The Power of Yoga: 6 Lessons that Led Me to Love


For years I’ve had a love – hate relationship with yoga.

It’s such a beautiful practice and I love the expression of it that I see from others. Yet, I hate the struggle it presents for me because of my limited flexibility.

I realize yoga is about so much more than stretching and flexibility. It is truly a spiritual practice.

This has been one of the most challenging years for me. Every area of my life has shifted and I’ve been forced completely outside of my comfort zone.

Recently, I finally decided to stop resisting the changes and began to embrace them.

That mindset has followed me to the mat.  I’ve been incorporating yoga into my lifestyle for the past few weeks.

I started out practicing once or twice a week because my body was so tense and I felt like I needed it.

Now, my yoga practice is aligning with my life. I’m experiencing a tremendous transformation in my life, and the same thing is happening on the mat.

I increased my practice to daily sessions and I’m amazed by my progress.

Obviously, my flexibility has improved. But here are some of the lessons I’m learning on the mat and in life.

  1. Be present and enjoy the moment. When I take the time to be fully present in the poses I’m not focused on the time. I bask in every sensation my body experiences. It reminds me that I’m alive.
  2. Be grateful. My body is functioning and moving and serving me in ways that I don’t take notice of often enough. I no longer take that for granted.
  3. Don’t be judgmental. I have spent most of my life being critical of myself and my body, especially this past year as I’ve gained some weight. But as I feel the changes happening in my body, and I become more flexible with every practice, I feel so grateful.  How dare I judge something that is working so hard for me. My body is a temple. It should be cherished. No amount of weight gain or weight loss will ever change that. My body is uniquely mine. Therefore, it is perfect!
  4. I’m enough. Whatever I bring to the mat on any given day is enough. Sometimes I can do more. Some days I’m capable of less. But whatever I have in me on any given day is enough.
  5. Know your limitations. My yoga practice – as is my life – is uniquely my own. I’m not competing with the person next to me or the instructor on the video. I have limitations. I can take a break if I need to or modify my poses. That’s perfectly ok.
  6. Be consistent. You get out of it what you put into it. Everyday that I practice I get a little stronger, and little more flexible. It doesn’t even matter how much time I put in each day, I just have to show up and do the work.

It amazes me how the challenges I’m working through in my personal life mirror those I’m working through on the mat. That revelation has been a tremendous aha moment for me.

These new insights are my inspiration to get to the mat everyday. I don’t have to fear or dread my practice anymore because I’m not going to get there and feel like I’m inadequate. I’m more than enough and I have just as much a right to be there as anybody else.

Now I get it. That’s why I didn’t want to practice yoga. I believed that because I couldn’t execute the poses perfectly I shouldn’t be there. I felt insecure.

It’s heartbreaking to realize that’s how I’ve felt in my life for so long.

But now I know better. And it’s empowering!  Neither life or yoga is about perfection.

As is the case in my life, I have learned in yoga that all I need to do is just show up! The rest will work itself out.

From here on out, I no longer have a love – hate relationship with yoga. It’s ALL LOVE!

Love for the practice and love for myself because now I can clearly see that my struggle was never about yoga anyway, it was all about me.


Please DON’T Overlook this Mineral in the Vegan Diet!

The primary reason most people consider a vegan diet, and subsequently adopt the lifestyle, is because of the numerous health benefits. From weight loss to low cholesterol to heart health there are a lot of health benefits to following a plant based diet.

kelpOn the fitness side, you’re also seeing many elite athletes switching to the vegan diet, if only temporarily, when they need to get in optimal health for competition. Triathletes, runners, bodybuilders, and football players have proclaimed the physical benefits.

On the flip side there are a couple of areas that must be monitored. When it comes to essential nutrients that can’t be obtained from fruit and veggies, vegans need to beware. The most common nutrients to monitor are protein and iron. These are always of concern, so most people stay on the lookout for issues.

As I indicated in my previous blog, I recently discovered the importance of iodine. I didn’t get a handle on my iodine intake soon enough and it caused – or at least contributed to – some key health issues I’ve been experiencing for the past couple of years. You can check out “This One Nutrient Drastically Impacted My Vegan Diet & Health” for more information about that.

Iodine is an essential mineral I don’t think most people give much thought to, but it’s crucial for vegans and vegetarians to consider. There are several reasons to be mindful of iodine deficiency:

  1. Thyroid Function – it can impact the functioning of the thyroid. Both too little or too much iodine can cause an enlarged thyroid gland, commonly known as a goiter. Hypothyroidism, in which metabolism slows and weight and cholesterol increases; or hyperthyroidism, in which metabolism increases resulting in weight loss.
  2. Brain Development – it can inhibit brain development in a fetus, therefore, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consume higher levels of iodine than the standard recommended amount for women in general.
  3. Mental Retardation – it’s the most common preventable cause of mental retardation.

Since iodine isn’t found in fruit and veggies, vegans and vegetarians are at greater risk for iodine deficiency. Foods high in iodine include dairy products, eggs, seafood and some types of bread.

The good news is it doesn’t require a lot of iodine to reduce the health risks. Iodine recommendations vary depending on age and other factors.  Recommendations are expressed in micrograms, which is one-millionth of a gram. The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for teens and adults is 150 micrograms per day; pregnant women need 220 micrograms per day; and women who are breastfeeding need 290 micrograms per day.

Since I felt my health situation required me to take drastic measures to get my iodine levels on track, I added salmon, tuna and eggs to my diet. But you don’t have to do that. As a vegan or vegetarian there are things you can do, including:

  1. Eat iodized salt. I was consuming sea salt, which does not include iodine. The container of salt will indicate whether or not it contains iodine. Now, I buy iodized salt.
  2. Eat seaweed. Most of the iodine found on the earth is found in the ocean. Since the availability of iodine from seaweed is variable, be mindful of the potential to consume too much. The most common seaweed among vegans is kelp. As mentioned earlier, too much iodine can also cause health risks, including arsenic toxicity from excess kelp.  Eating seaweed a few times a week should suffice.
  3. Use an iodine supplement. If you are watching your dietary sodium and don’t use much salt, or if you prefer to avoid iodized salt, a small daily iodine supplement is a good idea.  A regular multi-vitamin and mineral supplement may contain iodine – check the label. The amount of iodine in your supplement should be close to the RDA for your age group.

As always, most of my blog content is based on my personal experiences, as is the case with this topic. These are just my thoughts and some generic suggestions regarding iodine. But I highly recommend you consult your physician for recommendations that are specific to you and factor in your overall health.

 Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

This One Nutrient Drastically Impacted My Vegan Diet & Health


It has been a long time since I’ve blogged. Way too long! Not to make excuses, but there are a few reasons for that.

I relocated to Florida last year and for a little while my priorities shifted. I still care about health and wellness, but I have other projects I work on that are unrelated to this blog. Since I apparently can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, my blog got pushed to the side. Nevertheless, I’m back and I want to share a few things that have impacted me.

For the past year I have been struggling to stay on track with my healthy vegan lifestyle. It’s not because I don’t’ believe in it anymore, I still do. I may have mentioned in a previous blog that I have fibroids. I should say I have one HUGE fibroid. It has thrown me completely off balance – mentally, spiritually, and physically.

Fortunately, it’s not intrauterine so I don’t suffer from many of the physical symptoms other women suffer. My fibroid sits on top of my uterus and my bladder, so my only physical symptom is excessive urination. I joke that I have the bladder of a pregnant woman in her third trimester.  Actually, my doctor equates the size of my fibroid to that of a woman who is five months pregnant.

I’ve tried to take my health challenges in stride, but the past year has been tough. When I initially found out about my fibroid I resorted to the natural approach. I chose to tackle it through my diet. I truly believe food is medicine, so that’s always my first course of treatment. After about six months of diet changes I went back to my doctor. It didn’t shrink, but she was excited that it hadn’t grown any larger. That was encouraging.

However, there is one side effect that is quite discouraging. Since there is a connection between fibroids and estrogen dominance, I began to notice those effects on my body. The biggest effect has been on my weight. I’ve had the hardest time losing weight without a lot of effort, and I’ve been steadily gaining weight. That has impacted me the most, especially my self-confidence.

While I was struggling with finding balance, including hormonal balance, I didn’t feel inspired to blog about health and wellness. I tend to teach others as I learn, but this time I couldn’t do that because I’ve been trying to figure it all out.

Another change I noticed was in my hair. I’ve always had strong, healthy hair so when it started getting thinner and shedding more, I was really concerned.

Honestly, I’ve felt like my body has been invaded, and I don’t even feel like myself. I’m just beginning to find my way back.  I’ve decided that I do want to have the surgery to remove the fibroid. I’m going to have it this year. In the meantime, I’m taking charge of my life. I’m taking control of the things that I can.

I’ve abandoned the excuse that it’s impossible for me to lose weight until I have surgery. That’s not true. I may not be able to lose 5 pounds as quickly or easily as I have in the past, but I CAN still lose them.

I began to suspect that my iodine levels were deficient. The more I researched it, the more it made sense to me. I also believe there is a connection between my iodine deficiency and my fibroid growth. Being a vegan, I was at risk of iodine deficiency. Unfortunately, I didn’t know to look out for that. You hear so much about vegans lacking adequate protein and iron. So, I kept an eye on those things. But I didn’t do that with my iodine levels.

There are so many things vegans and vegetarians can do to get iodine. I’m going to focus a full blog on that next week.

I felt like I’ve been deficient so long, I needed to do something to have an immediate impact. About four months ago I added wild caught salmon and tuna into my diet. I chose these two because of their omega 3’s. I also added eggs. I prefer cage free because they too have lots of omega 3’s.

So far, I’m happy with the changes. I’ve seen a tremendous improvement in my hair and iodine levels. I’m not sure if I’ll go back to a strictly vegan diet or not. With the exception of adding the fish and eggs, I kept my other eating habits the same. I still don’t eat dairy, cheese, or meat. Most days it’s plant-based anyway. I have fish about 3-4 days per week.

So, now I’m on the upswing and I’m working to become the best, healthiest version of myself. If you too are trying to re-establish healthy routines, keep these things in mind.

  1. Take it one day at a time. Don’t get consumed by how far you think you have to go, do what you can today.
  2. Don’t compare yourself to your former self. Accept where you are right now. It’s okay. Just remind yourself that everyday you’re getting stronger and better.
  3. Keep it simple. Do one small thing each day to restore your health. Whether it’s drinking more water, adding more fruit and veggies, or just doing something active, such as walking, swimming, or biking. Positive change happens over time – if you’re consistent in your efforts.
  4. You’re good enough now. Don’t convince yourself that you’ll be good enough or better once you hit a magical weight loss goal or fit into an old pair of jeans. You’re good enough right now, even if you never lose another pound.
  5. Be grateful. An attitude of gratitude will help you appreciate where you are on your journey and remind you that life is good.

Until next time…

Peace & Blessings!

Summer Lovin’ … How It Restored My Health!

summer lovin

We’re about two weeks into the summer season and I’m starting to feel the benefits. The primary reason for that is I can still vividly recall the end of last summer.

I was so disappointed to see it end. I had gotten into such a groove. I was working out consistently and I was eating the right kinds of foods; foods that were conducive to summer – salads, juices, smoothies. I was practically overdosing on watermelon! (It’s my FAV!)

Not to mention I was getting into great physical shape. When the weather is good I spend more time exercising outside and I’m naturally more active.

So, when the fall season began, I rebelled…BIG TIME! I did not want to switch to heavy foods again. My body wasn’t even craving that stuff. I knew it was going to impact me. But after a point, I was forced to drop my resistance. My training at IIN taught me about Ayurveda, so I knew I needed to surrender to the season if I had any shot at achieving balance.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Ayurveda is a 5,000 year-old system of natural healing that has its origins in the Vedic culture of India. It’s defined as a “Science of Life.” It offers a body of wisdom designed to help people stay vital while realizing their full human potential. It provides guidelines on ideal daily and seasonal routines, diet, behavior, and the proper use of our senses.

Basically, using Ayurvedic principles we are able to create harmony between what our bodies need and the cycle of nature. That’s why in the spring and summer we crave light foods, and in the fall and winter we tend to crave heavy, comfort foods like soups and chili.

Well, I’ve been excited to embrace summer, especially now that I’ve relocated to Florida. Living near the ocean is conducive to a more easy-going, healthy lifestyle. Prior to relocating, I was under tremendous stress over my move, and my body was reacting to it. I was a slave to my flesh. I pretty much fed it whatever it wanted: candy, cookies, bread, chips, etc. These were my comfort foods and they got me through my transition.

Now that I’ve been in place for a month, I’m settling into a sense of normalcy. I’m no longer living out of boxes, and most importantly, my kitchen is unpacked. I know where my pots and pans are, and I can eat at home more often.

Thankfully, I’m getting into a groove again. I’m doing yoga, running, eating more salads, and replacing my morning oatmeal with fresh juices or smoothies. I’m basically giving my body whatever it needs. It’s craving a lot of yoga now because of all the tension I’ve been carrying around. I’ve never really enjoyed yoga because I’ve found it hard. I only did it because of the health benefits. But I can honestly say, I’m enjoying it so much! It feels so luxurious to spend an hour or more doing gentle yoga. It’s the same feeling as when you spend an hour getting a massage. This is a new experience for me and I hope it becomes addictive.

So, if I can offer you any tips from all of this, I’d say the following:

  1. Listen to your body – it knows what it needs. So many of us have grown accustomed to ignoring the signs we get from our bodies. But once you learn to listen to its promptings, you get better at it and it becomes more difficult to go back to ignoring its signs.
  2. Respond to your body – when it tells you what it needs, be responsive. I went for weeks ignoring how my body was screaming for yoga. My bones were cracking when I got up in the morning. My back was tight and stiff. But as soon as I succumbed to what it needed, I felt 100 times better and looked much more relaxed.
  3. Create a life of harmony and balance. It’s the only way to live. Avoid extremes. Don’t deny yourself either. Some days you may feel like eating veggies, salads, and smoothies. Go with that. But other days you may want ice cream or bread. Give yourself what you need, but don’t overindulge.

I hope you find my experience and these tips helpful. Summer will be over before you know it, so my prayer for you is that you enjoy it while it lasts.

Until next time…

Love, Peace, & Fitness!

5 Reasons You Should Go Vegan THIS Year!


There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t have a conversation with someone about my vegan diet. Most people are just curious about why I chose a vegan lifestyle. Others are curious about what kinds of foods I eat. I also meet quite a few people admit to having tried it before, but couldn’t stick with it.

Listen, I get that everybody isn’t meant to be a vegan. In fact, I recently read an article that said only one percent of the population is vegan. I’d have guessed it was higher than that.

Nevertheless, I’m finding there are more and more people choosing to make the switch. Even a young man in my office is trying to incorporate more plant based foods into his diet and cut back on animal protein. He’s making small adjustments. That’s typically what I suggest to ensure a successful transition – make small, gradual changes.

Since it’s a new year, I figure why not go all in. You know what they say: Go Big or Go Home! When we partially commit to anything we don’t get the optimal results. So, why straddle the fence with this?

The health benefits of following a plant-based diet far outweigh the sacrifices. I realize giving up dairy, eggs and meat isn’t easy. The first couple of weeks will be the hardest, but you can get through it. The key to success is to be prepared and have a plan.

Here are a few reasons you should go vegan in 2016:

  1. You already have some momentum. Most people are still feeling the high of the New Year and having a fresh start. Ride it out. You’ve already made up in your mind that you’re ready for a positive change. Adding this change will be easier if you do it now rather than later.
  2. You’ll see quick results. Since you’ll be making such drastic changes in your eating by eliminating eggs, dairy and meat from your diet your body will respond quickly.  You’ll actually look forward to getting on the scale!
  3. Your overall health is likely to improve. Research shows that vegans have lower cholesterol, lower blood pressure, and lower body fat. Obviously, not all vegans are healthy, but in general we have good health.
  4. You’ll have more energy. As long as you’re getting in your nutrients from fruit and veggies and you’re getting in enough calories, you will feel more energetic. Well planned plant-based diets are rich in protein, iron, calcium, and other essential vitamins and minerals.
  5. You’re helping the environment.  The production of meat and other animal products places a heavy burden on the environment – from crops and water required to feed the animals, to the transport and other processes involved from farm to fork. To the contrary, considerably lower quantities of crops and water are required to sustain a vegan diet. This makes the switch to veganism one of the most effective ways to reduce our impact on the environment.

These are just some of the reasons you should consider following a plant-based diet. There are many more I could list.

So, I will close with one question: if not now, when?

How to Gain the Momentum to Accomplish Your Goals


HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s 2016 and I’m so excited about what’s to come. The new year is such a wonderful time! It offers us a fresh start and a fresh perspective. This is the time that we feel like we can do anything. The sky is the limit. I definitely try to take advantage of this moment of hope and expectation. I don’t make “resolutions”, but I do set goals. I set them throughout the year, but I kick off the main ones at the beginning of the year. The rest of the year I set sub-goals.

I have to say, I typically do pretty well with most of my goals. I tend to get at least 60 percent of them accomplished. I do well with the professional goals, but I often fall short on specific health goals. I think I self-sabotage my efforts. I start out well, and then when I begin to make progress on the scale I usually slack off. I workout with less intensity and eat with fewer restrictions. It’s not intentional. It’s an unconscious pattern. So, that will be something I can work on this year. I really want to make some headway with my weight goals. I need a break through. I know once I get it, I can help others more effectively.

Nevertheless, I do believe I have some insights to help you reach your goals. I have a proven track record of success. So, please allow me to share some of the strategies that work for me. These will work regardless of the type of goals: professional or personal.

  1. Put your goals in writing. The main reason you need to do this is to get it out of your head. Your goals become real once you can see them. It also gives you a means to track your progress. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve stumbled on my goals list months or even years later, and have been able to see how much of it has come to pass. That’s such a blessing.
  2. Break down your big goals into small actionable steps. Identify the small steps you need to take to get the ball rolling. If you want to buy a house, there are several steps to get that done. Get your credit score to see where you stand; pay off small debts to reduce your debt to income ratio; start building your savings account to pay your down payment and closing costs; get pre-qualified, etc. There are so many steps to take. You can do a little bit at a time. All of a sudden it no longer feels overwhelming.
  3. Take immediate action towards completing those small steps. The sooner you start taking action, the sooner you’ll be able to generate some momentum. Those small steps will lead to big steps and before you know it you’ve accomplished your goals.
  4. Get an accountability partner. Immediately tell someone you trust what you plan to do. Be certain it’s someone who is supportive and will encourage you. Not someone who will tell you how impossible it will be to accomplish your goals. If you tell someone about your plans they are likely to occasionally ask you how it’s going. I encourage you to make it more formal by asking them to follow up with you. If you know you have to account for your actions, you are more likely to do it because you don’t want to disappoint anybody else.
  5. Evaluate your progress on a regular basis. Set up intervals to check your progress. These will be your milestones. It can be weekly, monthly, quarterly, etc. Just whatever works for you and will keep you motivated. I don’t recommend letting it go too long without checking your progress. I’d say at least quarterly intervals are appropriate.

If you follow these suggestions you will find it much simpler to accomplish your goals. So, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to make a list of what you’d like to accomplish this year and then get to work. This year is going to pass by whether you do anything or not, so wouldn’t you rather reach the end of it and have made significant changes in your life. You alone are responsible for your destiny. There’s nothing holding you back but you. So, get to work and make 2016 the BEST year ever!

2015 – Finish with a BANG!

finish line ahead

It’s the beginning of December and I’m saying to myself (as usual) – “where has this year gone?” Time has flown by. At least that’s what we always say. When the New Year starts it’s hard to see the end, but once the end comes it always feels like the time has flown by.

I’ve been reflecting on the things I’ve been able to accomplish this year. What did I have on my to-do list in January that still remains now? Did I lose those unwanted pounds? Did I grow my business? Truth be told, the year started out well. I was excited and motivated and knocking things off the list. I participated in a health conference promoting healthy living. I started a nonprofit organization that’s intended to create community gardens in urban neighborhoods. I even made connections in the community garden world in Atlanta. I met people who were more than happy to assist me in my new endeavor.

That sounds like a lot, but somewhere along the way I managed to get off track. I lost my wind about a third of the way through the year, especially this last quarter. It’s hard to say why or where it all began to go south. If I had to guess, I’d say I lost my focus. I started allowing myself to be distracted by people and things in my life. I know from prior experience that when you’re trying to accomplish goals it requires laser focus. That’s true for both professional and personal goals.

One of the biggest mistakes I made when I lost my focus is I kept waiting to “feel” like doing something. That’s not how it works. Getting started creates the energy and momentum needed to keep going. If I sit and wait for the motivation, nothing happens. Energy begets energy. I’ve noticed that the more I sit around and watch TV, the more I want to sit around and watch TV.

The other part of discipline is knowing that discipline comes from doing it. The more you do the thing you don’t want to do despite how you feel about it, the easier it is to do it. I’m learning to leave my feelings out of the equation.

So, even though we’re in the final month of the year, here are some tips to get back on track in order to start the New Year with some momentum.

  1. Remember why you started in the first place. What compelled you to set that goal? What is it your health? Your lackluster job?  Your children? If those reasons still exist, then you need to get back on course.
  2. Identify what you’re willing to do to get to the end result. Determine what it is that you’re willing to give up to ensure you reach your goal. Anything worth having requires sacrifice.
  3. Don’t wait to feel ready, just get started. Once you start you’ll be able to create energy that you can build on. The more you do, the more you can do.
  4. Remember, you have everything you need at this moment to do what you need to do. It’s not dependent upon having more money, more resources, or more people. Do what you can with what you have. Trust in the fact that you will always have what you need at the time you need it. Sometimes that means doing something on a smaller scale, but do what you can.
  5. Believe in yourself. You are skilled, talented, and you can do anything you set your mind to.

So, as we prepare to wrap up this year in a few short weeks I encourage you to get back on your saddle and finish strong!  Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

Don’t Let the “Fall” – Lead You to Failure!

fall image

The start of the fall season has been a mixed bag for me. On the one hand, I love the beautiful scenery from the autumn leaves. I also love being able to wear my favorite winter boots – I think most women look forward to that.

On the other hand, it’s really interfering with my workout and eating habits. My preferred time to work out is first thing in the morning. I like to get it out the way so I don’t put it off the rest of the day. Unfortunately, since the mornings are chilly and my heater is on, I’m struggling to peel myself out of my warm, cozy bed.

As for my eating, I’m craving more comfort foods. It’s only natural to do this. Our bodies go through cycles just like the seasons. According to Ayurvedic theory, everything in the universe — living or not — is connected. Good health is achieved when your mind, body, and spirit are in harmony with the universe. A disruption of this harmony can lead to poor health and sickness.

For followers of Ayurveda, anything that affects your physical, spiritual, or emotional well-being can cause you to be out of balance with the universe. Some things that can cause a disruption include:

  • Genetic or birth defects
  • Injuries
  • Climate and seasonal changes
  • Age
  • Emotions

So, in order to achieve my balance, I need to adjust my thinking. My mind wants to hold on to what has been working for me in the past. For the past few months I’ve enjoyed eating light (salads, fruit, and smoothies). I’ve especially enjoyed the abundance of sunshine. I’m a nature girl so having beautiful weather makes me want to be active and makes me want to be outside. On the contrary, the cool, fall temperatures make me want to wrap up, and spend hours on the couch watching the Food Network and reruns of Criminal Minds.

I realize that is a slippery slope and will quickly put me on the path to the dreaded winter weight gain.  I want to avoid that by any means necessary. I’m assuming you do too. So, here are some suggestions to help keep your momentum with your healthy habits.

  1. Don’t resist the change, embrace it. I realize the important thing for me is to get my workout in. I’ve decided that I will get up on the mornings that I can to do my early workout. And on those days that I can’t get up, I can work out after work.
  2. Listen to your body. Just because my mind wants to stay with the salads and smoothies, my body is craving something different. I’ve dropped the smoothies for breakfast and added my oatmeal. I can incorporate smoothies later in the day for a snack if necessary, but as long as my body wants something warm and comforting in the morning, oatmeal it is.
  3. Incorporate activities that are compatible with the fall season. This is still a great time of the year to go hiking. It’s also a better time of year to get back into running. It’s harder to run when the temperatures are high, but fall weather makes for ideal running times. Finally, bring the activities indoors. Start that group fitness class you’ve been wanting try out, like spinning, Zumba, body pump, etc. Even if you like swimming, a lot of the major gyms have heated indoor pools.
  4. Prepare healthier versions of comfort foods. Pull out the crock pot and make your own chili or vegetable soup. When I make my own food I know it’s healthier. I can add as many veggies as I want. If it’s laden with veggies I can eat more food without adding a ton of calories.
  5. Nurture your soul by spending more time with family and friends. This is the ideal season to cherish your loved ones. If you’re going to be inside, make it quality time with family. Optimal health is about a holistic approach. When we nurture our mind, body, and spirit it fosters an environment for good health.

I hope you find these suggestions helpful. Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

Reference Links:

A Natural Approach to Combating Fibroids

I’ve come to realize that whatever you believe in will be tested. A familiar scripture in the bible reminds us that “the testing of your faith produces patience.”  (James 1:3). Well, my faith in my beliefs has been tested quite a bit over the past year and a half.

Apple & Stethescope

After a routine visit to the gynecologist I found out I have fibroid tumors. Actually, an ultrasound revealed that I have one huge fibroid that sits on top of my uterus.

Fibroid tumors are very common to women. Approximately 30 percent of white women and 50 percent of black women suffer from the troublesome symptoms caused by these nonmalignant growths.

Despite how common they are, I didn’t know much about them. I did my research and found out there were three primary options for my condition.  Unfortunately, because of the size of my fibroid the only option for me was surgical.

My immediate response was “No, I want to try a natural approach.” This was a defining moment for me. I was forced to test my beliefs. If I promote the benefits of following a plant based diet, I couldn’t doubt that now. Truth is, I never doubted it for a second.

Once I realized that many women have shrunk their fibroids using a natural approach I knew it could work for me. I asked my doctor to give me six months to try my approach. I wanted to see if I could shrink my fibroid by using a natural approach. Since I was basically asymptomatic, she was fine with that, under the condition that I would come back if my condition worsened.

I assured her that I would. Besides, she was uncomfortable performing surgery on me when I wasn’t presenting with any symptoms. I’m fortunate that my fibroid tumor isn’t located inside my uterus. That would certainly cause me to manifest more symptoms like bleeding and cramping. That’s why I never knew that I had them. I just knew that I was suffering from excessive urination. So much so, I knew it had to be attributed to something else. I just didn’t know what. So after researching fibroid tumors I learned that was one of the symptoms.

Taking a natural approach primarily consisted of nutritional therapy. Research revealed that nutrition is key in shrinking fibroids and alleviating symptoms. Most of the research emphasized getting rid of animal protein and basically adopting a plant-based diet. Since I’m already a vegan I didn’t think it was a lot I could do, but I realized there was room for improvement.

Here are some of the changes I made to my diet to tackle my condition.

  1. Eliminate sugar – simple sugars and refined sugars deteriorate health and promote fibroid growth. Simple sugars and starches are deadly to your overall health and wreak havoc on hormone balance.

  2. Eliminate wheat – studies show that gluten (a protein found in commercially grown wheat (i.e barley, oats, and rye) can interfere with the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. Non-gluten grains like rice, millet, and buckwheat are a better choice because they are more alkaline.

  3. Reduce caffeine – Caffeine promotes hormonal imbalance by compromising the liver’s ability to metabolize estrogen. It can interfere with the body’s absorption of iron- a major problem for women who suffer from fibroid-induced anemia due to heavy bleeding

  4. Take B vitamins – B vitamins like B6 stop fibroid growth by helping the liver metabolize estrogen efficiently and help restore hormone balance.

  5. Increase omega 3’s – consuming the right foods creates a balance between the omega 6 and the omega 3 fatty acids, thereby reducing the risk of hormone balance disturbance.

  6. Eat organic as often as possible – vegetables should be organic, free of pesticides and insecticides, and grown in soil that is rich in nutrients important for optimal health. In particular, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, brussel sprouts, kale and swiss chard are standouts for their ability to help metabolize hormones in a beneficial way.

One of the primary things that contribute to fibroids is high estrogen levels. So, an effective strategy is to be mindful of those things that increase estrogen and hormone levels.

I made  the changes and returned to the doctor for a follow up ultrasound six months later. What I found out was that my fibroids had not disappeared. But there was some good news – they had not increased in size. Initially, I didn’t see this as good news because the only thing I wanted to  hear was that my fibroid was gone or at least had significantly shrunk in size. I guess that wasn’t realistic.

However, my doctor was impressed. She even encouraged me to continue what I was doing. What I hadn’t realized was how quickly fibroids grow, so for mine to have stopped growing that was a positive change.

After I shifted my perspective and accepted that this was good news, I decided to get back at it. I’m still on this journey to shrink my fibroids and I know that I can. For the past few months I’ve been suffering from the repercussions of having estrogen dominance. It has been difficult to lose weight. So, I modified my diet (AGAIN) and I’m finally starting to see progress. I will tell you more about that in the coming weeks.

I just wanted to share my story and let everyone know what I’m dealing with because I’m not alone. I know I’m gaining a lot of knowledge through this experience and I plan to pass it along. If I can help one woman avoid surgery I will be happy. Some women really need surgery, but there are others who do not. I want those women to know there is another way – a simpler way.

If you’re one of the millions of women dealing with fibroids, I’d love to hear YOUR story. Please leave a comment.

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

References: Healing Fibroids: A Doctor’s Guide to a Natural Cure

5 Tips to Go Vegan Without Losing Too Much Weight


If you lined up every vegan you know against a wall, each one would look different. Some are lean and fit, some are average, some are overweight, and some are rail thin. The truth is not every vegan is created equal.

I had not really given this much thought until someone recently asked me an interesting question. She wanted to know how she could become a vegan without losing a lot of weight. I could see that she was already at a healthy weight. She was concerned about drastic changes in her appearance.

Though it is very normal to lose weight after switching to a vegan diet. It doesn’t have to be extreme. It’s natural for your body to initially change because it’s a major change for most people. When you start eliminating meat, dairy, cheese, and eggs from your diet you will lose weight. When I first became a vegan six years ago, I lost about 7 pounds in two weeks. That wasn’t too much because I was coming from a vegetarian diet. It wasn’t too drastic of a shift for me.

The main reason most people lose a lot of weight initially is because they don’t know what to eat. They remove a lot from their diet but they don’t replace it. Consequently, they end up eating rabbit food and are hungry all the time. Most people focus so much on what vegans don’t eat that they are unaware of all the great things we do eat.

So, I thought it would be helpful to offer some tips on how to transition to a vegan diet without losing too much weight.

  1. Count your calories. We usually count calories to reduce them for weight loss. But you should measure them to make sure you’re consuming a healthy amount. You need enough calories to satisfy your hunger.
  2. Eat a balanced diet with a good mix of fats, protein, and carbohydrates. Healthy fats help you feel satiated after meals. Some examples of healthy fats are avocados, nuts, seeds, and peanut butter (make sure you consume peanut butter with simple ingredients. It shouldn’t have a bunch of sugar. If you see more than peanuts and salt in your peanut butter, you don’t need it.) Some good sources of protein are quinoa, beans (i.e. lentils, black beans, garbanzo beans, lima beans), tempeh, and plant based protein powders. Some healthy carbohydrates are brown rice, sprouted breads like Ezekial bread, and beans. Beans are a good source of healthy carbs and protein.
  3. Eat your veggies, especially cruciferous veggies like broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower, and cabbage. They are high in fiber and protein. They make you feel full longer.
  4. Incorporate snacks between meals. Fruits like apples and bananas have fiber and natural sugars in them. A favorite snack of mine is nuts. There are tons to choose from like almonds, pistachios, peanuts, walnuts, and cashews. They give you the healthy fats and extra calories you need to avoid losing too much weight.
  5. Learn new recipes. There are so many recipes available that are so good that you won’t miss any of your former foods. I get tons of recipe ideas from Instagram. Just follow other vegans and you will learn so much. Avoid eating the same things all the time. Explore your options. Remember, variety is the spice of life.

These are some good suggestions to help you transition to a vegan diet in a healthy way without the fear of drastically changing your weight. If you incorporate these suggestions you will be healthier, leaner and more satisfied.

Until next time…Peace, Love and Fitness!