01 December 2010

Rules to live by: Love and Laugh

My darling son looking so serious in this picture. He was just trying to "model,"
so no worries there. These pictures were taken on Thanksgiving evening and we
really had a lot of fun being silly! He is getting to that age (almost 12) where
he thinks he is too cool for certain things, but every so often, he reminds me
that he is still my baby (sshhh, don't tell him I told you). Like this morning, I went
to wake him up and instead of just yelling "WAKE UP!!!, I decided to lay down
next to him and just hold his head against my chest and gently tell him, "I love you. I know
you are tired and it's ok." I just let him be for about 5 minutes... it was lovely...

Nia just jumping on my back! They love to jump on my back because they think
I am very strong and can take it. Sometimes yes, sometimes... no!!
I adore my children and we have so much fun .. having fun
together. I especially love when I am angry with them and they laugh at my facial expressions!
I fully understand that they won't stay young forever and so I embrace
the opportunity to act young and silly with them! I encourage anyone who has
young children to get on the floor and have fun with them as much as possible!

More serious modeling moments! Ha ha !
Ok, in all seriousness, we have our share of challenges -- we certainly do.

Last night out of the clear blue sky, Nia and I started playing a game of "try to catch me."
She was trying to catch me. Silly right?
Not at all! I can't remember when I last laughed so hard... so hard that it
started to hurt and I had to just stop and let her catch me. At that point, I
just sat and hugged her and said, "Thank you God for giving me such a beautiful, healthy, loving daughter,
Thank you for blessing me with the wonderful opportunity to be a mother."

It's a blessing to be a mother.
It's a blessing to be able to Love and Laugh endlessly!

Wow.. I look forward to the next opportunity to laugh so hard until it hurts! That's quality laughter !
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27 August 2010

Summer Cooking has been good looking!

This summer has been wonderful, not only because of all the normal wonderful things that occur during summertime, but also because I was able to really try a bunch of new things.  One amazing thing that happened for me is that I did the Insanity 63 Day Challenge and I am currently doing Turbo Fire, 2 new workout programs for me that have unleashed a new level of creativity in my life.  I have a renewed sense of belief in myself and my abilities.  Would you ever expect a workout to produce this result?  A good workout program can and should produce such a results, and that is why I continue to encourage people to get on a great health journey because you can't even begin to imagine the benefits... it's beyond just being physically fit.

I learned how to cook years back when I was 9 years old, but I can't say that I remained faithful to the skill.  I am a self-taught culinary artist.  I am perfecting my skill on a daily basis and I enjoy it.  At one point it surely felt like a frustrating chore.  For quite a few years while I was still working on Wall Street, I grew to love dining out mostly in New York City, and in other wonderful restaurants while traveling all over the world, and so I embraced that wonderful period of my life when I could be spoiled by some of the world's best chefs!  Though I may not have wanted to cook, I certainly wanted to taste all sorts of great cuisine.  

Now that I am a blessed mother of 2 children, it's very important to me to educate them in many ways as it pertains to nutrition and health.  First, I teach them about healthy cuisine and the fact that they have choices.  Second, I hope to pass on this wonderful gift of being able to cook.  I come from a very confident cooking family!  My darling children already beg me to let them help in the kitchen, so I believe we are on the right track.  The third thing that has recently become apparent to me, that I would like to teach them, is that food has a purpose.   It nourishes the mind, body and soul.   Not only is it important to eat foods that are healthy for the body, but it is also important (to me) that the food offer a well balanced purpose.When you sit down to eat, you should enjoy the moment, truly reflect on how the dish looks, and savor the goodness of what you are putting in your body. 

This has been my mission all summer:  To prepare healthy foods, in a short amount of time, that looks and tastes amazing.  My mission will continue because I have enjoyed it thus far.  For the past 2 1/2 months, I have made some of the most amazing dishes... dishes that I have never made before, and this is only the beginning.....the best is yet to come!

Above, in order, Guacamole Wrap, Salmon Zucchini Fritters, Pink Grapefruit and Avocado Salad, Tilapia Piccata with Oven Roasted Vegetables, Chicken Broccoli Quinoa Stir Fry

23 August 2010

Helping yourself does help others

I really thought we were hearing about big increases in the percentage of people who are making their health a priority, but so many statistics say otherwise, and as a matter of fact, I think I get a good reality of this by the people I interact with daily.  There seems to be a lot of people who really want to, but have not committed to prioritizing their health concerns. 

One of the biggest barriers is guilt.  Mothers feel guilty about taking an extra hour or so a day for themselves.  Fathers feel like their jobs or yard work is their priority.  Some people think it's expensive, and this is not true.  Some think they should spend their money on other things.  In the long run, if you don't take care of your health, you will be faced with huge expenses.  The problem with guilt, however,  is it has no truthful role in our lives when it pertains to health.  Guilt actually makes you unhealthy.  A person forms irrational thoughts and opinions about something and then they lead themselves to feel a negative way about .. the thing.

At first I used to believe that one person had the ability to make someone else feel guilty.  This is not true either.. another false belief.  We are in control over how we choose to feel, and that is the truth.  It's important to look at the facts of a situation and then ask some very important questions:

Would taking care of myself benefit me? Yes.  Better than that.... Would taking care of myself benefit others in my life?  Most definitely.  Beyond all the obvious physical health benefits, there are emotional, psychological, spiritual benefits that can be put on a very long list. 

Today I was listening to a great talk about relationships and how it's important to establish them in life, in business, in every aspect of your daily existence.   People need people.   Though success is measured in many different ways,  you can't be successful without other people.  It's important to get to a place in life where you maintain good relationships.   I heard during this talk, that despite all the dismal news we hear daily, people actually like to be helpful to one another.   Honestly, if we could hear more "feel good" or humanitarian types stories everyday, most of us would feel more positive and healthy.
This is what it comes down to, the practice of healthy habits.   Being healthy is not just about exercising, it's also about how you live, how you treat others, and how you process life. 

Very quickly, the whole thing came together for me.  People, relationships, help must be combined with good health.   When it comes to health and making an effort to improve it, first the guilt needs to be sent packing.  People need to stop feeling guilty, and/or stop making others feel guilty.  We need to HELP one another to make the effort to work on being healthy on a daily basis.

I look at the faces of all the people who are on a journey to take care of their well-being, and I always see smiles.  I hear people shouting from the moutain tops about how they lost weight, lowered their cholesterol, ran a marathon, got really fit or flexible.  People love to share all this great news.   It's nice to hear it and it truly seems to draw people nearer, closer.

Whether you are a mother, a teacher, a scientist, or a dog walker, you are entitled to a huge slice of healthy living.  Most likely once you start on (or stay on) some type of program that is working, the people around you will want to know what you are doing and will want to do it too.  If they don't, perhaps they need some help??

Helping yourself  to be healthy does help others!

01 July 2010

Trials for Victory

As some already know, it was my dear friend on Facebook, Rochelle, who asked me to do Beachbody's Insanity 60-Day Challenge with her as she had just successfully completed P90X for the first time by the end of May.  We are currently on Day 25 of Insanity and it is an amazing experience, though very challenging!

After P90X, Rochelle immediately enjoyed a huge sense of accomplishment and a desire to dig deep in a different direction to see what new possibilities were out there for her health journey. She is also an avid cyclist and does long bike rides once or twice a week. She has done about 3 or 4 lengthy bike rides (20-50 miles) over the past few weekends and attributes her improved riding to her Insanity training and she will be put to the test of all tests, next weekend, when she WILL do her first ever, 100 mile bike ride. She is trusting in the "training" and realizing that she is more than capable when she goes out to ride. I see victory and ease for her on the day of her 100 miler! She is not overtraining (truly sticking to the Insanity program and only riding once or so a week) and she is eating very healthy in the process. This Insanity Trial is really working for her.

We chat daily about our little accomplishments, likes, dislikes, and of course, our challenges. There will always be challenges despite the fact that some people are good about "acting" like it is so easy. It is not so easy, for various reasons, and we have to remember that we are mere human beings. Human beings with desires, temptations, a will that changes like the weather at times, and just simple needs.

All of this came to mind this morning as I set out to prepare breakfast for my children (ages 8 and 11). I did Cardio Recovery (from Insanity) while they slept and then I thought to make them pancakes for breakfast, pancakes filled with some fruit of some kind. This is my normal morning routine, I look in all the cupboards and the refrigerators to see what I have. What needs to be used up, and what would be healthy at the same time. I then quickly create a meal in my mind. The fruit was not overly ripe and so I would rather save it for them to eat whole, as is. So I change my mind about the pancakes.

I honestly do this constant changing daily with different meals for the day. What to cook? What to prepare? What to eat? What should we eat? Actually what should I eat... and what should they eat? Most of the time, my meal is slightly or drastically altered from theirs. Even with the best of intentions, however, planning, scheduling, writing it out, your desires will truly grip your mind and point you in another direction and sometimes it is truly NOT the direction you want to go in.

You look at the clock and you start to feel pressured. Make up your mind! What are you going to prepare to eat? Hurry up! It's getting late.

I envisioned all sorts of things, not for the children, but for me. I started to dream up desires for all sorts of different things for breakfast. I even considered having lunch for breakfast ... a salad? A steak? Why not the usual shake? I don't know. I figured I can have a shake later in the morning, or for lunch. Why do I have to stick to the "routine?" I also considered that I have a lot of veggies that need to be used up. I considered the leftover carcass of a roasted organic chicken. Stretch it meals!

Ok. I had to take my mind off of me for a bit and get back to the children because now I was hearing cries from the background, "Mommmmmmmmmmmyyyyyyyy, I'm hungry!!!" Ooops. Right. I forgot, I have to feed them. They are children and they can eat all the yummy, fattening breakfasty foods right??

No, that is not true. Just because they are children, does NOT mean they should eat "nutrition-LESS" meals, especially to start the day. So I gathered up some stuff and placed it on the counter. The leftover chicken (breast meat only), some lightly steamed kale from the day before, fresh broccoli, some red onions, and organic eggs. I yelled to the children, "How does a chicken veggie omelette sounds for breakfast?" Nia replied, "Sounds yummy and can I have a little cheese on mine?" Sure why not!

It appealed to me, it appealed to them, and so it was to be made. It encompassed all those tempting thoughts I had about eating dinner for breakfast, some hot, something tasty, something complex.... but something healthy. I made just enough for the two of them, with a tiny bit to taste myself. I tasted it, and I was satisfied. I had just enough to please my palate and most of all, to please me that the children were having something healthy, exciting and tasty for breakfast.

Now back to my shake for me. I need my shake. I feel fulfilled.

Many times the temptations we have for certain things can be addressed in clever ways. Sometimes you just want a taste. Consider that all of that nonsense with my mind playing tricks and a lot of indecision only lasted about 15-20 minutes. Lesson learned, don't be quick to give into temptations that may lead you off the path of the journey you have intentions to see through.

Sometimes it is our lifestyles, families, careers, that have us making quick, unhealthy decisions about what to eat, and we keep it as our "go-to" excuse like it's a pass. Getting a "pass" because of the circumstances will leave you constantly struggling and battling to get it right. It's important to learn (a) what to shop for so that you make the right decisions MOST of the time, (b) how to get clever and win your mind over about what you WILL feed your body.

I always feel fulfilled with my shake and I sometimes forget that when I get caught up in "thoughts" and "desires" about food. And I also get caught up with wanting to bask in the delight of "dining" with my children. Me tasting the foods and conveying that to the children was enough for them. They were truly delighted that they had a lovely breakfast made by Mommy!

Just gotta keep trying to resist the (distorted) temptations!

Back to Rochelle....and her upcoming 100 mile bike ride, and our life's daily challenges to make healthy choices. It will be a victory as long as you continue to believe in yourself, believe in your efforts!

Coach Jacquie

TIP: If you have a buddy you work with, or someone you live with and you share similar likes when it comes to food, consider a great way to cut back on the amount you eat.


Instead of ordering 2 separate omelettes, order one, and cut it in half and then get some fruit.

At home, instead of preparing double quantities, prepare one quantity, split it and saute some quick veggies for the side.

18 June 2010

You say po-ta-toe....

Fingerling Potatoes

This was my first time buying and preparing this odd-shaped potato.  Normally I only put potatoes in soup, in the chillier months, and the children just seem to eat them as they are lost in the mix.  They don't even like mashed potatoes, which is fine by me since really good mashed potatoes need lots of butter!  Every potato is not the same, and I have to say, these fingerlings are a tasty bunch of finger looking taters!

I did not bother to research it as I would do when I have no clue, and I decided, on the fly, to create a quick chicken stir-fry dish. It truly was quick and delish!  I ended up calling the dish, "Hearty Mandarin Chicken Stir-fry," as it was made up with onions, garlic, green peppers, sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes (peeled), celery, chicken breast and a mandarin seasoning.  The fingerlings cooked quick and to a lovely texture in the stir-fry. 

The picky-eater, aka "my daughter," thoroughly enjoyed the "weird" potatoes and I can't put my finger on why....har har har!  Oh well! We will continue to have a finger-lickin-ling (say it fast 3 times!) great relationship with them in the future!

 Hearty Mandarin Chicken Stir-Fry