What Are You Waiting For? 3 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Plan.

Some mornings or evenings I pray and meditate. The value of both is immeasurable but the awareness has yet to steer me to consistently practice both each day.

In this new season, I realize my lack of consistency is because I have not made either a priority.  On the mornings that I do not make time to pray or meditate, I make excuses.  

I wake up early but my husband sleeps late.  Because he is asleep, I don’t want to wake him (there are other options).

I enjoy prayer and meditation with a diffuser (lavender oil) or scented lighted candles.  I lay on a yoga mat or sit on my meditation pillow. All of my tools sit in a designated corner of our bedroom, which is supposed to be my meditation and prayer space.  

The area is pretty and ideal for its intended purpose.  Two plants, a beautiful bronze meditation statue, stones, candles rest atop a wooded foot high table, and a backdrop of beautiful wall art.

The wall display is in my meditation corner of our bedroom.

Visually, my spot is ideal.  Although it is functional during the evening, it isn’t functional for most mornings. During my routine, I listen to soft music and don’t want to be bothered in the morning by having to use earphones.  

The new year has prompted an intentional shift in my thinking so I decided to scrutinize my excuses.  

Five months ago, my daughter moved out of the house. I readily planned to make the bedroom a bohemian themed prayer/meditation space. Saved on my Pinterest page are pretty images that inspire my future decor. No TV! No computer!   

My thinking?   

“Once the room is completely decorated, I can start using it.”

The hard truth is, I thought to myself, girlfriend,  why do you need to wait until the room is completely decorated?  That’s silly.  Start where you are.

Beautiful and new truffle dark hardwood covers the floor surface. Freshly painted light gray colored walls, a chocolate ceiling fan, covered windows, and even a bathroom is set to go.  The room is distraction-free, which is what I need to calm my busy mind. It is a clean slate. 

A clean slate, I realized is my goal. Executing plans often go astray with many of us but tomorrow always clears the way for a second, third, fourth, or however many chances we need. 

We are 13 days into the new year. I know that many of you made resolutions, some of you are participating in the Daniel Fast, a new fitness or health goal, a career change, or something else. 

Or, you may be the person (like me) who awaits ideal conditions. You know, once I get (fill in the blank), I will be ready to start. Are you the Type A personality (I still struggle) who has to get everything perfect first or maybe you are afraid. Perhaps the wait is to get the money to buy a new pair of sneakers or purchase a gym membership, a grocery overhaul to start cooking healthier, or maybe you are waiting to find an accountability partner to jump-start your new regime. Be honest with yourself.

Instead of waiting for my plants, rugs, pillows, and chairs, I decided to stop bullshitting around and to takeoff where I stood. Consider this post the fire under your butt to get you moving… go ahead. Get on with it and take off!

The night before, I moved my oversized meditation pillow, my yoga mat, three candle jars, a devotional book, and a lighter into the empty room. 

My clean slate.
Gifted to me from my aunt.

Morning came. After my son left for school, I lit the candles because I wanted to smell the scented candles while praying and meditating. Fifteen minutes later I re-entered the room to the heavenly scent of amber and musk. I smiled. The sun had not yet risen, so the darkness from outdoors maintained the nighttime feel, permitting the flame’s reflections to dance around the room.  

My first experience using the empty room was superb!  Once I closed my eyes, I could not see anything; therefore, the missing material items were insignificant.  It did not matter that a fluffy area rug was missing. The absence of tropical plants had no bearing on my ability to focus. All that mattered was me, my comfort, my thoughts, my breathing, and God.

The same mindset that delayed me from fulfilling my goals, maybe preventing you in a similar way from accomplishing yours. Use the three steps below to get started:

  1. Assess your REAL needs. Let’s say your sneakers are run down and you want to do a couch to 5k run. Your current budget does not allow for new sneakers and you know that jogging on rundown footwear is not good. Brainstorm and ponder over what can you do in the meantime? Just walk instead. Walking is underrated and has many benefits. Walking can help to reduce blood pressure, increase circulation, lower cholesterol and more. WALK on your lunch break at work. WALK at the mall. WALK in your neighborhood (if it’s lit and safe). WALK up steps instead of using escalators. By the time you buy your new sneakers, your body will be conditioned to start running.
  2. Explore your GOALS. What are you trying to accomplish? Weight loss, eating healthy, career change, relocating, enrolling in college, or something else? Break your goals down into bite-size pieces. Tackle your list one item at a time and stay consistent. No matter how small the steps, you CAN take ACTION today. Do what you can today and you will move forward toward your goal. If your goal is to lose weight and cannot afford a personal trainer, go to YouTube, search exercises at home, and START at home TODAY. There are literally thousands of “how-to” videos online. Select one that resonates with you.
  3. Use your RESOURCES and NETWORK. What if you want to start a business and are waiting until you save “X” amount of money? WHY WAIT? Start now! Create a file and begin your research. Learn everything you can about the topic. Look for FREE workshops and mixers for entrepreneurs. Visit the U.S. Small Business Administration’s webpage for resources to plan, launch, manage, and grow your business.

Something is tugging at your heart to make a change, but you keep waiting. Why are you waiting? The longer you wait, the greater the chances that you will not act on your plan. What are you waiting for? I waited needlessly and so are you. Now is the perfect time to start. Quit making excuses and stop procrastinating. Start now. YOU’VE GOT THIS! I believe in YOU!

By the way, Happy New Year!


Warning: Why Your Expectations Of Others May Lead To Conflict

Teachers sometimes label students based on demographics, gender, appearance, family name, and more. Potential employers mark applicants with facial piercings, tattoos, locs, size, hair color, and communication style.

More labels we use to describe people are a parent, educator, athlete, Christian, attorney, wife, coach, or something else.

Then there is…Vegan, Vegetarian, Pescatarian, Lacto-Ovo-Vegetarian, Macrobiotic, and more.

The words are labels. Based on your understanding of a name and the people attached to them, you develop perceptions. Your perceptions motivate your thoughts and your actions.

Your perception may also influence your expectations of the behavior and actions of others.

I am not much for labels to describe myself and pride myself on being an eclectic woman. Having said that, I self-identify with Veganism.

I do not eat meat, dairy products, or seafood. Occasionally I “cheat” with shrimp, lobster, or crab.

Recently, I was dining at a restaurant. I ordered shrimp. I was casually called out for posting my “Vegan” dishes on social media but eating shrimp at the restaurant. Someone at the table had a belief about their understanding of Veganism, and I did not fit the model, so they questioned me.

I was surprised but choose to explain. I know I did not have to explain, but, as an educator, I felt compelled to expound. I want to teach others on any topic, concept, or idea I am versed in.

And so, here is the lesson.

I do not take life too seriously and avoid placing restrictions on myself that create unnecessary tension or stress.

From the time we are born, our days on earth are numbered. God is the only one who knows when we will be called home. Life is short, so I pursue joy.

November 2019, marked my second year anniversary as a Vegan. I have no desire to ever eat meat, dairy, or fish again. I am cool with a plant-based lifestyle. My weekly grocery list never includes lobster, crab, or shrimp.

When dining out with family or friends, occasionally, a restaurant will have a limited menu. So limited that, when I need a protein source, I will order lobster, crab, or shrimp. And you know what? I order it without guilt and with a big ass smile on my face. Lol!

Okay, honestly, a part of me hopes to someday eliminate this choice; however, I lift weights, and I need to continue to develop muscle mass. Never mind, 55 is creeping up on me.

I am not, and don’t want to be that one person in a party of six that insists everyone change restaurants because of a limited vegan/vegetarian menu. No shade to the person(s) who stand up and do so. It is not that important to me. I accept and forgive myself instead of berating myself for not being as I want to be.

What is more important to me is nurturing relationships with those who matter most to me. I consciously choose to experience love, joy, and laughter with people who matter.

I am imperfect.

“For we all stumble in many ways if anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect man, able to bridle the whole body.

– James 3:2

“Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.

-Ecclesiastes 7:20

The purpose of this post is to encourage you to resist expecting others to behave a certain way based on a label (self-titled or other). I will be the first to admit it; it takes practice, but trust me, I know you can do it.

As it applies to your wellness when you set expectations for the behaviors of others based on your perception of how you think they should act, you create an environment conducive to experience disappointment and possible conflict. I learned this the hard way.

We must learn to accept people for who they are and remember, the only person we can change is ourselves. Focus on you. What do you want out of your life? What are your goals? Are you holding back on something because you are worried about what others will think or say?

Consider this post a challenge. A challenge to break from your discernment of how you think you should act based on an archaic notion from the past.

In 22 days, the ball in Times Square will drop. With the New Year come new goals and resolutions. Instead of randomly setting another New Year’s resolution that will fade faster than the ink on a paper receipt, set an intentional and realistic goal to do something you have always wanted to do. Like something that will set your soul on fire! Go BIG. Make it worth the time and effort.


9 Secrets To Wellness During Difficult Times

Living your best life, is a common phrase often used in 2019.  Look anywhere on social media. As a matter of fact, do a hashtag (#) search on Instagram or other social media.  Pictures of smiling faces, adventure shots, weddings, graduations, and more are everywhere! In the comments, you are likely to see a “living your best life” comment. 

When you are living your best life, wellness is easy to incorporate into your lifestyle.  During these highs, your job/career is, at the least, satisfactory. Finances are flexible.  Relationships are rewarding. Family life is well. You feel good with no major health concerns. And, you can even carve in some me time to do the things that matter most to you. During these periods, God is good to you.  Amen!  

But what happens when the wind shifts and the pendulum swings too far to the right or too far to the left and shit gets off balance?

How do you live your best life then?  How do you then show up with a smile? How do you respond when your company down-sizes and your job is eliminated? What gets you out of bed when the bill collectors’ call you before you plant your feet on the floor?  Hmm…. When that one person you thought was your ride or die drops the ball and bails….now what and who do you turn to? Worse yet, the doctor informs you that you have a major health issue?

Now what?

Where is wellness in the mix of chaos and disaster?  Did the wrecking ball smash your sense of wellness into unrecognizable pieces?  During a recent sermon, the pastor reminded his members that, God did not promise us that life would be easy.  

I believe life is a journey of peaks and valleys.  At some point in time, everyone is blessed with the joy of winning and the feeling of being on top (the peak). 

Likewise, no one is lucky enough to to avoid nesting on the bottom in the valley.

When you are in either spot, you tend to forget about the “other” place. In a sense, you are either climbing, falling, or performing a balancing act somewhere in the middle.

When you are on top, everything is great. If you are not careful, the memories of the nightmare of the last valley you crawled out of can fade quickly.  But you must remember and live humble. When you fall deep, you might not even recall how you got there because your fall was so fast. 

Then how do you embody wellness during difficult times? You embody wellness the same as you during good and bad times.

1. Begin each day with gratitude.  No matter what your situation, begin each day with a few moments to think about all that is good in your life.  You will experience hard times but you still have goodness in your life. Everything is not bad. If you are reading this, your heart is beating.  You woke up this morning. You can read. You have a device to access this blog. You have electricity. You are of sound mind. Enlist in a gratitude journal. Write three things you are grateful for each day.  Write in the morning or at night; whichever works for you.

2. Focus on the present.  Yesterday was either good, a day you would like to forget, or somewhere in the centre. One thing for sure, yesterday is gone. Pastor Dharius Daniels, says, “Don’t visit what you cannot revise!”  Did you get that? You cannot fix yesterday, so let it be. Yesterday may have delivered hurt, pain, sorrow, grief, or anger, but what you chose to feel today is your choice. By no means am I suggesting that you will get over hurt in one day, because the heart and the mind does not function that way. What  I am saying is that reliving the moments will not make you feel better. You will feel worse. Consider how you will move forward. What do you want to do? What goals have you set for yourself? Go about chipping away at your long-term goals one bite at a time. No matter how small, each step will move you to a better place. Your mind will focus on the task at hand and keep you moving forward. 

3. Submerge yourself in positive words. I am talking about fully drowning yourself in encouraging and uplifting words.  Beginning with your bedside. Place an inspiring book next to your bed. Read it in the morning and at bedtime. In the series, Being Mary Jane, Gabrielle Union stuck post it notes all over her bathroom mirror. Hang inspirational messages throughout your home.

Seeing positive words daily will uplift you.  When you hear or read words that reverberate with you, write them down. Post them in your bathroom, in your car, at work, at your desk, in the kitchen, on the walls, wherever you will see them. Listen to an inspiring podcast like Tiffany F. Southerland. Watch an inspiring message on youtube such as Dharius Daniels or an encouraging message about Hasty Faith//Crazy Faith. Music is a simple way to change your mood. Create a playlist of music that makes you smile, dance, laugh, or happy. Any of these activities will lift your spirit or keep you juiced up.

4. Eat Well.  According to the Stress Management Society, there are three stages of stress.   1. Alarm – When an event occurs, the body’s initial response is the alarm. At this time, your body produces adrenaline.  You either respond or hold back (fight or flight). 2. Resistance Stage – Your body goes into resistance stage, which occurs if there is no response.  The body forms a mechanism that learns to cope with the event. Resources are gradually being drained, eventually the body’s ability to resist will fade.  3. Exhaustion Stage – Your body has used up all of its resources from coping with the stress. If not resolved, this is when you begin to see the first symptoms of stress such as:  muscle tension, edgy personality, increased heart rate, headaches, loss of appetite, a short temper, or loss of focus/concentration. Prolonged symptoms can result in ulcers, depression, other mental/health problems, heart/cardiovascular problems, diabetes, bowel/digestive problems, or another illness.  

When stressed, loss of appetite is normal for some people.  It is you body’s response to pressure but can also lead to unhealthy eating habits. Furthermore, “stress can cause the body to crave foods that are high in fats and sugars.” People tend to eat badly when they are stressed.  Being aware of your body’s natural response is key to surviving difficult times. So wallowing away in a bag of chips, cookies, or overindulging in alcohol will only cause you to feel worse.

This is the time when it is most important for you to nourish yourself properly.  Drink more water, eat more fruits and vegetables, and consume a calming tea like chamomile, peppermint, lemon balm, or rose tea. Avoid skipping meals, excessive alcohol, sugar, fast-foods, and refined carbs. Eat well, feel better!

5. Incorporate essential oils into your daily routine. Essential oils are derived from plants. Oils are concentrated natural compounds that come from the roots, seeds, and flowers of plants. They have been in existence since the earliest readings of mankind.  Some essential oil solutions for tension, stress, anxiety, and sleep aid are Lavender, Serenity,  Pasttense, Frankincense, Placing a diffuser in your bedroom and using it before bedtime and during sleep will assist to promote calmness and relaxation, which can help you to sleep better. To learn more usage for your essential oils, contact me at Lexa’s Wellness.

6. Include meditation and prayer in your daily practice.  Both will ground you emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.  If your belief is in a higher being, the universe, or elsewhere, that’s fantastic.  Go to your source in meditation. Sit in silence with your source and gain hope, clarity, and inspiration to continue to live each day with peace and gratitude in your heart. If you need help with meditation, there are my apps  to help you. Try the app Relax and Rest , which has guided meditations. Another favorite is Calm. And finally, Insight Timer The apps will guide you through each step. Your mind will wander but do not give up. Use the apps at work, in your car, or anywhere you feel stressed.

7. Maintain mental health. Seek professional help. The National Alliance on Mental Illness reported 19.1% of U.S. adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults. 4.6% of U.S. adults experienced serious mental illness in 2018 (11.4 million people). This represents 1 in 25 adults.

We are living in a period where access to mental health service is more available than any other time.  Yet, men are told to suck it up, man up… no tears. At a young age, women are taught to bury their feelings and to put their emotions on pause, be strong and take care of your family first.   Both notions are misguided. Lack of treatment will create an environment of suffering for you, suffering for your spouse, and suffering for your children. Lack of treatment may cause job loss and other financial consequences.   Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, anger, and grief are normal. But the right trained professional for you can help you to sort through these feelings, and not necessarily with medication. If you prefer to avoid medication, search for a holistic practitioner who meets your needs. 

8. Play.  See a movie. Ride a bike. Walk in a park. Go to the theatre. Zip line. Take a cooking class.  Enroll in a belly dancing course. See a comedy show. Learn a new skill. Partake in an activity that brings you joy…that makes you smile…that makes you laugh.  Laughter is good for you. 

9. Spend 30 minutes taking a 5-minute walk. Yeah, you right. This exercise is taken from a book on mindfulness that I love. Depending on where you live, this one can be challenging. But give it a try anyway. The pace of life on the sidewalks is fast. It feels good. We are often driven that way internal, too. Some of us even want our walks to count as training. Which is why “slow down” is a ubiquitous counter-mantra. How slow? How about as slow as can be. Think of it as walking meditation, what Zen Buddhists call Kinhin. Take a step, breathe, look. Study the bark on a tree. Examine something in a store window. Explore the cracks in the sidewalk, or the ants crawling along the pavement. Allow yourself to be completely distracted from the goal of reaching your destination. You will fight it, but if and when you are able to let go of the tug to “hurry up,”you might just discover a new experience.

“If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.”   – Eleanor’s Duse


Confront Your Fears: Gain Confidence

“Fear is an idea-crippling, experience crushing, success-stalling inhibitor inflicted only by yourself.”

-Stephanie Melisa, Sales Barista

The next time I am paralyzed by fear, I will remind myself of the day I zip lined seven lines thousands of feet above the jungle in Belize.

As a reminder that I can do anything; this gets framed. Amazed does not even begin to describe the feeling of knowing I zip lined over a jungle.

Other than doing an occasional cartwheel, my fear of heights keeps my feet on the ground.

July 4th weekend, I drove 12 hours from Hotlanta to the shores of South Jersey. Two days later, I sat in Row 16, Seat B flying to Placencia, Belize.

The trek to Jersey was planned but Belize was a bonus filled with surprises and lessons. Belize is south of Miami, Florida and is only an hour and forty-five-minute flight from there. The small country is located in Central America, south of Mexico, east of Guatemala, and north of Honduras.

We (My bestie and God-daughter) arrived in Belize City but our accommodations were in Placencia, so we needed to take a short flight to get to our final destination. Quick flights and short destinations mean a small aircraft.

After seeing the 14 passenger Cessna, two of us were apprehensive about going airborne on such a small aircraft. Tropic Air has an excellent safety record but I was still afraid. On a single-engine turboprop, you see and hear everything. The security of being surrounded by 40+ rows of seats on a 737 disappears. On this plane, I felt naked and afraid.

The last and only time I flew on a similar airplane was in the late ’90s and I swore I would never (never say never) do that again. My nerves, calmed by a strong cocktail from an airport bar, helped me and my girls board the plane.

My friend and I sat behind the pilot; my brave god-daughter sat in the cockpit beside the pilot. Takeoff was slightly un-nerving, however, the view was breathing taking.

Pilot and co-pilot.

The scariest part for me is flying so low that you see everything on the ground and that set my imagination in motion. Oh, Lawd! What if the plane crashes? Whelp, my thought was, if something happened, at least I died doing something fun and joyful. When you are above the clouds you know you are thousands of miles above the sky but the fluffy white clouds take the sting out of it because you cannot see the ground.

This was the takeoff on our return trip. Scary but beautiful.

The drive from Belize City to Placencia is two hours so by flying, we saved time and experienced the most astonishing view over the Pacific Ocean. I am thankful that fear did not stop me from living out such amazing moments.

Beautiful!
Our marvelous home for the week. Naia Resort and Spa.

A doctor could not have prescribed a better getaway. Naia Resort And Spa is phenomenal. If you are looking for leisure time away from the hustle and bustle of over-crowded resorts, this is a wonderful option. I almost feel like I am giving away a secret. Hahaha! The staff is attentive, super friendly and passionately cares about your stay.

Sometimes during the best times in life, you will synchronously face unexpected and trying ordeals but when this happens you have to decide which mindset you choose to live in. Wallow in the negative energy and bitch about everything or celebrate and appreciate the goodness in your life. We always have a choice.

For most of the trip, I relaxed by the pool or the beach and did a lot of reflecting on my life. I took in the sights and sounds of the ocean and allowed my mind to select its destinations.

Power lives in stillness. Not too long ago, someone in my tribe told me that I needed to sit still. You see I am in constant motion. Taking care of home and family. Full of ideas and to-dos. Building a business. Familiarizing myself with my new community. Always interacting with someone or something. Belize was just what the spiritual universe ordered.

So yeah, I partook in an activity that I never wanted or planned to do. I zip-lined for the first and last time in Belize. My girls eagerly planned the tour. My body language told them I was cool with “the plan,” but my private thoughts spoke differently. “Hell no! I ain’t doin’ that sh**!”

The day came. We dressed for the jungle and jumped on the private shuttle and headed out. In my mind, I am still thinking, at the last minute, I will just back out.

Whelp.. that didn’t happen.

I am suited up but still thinking,
I am not doing this ish!
They are excited.
I am terrified. My smile is fake.

FEAR.
False. Evidence. Appearing. Real.

The above is so true. I had to be pushed off the landing by the guide (all 7 times) because I could not bring myself to leap. Why? Because I falsely believed that I would either have a heart attack (no known heart issues) or fall to my death.

Even after getting stuck on a line and did not experience heart failure or die, I was still convinced that on the next line, my fate was inevitable.

The reason I got stuck was that my left hand gripped the line too tight. The looser the grip the faster you go. The tighter your grip, the slower you move along the rope and you risk stopping. Hence. My problem. Ugh!

Giving up was not an option.

Just before the guide pushes me off of the landing.

I later learned the guide asked my God-daughter if he should come and rescue me. Her reply was, “No, she is strong!” She saw A different type of courage and strength in me that I did not see in myself. This common for many people.

Aside from being stuck on a zip line, I was in an unusual and peculiar place. The tables turned. Instead of me coaching someone through fire and off of a ledge, I was being coached to the landing.

N’Talia’s loud and commanding voice instructions… Auntie! Put your left hand upon the rope, now put your right hand over your left… Like a drill Sargent in basic training, she literally screamed the instructions (more like ordered) to me. You know–the kind of voice that suggests you don’t have options.

Her voice compelled me to do what she said. Thankfully, while manually pulling myself toward the landing, my back faced them, so I could not judge how far out I was.

Eventually, after manual pulling myself along the lines, my feet touched the ground (the small deck like landing). While my feet were on the ground, my legs shook uncontrollably like they were cold and I had been buried in the snow for hours.

I fought back the tears. I made it safely but felt like I experienced the greatest scare of my life and almost died.

Frederick Douglas once said, if there is no struggle, there is no progress. When I realized that six more lines remained, the internal struggle began. I thought I would zip one (1) line and be done. You know… one and done. Nope.

I quickly learned not to grip the lines and made it through the remaining lines without incident. Toward the end, my eyes slightly open, I tried to enjoy the beauty above the jungle. I tried. It was difficult. But I tried.

I am glad I did it. I am stronger because of it. Today I face new fears in other ways. But I will forever keep the courage I gained in Belize in my heart.

The best memories!
Photos with our zip line tour guides
Scrumptious dining!
The food at Rumfish is outstanding!
Fresh and delish.
1981 named after Belize attained independence is located on the resort. We enjoyed good food and a relaxing environment.
Oranges are plentiful in Belize. Our guide stopped and picked fresh oranges from trees. Sitting in the van, we ate them roadside. A little known secret is that many of the oranges that are labeled “from Florida,” are actually imported from Belize.
Yes. I am vegan. Yesssss! I cheated and ate fresh Lobster in Belize. How could I not? Life is short. Never deprive yourself. The lobster was literally, to die for. 🙂
Naia Resort consists of a studio, one, and two-bedroom bungalows situated on the beachfront. The privacy and comfort surpass traditional hotel rooms. My new go-to.
The resort is plentiful in fresh fruits. During breakfast, we enjoyed breakfast with a view of the beautiful ocean and the pool.
The airport is small but the service is friendly and efficient.
This is baggage claim.
Belize City is so small, mail pick-up and passenger check-in share a desk. 🙂

Hanging out on the docks at the resort.
While relaxing on the docks, a staff member spotted us and brought
us fresh coconuts to sip from.
After Ziplining, we floated down a river… a much-needed calmness after dangling in the sky.

I have way too many pics to share with you from my trip to Belize but wanted to share a few images from the spectacular trip.

Facing my fear of heights thousands of miles away from home was worth the trip. And although the fear still exists, I am confident that I have the gumption that can push through other fears. Being stuck is a mindset that we accept. If ever I feel stalled, I will remember that acceptance of my perceived inability to move forward is a choice and you should remember the same.

Finally, frequency in confronting your fears will help you to gain self-confidence to try more new things. The two are synonymous with success. And when I write the word success, I do not mean everybody else’s version of success for you. I mean your beliefs and your convictions of what it takes for you to live a happy and fulfilled life. Averting your fear will stall your progress and keep you in a space where you will constantly wonder, what if? What if I had taken the job? What if I had taken the photography class? What if I had traveled to (you fill in the sentence)? Why would you want to do that? Create new memories where you learn, grown, and change for the better.


Hemp Powder: Why You Should Add It To Your Diet

To keep the body in good health is a duty… Otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear. -Buddha

Next month marks the second anniversary of my plant-based lifestyle. Whoop! Hands up; high five y’áll!

I have to say again, that the surprise conversion to a vegan lifestyle, has taught me the only thing that is certain in life is inception and dissolution.

Through a summer of getaways to Belize and Mexico, family vacations to St. Kits, Bahamas, and Puerto Rico, lengthy road trips, and the daily grind of life, I managed to stay on track with only a few faux pas (shrimp & lobster).

I continue to look for new food products to use in my kitchen. It is funny how when I ate meat, I looked for new recipes but not fresh spices or other ingredients. I did, however, look for healthier ways to prepare traditional dishes but often walked passed the unknowns in the produce section. Now, I am all in to find new food.

While shopping for the first time at, Buford Market, I was happy (more like elated) to pick up Navita’s Organic Hemp Powder.

Why the excitement? Because this stuff is packed with nutrients!  Four tablespoons include: 

  • Protein – 13 grams 
  • Calcium – 48 mg
  • Iron – 7 mg
  • Potassium – 417 mg
  • Magnesium – 249 mg

Regardless if you eat meat or not, these nutrients are vital to your overall health.

Protein is found virtually throughout the body. It is responsible for hormone production, it makes up the enzymes that power many chemical reactions and the hemoglobin that carries oxygen in your blood. Protein is the building blocks for amino acids. When you eat protein, it is broken down into amino acids, which are then used to help your body to build muscle and regulate immune function. 

Plant-based protein sources are found in seitan, tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentis, chickpeas, nutritional yeast, spelt and teff, hempseed, green peas, amaranth and quinoa (grains). Ezekiel Bread and other breads made from sprouted grains, oats and oatmeal. Wild rice, chia seeds, nuts, nut butters, and other seeds, broccoli, spinach, asparagus, artichokes, potatoes, and sweet potatoes. (source: healthline)

Other non-plant based sources of protein are meats, seafood, poultry, and eggs.

Calcium with Vitamin D supports bone health. As we age, the body loses bone density, and adequate intake from childhood through adulthood can slow the process of bone loss. 

Calcium sources include leafy green vegetables such as kale, collards, and bok choy. Broccoli, fortified soy milk.

Iron is famous and known for energy production. You may not be aware that iron is also responsible for growth development, the synthesis of hormones, and for transporting oxygen around the body. 

Examples of iron-rich foods include beans, lentils, nuts, leafy green vegetables (spinach, kale, broccoli, asparagus, parsley, seaweed, watercress) meats (liver, chicken, lean meats, seafood, tofu, eggs, and fortified breakfast cereals). Medical News Today recommends consuming Vitamin C with iron-rich foods to increase the body’s absorption rate.

Potassium is a mineral found in many foods and is required for normal cell function. Your body needs potassium for almost everything it does, including proper kidney and heart function, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission.

Good sources of potassium include fruits, such as dried apricots, prunes, raisins, orange juice, and bananas. Vegetables, such as acorn squash, potatoes, spinach, tomatoes, and broccoli. Lentils, kidney beans, soybeans, and nuts milk and yogurt. Meats, poultry, and fish.

The body needs magnesium to stay healthy. It is a nutrient that is important for regulating muscle and nerve function, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, making protein, bone, and DNA.

You can find excellent food sources of magnesium in legumes, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and green leafy vegetables (such as spinach). Fortified breakfast cereals and other fortified foods. Milk, yogurt, and some other milk products.

This post is a little longer than planned; however, I wanted to show you how and why you should include a variety of food sources in your diet. This Hemp Powder is loaded with essential nutrients.

I encourage you to stay open-minded to try new foods and combinations. If you eat meat, consume leaner cuts, eat red meat in moderation, and avoid processed and deli meats. To preserve processed meats and deli meats, salt and other additives or added to the food. They are higher in saturated fat than lean, unprocessed meat, and they can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer.

Try to drink more water and incorporate more fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and nuts into your diet.

Annual doctor visits and blood analysis will help you to maintain viable health and to determine your nutritional needs. Finally, if your goal is to lose weight, I highly recommend that you avoid trendy diets. They are a temporary fix and, in most cases, when you return to “regular” food, you gain the old weight back and sometimes even more weight.

Instead chose proven methods that involve consistent lifestyle stages. A modified diet (nothing extreme) with gradual changes like swapping out your favorite high fat treat with a healthier version (oven-baked chicken vs fried chicken). Make a commitment to educate yourself and to learn about new foods and how to incorporate them into your diet.

Start an exercise program that includes a combination of strength training and cardio. If you are unfamiliar with weight training, find a knowledgeable trainer to learn proper technique.

While working with the trainer, do not be afraid to pick their brain by asking questions. Use the time to educate yourself and to build confidence so that you work alone.

Use social media to learn different exercises. There are no shortage of fitness pages to follow on Instagram.

Whatever you do, keep it moving and stay consistent. The old quote, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

There is no one giant step that does it. It is a lot of little steps. – Unknown


96 Years Young and He Keeps It Movin’!

Vic! 🙂

Vic’s metal cane sways from right to left when he walks. Slightly hunched over, he creates a rhythm with a periodic pause but confidently steps forward along the busy paved trail. There is no doubt in my mind that Vic is enjoying his morning stroll.

Although I walked passed Vic once, I could not bring myself to move past him a second time without talking to him. When I first got to the park, I had something on my mind. Vic changed that. I was blown away by his perseverance and enthusiasm for life.

Vic is a 96 year-young, U.S. Marine Corps, WWII, and Vietnam Veteran. His cap is a badge of honor. Whoop! Whoop! Vic has arthritis and moving hurts, but he says, “you gotta keep it movin’!” Those are his words. He also said that “movement helps to maintain cognition.” Walking keeps him mobile and independent, the way he likes it because he doesn’t want to have to rely on his children to care for him. I walked with Vic for a bit, we high fived and talked.

Vic agreed to a selfie because I told him I wanted my mom to see him. Although physically able, she is less mobile and Vic instructed me to bring mom to the park so he could talk to her. I love this man!

Vic should serve as an inspiration to all of us. If he can move, so can you! As a WWII and Vietnam Veteran, this warrior probably has more physical, mental, and emotional scars then I will ever know; yet he took the time to inspire me and to brighten my day. I thanked Vic for his service and the uplifting conversation.

The image of Vic is yet another face of wellness. While his story is incomplete to me, he projects positivity and fervor. I hope to see him again soon. Changing your lifestyle for the better does not cost large sums of money. More than anything else, it takes a desire, commitment, consistency, and a supportive community of people around you.

By the way, I was so into my walk this morning, that I covered 6.2 miles!

Wanna talk about it? Got something on your mind? Email me today at tanyafcain@gmail.com.

“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” 
― Rumi