Busting Assumptions About Health

I’ve been focused today on learning some new things, about health, about business, about developing gifts of mine. In the midst of all of that, I enjoyed lunch with grandson Jonathan at his school, and I created a fun visual to help bust up an assumption about what I eat on a plant based diet.

I actually enjoy busting up assumptions, which just means I like to challenge traditional beliefs around certain topics, and help people to see in a bigger way. The assumption I playfully challenged today was that eating plant based must mean I eat a lot of lettuce based salads…I don’t…and that eliminating meat, dairy, eggs, gluten, soy, canola oil, GMO foods and sugar must mean that my meals are boring…they aren’t!

Busting Assumptions About Health

I got the idea for today’s visual from a meme I saw, one of those along the lines of “What people think…” vs “What I actually do…”. As I prepared last night’s meal, I grabbed my cell phone and used the camera to snap pics so I could create my own version.

People ask me all the time what I eat, since I only eat fruits, veggies, legumes, nuts and seeds. I don’t mind sharing with others at all. I know people are curious. And, more importantly, many of them are feeling into the possibility of making changes in their health as well. They are testing the waters, so to speak, to see how doable eating plant based is.

So here is what I created.

Busting Assumptions About Health

This wasn’t my actual meal. However, this is what many people assume I eat…a little lettuce, with a few carrot and celery sticks. Nothing wrong with that food, it’s just not enough!

Busting Assumptions About Health

I added words with the WordSwag app. I use this free app every single day. The app is easy to use and allows me to create memes and title memes for my blog posts, incorporating my own photos.

Then I put together my actual meal, a veggie bowl made up primarily of raw veggies, with steamed sweet potatoes and cooked black beans.

Busting Assumptions About Health

Look at that gorgeous bowl of life sustaining, health supporting food! Included with the sweet potatoes and black beans are raw carrots, celery, tomatoes, red cabbage, green peppers, cucumbers, broccoli and mixed greens. Everything in the bowl was organic. The homemade sauce, created from a recipe by Chef Robin Jeep, contains oranges, organic peanut butter, ginger, garlic, basil and cilantro. It’s amazing. I topped my bowl with freshly cut herbs from my garden…thyme, chives and more basil.

Busting Assumptions About Health

I added words to this photo as well. This bowl of food…and it’s a large bowl…is a typical meal for me. This is what I prepare for myself and what I eat. That veggie bowl was very filling and so satisfying. And best of all, it’s clean eating. The food nourishes my body, at a cellular level. And boring? Bland or tasteless? Never. I crave this kind of food. My body craves it and I’m happy to feed this craving!

Last of all, I brought the photos together, using another app called Pic Collage. It’s free as well and with it I can do a variety of layouts.

The finished piece is pictured below. It’s a lighthearted attempt at teaching people that the plant based lifestyle isn’t about deprivation. It’s a choice. It’s about taking back responsibility for health and well being and being proactive. I love this lifestyle, and the beautiful food that I eat. And I love teaching others that they too can heal and transform their lives.

And if I get to bust an assumption or two, I’ll happily do so!

Busting Assumptions About Health

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation?

One of the reasons I switched to a plant based lifestyle last summer was because of the trip to Italy this year. Before I embraced eating healthier, I had trouble walking without pain and I was using a cane. My hope was to walk without a cane and without pain, during the trip. 

If you’ve followed my healing journey, you know my health has been transformed by adopting a plant based lifestyle. No more cane and no more pain have been just two of the positive outcomes as a result. However, as the trip drew closer, I wondered if it was possible to eat plant based in Italy. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
Breakfasts were easy while in Italy. Every hotel we stayed in offered a large breakfast buffet. I could choose from a selection of fresh and baked fruits, juices and even veggies such as green beans, mushrooms and tomatoes. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
But what about lunches and dinners, in a country famous for pasta? A Divine opportunity brought the answer. Because of severe weather in the US and being diverted to London, we missed the welcome dinner the first night of the tour. The next day, chatting with our tour director, Fabi, I asked if it was considered rude to request gluten free pasta at restaurants. 

Elissa, Dayan and I were about to head out into Rome for our first dinner. Fabi happened to be giving Dayan directions to nearby cafes. Otherwise, I would not have asked. And I felt reluctant to ask at a restaurant. I didn’t want to be perceived as a picky eater. That was my issue  though. 

Fabi assured me that most restaurants did indeed offer gluten free pasta and vegetarian or vegan meal options. My first dinner was in a delightful cafe with outdoor seating, located on a narrow street lined with restaurants. I enjoyed roasted potatoes and freshly grilled veggies. No one looked at me oddly or questioned my choice. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
The ease of ordering that first meal encouraged me to stay within my plant based diet during the entire trip. However, I have to praise Fabi for taking charge of my meals. Our tour included some lunches and dinners, at various restaurants and two different vineyards. Without me asking her to, she called ahead to every venue and explained that I was following a restricted diet. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
Without exception, at each place I was served delicious, freshly prepared plant based meals. No gluten. No meat. No sugar, dairy or eggs. Instead of a sweet dessert, I was presented with a bowl or plate of sumptuous fruit. The chefs or head waiters introduced themselves to me before the meal, delivered each course with a flourish and a smile, and checked with me after to make sure I was happy with the food. 

Happy? I was thrilled! And those who brought me my special meals did so with a noticeable sense of accomplishment and pride that was endearing. I felt so well cared for, and not at all a burden. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
When we were free to eat on our own, I did fine ordering from the menu. Dayan noticed the small print that read gluten free available. From Rome to the coastal villages in Cinque Terre to Venice, gluten free pasta and/or vegan options were readily available, making it easy for me to stay plant based. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
Was it difficult, eating differently from everyone else? Not at all. Was it boring? Absolutely not. I enjoyed a variety of delicious foods. And it was crucial for me. If I had abandoned my plant based lifestyle, even for a few days, I would have risked feeling unwell or opened myself up to discomfort. It was important to me to feel my very best. 

And I did do well. I walked with ease, 4-6 miles a day. I flew for hours and hours, without my legs locking up. I climbed stairs, which a year ago would have been impossible. Stairs can still be a challenge for me, due to years of pain and inflammation that has caused muscle tightness around my knees, but I am continuing to improve. I kept up with the tour group and I was extremely pleased with my level of fitness. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
My experience was encouraging. I found that it is possible to eat a plant based diet while on vacation. My tips are: make healthy eating a priority, drink plenty of water, get enough rest, and don’t be afraid to ask for specially prepared meals. 

I am so grateful for Fabi, who went above and beyond to ensure that I ate healthy meals. And I am grateful for each chef who took the time to create magnificent meals for me. I’m also so thankful for my grandson and daughter who frequently asked if I was finding healthy options on the menus and often checked ahead before choosing a cafe, just to make sure I had plenty to eat. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation
Surrounded by such caring and conscientious people, how could I not do well on this trip? And that would be my last suggestion for maintaining a diet while on vacation…surround yourself with supportive people. They may not eat what you eat, but they can certainly offer encouragement and love and compassion as you care for yourself.  

Healthy eating is a choice…a daily choice. Whether dining in my own home or in a fine restaurant in Venice, I am the one who decides what I will eat. I chose well. And my body thanked me for it. 

Can You Eat Plant Based While on Vacation

Healthy Alternative to Ranch Dressing

Ranch dressing is an American “thing”. While I was in Scotland, the waiters would wrinkle up their noses and make sounds of disgust if I asked for this kind of salad dressing. Here we slather it on our salads and dip veggies, french fries and fish into it. Although I like ranch dressing, it is most definitely not a healthy choice for me.  

The white dressing so many love is full of dairy products and sugar and non food additives with strange names like  Disodium Phosphate and Sorbic Acid.  I don’t want that stuff in my healing body. Yet I confess, I have missed the dressing. I was thrilled, therefore, to find a real food, dairy free, sugar free ranch dressing that I could easily make fresh at home. 

This recipe is from findyourbalancehealth.com 

I started the cashews soaking last night. Today I drained and rinsed the nuts and combining all of the ingredients in the blender, mixed until smooth. 

The dressing/dip smelled wonderful, thanks to the dill. But how would a dressing with cashews as its base taste? 

I chilled the mixture for a couple of hours. While I was chopping veggies for a simple stir fry tonight, I sampled the ranch dressing, scooping it up with baby carrots. It was wonderful! The freshly squeezed lemon juice and dill blended to create a savory, tangy dressing. I never would have guessed that there were cashews in the mix, if I had not made the dressing. I couldn’t taste cashews at all. 

I love this real food ranch dressing, that is full of flavor and goodness, without additives or any of the foods on my “no” list. I look forward to trying it with my lunch salad tomorrow and discovering other uses for it as a dipping sauce. 

Home made roasted potato fries, anyone? 

Surrender 98: World Health Day

I love it when events connect without me arranging them. I ate the last prepped meal for lunch today, signaling the need for another afternoon session of meal planning, grocery shopping and preparing food. 

Today happens to be World Health Day, with a theme of Beat Diabetes. What a great opportunity, as I spent time preparing healthy meals for Week Three, to learn more about how what I am doing to increase my level of health combats diseases such as diabetes. 

The World Health Organization launched World Health Day in 1950, choosing April 7 as the yearly date to bring awareness to a subject of major health importance. Events are held around the globe. 

Preventing and beating diabetes is this year’s focus. This disease, which is preventable and treatable, is on the rise. Simple lifestyle shifts are effective in preventing diabetes. These include maintaining a normal weight, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet. 

I’m delighted that the shifts I’ve made not only contribute to my overall well being but help to prevent diseases such as diabetes. The past two weeks I’ve followed a daily routine that includes hot lemon water followed by celery juice in the mornings, then a healthy already prepped lunch. I finish up the day with a dinner that was prepped before hand and focuses on whole foods. 

This week’s prepped dinners include:

White Chicken Chili, bagged and chilling, is in the freezer. I can pop it into the slow cooker and add chicken broth for a simple delicious meal. 

Also prepped and in the freezer is Honey Garlic Chicken, the most frequently pinned recipe on Pinterest. When it’s time to complete this meal, it will go into the slow cooker with fresh carrots, organic green beans and tiny red potatoes, which I have on hand. 


Western Beef Casserole was prepared first today and simmered in the slow cooker while I completed the assembly of the rest of this week’s meals. It’s a hearty combination of lean beef, onions, kidney beans and corn. 

Lunches this week will consist of Chicken Walnut Salad or Chopped Egg Salad, on beds of Romaine Lettuce. I have tuna in the cupboard should I need it. 
I’m encouraged by the results I’m experiencing from the changes I’ve made. I feel better than I have felt in quite some time. The celery juice, supported by a no sugar, no gluten, limited dairy diet, has eliminated aches and pains, including the sciatica I’ve been experiencing. People are commenting on the absence of a cane and lack of a limp as I walk. 

My hair and skin look healthy, my digestive system is no longer sluggish and my body feels balanced and lighter. I have high energy during the day and sleep deeply at night. And I love how prepping a week’s worth of meals is saving me time, money and energy. 

World Health Day…preventing and beating diabetes…caring for myself by preparing and eating wholesome nutritious foods. I’ve got this! 


Surrender 89: Attaching Purpose to Desire

This evening was another food prep night. After last week’s success of having meals ready to go in the fridge, I was excited to pull together another seven days of meals. 

I’m delighted with how the past week flowed. I ate at home for every meal, except lunch Monday, my Arkansas day. Which meant I saved money and I ate healthy, nutritious meals based on a whole food diet. I freed up time and energy by doing the meal prep and cooking in one evening. I loved the way that affected my life. Best of all, I feel great!


I enjoyed last week’s stir-fry chicken and veggies with brown rice for lunch and the slow cooker dump meals. For the upcoming week, I wanted to try new recipes and ideas, while continuing the celery juice every morning for breakfast. My intention is to create a couple of months of prep ahead meal plans. 


For lunches I decided on a daily salad. I grilled chicken and diced carrots, celery and tomatoes. I sliced strawberries to have ready and chopped romaine lettuce and spinach. I have boiled eggs, avocado and apples ready to add. I’ll be able to create various combinations every day. 

 Photo from buzzfeed 

For dinners I found a great suggestion on Pinterest by buzzfeed staff member Christine Byrne. Her “How to Make 5 Weeknight Dinners” includes a shopping list, recipes and instructions on making five different meals from food that is prepped in an evening. The pork roast is the exception. It cooks all day in the slow cooker and is then shredded. 

  Photos from buzzfeed 

After 2 hours and 15 minutes of prepping, as I sung along to favorites on my iPod, my refrigerator is stocked with another round of wholesome, nutritious food. In a few minutes each day I will have a fresh salad for lunch and dinners such as pork rice bowl and pork and veggie hash. The five meal suggestions will easily stretch to seven for me. 

I enjoyed my time of prepping and cooking tonight, humming and singing as I worked. Somewhere between chopping carrots and steaming broccoli, I realized that what I’m doing is similar to when I had the desire to write every day. I wanted to write but I didn’t, until I began a daily blog. 

I’ve repeatedly expressed an interest in learning more about cooking, and then have not cooked. My desire was present. Purpose was not. I’ve connected my intention to eat more healthily to cooking at home, trying new methods and recipes. Having a desire to cook was not enough. I had to have a reason to cook. 

I’ve found my reason. Taking care of myself feels good. And the cooking is fun. I’m learning new things and reaping the benefits from devoting an evening a week to cooking. I found a meme that said: Your gifts & talents + Your heart’s desire  = Your Purpose. I created a meme that shifts that quote around and expresses what’s going on in my life. 

I’m grateful for these opportunities to write, create and cook…and to learn more about who I am.   


Surrender 83: Meals for the Week in 2.5 Hours

It happens every spring. As the trees and plants and flowers stir and awaken, so too does my desire to eat healthier. I think my body wants to hibernate throughout the winter. It gets sluggish. I want to eat more. As the days grow longer, the abundant sunshine triggers a surge in energy in me and a greater awareness of my health and well being. 


This evening I spent time in the kitchen, prepping for a week’s worth of meals. I’ve been saving recipes on Pinterest, for this purpose. After a trip to the grocery store, I was ready. 

I am heeding a call, surrendering, to simplicity and nutrition, focusing on whole foods. For breakfast each morning, I’m enjoying a cup of warm lemon water, followed by 16 ounces of fresh celery juice. If I need something before lunch I’ll have an apple or a handful of walnuts. 

Lunch will be a bowl of brown rice or black beans, topped with stir-fried chicken and vegetables and half an avocado. The food is cooked and in the fridge, ready to eat. 

For dinners I prepared a couple of healthy slow cooker dump meals. I’ve been looking forward to trying these. There’s a huge variety of recipes available on Pinterest. 


Red Pepper Chicken 

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, fat trimmed
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, sliced (about 1.5 cups)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 large garlic cloves, minced

1 small onion, diced (about one cup)

1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook for 3-6 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and tender. Or freeze in one gallon bag. To use, thaw overnight in refrigerator and cook for 3-6 hours on low. 


Turkey White Bean Kale Soup

1 small onion, diced

1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 bunch of kale, washed and sliced

1 can cannellini beans (white kidney beans), washed and drained

1 Italian salad dressing pouch or 2 tablespoons of Italian seasonings

1 pound ground turkey

8 cups chicken broth

Combine all ingredients in crockpot and cook on “low” setting for 8 hours, or until carrots are soft. Or freeze all ingredients except broth in one gallon bag. To use, thaw overnight in refrigerator, dump into slow cooker and add 8 cups of chicken broth. Cook on low for 8 hours. 

Both recipes are from newleafwellness.biz There are lots of additional recipes on her site. Two and a half hours of prep, and that included clean up, and I have a week of meals ready to go. Each dinner recipe makes enough to eat on 2-3 times. My grocery bill for the adventure today was $29. 

I’m excited to be listening to my body’s desire to eat healthily, and pleased to be saving money by eating at home. Most of all, I’m relishing the idea of simplicity and wholesomeness. That nourishes my body and my soul. 


Journey 152: Green Juice…Nailed It!


Finally, after my last attempt to create a healthy green drink turned out purplish brown instead, I succeeded in creating a green drink. Made from dark green vegetables, with half a yellow apple thrown in for sweetness, this juice is packed with nutrients. 


Today, rather than use my blender to make a smoothie, for the first time I used my juicer. My daughter Elissa very graciously gifted me with a juicer years ago. I was thrilled when I received it and I’ve intended to use it. However, I’d turn to my old  familiar blender instead. No longer willing to do the usual, or stay in a rut, I unpacked my beautiful gift. I was excited about trying it as soon as I hauled it from its box.  

Using the correct ingredients, I had about 8 oz of green juice in minutes. Here’s the recipe:

3 kale leaves, 2 leaves of collard greens, 1/2 cucumber, 2 celery stalks, 1/2 green or yellow apple, 1/2 lemon (peeled) or 1 t lemon juice, 1/2 inch fresh ginger or 1/4 t ground ginger. 

No need to chop the ingredients. So simple and fast. So full of nutritious goodness. My intention is to start the day with a healthly, nutrient dense juice, followed by a high protein breakfast a couple of hours later. I am thrilled with the ease of juicing and the results. Thank you, Elissa, for this gift. It took me a while to use it, but there’s no turning back now, and no end to the variety of juices I can create! 


Journey 85: Boom….Complete the Whole30

finished the whole 30

Boom is right! I did it…. I completed the Whole30 healthy eating plan. Thirty days of higher awareness of what I was putting on my plate, and more importantly, what I was putting in my body. Following the guidelines from the Whole30 website, I am spending about 10 days after my first Whole30 evaluating where I am and reintroducing the forbidden foods, except for sugar, back into my diet to see if my body reacts negatively to them.

The evaluation part is easy. I feel great. I know….I know….I know that this is the very best eating plan for me, a diet that focuses on lean proteins, vegetables and limited amounts of fruit, and healthy fats such as avocadoes and nuts. That’s it. That’s so simple. It has not been difficult for me to get into the routine of eating this way. Every meal needs to have that combo, when possible. I keep staples on hand like walnuts and avocadoes, lean meats in the freezer, eggs….lots of organic eggs. I buy bags of chopped salad for convenience. I add a fresh, chopped tomato and half an avocado, chopped as well, and a diced egg, and I have lunch.

Even when I eat out I have done well. “Naked” meats, meaning no coating, grilled or baked. And veggies. Baked sweet potatoes, plain in a restaurant or with clarified butter, also known as ghee, when I’m at home, are so filling. Almond butter and sliced apples are my favorite snack with afternoon tea or if I get hungry in the evenings. I have found my craving for sugar has disappeared. As has my craving for bread and carbs. I lost almost 10 pounds on the Whole30, which is an awesome bonus. Primarily, I want to feel great by reducing inflammation in my body, regaining flexibility and maintaining high energy levels. I am doing that. My one test each morning is to flex the fingers on my right hand. No pain means I’m eating well. Pain or stiffness means I let something creep into my diet, usually hidden sugar.

I’ve learned to check labels for that pesky sugar, appreciate the flavor of foods as my taste buds detoxified, and drink my tea plain, without a splash of milk. Today I wondered if I should celebrate my accomplishment with a “forbidden” treat but then decided why do that? I couldn’t even think of something that I wanted badly enough to do that to my body.

In the reintroduction phase, foods on the NO list are tried, one food group at a time, for one day. Then the food is not consumed for two days. The idea is to feel with the body what the reaction is to eating the food again, and then avoiding it for a couple of days and checking in with the body again. Today, I reintroduced non-gluten grains. I’ll check for pain and joint stiffness tomorrow, or digestive issues, and then see how I feel after two days of not eating those foods. Again, so easy. Any food group that brings pain, stiffness, indigestion or bloating, goes back on the NO list. Any food that does not create inflammation can remain on the YES list and be eaten in moderation. Sugar is the exception. It is toxic to me. I already know that. I may occasionally have a small piece of birthday cake or a small ice cream cone, but again, I may not want to trade my health for that small, quickly eaten treat.

For that is the real benefit that I am receiving from eating this way….health….wellness. Last August, limping in Scotland with a sore, stiff leg due to an inflamed sciatic nerve, I learned an important truth for myself: to appreciate my body and all that it does for me, in spite of the way I nourish it and feed it. Even when it is in pain, it does the very best that it can for me. I’d never water down the gasoline for my car and then complain about the way the car chugged and choked along. I’d know the poor quality of fuel was impeding the performance of the car. And yet, I’ve done that very thing to my body, giving it poor quality food and nourishment and then complained when it struggled along. I am so grateful that this whole food way of eating keeps showing up in my life. To show the highest level of appreciation for my marvelous body, I want to give it the very best nourishment that I can. I’m on board for another 30 days…and another….and another….as this way of fueling my body brings optimal health. I will Keep Calm…and Whole30 On!

finished the whole 30 keep calm

Journey 56: Whole30 Program

whole 30 doing it

As I was contemplating my journey today, I was NOT going to write about the fact that I began this program this morning. In fact, I cast about through several other options before deciding that this is exactly what I wanted to share today. I spent time examining the reluctance to blog about the whole food eating program. I had to work through a sense of failure that I have allowed my eating habits to slide back into a non-healthy pattern. Again.

My daughter Elissa shared this program with me and we went grocery shopping together at least 10 days ago. She began the program right away. I delayed. I had two birthday parties to attend. I had a scone mix to try. Excuses, excuses. Ironically, what shifted me into acceptance mode, both of myself and the desire to eat healthier again, was reading one of my own blog posts! Yesterday, while working on other things, I came across Journey 6: Ascend Toward Stubborn Gladness. I read it….read it twice. And was struck by this part of the blog, where I wrote about Liz after she met the man who is now her husband:

Liz says she asked herself, “How did I win this life?” A very wise friend of hers told her she blossomed into the type of woman, the sort of person, who attracted this type of man to her. After her divorce, during her year spent in Italy, India and Indonesia, Liz grew, and shifted, and released the past and cared for herself in such a way that she drew another to her that was aligned with the woman she had become. That part of the video brought tears to my eyes. That’s what the journey, what MY journey is about….becoming the best version of myself…and drawing like hearted, like minded people to me to share the journey. This is NOT a formula for attracting a mate, although soul mates are not excluded. It is a recipe for life. A way of living. A shift that enables a view of oneself that is so rich, so loving, so nurturing that those who appear in our lives are those who are able to sustain themselves in the same way. The journey that is then shared is magical, supportive, encouraging, without neediness or a tendency to look to others for happiness. Those truths resonated deep within me as my soul whispered Yes….I want that for my own journey. I want to care for myself and nurture my growth in such a way that those who journey most closely with me are drawn because they too are experiencing a similar walk.

I wrote that, however, it was so good for me to remember that I want to care for myself like that and nurture my growth. In slipping back into an unhealthy eating pattern, I am not taking care of myself in the best possible way. I know that I don’t feel my best when I consume sugar, white flour, and dairy products. Jeopardizing my optimal health for foods that create cravings and addictions  and make me feel sick doesn’t make sense! I know also that at the heart of this self sabotage are issues that I want to uncover and address. How amazing that my journey has brought this opportunity to me. To encourage myself and remember, I am reading the Journey 6 blog post every day. You can re-read the post here if you’d like.

whole 30 no

And so, here is the Whole30 Program, which is very similar to the healthy eating program I adopted last year, with great results. Basically, sugar, grains, dairy and legumes are eliminated from the diet for 30 days, replacing those foods with whole foods. The emphasis is on healthy proteins, then vegetables, some fruits, and healthy fats. That’s it. Not difficult. And shopping is a breeze. I stay on the perimeter of the grocery store,  only moving to the interior to pick up nuts and frozen veggies. According to the program, one should only weigh at the start of the program and at the end of the 30 days. Numbers on the scale are not the goal. Feeling good is the goal. Making healthy choices is the goal. Looking deeply within myself to learn new things is the goal.

You can check out the Whole30 website here. I’ll post again at the end of 30 days. Here’s to great health…yours and mine!

Whole30 Website

whole 30 change your life

Journey 2: Spinach Smoothie 10 Day Cleanse

spinach smoothie 2

There is something so inviting about a clean slate. The freshness and newness sparks creativity and begs to be filled. The new year offers such an invitation. With the passing of the old year, I release all that occurred, the good and the not so good, and feel energized and inspired to begin anew. No wonder so many begin diets or start to exercise again or make changes in their businesses on January 1. It I Is the closest thing possible to a “do over”.

I love stepping into the new year with my new word and theme. In my mind, when I was a child, December and January were 12 months apart. I saw a year ending. And then a new year beginning with no connection between the two events. It truly was as if I stepped through an open door, into the new year, and then the door closed behind me. And far, far down at the end of the road, December waited. I was almost to my teens before I made the shift that allowed me to see that December and January were side by side, so to speak, and that December flowed right into January. I still like that distinction between the old and the new, however.

I think another reason so many begin a diet or exercise with renewed vigor is because we’ve eaten so many sugar and calorie laden foods over the holidays! This was certainly true for me. My journey today led me to try a spinach smoothie, as a teaser. Tomorrow, having tried the smoothie and liked it, I’ll begin a 10 day cleanse, drinking three smoothies a day. My sister Linda provided the Woman’s World article for this inspiration.

I like the idea of a cleanse right now for several reasons. I want to reset my body’s eating habits, after weeks of not being as mindful as I’d like to be. The smoothie is nutrient dense and balancing to the body. I look forward to feeling a surge of energy that is sure to accompany the removal of sugar from my diet (again) and the inclusion of good-for-me power foods. And, although it could be seen as boring, knowing exactly what I will be having for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next 10 days frees my mind from having to think about what I will eat. I can turn more energy to other pursuits, such as writing.

Here is the recipe, as suggested by Woman’s World:

2 cups of fresh spinach blended with 2 cups of water. Puree until liquefied. (This happened almost instantly and I used a regular blender set to high speed.)

Add ½ avocado OR 1 ½ teaspoon of coconut oil OR 1 Tablespoon ground flaxseed

Add 1 scoop whey protein powder OR 1 small container full fat Greek yogurt OR ½ cup silken tofu OR 1 Tablespoon unsweetened almond butter

Add 1 cup fresh or frozen berries

For my smoothie today, I used fresh spinach leaves, coconut oil, Greek yogurt and frozen blueberries that had been picked locally. I blended well and drank. It was tasty, with the blueberries being the most prominent flavor. I think next time I will add crushed ice in place of some of the water, for a thicker smoothie.

Spinach is considered one of the healthiest foods in the world. This dark green leafy vegetable is extremely high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Benefits include lowering blood sugar, cancer and asthma prevention, curbing appetite, improved skin, hair and bones, lowering blood pressure and promoting a healthy digestive tract. Blueberries have one of the highest antioxidant ratings, meaning it is beneficial for the nervous system and brain health, for cancer prevention and as an anti-inflammatory. What a powerful combo to consume! The coconut oil, flaxseed or avocado add necessary healthy fats, while the Greek yogurt, whey powder or almond butter adds protein and keeps hunger at bay.

I’m excited about this cleanse. It will jumpstart my healthy eating and transition me back to an overall, and ongoing, healthier lifestyle. I have places to go and things to do! A healthy, strong, vibrant body gives me someplace to live, while I’m on my journey!

spinach smoothie