Monday, April 10, 2017

Do you FEEL ALIVE or are you just existing?







We all know that life can have its ups and downs. Some days are amazing and we are thriving beyond all expectations. Other days, we need an extra cup of coffee to get us through. Below are 3 simple ways to add more flava to get you that extra boost you need to FEEL ALIVE. I call them the 3 E's!

1- SET EXPECTATIONS.

Start each day with intentions for the day. Focus on what you would like to accomplish and EXPECT THE BEST. Be specific about the tasks you would like to complete for the day. As you achieve your goals, be sure to reward yourself. For instance, go for a walk around the block on a beautiful day, grab a nice (healthy) snack, or enjoy a nice cup of latte. Another treat can be to have a bubble bath before you go to bed. It's the little things that make a big difference!



Homeade Latte---a cup full of a latte love :-)


2- BE ENTHUSIASTIC.

Get excited about life! Take inventory of the things you love to do and do them often. If you love to dance, take a dance class after you get off work. If you love to write, take up blogging. If you love the camera and enjoy speaking on a topic of interest, set up a YouTube channel and get people to be part of your audience. If you love to play sports, make time for some hoops or to run the field in your free time. That which we love to do, we should make time for...and do it often!


When we do what we love, it will feel as if we are flying! #freedom


3-MOVE IN EXCELLENCE.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Am I living life to the fullest?
  • Do I make the most of each day?
  • Do I serve others with excellence?
  • Do I bring my whole self to my projects, my tasks, and my contributions? 

Based on how you answer these questions, you can get a clear indication whether you are living with excellence. This shows up in how you treat others, whether you show up on time to where you need to be, whether you respond promptly to urgent emails or other important tasks, and whether you are present and engaged in the tasks before you. 

How we show up in the world determines how the world opens up to us. When you move in the world with excellence, not only will others notice, but you will feel more alive. You will be more present in each moment and will maximize your day as well as fulfill your potential. What a great habit to develop---excellence!

                                         Image result for excellence


BONUS TIP: BE GRATEFUL!

Be sure to count your blessings each day. I keep a gratitude journal and highly encourage others to do the same. It is such a great practice to write out at least 5 things you are grateful for each day. You can decide whether you want to do that first thing in the morning, throughout the day, or before you go to bed at night. No matter when you do it, there is such a powerful feeling that comes from doing this every day consistently. The more that we are grateful, the more likely that we will be open to notice the wonderful things in our lives and in our environments. This helps us to keep a positive mindset, look for the good in all things, and to feel more alive.



                                     Image result for journal 



I invite you to comment below and share your tips to FEEL ALIVE. We know that we only have one life to live...so let's live it to the fullest. 







Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Is Sugar Controlling Your Life?


So, have you ever got to the point where you were craving chocolate, cinnamon buns, or something sweet? Having a sweet tooth is no joke.  Below are 3 simple tips to curb your sugar craving and give you a healthy alternative.


1- Start your day with Apple Cidar Vinegar (ACV).

  • I recommend a daily regimen of 1-2 teaspoons of ACV in a glass of water each morning.
  • This will give you a daily cleanse and also get you started on the right foot for the day.
  • For me, ACV, also helps control my appetite and need for something sweet.

2- Drink lots of water. Try out infused water.

  • It is so important to stay hydrated!
  • Our bodies are 75-80% water.
  • There is no better cleanse than drinking filtered water.
  • Aim to drink half of your body weight in ounces.
  • For instance, if you weigh 120 pounds, then aim to drink 60 ounces of water each day.
  • I am a huge fan of infused water. It taste delicious, adds flair to your water, and keeps you hydrated all day.
  • NOTE: I also love coconut water. You can't go wrong with this. It is not only super hydrating, but also you get tons of electrolytes and minerals.
  • In fact, coconut water actually contains more  potassium than a banana. Did you know that?


3- Go for alternative, healthy sweeteners.





When all else fails and you still are determined to feed your sweet tooth, try healthy sweeteners.
  • My favorite natural sweeteners are as follows:
    • Raw Organic Honey
    • Agave Syrup
    • Dates
  • Other sweeteners that some recommend are:
    • Coconut sugar
    • Maple syrup (100% pure)

Hope you found these tips to be helpful. Feel free to share your tips by commenting below.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Are we consuming real food-or-"food-like" substances?





Hope the January vegan cleanse has opened your eyes to the reality of food. 

For me, it was a great challenge and opportunity to be intentional about what I put in my body. Also, I really enjoyed learning healthy recipes that I intend on using more often. 

I have decided to continue on this health cleanse, but have not cut out animal products all together. I have eased back into eggs (free-range) and lean meats (chicken and fish). I am still avoiding turkey, beef, pork, processed sugar, and artificial sweeteners. My family and I have been opting for agave syrup, honey, and dates as an alternative to processed sugar.  

I must tell you...I FEEL AMAZING! It is empowering to be able to say NO to "food" that never served my body well in the first place. I mean...think about it...why would we consume "foods" that cause our body to enter into a diseased state. 

Below are 3 tricks to avoid the craving for "junk food," but instead to turn our body on to real food.

1- Start your morning with a cup of filtered water with 1-2 teaspoons of apple cidar vinegar or a slice of lemon.

NOTE: This will jump start your morning with a detox and help curb your appetite for junk.

2- For each meal, ensure that half of your plate is full of greens (veggies of some sort)--at least for lunch and dinner.

3- Keep healthy options around your home, car, office, and in your hand bag. Below are some examples:

  • Instead of putting sugar in your tea, add a teaspoon of honey (or agave syrup). 
  • Whenever you crave potato chips or other similar types of food, make sweet potato wedges, go for rice cakes, or even have toast with avocado .
  • If you are trying to avoid cheese, but want something with a "cheese-like" flavor, sprinkle some nutritional yeast on your food. Works great on popcorn!
  • Dates are so amazing! Especially--medjool dates for any sweet tooth. Plus, you can stay full longer with this amazing super food.
  • Instead of buying store-bought juice, make homeade smoothies and juices. My family and I love them and it is a great way for me sneak in more greens for my toddler.
  • After dinner, have a cup of hot herbal tea. We usually end dinner with a cup of green or mint tea. Such a great way to wind down for the night.
  • Drink water like your life depended on it. Drink plenty of water all day! I believe the recommendation is half of your body weight in ounces.
Hope you find these tips helpful. Stay tuned for more! Please share if these have worked for you. Also, share any other tips you would add.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Day 5 of Clean Eating in 2017: Featuring 3 cool recipes


Hello, everyone.

I woke up this morning excited about this vegan cleanse. I have already felt amazing with a boost of energy, satiety, and overall great feeling that I am doing something good for my health and well-being. Hope you are sticking to it and feeling wonderful as well.

In this post, I want to give you an update on my meals, provide you with some recipes and resources, and let you know what I've learned so far.

See below for my meal breakdown since we last left off:

Jan. 2

Breakfast
  • Oatmeal with bananas and mixed berries
  • Bengal Spice tea (featured drink- see recipe below)



Lunch

  • Chickpea mixed green salad
  • Lentil patties
  • Tomato slices
  • Berry banana fruit bowl
 
Dinner

  • Repeated lunch menu (ate leftovers)

Jan. 3

Breakfast

  • Pinto bean soup with avocado slices
  • Sliced green apples with peanut butter-honey dip
 
Lunch

  • Zucchini pasta (featured meal-see recipe below)
  • Red cabbage/bell pepper sauté
  • Kale with Pinto beans
 
Dinner

  • Ramen with portabella mushrooms, bean sprouts, and seaweed
  • Tomato slices


Jan. 4

Brunch

  • Pinto bean soup
  • Tabbouleh
  • Hibiscus iced tea
Dinner

  • Okra lentil soup
  • Mixed green salad
  • 100% fresh (and organic) cranberry juice

 
 
 
Jan. 5

Breakfast

  • Peanut butter, oat, granola mix
  • Half of a banana
  • Cranberry Chia drink (featured drink-see recipe below)



This post will be sent out before lunch time. So, I'll fill you in on lunch and more on the next post.
 
Featured recipes
 
Bengal Spice tea- This delicious tea is AMAZING. I consider it to be my new favorite hot drink of choice. It is great as a breakfast tea, can follow dinner, or be enjoyed before bedtime. No worries, this is an herbal tea so no caffeine included.

Per the tea box, this tea includes the following ingredients: cinnamon, roasted chicory, roasted carob, natural spice and vanilla flavors, ginger, cardamom, black pepper, cloves, and nutmeg.
 
BONUS TIP: My secret to taking this tea to the next level is to first add about half a teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and cardamom and a teaspoon of honey to a cup. Then, I add a small amount of boiling water and mix it all together. I then let that sit for 30-60 seconds and then I add the tea bag and fill the cup with boiling water. That’s it! There you have it…yummy goodness in a cup.
 
Zucchini pasta-This dish is so healthy, simple, and delicious, you will be amazed. All you have to do is grate 1-2 zucchinis. If it is organic, then it is fine to keep the outer layer. If not, I’d peel it and toss it out. Once you grate most the zucchini, all you will have left are the seeds. Feel free to save this pare and store in your fridge for another recipe for future use.
 
Heat up a medium-sized flat pan and then add the zucchini to the pan. Add about a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle in some dried rosemary and basil, lightly add some fresh ground black pepper and sea salt. After about 5-7 minutes, turn off the heat. And voila…you have zucchini pasta. Transfer your pasta to a dish and enjoy! It goes great with mixed veggies and/or a mixed green salad.
 
Cranberry Chia drink- This drink is so delicious and is packed with numerous health benefits. The health benefits of chia are too many to name. Learn more here. Cranberry juice also has great benefits, including being a natural remedy for UTI, detoxing our bodies, cancer fighting properties, and more.  
 
To make this drink, add 3 tablespoons of organic, raw chia seeds to a cup. Pour in enough filtered water to fill the cup. Seal the cup and leave in the refrigerator overnight.
 
For the cranberry juice, fill a medium-sized bowl with organic cranberries. Then, add the cranberries to a medium-sized pot. Add about 4 cups of filtered water to the pot. Let it heat on the medium-high setting. Once the water has come to a boil and the cranberries have opened up, turn off the heat. Let it cool for about 5-7 minutes. Strain the liquid from the cranberry mix using a strainer. What you will have left is fresh, delicious, 100% organic cranberry juice. Feel free to add honey or agave syrup and give it a good stir. Add ice to your liking. You have yummy cranberry juice. For the remaining pulp, you can throw it out or use it as cranberry jam for another recipe.
 
The next day once you take out your chia seed mix from the fridge, you can make your cranberry-chia drink. All you have to do is add one part chia mix and one part cranberry juice to a cup (1:1 ratio). Delicious…enjoy!
 
Helpful resources
I have found the following resources to be helpful as I source menus, recipes, and general vegan inspiration:
Please let me know if you have any questions, would like specific recipes, ideas, or more. Feel free to comment below. Let’s keep it fresh, healthy, and natural!
 

Monday, January 2, 2017

Jump Starting 2017 with a Cleanse


Happy New Year (2017)!

After a few years on hiatus from this blog, I AM BACK! Excited about getting back to what I love: writing, sharing thoughts, and empowering others.

So, I have decided to jump start 2017 by eating a vegan-influenced diet starting with the first 31 days of the year. I am thrilled to share this journey with others by swapping meal ideas, recipes, food photos, and helpful resources. This will be a fun journey filled with a commitment to self-love, health and wellness, and all around good eating.

For six years, I was a vegetarian and a portion of that I was actually a pescatarian (ate fish as my main source of protein). I had decided to re-introduce meat back into my diet in 2013. Many people ask me why I did not remain vegetarian. At that time, I was traveling to Malawi for an extended stay and knew that being vegetarian in a resource-limited environment would pose to be a huge challenge. So, I decided to eat meat again. Weeks before my trip, I announced to my GI system that carnivore-land is where I was returning. First stop, Chipotle. In two words. BIG. MISTAKE. My favorite item at Chipotle is the barbacoa burrito. However, my GI system did not agree. Unfortunately, I paid for it that night and the next morning. Needless to say, I learned to take gradual steps into getting back into eating meat. Since 2013, I have been eating meat, but more so in moderation. In the last few months, I have been incorporating more vegan dinners. 

Today, I am embarking on a new journey. The next 30 days will be all about indulging in vegan delights. Yummy. I will enter the land of avocado, mushrooms, hummus, mixed green salads, berries, watermelon, mint, lemon, eggplant, arugula. Doesn't that sound amazing! Music to my ears. The world of fruits, veggies, grains, and seeds are plentiful. It is all about having the right mindset.

I have decided to take on the G-BOMBS approach. Familiar with this concept? If not, check out the breakdown below:

G-BOMBS is an acronym (provided below) coined by Dr. Fuhrman, which describes a "nutritarian" lifestyle focused on eating foods that are cancer-fighting and have the most health benefits.
  • Greens (and grains)
  • Beans
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Berries (and other fruits)
  • Seeds 
I plan to avoid sugar and will stick to the natural sugars in fruity. I am okay with organic honey though. Feel free to cut out or incorporate honey. I know that most vegans do not. I will aim to stick to organic options namely for the dirty dozens.

 Drink options I will stick to are as follows:
  • Filtered water
  • Fruit-infused water
  • Sparkling water
  • Herbal teas (found an amazing one called Bengal Spice mix...will share more in a future post)
Below is my meal breakdown:

NOTE: I got an early start with clean eating and began with a healthy NYE dinner. You are welcome to try some of these meals below are tweak according to your preference.

Dec. 31st Dinner
  • Eggplant tacos
  • Lemon-mint couscous
  • Mixed greens salad


Jan. 1st

Breakfast
  • Sliced green apples
  • Organic brown rice cake with organic peanut butter and honey
  • Smoothie bowl with granola
  •  Bengal spice (not pictured here)


AM Snack
  • Sliced carrots, celery and banana

Lunch
  • Lentil soup topped with avocado slices, cilantro, and green onions (for 2 ppl)
  • Green mixed salad

PM Snack
  • Granola (not pictured here)
Dinner
  • Lentil and guacamole tacos
  • Carrots
  • Banaba berry mix fruit cup (for 2ppl)
  • Green tea

 
 
I would love to hear what you ate, meal plans, recipes, and more. Please let me know if you have any questions or are interested in any recipes of the meal items mentioned in this post. Feel free to comment below. Let’s keep it going!
 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

God delivers full packages!

Have you ever prayed for something and once you received it questioned how God will help you maintain it? For instance, have you prayed for a job and once you received the offer doubted if you were competent for the position? Or...have you prayed to meet your future spouse and when he/she entered in your life, you could not recognize he/she was your God-send? Or, how about this...have you prayed to get accepted into a university and once you were granted admission worried about how you would finance your education? Know and understand that God delivers FULL packages. When he blesses us, he gives us EVERYTHING we need to maintain it. I am writing this article to share three (3) Kingdom of God principles that God has taught me over the years. These principles have blessed me yesterday, bless me today, and will continue to be great blessings in my life. They are as follows:

1) God delivers full packages.
2) Have an EXPECTANT and OBEDIENT heart.
3) God blesses you to BE a blessing.

God delivers FULL packages
When God blesses us, he does not do so halfway. Imagine a UPS employee coming to your home to deliver a package. Once you receive the package, you notice that it is partially opened and half of its contents are gone. I am sure this will have you question where the other half of your package went and how you can get the remainder of the package. Well, when God delivers our blessing, he does not leave anything out. Be encouraged in knowing that when God opens up the windows of heaven and pours out a blessing, he does not withhold part of the blessing. As a matter of fact, God will pour out a blessing that we will not even have room to receive (Malachi 3:10). This particular scripture is tied to the act of obedience related to tithing (more on that later).

If he blessed you by granting you that dream business, then he will ensure that you have the finances, resources, divine connections, and favor you need to be successful. I heard this once and find it to be so true: when God gives you a VISION, he also supplies the PROVISION. Whatever tools you need to make your blessing work for you, God will provide that. He will not grant you a blessing and not also give you what you need to be prosperous. If he blesses you with a house, he will provide you with the finances to maintain it. If he blesses you with a job, he will grant you the wisdom and understanding to be productive. If he blesses you with a spouse, he will give you the grace needed to have a healthy relationship. If he blesses you with healing, he will give you thestrength to maintain your heath. If he blesses you with a gift/talent, he will give you the confidence to share it with the world. God will deliver FULL packages. God’s packages come fully loaded. I am not referring to a whim desire or a minor want. I am referring to a God-inspired prompting that has been manifested into a blessing. Also, keep in mind that the part we need to play comes with the benefits of God in the form of blessings and WHO he is. Our part is the heart of expectancy, willingness, and obedience (more on this later).

Do NOT worry about the How! Trust and know that God shall supply All of your needs (Philippians 4:19). Just focus on what is in your control and that which is not in your control, give it over to God. God is not a man that he shall lie nor a son of man that he shall repent (Numbers 23:19). If he promised it to you, he will do it!! God is more than able to bless you. Keep in mind that everything you will ever need in life is IN God. Know that with you and God you are a majority. We need to have an attitude that proclaims “If God promised it to me, then I believe it and that settles it.” Have the faith to BELIEVE. If you can believe it, then you can have it. Whatever your “it” is.

Have an EXPECTANT and OBEDIENT heart.
Before a blessing comes your way, you have to be prepared to receive it with an EXPECTANT and OBEDIENT heart. Know that in following Christ, there are great benefits. As we take our walk more seriously and move into a place of obedience, we begin to take on the characteristics of Christ-which are the fruits of the spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). These are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

God blesses you to BE a blessing
God blesses us in abundance not for own benefit, but for us to be a blessing to others. The Bible says that “every good gift comes from God” and that “God shall withhold no good thing from his children.” Knowing that should help you to recognize that God’s desire is to bless us and ensure that his children (us) are well taken care of. He also desires that we bless others. We are the hands and feet of Christ on this earth.
Have you ever prayed for someone in need and asked God to help them in their situation or to bless them in their time of trouble? Well, it is possible that in some of those situations, God wanted you to be the one who blesses that friend/family member/stranger in need. We are the vessels of God and so we are the ones that God uses to show kindness to others, give a helping hand, love others, support those in need, and be of support to others. Sometimes, we are the answer to someone’s prayers. When we allow God to use us as his vessel, then that is when we extend ourselves to others in need through service and without expectation of anything in return. There is song by Christian contemporary artist, Kari Jobe, that has the following lyrics: “we are the light of the world, we are the city on the hill, we are the light of the world, so we gotta, we gotta, we gotta let the light shine.” The Bible teaches us to “be in the world, but not of the world.” There should be something striking about each child of God that others can see and automatically think, “hmm…there is something so warm and open about that person.” It is when we allow God to use us and let our light shine, that we can be a blessing to others.

Take home message: The blessing may be in disguise or it can be within you. You never know how your prayer is going to be answered. Be open to possibilities all around you to be a blessing to others. Keep in mind that the very answer to your prayer…the blessing…is already within you. It is up to you to RECOGNIZE IT. Be a blessing to others and watch how God blesses you.
Faith Challenge: This month’s faith challenge will focus on the fruit of the spirit KINDNESS. I challenge you between now and the next chapter to perform at least one random act of kindness. For example, it could be giving an encouraging word to someone, visiting someone who is ill, smiling more to others, opening the door for others, taking a friend out for lunch, etc. There are endless possibilities of how you can show more kindness to others.

You can be the answer to someone’s prayers. I would love to hear from you on how you have included more kindness in your life. Spread the kindness!

Happy Easter! Love and Blessings,
RTN