Mom, Your body is Magic.

woman holding baby while sitting on fur bean bagYes mom, I know your not feeling like there is anything magical about that mom bod of yours. I don’t care how fit you are, in shape, how much you run or how great you eat, lets face it, once that body of yours has grown, prepared and delivered something the size of the average watermelon, there are things that just can’t possibly be put back in place.

And maybe you really are one of the few that don’t have the glorious stretch marks and don’t pee with you cough and sneeze. Just show us some empathy when we cross our legs. Oh yeah, it amazing. Lucky you. However, for those of you like me, I have my “love marks” as we call them in our house and quite honestly I am damn proud of those marks. We have two AMAZING cherubs that blessed me with the everyday memories of just how amazing this life is, and how truly blessed I am, to have a body that has the ability to create life.

But friend while your body is truly amazing, beautiful and special because of all this jazz, your body is a machine that is far more awesome then what is imaginable.

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Let’s think for a moment. Now that you have these amazing little beings, you rush around day in and day out trying to meet their needs. You are up at the crack of dawn because, lets face it, someone needs to go to the bathroom, another needs a drink, and one didn’t have a nap the day before. Because of this dreaded action,  this said cherub went to bed early and decided it was party time shortly after you finally close your eyes. Your exhausted, but it doesn’t matter. You are going to fulfill this role and you are going to do your damn BEST regardless because, well that is just. WHO. YOU. ARE.

You go girl. You are a force to be reckoned with. A model for all moms. You are amazing and you truly should be proud of yourself for being so incredibly giving, caring, loving and  just an overall amazing mom! Don’t look around. Yes mom. I am talking about you. YOU ARE AWESOME!

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Now grab you coffee and continue reading.

Do you every go through the day, as a habit, doing all the things on your “list” only to think to yourself, “ I am exhausted”? And when the kids come home from school with a runny nose or an upset stomach, do you cringe because you know for sure it is going around the house and you will be sick FOREVER?? Girl, I get you. Been there. TO MANY TIMES.

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Maddison, age 5. 

But one day – I chose to put the pieces together. Or I like to say the light FINALLY went off. What was I doing. TO. MYSELF? See, the body is simply AMAZING! It is the most amazingly magnificent well oiled machine. Ok, well oiled might be stretching it at this point, but seriously! Have you ever thought about how is it that you are able to push through the day, no matter how tired, frustrated, exhausted you are and somehow you make it all work. You amazingly get your kids to where they need to go, celebrate parties, suffer through teachers conferences, PTA, soccer games, dance recitals and you wear your best asset, a smile. You remember everything and when you do forget you laugh and joke about how your head is still attached and everyone is alive…

YOUR FIRST CLUE: Forgetfulness. GIRL YOU HAVE TO MUCH ON YOUR PLATE.

Seriously. No really. Please, don’t hate me. You truly are amazing, BUT your body is NOT made to be going in one hundred different directions. To put it bluntly your body really is like a well oiled machine and well if you keep the oil changed, rotate the tires, put gas in it, clean it from time to time, it will last just long enough to pass it down to your first born.

But lets say you don’t change the oil. You look at the little sticker in the upper left hand window and you chuckle inside. You chuckle because you think to yourself, I’m 2000 miles over and there is no way in he!! I’m getting to the dealership this week. So, you wait. You wait just long enough to be headed to soccer practice and feel you car sputtering. You are able keep going just enough to get off the next exit and pull into the abutting gas station. The attendant offers to look under the hood, only to explain that the the engine is seized because you didn’t have enough oil. I get it, YOU WOULD NEVER DO THIS.

Then why my friend, why are YOU running on empty?

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You see, your body is NO DIFFERENT then the car you drive. That you depend on, day in and day out, to get you, your family, your friends, and your pets, to every single place you want and need to go. Yet, every day you go to bed late and get up early. You skip breakfast because you don’t have time and grab a coffee and a bagel at the local cafe. Lunch consists of a salad from the salad bar because you are trying to watch your weight and dinner… who eats dinner? It occasionally consists bowl of cereal or if your lucky some left over pizza or Mac and cheese. Exercise is not a MUST, it is an IF. The list goes on. Friend you are playing second fiddle to YOURSELF!

Ok, so maybe this is a little drastic but come on, you are not alone WE HAVE ALL BEEN THERE or are still there. Balance is HARD. But friend you body is AMAZING. Ever little part of it from you hair and your eyes to the amazing curve of your legs but your making yourself sick!

Every day that you are running round “helping” everyone else you are hurting yourself. Your well oiled machine is out of gas, or lets just say you are using the lowest grade of fuel possible. You are putting your body in a state of alert, at all times ready to take on the world. What you don’t see is in your body, you are actually only one cough, one sneeze from being sick. You are one hour short of falling asleep behind the wheel. You are one step shy of a marathon.

 

 

 

What would you say if you had a way out? A way to have more energy to get through the day? At the end of the day you didn’t mind the scheduled teachers conference or sitting for an hour at dance class? Soccer games didn’t seem daunting and you wardrobe is one to be desired? What if?

Friend, its time to take back control of your car.

You deserve the front parking spot at the theater, after all this is YOUR show. Give your body the tools it needs. Wake up early and MAKE TIME FOR YOU. Ask for help. Heck make your cherubs help. I’m here to tell you, YOU are worth it and you will be a BETTER mom, friend and person because if it. YOU will FEEL better. You will have more confidence, more energy, and most importantly you will enjoy the moments you have to share.

Friend you are SO worth it. Need a tribe? Thats what we are here for.

 

 

 

UNFILTERED ~ The un-glamorous truth of one mom, athlete & business owner, finding the path to truly LIVE amongst the chaos.

Ok, lets talk. I’m a SUCKER! I’m a sucker for putting everyone else needs before my own. I mean, seriously, it is SOOO much easier to play with slime when your daughter asks, then to hear her innocently, with the cutest most apologetic smile, tell you that she only got a “little on the couch BUT she got it out all by herself” (insert deep breathe here). Or better yet. It is amazing to be just getting into your grove, with your favorite song, when your asked for another snack because the one you got before you got on the treadmill, just wasn’t what they had in mind.

EXCUSES, I’ve used them all.

Lets be real. If there is an excuse to getting out of exercise or rationalizing why I can have  ice cream for dinner, I have used it and probably used it more then once. You see, just because I know better, doesn’t stop me from ALL of the same, every day, real life struggles of every mom, wife,  and women around who has a tendency to put everyone else’s needs before their own.

And I’m sorry, who the hell has extra time anyway?? And if you have the time, how to you conjure up the motivation to everyday give it your all?? Lets’ face it, your exhausted, you lack motivation and then of course their is the why? Why am I going to torture myself today?

OR why not??

IMG_3077So this morning I got up. I got up far before the sun came up.  NO, I didn’t want to, but I wanted to. You see, two years ago it was my turn to be fit, strong and free. Then I had Logan, our second child. Becoming a mom of two stopped me in my tracks. I was dumbfounded at the amount of patiences, stress and simply overall change that this would have not only on me, but on our family as a whole. The dynamics that were changed was unsurmountable and truly there was nothing we could do about it. We rolled with the punches as most families do and somehow, so far, everyone is still alive, fed, clean and clothed. So I suppose we are doing alright.

In the midst of all of this, we were a family of two working parents and children in childcare, while trying to start a business on health, fitness and being the best self your can be.

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Humm… Interesting. How can you develop a business, founded on the goals you only wish to achieve? Really the goals were founded on the person I once was and dreams, I once had. But wait. It really wasn’t. What had changed was me. What had changed was my perception, of the events in my life, and how I perceived what was important.

So one by one, mom started to put the pieces together. The first piece was to change my mindset. Who cares if I don’t exercise today, because both kids are sick and the laundry is overflowing? Does it really matter that I ate that Mac and cheese last night because it was the quickest and easiest thing I could shove in my face in the midst of getting the kids bathed, books read and getting them settled off to bed. Only to do it again tomorrow. The answer: not really.

But you see here is the caveat; I had to change my perception of what it was that I WANTED and NEEDED to do. The balance of what I call life. The juggling act of wife, mom, nurse, teacher, friends, family. You name it. To say I was failing wasn’t entirely true, but I finally took the time to see where I was at, were I was going and where I wanted to be… and I was headed in the entirely wrong direction. There was a HUGE missing piece. What was I doing to fill my own cup?

I was so busy running around trying to care for everyone else, cramming as much as I could into every 5 minute slot that was available. I was out straight until the time I hit my pillow, fully exhausted, yet mind still racing about the list in my head of things that I needed to do tomorrow! I mean for real girl, get it together you life is passing you buy!

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I was being super dependable, super reliable to my peers, my students, my kids and my friends. I was giving it my all, or so I thought I was…

Then one day, during my two hour commute to work. YES, TWO HOURS. I know. Who the HE!! commutes two hours to work (girl, I do) it came to me. I’m going to crash. Here I am, preaching, encouraging, spewing words of health, wellness, balance, fitness and life, and I had yet to figure it out myself.

Some might take this opportunity and say, well, that sucks. Life is life and these are the cards I have been dealt. Well, that’s just not me. See I was born stubborn, almost to a fault, and really, I’m the type of gal that well, if you tell me “No” — I’m likely going to try just that much harder… and I have to say on that day, on the back country road in New Hampshire, leaves just starting to change and show their beauty, I for the first time truly looked around to embraced the peace and quiet and relished in the down time. The moment where I could, breathe, cry, scream or sing if I wanted to. I could do anything I wanted to do and nobody could tell me any different. WHY HAD I NOT SEEN THIS BEFORE?! This time was MINE. I own it. I have no choice but to be here in this moment, on this drive, headed in this direction, so I was going to own it.

Ok, so I’m driving and I’m running at the same time?

Ha, nope. Did you just try and picture that. What a great sight that would have been I’m sure and if I could, I would have happy done so. After all, in my busy day, I used to get sooo frustrated with my commute and what it took  away from me, from my kids, from my family. I could be cooking dinner, or heck what an amazing run I could have in two hours!! TWO HOURS!!

Then it hit me! I have control of this! I HAVE CONTROL OF THIS!

Who says I can’t have it all? Who says their is not enough time in the day?? This whole time I was talking myself down a negative spiral of all the things I told my self that I COULDN’T do! I can’t, Maddison has dance. I can’t, we have dinner at that time. I can’t, I need to… sound familiar. All the while I was wallowing in resentment that I NEVER HAD TIME FOR ME!

And so it started. It was time for change. It was time to stop allowing myself to feel the guilt that I PUT ON MYSELF to be the person that I FELT society said I should be. I enlisted the help of my friends. I ask for more help from my husband. I created a schudule and on it, I actually scheduled in time for ME. EVERYDAY there is a slot. A 30 minute slot that is JUST FOR ME. And yes, this time might just happen to be at 430 in the morning, before much of the world is up. But I am grateful for that, because it is a time where I can just breathe. I can live. I can feel the rush of the cool, wet fall air, as the rain mists and the street light glow, enjoying the conversation of a good friend.

So you see, YOU CAN DO whatever you CHOOSE to put your mind to.

You CAN still be successful, in your dreams, in your goals, in your desires, without giving up all of the other things and roles you find so important.

We have an EXTREMELY powerful tool and it is called the mind and it can amazingly push us towards our most impossible goal or it can leave us defeated wishing we could have only tried harder.

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So girl, Stop. What are your goals? Have you always wanted to be thinner?  Have you dreamed of losing the last 10 pounds of baby weight? Have you tried to run that 5K you told yourself you would do by the time you were 40 only to back out because you didn’t think you would be ready in time? Or do you simply fantasize about the day you will have the energy to get through the entire day without feeling absolutely exhausted and actually enjoy being able to physically play with your kids.

IMG_5510I mean, the goal is YOURS. YOU CAN DO IT. You CAN do ANYTHING you truly put your minds to. But first you have to TRULY believe you can. There is no might. There is no maybe. The only worlds that can cross your lips is HELL YES, I CAN AND I WILL DO THIS TODAY!

THIS life is short. MAKE IT. OWN IT. I mean really girl, your daughter just asked you for some of your drink and your cup is empty.

Pumpkin Spice Coffee Creamer

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Are you trying to eat clean. Remove preservatives and additives from your diet but can’t live without your morning cup of Joe? Yep. Feel you. And in truth for the average healthy adult 3-6 mg of caffeine can actually assist with a workout, improve your mood and overall feeling of well-being. Now how do you like them apples! 

While all the flavored creamers taste wonderful, but they come laden with their own surprises… Making your own homemade creamers is simple, easy and cost-effective.

Feel free to substitute your milk of choice and adjust the condensed milk to your desired sweetness!

~Enjoy.
INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 2 tbsp pure vanilla
  • 1/2 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tbsp nutmeg.

fullsizeoutput_3effINSTRUCTIONS:

Combine all ingredients into storage container of choice. Shake well. Allow to sit overnight. Use according to preference.

Alter flavors as you prefer. Almond extract, hazelnut, caramel etc.

 

Parkers’ Garden Fresh Marinara 

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As a kid I savored the smell and taste of fresh tomato sauce. As a health conscious mom – I love that I can bring these memories and comforts of childhood into my own home. Fresh, nutritious and family friendly. 

  • 1 Peck fresh Garden tomatoes
  • 1 Large fresh zucchini (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red wine
  • 6 oz. organic tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2-4 cloves fresh garlic crushed 
  • 1/2 -1 tbsp. Salt 
  • 1/4 tbsp ground pepper
  • 1/4 tbsp oregano
  • 1 tsp. Celery salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil
  • 1/2 -1 medium red onion chopped 

(All ingredient with ranges can be  adjusted to desired taste)

 

DIRECTIONS

  • Quarter and removed rind of tomatoes; add to large stew pot. 
  • Add olive oil garlic, basil and onion. 
  • Boil until tomatoes are softened (approx. 1/2hr) 
  • Removed from heat. 
  • Using immersion blender — blend ingredients thoroughly.
  • Add all other ingredients; mix well. 
  • Return to low heat. Allow to simmer for one hour. 
  • Serve or chill can/freeze.

***Makes approx. 8 (4 cup) portions. ***

If freezing — add 6 oz. can of organic tomato paste when dethawed. 

This recipe is the property of Refocused Fitness +  Nutrition LLC ©  

IT’S TWO O’CLOCK SOMEWHERE

ENERGY….. How can I get more?! 

  • Just to get through the day?
  • To get through a workout
  • To balance your events of the night before?
  • Is your nutrition ZAPPING your energy stores?
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Easy #1: HYDRATE! Put the coffee down (Don’t hate– momma needs her coffee to) but on a serious note — its not helping you. What color is your urine? #drinkup
Easy #2: GET RID OF SUGAR! Sure an ice cream on a hot day sounds fantastic, but its psyching out your body. Sugars has your body doing the happy dance for all of an hour and then it crashes leaving you craving more.
Easy #3: EAT VARIETY. Are you TRULY what you need? Your busy! You eat on the run. Eat? what is that? When our diets lack our bodies #suffer. How does it tell us it needs more or needs cleaning? #Fatigue.
Easy #4: “Fill in the gaps where your diet lacks”. As we age our bodies do not absorb as well as they used to. #bloat. Furthermore, our foods sources are often traveling long distances, ripening in route. What does this mean for you.
It isn’t your grammas kitchen–Farm to table. Our foods today often provide less nutrients then foods of yesteryear — leaving the American diet, nutrient depleted… and your body craving for you to meet its needs.
 

Have you tried all and your Energy still Zapped?

 

  • djadb_text_font_brand_line_emotionMid-afternoon pick me up? Try Green Tea. Fill your favorite water bottle and add one of these single serving pouches. You will not only start to get the boost you need but also will be giving yourself a healthy does of antioxidants!
  • Pre-workout Boost? Energy chews Will get you over the hump and rocking your workout! These little guys pack a punch despite their natural ingredients! A must have for a busy mom who occasionally misses a morning workout or is dragging through the afternoon. Best part — tastes just as good as it works!
  • Try a this grab and go staple – — yes please. Peace of mind knowing you can eat healthy even in a pinch. As a busy mom on the run — these bars are always in the cabinet. It is nearly impossible to ALWAYS get a good meal in. Now with a new schedule and school starting — the bars give me the energy I need to keep going without the guilt of splurging on the high sugar or high fat alternatives.
  • Need more ideas on how to boost your energy and feel your best self? Message me to arrange an appointment or check out additional supplements, meal replacements, and nutritional support here.
As with ALL dietary modifications, supplementation or fitness 
programs, always consult you healthcare provider for safety and interactions with currently health practices and/or treatments. The information provided in this article is strictly those expressed by the 
author.

Fresh Green Bean and Tomato Caprese Salad

Still have some wonderfully fresh green beans and tomatoes in your garden?

I might secretly still be holding on to the last few moments of summer. While fall always seems to bring  a breath of fresh air — literally, I love the crisp taste of summer.

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Photo credit: Clean Food Crush.com

 

Ingredients

  • 1-2 pounds fresh green beans, rinsed and ends trimmed
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 chopped Red onion
  • 4 Tbsps olive
  • 3 Tbsps fresh lemon juice
  • 2-3 Tbsps balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp fresh garlic minced
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 cup celery powder/salt (optional) If use celery salt, omit sea salt.
  • 6 oz fresh mozzarella balls or pieces
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil leave chopped
  • 1 full ripe avocado diced (optional) 

Instructions

  1. Steam green beans until tender or bright green. (approx. 5-10 minute)
  2. Rinse beans in ice bath until chilled; Drain and pat dry.
  3. In large mixing bowled tomato, red onions and chilled/drained green beans.
  4. In separate bowl add oil, lemon juice, vinegar, salt, garlic, celery powder and pepper. Wisk together until fully blended. (Immersion blenders are a great option) 
  5. Add mixture to tomato, green bean and onion bowl; Toss well.
  6. Cover the bowl and chill for approx. 1 hour.
  7. Add mozzarella and basil and Serve.
  8. Optional: Add 1 full diced avocado prior to serving.

Eating Organic On A Budget

WHY organic??

Simply stated, there are chemicals in your food source, you can’t see, you can’t taste and you are not told they are there. From a clinician stand point, this is a difficult and hot topic.  Its important to weigh the risk verses the benefit. With a central focus on autoimmunity and allergies in our household, choosing organic foods is a priority. It is also concerning that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and its affiliates suggest that the risk of ingestion of pesticides for children exceed that of an adult and can have an impact on the childs’ brain development, specifically IQ, perceptual reasoning, and non-verbal problem solving skills. More information can be found at Pesticide Exposure in Children. Being from New Hampshire our childhood cancer statistics are DOUBLE that of the national average! 

As a family of 4 the cost of groceries is, “do-able”. We spend and average of $100.00 to $150.00 per week giver or take. For our family and for many clients I work with, COST is a HUGE factor when it come to the choice and the ability to purchase organic food. I often here, is it really worth the price tag? 6678df60655298a464c9447fa3f8f763

While some days I like to live by the notion that at least there is food in the house, most days that doesn’t work very well, for me or for anyone else. I’m a planner and in the world of mom-hood my well intended plans don’t always manifest.

There a few things I can control however, when it comes to choosing the food in the house and staying on a budge.

  •  Choose wisely who you go shopping with… I personally find the smallest amount of time when I don’t have the kids. This means that I squeeze in time after work, a doctors appointment or hope they want to stay with dad,  or the grandparents for an extra hour or two. I’m smiling as I write this with a mild chuckle because this is a rarity, but brings such pleasure — a coffee, a cart and some peace and quite = Bliss. The reality is, if I do have the kids with me, or anyone else for that matter, I get distracted, add snacks to the cart and before you know it, I have a whole cart of food, I never intended to buy and have spent far more then I have budgeted for.

 

  • If the above can’t happen, I’m purchasing my groceries on-line. This isn’t my favorite means but time with my children is one of my precious assets. Truthfully I have had great experiences with the items I receive, without concerns related to fresh produce, meats or replacement items as needed. Shopping online also allows me to stick strictly to my budget within the chaos of my own home.

 

  • Regardless of how we get our groceries –  I ALWAYS use a list. I plan meals for each ecc1d90d84ec404959a1a498aa489361day of the week and do my best to stick to them. I account for meetings, sporting events and dance and always plan for one night to order out or enjoy a rare moment as a family. I encourage you to do the same if you are not already. Having a list keeps me on the straight and narrow. I only buy what we need and  it prevents a trip to the local market that always comes with a higher price tag.

 

  • Take the time each week to look at the sales flyer. I know this takes time, approximately 5-10 minutes to be exact and its right on-line. I’m sorry to state the obvious but you just took longer then that to read this post — you could have saved yourself enough to buy your specialty coffee you’d love to be sipping at the moment. From there I plan my meals around what is on sale. Its not always perfect, but there is no perfect in our home.

 

  • I alternate between our local grocery store and our specialty health store, every other week. I always have to have gluten-free alternatives in the house and have found that most of these products are less expense at the specialty stores.  Here I also purchase our grass fed meats and any “special” items I get for the kids, I’ve done the price comparison and it truly is worth it.

 

You can opt to purchase your organic products at the regular grocery store, but use caution. In my experience doing so actually ends up costing me more. Of course, if the season allows, it might be worth your while to stroll your local farmers market and spread some love to the locals. These foods will be more nutritionally dense and ultimately cost less.

NOT EVERYTHING you eat has to be organic. 

Its important to understand that organic food does not mean without chemicals. Simply stated. What organic means is there is a specialized list of approximately 25 chemicals that are allowed to be used in the soil and/or on the crop that is being produced.

DTvwwrjVMAA8CctIn general non-organic crops are exposed to upward of 700 pesticides from ground to table.

Now this might not seem important and in fact may seem very distant as we purchase our foods from the market. Sadly what looks safe and healthy likely holds hidden dangers.

How do you choose.

Purchase “ Regular”  for The Clean Fifteen

The Clean 15 are a list of 15 fruits and vegetables that  have been proven to have limited  presence of pesticide inside, NEVER greater then 4 pesticides when the fruit and/or vegetables when NOT grown in an organic environment.

  • Avocado
  • Sweet Corn
  • Pineapple
  • Papaya
  • Cabbage
  • Onions
  • Sweet peas
  • Mangos
  • Eggplants
  • Honeydew
  • Kiwi
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus

 Purchase Organic for “The Dirty Dozen”

These 12 items — have tested to have the highest amount of pesticides when not grown organically. As a matter of fact 98% of these items had at least one pesticide present during this years study. Our home favorite, strawberries topped the list for another year in a row containing greater then 20 Pesticides in a single strawberry– ouch. Spinach tested to have 1.8 times as much pesticide residue by weight than any other crop.  (California added hot peppers for a total of 13)

  • Strawberries
  • Spinach
  • Nectarines
  • Apples
  • Grapes
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Cherries
  • Tomatoes
  • Celery
  • Potatoes

RECAP — Budgeting Tips

Shop sales – this is hugely important; while I know it takes time to get used to it will save you in the long run.

Eat what is in season – you can be assured you will pay less due to availability and it will be the freshest choices you have available. images

Seek out the local farmers market for organic growers – the less time a product has in transport the more nutrients it retains and the less it cost. (consider it free shipping).

In a pinch – Look for the organic canned and/or frozen options (in its own juices). While not as nutritionally dense as the fresh alternative, the cost saving and usability is sure to please.

For times when your budget doesn’t allow you to purchase organic simply do your best. Remember to always rinse your fruits and vegetables prior to cooking, serving or consuming. Diluted Basic H  is great money saving tool to take the place of special fruit or vegetable rinses that are on the market today. Simply spray, rinse and your ready to go.

Have more questions? Need support. Nutrition guidance. Please feel free to reach out.

Happy Shopping.

Self LOVE — Put your oxygen on.

Gaining energy, kindness, compassion and friendships through simply loving yourself.

imagesWhat is it about you that you are proud of? What do you enjoy about yourself? Are you kind? Giving? Thoughtful? A good listener? Maybe you are a hard worker. A good dad. Mom. Wife. Friend.

In my younger years, I struggled. I struggles with who “I” was. I struggled with what I believed in. I allowed others to determine my self-worth. As a fitness and health conscious person, I heard multiple comments about being “to into yourself”. Striving for perfection. I started to believe this in those vulnerable years.

Maturation brought a new vision and with that a breath of confidence and perseverance. Setting goals and achieving them. Pursuing a life “I” wanted to live. Surrounding myself with like-minded people — positive in thought and life perception.

Then came motherhood. Another challenge. As a society, it has been embedded that your children are your priority and they are always to come first. For myself as a mother, I naturally wanted to do just this. I personally never knew a love as strong as the love I hold for my children. I can simply smell their hair and all is right in the world.

During all of this it is so very easy to lose yourself. It surrounds you with the everyday tasks of parenthood and life. Housework, chores, groceries, bills, dance, sports, the list is endless. At the end of the day you are left with limited store to give to yourself let alone anyone else. You collapse into the soft welcoming embrace of your bed that you are praying that for once, you do not end up sharing with the little that pranced in, in the wee hours of the morning. The only love you are making is that to your pillow, for the thought of moving another muscle is simply tiring in and of itself.

I ask you, through all of this, where does this leave you? How are YOU feeling? How is 820630-take-cARE-oF-YOURSELF2
your marriage, is it suffering? Your social life? Your health? Fitness? WHAT ABOUT YOU?

Two years ago, our family took a trip to Disney. It was the last trip as a family of 3. We were sitting on the tarmac, ready to take off, when you hear the to familiar instructions. Exits, overhead compartments, yada yada. I have heard these statements every time prior, but this time there was something that hit home for me in a way it truly never did before.

Put your own oxygen on first, then help your neighbor 

As a nurse this felt like common knowledge but had never really though of the philosophy of it all… It’s like a light went off. Dah– Carolyn — if you don’t have your own oxygen you will be dead and good luck caring for anyone else.

Ok simple statement. But I question, why is it that we DO NOT do this in our every day lives? Why is it that we exhaust our energy stores? We forget to eat. Your bladder is amazing because you hold it the majority of the day. And when was the last time you went on a date? Like actually got dressed up, felt good, fit and healthy and went out on a date? Wait, fit and healthy? Up yeah — time for fitness? Unless you’re talking at 4am — I’m thinking sleep trumps all. (not really)

Don’t get me wrong. I know why. I hear it all the time.

“How are they on vacation and left their kids at home? I could never do that” 

“I don’t have time for the gym” 

“I am so busy and I eat on the run”

Believe me, I have caught myself saying some of these things. But why? What message am I sending? I have to be honest with myself and with you.

Actions speak far louder than worlds and I am saying, “they are not a priority” — “I am not important”. Now let me ask you, those people who are watching you. Those little beings, whether yours of someone elses’. What do you want them to see? Hear? Be when they become YOU? Interesting thought isn’t it.

Taking care of yourself? 

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Since my experience on the tarmac, working diligently on self-love and who I want my kids to see and become has been at the forefront of my daily endeavors. It is my goal as parent to be a role model, leading by example. I want them to learn that being in good health is important. Relationships are more important than things. Kindness to others, brings happiness in yourself. Everything worth while, takes a little time, work and patience. When they are struggling they need to take time out for themselves, regroup and try again.  In doing this, here are the things that I have experienced and learned:

  • I am a better mother. I have patience. I am not as stressed. I enjoy the QUALITY of time I get to spend with my kids.
  • Inner peace. I take a deep breath, relax and truly feel well. I have less stress which in turn means my physical health is benefiting.
  • The guilt fades. I had to talk myself through being away from my children when I chose to do something for myself. It still is some days difficult but it gets easier and I LOVE coming back to them.
  • I am a better wife. I don’t have resentment. I feel fulfilled and have more patience.
  • I actually have MORE to give to everyone. Showing kindness and gratitude to others feels amazing and my relationships flourish.
  • I have more energy and am able to achieve more than in the moments then when I felt that I had the world on my shoulders.
  • I am a person, independent of my children, my husband, family and peers and it is amazing.

Breaking the mold that society places on parenthood — allowing you to LOVE yourself, care for yourself and put yourself first is not only an option, it is essential. You are not selfish, self-centered or egotistical. In fact you are just the opposite. You are teaching those around you, leading by example that you are important, loved and valuable. I hope my children grow to see exactly that in themselves.

Blessings,

Carolyn

I’m Vulnerable, and Thats ok.

 

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I remember the first day, I stepped out of the house with no make up on. My second born was just barely 4 weeks old. The summer sun was hot and I was doing my best to keep my *&it together. My five year old was thriving for my attention, and by thriving, I’m putting it kindly. I truly don’t remember where we were going but I remember the struggle and I remember my “I don’t give F**%” attitude”. I’m pretty sure I still had my maternity yoga pants on and some baggy tank top- but I simply didn’t care. I was clothed the kids were clean and lets face it life will in fact go on. When I reflect back, there is something so freeing about that memory.

At what point did we allow the world out there, to dictate what happens in here. Ok, yes I know there are some of you that say, “Nope not me”, but I’m sure there are more like myself who was letting myself be guided about what I thought my blue print should be instead of what felt right in my heart. I was creating FAR more stress for myself — inadvertently impacting my health both physically and mentally.

Since this moment of recognition, and several weeks after I put myself to work and started to reflect inward. What is it that I was passionate about? What drives me? Who matters? What matter? What are MY life goals? Who do I, yes I, sorry I have to emphasize it, “I” want to be. I say this because, I like so many other was and still sometimes find myself falling into the mold of what and how society says I should be. As social beings we WANT to fit in!

Now don’t get me wrong this hasn’t been an easy road and some days I catch myself and need to reel it back in but it has gotten so much easier. I am  also grateful to report,  I am SOOOO much happier because of it. Even if it took me many years, tears and frustrations to get here. It is so worth it.

Something I have learned (quite possibly I am the last to know), is that humans flourishimages as social beings. We are truly losing this with our busy schedules, social media and our own expectations. Being around others and sharing in love is what brings true, authentic happiness. Its not things, or money. It is love, compassion and kindness. Did you know we can reduce the incidence of depression and anxiety through random acts of kindness?? Food for thought.

When I talk about health, nutrition and fitness, for myself as not only a holistic professional but also a professional who practices western medicine it is so so important to get to the being- the person on the inside. If one never gets to the root of the problem– they can never reap the rewards of overcoming it. Now, of course this is not an easy process for some, myself included. You mean to tell me I am not perfect. Ha. I can happily say, I am so far from it and am totally ok with that — now. However the process to get there has not been an easy one. I have had to be vulnerable, and…

Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. 

We all like to say, “I don’t care what people think”. I’m sorry to be there barer of bad news, but most of us do. When people love us and are kind, we flourish. When we feel unsuccessful or rejected we sink. This is the same for our children as well. Something I work hard to practice with own. I remember distinctly when I as a teen playing soccer in high school, I was on top of the world. I started in every game and had the motivation to do better. I went to college and all that faded. I sat the bench, watched others I had played with before rise and I lost all my desire. I later quit because I lost my momentum and couldn’t get my head back in the game. Your mental state is everything.

IMG_3229Whatever it is for you practice allowing yourself to be vulnerable. Being your true authentic self allows you to live life to the fullest. Its a breath of fresh air. It is OK to be you. Does someone else opinion of you really matter if you are being TRUE to yourself??As I start every day, I praise the higher power for at least three things I am grateful for before my feet even hit the floor. I start my day with a grateful heart. You would be amazed how over time you can change your days. My house is not perfect, as a matter of fact as I write this it is a mess. My fitness is a work in progress. My marriage has multiple ups and downs. Lets face it life crazy, but I feel blessed for every piece of it!

Most importantly what I have learned about being authentic, is you WILL be ok. People really WILL love you for you. As a matter of fact, they will like and appreciate you more. YOU will love you and it is from here you will find success. As I have practiced this over the last year, I have reconnected with more old friends. I have been able to show kindness is the most random and unpredicted places. I have seen more smiles on friends and strangers faces from simple random acts of kindness and a full heart. My heart smiles in this because, it is that for which I am. Peace be with you.

Carolyn