the escaping steam!). Top with any veggies/beans/sauces that you have on hand – I like the Southwestern combo of black beans, salsa, and some sliced avocado. If you have more time, you can wrap the raw potato in tin foil and bake it in the oven for 45 min to an hour instead of microwaving.

6. Quick pita pizza. Spread marinara sauce/hummus on a pita, top with any vegetables available (onions, peppers, spinach, olives, sundried tomatoes work great), add some tofu/tempeh/seitan/vegan sausage if you have them. Got some vegan cheese? Throw it on too! Bake at 350°F for 5-10 min.

7. Veggie tacos. Warm up a few small tortillas in the microwave between two sheets of moist paper towels. Rinse and drain any canned beans of choice, season with cumin and chili powder. Assemble the tacos by putting some beans onto the tortilla and topping with salsa/sliced avocado/lettuce, etc.

8. No-cheese quesadillas. Spread some mashed sweet potato on a large tortilla (you can microwave the sweet potato for 3 min to cook it quickly), add peppers/onions/any kind of beans, etc. to one half of the tortilla and cover with the other half. Grill on a large dry skillet for 2-3 min per side, cut into wedges, and serve. Alternatively, see my recipe for Veggie-Loaded Quesadillas where I use refried beans and hummus instead of sweet potato.

9. Nut butter and banana/jelly sandwich. I love the classic Elvis (PB&B) sandwich every now and again that I usually make with my homemade nut butter. A cashew or almond butter sandwich with jelly or bananas is always a better choice than greasy fast food.

10. Green smoothie. Ain’t nothing wrong with a smoothie for breakfast, lunch, or dinner! The smoothie doesn’t have to be green in color – ‘green’ stands for ‘made with vegetables and fruits’. Most green veggies work fine in smoothies (except lettuce – some people find it weird-tasting when blended). To make the smoothie more filling, add rolled oats, nut butter, seeds, nuts, etc. – see my Swamp Monster Smoothie recipe for more tips.

I hope that this list will make it easier for you to stay on track with eating healthy! The naysayers now have one less reason to say ‘no’ to going vegan…

By the way, if you have any quick plant-based meal ideas that I didn’t bring up here, please let us all know in the comments!

Raw Joy, Jackie

Grab a Buddy, Get Fun on Fit!!

The alarm buzzes for your early workout, and while you were looking forward to it last night, all you want now is to go back to sleep. Does this sound familiar? Some days you get up and lace up your sneakers anyway, but others, your workout never happens.

What if you had a friend waiting to meet you at the park, though? You’d get up for sure then, right? That’s called having an accountability partner. You don’t want to leave your friend in the lurch, and he/she feels the same way. By counting on each other, you both get your exercise so everyone wins.

Not wanting to let someone down can make a big motivational difference. A study conducted by Dr. Gail Matthews from Dominican University in California found that if people wrote down their goals, shared the goals with a friend, and then sent them weekly progress reports, they were 33 percent more likely to achieve the goal than those who just formed a goal.

If you don’t have a friend who can exercise with you, or if you’d like someone with professional experience, you could find a personal trainer or sign up for a workout class. That way, if you skip your workout, you’re not only missing the exercise itself, but you’re wasting money. That can be a powerful motivator, too.

A partner will cheer you on, help you believe in yourself, celebrate the milestones on the way to your goal, commiserate through the setbacks, remind you why your goal is important, and provide company. With so many responsibilities, you can see why it’s important to choose the right person for the job. Will this person stay positive and challenge you to push yourself? And if it’s a friend, can you do the same in exchange? The satisfaction of helping someone else is another benefit of partnering with someone to improve your health!

How do you stay motivated to exercise and meet other health goals? Share in the comments below!

JOYFULLY RAW, JACKIE

How to Get Back on Track

The past few weeks have been really stressful while I plan out our upcoming Homeschool year with all the activities, field trips, volunteer requirements, work and the list just goes on…….. and then – has it actually been that long since my last workout? What about that weird head congestion that hit me in the middle of summer, derailing my active lifestyle for two weeks? We all fall off the health train, and it always seems to happen faster than we’d expect.

Here’s the good news: it’s not going to be easy, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. Take simple organic solutions, some practical steps and don’t beat yourself up for your lapse. Just follow these tips and before you know it, your healthy living momentum will be back at full strength!

Drink Lots of Water (1/2 of your body weight in oz.)

If you’ve had a lot of processed food or meals out in the past few days, you’ve likely consumed extra carbs and sodium compared to your normal diet, which means your body is retaining more water than usual. Drink lots of water to help your body rehydrate and get back to a normal balance.

Plan and Track Your Meals

Don’t leave your food intake up to chance! Begin your day by planning your meals (see here), then adjust your record to fit what you actually eat throughout the day. This will take the guesswork out of getting back on track with your health, plus it’s easier to be motivated to meal prep at home when you have to record the 1,000-calorie salad you had for lunch at a local burger restaurant.

Get Sufficient Calories

That said, make sure that you are getting sufficient calories each day. Don’t under-eat to “make up” for being off track. That will only make you more likely to get too hungry and binge again or give up on healthy eating completely.

Get Moving

If it’s been a long time since your last workout, the idea of hitting the gym may be overwhelming. Get around this obstacle by skipping the gym and opting for a long walk with a friend, a hike, or a bike ride instead. Or like I just did this week, move in the mini tramp and get to bouncing with this great routine. As you move your muscles and get your heartrate up, your body will remember how much you love working out (endorphins are the best!) and you’ll be able to head to the gym without as much of a mental battle next time. The good news is, if you’ve been consuming extra carbs and calories the past few days, your workout will feel great because your body will have so much energy to fuel your efforts.

Fill Up on Nutrients

Remember to take your Juice Plus+ every day! After being off track with healthy eating for a while, your body is going to be nutrient-starved. Make sure you’re replenishing those nutrients with your daily Juice Plus+ capsules, and if you’re not getting enough protein in your regular meals, throw in a Complete shake too. Your body will feel better, and you’ll be less hungry for more of the unhealthy foods you may be craving – a double win!

We all get off track with healthy living sometimes. But thankfully, a few days, weeks, or even months of lapse do not have to become permanent. With these small, practical changes, you’ll restore your body’s energy and health, not to mention your motivation. And before you know it, you’ll regain momentum once again.

What are your favorite tricks for getting back on track with your health? Share in the comments below!

Joyfully RAW,  Jackie!

Simple Changes, Make Simple Habits

Looking to build healthier habits? Remember, you don’t have to change everything all at once. Start with small steps that you can feel good about. #onesimplechange 

Add nutrient-rich foods. Instead of thinking about what not to eat, think about the things you can add to your diet. Strive to incorporate more greens and colorful veggies into your meals.


Eat closer to nature. Concentrate on whole foods in their natural forms, such as fruits and vegetables. If it looks like it did when it grew from the earth, that’s your cue that it’s a healthier choice.
Go for whole grains. Instead of reaching for regular pasta or white bread, look for varieties made with 100% whole grain flour. Better yet, fill your belly with whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa or barley.
Find alternatives to oil. Believe it or not, you don’t need added oils to make the foods you love. You can steam fry those onions and replace the oil in those muffins with applesauce.
Reorganize your plate. Think of lean meat and fish as flavor boosters instead of the main event. Put beans, whole grains and veggies in the spotlight, and keep servings of meat and fish at 3 ounces or less (that’s about the size of a deck of playing cards).

Make whole foods your NEW Normal!