Some catching up to do…

Wow! I can’t believe it’s been a while since my last post… I have been wanting to write for the last week and a half, but I just couldn’t find the time. So, this morning, when I was awakened by my two lively kitties…Ping & Pong (my personal alarm clock these days), I decided to take advantage of the time I had to squeeze in!

Okay, so what’s been going on with me. Well, quite honestly, I’ve been working full time at The Raw Food World News¬†and gaining more responsibilities. It’s amazing how much I’m taking on and learning! I really love doing this job. It’s fun. It’s interesting. And I am learning so much as I apply it to my own business.

On top of having a full time job, I have been working hard in getting my Synergy Food N Fitness business together. I have finally found a person to develop my website and tweak on my business logo. It is finally being worked on! So, excited…really! Also, I’ve been doing other planning behind it as well. I cannot wait to share it with you once it’s completed!

With that being said…I work full time (40 hours a week), plus I usually put in 2 to 3 hours a day on my own business development. It may seem like a lot, but I truly enjoy doing what I do ūüôā

What will happen from here?

I have been thinking a lot about how to invest my time and I’ve come to the realization that there are some things I need to change in order to make my time more productive. I have always loved this blog and it’s been around for about 10 years now, I think. It has always been my personal blog sharing my life journey as well as other things I love.

Once my Synergy Food N Fitness website is up and running, I will be doing a lot of things with that. Some of the things include creating weekly videos, daily news feed, and social media postings. Of course, I will also have services to provide, so I will also be doing some marketing. As I take on clients and continue to grow, I assume I’ll be spending less time in this blog.

I will definitely keep this blog and pop in whenever I can. I just didn’t want you to think that I just disappeared! However, what you can do to continue to follow me is this…

Synergy Food N Fitness

You can follow me through my social media networks, subscribe to my newsletter, and check out my videos! It is all still under construction, however, there are some things I’ve already done. Check out Synergy Food N Fitness links:

These links are set up, but are fairly empty as of now. It will get better!!! Also, as soon as the website is up and running, you can subscribe to my newsletters! The goal is for me to send out updated news on a daily basis. So, I’ll be sure to share that when it’s ready.

What else?

Other than the above, I’ve been enjoying my new life in Austin, Texas. It is hot and humid. There are many days I come home after a run completely drenched! Last week felt like heaven when it was in the 70s for about three days. I actually turned off the air conditioning because the breeze outside came in nicely! My kittens enjoyed the fresh breeze as well…lol.

As far as my health journey. I think my eating habits have consisted of about 50% raw and 50% cooked. I’ve avoided any processed foods and refined sugars. I admit, I had one slip up and had my favorite vegan ice cream…sighs. But I made sure to get back on track ūüôā Anyways, the transformation has been amazing. I’ve noticed my energy levels much more stable and certain things improving. For example, I have a few warts on my thumb and about two weeks ago I started to see it heal. I was amazed. I feel like I am on the right track. Right now I am contemplating in trying the 80/10/10 plan. I think the most important thing for me is eating raw as much as possible and when I do cook, everything is whole foods, plant-based. I’m feeling great!

In relation to my eating, I’ve noticed that my bowel movements is much higher, efficient, and regular. I don’t need to get into the details LOL, but I would have to say I used to have one bowel movements a day and maybe one day a week I skip a day for some reason. However, since I’ve adjusted my eating habits, my bowel movements have increased to twice a day, sometimes three times! The more regular I eliminate, my body is much happier! ¬†And, of course, I’m much happier!

Thank you for reading!

I love being able to share my journey with you and I hope that you have enjoyed it as well. Have a blessed day and see you next time! Hopefully this time it won’t be too long!!!

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The Last Supper…well, at least for a little while!

I just had a meal of saut√©ed edamame vegetable stir fry with a side of sweet potatoes and avocado. It was delicious! It just came to me right now that I should have taken a picture of it, but I didn’t! I think I was so pre-occupied with the fact that it was my last meal before I start my colon cleanse. Well, I’ve already started, but past three days was just a preparation phase. ¬†Here is what it looked like:

1) Eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 30 minutes before dinner, I take some digestive stimulator to help enhance bowel movements (the goal is 3 times a day).

2) 30 minutes before bed (but 2 hours after I take my digestive stimulator), I mix fresh apple juice with some toxin absorber; then follow up immediately with 16oz of water. This dose helps bulk up the colon walls and absorb the toxins.

3) For my meal selections, I focused on about 80% raw foods & 20% cooked.

That’s how it was for me the last three days. Here’s a picture of what my “magical” potion looks like!

Colon Cleanse

From left to right:  apple juice with toxin absorber, water, digestive stimulator.

So, what’s after this? I will be fasting for 5 days since it’s the best option to choose and the most effective. Starting tomorrow morning I will:

1) Take the apple juice and toxin absorber blend, followed up with 16oz of water Р5 times a day. (Example: 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm, 7pm)

2) 30 minutes before bed (but 2 hours after the last toxin absorber blend), take my dose of digestive stimulator.

3) This will last for 5 days. So, that means I’ll be doing this Monday through Friday of this week.

I’ve done this cleanse from Blessed Herbs in the past and I believe it’s wonderful! The quality of the product is superior for the price. A lot of colon cleanse kits with superior quality are quite expensive. I typically do this once a year (but it’s suggested to do it 3 to 4 times a year). There is an internal cleanse kit that focuses on the whole body and that works wonders as well. Unfortunately, I cannot afford it right now due to my budget. It would be great to make this a regular discipline.

What’s after this? Well, you’ll just have to find out the next time I write! ¬†Have a fantastic week! ¬†I’m excited about this. Sure, go ahead and call me weird, but the results are amazing! I end up feeling energized, clean, and rejuvenated!

Wish me luck ūüôā

The start of my NEW health journey at 33 years old…

Happy Birthday to ME!

And here’s the gift to myself…

My mind has been thinking a lot since my last blog post. I’m reflecting back this past year. A lot has happened. And a lot has changed now. I’m amazed with the things I have gone through and found the perseverance to endure through the tough times. The easy times were fun. The tough times was a pain in the butt.

Let me just tell you the truth.

I’ve allowed my health get a little bit off track lately. Especially in the past three months. I wish I could tell you a very good excuse to why I allowed myself get off track, but I can’t. I don’t want to make excuses. But I’ll be honest, I have been under a tremendous amount of stress. I remember about three months ago, I’ve had serious digestive issues that kept me close to the bathroom. I do not remember ever experiencing this in my life! Stress. Yeah, that. And stress plus more stress makes me eat more and get a bit off track. Sighs.

But now, I’m trying to get back on track. My health is better. But my eating habits is still on and off. Today may be the first day of the next 365 days that I’m making a serious commitment in getting back on track, but I know it will not be easy. I¬†will probably struggle some days, especially at the beginning. But I want to make a commitment.

Why one year? Well, I’m glad you asked…

In the past 10 years, I’ve experience short-term health benefits, such as a 30 day juice fast, a 7 day water fast, colon cleansing, clean eating, etc…and have always slept peacefully, felt refreshed, felt more energetic, and stayed mentally alert. The results of my health has been tremendous during the short time of cleansing. Eventually over time I allowed myself get off track.

For example…

“Oh, Heather, it’s okay to have a bowl of ice cream.” Or…”It’s okay to have a cookie or two.” I’m not saying that was a bad decision because I didn’t want to become so legalistic that I drive myself crazy for being too restrictive. I’ve learned to try to treat myself all the while not allowing it to get out of control. Well, 15 years of trying…it doesn’t seem to work for me. I think that when I allow the bad stuff back in, even if it’s a little, my body seem to crave more and more of it until I get out of control.

I’ve always asked myself this, “What if you stuck with something for a longer time period to see long-term results?” After years of curiosity, I’m ending it here. I’m going to try everything I can to do it. Just one year. One day at a time. One month at a time. One year.

My main focus is to eat WHOLE FOODS. Nothing processed. No additives. Just simple whole foods. And I’m making more effort to include a few cleansing and detox to clean up my system. I know it’s not going to fix everything right off the bat, but at least I’m heading in that direction of healing in an increasing motion. No relapse. No need to constantly reset.

What do I want to gain out of this? I would like to see some symptoms I experience to heal. I want to experience a steady level of energy every day. I want to see if I can truly eliminate my addictions. I want to give my body the proper nourishment it needs. And here’s the most important thing: I WANT TO EAT TO LIVE, as opposed to living to eat.

I’ve heard that it takes at least 21 days¬†to develop a habit (and cravings disappear). From my experience, I’ve found it to be true. However, somehow over time I’ve allowed myself to bring certain foods back in my diet. Then over time, my cravings become stronger and stronger. Let’s see if sticking it out for one year will make me believe to end it for good.

So, here’s the first day of my one year journey. The first step I’m making is to chew my food¬†thoroughly. I’m a fast eater. I always have been. I read that chewing thoroughly and eating slowly helps digest food better. So, I want to make that a habit. I’m attempting to slow down when I eat. I’m going to try to build my way up to chewing about 20-30 times per bite. Weird? Yeah. But why not? I’m going to chew solid foods, mushy foods, and liquids to allow my digestive juices produce the proper enzymes it needs to properly digest my food. (In fact, I’m eating some watermelon as I type…it’s already hard getting past 10 chews!)

Hey, I might just have found something quirky about me! And there may be more this year ūüôā Have a blessed day!

Texas, Ping Pong, and More…

Okay, so I moved to Texas. I told myself that once I got settled into my new place that I would spend the next couple of weeks getting important errands done. I think I’ve accomplished most of it. ¬†It’s only a matter of weeks until things start to pick up and get crazy again. I will be starting my new job in August. ¬†Job training starts on the 18th and kids will be back in school on the 25th.

Wait…a job? Yes. Originally, the plan was to get into a vegan culinary school, unfortunately I’m still fighting my battles with them. Long story short, they denied my application due to my disability. Discrimination, yes. So, ever since November, I’ve been getting key people involved in helping me sort out this situation meanwhile being in constant dialogue with the school. The plan was for me to start on June 29th. Obviously, that’s not happening. I had to make a major decision. Move or not to move. Obviously I moved. I felt this was the best decision for me. So, I sought out alternatives and I was led to a job.

But hang on…I believe God allows things to happen for a reason. Throughout this whole process, I’ve joined a business consulting program with Global Deaf Women. I’ve been wanting to start my own business for a while and when this opportunity came up, it just happened. And it is quite an investment! So, I may not be going to culinary school now, but I am going to be working full-time while starting my own food and fitness business. Right now, I can share that I’ve decided on my business name: Synergy Food N Fitness. I’ll share more details when the time is right. I am extremely excited. It will be challenging. It will require a lot of focus. One step at a time in pursuing my dreams!

So, the things that have been going on with me is moving to Texas, working on my start-up business, getting important errands done, getting my Texas license plate, stickers, and drivers license. And, yes, taking care of Ping Pong (my kittens).

The Process of Establishing a Texas Residence

This was the most complicated thing I had to do. It took me three days to accomplish this task. I’ve change license plates 4 times and changed my driver’s license 5 times in the last 10 years: Wisconsin, Ohio, DC, and now Texas. Each state does it differently! In my experience, Wisconsin and Ohio was the most simplest. DC was the most rude and annoying. Texas was the most time-consuming. First, I had to go to a local shop that does vehicle inspection, and so I did. Passed. Paid. Got my paperwork. Secondly, I had to go to a local tax county tax assessor-collector office to get my vehicle registration sticker, license plates, and my vehicle title, and so I did. Paid. Got new plates. Got vehicle stickers. Title will arrive 8-10 days. Finally, I went to Texas Department of Public Safety to get my Texas driver’s license, and so I did. Waited for my turn. Passed the vision exam and got fingerprinted. Paid. Got my temporary card. Real driver’s license will arrive 8-10 days. All I can say is…WHEW!

My Adorable Ping Pong

I adopted the kittens on Saturday, July 12th. It was a rash decision as I was not planning to adopt until after a few months. I love pets. I have been wanting a cat for a while. To my surprise, I got two! It was the best decision because Ping Pong are best buddies. They are so adorable! And they do everything together. Sleep, eat, play, run, bounce, and everything else. I was so heartbroken when Ping wasn’t feeling well. I knew something was wrong. Luckily, I had a vet exam check-up scheduled for them the day after I noticed Ping wasn’t doing well. Apparently she had fever and some kind of reaction to the spay surgery prior to the adoption. I was given meds for her. Ping seem to improve while on the meds, but a few more days later, she got worse. I felt terrible. I didn’t know what to do. The vet was closed. I had to take her to the emergency room. I felt helpless. The whole time, she was just sitting on my lap and arms, purring and sleeping. The ER vet didn’t really know what was wrong.

Sick Ping

Here is Ping on my lap while waiting for the vet to come in the room.

So, the next day I called the shelter where I adopted her to explain the situation. This all happened within a week, so something was wrong. The shelter suggested that I bring her back to them for more care. So, I did. I didn’t want to let her go. I received a few follow ups from the clinic supervisor. Ping was making progress but probably should stay in the shelter for a few more days. I agreed since she is wild with Pong. I had to visit and I was ecstatic when they allowed me to see her for a brief time.

Ping getting better

Ping was so happy to see me. She was purring & massaging my legs. She was looking so much better!

A few days later, I received a call from the clinic supervisor again and she informed me that Ping was healthy enough to go home! I was so excited! While Ping was gone, I noticed Pong being really attached to me and needed all the attention. I knew he would be thrilled to see his sister again! Ping still needs to finish up her antibiotics but she is off the pain meds. Just imagine what it was like bringing Ping home to Pong. See the video…

Ping Pong re-united again! They were just at it for 4 hours! I was full of laughter all afternoon.

Ping Pong

Ping Pong finally calming down. About 5 mins later, they were passed out!

Birthday and Goals

I get excited for birthdays…especially mine! I have one coming up and I’ll be 33 years old! Yes! I’m not exactly sure what I’ll be doing. Honestly, I’m content with just taking the day off from my normal routine, go get something nice to eat, maybe have a dessert or two or *ahem* three, and just be grateful. I’m not really into big celebrations, so I know I won’t be going out to party or whatever. I’d prefer going out with family and friends. However, since I’m still fairly new here, I’ll probably be celebrating alone. No pity please because I know I will still enjoy my fabulous day!

In the past few weeks, I’ve been contemplating on setting a new goal, especially with my birthday coming up. I want to step it up a notch. I’ve come a long ways in the past several years in making healthy changes and setting goals to achieve. It’s amazing how much I’ve grown. I’ve had successes and failures. I’ve had ups and downs. Some days were easy, others were hard. That’s LIFE!

Here are my goals as soon as I turn 33 years old:

1) Synergy Food N Fitness business – There is a lot to do and some areas will require me to get out of my comfort zone. One day at a time, one step at a time, one goal at a time. I’ll keep you guys posted as I progress and I appreciate your support!

2) Marathons – It has been a while since I’ve done marathons. I am finally back into my running shape again and yearning to be training for another race.

3) Ultra-marathon & Triathlon – It has been a long time goal of mine to do these races, but I have never had the finances to be able to do it. For the next 365 days, I’d like to try see if I can raise support to participate in a race or two. Or if I am financially able, start investing myself for this!

And… This is a bit longer.

4) My Health – I have been on a long time journey with my health. Through some ups and downs, I’ve come a long ways and I’m amazed. I still struggle (referring to my eating issues and seeking food for comfort through my anxieties in an unhealthy manner), but I am coping with it much better.

I’ve been thinking about stepping up a notch and trying different styles to see what works and what doesn’t. Here are some things I’m contemplating on including in my life: all raw, all fruit/veggies, no sugar, cleanses/detox, and juicing. I’m not sure how I’ll go about in doing this and how long of a time period. One week at a time? A few days? I’ll have to discern what’s best for me, my body, and my schedule. I’ve also thought about doing a budget meal plan to prove to myself and others that eating healthy does not have to be expensive.

But what I do know is that I will be doing a colon cleanse pretty soon. Probably late next week (after my birthday) or the first week of August. I’ve done colon cleanses and internal cleanse from Blessed Herbs in the past 5 years or so and I absolutely love their products. In fact, I just ordered a colon cleanse package and received a link to share with you so you can get 25% off (by July 31st) if you want! That’s a great deal! Grab it while you can. Comment below if you have any questions and I’d be happy to share and give suggestions.

CLICK ON THIS LINK TO GET THE CODE:  Blessed Herbs Coupon Code (good until 7/31/14)

That’s All Folks…

It seems like because I’m not posting as much, my blogs become longer… Well, I hope you guys have a fantastic weekend!¬†I’m feeling happy at the moment watching Ping Pong bounce off the walls with each other, zipping and zagging everywhere, so FULL of energy…making me laugh as I type! Thank you for being a part of my blog and walking with me in this journey of life. Blessings to you all!

The transition into my new home!

Yes, I know! ¬†It sure feels like it’s been a while since my last post. There is a perfect good reason for that. I have been swamped with all the packing and last minute errands prior to leaving town. Moving is a lot of work. It’s even worse moving in and out of DC. ¬†It’s just beyond insane! I can’t begin to explain the emotions I’ve been feeling the past two weeks. Happy. Sad. Excited. Afraid. Optimistic. Pessimistic. I’ve had to constantly remind myself to put things in perspective and that ultimately God is in full control of everything. One step at a time. One faith at a time. One journey at a time. ¬†And now a new chapter begins…

Great things!

I’ll be honest. The last place I lived in DC was SWEET! I caddied for a developer one day and made a connection. One thing led to another and I got a super-duper sweet deal at an amazing apartment complex! I mean, INCREDIBLE! The last two years living in this place couldn’t be any better. It was difficult to let go of this apartment. I believe that there are seasons for everything and I felt blessed to be able to experience luxury living at a very affordable price. And it was time for me to say goodbye…

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An entrance view into the kitchen and living room with a balcony.

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A better view of part of the living room and kitchen.

And now moving onward. I got in my car full of stuff that I could not fit into the Uhaul ubox. I gave away some stuff. I kept some stuff. And I brought some stuff with me. After three stops to Knoxville, TN and then to Birmingham, AL and then to Bossier City, LA, I finally arrived¬†Austin, TX. I looked forward to the long trip with the intention of reflecting, praying, and ¬†just absorbing everything in the past three years and anticipating of what’s ahead of me. I typically do not like long trips, but this was a time for me to really take things in perspective. Most of the trip was just me, God, and the road. I saw this view while driving…awesome!

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I had a friend in Birmingham whom I haven’t seen in about 5 years, so we found a time to meet up! It was awesome to see her and her son. We had dinner at her parent’s house. We went to Vulcan Park & Museum and then to Steel City Pops. That was a lot of fun! Great food. Awesome company. Amazing views. Couldn’t be any better than that!

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A beautiful view overlooking the city at Vulcan Park.

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Very vegan-friendly popsicle place!

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I had the avocado pop!  YUM-O!

After driving about 1,600 miles, I was ready to make my new apartment my new home! I got my keys. I hauled all the stuff I had in my car into my place. And I camped out again for the night. The next day moving help picked up my stuff from Uhaul and delivered the ubox to my place. I was SO ready to unpack, organize, and make my place more like home. It took me 5 days to complete everything! Yes, everything! Well, I still have some displays to put up, but I need an electric drill to do that.

miles driven

Okay, I lied…I drove exactly 1,622.9 miles!

There was a lot of what-ifs that came to my mind. A lot of doubts and fears crossed my thoughts. And that led to a lot of negativity. During one of my morning runs (and it was HOT and SWEATY), I felt the Lord speaking to my heart saying, “Heather, why don’t you just start praising for all the things you are grateful for?” When I did that, I came to realization that it’s so much more powerful to remember all the good that God has done. When we dwell on the negative things (and typically they are minor things), we forget just how mighty God is in our lives. When I remember all the things that God has done, I’m amazed how much I’ve grown. I think that one of my profound reflections I had during my road trip was this:

“You never really know what the future holds. It can be scary and a lot of times it really feels like you don’t know what you’re doing or will do. But what matters is that you are taking it one step at a time in a forward direction and embracing those unknown challenges. Take a look back in your life and remember how you got here. It’s¬†amazing how much you’ve grown and still by looking back you still don’t remember the details of what you did to get here. That’s the beauty of trusting in the Lord and knowing that He is in full control of all things. You don’t need to know everything. Just do what you can today and hold onto your dreams and passions. Things and circumstances will come to you and God will give you the strength, mind, and creativity to do them.”

Well, I can finally say that I feel at home right now. I’m ready. I’m excited. It will be a great adventure! I’m looking forward to getting my business started. I’m receiving some business coaching with Global Deaf Women¬†with about 10 other ladies in the program. The next 10 months will be challenging, but I am looking forward to it. The ladies are amazing and supportive. I’m driven. I’m motivated. And I’m excited!

I’d like to introduce you my two little babies! Yeah, two sweet, playful, & adorable kittens! I had been thinking for a while about getting a kitten when I moved into my new place. The plan was to wait, get settled, and in about a couple months, find a furry friend to keep me smiling around my place. Well, that plan did not go according to what I thought. I decided to swing by a couple of animal shelters to check out some kittens. I only wanted one, but when I saw the two siblings bouncing, jumping, wrestling, running, and so full of energy…my heart melted. I just couldn’t abandon one of them. I put the two on hold (for 24 hours) so I could go home to decide. The two won my heart. They will keep each other in good company. They are attached to each other. I decided to take both.

Ping & Pong

Ping (back) & Pong (front)

They’re brothers & sisters. I wanted a cute and unique name. When I interacted with them in the petting room at the animal shelter, they were BOUNCING off the walls, wrestling, running, bumping, and more BOUNCING! I took a video of them. After I left, I started to think of names. Pumpkin & Spice. Ginger & Spice. Ginger & Snap. Ping & Pong. Honestly, every time I watched the video, I just KNEW Ping & Pong was the perfect name for them. I couldn’t stop laughing. And there you go…my two little new kittens. From what I’ve observed so far, Ping has that feisty energy and Pong is quite energetic but seems affectionate as well. We shall see.

Well, that’s all folks! It’s been an interesting week! A lot of things happened that I did not expect (especially the kittens)! Have a blessed week. There are a few things I need to take care of this week now that I’ve got the apartment all settled and two new addition in my life! Week two, Austin, TX, here I come!

My last days in DC…

It’s hard to describe what I’m feeling right now. Last week was a week of hard-core packing in preparation for the move. I donated some of my furnitures. I decided that I wanted to live more simply. Things are just things. Don’t get me wrong, I love having things and getting new things. I’m just learning that it’s okay to let go of things because in the end, they are just material things. There are much more important things in life I’d rather be focusing on.

Last Friday, moving help arrived to pack up everything into the UHaul box pod. My apartment is so empty right now and it feels very weird. Simply put, I’m just camping out until my departure day.¬†I mean, literally…

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What I have left in the apartment are a few boxes (that couldn’t fit into the UHaul box pod), Bible, laptop computer, my “deaf” clock with a wake up vibrator, a small saucepan, a plastic plate, plastic utensils, personal blender, a few cleaning supplies, toiletries, clothes I need, cooler, left over food, and this beautiful bed I made as comfortable I can get it. I think that’s about it. Basically I have very little right now. My room is completely cleaned out. In the picture above, you see my “bed” made in the dining room. I packed up the vacuum cleaner so I didn’t want to get the carpet dirty in the bedroom. All of my clothing items are stored in the coat closet by the kitchen.

The feeling is surreal. A part of me is having a hard time letting go, but another part of me is so excited for a new chapter of my life. A part of me is savoring every moment I have left, but another part of me is SO ready to move on!

In the process of living a VERY simple life since last Friday, I’ve come to a realization that I have been overtly distracted by many things. My mind started to become more clear. I’ve started to slow down. My ability to listen to the voice of God has increased.¬†So, in the last few days has been quite pleasant. The urge of being¬†distracted has reduced. My anxiety level has improved. Simplicity apparently is what I needed.

In the mornings when I wake up, I’ve had more time to think and really enjoy my breakfast without having my face glued to the computer or my phone. My lunches, dinners, and snack times have been freed up in a way that I actually pay attention to my food and savor every bite. ¬†I literally hold the plate in my hand, walk around, and enjoy every bite while looking out of my balcony with thoughts coming and going. ¬†It has been pleasant. I’ve stocked up on the remains of what I had the previous week so I’d save money this week by eating “left overs.”

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Black Bean, Rice, & Vegetable Salad

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White Bean, Barley, & Vegetable Salad

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Portion size (I have like 15 of them!)

With very minimum distractions, my attention seem to be more fully towards listening to the voice of God. I’m actually in constant communion with him and seeking His direction. It’s really what I need right now with what’s ahead of me. There are some uncertainties that I’m still trying to figure out. I’ve also been reminded that it’s important to stay close to him at ALL times. ¬†Not just in a time of need. But at ALL times. Somewhere along the way I seemed to allow my busyness & distractions take control of my life.¬†The last few days has been a great reminder for me. ¬†This verse comes to my mind during this time:

Psalm 46:10

“He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”

It seems to me that in the last few days I’ve been less concerned with time. Rather than being demanding of myself that I needed to get certain things done at a certain time or be at a certain place or such; I’ve gone with the flow a little more. I’ve forgotten how to do that. I have been the kind of person that sets a rigid schedule I’d follow. A minute more or a minute less throws things off course, or so it seems. I’m enjoying more of living with more fluidity.

“If God gives you a watch, are you honoring Him more by asking Him what time it is or by simply consulting the watch?” – A.W. Tozer

In my last days in DC, I still have been busy taking care of important errands and getting some work done before leaving town. I’ve also learned that even during my busy times, I can still experience minimal distractions.

What are some things in your life that is making you feel like you’ve gone off course? And what can you do to change that?

In two days, I’m out of here! I am SO looking forward to a long personal road trip. There will be a lot of reflections, mediations, prayers, memories, and thankfulness. As I close out my last chapter, I’m entering a brand new chapter. What does the future hold for me? I don’t know. And that’s exciting. All I can say is…

Lord, bring it on!

 

Snack Bar Reviews…

I sure hope you’re all having a fantastic weekend thus far! Today was a change of pace for me. It was nice to finally be able to go out! Lately, I’ve been swamped with work, packing, and organizing. Through all of this, I’m trying my best not to allow myself get stressed out ūüôā So, today, I attended to a baby shower that I was invited to. I was hesitant to go since I’m the only deaf out of the whole group and I tend to feel left out. Yet, I was determined to go! I wanted to get away from the golf course (especially the caddy shack full of guys). I wanted to get away from my apartment. And I wanted to be around with fun, easy-going people who doesn’t drive me crazy. It was fun today. Yes, I did feel a little bit left out and it was hard to follow along with what others were saying. Nonetheless, the food was great and the baby shower was amazing! The host, Aravis, did a fantastic job putting it together and cooking up finger foods from scratch! Check out her blog at The Twenty Something’s Very Useful Blog.

So, I have been meaning to share my ‘take’ on a few snack bars that I’ve tried out when I was in Austin, TX about a month ago. I wrote about the different kombucha tea brands a couple of weeks ago. You can check it out here.

I love snack bars. I like to try different kinds of all natural snack bars. Honestly, I don’t like any snack bars that has artificial ingredients in it. I think they taste awful or close to it. My most favorite bars that I tend to purchase (due to price and taste) is Larabar. Most snack bars can be quite pricey, in my opinion. But Larabars fits my mold. In fact, my mom tends to buy it at a store that actually sells regular discounts on it and mail them to me. It doesn’t last long when I get it! I’ve noticed the Larabar line up is expanding, which I am very excited about!

For the purpose of this review, a rating of 1-10 will be given. A #1 means my top favorite and a #10 means my least favorite. (Note – there wasn’t one that I did not like…I liked them all, just in a different degree).

The different bars that I’ve tried out recently…

Squarebar

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Cocoa Coconut

Ingredients:  all organic ingredients of coconut nectar, whole grain brown rice protein, dark chocolate, coconut oil, coconut, gluten-free oats, cocoa liquor, sunflower lecithin, sea salt.

I was actually at a National Academy of Sports Medicine workshop for my personal trainer exam prep at the time I ate this. I figured I’d be hungry at some point during the workshop. Sure enough, I did. I grabbed it out of my bag. Started munching it. Fireworks went off! I thought it was absolutely delicious. To me, it tasted like a candy bar. Good source of fats, carbohydrate, and protein. It’s soy-free. No refined sugars. Non GMO. Certified gluten-free. Vegan. My rating is #1. I’d definitely buy this again!!!

Zing Nutrition Bar

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Coconut Cashew Crisp

Ingredients:  rice protein concentrate, organic agave syrup, organic tapioca syrup, organic brown rice crisp, roasted cashew butter, unsweetened coconut, organic quinoa crisps, arabic gum, chicory root fiber, roasted cashews, organic almond butter, pea protein crisps, organic coconut flavor, safflower oil, sunflower lecithin, mixed tocopherols (natural vitamin E), natural cream enhancer, sea salt.

This bar tasted pretty good. It was very nut-buttery. If you love the taste of nut butters, then this bar is for you. Like Squarebar, it’s got good source of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Plus it’s got a higher fiber content than Squarebar. It’s gluten-free. Non GMO. Vegan. My rating is #3. I’d buy it again, but my mouth is still watery over the Squarebar.

Vega Vibrancy Bar

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Chocolate Decadence

Ingredients:  sprouted whole grain brown rice protein, inulin (from chicory root), dates, organic agave nectar, raw almonds, organic sprouted buckwheat, almond butter, chocolate chips, hemp seeds, cocoa powder, Vega SaviSeed (sacha inchi) oil, white chia seeds, brown rice crisps, natural chocolate flavor, sea salt.

I’ve had this brand before, but not this flavor. It was good. What I really like about it is that it’s made from superfood whole food ingredients. And it’s raw and sprouted. From a nutritional standpoint, it’s a good source of fats, carbohydrates, and protein. Plus, it’s chock-full of fiber. Very nutrient dense! It’s gluten-free. Non GMO. It’s got 1 gram of omega-3 fats. I would buy this bar again, but it’s expensive. My rating is #5. I’d buy it if I’m in the mood for a much healthier ingredient and higher source of fiber.

Larabar ALT

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Pumpkin Pie

Ingredients:  dates, pea protein, brown rice syrup, brown rice flour, dried pumpkin, sunflower oil, spice.

I’ve always LOVED the Larabar brand. It’s got simple ingredients. And I’ve noticed they’re expanding their product line and when I saw the ALT brand I was super-excited. Why? Because it has a good source of protein. I’m always looking for bars that has good sources of protein, carbohydrates, and fats (fiber is a boost, if I can find it). The regular larabars is lower in protein, but the ALT is higher. My rating is #4. Pumpkin spice was good, but I think I’d like another flavor. In terms of brand, I’d give it a #1.

That’s it!

So, that’s my take on the bars that I’ve tried out recently. Like kombucha tea, I’d like to start making my own bars and experiment different flavors. I’ll have to start doing that soon!

On another note… I know it’s not a snack bar, but have you ever seen the PB2 brand? It’s powdered peanut butter. Yeah, that’s right…powdered. It comes in two different flavors: ¬†regular peanut butter or chocolate peanut butter. I’ve seen them in stores before, but I never bought it because I wanted to try a trial size. So, while I was in Austin, TX, I actually saw a trial size bag. That is the first time I bought it. Let me say that it was quite interesting. All you have to do is mix 2 tbsp of PB2 with 1 tbsp of water, until smooth. It actually turns into a peanut-buttery consistency. It does taste like peanut butter, but I don’t think it’s as smooth. Would I buy it again? Nah, not really. I’d go for the real stuff. The positive thing about it is that it’s lower in fat (about 85% of the fat and oils is removed during the pressing process) and it would be good to add to smoothies. The negative thing about it is that there is sugar added to it. Here’s what the individual size packet looks like…

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On a final note, it’s hard to believe time is getting so close to my move-out date! The upcoming week will be super busy for me! There is a PGA golf tournament happening at Congressional Country Club called Quicken Loans National, hosted by Tiger Woods. It starts this week. Prior to the tournament (begins on Thursday), there is a Pro/Am event, on Monday and Wednesday. I’m looking forward to it and curious to discover who I’ll be paired up with! In between, I’m finalizing my packing. I’m donating some of my furnitures, so Salvation Army will be picking up the stuff on Thursday. On Friday, everything will be packed and my apartment will be empty! It’s hard to say how I’m feeling right now. However, I am looking forward to a brand new chapter!

Be blessed!  See you next time!

There is a time for everything…

Ecclesiastes 3:14-15

I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and noting be taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him. Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.”

Whenever I go through seasons in life, I am reminded of this chapter in Ecclesiastes (all of chapter 3). There is a time for everything. A time to be born, a time to die. A time to plant, a time to uproot. A time to weep, a time to laugh. And so on… Is it just me or does it feel like life is one big roller coaster ride?¬†It can feel good. It can feel bad. It sure is quite an adventure and an adrenaline rush at times!

King David felt this way as well. Sometimes he felt close to God. Other times he felt far away from God. He was one of the greatest men of the Bible. He was brave. He was genuine. He was simply a man after God’s heart. Yet, he made so many mistakes! Despite of his shortcomings, God still loved him and adored his complete trust and worship. That, in itself, is simply amazing! And it gives me great confidence that God is right there beside me through my roller coaster ride of life.

God has given us a life to live here on earth. Some days feel so amazing; other days seem like a struggle. Some days it just seems like great things is happening; other days just seem so quiet. Some days you feel loved; other days you’re crying out to be loved. Some days you feel secure; other days you’re not so sure. You get the idea.

Your life is a story. New chapters are always being added. In your good times, enjoy it. In your low times, hang in there. In your middle times, keep on moving. Don’t ever give up. Keep on pressing. Keep going forward. And keep on believing. I see myself as a fighter. As an athlete, often times I compare my life to what it feels like going through training. That’s why I am constantly reminded of the part in the Bible where it speaks of running the race as to get the prize and the trainings required to get there (2 Corinthians 9:24-27).

*Ahem* – how do you think I came up with this blog title? ūüôā

Life is a story. It’s your story. That’s the beautiful part of living. God entrusted us with this life. We’re all different. We’re all unique. We’re all different ‘characters’ coming together in one big story – His story. Isn’t that beautiful? Isn’t that awesome? Well, I think it is.

Psalm 30:11-12

You turned my wailing into dancing; you removed my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, that my heart may sing to you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever.

SMART Goals

Howdy everybody! ¬†I am feeling like I’m on top of the world right now! ¬†Pretty ironic since I am still fighting a cold flu I’ve been having since being struck by the initial massive headache and body ache this past Tuesday. ¬†My congestion seems to be clearing up, but I still have the cough here and there. ¬†NONETHELESS…I have awesome news! ¬†I took my National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) personal training examination today. ¬†And… ¬†**drum rolls** ¬†I PASSED! ¬†I am now a NASM certified personal trainer! ¬†It feels good to be able to accomplish a new goal! ¬†It is my desire to start a business to provide online and in-person consulting/training in fitness, wellness, and nutrition goals.

I believe that each and every one of us is different in a very unique way. ¬†I don’t think that there is a one-size fits all. ¬†Some of us are tall. ¬†Some are short. ¬†We have different body shapes. ¬†We have different tastes. ¬†We have different goals, passions, and drives. ¬†Sure, we may like similar things, but we are our own person, created to be unique. ¬†Isn’t that amazing? ¬†And quite honestly, I think that is what makes us so interesting.

It is my desire to help others achieve their fitness and wellness goals. ¬†The main reason why I like the NASM’s approach to personal training is because of the systematic approach it uses to help individual achieve their goals. ¬†Whatever level you want to achieve, you can do it! ¬†Whether it’s getting back into shape. ¬†Whether it’s increasing stabilization & balance. ¬†Whether it’s increasing endurance. ¬†Whether it’s increasing strength. ¬†Whether it’s increasing muscle mass. ¬†Whether it’s geared towards a certain sport. ¬†Whatever it is…a safe, proper, and systematic approach (eliminating/reducing injuries) will help you get there! ¬†There are many amazing things you can do in life, but without the proper approach it can be quite frustrating. ¬†This is where I come in. ¬†I wold LOVE to hear what your goals are and help you through the process.

It is also my desire to help others in nutrition goals such as educating healthy foods, meal planning/suggestions, and cooking. ¬†Again, I’ve come to believe that not one way is the best way for all. ¬†We need to listen to our bodies in order to keep ourselves healthy. ¬†One person can tolerate pineapple, but another person may not. ¬†That is just one example. ¬†I admit, I have come a long ways in this train of thought. ¬†I’ve always had the attitude that one way is the best way. ¬†In all honesty, my nutrition journey has changed over time. ¬†I’m constantly striving to listen to my body. ¬†And I’m also striving to respect others in what they know is best for them. ¬†Whatever it is, I’m a HUGE supporter of healthy plant-based foods to incorporate in our eating habits, daily! ¬†And I want to support and help you in the process!

I’ve got my bachelor’s degree in Health and Fitness. ¬†I’m NASM certified. ¬†What’s next? ¬†I have been thinking of getting a master’s degree in nutrition science & possibly sports management; also been thinking of a holistic health coach certificate. ¬†I keep telling myself: ¬†one step at a time! ¬†I’m just so excited because I am actually loving what I’m doing right now! ¬†So many goals I want to chase after! ¬†What’s yours?

Whatever stage you are in your life, I believe setting goals is important. ¬†Do you have fitness goals? ¬†Do you have employment goals? ¬†Do you have nutrition goals? ¬†Do you have family goals? ¬†And the list goes on… ¬†Here’s something that can help you achieve your goals whether verbalizing or having them written down. ¬†It’s helpful to clarify goals for yourselves.

SMART goals

Specific – a goal that is clearly defined in such a way that anyone can understand the intended outcome (stating what you want to accomplish – who, what, where, and why).

Measurable – a goal that is quantifiable (stating how you intend to meet that goal).

Attainable – a goal that has the right mix of being challenging, but not too extreme.

Realistic – a goal must represent an objective toward which an individual is both willing and able to work.

Timely – have a specific date of completion.

As simple as that.

Here’s a personal example when I had a goal in running the Boston marathon. ¬†And keep in mind, this was my goal. ¬†Not everyone is at the same level. ¬†“My goal is to run a 3:35 Boston Marathon time. ¬†I have one year to reach that goal. ¬†I plan on mixing up running and other forms of cardiovascular exercises 4 to 6 times a week in the first 6 months to keep my endurance phase. ¬†Then I plan on running 4 to 5 days a week in the last 6 months, adding on long runs (and for this I will increase my mileage every two weeks to build up to a 22 mile long run peak). ¬†In the last two weeks of my training, I will cut back on my mileage and focus back on my endurance phase. ¬†I will also focus on eating a well balance meals containing the right amounts of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. ¬†Then it’s Boston time!” ¬†I actually wrote out a calendar on my mirror with specific training mileage days, so I can see what’s out in front of me and plan my schedule around that. ¬†That was a huge motivation for me. ¬†Of course, I had some set backs but I did not allow it to stop me from moving forward.

On a sweet note, I really would like to share a recipe that was whipped up a few days ago. ¬†With the move coming up, I’m doing the best I can to clean up my pantry (for less food packing). ¬†So far, so good. ¬†And here is what I had remaining to whip up this delicious almond-buttery snack!

Almond Butter Balls

Almond Butter Balls

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 cup raw almonds

1/2 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup almond butter

3 tbsp coconut oil

2 tbsp agave

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

sea salt, just a pinch

DIRECTIONS:

1) In a food processor, grind up the almonds until flour-like consistency.  (Do not over-process it to a buttery consistency).  Pour into a medium-sized bowl.

2) In a food processor, grind up the oats until flour-like consistency.  Add into the bowl with the almond flour.

3)  Add the sea salt and cinnamon to the almond/oat flour.  Mix well.  Set aside.

4) In a separate small bowl, mix together the almond butter, coconut oil, agave, and vanilla extract until well combined.

5)  Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  Mix until well incorporated.

6) Roll the mixture into small balls (no more than a quarter size in diameter).  Place the balls on a baking sheet.  Freeze for at least 30 minutes.

That’s it! ¬†And you should have about 30-35 small bite sized balls to snack on! ¬†These snack balls are so good! ¬†I am not even kidding you. ¬†I dare you to try it if you have a nut butter addiction. ¬†This is it. ¬†I am even thinking of adding a chocolate coating the next time I make them to make it even more fancy – and perhaps more like a peanut butter cup thing.

Well, that’s all for now! ¬†I sure hope you enjoyed today’s post and celebrated with me today! ¬†I’ve got another long and busy week ahead of me and I’ll need all the rest I can get tonight. ¬†I’ve slept 10+ hours each night the last two nights. ¬†It was great to finally be able to sleep without any interruptions or pain. ¬†Have a fantastic week! ¬†I hope you’ll try out the recipe I shared today and let me know what you think if you do!

You are unique. ¬†You are YOU. ¬†And don’t let anyone change you.

Blessings!!!

Finding Rest…

I’ll be honest with you. ¬†I have been on the go non-stop in the past few months and things are about to get crazier. ¬†I’m tired. ¬†I’m not getting enough sleep. ¬†I’m always working, doing, and attacking my ‘to-do’ list. ¬†I’m feeling overwhelmed. ¬†I feel anxious at times. ¬†I don’t think I’m stressed, but my body seem to think so. ¬†And I just got sick. ¬†I usually don’t get sick, but this time I did. ¬†I think my immune system is weak (due to stress). ¬†I read an article today called “9 ways you’re damaging your health and don’t realize it…” at All Women Stalk. ¬†The two things that really stuck out to me the most were #2 – you don’t sleep enough and #4 – working overtime everyday. ¬†And I know it’s true.

I mentioned that I got sick. ¬†It was a strange occurrence this past Tuesday. ¬†I had just finished my job caddying and as soon as I got into my car I just started to feel awful. ¬†I mean, it was an immediate turn of events. ¬†A wave of obnoxious ringing in my ears, a serious throbbing headache, congested sinus, and an overwhelming body pain. ¬†It was STRANGE! ¬†Especially from a person that rarely gets sick. ¬†I had to sit for a moment and ask myself what the heck just happened? ¬†I know that this time of the year my allergies act up causing running nose and itchy throat. ¬†I just thought it just became a serious case of reaction (perhaps due to an immediate downpour of rain causing an adverse effect – but the next day proved it to be not). ¬†I arrived home, ate, took a shower, and went to bed. ¬†I couldn’t sleep that night. ¬†The next day I jut felt congested and started coughing. ¬†My congestion is improving now, but I’m just coughing non-stop! ¬†My throat and chest is aching from all the coughing. ¬†I”m drinking lots of water and as a result, making more frequent visits to the bathroom! ¬†Sighs

I have always been a huge support of importance of sleep. ¬†I always made sure I get enough hours of sleep every night. ¬†But the last few months I haven’t really done that. ¬†It’s really taking a toll on my body.

Psalm 46:10, “He says, ‘Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.‘”

I have many unknowns ahead of me. ¬†I have many challenges ahead of me. ¬†There will be changes. ¬†It will be a new adventure. ¬†Honestly, I’m excited and looking forward to it. ¬†I always embrace new challenges the Lord brings in my life. ¬†It seems to me, though, that recently I’ve been worried and anxious more frequently. ¬†I am constantly in need to remind myself that I can do things I can control at the moment; but with things I cannot control, let God take care of it until the time comes. ¬†Just be still. ¬†Just trust Him. ¬†Know that God is indeed God. ¬†I’ve been in constant prayer (more than my usual). ¬†I still spend time in His presence (but less than my usual).

I struggle with being able to rest or take it easy on myself physically. ¬†I’m the type of girl who is like an¬†energizer bunny. ¬†I’m always full of energy and finding plenty of things to do. ¬†So, for me to tell myself to sit down and rest is not one easy task. ¬†I’m actually proud of myself for resisting the urge to exercise today! ¬†I knew I needed to rest. ¬†

Spiritually, the Lord asks us to rest in His presence and know that He is God. ¬†The more I rest in His presence, the more I feel secured and filled. ¬†Physically, our bodies tells us when we need to rest and allow healing to occur. ¬†The more I give myself physical rest, the more I feel¬†healthy and refreshed. ¬†God knows what He’s talking about!

I’d appreciate your prayers as I go through some big things in the next few weeks. ¬†Let me know if you’d like anything I can pray for you. ¬†Comment below or contact me via other sources.

Thanks & blessings!