Monthly Archives: May 2013
As a voracious reader and a writer, I recommend books all the time. There is nothing I love more than adoring a book, telling everyone and their pet pig about it and having them love it too so we can talk about it.
And then sometimes there is a book that is so wonderful that I can’t simply just recommend it, I have to INSIST that people read it. Insist because I guarantee it will be time well spent.
I have read one of those books. So get ready to 1-click your way out of Amazon immediately so you can start reading and fall in love with this book.
Without further blathering, the book is:
Don’t Lick the Minivan … and other things I never thought I’d say to my kids, written by the lovely Leanne Shirtliffe.
They say that laughter is the best medicine. If that’s true, then Leanne has the cure for whatever ails ya! She’s my modern day Erma!!
This book, which is a series of humorous essays, had me laughing, reminiscing and even tearing up with a lump in my throat. It’s written with such honesty and slice-of-life humor, it becomes a fast friend. The essays take you through the real-life (and often quite unbelievable) adventures of life with twins, from conception to school days, starting in India (where you can get fashion advice if you chase down a transvestite) to the frosty climes of Canada.
As the subtitle suggests, there are examples throughout the book where Leanne admits things she’s said to her kids that she never imagined she’d say. In the spirit of Leanne’s fantastic book, I’m going to share one of those same moments from our family story vault. Because I doubt my sons will ever read this blog, I think I’m safe from their wrath … so do not tell them I told you!
Back about a million years ago, our boys were 4 and 2 and their little sister wasn’t yet a twinkle in my eye. The boys were still small enough that we could fix boo-boos with a kiss and a cuddle. This was back when they were inseparable, and little brother idolized big brother, following him around everywhere.
So one day 4 year old bolts off to the bathroom, with 2 year old hot on his heels. The seat is barely lifted when there is some interference from little brother, and well, you know where this is going. The seat comes crashing down.
All of male readers just clutched their crotch and piked themselves in half.
Dad and Mom race in, knowing something quite unfortunate has happened. Dad assesses the situation and groans, trying not to double-cup his own package. I scoop up the 2 year old, who is clueless. But our stoic 4 year old, with a sheen of tears in his green eyes, looks up to his very empathic father and asks, “Are you going to kiss it?”
With as much sympathy as Dad can muster, he gives his son the truth, the bad news …
Mom walks off with 2 year old. There may have been an “Amen!” involved, but I can’t recall for full certainty. ~cough~
Friends, let me tell you that this little story PALES in comparison to the fun you’re in for when you read Don’t Lick the Minivan. If you are a parent, if you love to laugh, you will LOVE this book. I promise you.
A copy of this book will be my go-to baby shower gift from now on.
I want to thank Leanne for writing with such wit and honesty and giving me a treasure of a book that I will reread because it was pure entertainment.
Something happened last week that made me so happy, proud and hopeful, I have to share it with you all. It’s no secret that we as a society are inundated with the message that skinny or thin means healthy. All you have to do is flip through any magazine, pop onto any infomercial channel or even glance at the ads glaring at you from your Facebook page.
Everyone is telling you they can help you ‘lose weight’!
UGH – I’m so sick of it!
It breaks my heart when I see young girls, as young as elementary and middle school, worried about ‘getting fat’, not fitting into size 0 skinny jeans and Lord forbid their thighs should touch. ACK!!
This is such a warped sense of value, it damages a person’s self-identity, sometimes forever. I used to be those girls. I made the same mistakes I see clients in my gym make all the time. I drastically reduced my caloric intake, I eliminated any form of fat and I believed a number on a scale showed my worth.
It took a very long time to overcome this self-defeating behavior and thought-process and some days, I still have to remind myself to get my thinking straight.
Now, back to what happened last week. For many months I have been giving personal training to a couple of high school athletic superstars. Both girls are absolutely beautiful inside and out, and they both happen to be genetically thin. They would be considered what many girls strive to look like. They are what I wanted to look like in high school instead of my genetically muscular self.
For months now we’ve been working on increasing their strength for their sports. They are lifting very heavy weights in the form of squats, deadlifts and working hard on Olympic weightlifting. Consequently, they have acquired a lot of lean muscle. Their newly acquired strength showed up on the fields of their perspective sports as well. This was our goal. Success!
Then last week one of them mentioned she should weigh herself because she hadn’t done so since we’d started. I had a swirl of unease twist in my gut. I tentatively warned her that if she did weigh herself, she might find that she’d gained weight.
Her reply, “I know because I’m so much stronger now.”
See Ginger’s relieved and satisfied smile.
Both the girls then proceed to tell me they’ve never had as much muscle tone and they couldn’t believe how big their legs were now. One said she had to get rid of all her shorts from last year because her butt and thighs had ‘out-grown’ them and that …
IT WAS AWESOME!
Cue the Halleluiah music!
I was so filled with pride in them, for their hard work, their effort, their commitment and their vision of what is ‘awesome’ …
Strength in body, spirit and heart.
I adore these two girls and I hope they are the new wave of what is considered healthy and beautiful. I hope they never lose it. They inspire me!
As I prepared this blog post, I ran across this article through Facebook and have to share it because it hits the nail on the head. A couple parts of the article I particularly LOVE:
“After all, we live in a society that prizes female bodies that are small and compact while still having bigger breasts (but not too big, because that’s just obscene). Women eat salads, not meat. They adhere to low-calorie diets so they can keep their “girlish” figures. Diet pills, surgery, liposuction, powders you sprinkle on your food, books and segments on daytime television, superfoods, Skinnygirl margaritas and Skinny Bitch diet books…a billion-dollar industry aimed at Fighting Fat. We are taught to believe that the content of our dinner plates dictates the content of our character.”
And the article ends with a fabulous, bang:
“We don’t need a new “skinny.” We don’t need a new beauty standard, nor do we need yet another physical ideal hanging over our every thought and move like a little black cloud of doom. What we need to do is change the paradigm so that we value our bodies for all of the amazing things they let us do. We need to expand our standards of beauty to recognize that beauty shows up in all kinds of bodies. And we need to get over this idea that the most important purpose we serve on is to be beautiful for other people. We have a right to have healthy bodies, to take up space, to have appetites, to cultivate our strengths in whatever form that may take. Our time on this planet is precious and we will never, ever get it back, so let’s stop squandering it in pursuit of meaningless ideals we will most likely never attain anyway. We deserve so much better than that.”
I can’t recommend you read this article enough and share it …. Share it wide! (no pun intended!)
And because I know you all love recipes and good food, here’s a dinner I made recently that met with overwhelming approval and clean plates!
Asian Meatballs (from Nom Nom Paleo), nestled in mashed garlic cauliflower and snuggled up with wilted garlic, lemon spinach
Asian meatballs – This recipe comes from Michele Tam’s Nom Nom Paleo iPad app. (I’ve said it before but this is the best app I have. It’s gorgeous, easy to navigate and packed with all things delicious!) You can make any sort of meatballs you like but I do recommend these!
Cauliflower: Clean and roughly chop cauliflower in evenly sized chunks. I used 2 heads. Peel about 6 cloves of garlic. (I love garlic!) Steam the cauliflower and garlic in a steamer basket until it’s soft enough to mash. You can blend in a powerful blender or do what I did which was to use a handheld mixer. I seasoned with salt and pepper and added some full fat coconut milk, from the can.
Spinach: Slice a couple garlic cloves (yes more garlic) into slivers. Sauté them in coconut oil (or fat of your choice) until they are fragrant and a bit crispy. Zest 2 lemons and add some zest to oil and garlic. Dump in a ton of fresh spinach, rest of zest and juice of both lemons. A little salt and pepper. Then toss and turn with some tongs. This will be done fast, like 30 seconds. Do not over cook it or you’ll have a very small ball of cooked spinach instead of a pan of lovely slightly wilted spinach that still has a bit of crunch left to it.
Plate and enjoy!
Eating healthy does not have to be a boring helping of broiled chicken breast sitting forlornly next to a pile of broccoli. Even though I love chicken and broccoli, it is not the only option when trying to eat healthier.
As many of you know, with a few exceptions here and there, I mainly eat a Paleo Diet. It is sometimes also called the Caveman’s diet or even a Primal Diet. Basically, you eat as our ancestors did, before we started to process our food. They ate the meat of animals they hunted or fished. They ate vegetables and fruit, which they grew. And they foraged for nuts and seeds, or whatever they could find.
Now, while I think it would be pretty nifty to have my own huge garden from which to feed to my family, I live in suburbia, it’s not happening. I also couldn’t hunt my own meats. Yes, I’m one of ‘those people’.
So, I hop into my SUV and schlep the one mile to my local grocery store and get the healthiest meats, veggies, fruits and nuts I can find.
There is a plethora of information out there about the multitude of health benefits from following the Paleo diet. So I’m not going to list them all here. I will give you a resource though that I believe is fantastic and truly recommend! It’s a book written by Diane Sanfilippo called Practical Paleo. I enjoyed this book as much for the delicious recipes as I did for the easy to digest (no pun intended) information on WHY the Paleo diet is healthy and how it can literally change your health. What I particularly loved is all information on how eating Paleo can drastically help in the struggles dealing with auto-immune issues and other disorders.
Should you want to try to incorporate the Paleo diet into your life, I have another resource for you. It’s an iPad App written by Michelle Tam called Nom Nom Paleo. You guys, this app ROCKS! I’m not kidding. Whether you want to eat ‘paleo’ or not, this is packed with delicious recipes with gorgeous pictures and easy to follow instructions. I wouldn’t lie to you.
With all that said, I’m going to give you a couple of recipes I made recently. One is a salad inspired by one I had at a fabulous local restaurant last weekend. The salad at the restaurant had seasoned grilled chicken, figs, pears, spicy walnuts and blue cheese dressed in vinaigrette. My mouth watered reading the menu and I couldn’t resist trying it. I was not disappointed. It was one of the best salads I’ve ever had and I can tell you, I eat a LOT of salads!
My version is a little different. One, we had it on one of my ‘no cook’ nights, so I borrowed a little help from my grocery store and brought home a fully cooked rotisserie turkey breast. So right away we’ve switched from chicken to turkey.
What I used:
Mixed Greens plus some romaine hearts
2 ripe Bartlett pears
Walnuts – about ¾ cup
Crumbled blue cheese (a NON-Paleo item- but I only used 3 oz for a salad feeding 5)
*I couldn’t find figs in my grocery store, so I’ll add those next time.
Dressing: red wine vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, cracked pepper and kosher salt
Directions: I seasoned the walnuts with the tiniest amount of olive oil and then some smoked paprika and chili powder and then roasted them in a pan on my stove.
While I kept a close eye on my walnuts, I chopped and dumped all the other ingredients into a large salad bowl. I added the warm nuts when they were done, sprinkled on some vinegar, seasonings and drizzled the oil and tossed!
Next I’m going to walk you through the steps I took to make the most delicious ‘breakfast for dinner’ that we had last night. I got the idea for the eggs nested in the avocado from Michelle’s Nom Nom Paleo App I mentioned above. It worked perfect!
Ingredients on hand:
Eggs – free range, farm fresh, organic … the best you can get if possible.
2 large avocados – washed because peel will remain on them for cooking
baby portabello mushrooms, sliced
fresh tomato, chopped
fresh baby spinach
Slice your avocados in half. Then make another slice about ½ inch on either side, all the way around, so that when you take out the pit, you’ll have an avocado ring with a hole in the middle.
Heat some fat in a pan (coconut oil, butter) and put in your avocado rings. Then surround your rings with mushrooms so they can sauté at the same time.
Crack an egg into the center of each of your avocado rings.
Add your chopped tomatoes to your mushrooms around the edge of the pan.
When you eggs have set a bit, flip the entire egg-filled avocado slice over to cook the other side.
*NOTE: if you like your yolks runny, like sunny side up, you can ‘tent’ or cover your pan and not flip the avos!
As the eggs finish cooking, sprinkle the fresh spinach over your mushrooms and tomatoes so it can wilt a bit.
Transfer to a plate and truly ENJOY!!