Monthly Archives: October 2016

Motivational Monday: Gratitude

“Gratitude”, as a concept, has popped up in my life more often lately.  In fact, even in the midst of a scientific lecture, the value of the mind-body connection to our health was addressed.  If, like me, you have been listening to Amy Myers’ online broadcasts “The Thyroid Connection Summit” you might have heard Dr. David Haase, MD bring this up.  (Note, I definitely recommend looking into his work).

The quote I included in the feature image spoke to me as it resonates to my overall brand and message.  However, a close second, from Melody Beatie, weaves the concept of mindfulness in quite well;

“Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion into clarity… It turns problems into gifts, failures into success, the unexpected into perfect timing, and mistakes into important events. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today and creates a vision for tomorrow.”

Now how is that for rethinking your current situation???

I hope your week is off to a great start and, of course, Happy Motivational Monday!

Motivational Monday: You know the saying…

“Rome wasn’t built in one day”.  — John Heywood

Whatever you are working on, be it personal goals, professional deadlines, or academic achievements, good work takes time.  The saying is commonly accepted as encouragement or support for some sort of tireless endeavor.

James Clear, a behavioral psychologist and community blogger, advises the phrase can be expanded to “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but they were laying bricks every hour.”  He continues to describe the bricks as the system, or foundation, which is the greater goal.  Applause may not come for one brick, but finding ways to lay the next bricks will ultimately result in the “empire” (2016).

As one of my favorite colleagues from graduate school always said, “you’ve got this!”  I would add, in similar ideology of James Clear, that many times the journey is just as important as the destination.

Clear, J.  (2016).  Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, but They Were Laying Bricks Every Hour.  Retrieved from

Motivational Monday: Marathons & Life’s Journeys

Yesterday was the Chicago marathon.  Since moving to Chicago in 2011, it has become an annual tradition to cheer the thousands of runners and wheel chair racers.

The event is quite motivational to observe and many people come out to watch one of Chicago’s best “parades”.  For many spectators, it turns into quite the social affair with outrageous signs, creative outfits, various noise makers, and planned brunches at places along the course.  The positive energy can be infectious!

Each year has demonstrated its own sense of character.  One year, I had three out of town friends who traveled in order to run it and my cell phone was signed up for the tracking notifications..  (Talk about an added boost to the exhilaration from watching the event!)  This year, one sign that became the hit of social media for the day read “I complete Netflix marathons”.

As the sign implies, the theme of “marathon” can take on multiple meanings and purpose.  It can indicate a literal showing of athletic sportsmanship or it can be a figurative representation for various journeys throughout life; each with time committed and a respective end goal.  I have come to hold particular appreciation for the term marathon used as an analogy for one’s health journey.  This can be significantly relatable for one who is working very hard to send a chronic condition into remission.

Training for a marathon requires intent, commitment, and following a plan.  However, it also requires key aspects of resilience.  Beyond having the ability to get back up when one falls, it is the self-awareness to know when to take slower steps toward the end goal.  As the photo below reveals, there may be a few storm clouds along the way, but further down the path, the sun will shine.

For this week’s Motivational Monday, it is only suiting to focus on life’s journeys and many accomplishments.  Whether they are health related or not, each deserves its own form of “hurrah” for completion.

Congratulations Chicago Marathon entries and for all of you completing your own versions of marathons throughout your daily lives!



Last year I made my own pickles for the first time with a classic option of cucumbers and, for a twist, the stems of rainbow chard.  This year, I expanded my skills and tried a different method.  I also made my own sauerkraut.

Many pickle recipes (which can be applied to more than just cucumbers) call for a brine in which some combination of vinegar, water, sugar, and seasoning are heated in a saucepan, then poured over the vegetables in a jar and, possibly, combined with fresh dill.  However, a heated, brine version may be more of personal preference versus actual necessity.

This year I tried a cold method.  Many Pinterest posts share various recipes, but essentially it is a combination of water, vinegar, garlic, black pepper, other seasoning of choice, and, in my case, fresh dill and cucumbers.  I decided to play with 3 variations;

  1.  White Vinegar
  2. Apple Cider Vinegar
  3. 50/50 Apple Cider & White Vinegars

So…  which was the winner???  

Although all three options came out well and were ready for consumption within 24-48 hours, I leaned toward the white vinegar or the 50/50 combo.  Although, I certainly don’t want to discourage the Apple cider vinegar option due to the health benefits it can provide.

I’m not certain yet if this method works well for sweet pickles (“bread & butter” style), but I was happy to find that the cold method worked great for dill pickles.  It’s much easier and faster than heating up the brine in a saucepan.  My bowl below equaled three 12 oz mason jars.  Next time I will know to make more with my favorite method!



National Kale Day 2016 is October 5th!

There is nothing quite like smaller, symbolic holidays.  One of my favorites is National Kale Day.  I wrote up a summary of this last year and will, therefore, not regurgitate the same information.  This year, I’ll share my favorite way to eat kale.  “How’s that?” you ask…

Raw, massaged, and well dressed!  

To do this is simple.  The idea of massaging the kale is to tenderize the hearty green making it more palatable.  Some will massage it for 2-3 minutes, then dress, while others will partially dress it and massage all in one.  I prefer to latter option.  Although a little messier on the hands, I feel it infuses more flavor and uses a little less acidic liquid (lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, ginger, etc).  I also make all my own salad dressings in order to best control ingredients.

First, you want to strip the kale.  (If you don’t know what I mean by this, please visit YouTube for a visual.  Here is one option –

Second, chop or slice the kale.  Some prefer to slice it into ribbons.

Then, add an acidic based liquid and massage away.  After that is complete, add the remainder of your dressing and toss.  For a dressing, I keep it simple; 1/2-1 part lemon juice (or sometimes ginger juice), 2 part cold-pressed olive oil, & a dab of raw honey (1 tsp-1 tbs).

Finally, mix in your choice of complimentary items such as nuts, berries, avocado, or other fruits and vegetables.

Voilà!  Happy, Healthy, Kale Salad!

To learn more about this ever so relevant holiday, please visit the website;

I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone’s shadows…

October is breast cancer awareness month in the U.S., which presents many motivational stories.  I was pleased to find a little significance, or tie-in, for this.  Please read below;

My high school self took on a few leadership roles, traveled, and gave a few speeches.  Looking back, I was a wee bit fearless and I really couldn’t tell you why other than, perhaps, young, unaltered, and innocent passion.  Naturally, as a 15 to 16 year old something, I turned to music for quotes.

Regardless, to this day, the lyrics of Greatest Love of All are still some of my favorites and a real pick me up for motivational spirit.  Most of us know the version sung by Whitney Houston.

As a child of the 1980’s, I can remember many Whitney songs playing while dancing around in leg warmers and obnoxious weighted bangle bracelets (for real, I was a fitness-nista).  I tried to find a photo of those ridiculous weighted bangle bracelets, but alas, no luck.  If someone finds a photo of them, feel free to share.

However, the real story behind the song is a woman by the name of Linda Creed who co-wrote it in the late 1970’s while recovering from breast cancer.  Sadly, Linda lost her battle in 1986, but not before leaving her mark on the music landscape.  She was later inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.  A more thorough synopsis can be found via the following link;

In spirit and love, happy Motivational Monday!

Introducing “Motivational Mondays”

A few weeks ago, I concluded a professional presentation on sleep, stress, and autoimmune conditions.  Carefully, I wove together scientific information, such as the physiology of stress response, immunity, the dynamic nature between sleep and stress, and hormonal activity, with motivational advice centered on behavior change.

However, floating within my thoughts, was the fact that, bottom line, behavior change can be tough!  It doesn’t come with a magic pill and requires significant mental connection, social support, and favorable response to one’s various environments.

Soon after, I started thinking about all those motivational word art images that stream around Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.  We may not know who creates them, but sure enough, on a periodic basis, one of them will pop out at us, resonate, and prompt us to share.

As a healthy living advocate, scientific professional, and overall nutrition junkie, it is, in part, my job to inspire in order to encourage favorable behavior change.  To better do this and integrate with my blog while further honoring commitment to you, happy followers, I am launching a Motivational Mondays series.  This may consist of a story, quote, personal photograph, or…  dun, dun, dun, one of those silly word art images (public domain approved).  Hopefully this helps get you through the infamous “case of the Mondays” (Office Space fan, yes)!

With that being said, I better “get on it”.  Happy Monday and Carry On!

REPOST from one of my favorite healthy bloggers! 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More Pumpkin — Three to Five a Day

“Vegetables are a must in a diet…I suggest carrot cake, zucchini bread, and pumpkin pie.” – Jim Davis Happy October Three to Five Tribe! Fall is my favorite and I am so stoked for all that this season brings: Fall foliage, sweater weather, boots, apple picking (not to mention apple cider donuts), and of course, pumpkin everything! […]

via 10 Reasons Why You Should Be Eating More Pumpkin — Three to Five a Day