The Debate is OVER – 10 Ways to Get Protein from Whole Foods

Image result for plant based protein

Though it’s still the most commonly asked question of vegans – “Where do you get your protein?” – people are starting to realize vegans can and DO get enough protein.

Every day you read about athletes who choose the vegan diet to get into peak performance shape.

Still, when most people think of protein they tend to think cheese, eggs, fish and chicken. But as someone who has been a vegan for several years, I can tell you with absolute certainty that every whole food contains protein.

I prefer to get my protein from a whole foods diet, as opposed to processed, soy-based products. As a matter of fact, finding plants packed with protein is easy to do, and easy for your body to use. Plant-based foods are free from cholesterol, tend to be high in fiber, and are often alkalizing to the body.

Conversely, all animal products are devoid of fiber, and are acidifying to the body, which causes calcium to be leached from your bones, as well as decreasing oxygen levels in the blood, and negatively impacting the digestive system.

So, for anyone wondering how to get protein from whole foods, here are 10 great plant protein sources…

  1. Beans/Legumes (lentils, black beans, chick peas, etc.)
  2. Peas (split peas, black-eyed peas)Split peas
  3. Nuts (peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cashews)
  4. Seeds (pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds, and hemp seeds) 
  5. Quinoa  
  6. Nutritional Yeast –  is a deactivated yeast sold commercially as a food product. It has a strong flavor that is described as nutty, cheesy, or creamy, which makes it popular as an ingredient in cheese substitutes.
  7. Tempeh – a fermented soybean-based food. It’s a perfect meat alternative in pasta dishes.
  8. Vegetables (broccoli, spinach, asparagus, cauliflower)
  9. Spirulina – This blue-green algae is a freshwater plant that is now one of the most researched, and alongside its cousin chlorellamost talked about superfoods today. Grown around the world from Mexico to Africa to even Hawaii, spirulina is renowned for its intense flavor and even more powerful nutrition profile. It’s a complete protein containing all essential amino acids.  
  10. Plant Based Protein Powders (rice protein, pea protein, hemp protein)

This is just a small list. There are tons of plant protein sources available.

So, the next time you hear someone asking a vegan where they get their protein, you can give them a list!

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

The Magical Super Food You Need to Add to Your Diet…TODAY!

coconut oil is not healthy

As I continue to hone in on things to improve my health and to boost my weight loss I have been making some awesome discoveries.

My latest obsession is with Coconut Oil. Right now, it’s my all-time FAVORITE super food. I have used it for a couple of years on my skin. I have excessively dry skin and I’ve found it to be the best moisturizer I could buy.

Aside from moisturizing my overall body, I’ve been using it around my eyes to reduce fine lines and wrinkles. It has been incredible and works really quickly.

However, until recently, I haven’t really incorporated it into my diet. I didn’t really know how. I thought the only thing I could do was cook with it, which I didn’t really want to use it like that.

Coconut oil began to get back on my radar a few weeks ago after watching one of my friends, whos a Raw Food Health Coach, video about healthy supplements. She mentioned that coconut oil helps burn fat. That alone made me perk up. I’d never heard of that. Since then, I’ve been researching the benefits of it and trying to find seamless ways to include it in my diet.

What I found was astounding! Coconut oil has been proven to be effective in a number of ways, including:

  1. Blasts FatCoconut oil has an unusually high amount of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs). The human body does not store digested MCTs as fat, but instead transports them directly to the liver where MCTs are quickly converted into energy. Studies have shown that the capric acid and other MCTs in coconut oil can increase energy expenditure in humans. When consumed in the morning, coconut oil can boost your energy levels by an average of 5% for a full twenty-four hour period.
  2. Promotes Heart HealthCoconut oil increases the healthy cholesterol (known as HDL) in your body, but it also helps to convert the LDL or “bad” cholesterol into good cholesterol. By Increasing the HDL’s in the body and changing the ratio of HDL to LDL, the saturated fat in coconut oil helps promote heart health and lower the risk of heart disease.
  3. Prevents Insulin Resistancethe MCT’s in coconut oil help balance the insulin reactions in the cells because of ketones our bodies produce when we consume it. These ketones take off the strain on the pancreas by giving the body a consistent energy source that is not dependent on glucose reactions.
  4. Promotes Gut Health and Aids DigestionCoconut oil improves digestion by helping the body to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, calcium, and magnesium. If coconut oil is taken at the same time as omega-3 fatty acids, it can make them doubly effective. Coconut oil can also help improve bacteria and gut health by destroying bad bacteria and candida.
  5. Balances Hormones Without the proper building blocks – usually fatty acids or derivatives thereof – your body can’t properly synthesize the hormones needed to regulate such things as mood, thyroid function, digestion, sex drive, and metabolism.  The medium-chain triglycerides in coconut oil assist the body in the conversion of cholesterol in the blood stream into the sterone pregnenolone.  This endogenous bio-chemical is one of the main precursors for the human body’s production of hormones. 

There are a host of benefits from using coconut oil that you can research.

Please be mindful that the type of coconut oil you consume matters. Unrefined organic coconut oil is considered the gold standard. It is extracted from fresh coconut using a wet-milled fermentation process that protects the beneficial properties of the coconut. This type of coconut oil has been found to have the highest antioxidant levels. This process does use heat but studies show that it does not harm the oil or reduce nutrient levels.

Also, quantity is a factor. Too much of a good thing could have opposite effects. It’s recommended to add no more than two to three tablespoons of coconut oil to your daily dietary regimen. 

I’ve been enjoying finding practical ways to actually incorporate coconut oil into my diet. Here are some suggestions:

  • Add coconut oil and cinnamon to your sweet potato. Gives it a buttery taste.
  • Add it in your coffee.
  • Add a couple of tablespoons to a smoothie or protein drink.
  • Instead of olive oil or canola oil, sauté food with it.

These are just some ideas that work for me. I encourage you to do the research and find simple ways that work for you.

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness


5 Life Lessons Learned From Fitness Boot Camp

For the past few months I have been on a journey to restore my health. From an overall health perspective my blood levels and the things that truly matter are amazing. It’s my weight that has been an issue for me the past couple of years.

I’ve shared in the past that I have a large fibroid that sits on my uterus and it has been bothersome. It definitely hasn’t made it easy to lose weight.

Yet, despite my insistence on making it an excuse for my weight loss failures, my fibroid hasn’t made it impossible to lose weight.  It just forces me to work a little harder.

There was a point in time that I allowed it to hinder me because in my mind I “couldn’t” lose weight. I began to really give up. Fortunately, the end of last year I began to shift my perspective. When I did that, my results began to improve.

The day after thanksgiving I decided to join Weight Watchers. It helped me push the needle a little bit. That’s when I really realized I was the culprit of a lot of my weight loss struggles because once I began to monitor my intake, the scale started moving.

Most recently, I’ve been kicking my workouts into high gear. Once it became clear to me that spending 20 minutes on the treadmill and 20 minutes on the weight machines wasn’t going to impact my body, I cut back on going to the gym. I needed a jolt. So, I started challenging my body in different ways.

I began exercising to tough workout DVDs that emphasized High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and YouTube videos of my favorite fitness experts. As that built my confidence, I ultimately decided to brave longer and different workouts.

I bought a few sessions at the Kickboxing gym. Initially, I liked it, and I know it is the kind of workout that yields positive results. But it wasn’t enough to keep my interest. What it did though, was show me I can handle a lot more in my workouts.

That led me to my current endeavor – Burn Bootcamp. I participated in several boot camps when I was in Atlanta. There were tons of trainers that offered boot camps through Groupon deals. They typically conducted their classes in public parks.

However, I’ve never been to a Bootcamp “gym.” It’s not really a gym because you won’t find any cardio equipment or weight room. Instead, you have a setting that uses every tool in its box to whip your body into shape. Everything from elastic bands to ab balls, from free weights to your own body weight. Every day is a new challenge.

Initially I was afraid. On my first day of class the girl next to me said “You’re gonna love it. You’ll become addicted.” I thought “yeah right.” She said she’s so addicted that she feels guilty when she doesn’t come to class.

I’m only three days in and I’m starting to really understand what she meant. I never thought I could enjoy something so hard, so much.

I say this has been a journey because I’ve learned a lot about myself. In particular, here’s what Burn Bootcamp has taught me:

  1. Mindset Matters – I’m realizing the importance of getting my mind in the right space before I get to class. What I tell myself makes a difference in my outcomes. When I focused on my fear, it ruined the experience. After completing that first hard class, I saw that I “could” do it. After that, I changed the way I thought about class and how I approached it. I now enter class with an “I got this,” and “I can do this” mindset.
  2. Hard work pays off – if I put in the work, I’ll get the results. I no longer expect things to be easy. I just have to know that it won’t ever be easy, but it’s worth it. I remind myself of how I want to feel and how I’m going to feel after completing a hard work out.
  3. Accomplishment is addictive –there is nothing like the feeling of pride after completing something you never thought you could do. I’m getting addicted to that feeling. It’s that feeling of accomplishment that I keep in mind when my alarm goes off at 4:30AM and I want to stay in bed.
  4. I’m in control – I get to set the tone and pace for my workout. The trainer gives us plenty of options for each exercise and I can choose the level that works for me. Some days are harder than others, so I scale it down. But there are other moments that I choose to crank it up. Whatever option I choose, it’s ok. I get to choose how I do my workouts and I get to choose how I live my life.
  5. We’re all in it together – the best part of being among the Burn Bootcamp community is that it’s a team effort. Whenever I’m really struggling, I just look around the room and I see that it’s not just hard for me. It’s hard for everybody. The beauty is we all stick it out, encourage each other, and most of all NOBODY ever quits!

I’m only 3 days into my 14 day trial and I’m certain I will join. This is exactly what I need and I have no doubt I’ll be able to reach my fitness goals if I stick it out. At this point, quitting is not an option.

I’ll keep you posted on my results.

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!

Renewed for the New Year!


This is undoubtedly one of the happiest times of the year. People are excited about all the possibilities of the upcoming year. They’re eager to close the door on the past and set their sights on the future.

For me, it’s a very reflective time. I actually began my reflection the last couple of months of 2017. I started looking back at everything that occurred up until that point. The good, the bad, and the ugly. I looked for the lessons from those experiences.

I also looked at what I wanted to do differently as I move forward. How can I take things to the next level? What am I lacking, and how can I fill the gaps?

I can honestly say that 2017 was the hardest year of my life. I lost a lot. I had to start over, AGAIN. It didn’t feel good. I spent the majority of the year in survival mode.

I felt like I lost myself. I lost my confidence and I was forced to figure out who I am now. Because after everything I went through, I’m no longer the same person.

During my reflection I was able to see that I’m finally on the other side of all the turmoil. I am finally ready to shed my old skin and reveal the new one.

I have been reborn from the inside out. Now it’s time for my outside to reflect who I am on the inside.

I would not have chosen the journey I took last year, but I’m really glad it happened. It taught me that I’m stronger than I give myself credit for. I can take a lot.

I’m still figuring some things out, but I’m really clear about other things. The primary thing being my health. I’m ready to live the best life possible. That requires me to be in optimal health.

New You Just Ahead

So, here are my key focus areas for 2018:  

  1. I want to be a better vegan. In response to my troubles with fibroids, I stopped being a vegan for a few months last year. I continued most of my plant-based habits, but I added fish and eggs to my diet. After about 5 months of that, I decided I wanted to go back to a fully plant-based diet. Now, my food choices are primarily about nutrition. I’m striving to eat to live, not live to eat.

  2. I want to be more intentional about my workouts. I was keeping active this past year, but I wasn’t elevating my workouts. I did a lot of walking and some yoga. That’s about it.  I’m more deliberate about what I do and why I’m doing it. I work out at least 4-6 days per week. I strive to give my body what it needs. Some days that’s yoga, others it’s strength training, or it might just be cardio. I’m not forcing anything. I’m giving my body what I believe it’s telling me it needs. The added benefit to this approach is that I show my body more love and appreciation. I’m not judgmental because of what it’s not. I’m grateful for what it is, and how it consistently serves me.

  3. I want to be more aware of my thoughts and mindset. Thoughts are powerful. They ultimately dictate our actions. For the past couple of years I’ve made excuses about my health and weight because of my fibroids. It kept me at the status quo and unhappy. I now see it’s all in my mind. I can do anything I set my mind to. I can overcome any challenge as long as I have the right mindset.

believe you canI started incorporating these changes in my life the day after Thanksgiving. I’m almost at the 10 pound mark for weight loss. That’s a BIG deal for me! Especially because I’m doing it on my terms and at my pace. I’m not feeling deprived. I feel empowered.

Every week I’m making progress in my mind, body and spirit.

I realize how much an impact my thoughts have on my progress in all aspects of my life. My work, my health, and my relationships.

What makes me most excited about this year is the realization that I’m the one who ultimately controls the outcomes I get. I can have the life I desire. Not because I wish it so, but because I make it so.

What I know for sure is that If I’m willing to put in the time, energy and effort to accomplish my goals, anything is possible.

What are you believing for this year?

Until next time…
Peace, Love, & Fitness!


Mind Matters: Why What You Think Impacts Your Health

At some point in our lives, we’ve all either said or heard the phrase – “mind over matter.” It basically means your mind is more powerful than any situation you’re going through. So, if you put your mind on the right things, you can overcome your problems.


Over the past few decades that mantra has evolved into a multi-billion dollar “self-help, power of positive thinking” industry.

Well, it’s not a con or a quick way to sell books or tickets to a conference. It turns out it’s really true. In fact, it’s scientific.

Recently, I had the privilege to hear a world-renowned neuroscientist speak about the neuroplasticity of the brain and the mind-body connection.

Dr. Caroline Leaf has spent the past 30 years researching the science of thought. In particular, how changes in thinking actually change the brain and can effect behavioral change.

At the end of her talk, I found myself incredibly enlightened, and convinced that these changes in thinking can definitely have a direct impact on health.

Actually, this isn’t so far removed from what I’ve believed for years. I subscribe to the belief that the mind, body, and spirit are interconnected and should be integrated when you’re trying to make any kind of significant life changes.

When you address the total person and not just the symptoms that have risen to the surface, it improves the likelihood of successful results. Most people don’t need a band-aid dressing to cure their ills, they need invasive surgery. Mind, body and spirit approaches offer that.

The health challenges we’re facing in our country require an intensive, comprehensive approach.

The Modern American Diet (MAD) should make you mad. It’s literally robbing so many people of their health and reducing their life span. Research shows that people are dying 25-50 years younger from preventable lifestyle diseases, the most common being obesity.

The obesity epidemic remains the biggest public health issue facing the country, and despite awareness of the need to get in shape, more than a third of the country is now obese. Consequently, the United States is the most obese major country in the world.

According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, the obesity rate for American adults, aged 15 and over is 38.2%. What’s worse is they estimate the obesity rate will reach nearly 50% by 2030. That’s 1 out of 2 people AND that’s only 13 years from now.


My intention is to incite a righteous indignation in you that inspires you to make the changes you need to live your healthiest life.

Let’s face it. Most Americans know what needs to be done to improve their health. Unfortunately, most are not motivated to do it. But if the statistics I’ve cited in this blog don’t motivate you, I’m not sure what will.

If you can change the way you think about food, you can put yourself on the path toward optimal health.

Here are some practical things you can do to get on the right course.

  • Look at food as energy. It’s intended to sustain you. So, learn to eat to live, don’t live to eat. I believe food should be enjoyed. But it shouldn’t be the crutch many have made it out to be. It’s too often used to overcome stress, loneliness, depression, etc.
  • Learn to listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. If you’re feeling tired, replace the quick sugar fix with a more natural way to get the energy you need. Sugar fixes are temporary and have devastating effects in the long run. As an alternative, drink water instead of coke. Grab high protein snacks like almonds or walnuts to give you a boost of energy.
  • Also, pay attention to how your body responds to certain things. Do you feel sluggish after a high carb meal? Are you still tired after that donut? Did you feel more energized after a cup of green tea? Your body is always giving you clues to what it does and doesn’t like. Listen and then respond accordingly.
  • Constantly affirm and reaffirm your why. Remind yourself of the reason you’re on this journey. Is it to attain good health? To come off your high blood pressure or diabetes medications? To live long enough to see your grand-kids grow up? Whatever is your motivation, keep it before you. If it’s simply about fitting into a pair of size 6 jeans, that’s probably not enough incentive to sustain you for the long haul.
  • Include macro-nutrients in all of your meals. Every meal should include protein, healthy fat, and carbohydrates. Macro-nutrients provide energy when they are eaten in balance. Too much or too little of one will cause problems with energy levels and weight.
  • Eat your colors. When you have a balanced meal with the proper balance of proteins, carbs and veggies, it’s much healthier. Plant based and live foods like sweet potatoes, greens, carrots, and tomatoes tend to be very colorful. Processed foods tend to be nutrition deprived and bland colors – mostly white or brown.
  • Pay attention to portion sizes. When you begin to eat in a more balanced way, you’ll find you need less food to sustain you. Healthy fats like avocados and nuts are very sustaining. Add them to your regular diet and you’ll find you’re not as hungry throughout the day.

Obviously, I believe wholeheartedly in the vegan diet, but I also realize it’s not for everybody. There is no one size fits all approach to health and wellness. Having said that, research has proven that an increase in plant based foods and less meat intake contributes to significant improvements to health, including, reducing blood pressure, improving cardiovascular health, lowering cholesterol, weight loss, and more.

Finally, to complement your food choices, here are a few affirmations you can make each day to help you change your mind about your health: 

–          My body is a temple and I treat it as such.

–          I am in control of my life and my health.

–          I eat to live.

–          My food is my medicine, and my medicine is my food.

–          I am brilliant and I have a role to play that nobody else can play.

–          I am a good thing waiting to happen.


Remember, when you change the way you look at things, the things you look at will change.

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!


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!

Honey – Is it Hype or Does it Heal?

There will come a time in all of our lives that our belief system will be tested. For me that happened this past week.

I’ve been having a bad reaction to all the pollen in Georgia. It caught me by surprise because I never thought I had any type of allergies. The most I’ve ever dealt with is when the pollen count is extremely high I get a scratchy throat or watery, red eyes. That has been the extent of it. It passes as quickly as it comes.


But this past week things were worse than that. I had an ear ache, sore throat and an incessant cough that made it impossible for me to sleep. The more I coughed the more sore my throat became. For someone like me, medicine is an absolute last resort. I typically will not take medication. After being out of work for several days I wondered if my condition was more severe than allergies. I thought it might be bacterial.

Here’s where the test came in for me. I’ve said it many times in my blog, I subscribe to Hippocrates philosophy of “Let thy food be thy medicine and thy medicine be thy food.” So, the first thing I wanted to address was that cough. It was the main culprit because it was keeping me from sleeping. After three days of no sleep I had enough. Something needed to be done.

As I began to research natural remedies for coughs and sore throat I got a lot of information about honey and its healing properties. Every article stated that it was effective in suppressing coughs.

I immediately ran out to the nearest grocery store to pick some up. When I tell you the results were immediate, I’m not exaggerating. I took one tablespoon of this honey and it ceased my coughing spells. After being up all night, I was able to stop coughing long enough to get some sleep. I took my initial dose early Sunday morning. By the time the evening came around my cough was practically gone. I kept it by my bedside all night in the event I woke up coughing. I think I took it once in the middle of the night.

By the next day my cough was gone. I continued to take the honey to alleviate the sore throat. It lingered for a couple of days more and then subsided.

Here are some of the reasons honey is so effective:

  1. Its thick consistency helps coat the throat while the sweet taste is believed to trigger nerve endings that protect the throat from incessant coughing. Honey is believed to be as effective as the common cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan. It can be used in treating upper respiratory tract infections.
  2.  It offers antibacterial activity. Honey is a natural antibiotic that can act both internally and externally. It can be used as a conventional treatment for wounds and burns by disinfecting wounds and sores from major species of bacteria.
  3. It’s an anti-inflammatory. Many clinical trials have been reported and revealed that when honey is applied to wounds, there is a decrease in inflammation and it will have a soothing effect.

A 2005 study published in the British Journal of Surgery found all but one of patients who suffered  from wounds and leg ulcers showed remarkable improvement after applying a topical application of honey.

Though there are researchers who doubt the healing properties of honey in some areas, most do not dispute its effectiveness for cough suppression and wound treatment.

Even though honey has great benefits for adults, it should not be used for infants. The Mayo Clinic recommends waiting until infants are older than 12 months because it may lead to botulism and produce a toxin inside their body that can cause muscle weakness and breathing problems.

My final word of advice is to make sure you purchase the best quality. I recommend raw, organic honey. It’s unfiltered and packed with enzymes, antioxidants and minerals.

I hope the next time you suffer from pollen allergies you will give it a try. I can honestly say I’m a believer. It worked for me…I know it will work for you!

Until next time…

Peace, Love & Fitness!