Making Changes

One other thing I did was to start cooking my own dinners again.

For years I had an old regular oven that had to be cleaned using oven-cleaner cans.

The fumes were toxic. It was a chore to use the cleaner.  Food got caught underneath the burners.

In any number of “green cleaning” books there are alternatives to using oven-cleaner cans.

Try The Modern Organic Home by Natalie Wise for starters. It might be able to be checked out of the library.

It might seem extreme yet my solution was to buy a self-cleaning oven.

I’ve cooked my own dinners three or four times a week so far.

I find that when you have a disappointment or two in your life it pays to focus on something else temporarily.

My goal of publishing a career handbook will not happen any time soon.

While I wait to make this happen I want to devote the blog to health topics.

In terms of the mind-body connection food is fuel for your body. Your body is a workhorse that can help you achieve goals.

Without health what does a person really have? Life is difficult when you don’t have your health.

Which is why compassion needs to be given to those of us who aren’t shiny happy people with photogenic Instagram feeds.

My fitness level is linked to my efforts. Yet for a lot of people it can seem like the luck of the draw that they become ill.

We shouldn’t blame each other. We shouldn’t judge each other.

All in all in this Flourish blog I want to talk about mental health and physical health to educate, empower, and entertain readers.

Today’s lunch just might be a Table 87 margherita pizza 🙂

Making Fitness My Priority

I’ve come to make fitness a priority.

Health equals wealth. The true definition of wealth is abundance.

With health you have what you need to achieve your life goals.

Being ill makes it that much harder to succeed.

Over the years through a series of events I’ve come to prize having a fit mind and a strong body.

The mind and body work together to give us optimal health.

I’m 54. Two years ago when I was 52 and started menopause my energy tanked. Would I have to accept that my old energy was gone for good?

My body is getting older. My mind is still youthful.

Could bridging this divide help me get back my energy?

At about the time I turned 52 and started going through “the change” of life as a woman other things happened.

I stopped taking any kind of vitamin or supplement. I had wanted to believe I could satisfy my nutritional needs solely through food choices alone.

This is also when I stopped cooking my own meals for dinner. I relied on boxed frozen food packages that were supposed to be healthier choices.

Folks, I ate a lot of this prepared junk for too long. To compensate, I started ordering food to be delivered to my apartment for dinner.

The restaurant food was healthful yet way more expensive every week.

The remedy came on in April of this year 2019 when on a whim I hired the health coach.

After scrambling eggs and veggies for breakfast for the last six months my mood improved.

By exercising in the morning in my living room 2x per week my body got fitter too.

Last week I wondered if perhaps I could use other help. I ordered Vitamin D tablets from the FullScript link my health coach had sent me online.

I’ve started to take one Vitamin D pill in the morning with breakfast.

Would I see a return to my old energy level or at least an improved energy level?

I was motivated to resume taking a Vitamin D pill after reading the Eating Well special edition magazine Eating for Energy.

This book is a common-sense guide to doing what it says: eating for energy.

I also changed one other thing for the better. I’ll talk about what I did in the next blog entry.

My intent is to give readers hope that making positive changes is possible at any time in your life and your recovery.

You might not be in such great health. As always I recommend the book Changeology: 5 Steps to Realizing Your Goals and Resolutions.

I’ve achieved numerous goals in the last year by using the 90-day action plan detailed in this lifesaver of a book.

In coming blog entries I’ll continue to report on the results I’m achieving by making these small, consistent, incremental changes.

Making positive changes isn’t easy. It’s natural to resist doing what’s in your best interest when it’s easier to adhere to the status quo.

Only I tell you readers: the status quo wasn’t working in my life.

It was time to do things differently. I’ll tell you how things turned out: better than I expected.

Read on for the results.

Getting Help When You Need It

Sometimes you can’t make it on your own. We all could use a little outside help.

I’ve been in remission for over 27 years because I’ve taken medication every day as it was prescribed.

After witnessing a police event where I live in New York City I’ve come to have zero tolerance for stigma.

Stigma in society comes in many forms like sexism and racism and in other guises.

If you ask me stigma is a disease that needs to be healed.

Without love and compassion given it is harder for a person to recover.

Recovery from mental illness, recovery from ongoing microaggressions, and recovery from any physical illness or other setback isn’t easy when others in society judge you as not being worthy of compassion.

One month ago I was trapped inside a library with an active shooter situation in the building right next door.

This event only solidified the empathy I have for everyone.

“Everyone’s safer staying inside the library. No one can enter or exit your building” the lead cop told us.

A negotiation team straight out of a 1970s S.W.A.T. TV show episode was talking with a woman who had a firearm.

The cops wore body cameras and body shields.

I was trapped in the library for over an hour. Finally the lead cop came in and said: “It’s over. You can open up.”

The emotionally disturbed person (EDP) with the firearm had been taken to a hospital.

If she had killed someone or the police had killed her the incident would’ve been headline news.

Witnessing firsthand the prowess of the NYPD officers in negotiating with the armed woman I could respect and admire the cops that resolved the matter with no violence incurred on anyone’s part.

The event hit home with me the idea that there’s no cause to be hating and judging people.

“It could’ve been me in that armed woman’s shoes” is what I thought.

With a change of circumstance I could’ve remained permanently ill for the rest of my life. Only I got the right help within 24 hours.

I do not take lightly the need for love and compassion in the world.

In the coming blog entries I will commence talking about the Mind-Body Connection.

My journey of self-improvement started over the weekend with one tiny change.

Would making this change give me better health?

I’m going to document the link between mental health and physical health.

My stance is that I have zero tolerance for stigma.

I envision a world where every one of us is free to be ourselves.

I choose health. I choose to share the tactics that have helped me stay fit and active.

It’s my hope that I can empower readers to seek help if you need it.

For there can be no shame in seeking to get help for whatever illness, setback, or hardship you’re experiencing in life.

Getting the right help right away can make all the difference.

 

Chris’s Credentials

I’m 54 years old. I was born in 1965 in the first year of the Generation X cohort.

When I was 52 I started menopause. I haven’t gained weight or had hot flashes. My thinking is still sharp as a tack.

I was 50 years old when my father died. The cancer killed him. He has Stage 3 colon cancer that spread to his liver.

This was the deciding factor in my desire to continue to exercise and eat healthfully.

In 2011 when I turned 46 I started lifting weights. Before then I hadn’t lifted one 5 pound weight. In January 2014 three years later I could dead lift 205 pounds.

This is how I know it’s possible to make positive changes at any time in your life.

I believe in the beauty of making fitness the number-one priority.

Living in health harmony and happiness is predicated on having fitness of body, mind, spirit, career, finances, and relationships.

Over the years through a series of events happening to me I’ve come to figure out what my life’s purpose is.

I’m here to advance my vision of recovery from whatever it is a person is in recovery from.

My mantra for the blogs is: “No Judgments.”

When I was 22 I was diagnosed with a medical condition. I’ve been in remission for over 27 years so far.

What happened to me I wouldn’t want to strike any other person.

After I recovered fully, my goal was to aid in healing society of stigma.

It’s my belief that healing is possible when each of us honors, accepts, and embraces our individuality and that of others.

I’m a Girl on the Left. My favorite color is Green. I have 12 books I want to publish before my time here on earth ends.

And I think the world needs less judging and more compassion.

I’m going to record my journey to get fitter and remain healthy.

First before I detail the changes I’ve started to make I want to relay in the coming blog entry a scary event I witnessed in New York City.

I want to talk about what happened to dramatize the truth that no human being living on earth has anything to be ashamed of.

Wanting to better yourself is not a sin.

What I’ve learned is that sometimes you can’t make it on your own.

My goal in wanting to help others live full and robust lives springs from the fact that I had no help in my own life. I pulled myself up by my bootstraps at a time when it was thought recovery wasn’t possible.

What I know to be true: choosing to make fitness the number-one priority in my life has made all the difference.

Who are you? Stand up straight and tall and tell the world.

Upcoming Blog Carnival

I want to talk about the Mind-Body Connection in this blog.

Again, I’m in the vanguard in writing about things no one else is covering.

The idea to publish this blog carnival came to me this week.

In a departure, I want to give more detail about my own journey to get fitter and remain active for the rest of my life.

In today’s publishing climate the more sensational your claim is you’ll be called an “expert” and get a book contract.

What I write about is common sense. I give readers this information in the hope of empowering you to live your own version of a full and robust life.

From Beyonce from a fashion magazine interview:

“The beauty of social media is it’s completely democratic…Everyone’s voice counts, and everyone has a chance to paint the world from their own perspective.”

In the next blog entry I’ll give you my autobiography.

Then I’ll start to take you on my journey to get fitter and remain active for the rest of my life.

I firmly believe that if you want to have a better life this is under your control.

You can “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams” at any age.

My greatest goal is to use the blogs to spread joy, love, peace, and understanding in the world.

You shouldn’t feel ashamed because you want to better yourself.

Forget the jealous people. Forget the critics, naysayers, and haters in society whose sole purpose in life appears to take other people down.

Hold your head high. You are a person of worth equal to others in society.

Perhaps in sharing my journey you’ll be empowered to make positive changes as well.

Butternut Squash Soup

butternut soup

I have modified this recipe from the original version offered at another website. Owing to length and copyright issues.

The version I created is quicker and easier. A plus as not a lot of us have the time or energy to labor over a hot stove for hours on end.

Ingredients

1 large butternut squash halved vertically and seeded (about 3 pounds)

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling.

1/2 cup chopped shallot (about 1 large shallot bulb)

4 garlic cloves, pressed or minced.

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

3 to 4 cups vegetable broth, as needed (24 to 32 ounces)

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Drizzle each half of the squash with just enough olive oil to lightly coat on the inside (about 1/2 teaspoon each.)
  2. Turn the squash face down and roast until tender and completely cooked, about 40 to 50 minutes. Let it cool about 10 minutes. Then scoop the butternut squash flesh into a blender.
  3. In a medium skillet, warm 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped shallot. Cook, stirring often, until the shallot has started to turn golden on the edges, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook about 1 minute, stirring frequently.
  4. Transfer shallot and garlic to blender. Add in maple syrup and nutmeg. Pour in 3 cups vegetable broth.
  5. Use blend function on the blender if it doesn’t have a soup pre-set.
  6. Heat the soup in a saucepan.

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The butternut squash I used from the CSA box was medium-sized.

Thus, it might have been better to decrease the amount of liquid I used to only 1 1/2 cups for a creamier soup. I had used 3 cups like the recipe called for.

Also, I should’ve decreased the cooking time for the shallots and garlic. They got burnt so I had to add more and re-do for a shorter time.

I prefer to use the FreshDirect vegetable stock instead of regular broth. This is because the stock has no natural flavors just real ingredients.

You can use vegetable broth if you’d like. Either way it should be fine. Just lower the amount of liquid should you want a creamier soup and have a smaller squash.

 

 

Falling in Love with Food

The early fall is my favorite time of year.

It’s where I’m falling in love with the food offered at the Greenmarkets and via the online groceries vendor in New York City.

I’ve taken to ordering an organic CSA box every week. The box is chock full of produce. For only $30 you get enough vegetables to last for three or four days of cooking.

The Hepworth Farms cornucopia features a carrot, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, hot pepper, Lacinato kale, an ear of corn, garlic heads, an onion bulb, shallots, two apples, and scallions. And oh—mint leaves, celery, hot peppers and a green pepper, and butternut squash.

If you ask me $30 isn’t a heck of a lot of money for this assortment. Ordering groceries online and having them delivered right to your front door beats the hassle of going to a food market.

Who wants to dodge shopping carts  and have to wait on line to pay for the  mostly unhealthful food and drink options?

Plus, I can’t reach any of the items I want to get. A market employee has to be called on to bring the organic lettuce down from a high shelf.

I’ve given up on going to a food market for major weekly shopping.

Plus the last time I bought scallops from a market I thought I was going to get food poisoning after cooking and eating them.

If you live in New York City and want the only superb seafood, go to a Greenmarket vendor that sells fish and other catches of the sea during market season.

At other times of the year go to a standalone seafood storefront where all they sell is fish.

In the second blog entry for today I’m going to feature a recipe for Butternut Squash Soup.

Pure joy can be had when you eat healthfully eighty percent of the time and break a sweat at least twice a week.

This is my mantra: eat well to live well.

Though I can’t resist having a honey-lavender macaroon or a scoop of ice cream here and there : )

FreshDirect online grocery shopping here.