Harder Than I Thought

I am learning so much about this plant-based lifestyle and my own ability to resist temptation (it’s not easy but I am doing it).  The most important lesson that I have learned is that I need a new method or grocery store because I thought this new eating style would be cheaper and it hasn’t been.  I spent $240 on groceries and it will only last me and the kids for two weeks.  There has to be a better way and when I find it, I will share.  Another hurdle is trying to recreate recipes that I have found on Pinterest.  So far, I have made Garlic, Mushroom, Bok Choy Soup, Jamaican Corn Soup, Mango Avocado Salsa, Peanut Butter/Banana/Honey roll-ups, smoothies, and tostones.  The soups were super involved and required a boat-load of ingredients and time.  So, I have come up with some fairly simple recipes using the same ingredients that I have already purchased.

The positives are that the soups lasted me multiple days and the Jamaican Corn Soup was the best.  My favorite soup by far is lentil and I cannot wait to make that sometime this week.  The kids liked everything except the soups so I had to make alternate meals (more work).

Now for some transparency.  In my effort to eliminate meat, I have binged on junk food (candy) quite a few times.  So, my new goal besides eating plant-based is to cut the junk food.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Please send positive energy and/or prayers my way.  This is super hard and a two-fold goal (plant-based eating and discipline).IMG_4758IMG_4759IMG_4770IMG_4771

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Plant-Based?

 

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So, I have decided to try a plant-based diet for the month of February.  I have no idea what I am doing, so of course, I went on Pinterest and pinned all sorts of vegan recipes and then went back and drafted a grocery list of the ingredients.  Now, $236.00 later, I better see this through (because that was the price for just the next seven days).  I told you that I had no idea what I am doing.  I ordered for the first time via Instacart (so, in fact, I am trying two new things in the month of February).  What I have learned so far, is that I love a challenge.  Second, I am now broke although I just got paid.  Third, Instacart is about to be my new best friend. Four, I don’t have a fourth but I felt as if I was on a roll.

While grocery shopping online, I realized that sour cream and parmesan cheese are dairies and not part of the vegan diet so I may have to make some substitutions or not be hard on myself since that only comprises two recipes out of the entire 28 days. How do you think I will do on this diet?  Well, after watching “What the Health,” I better feel more energetic and sleep better through the night in about two and a half weeks.  If not, I’m going to my Primary Care Physician to complain since he originally planted this seed in my head.

Well, wish me luck!

Finding Our Way

I guess I’m at the age  where myself and my peers are wondering what our purpose is on this earth.  We are leaving long-term relationships, re-assessing finances and the way in which we spend money, switching careers, more conscious of our health and planning for the future of our children.  Some of this may sound like it’s out-of-order but, it seems to be the same spot that everyone I know is in and we are all in the same age range mid 30’s- 40 years old.  Speaking for myself I am even more focused on owning my own home and planning for the future. I keep contemplating leaving the classroom and just going for my dreams of being both a novelist and songwriter.  It’s scary and I often consider going into real estate because it will allow me some flexibility but the market is so volatile.

Again, scary territory.  What about getting up and moving back to my hometown of NY?  That’s even an option on the table.  I know that there is a huge change coming for me because I can feel it but in the meantime I find myself struggling with feelings of anxiety.  What am I anxious over?  Mostly, things that are not within my control. And speaking with my peers, I am not alone.

Power of WordsSo, I never harp on a problem for too long.  I usually go into solution mode and the solution I recently came up with was journaling more consistently (handwritten). It makes me feel good to get out my true feelings and just release.  I usually look back over these entries when I am in a different state of mind and learn even more about myself. If you are feeling overwhelmed by life and your path, please consider journaling and those of you who do not like writing or typing can use voice memos on your cell phone or laptops.  Let some of it go.  It becomes too much to hold on to and creates a daunting outlook.

We are all here to do great things and in order to do those things we must keep ourselves mentally, physically, and emotionally renewed.

 

Sick with a toddler

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I believe it is the hardest thing to be sick as a single parent with a small child at home. You don’t want to pass your germs on to your bambino but you are the only one in charge of taking care of them. I am lucky enough to have my thirteen year-old daughter who was so responsible and made me tea, a pot-pie (in the microwave) and entertained her little bro. Trust me this is not an easy feat as he is super active. I was able to rest when I got home from work so that I can go in tomorrow. This week, I have back to school night and I need to prepare both my classroom and my presentation for my new parents. I just can’t afford to take off now as it isn’t even winter yet, which is when I really get sick.

I sometimes wonder how some other single parents handle a situation like this? Sometimes, I know that I get overwhelmed and I need to take a step back and fill my bucket with some sort of positivity and inspiration. But, I also know that I may not always have the time to do that. One thing that brings me peace is knowing that I am not alone in this journey. I know that there are other single parents out there dealing with the same issues, some even more pressing and they and their children are coming out on top. Wow! That gave me inspiration for some other posts. I chat with you later. Stay strong!

I Love Juicing & Smoothies

2014-02-13 13.05.58On this journey towards better health and implementing a healthier lifestyle change, I have come across a wealth of information, great recipes, and inspiration.  Mostly, I am able to find the answers to my questions through simple Google searches but more often than not I have found the gamut of my recipes and inspiration from two phenomenal sources: Pinterest and heyfranhey.com, the latter being a tumbler account which has now become an addiction for me.  Every morning and every night (and most times throughout the day), I visit these sites in hopes to recharge my strength and revive my passion in the direction of a healthier and freer lifestyle.  Please visit my board; live longer be stronger to see my pins of great smoothie recipes, food recipes, exercises, and inspiration.  Below, I have listed a few smoothie recipes that you may like.

Smoothie #1:

Pineapple

Mango

Kale

Banana

 

Smoothie #2:

Blueberries

Pineapple

Banana

Spinach

 

Smoothie #3:

Carrots

Naval oranges

Green apple

I also like carrots and mango juiced.  Notice I did not put amounts next to the fruits because everyone likes their smoothies a different way.  I love more green vegetables than fruit.

It is important as a parent and especially a single parent (being that your child only has one parent o depend on) to keep you healthy.  We need to be around for our children and in the best health possible. In addition to juicing and making smoothies, I have purchased Groupons for kickboxing and yoga.  I will update you on my experience for each.  Until next time be happy and healthy.

I Need Some Motivation…to workout

Notice how the words in the first part of the title begin with uppercase letters until the end?  That is how I feel about jogging which I have been contemplating for the past 6 months (it’s really been a year but that sounds pitiful).  There is something that keeps telling me to go out there and do it but for some reason I can come up with every excuse in the world.  Here are some of the runners-up:

1.  I will look like a fool

2.  I will have an asthma attack ( haven’t had one since kindergarten)

3.  I am deathly afraid of wildlife (I am originally from NYC so all animals are considered wildlife) especially deer, raccoons, foxes, snakes, possums, etc

4.  I do not have the right gear nor can I afford it at the present time

And the grand prize winner of all my excuses:

It’s bad on the knees (this is the only one that is supported by some scientific research…i think)

Anyway at some point, and it has to be soon because I have been eating a lot better and trying to make my health my priority, I will have to try it.  And by try, I mean actually commit to a running routine for at least a few months (hopefully it will turn into a lifestyle change).  I have seen the benefits in some of my close friends and co-workers.  They dropped a lot of weight and handle stress a lot better.  They also are eating healthy and feel sick when they can’t run/jog (at first I rolled my eyes when they said this).

So, I will let you know how this pans out and when I actually start.  I’ve decided to try the couch-to-5K program and continue to eat healthy.  My goal is to be healthy, lose weight, stress less, and live long.

Below is a picture of how I think I will look and then one of how I would like to look:

jogging badjogging good

Taking on too much

MasterToDolistI am the queen of taking on too much.  I am a teacher, graduate student, mother of two (and all that entails), business partner, writing a novel, blogging, attendee of various workshops, compiling my poetry book, reading professional development books for my job, and studying for my real estate license.  There are probably a few other things that i haven’t mentioned but, I find that I am always tired and sometimes irritable.

Recently I went back to organizing my life and various appointments in my planner.  It works for the most part until I forget that I have one (ha!).  As I get older, I am learning to use a word that made me very uncomfortable before, “No”.  Only two letters, yet it feels like utter betrayal.  That feeling is beginning to subside for me a little as I reflect on what is important to me.  My family is important to me.  My faith is important to me.  My health is important to me (I was diagnosed with MS- but I am not ready to write fully on that just yet).  So, the betrayal that “No” ushers in doesn’t quite have the same impact any longer.

I am one person and I know that I can do amazing things in this lifetime.  I can give back and also take care of myself but, that means prioritizing and putting what I value first.  If you are encountering the same experience, just list out your top 3-4 priorities.  When other things come up and if they are not a necessity, ask yourself “does this align with my priorities/what I value”?  Then, kindly tell that task or that person I’ll need to take a rain check.

Live happy, well, and healthy

Spending Time With Yourself

Today I saw my seventh graders for two and a half hours before we all said goodbye to the 2012/2013 school year.  I will miss them but planned to stay connected through edmodo and help them retain what they have learned this past year.  Once they boarded their buses, it was my job to do what I always do and get ready for room checkout and running around to have various administrators and staff sign off on my sheet.  I spent the rest of my day relaxing and treated myself to some sushi and red wine.  I need to enjoy these moments because I recently signed up with Physician’s Weight Loss Center and alcohol is not part of their program.  But back to my time alone and relaxation. 

It is always a good idea to spend time with yourself so that you can gather your thoughts and reflect on your day, week, etc.  life is so hectic and often we do not carve out time for ourselves which can lead to bad sleep habits, health concerns, anxiety, depression, weight gain, and poor self-image.   These moments are necessary for anyone but especially for the single parent and one who also wants to write.  Ideas will be blocked and projects never completed because you are not taking care of yourself.  And if you never complete a project, you are back to poor self-image and the list goes on.

So, treat yourself to a restaurant, movie, massage, day by yourself at the park, the gym, or just time in your room or house alone for a day. I did just that today and right now, I feel at peace.

Juicing & Fasting

I have embarked on a new mission which is totally new to me. One of the mantras that I told myself I would live by is to only worry about what I can control and what I can’t control to let be. What can I control?  Well, here is the list:

  1. What I do to my body
  2. The type of employee that I am
  3. Studying for my MBA
  4. Parenting my children
  5. My relationship with the Lord & attendance at church
  6. Educating myself
  7. What I put into my body
  8. What I say out of my mouth (this is sometimes harder than I would like for it to be)
  9. What I create
  10. Going for my dreams

Now, let’s pay attention to number five and ten.  Since last year I have been eating healthier and trying new vegetables even though I haven’t gotten on the working out kick yet.  I will get there in due time.  Anyway, I have always wanted to do something special for my parents and right now they are going through a challenging situation and unfortunately, I cannot provide the money that they need so, I have decided to give up solids for seven days and juice, all while praying and meditating on my parents receiving what they need. 

It is day one and it was harder than I thought.  I already cheated and had a french onion soup.  I started off with a juice this morning that included:

10 carrots, 1 red apple, 1 green apple , coconut milk, and 1 mango.

It was delicious!!

I also made two other juices and saved some of them for tomorrow.  One of the juices was Dr. Oz’s Green Drink.  I did it just as he said and I must admit that I might have added a little too much lemon and lime because it is really tart.  It still tastes delicious but be forewarned.

The other juice that I made included:

4 carrots, 1 pear, 1 green apple, 1 red apple, coconut water, ginger, kale, and celery.

This was also a great drink.  If I keep up with all of these green drinks, I might turn green myself.

 

Juicing-Image-9