Thursday, May 30, 2013

The Hair Journey: The Flo Fro gets a break.......

Good evening folks!

Today was the warmest day in the year for my region (over 90 degrees Fahrenheit).  The change in temperature spurred a need for me to change some things as well.  Namely my hair style!

I've been rocking the "wash and go" and Flo Fro for almost three months now (Tress Update #3).  The time has come for a CHANGE!  Can I get a witness somebody?? 

Tonight I returned to my old twisting ways, by putting two-stranded tiny twists in my hair.  I like the change, but admit I do not miss sitting for an hour or more twisting my hair.  As my arms and fingers began to "talk to me", I had flash backs of sitting in the most comfortable chair I owned (at the time) watching television, wondering why I decided to twist my hair so small....mind you this was around hour number 3 with potentially 2 more hours to go! Have mercy! I sat for an hour and 20 minutes tonight.  Not bad in comparison with the past!  :)

Dare I ask what you think? :)

Two-stranded tiny twists - side view

Front view

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Food Journey: Soup and Bruschetta!

Hi Folks - In my region of the USA it was a whopping 84 degrees (Fahrenheit) making it an absolutely stunning day!

My duathalon engines are still revved up and I ran 2.2 miles and lifted weights today (patting myself on the back). I had great soup for lunch that was accompanied by an awesome glass of basil lemonade from my favorite Vietnamese joint.  And to top it all off  I created a TASTY bruschetta recipe using one of my favorite veggies: CUCUMBERS (The Food Journey: Spicy Cucumbers)!

Veggie Pho Soup

Basil Lemonade
I rarely feel like firing up a hot stove on warm sunny days. Today was no different.  All I wanted for dinner was something fresh, easy, light and tasty.

Cucumber Bruschetta ingredients:
2 vine ripened tomatoes (chop to the desired size and shape)
1 cucumber
fresh dill
fresh curly parsley
2 cloves of garlic
salt (to taste)
a dollop of olive oil
a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Chop everything up and let the ingredients mingle for 10 minutes to 2 hours. 

Note: you can use any herbs and spices you style this recipe to fit your vibrations.

I paired the bruschetta with sea salt bagel thins.  Ummm ummm good! It was a great way to end my day! Also note:  the bruschetta is alive!!! No heat or cooking required! All the vitamins and nutrients are there, waiting to nourish your body!

Cucumber Bruschetta

Try it and let me know how you like it!

Peace and Blessings!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Where did those hives come from? (Part 2)

Food allergies are becoming and epidemic in this country (Where did those hives come from? (Part 1) ). The good thing is that there is a lot more awareness and acceptance of those who suffer from this problem.  There is a wealth of information available for families, schools, food companies and restaurants that can help manage this issue and help prevent needless deaths and illnesses.  Nothing is fool proof but the climate is getting better. 

But what is a food allergy?  And what is the difference between a true food allergy and a food sensitivity or food intolerance?

Food Allergy
A food allergy is an immediate immune response that triggers an IgE (immunoglobulin E) reaction.  IgE is an antibody to the particular food protein the body does not like.  The IgE antibodies become attached to special cells in the body called mast cells, where they can stay for a long period of time without adverse effects.  But, repeated exposure to this offensive food protein, causes the sensitized mast cells to lock onto the offending protein and trigger a response.  The response is a release of histamine and other inflammatory chemicals that result in symptoms being experienced in the gastro-intestinal tract (GI tract) and other areas of the body (1).  It's almost like a case of mistaken identity where the body has erroneously decided harmless food protein is a dangerous invader like a virus, and the flood of histamines is released to rid the body of the intruder.  This response can wreak havoc on the body as the flood of inflammatory chemicals are made and delivered needlessly (1).  It is therefore extremely important for people suffering from true food allergies to do everything they can to BOOST their immune systems (and stay away from all known offenders). 

Food Sensitivity
Food sensitivities occur when antibodies (IgA, IgG, and IgM) are triggered in response to food, chemicals, and microbial toxins.  Symptoms can take from several hours to several days to appear which makes it very difficult to track down the offenders. When antibodies bind to antigens, immune complexes are formed.  If these complexes are large they are eaten up by macrophages --the garbage men of the immune system. Smaller complexes can bind to tissues and cause problems in the body.  IgM antibodies circulate for about three months, until IgG antibodies are released to take over the battle.  IgG antibodies are longer lasting and our bodies will keep producing them until we stop the exposing the body to the offenders that are challenging the immune system.   Some symptoms include: chronic headaches, runny or stuffy nose, irritable bowel syndrome, hives, hair loss, muscle weakness, mood swings to name a few (2)! Whew!

Food Intolerance
A food intolerance has to do with the lack of specific enzymes needed to break down specific substances.  The most common are: gluten, lactose and fructose intolerance.  Intolerances can cause the following symptoms: abdominal cramping, gas, diarrhea, acne, bloating, eczema, headaches, depression, nausea, vomiting and constipation to name a few (2).

So where are the hives coming from?? Allergies? Sensitivities? Intolerances?

In the last few weeks I've talked to 2 families that have children experiencing either a food allergy, sensitivity or intolerance. The first mother described her 13 month old child getting eczema patches on her cheeks.  We saw the same thing with Caleb when he ate certain foods.  Normally his face is the only part of his body that is eczema free.  The second mother talked about her 6 year old breaking out in hives and getting swollen lips.  At the age of three similar reactions were occurring but when allergy testing was rendered, nothing was discovered.  We have experienced both hives and swollen body parts with Caleb.

Based on my experience, both cases sound like food related reactions. I encouraged the families to start a food log to keep tract of what the children are being fed.  For kids, because they cannot always express themselves fully, a food journal or log is absolutely KEY in identifying trends and subsequent preventative methods to quell the adverse reactions.  I started a food journal for Caleb after all the allergies were uncovered at 6 months of age.  After symptoms decreased and healing took a choke hold on the situation I stopped (4 months ago).  Reading labels and asking questions in restaurants is also crucial. Know what you and your children are putting in your bodies!!

Most recently, Caleb broke out in a rash resembling small heat bumps (twice).  There was no itching or redness in either case.  After some investigation and elimination of veggie chips and raisins all the bumps disappeared.  Can you imagine? Raisins???

In order to get to the TRUE root cause as to why you or someone in your family is suffering from vomiting, eczema, hives, and irritable bowel syndrome (to name a few) you have go the extra mile and think outside the box (Radical Practices). Because Caleb's favorite snack (besides bananas - King of Banana Land) started giving him issues -- we've eliminated ALL processed store bought food.  This has caused us to think harder about what snacks to give him and dig deeper to prepare the right food that will continue to build his immune system and keep him on the right track. 

So where do you think the hives are coming from???? The symptoms for food allergies, sensitivities and intolerances are very similar.  How do you figure out which one you or someone you know if suffering from? Stay tuned for Part 3!

Peace and blessings

References for this post:
1 - Caring for your Child with Severe Food Allergies - Lisa Cipriano Collins
2 - Digestive Wellness - Elizabeth Lipski

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Sleeping Beauty

Good Night Folks (like my Caribbean bretheren would say) -

I am really tired today.  I ran a few miles (first time in months) and my body is asking me: WHY? WHY? WHY?

I have to get ready for a duathalon I signed up for months ago.  Due to the knee pain I started having a few weeks ago, I stopped running.  Now it's time to rev up my running engines! I pushed myself today and my body is telling me to go to sleep.

knee pain! uggggh!!

Have you been getting sufficient sleep lately?  In the article The Health Journey: Why are you still awake? I list ways to promote good sleep habits and a restful environment to help you wind down.

Some of the techniques in that article have really helped me!  Since I'm revving up my running engines I must get the proper rest.  It's the only way for my body to truly rejuvenate and heal in preparation for the duathalon.

Lately, I've put more emphasis on my eating habits and the substances I'm putting on my skin, and the same emphasis is needed for improving my sleeping habits. 

Sleeping Beauty was called that because sleep promotes beauty (inside and out)!

I'm going to sleep folks! Gotta get my beauty rest!

Peace and blessings!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How far do I take this NATURAL Journey?

I've been thinking about the concept of living naturally....being "natural"...eating "natural" foods, having natural hair and so on.  

All this detoxification information I've been loading up on is really challenging me to think about the choices I'm making on this natural Journey.  And I'm not just talking about choosing to sport my natural kinky curly hair or eating all organic, whole foods.  I'm extending the provocation to what I put on my skin....nails....and face.

My personal definition of "NATURAL" is something straight from nature. Food (The Food Journey), hair (The Hair Journey) and everything else in on this earth can have the designation of natural or synthetic. Some synthetic substances are VERY close to their natural models.  Have you been looking around at the budding flowers and trees lately?  The hues and pigments are OUTSTANDINGLY perfect! Bright, vibrant, and pleasing to the eye.  Humans have done quite a job with replicating nature but the full benefits of nature will not be realized in our lives by consuming synthetic substances inspite of how much they resemble the real thing.

A synthetic flower
A real, natural flower

I feel pretty comfortable about the "conversion" to natural hair and food...but what I'm beginning to explore is the conversion to natural PERSONAL CARE products such as deodorant, toothpaste, nail polish, hair dye, lotions, skin creams and the toughest bag: face make up!

Now I'm not a big make up person, but I do like eye shadow, lipstick/lip gloss, and eyeliner....I also love to get creative with my finger and toe nail polish during the summer months.  I won't use synthetic/chemical dyes on my hair that are not natural. So if I'm concerned about the chemicals I put on my hair I should also re-think what I'm putting on my nails, skin and face right?

Synthetic materials are widely used not just for textiles and food, but also for personal care products.  Take a look at the ingredient list of your shampoo or lotion.  How many ingredients can you pronounce or recognize (The Health Journey: Detoxification...the Body)?

If my hair is in it's natural kinky curly state and I dye it with chemicals...should it still be considered "NATURAL"? Is it similar to proclaiming: "I'm a vegetarian....but I eat steak"? LOL.

I took a trek to the local natural food store to find non-synthetic toothpaste, deodorant, bath soap, and make up.  Okay....I can handle the toothpaste and bath soap.  I didn't have time to focus on the make up choices.  But the deo...the deo...the deo! Lord have mercy!  I picked up some mineral crystal deodorant, used it, and did not feel safe to lift up my arms without a whiff of something unpleasant being released!!!! My secret was not secure!!

I admit...I went back to using my chemical laden deodorant.    I'm not sure what the transition period is with the deo.  I'm feeling some kind of way about it....Maybe I need to go on a retreat to the forest get my underarms in order then return to the "struggle"......But I'm still on the search for non-synthetic make up and nail polish.

Any tips?  I need to do my research! I wonder how much more expensive this natural stuff will be? Why are things that are better more costly???? Sheesh!

More to come!

Peace and blessings!


Monday, May 20, 2013

The Food Journey: Spicy Cucumbers!

As summer ramps up I've found a great snack to keep me cool...or spicy....or cool and spicy!!! I loved eating cucumbers growing up.  My mother said I started eating them as a baby and they remain one of my favorite vegetables.

I figured cucumbers were a healthy offering due to it's high water content and for the simple fact that it's a vegetable.  What I didn't know was that cucumbers are good for a variety of  physical ailments and conditions. 

Here are a few that are key to my Journey:
1. Relieves Joint pain (due to the silica content which helps strengthen connective tissue)
2. Reduces baggy eyes
3. Relives arthritic pain (due to it's vitamin and mineral content)
4. Stimulates hair growth (due to the sulphur and silica content)
5. Keeps you cool (due to the high water content)

I usually eat them plain (either cut up or whole), but last week I started creating some really yummy "spicy cucumber" recipes.

Here is the basic recipe that you can free style according to your desired taste profile or mood:

cucumbers (sliced any shape and thickness)
cayenne pepper (powder)
fresh garlic (chopped or grated)
fresh ginger (grated)
salt (to taste)
fresh cilantro (or any other green herb)
something sweet (oranges, apples, mangoes, etc).
fresh lemon juice (a small squeeze)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl to desired taste profile.  Let the mixture sit to allow the flavors to mingle. Timing is up to you. Note: the longer the flavors mingle the better it will taste. Five to thirty minutes is what I stick to.

Today I used mandarin oranges for my "something sweet"....and used less cayenne pepper (I like spicy... but no too SPICY!) The fresh garlic and ginger gives your digestive system a hug and a kiss.  The cayenne pepper is stimulating to every cell in your body and cilantro is a good detoxifier.  Based on all the goodies in this dish I considerate it to be a "super snack"...with exploding flavor and so many health benefits. You can't go wrong with this one! I'll also add that this snack is alive and Caleb approved! :)

Spicy Cucumbers!

Peace and blessings!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Detoxification: UPDATE!!

Hi Folks!

I am now on Day 24 of my dry brush challenge (The Health Journey: Detoxification - The Body).  I am pleased to say that the detox symptoms I experienced in the first 15 days have disappeared and have not re-surfaced (Detox: Small Brush...Large Impact).
Here's how the last 14 days have been:

Day 11 - I had upper back pain that lasted for about a day.

Day 14 – My left arm began to tingle and get quite stiff.  This happened on and off for about 5 days.  

Day 19 - The arm tingling stopped.

Day 20 – The arm tingling came back.

Days 21 to 24 – No adverse symptoms to speak of. 

Any other changes?

I have noticed that my skin (overall) is smoother and softer.  I have noticed a slight decrease of cellulite on my thighs.  Cellulite is a form of restricted circulation….so it makes sense that I have other circulation issues.  I think I have a body wide circulation issue and I have to figure out the root cause.  I’m hoping that the dry brushing has helped my lymphatic system get energized.  Overall, I don’t think my energy levels have soared but I’m feeling good.

What’s next?

1. I'm going to continue the dry brushing for another 30 days (I want beach ready thighs!!)

2. I’m going to start a liver flush on 5/27/13 sponsored by Empressive Vitality (Liver Flush by Empressive Vitality) check out the posted link for more information.

3. I’m going to couple the liver flush with a 30-day Raw Food challenge sponsored by Herbal Bush House (Herbal Bush House 30-Day RAW Food Challenge).   Why am I doing two challenges at once??? Well, the challenges are compatible because you have to clean up your diet while on the liver flush it makes sense.  I’m looking forward to maintaining my relationship with Mr. Detox. We’ve come a long way and  I’m getting used to his companionship!

Let's get ready for the beach!!! :)

I’ll keep you posted!

Anybody else in the middle of a detox or about to start one??

Peace and blessings!

Caleb's Corner: Terrific Madness!

Let me start by wishing a Happy Belated Mother's Day to all the FABULOUS women who have children in their lives! You don't have to be a  biological mother to be a mother figure in someone's life.  It takes a village to raise children and we are all  part of that village! Thanks for being strong, courageous, thrifty, and kinda crazy!

My mommy!

In my almost 34 years of life, I've realized that there are certain situations or stages  you JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND until you are fully entrenched in them.  Two things in particular that I didn't totally grasp until I was completely immersed were parenthood and marriage.

I don't care how many books you've read, classes you've attended, words of wisdom that entered your brain, or examples you've listened DO NOT fully "get it" until you are IN IT! Real life experience with parenthood and marriage will cause you to examine how you may have judged others, and challenge (but not necessarily change) your belief system and your upbringing.

My dear sweet  Caleb will  be turning two years old soon. He has morphed into a challenging, hard headed, willful, foot stomping, tantrum having sometimes angry little boy.  I found myself being irritated by him a few weeks ago.  For the first time in our relationship  I had an attitude with him.  I didn't want to talk to him.  Are there any witnesses out there? Or am I the only one???

I don't think of myself as a push over, easy, or soft mom.  But I'm learning I need to change my strategy in dealing with Caleb during this stage of life.  They call it the Terrible Two's....or the Terrific Two's.....I'm renaming it Terrific Madness!

How does a sweet, cooperative, easy going child turn into a spunky, quick, willful person who has quite the vocabulary and opinions that are shared often (good and bad)?  Okay...okay....I've been called spunky, willful, opinionated and sassy in my short years on this maybe he's getting some of this from me??????

Question:  how do you fuse training and discipline with facilitating an emerging personality and not break the child of who they were created to be?

Cooperative Caleb

I'm still reeling from what happened the other night when Caleb kicked, hit, spit and yelled at me.  I had to stop in the midst of the madness...pray....and try to maintain my sanity!! Words cannot describe how I was feeling.  Each offense resulted in a disciplinary action....but the brotha kept coming!! Now when Daddy showed up.....Caleb was a changed toddler.......hmmmm.....Am I not as effective as Daddy?  My honest answer is: Yes...I am not as effective as Daddy!  This is a dynamic that many of my friends have observed in their homes as well. Whew! I'm glad I'm not the first! There seems to be something about the male presence that keeps children in check. 

I don't fully understand this dynamic, but it is clear that Caleb pushes me to my limits...and does not do the same to his father.

Children are complete and utter sponges.  I nicknamed Caleb my Hype Man tonight because before I could finish the last syllable of my sentence....he was all over it! Every last word I said he repeated! He can sing songs, knows the cues for saying "please" and "thank you", and can tell me what his Granny said about "no lips"..."kiss only cheeks".......So what behavior (good or bad) is he picking up from me and others around him (especially at daycare)???

Ever heard: Do what I say...Not as I do??? That's foolishness because what you do is more meaningful than what you say to a child...or anyone for that matter. 

Here's a real life scenario:
Me: "Come Caleb"
Caleb: runs in the other direction or ignores my command.

Caleb: "Come Mommy"
Me: "I can't Caleb, I'm doing something right now".........

After a few times of me reprimanding him for not coming when I called I realized something: "I don't come when he calls me".  He's replicating my behavior.  I'm not re-enforcing what I need him to do by not responding to his requests.  He is doing what I do.  So now....I come when he calls me. If I am in the middle of something I go to him, explain what I'm doing and tell him I'll be back in a few minutes.  He's still not coming 100% of the time that I call...but he's almost  2 years old...I'm just shy of 34 years old.  I have to model the type of behavior I want him to have (not the other way around).  He's only been on this earth for 2 years.  It is my responsibility as a parent to TRAIN him.  To TEACH.  To INSTRUCT.  It took a little while for him to stop saying: "I want banana" and to start saying: "May I have a banana please".  It's going to take time for the rest of it to fall into place too.  Especially with this Madness phase!

Children are like mirrors.  They show you the good, bad and the ugly parts of your behavior, habits and choice of language.  If you are a conscious parent you will understand (or try to figure out) why your child is either mis-behaving or displaying wonderful traits.  You will figure out how to be more effective and be willing to capitalize on your mistakes to ensure the relationship formed with your child is healthy and beneficial to him/her  as they grow into adulthood.  I'm praying I won't be the cause of a childhood trauma Caleb will need counseling for later!  Have mercy! Has anyone found the manual yet? :)

 Mr. Fresh Mouth....

I have a lot to learn for sure.  This Terrific Madness stage is throwing me for a loop and I've realized that  I'm not as patient as I thought.  I will be doing some research on this stage of development to better understand what's going on in his handsome little head!  I will be prayed up and well rested so I can help thwart the madness before it spins out of control.  I must confess....his behavior has added to my level of stress. Caleb has always been in the stress-free category.  Time to pull out the 11 tips (The Health Journey: 11 Natural Ways to Eliminate Stress )! I can't let this little guy take me out!!! I have to get it together!!!

Any thoughts, suggestions, or tips for those currently in or that have survived the Terrific Madness stage??? All help is welcome! :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

The Hair Journey: Tress update #3

Time for another tress update! hair is growing up a storm.  I've mostly been doing the wash and go style with curls by Taliah Waajid (TW). I attempted a chunky fro style which consists of  twisting my hair, releasing the twists, coming the twist through with my fingers and keeping some texture...but I need to tweak that look some more. It wasn't "right". 

Here is the picked out afro version:

There is some definite growth since the last update I gave in April (Tress Update #2).  I even wore this afro to work a few weeks ago.  It was patted down and a bit more shapely than what is pictured above.  I call it my Florida Evans Fro (aka the Flo Fro).  I felt so liberated rocking the Flo Fro!  After preparing for my Flo Fro debut (picked out...patted, shaped up) I entered the kitchen where my supportive child Caleb was and he looked at my hair and simply said: "NO".  I can't make this up folks!!!  The next day after the same preparation someone who will go unnamed said:  "Make sure you comb your hair before you go to work" love!! They knew the fro was fresh (haters) so I rocked it proudly!! :)

Caleb finally came around on day #2.  At work I got one comment: "Looks like you're growing your hair out" and there were some side looks.  LOL! 

Here is the curly look:

This is the curl pattern I get when I used the curly crème by TW.  It works best when applied to damp, clean hair.  It holds the curl pattern all day and only gets "frizzy" if I start playing with it.

I'm debating getting braids for the summer.......

My girlfriend keeps standing me up so we have not had our Hair Share yet.  My barber played me to the left I'm going solo for now with the help of various blogs and websites to help get my creative juices flowing.  No new products to share at the moment.

Any ideas on what I could do next??


The Food Journey: Airplane food...Part 5

Honey! I'm hooooooome!!!!

Day #5 of my on the road food challenge is officially over (Airplane food...Part 4)!

No more "airplane" food for at least a few weeks.

I feel good about the food choices I made this week.  I really used self control to keep myself from disrupting the relationship I've formed with Mr. Detox.  There were times that I did indulge (Airplane Food....Part 2), but nothing extreme to the point of feeling guilty. I proved to myself that self control does indeed exist and can be metered out when you are ready for the next step in life.  It takes some effort, but you have to prepare yourself to make good choices.  Do not rely on the outside world to have a great salad or fruit bowl waiting for you.  You have to make it happen even if it means going to the grocery store and picking up healthy snacks for your trip. My experience this week with abstaining from unhealthy food, opened my eyes to the amount of junk we put in our bodies on a daily and weekly basis.  Diet Coke, Mountain Dew, cookies, crackers, chips....all of which contain toxins and empty calories.  So the goal was to replace the desire for all of the above by eating more whole, nutritious food.  It worked.  I was successful in eating more good stuff while on the road! Mission accomplished!

Preparing to make better choices, executing those choices  and exhibiting self control is key to success in life.....not just in eating better.  Think about it: if you can prepare, execute and have control of yourself you can overcome ANY OBSTACLE that shows up! Getting through school, a demanding job, a tough marriage, and the list can go on! What do you need to overcome?  I will definitely be using this airplane food experience to catapult me into a new phase of this Journey! I have proven that I CAN be in control of my diet in spite of the temptation at my fingertips.  I WILL use this lesson in other areas of my life! Whew! I'm excited!

Okay so enough with all the chatter! I know you are wondering what I ate here it goes:

Breakfast - oatmeal with trail mix, banana and black berries
Snack - 2 bananas
Lunch - baked potato and 1 roll
Snack - 2.5 cookies! - slight indulgence!
Dinner - I flew in and out of a very small airport.  The only thing they had in the gate area to eat was pre-packaged deli sandwiches junk food and whole fruit. So I ate an apple, pop-chips, an orange, and a few sweet potato tortilla chips. Not the greatest dinner, but I stayed away from the junk! When I started reading the ingredients on those sandwiches, I just couldn't bring myself to purchase one.

I rolled with the swamp water and ginger/red raspberry tea and drank my cayenne lemon tonic again today.  The swamp water was less swampy (no greens or nutmeg...just lemons).  Sure enough there was a comment made about the state of my water: "Hmmm...where's the swamp?? No nutmeg or mint today! Just lemons? You are slipping!"

Remember folks: when you start behaving or making choices that are outside of the norm, people WILL pay attention.  Some let you know...and some don't. 

My hope is that you will make better food choices in your day to day Journey.  Will power and self control are powerful tools to help you do this.  Think about what your body needs to stay or to get healthy.  Fill up your body with those substances and remove the other stuff that does not do a body good.

If Zahra Eat a Large Pizza Alone (The Food Journey: Eating out) can do it, I know you can too!

What do you think?

Some of the good stuff I ate this week!

 Peace within!


Friday, May 10, 2013

The Food Journey: Airplane Food....Part 4

Okay #4  on another one of my self induced challenges (Airplane Food...Part 3 and  Small brush....Large Impact) is over. 

I has such a large dinner last night, my digestive system needed a break! I could feel it!

I departed my hotel room with my swamp water, tea and trail mix again... but all I wanted for most of the day was fruit, veggies and tea.  I also downed my less super duper cayenne lemon tonic this morning. I am pleased to say my arm felt good numbness! Praise Him! :)

So here is what I ate today:

Breakfast - swamp water, blackberries, bananas, carrots
Snack - banana
Lunch - two heaping plates of salad and 2 small pieces of veggie pizza (light cheese)
Snack - trail mix, apple, banana
Dinner - rice, green beans and stir fried veggies (three pieces of teriyaki chicken)
Dessert - NONE but I almost caved and got a big huge snicker bar! Why you ask? Because we just stopped working tonight around 11:40pm (EST) and I was feeling a bit stressed!!! Snickers are my go to food for work stress!

I settled for 3 Famous Amos cookies and more swamp water instead.  The rest of the cookies were discarded....

So here I am tired to the max....but feeling good about what I was able to achieve on this trip with making better food choices.   But there is still tomorrow!

I haven't made good on my daily workout goal this week....but you can only do so much in a day when your schedule is tied to other's.  I'm not going to beat myself up for not working out everyday while on the road.

My swamp water was investigated again and commentary was rendered. But it's all good man! I love it! Like I said last night, a chance to share good news about good alternatives is always welcome.  I have noticed a lot more fruit in the room though! Positive influence doesn't have to be aggressive or overbearing...the opposite is more effective. 

What do you think?

Peace and blessings!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

The Food Jouney - Airplane Food....Part 3

Okay...So I'm on day #3 of the "Food on the road" challenge (Airplane Food...Part 2).

My healthy hotel vittles are starting to disappear (which is good!). I'm still rocking my swamp water and trail mix.  The bananas are now ripe enough to munch on so I felt like the Queen of Banana Land today (Caleb's Corner....King of Banana Land).

If you ever wonder if people are paying attention to you....start doing things that are not considered "normal".  I'm amazed at how many people are paying attention to what I'm eating and drinking on this trip.  Someone is always paying attention. There are voyeurs in every corner of the earth.  Sometimes they bring awareness to their voyeurism and sometimes they don't.  That's why you always have to be real, honest, and true to your inner core.  Be your own life. Of course as your individualism ascends please display therapeutic behavior (be respectful, non judgmental, kind, gentle, gracious, merciful and loving) to those who are not on the same trajectory (The Health Journey - Therapeutic Behavior). Therapeutic behavior makes all the difference in your ability to render a positive influence on other people's journey and lives. what did I eat today??

Breakfast - oatmeal with trail mix
Snack - banana and trail mix
Lunch - taco salad (veggies, black beans)
Snack - 1/4 piece of cake, trail mix, banana
Dinner (another BBQ joint) - baked potato, BBQ trout, spinach salad with pecans and strawberries.  (I also tried a small "burnt end" piece of beef brisket.)
Dessert - NONE!

I think I ate too much at dinner...I'm feeling heavy and drowsy it was either too much food or that little snatch of brisket topped me off in a bad way.

I feel like I splurged a bit at dinner....but it was GOOD!

I took my super duper cayenne and lemon tonic today and drank plenty of swamp water and ginger/red raspberry tea.  The numbness in my arm showed up this morning...but dissipated by early afternoon.

Overall I think I'm doing well.  Better than I have in the past for sure.  I hope I didn't jeopardize too much progress by tonight's dinner!!! :(

Whew! Time to rest!

What is your favorite travel meal?

Remember: Someone is ALWAYS watching!

Peace and blessings!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Food Journey: Airplane food....Part 2

Hi Folks!

It's day 2 of my "Food on the road" challenge (Airplane Food Part 1).

Anyone else struggle with eating right while traveling on business??  Tell me about your experience!

Today my vitamin water was given the nick name of "swamp water" by my colleauges.  It was a popular topic for discussion today. provides a platform to expose others to alternatives.  In a room where everyone is drinking sodas and coffee all day...I'm drinking tea, swamp water and eating trail mix.  Today's vitamin I mean swamp water contained: cilantro, lemon, blackberries, nutmeg and ginger. 

So what else did I consume today?

Breakfast - oatmeal and hotel made trail mix
Snack - apple and trial mix
Lunch - tuna fish sandwich with a pickle
Snack - 1/4 of a cookie
Dinner (an Italian joint) - house dinner salad and bruchetta ( the fresh garlic, tomatoes and basil was quite good!)
Dessert - APPLE PIE!!!!!!!!!!!! and it was hmmm hmmm good! A little splurge wont hurt right? And it went down so gooooooooood!!!!!!!

I'm happy to report my arm has not felt numb all day. I'm tired, but feeling good.  Hopeful for a new day and another chance to take my Journey to a higher level.

This morning I made another super duper cayenne pepper and lemon water tonic....I think I added too much pepper because my stomach kicked me in the gut a few times........Once recovered...I was good!

Super Duper pepper and lemon tonic
It felt easier than yesterday to make better choices....but the food choices were not as un-healthy as I didn't feel like I had to make a "hard" choice.  My friends the munchkins didn't show up so my sweet cravings felt at bay.  So do I really crave those things or do I just want what I see??? The mind is a powerful thing!  If we focus on good things (better food, better drinks, healthy living) we can make strides in the right direction easier than if we are distracted by the "munchkins" that show up wanting to play.  

Day 3 coming up!! :)

What are your struggles with food while traveling?

Peace and blessings!


Have you ever been running and twisted your ankle?  I have! More than once.  This one particular time it wasn't bad so I kept running.  Then I fell...I twisted my other ankle and I fell.  I stayed on the ground for a ankle was throbbing.  I began to have flash backs of when I sprained my ankle years ago and couldn't walk for a while.  My running partner asked me: "Does it hurt? Can you move it?"  I tried to move it and I could....I was helped up and began to walk....then I began to run...the pain wasn't as bad as expected.  After the run as we were walking, the question was raised: "How's your ankle"?  I replied: "It's fine...if it can be moved, I need to move it.  It should be moved...."

Later on that day I was thinking about those words..."if it can be moved, I need to move it"....I related this experience to life's hardships.  We twist our ankles and sometimes even fall in the course of life.  Pain ensues.  Sometimes a little, sometimes a what do we do?  Do we move, then get up, then walk, then start running again?  What that day showed me was sometimes our bodies (mind, hearts, souls) are more resilient and stronger than we think.  Because my ankle could move, I moved it...which allowed me to get back to my run....and to the Journey.

If your heart is broken but still beats... it can heal, grow and be given away again.  If your  mind is tired and drained with all kinds of thoughts (good and bad) but you can still think...then think of a better way, challenge yourself to think of improvements to make.  If your soul is scarred but can still breathe....then breathe into a new soul stirring experience.

We must take our twists, sprains and falls and determine what still works, moves and lives.  We have to capitalize on what still works, moves, and lives so that we can re-direct ourselves from the mis -  management of  roadblocks that come in the form of trials, pain and discomfort.  When we don't use the proper tools to overcome these roadblocks the realization of how strong we really are never occurs.
If it can move, move it...keep it moving away from selfishness, digression, self -doubt, little faith, insecurity, low self esteem, pride, denial, anger, away from the crowd and ultimate self destruction....see things for what they really are.  Open up and accept life's path and God's purpose for you.  Activate the tools to get you enable you to keep moving.

Ready.....set......GO!  Sky is the limit!

Sky is the limit!!!

Peace and blessings!

Monday, May 6, 2013

The Food Journey: Airplane Food...Part 1

This week I'm traveling for business.......eating right while traveling has always been my nemesis.  In the past I used traveling as an excuse to eat ABSOLUTELY WHATEVER I WANTED! :)  As my travel began to pick up eating whatever I wanted became a problem! Whenever you travel your life program changes...your sleep pattern changes, your eating patterns change, your bowel movements may get altered by the change in environment...oh and your exercise patterns can also shift or become non-existent.

I'm on the road again and I am still on my 30-Day dry brush challenge (Small Brush...Large Impact).  So I'm in detox mode.  What I did not want to do on this trip was add more toxins to my body, thereby disrupting my new relationship with Mr. Detox.

One thing I didn't do however was PREPARE for the type of diet I needed to have while on the road. There was too much going on at home before I left...I felt like a crazy lady! I packed 1 hour before leaving for the airport so I forgot some key items needed from home to ensure a healthy trip.

So what food am I going to eat before, during and after my airplane ride (to and from my destination)??

I got in late last night and HAD to go to the nearest grocery store to get some "supplies".   Mind you I was SO HUNGRY and there was a McKee Dee's on every corner with OPEN lights on in the windows! Fresh french fries!!!  Have Mercy!

I had two issues to find solutions for:
1 - Find herbs/food to help increase my circulation
2 - Find food to eat during the day while working

Circulation woes:
I mentioned in earlier posts that I've struggled with circulation issues for the last few months and actually for the last 10 years or so (with out knowing).  More recently my arms and fingers are "falling asleep" while my body is at rest....last night my arm was numb for almost 3 hours.... and I'm having a repeat experience tonight.  Its the same sensation I experienced with my left leg when I used to do a lot of long distance driving.

So what did I get at the store to help?  Cayenne pepper, ginger (tea, capsules and powder), fresh garlic and nutmeg powder.  I made a solution of what listed above and drank it last night before retiring. 

This morning I  made vitamin water with:  nutmeg, blackberries, ginger, lemon and mint to drink throughout the day.  I also drank ginger tea (with red raspberry) for half of the day. 

Tonight I drank a super duper solution of cayenne pepper, lemon and water.  I'm praying all will be
well in the morning.

Vitamin water - lemon, nutmeg, ginger, blackberries (on bottom) and mint (at the top)

Food to eat while working:
While working away from the home office, there is always some sort of tempting treat to much on ALL DAY LONG!

I was visited this morning by my friends the Dunkin Donut munchkins (The Food Journey: Cravings!!). Lunch was a heavy Italian offering of pasta (alfredo, lasagna, stuffed shells), chicken, bread and salad.  Dinner with colleagues was at a BBQ joint serving succulent beef brisket!

So here I am...the Pizza Lady (The Food Journey: Eating Out) being put to the test! As I mentioned before Mr. Detox and I have started a great relationship and I do not want to jeopardize it by frolicking with munchkins and a bunch of cheese!

So today I was armed with "hotel" made trail mix from pumpkin seeds, granola, almonds, cashews, and cranberries.  I had a baggie of baby carrots, an apple and plenty of vitamin water and tea to curb my desire to frolic.

Hotel made trail mix (pumpkin seeds, cashews, almonds, granola, cranberries)

I will admit I did eat two (2!) munchkins (one in the morning and one in the afternoon).  For lunch I had a ton of salad, two stuffed shells and one piece of bread. For dinner (at the BBQ joint) I ate a green salad, a taste of potato salad and I couldn't resist a swig of sweet tea. 

Over all I feel pretty good about my eating performance today. I ate almost all the trail mix, my apple and filled myself up with vitamin water and tea.  While everyone else was expressing their "stuffed" feeling after all the BBQ they consumed...I felt light as air and was able to exercise an hour after dinner.

Of course I received comments on my water, my apple, and my SALAD at the BBQ joint! But it's all good and most of the comments were positive and inquisitive. Peer pressure is something serious. Standing apart and not following the crowd is a powerful witness and testimony. I readily explained what I was eating and drinking but did not do it to make a scene or draw attention to my food choices.  It's interesting what people notice when the status quo is challenged.

Tomorrow I plan to do even better.  There is always a better choice no matter what restaurant or site you end up visiting. Most hotels are armed with refrigerators and hot water, so you can pick up a few items so you can eat better while on the road.  But just like everything else worth doing: it takes more time and extra work.  But it's worth it.  Your body temple will thank you for it!

I have decided that I am not detoxing in vain!! So I have to pull it together and handle business! This week is actually a good challenge for me to break the "traveling habit" of poor eating.  I've been doing better this year (2013), but I've never traveled while being in a relationship with Mr. this week is going to put me on another level.

Some of the goodies from the late night grocery trip

Onward I press!!
I know I can!
I know I can!
I will!

Peace and blessings!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Detoxification: Small brush...large impact!

So as posted in The Health Journey: Detoxification - The Body, I started a personal 30 day challenge to dry brush my skin.  This activity is supposed to activate and energize my lymphatic system, help detoxify my skin and increase circulation thereby removing cellulite. 

I have made it to day #10 and I'm going to share my experience (1/3 of the way) with you guys because I was (and still am) quite alarmed by how I started to feel a few days ago.

On day #4 I began to feel small twinges of nausea.  I didn't think anything about it, but on day #6 my throat started hurting like I was coming down with a cold (and I had just got over one) so I was getting concerned.  At the same time my throat started hurting, my right knee started tightening up...feeling a little funny.  By day #8 I could not walk properly and without pain.  I had to stay in bed and could barley bend my leg.  On Tuesday (day #9) the nausea took over and was accompanied by diarrhea (I know...TMI!) I was thinking: "What in the world is wrong with me????"

The DETOXIFICATION process was taking effect.   And that's actually what was RIGHT with me!

The detoxification process consists of hidden toxins being set free in your body by the help of some agent (tea, foods, steam, sweat, etc.).  Once they are released from their hiding places they must be eliminated.  Your body can react to the freed toxins by having multiple symptoms that include: nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, body aches, acne, and more. It's parallel to a drug addict going through physical and chemical rehab. 

Who would have thought simple dry brushing could turn my body upside down??

Instead of quenching my symptoms with more toxins (pain pills, over the counter ointments, etc.) I treated myself with natural remedies as follows:

1. For the sore throat - tea with honey and Super Tonic (Natural Cold Remedies)

2. For the painful knee - Swelling and Sprain salve, Bone Flesh and Cartilage oil and White Willow Bark (all created by Herbal Bush House) and a hot bath with Epsom salts, lavender and Ylang Ylang oils.

I must add that I've struggled with knee pains since college and I find it interesting that during this detoxification process the very thing I've struggled with for years begins to hurt! Maybe that's been the problem all along...toxins have been stored in my knees!??!

3. For the nausea and diarrhea - bananas (King of Banana Land), dry crackers, Probiotic and Gut Buster Pro (also by Herbal Bush House).  I felt like I was back in my first trimester of pregnancy yesterday! Double whew!!!

I'm happy to report, on day #10 (today) my knee is pain free and the sore throat is gone, but I'm still having twinges of nausea and a bit of the bubble guts.  Natural remedies really DO help!  I spoke to someone at work today about this and she experienced similar symptoms after completing a foot detox.  I heard another story about a guy, while doing a  fruit and vegetable cleanse cited ill effects for two weeks that was followed by an increased level of energy and health.  After this morning, I started feeling a little better about my experience but I must admit, I feel even more trepidation about the liver cleanse.  Maybe this challenge will prep my body for the big hug and kiss I'm going to give my liver!!! Yikes!!! I mean...Yay!!

Sprain and Swelling Salve (check out the ingredients)

For pain - most pain medication is extracted from the bark of the white willow!

Probiotics, Bone Flesh and Cartilage Oil, Gut Buster Pro (helps elimination and used in colon cleansing kits)

In spite of all the ill effects, I am determined to complete my self induced challenge.  This suffering will NOT be in vain! It's for the betterment of my God given temple! 

Twenty more days to go! Pray church!!

Anybody else doing some sort of detox or cleanse?? Please! Share your experiences!!

Peace and blessings!