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Female Toxicity: Projection and Comparison

Female Toxicity_Today I decided to express my thoughts on a troubling and destructive trend I’ve come across in over the last few weeks. While I know that a number of women often fall victim to the comparison monster and their images of self to become warped by it, I’ve never grown accustomed to those who choose to victimize other women rather than seek the necessary healing and personal development that is needed to break free from such destructive processes!

What do I mean? Well, I’m referring to a toxic interaction I had with another female author regarding the issue of “fat-shaming” and it’s effect on those who have been victimized by it. Unfortunately, this individual choose to engage in a form of cyberbullying rather than express her opinions and move on (i.e. agree to disagree). It is never a good or honorable thing to project one’s issues, pain, insecurities or perceived shortcomings, onto another individual regardless of your stance on a particular topic!

Women face a constant barrage of noise and obstacles (gender inequality, skewed images of beauty, misogyny, etc) from both society and media in general. My point is this, I refuse to remain silent in the wake of such toxicity without both challenging and speaking to the issue of bullying in larger terms. We live in an age when hate is being normalized, misogyny is being masqueraded as “plain speaking” or “politically incorrect” and body-shaming (fat shaming and body shaming in general terms), is being viewed as appropriate, justified, humorous and everyday speech!

IT IS NOT OKAY TO BULLY ANYONE REGARDLESS!! I can recall an old African proverb that states “Ashes fly back into the face of him (or in this case, her) who throws them.” It is my hope that all the “adults” in this digital space, have made the same calculation and are evolved enough to state their peace and move on, without attempting to demean or bully others in the process.

It is true that in some instances, the abused often becomes the abuser for a variety of reasons (unresolved pain points, lack of treatment, etc)I’ll leave it there because I feel that this is best left to the experts and is tangential to my current discussion. Regardless of gender, we have all been wounded at some point in our lives, but the real victory, healing, and wholeness (and by extension, personal growth) come from facing and or addressing those issues rather than projecting them outwards with the aim of deriving relief through the victimization of another. Experience and observation have shown me that this is neither healthy nor sustainable; ultimately it is self-destructive and fosters an inauthentic and toxic version of oneself.

In “female” terms, that incessant need to compare oneself to another woman with the desperate hope of becoming “her” or tearing “her” down (like crabs in a barrel), will never fill the void left by a wound that has been left to fester through either neglect, ignorance, choice or some combination of all three. Add to that the dimension of socio-cultural pressures and it becomes a toxic yoke that requires a level of personal (i.e. internal) work that can be very difficult to achieve without professional help (depending on the degree of deep work needed) and a willingness to embrace one’s authentic self. While I’m intimately acquainted with being a victim of this, I made the personal commitment and decision to get off of that crazy train, embrace my authentic self (yes, flaws and all!) and free myself in the process.

Every day, I witness the array of images and myths (some truths thrown in too) presented by both the media and society and I literally make the decision to own who I am and not allow anyone else to dictate my truth. We all have to make that decision, the question is, are you willing to grow or stagnate? To devolve into bitterness, pain, and destruction or chose to live a life of freedom and authenticity? It’s much easier by the way!

I understand and recognize that we are all at different places in terms of personal development, life journeys etc, but the fact remains that we all have a choice they might not always be the ones we would like or find comfortable, but we still have to choose! I hope you choose one that honors the inherent dignity of all human beings and fosters peace and growth rather than discord narrow mindedness. Be careful of what you allow to grow in your garden…

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Quick and Easy Food Storage Tips

We all know how expensive groceries can become especially when you move between seasons or making a huge shift in how you feed yourself and your family.

Making healthy nutritional choices doesn’t have to break the bank nor does it have to become an overwhelming experience. While you might think you’re saving money (i.e. buying processed foods instead of fresh produce, etc) by not buying organic and locally sourced produce (get my FREE quick and easy grocery guide for the EWG recommendations for produce in 2017), or stocking up on frozen meals, the truth is that the hidden health costs associated with these types of low quality “foods” are extremely high.

Don’t be deceived by marketing gimmicks and misinformation campaigns promoted by both big agribusiness and the processed food industry. Labels on our foods matter and so do the methods of food production. Foods that have been cultivated using conventional means (i.e. large-scale pesticide and herbicide use, etc) are much more likely to contain damaging levels of these residues. We as consumers can not rely on these industries to “self-regulate” as their track records have shown them to be less than honest when it comes to putting consumer safety and health above their stock portfolios.

Also, while the FDA and USDA have traditionally been the only real advocate for consumers, both agencies have been severely hindered and compromised by lobbying interests as well as well-crafted efforts to defund these agencies in an effort to misinform the public regarding our food sources, what’s in our foods, labeling practices by the processed food industry and big agribusiness.

The reality is this: what food you put in your mouth will either poison or nourish your body, depending on where it comes from. If it comes from a country with no or poorly standardized food safety requirements (i.e. mercury levels in fish, pesticide use in produce, additives in frozen, processed and or packaged foods, etc), YOU need to SERIOUSLY rethink your food choices!!

Part of being able to feed your family with safe nutritious foods means you must adopt a sustainable way of accessing the right foods for your table. In practical terms, that means finding ways to minimize waste and unnecessary costs due to spoilage and improper food storage.

With that in mind here are a few quick tips:

1. Store dairy products at the back of the fridge. While it may make for easy access, keeping your milk at the front of the fridge makes it more prone to spoilage due to temperature differences. This is because the back of the fridge is colder and will, therefore, give your dairy products are longer shelf life.

2. Place your meats on the bottom shelf so that their juices do not drip on other food items (i.e. produce, etc) and contaminate them. If space is an issue, place your meat products on a tray or inside a leak-proof container in order to catch any drippings. Better yet, prep and package your meats into manageable portions (i.e. serving sizes for soups, meals, etc) and then store them in the freezer until you’re ready to cook your meals. Also, separate lunch meats from raw meats in order to prevent illness associated with cross-contamination.

3. Like any other plant, well-hydrated herbs will last longer and be less likely to spoil when you store them properly. Fresh herbs, like basil, asparagus, and green onions will last a good while if you store them upright in a jar of fresh water. Simply trim the stems, cover them with a piece of plastic wrap, and place them in the refrigerator for storage and use as needed.

4. Be aware of where to store fruits and vegetables. Not all fruits and veggies require refrigeration and in some instances, refrigeration affects the taste quality of some fruits and vegetables. For instance, avocados (yes, technically it’s a fruit because it has a seed y’all), citrus, bananas, nectarines, pears, peaches, onions, tomatoes, and potatoes do best outside of your fridge at room temperature or in your pantry. A quick warning though; don’t store onions and potatoes together due to the ethylene gas which can cause them to spoil each other faster.

5. I’ve been doing this for years ( thanks, momma), but did you know it really helps when you wrap your greens in paper towels. They’re great at preventing slimy residue from accumulating and making a science experiment in your bag of lettuce, spinach, or other leafy greens. Simply use paper towels to soak up excess moisture and lightly wrap your green in a few paper towels. This also works for leftover salad greens in food storage containers (minus the salad dressing of course).

6. Cover the crown of your bunches of bananas with plastic wrap. It helps to slow the release of that ethylene gas which is the meany responsible for breaking (the natural process that causes your produce to spoil) down one of my go-to mid-morning snacks. This is a good way to preserve your bananas if you’re not going to eat them right away.

7. Did you know wrapping your bunches of celery in foil helps it stay fresh and crunchy for up to as much as four weeks?  Yep, wrapping it up in foil and then placing it in your fridge’s crisper drawer will help extend the life of your celery. The foil does this by allowing just the right amount of moisture in, and the ethylene gas out.

8. Stop! Don’t wash all your produce at once. I know it’s counter-intuitive but it’s much better to wash your produce as you go if you want to maximize its shelf life. Unless you plan on freezing your food, you should only be washing things you’re ready to eat right away or soon after. This will reduce the chances of mold growing on damp produce.

9. Another “who’d a thunk it?” If you want to keep those berries mold free, soak them in vinegar. If you’re not going to consume them all at once, simply quick soak your berries in a solution of three parts water, one part vinegar in order to kill bacteria and prevent molding. Once you’ve done that, give the berries a thorough pat dry and store in the fridge.

10. Another great time saver and a great way to preserve your veggies to simply roast them prior to storage. By roasting vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower,  you can extend their shelf life. Not only that, it’s also a great meal prep tip to have cooked veggies on hand that you can quickly incorporate into any meal.

11. I can say this enough! Store grains in air-tight containers!! While buying in bulk is a great way to save money when grocery shopping, you want to make sure that you store it correctly so the extra food doesn’t go to waste. It’s critical that you make sure to transfer your grains into an airtight container to maintain freshness, as well as keep those pesky bugs away. Do yourself a favor by labeling your containers with the purchase dates so you’re able to keep track of expiration dates and avoid wasting stored foods.

12. Always Double-check your fridge’s temperature especially as the seasons’ change (i.e. summer vs. winter months). You want to make sure that your fridge is set at the correct temperature and that your thermostat is in proper working order to prevent spoilage and reduce the risk of food born illnesses. The recommended temperature is 40 degrees Fahrenheit or 5 degree Celsius for those of you who are using the mks measurement system.

If you’re still not sure where to begin, grab my FREE Pantry Detox Gude GUIDE HERE

For the complete Introductory Produce, Shopping Guide grab a copy HERE!!

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In Memory!

I wanted to express my deepest condolences to the families and friends of the 22 victims of the bombing in Manchester, England yesterday, as well as reach out to the 59 people who were injured in the blast. It is always difficult to understand why things like this happen. Know that all of you are […]

via When Tomorrow Starts Without Me… — The Purple Almond

I had to share this beautiful piece in memory of those who lost loved ones in Manchester England. It was such sudden tragic loss and no words can express my sadness and the shared sense of loss I feel with all of those who are dealing with the aftermath. I can empathize because I’ve experienced it as well and I can testify to the fact that this will never make sense. There are no words, no panacea for this kind of tragic and sudden loss of life! Peace, comfort and God’s grace to weather this storm.

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Moving Even When You’re Grieving…

I never thought I’d suffer a loss like this a second time in my own family. We always think that we have more time; that there’ll be another tomorrow to say I love you to those who mean the most to your heart. I’m so angry and filled with hurt at the fact that yet again, I find myself in this position! What makes it worse is the fact that it was so unexpected and brutal in its finality. No “goodbye”, “I love you”, or even that simple hug that I often took for granted.

While I know I’m not the only one who has suffered multiple losses, I feel like no one “gets” what I’m feeling right now. All those little reminders around the house; the trinkets, the things left undone, they’re all just there!! Yeah, this is all part of the healing process but this time around it’s so much more difficult to accept and deal with.  This is part of my therapy; to try and make sense of something that is extremely difficult to accept and explain; especially to the younger ones who have been left behind.

Today this is my reality. Even in my capacity as a health strategist, I can appreciate the irony of it all; no warning, simply a multitasking woman on the go and then, BAAM! Just gone! For anyone else who has experienced such a loss, I know your pain. For the rest? Even when you do everything right in terms of your fitness and health, bad things can still happen. My therapy is making sure no more women die because they took on too much and received too little for themselves!

If I succeed in nothing else it’s this, there IS NEVER a good enough excuse to put your health and fitness at the bottom of your list of priorities because you’re simply multiplying the risk of something catastrophic happening to your own health. That’s one lesson I can share with you in the midst of my struggle as one who is left with the aftermath.

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Your Skin Is Your Canvas…

The sun is shining, the temperature is rising and it’s time to switch up your skincare regime for a new season. We all have a tendency to lose track of the fact that our skin is an organ that requires a lot of care and in some instances, it too needs a good detox!

In addition to good nutrition and exercise, you can’t escape the fact that it’s also necessary to adopt a skincare regime that is tailored to your own skin type. You also need to account for any skincare sensitivities or issues that are unique to your own biology. In other words, if you’ve got finicky skin, you need to find those products that work best for your particular skin type.

Experience has shown me that the fewer ingredients present in your skincare products, the better off your skin will be in the long run. Avoid products with a ridiculously long list of ingredients as well as chemicals (i.e. talc, hydroquinone, butyl paraben, propyl paraben, etc) which can have long-term damaging effects on your body systems.

While most if not all of those listed above have been banned in Europe, the U.S. has been slow to make significant progress towards protecting consumers from potentially harmful (i.e. carcinogens, immune system disruptors, etc) chemicals lurking in our skincare products.

I always advocate knowing what’s in your food as well as what’s in your skincare products. Why? YOUR SKIN is an organ and what you put on its surface eventually makes its way into other areas of your body (i.e. other organs, etc). REMEMBER: Your skin has pores and it’s permeable, in other words, don’t put toxic crap on your skin because it will be transported to your blood stream, etc.

So to recap; it’s not enough to exercise, eat healthy nutrient-dense foods, and incorporate mindfulness into your daily activities. You also need to ensure that you minimize your exposure to toxic and harmful chemicals in your environment. The best place to start is with your food and personal care items and work your way outwards in terms of laundry detergents, household cleaning products, etc.

If you’re not sure how or where to get started you can grab a FREE copy of my Pantry Detox Guide right HERE and start with what’s in your kitchen pantry and refrigerator!

My passion and commitment to women’s health and fitness is personal and built on my own experiences and training in healthcare, my personal journey as well as a personal tragedy! I don’t take this fight lightly because it truly is a matter of life or death; knowledge is power!

Take the journey with me to fitness, balance, and empowerment when you book your FREE 30 min clarity session with me right HERE:

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Setting Boundaries, Not Barriers!

Setting Boundaries, Not‘Another weekend bites the dust, time to get ready for a new week and soon, a new month! Lately, I find myself butting heads with the notion of intentions versus barriers and knowing the difference between the two. Too often, we default to creating barriers to own success or growth out of fear or insecurity; deceiving ourselves into thinking (and accepting) it was the former rather than the later.

It’s never easy when you find you have to call yourself out on your own B.S., but there you go! Better to call it out at the onset than to find yourself stagnating in the quagmire of your own crap having missed on opportunities and life. So what’s the big deal? First, let’s get the dictionary definition of “boundary” and “barrier” to get some clarity. According to the online edition of Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, “a boundary is something that shows where an area ends and another area begins; a point or limit that indicates where two things become different.”

One the other hand, a barrier is defined as “something that prevents or blocks movement from one place to another; a law, rule, problem, etc., that makes something difficult or impossible.” Some might ask, why the exercise in definitions that seem relatively self-explanatory? I say, there’s a lot to be learned here; namely, your mindset plays a huge role in how you relate to other people, things, and ultimately, your lifestyle. I say this because our mindset often determines whether or not we see an opportunity before us or an obstacle or barrier.

In the context of health and wellness, the notion of self-care is seen as either an opportunity for personal renewal and growth or an obstacle to one’s achieving the completion of a set of tasks, to-do lists, etc. In this setting, your health will ALWAYS be the looser when it’s stacked against that venerable to-do list which always seems to take priority over everything else in our lives; a list I might add, that we often hide behind out of fear, uncertainty, doubt or inadequacy (at least in our own minds). This is where the shift in mindset needs to come into play!

When you realize and accept that those “tasks, to-do’s”, etc, will always be there (yes people, that’s the cycle of life; nothing ever really stops until it ceases to exist so get used to it) then you can release yourself from that false sense of control that you’ve allowed yourself to be imprisoned by. The truth is, your health and fitness are central to manifesting your vision for your life because without them (a.k.a mind-body-spirit in balance) there is little hope of seeing that through to fruition.

Balance is one of the central features of a fit and healthy lifestyle and that’s why I never stop stressing the centrality of this phenomena to my clients. If you want true and sustainable health (i.e. mind-body-spirit) bringing all aspects of yourself needs to be brought into alignment. If you’re already at the point of tapping out and saying “enough is enough and time to get off the hamster wheel going nowhere” then, welcome to the beginning of your journey to self-discovery, fitness, and health! Too many times we say we’re too “busy” to “indulge” in self-care but that’s merely a choice (yes, you always have a choice) to continue down a path that has no good end or resolution.

When you say you’re “busy” it actually means that you don’t have “time” to take care of yourself and the things that really matter (i.e. living a full and healthy life, etc). The truth is that you are merely existing and not living! When you are out of alignment on all levels (mind, body, spirit), that manifests as a breakdown in both your physical and mental health; illness and disease begin to impact the whole.

This is at the crux of what it means to set boundaries vs. barriers; making space for self-care and nourishing your mind and body and separating those destructive elements or forces that will take you and your health out of alignment. Realizing that this is not “selfish” but a necessity and indicates a level of growth few are willing to work at achieving (but that’s another topic for discussion). As women, we are constantly pushed and pulled in several directions as we strive to live up to the  ideas of other people and society; the freedom and growth comes when we release ourselves from this when we get “comfortable with being uncomfortable” as we address those internal issues and wounds that we have allowed to fester.

Growth and healing are not always comfortable or easy; in fact, they often require a level of exposure and examination that make uncomfortable seem like a cake walk but it’s necessary if you want to achieve your authentic self. The other alternative? Continue to merely exist and remain a slave to your fears and perceptions of the outside world. What a choice huh?

DO YOU FEEL CALLED TO SPEAK WITH ME ABOUT TRANSFORMING YOUR LIFESTYLE?

CLICK HERE TO BOOK A FREE CALL SO WE CAN START YOUR JOURNEY TOGETHER, RIGHT NOW

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The Real Valentines Day: In Review

Every year, millions of women look forward to Valentine’s Day (at least in their heads) as a time to be appreciated, pampered and just fabulous! We start some new diet (usually accompanied by some unrealistic expectations, etc), renew our New Year’s resolutions, and sit back with bated breath as we wait to see what the universe will deliver on! As the days roll by, reality begins to creep in and the fake glitter of Valentine’s Day marketing fades away.

Fast forward to the middle of the month, and I’m wondering if we’re going to stick to our vision and commitment to a healthy lifestyle. January 2017 is long gone, February is long gone (with March a recent memory) and we are midway through April, but some of the same problems of 2016 are still at the forefront of our minds. While getting fit and healthy is the ultimate objective, too often we forget that this is a process, and with all of that comes a whole new set challenge. First of all, how do you stay motivated? Next, how do you stay focused (i.e. multitasking for work, family, etc) and find the time to get all of this done?

It’s all about priorities and recognizing that your health (i.e. mind, body, soul) is central to your life. The bottom line is this: if YOU are not healthy it is very little you can do (from a standpoint of sustainability) in terms of meeting the needs of both yourself and your family. We live in an age where high stress, insufficient sleep, and poor diet are becoming the new normal, while at the same time, chronic illness, obesity, etc continue to rise. Add to that the issue of our unsustainable and corporatized healthcare system, and you have the makings of a perfect storm of everything that can go wrong!

My goal here is not to scare the crap out of anyone; it is simply to encourage us all to make our health the main priority, and recognize that health and balance are central to life. At the most basic level, balance is key to any sustainable system (our bodies included) and requires work and commitment in order to continue. In simple terms, you should not be living to work (i.e. job, career, etc) but working to live! In other words, your job or career should not overtake all other aspects of your life in the same way that your personal life should not overshadow your professional or public arena.

So how do you STILL fit in a healthy eating and fitness plan, restore balance to your life, etc? Well, you simply stick to the P.L.A.N. and remain focused on your goals (i.e. living a balanced and healthy lifestyle, etc). I’m not saying there are no challenges in maintaining your health and fitness goals, but it is more than possible to be aware of what you’re eating, finding and using your “me” time to work out (it’s also an excellent way to deal with stress), and staying balanced in all (or most) areas of your life. Experience has taught me that the best way to do this, is by taking a step back and finding joy in the little things; a crisp sunny Fall day, an invigorating walk along the trails, or simply enjoying a hot cup of tea or coffee on the front porch (backyard, on the veranda, in front of your balcony, etc).

For the everyday woman whose life is at the crossroads and who feels like she needs not just her health and fitness in balance, but life in general, I say, WELCOME! I have found that every woman is unique in terms of her story and her needs, especially at the “crossroads”.

Why? The answer is relatively simple. The needs of a woman who is already stressed, out of balance both physically and mentally (i.e. overweight, frustrated, overwhelmed) are different from one who has her career, obligations, and family on track etc, but just needs “some” help losing a few pounds and learning how to eat healthily!

The sad truth is that most of us women (especially if you haven’t seen 30 in a long while) struggle with a chaotic and unhealthy life, but rather than valuing ourselves enough to change it, we choose for one reason or another, to stay on that hamster wheel going nowhere!

We need to admit and own our truth when it comes to our relationship with food and by extension, how we relate and perceive ourselves as well as others. we seem to be ignorant of the fact that FOOD plays an important role in our lives and an important aspect of culture. I guess like so many other things in this high-tech age, this is just one more thing that has become lost in the matrix of” sameness” perpetuated by a media that serves itself rather than the welfare of society at large.

I’m not saying we bear no responsibility for our own health, but I AM saying is that the media bears some responsibility in terms of pushing “unhealthy” images and ideas of what constitutes beauty, a “healthy weight”, “healthy” foods (i.e. so-called fat-free, zero calories) etc. Our current mainstream media has in large part become the mouthpiece of big Agri-business and corporations more interested in their bottomless than the wellbeing of society.

This is why I do what I do! I decided to get active and advocate for women’s health and to empower other women to fight back and reclaim their health, fitness. My goal is for women in my zone of influence to become knowledgeable about their food sources and equip them with the necessary tools to gain control of their health and nutrition. I’ll always remember these wise words of my mom, “knowledge is power” and “the gates of the school-house are still open”!

If You are tired of unhealthy crap being packaged and marketed to you as healthy, “low” in fat, etc, then get involved and educated about who controls your food- you are what you eat folks! The hard truth is that, if after all that hard work of getting fit and adopting a healthy lifestyle you’re still depending on big Agri-business and the fast food / packaged food industrial machine to give you good (derived from sustainably grown, mostly pesticide-free or organic) quality food, dream on. An educated public is an empowered one, and too often that empowerment is in conflict with the bottom line of these corporations.

So what do I do to cut out the crazy and NOT break the bank? I keep it simple. Stick to mostly seasonal produce, buy my produce from local farms, buy organic where necessary (avoid the “dirty dozen”) and get involved in a local or community farm if at all possible. At the end of the day, you and your family are worth the time and effort, believe me!

Check out my FREE PANTRY DETOX GUIDE to help you finally get your butt in gear because before you know it, summer will be here and then what!? SAME OLD same old!? NOT!

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