Friday, March 30, 2012

Chasing the Unicorn

I spend a fair amount of time listening to podcasts and reading about vegetarianism, veganism, fighting GMO's and the prospects of humane farming.  Much like the unicorn, I'm not sure if that last one exists but I have hope!

Wouldn't this be awesome!

In cruising the web today I came across this piece by a guy named Farmer Brown.  It's a quick 3 minute read but it left me feeling happy and hopeful.  He has a list of upcoming speaking engagements that you might want to check out.

When I need a little spark to remind me that things can change, I will return to his post...

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Quarterly Report: 1Q

If my life were a small business (which it kind of is!), this would be the end of the first quarter.  A fine time to look at sales, tweak the marketing strategy and review the Mission Statement.  I've been hacking away at my Dirty Five New Years Resolutions!  Here is my quarterly report:

#1  Learn to swim properly.  I went at this with a vengeance once I got all the fun accoutrement.  I was swimming at least 3 times per week and I got to the point that I could swim laps in the pool without much of a problem.  Then the ocean got cold (don't laugh, everyone is talking about it) and bad swimming conditions took over for about three weeks.  Every time I went to the sea, the waves were breaking and the water was cccooollldd.  The little break I've taken has been good for me but I'm ready to get back in the water.  I can't say that swimming is my "thing" or that I "love" it but I do like it and the physical benefits are a no-brainer.  I think it's safe to say that I learned to swim... continuing to swim is the next challenge.

#2 Spend an hour each day talking to loved ones.  I haven't made a ton of progress here.  I HAVE been a better texter - sending out love for no good reason.  I've also gotten FaceTime up and rolling on my iMac. Seeing my nephew for the first time via giant computer screen was pretty awesome!  Lesson learned from my Resolution:  Time is a seriously precious commodity.  Getting proper sleep is mandatory for me to physically complete my days.  Couple that with the time difference to the West Coast and things slide downhill in no time.  That's why it's a Resolution, right?  I'll work harder to have a better second quarter...

#3 Develop one visible abdominal muscle.  It's coming!  My diet is clean and I've got 37 days to go (the deadline is set to my husband's birthday weekend).  In seven days, the weekend cocktails get cut, as does the daily tortilla. 30 days of No Compromise and a wavering unshakable belief that it is possible are all that stand between me and my best effort.

#4 Convince three restaurants to add a vegan recipe to their menu.   ZERO progress here.  The first restaurant I wanted to approach spontaneously added a beautiful hearty salad with black beans, sweet peppers, toasted pumpkin seeds, tortilla strips, cilantro and creamy avocado dressing (OMG) to their menu.  They also added a "Fresh Market Garden Burrito" to compliment their black bean enchiladas.  This isn't technically a win in my column but clearly, my work here is finished.  I'll add a sub-resolution instead:  Eat at Cafe Sol at least twice in April, order the new items AND make sure to thank the Manager.  This isn't a tough one... Mexican food ranks second only to Indian.  Fire up the mariachis!

#5 Be a pacer at the Western States 100.  When I talk about WS I get so excited that I shake like my chihuahua!  My 12 weeks of trail training begins April 1 and I'm getting support from all over the place.  I've been studying my part of the trail, memorizing the names of the aid stations and doing my due diligence on the topic of headlamps.  My running is strong and effortless these days. I feel great! It seems the hardest part may be actually getting there. We're being moved to a new house and until I know when the move will happen, I can't buy a ticket. Can you hear me drumming my fingers on the desk? Additionally, the price of gas is driving up the airfare daily - taking my blood pressure right along with it! Yet I remain calm and pseudo-yogic.  It will all come together, it will all come together, it will all... 

All in all, not bad.  I need to pick up the phone more often and would love to shake off the discomfort of approaching restaurant owners.  I'll get there...  How are your resolutions coming?  I'd love to hear your war stories!

Btw, THANK YOU to everyone who read this blog in March.  It's been the most successful month to date and I know that your time is precious - any spent here with me is a great compliment.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Take a Tour of Inspiration Land!

This morning my beautiful client "Q" had a great weigh in and an awesome little story to share. Her father had been away on a trip and purchased a skirt for her as a present. He said she was looking smaller lately so he hoped the size was OK. She was bummed to see that the skirt was two sizes too small but thanked him anyway. Later, just for laughs, she tried it on and voila! She was wearing the skirt this morning while I measured her. The pride was radiating out of her gorgeous face!

"Q" isn't losing 5 lbs per week, the scale isn't shattering - but her MINDSET is that of an athlete. She is calm, patient, determined and most of all consistent. She notices little changes and owns them. Not that she wouldn't LOVE to see the scale sink 10 lbs like it did in her first week but just as I start one of my little Friday Pep Talks, she beats me to the punch every time. "It took years to put it on, it's going to take time to get it off!"

I can't emphasize enough how important that kind of mindset becomes once you decide to do something. If you consistently tear yourself down - you will sink into a heap of your own making. Every.Single.Time.

I was reading back issues of Runner's World yesterday (because I'm a freak) and came across a story on Ben. You can watch the video below and it seems I might be late to the Ben Party because 1.5 million of you have already seen it. THIS is the kind of stuff we should spend our time watching. NO MATTER where you are physically - no matter what your goals - even if you don't have goals but you're just sick of listening to yourself say "I should do something"... Take a few consecutive tours of Ben's life and then place one foot in front of the other.


Click the Watch on YouTube if this link restricts you.  I can never tell if it's my Barbados IP address or just restricted in general.  Enjoy!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Sweet Moments

Becoming a vegetarian is quite possibly the most joyful thing I've ever done.  (Marrying a wonderful man aside ;)  It fills my heart and simultaneously breaks it on a daily basis.  Ask any vegetarian "why?" and you'll get a thousand answers.  My "why" is a blend of many things, but essentially my health came first and then the animal compassion piece came second.  I've always been an animal lover but I absolutely and unconsciously separated them into animals we love and animals we eat.  The only difference now is that ALL animals are residing in that first camp!

Last month I sent out an email to my closest girlfriends that chronicled the story of a Vegan writer, Colleen Patrick-Godreau, who lost her gay best friend suddenly on an operating table a few months ago.  In his honor, she adopted a tiny baby goat at The Farm Sanctuary in upstate New York.  Farm Sanctuary is big on my list of places to visit and if you want a big hit of HAPPY, just click here to visit their website and read amazing stories of the farm animals they've saved.  This photo sent me into tears...

Scribbles the baby Goat, with pics of Michael Scribner

It had such an effect because I lost my dear friend Brian to AIDS back in 2001 and the way Colleen spoke of her friend reminded me so much of Brian - it hit a cord that just plain hurt.   I shared the story with my girls and thanked them profusely for standing by my side through all the changes in my life over these past two years.  Of course, tears-a-plenty reigned down upon my keyboard.

Two days ago I got this in the mail...

This is what your best friends will do for you... treasure them with your whole heart!

I can't stop the inhume treatment of farm animals, I can't make anyone stop eating them, and my non-consumption will never make a dent in the 10 Billion animals killed each year in the U.S... these are just the facts. 

But by the grace of God, and the support of those who love me, I will do what I can.  That's my promise.

Thank you so much Renee - I love you sister!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

I think I'm in love with Brussel Sprouts

There's a string of words I never thought I would type.  Ever.

When I espouse my love for brussel sprouts, there are only two reactions.  YUM or GROSS - no one seems to feel ambivalent about these little green gems.  I fear that a million yucky brussel sprouts were cooked in the 60's & 70's... perhaps they were boiled?  I don't know.  If you think you hate them, just do me a $5 favor and pick up some fresh brussel sprouts and try this...

Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Cherry Tomatoes and Walnuts

1 lb fresh brussel sprouts
1/2 lb fresh cherry tomatoes
6 oz. halved walnuts
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Sea Salt
Cracked Black Pepper

First, rinse off the sprouts and trim any little hard stems areas from their bottoms. Also rinse the tomatoes and set out to dry.  Wet vegetables don't make great roasted vegetables!

Preheat the oven to 400F

Half the brussel sprouts, laying them face up on a cookie sheet.  Add the olive oil, salt and pepper and give a liberal toss.

Place in the hot oven (make sure you wait for the preheat!) and let them become wonderful for 15 minutes.

Next, add the tomatoes and give the whole pan a toss.  You can leave the tomatoes whole or cut them in half.  I personally like them halved.  No worries. Wait another 10 minutes.

Last, add the halved walnuts and give a stir.  The walnuts will burn so keep an eye on them.  They should be in for no more than three to four minutes.

Remove from the oven, place the tray in a towel on your lap and eat the whole thing.

I know I'm not supposed to "flash" food but I tried like mad to get it without a flash and now I'm starving.  Forgive me.

Until recently, I didn't know that brussel sprouts grow like this...

I think it's cool.


Monday, March 12, 2012

Building an Ab

#1 Trainer Question:  "How do I get rid of this?"   (Client pulling rigorously on muffin top)

Unfortunately, the answer is almost never what they wanted or expected to hear. But I give it to em' anyway!  Ironically, I'm in the same boat as I work toward my Resolution of producing one abdominal muscle that is visible to the naked eye.  I've always carried any extra weight right around the middle so attempting this at 42 is a definite challenge!  As I move closer to that one precious ab, it's time for me to take my own medicine and employ these reminders...

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MSGeeez Part 2

The first MSG post definitely hit a nerve so I want to give pass along some tips in navigating through the MSG onslaught:

MSG IS a naturally occurring part of the chain of amino acids that make up proteins.  That's why anything that lists "Protein" as an ingredient contains MSG. Those "proteins" are not the most disconcerting part to me.  What's grating on me is the addition of MSG to foods that do not otherwise contain it AND the twisting of words to disguise it.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


WHOA.  I've been doing some research on MSG and my mind is officially blown.

I recently fell in love with a product called Complete Seasoning by Badia.  It's tastes SO GOOD that I didn't care that MSG was listed on the label.  As the old saying goes  "You're gonna die from something!". I've already eliminated all the big bad wolves from my diet so why not just throw a little MSG in the pot?

Sunday, March 4, 2012

How to Rescue a Birthday

42 is kind of a nuthin' burger birthday. 40 was WOW. 41 came really fast after 40 and sort of cemented the whole "I'm IN my forties" mentality. 42 just feels like a seat filler for 45. Don't get me wrong, I am so happy and grateful to be 42 and healthy. It's just a smidge anticlimactic.

After an early morning run with legs like cement blocks (you know that run!) it rained cats and dogs so I took the opportunity to do some really exciting things like clean the lint out of my dryer and give the toilets an epic scrub. After birthday calls from my parents I had a good cry because I miss them - sounds awesome, right? Around 3 o'clock my husband took pity on me and came home to attempt a rescue of what was shaping up to be a real shite birthday.

And rescue it, he did! The weather had started to break so we crossed our fingers for a sunset and made it down to the club just in time for this...

Thanks God!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Stir-Fry for a Rainy Day

It's a dark and rainy day on Barbados - a rarity.  Alas it the first day this year that I can stay inside, make a beautiful lunch and catch up on Justified - guilt free!

Rachel made this stir-fry for me a few months ago and I just can't get enough. I've put my own stamp on it but it closely resembles her lovely creation.  This can be split into two meals (Rachel would probably get three of four out of it!) but I am a little piglet so I just ate the whole bowl.