It has been a while once again since I have written a post. In this time, I have graduated with my MBA and now trying to figure out what is next in the journey. As I am a “list-maker” I have made a list for goals that I want to achieve this year. One that is very near and dear to me, is the revival of this blog. Closely intertwined with that is my involvement once again within the wellness community through speaking, writing, product testing and most importantly, encouraging. Thoughts are also floating around out there to start a running program for moms online and in person. What a journey I have taken – two years to further my education and learn even more about myself and how I want to create my life, on my terms. This translates into redesigning my blog, working on my logo and determining what direction I want to take “my brand.” Stay tuned!
I Have What In My Food? American’s Love Affair With Food Additives. December 5, 2011
I have talked in a previous post about making my children’s lunch and the array of junk out there. As a marketing professional I am sickened at the way that companies are reaching out to our youngest members of society with the idea that “fruity puffs” and “coco snaps” are good for you. It is manipulation for the dollar in its basic form. That my friends, I will save for another post. Right now I want to touch upon those particular ingredients in the “fruity puffs” and “coco snaps” that is a staple in our children’s diets.
For centuries, humans used natural preservatives like salt, vinegar and sugar in order to preserve and improve the taste of meat, fish, fruits and vegetables. But, the 20th century brought us artificial ingredients to replace these tried and true ingredients.
Not to play on your intelligence, we all know that artificial means not natural. Artificial ingredients are made through human manipulation. Most artificial ingredients are derived from petroleum, coal tar or corn processing. Artificial ingredients were introduced into the food supply in order to extend shelf life and reduce the cost of food. These ingredients have no nutritive value and can be found in almost everything that you buy from a conventional grocery store. This of course is closely intertwined with various economic factors that are too widespread to discuss here. Bottom line is that the longer manufacturers can keep food, the more they can make and the greater quantity equals greater production amounts.
Artificial ingredients include artificial sweeteners and artificial coloring, including food dye and artificial preservatives. Some of the most common are: FD&C Blue #1 & 2, yellow #5, and red #40, just to name a few.
What is more disturbing is that FDA standards do not currently require labels to reflect how much of the preservative is used in the product. This translates into the fact that you have NO idea how much you are truly ingesting. Interesting food for thought…
An easy solution to this is “clean eating.” Simply put, this means eating a food as close to it’s natural state as possible. Choosing a banana instead of a bag of chips for an afternoon snack would be a simple example. The closer you are to nature, the better you will feel in the long run.
To your health!
Back from my hiatus… March 10, 2011
I am back. Ten months is a long time to be away and a lot can happen and did happen during this time. My last post was on death so it is only fitting that this post should be on life.
It has been said that “life gets in the way.” To this I ask, in the way of what? Our life should get in the way. It is in those times when feeling overwhelmed that you are forced to reassess. Sometimes things need to get in the way for us to realize we need to clear a new path.
I hope that you will continue following my ramblings and promise there will not be another ten month lag between posts.
And the world cannot be discovered by a journey of miles, no matter how long, but only by a spiritual journey. A journey of one inch, very arduous and humbling and joyful; by which we arrive at the ground at our feet. And we learn to be at home.
~ Wendell Berry ~
To Everything there is a Season… May 19, 2010
Life. Death. Running. What is the connection between the three?
Death makes you stop in your tracks. Literally for the one who has experienced it, however, I am referring to those who are remain after it has swept by. One minute everything is under control and in a matter of hours, chaos. April 1 started seemingly usual as I returned emails and phone calls. I distinctly remember that I was planning on going for a run that day but was extremely busy and could not find the time to squeeze in something, anything. It was then that I found myself catching up on school work (I am an MBA student) and the phone call came. My dad indicated that my grandma was going into surgery. Ironic, since I just called the hospital and left a message with her roommate who mentioned she was getting tests performed. I asked her to call her granddaughter and she asked which one. I responded, “her only one.”
My grandma was just admitted into the hospital a couple of days before and was planning on being released on Good Friday. My dad gave no reason that this was anything to be worried about. I would soon find out that he truly did not have any indication of the events that were to come. I hung up the phone, said a short prayer and continued my reading. I had an ominous feeling that I could not place. Within the hour, dad called back, his voice stricken with panic. He said that it is more serious than originally thought. Can you go and pick up your mother from work? Sure I said, trying to hide my fear. As I am on my way to go pick up my mother from work, the following words flash across my phone: “If you want to see your grandma, get here as soon as you can” – Dad
This was all he needed to say. For me that meant that everything is going wrong and her time is limited. Calling my neighbors to watch my children, we arrive at the hospital. The old cliché is true that you can never be prepared for when you see a loved one lying there. Shortly after, she opened her eyes and through her pain communicated that she was “at peace.” More importantly she knew we were there. Several hours passed and her breathing became more and more labored. My dad and aunt, her two children are holding her hands. The clock is ticking and it took all that I had not to get up and scream thinking that we are just waiting for death to come. The chaplain walks in and she starts quoting Pslam 23. It was at that very moment that the angels came for her. Ironic that her passing would come in the holiest of times for someone who was deeply religious; the day before Good Friday or Maundy Thursday.
After a long night, I come home. My children are sleeping and my husband is out of town, unable to catch a flight till the next day. My mind wonders. I feel like I am in a dream and that so much has happened in one day, or has it really? Everything is foggy. Logically I know that she was 88 and lived a good life, but the pain and guilt are real. I was suppose to have lunch with her today so that she could see her great-grandson and now she is gone. Why did I reschedule? What made me think that having the landscapers come over was more important? I am wrenched with guilt. Guilt that I reschueled. Guilt that I have not seen her since Christmas. I would call, but “things” came up and I never made a visit. I had every intention but what are intentions good for now?
After a fitful sleep, I take my children to school and before getting work done, I go for a run. It is the only thing that I can think to do. Truthfully, I wanted to lace up my shoes at 2 o’clock in the morning, but realized that it was not a smart idea to run the risk of having the police at my house because I went AWOL. Running is truly my therapy. It is what clears my head and in this instance, made me feel. Feel my breath. Feel my muscles burning and aching. Feel my feet rhythmically striking the ground. Feel my heart beating out of my chest. I needed to feel the pain to make me realize that I am alive. Over the next couple of months, I continue to run, a lot. I am not able to eek out much writing but I am feeling more and more “at peace.” In a different way, I now see what my grandma was referring to. We all have our own journeys to take, albeit some shorter and some longer. Make every moment count so that when the road ends you are “at peace.” I know I will as I continue to run, write, and love this life.
To everything there is a season
And a time for every purpose under heaven
A time to be born, a time to die – The Byrds
And the angels have come for her…Rest in Peace Jeanette Dallas.
Till we meet again!
Running For My Tiara…Disney Style March 13, 2010
After two and a half months of training during which time I was fighting a stomach virus, juggling my business, school, husband and kids I ran the Disney Princess Half Marathon last Sunday.
The race was amazing to say the least. Roughly 13,000 participants (mostly women as there were only 400 hundred or so “princes”) This trip to Florida served a dual purpose. Obviously to run the race, but also to spend quality time with my husband, sans the children. Over the course of the 4 days, we hung out with my sister-in-law who lives in Orlando, slept in, and rode all of the “big kid” rides.
The start of the race was not what I remember a typical Florida morning to be for that time of year (I have lived there). I was right as I heard many Floridians, my sister-in-law included, that they had been having unseasonably cold temperatures. Really? I would never have thought to think that 38 at the start line was cold. Especially after having to get up at 3 a.m., hop on the bus by 4 a.m. and be in the corral by 5 for the 6 am start. So on top of being tired, I was cold. Miserably cold. I was wearing a running skirt and a long sleeve tech shirt and light jacket. I was also smart enough to bring my gloves as well (all I can say on that one is to see my post on the Yellow M&M).
Not to bore you with the race details, the race was nothing short of what you would expect from Disney. There was something at every mile – characters, crowds cheering, people stopping to take pictures. I knew going in, that I was not going to set a PR. I wanted to enjoy the festivities and not worry about hurrying through it. Enjoy I did. The event culminated in a rockin’ tiara shaped medal with crystals on it. What a fairy book ending, huh?
Thanks to all who played a part in organizing such a great race. Since I have now run this, I will be setting my sights on the Disneyland Half Marathon which will enter me in the “Coast-to-coast” challenge!
Looking forward to next year’s race…
What Do You Want To Do Before You Die? March 1, 2010
I was out on my last long run of 10 miles today before my Disney Princess Half Marathon and was in the zone. Truthfully, it was because the wind was blowing so hard and I was miserably cold so I had to get my mind off of it. Among random work things such as how to further build clients and gain additional projects, I started to think of all of the fun stuff that I have done in my life. Again, I am positive that this was because of my current wind-blown state, but I went with it. I then started to think of “my list.” This list of mine which is purely in my head, is all of the things that I want to do before I leave this earth. I have thought over and over that I should write this down, but have never done so until now. With that being said, this list is not comprehensive and is a living and breathing document that forever evolves. Who knows, maybe my ambitions or goals will be different when I am 50. I am certain they will. I hope that by that time, I can check off most of the following and compose a new list.
I am always telling others to live to the fullest. I know it sounds cliche but it is true on so many levels. The real tragedy is that most go through a lifetime of “what ifs, I should haves and I wish I coulds.” I am not perfect and at times struggle with this myself, but I am cognizant of it. I strive everyday to keep in the moment and gosh, I feel that sometimes that is all we can do.
My emergency tag on my running shoe has the quote, “never waste the gift” on it. I practice what I preach. Below is a partial list of things and events that are important to me. They are not in a particular order and who knows, some may be important to you too. Although, I am sure your list will be different, as it should be. But the question is, have you started yours?
1. Celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with my husband
2. Go to a deserted island
4. Have a wildly successful company
5. Write a book (one at the very least) and get it published
6. Run the Boston Marathon (and Big Sur just because it is beautiful and I am always having Cali withdrawals)
7. Become a triathlete
8. Take a “girl” trip with each of my daughters
9. Visit the Great Wall (Check. Will take place in Oct. 2011)
10. Backpack and tour Europe
11. Start a nonprofit
12. Travel down under (can you tell that I love to travel?)
13. Help bring a future grandchild into the world
14. See the northern lights
15. Travel to Fiji
16. See my kids graduate from college
17. Travel to all 50 states (well on my way with that one)
18. Leave a lasting legacy
19. Own a beach house
20. Always remember where I came from and where I am headed
21. To always have a close relationship with my children and for that to deepen as they grown older.
We Are The World 25 Years Later… February 15, 2010
As an avid Olympics fan, I was anxiously anticipating the debut of the remix of “We are the World.” Twenty-five years ago when the original was created, I was 8 years old. I distinctly remember the video and the pictures of Africa. They scared me and I knew in my child mind that I was lucky to be living here in the United States.
Fast forward back to real time. After watching the preview and then racing to You Tube to find the entire song, I sat and watched. I watched numerous times because the meaning of the song is entreanched in societal issues that are so prevalent of our time, even 25 years later. Quite frankly it also has a good beat. My girls were ecstatic because they knew majority of the artists and were dancing around our living room to it. They were partial to the hip-hop section and Justin Bieber. Still I wonder, after the song was finished recording, what else would those artists do? What now? Did it really resonate with them? I am sure for some it truly did and still for others it was just another publicity event.
Bottom line is that I thought the song was great, although I am partial to the original. I showed my girls the 1985 version and they laughed thinking the artists “looked funny.” Kids, huh? I really feel old. Most importantly, I think the impact on the greater good was right on target. It is up to all of us to help one another. We are good people at heart and that is the beauty of the human race.
What are your thoughts on the video?
What really is this “Active Living” all about? February 7, 2010
Active living is a way of life that naturally incorporates physical activity into daily routines. Walking with your kids to the park, walking to the store, riding your bike to the beach. It is the way that are bodies are meant to live, active and fluid in everyday life.
Active living is and should be a community-wide effort. Prior to the “suburbia” flight of the 1940’s and 1950’s, communities were structured quite different than they are today. Neighbors talked to one another, the store was a few blocks away, kids and adults walked most places. Why? Because the communities were accessible to everyday needs, they were “walkable”.
Once the suburbs were established things changed drastically. By nature the word means “A residential district located on the outskirts of a city.” Since these communities developed outside the city, naturally they were not easily accessible say to the grocery store or the library. People wanted their “patch of land” and did not want the more condensed way of living that the city had provided. Due to this rapid expansion and the natural architectural design of these neighborhoods, it became impossible for its inhabitants to walk anywhere. Traditional city blocks with sidewalks on each side gave way to curvy wide roads, cul-du-sacs, sometimes with sidewalks only on one side. Regardless, each “development” or “subdivision” was separated by two-lane roads which did not have a pedestrian path. Once you left your development, you could most likely walk to several more, however, the sidewalk would end and you would be forced to return. Instead of the corner store where you could walk to, citizens of the suburbs were now forced to get in their car and drive even further to a strip of stores to purchase their groceries and their clothes. After a day of shopping, they would then return to their cars and drive back to their respected suburb.
As you have heard, this is one theory on why Americans are overweight and suffering from a vast array of chronic diseases. To save time on this post I will not go into the explanations and theories. You are an adult and smart to say the least. Make your own conclusion.
Fast forward to now. Proponents of “new urbanism” are leading the movement to revert back to walkable communities. According to Wikipedia, “new urbanism” is an urban design movement, which promotes walkable neighborhoods that contain a range of housing and job types. It arose in the United States in the early 1980s and continues to reform many aspects of real estate development and urban planning. Simply put, revert back to traditional neighborhoods where people worked, played, lived AND walked.
If your like me, you live in a suburb. This might be by choice as I know it is for our family. We moved across the country and asked our realtor where the best schools were and “BAM”, here we are. With that in mind, you are not a slave to your surroundings. Get out there! Drive to the park and walk if you have too. Walk around your communities, and as one familiar phrase puts it, “just do it!” Can I get a kickback on that promotion? 🙂
The goal is to get at least 30 minutes of activity a day. This can be achieved in many different ways, from walking or bicycling to playing or gardening in a neighborhood park.
Active living is about creating healthy communities that have safe and convenient choices for people to walk, bike and be physically active on a daily basis. Consider these facts from the most recent research summaries by Active Living Research:
* People who live in neighborhoods with a mix of shops and businesses within easy walking distance have 35% lower risk of obesity.
* 43% of people with safe places to walk within 10 minutes of home meet recommended activity levels, while just 27% of those without safe places to walk are active enough.
* Creating and improving places to be active can result in a 25% increase in the percentage of people who exercise at least three times a week.
* More children walk to school when there are sidewalks
Make the little changes and do what you can to MOVE and have a life that is Fit For A Mom and her family!
Cat’s In The Cradle January 30, 2010
In the car this morning I heard the song “Cat’s in the Cradle.” This is a 1974 folk rock song by Harry Chapin from the album Verities & Balderdash. The single topped the Billboard Hot 100 in December 1974. As Chapin’s only #1 hit song, it became the best known of his work and a staple for folk rock music.
The song is told in first-person by a father who is too busy to spend time with his son. Though the son repeatedly asks him to join in childhood activities, the father always responds with little more than vague promises of spending time together in the future, which is peppered with images from nursery rhymes. While the son longs to spend time with his father, he continues to admire his father. This ultimately shapes the son’s future behavior. The final verse is a reverse of the roles; where the father asks his now grown-up son to visit, but the son responds with his father’s line. The father then reflects that they are both alike.
I am a big fan of this song for multiple reasons and it is a well-played favorite on my iPod. This song is one of the rare few that continues to resonate with me every time I hear it. It makes me think, “Ok, are my priorities in shape?” There was a time, not long ago when they were not. I remember hearing that song play and I was flooded with emotion. Trying to fight back the tears, I knew why they were there. I was working a lot and my son was only 6 months old. I saw him briefly in the morning and by the time I came home, we spent roughly an hour and a half together. Total time = 2.5 hours. I compensated, or so I thought, by cramming as much time on the weekend as I could. That coupled with catching up on errands and laundry, did not lead to quality.
After my corporate lay off, I had a chance to reflect. I now realize that I DO need to work, both for financial and personal reasons. However, I am beginning to realize that this can be on MY terms. I do not need, nor do I want a long commute, long hours, and lots of travel.
As a woman born after the feminist revolution of the 60’s, I know that those courageous women paved the way for my generation to have it all. Don’t get me wrong, I do want it all…career AND family. But, I want them to be balanced. I want to remember this time with my kids as much as I remember my purpose and my work. Chapin’s song is always close to heart. I know that my children are watching me. I have experienced them wanting my attention. I have been guilty of pushing my 13 year old daughter away and telling her “I’m busy.” I have done the same with my 6 year old, as well as having put my 17 month old son in front of the TV. But I have also learned to push away other things and telling them that “I’m busy.” Work will be there. It always will be calling your name. Kids will not. I do not want to look back and wonder, “where did the years go?” Not to mention my daughter (who will be in college in 5 years) telling me, “I’d love to see you mom, if I can find the time.”