Welcome to Optimal Health Mama

Thanks for cruising by and becoming part of my personal revolution of self-love, health, and hilarity!

Monday, November 19, 2012

How a 7 year old motivates me

Over the summer, our coach hung climbing ropes at the gym.  When he hung them, I'm pretty sure I said, "No fucking way, dude.  It's never going to happen.  I'm not doing it.  EVER."  I don't do well with heights or activities where I could fall on my ass.  They are not my favorite.  I was scared and I had it in my head that there was no way I would ever be able to do it.

I didn't touch the ropes for a month or so.  During that month, my seven-year-old daughter would climb them before and after I finished up my work outs.  She had no fears, no expectations of failure, she just got on the rope and did it. It was so inspiring to see this little girl do something so bad ass.  My daughter is also very, very competitive.  She was immediately challenging me- "Why aren't you doing it, mom?  You're strong.  What are you so afraid of?"  As time when on, her challenges became shit talking. 

Now mama wasn't havin' that. 

So I got on that rope and learned to climb.  Now it is one of my favorite things. My daughter reminded me that my own fears and insecurities were holding me back from doing something pretty freaking cool.  Everyday my kids make me better and inspire me.  They motivate me to be my best, not only for them, but for myself.

What is motivating you to be your best?

xoxo
J

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Last Season's Clothes

I'm a graduate student and a stay-at-home mom.  Neither of these life stations give me the luxury of a new wardrobe every season.  So last year's clothes better freaking fit.  I was nervous this year as I brought out my fall and winter clothes.  Since May I have gained about 15 pounds.  I  made a lot of shifts since May:  eating meat, really going heavy on the weights, and training really hard. 

At first, the weight gain was a bit of a struggle for me.  I was really upset by it and felt enormously insecure.  I'm not sure when things started to shift for me, but wham, all of a sudden I realized that the gain wasn't hurting me.  In fact, I made a lot of strength gains from it and my cardio didn't suffer too much either.  I found it to be a little unreal.  I also started craving healthier foods, having more energy, and having fewer snack attacks. I have been eating like a horse, don't get me wrong, but eating healthfully. 

I kept asking the people in my life- "Do I look huge????"  I mean, I've freaking gained 15 pounds!  I must look like a beast compared to what I looked like before.  I kept being annoyed at the lack of negative feedback- "Yeah, your shoulders look bigger; Your arms aren't as freaking gross and veiny, Your thighs are more muscular, Your boobs look bigger, etc." 

Now, the people in my life are very kind.  I attributed it to that.  They didn't want to hurt my feelings and my husband wants to get laid.  But last season's clothes cannot lie and I've been shocked to find that most of them fit.  Yeah, a few of my pants were a little tight in the thighs and God forbid I had to upgrade my 4's to 6's, but other than that, I did not have to go buy a whole new wardrobe.

I never thought that old saying "muscle weighs more than fat" applied to me.  Not sure why, but I guess getting wrapped up in all of that girl bullshit for years and years and years had taken its toll on my intelligence.   After spending two years with some of the most body positive male and female athletes EVER, I think I am finally starting to get my brains back.

Lesson learned.  When you lift heavy weights, you are going to gain muscle.  Muscle weighs more than fat, but is smaller than fat.  Putting on 10 pounds of muscle and 5 pounds of fat is going to look WAY different than 15 pounds of nachos.  It might also make you a better athlete, produce a beautiful baby, or fill out those nasty, veiny arms your sister was so grossed out about ;0)  Weight isn't always the enemy, sometimes, it can be a very good friend. 
xoxo
J

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

I'm so sick of salads!

One of the best ways to get your beautiful body detoxified and feeling amazing is to eat lots of leafy greens.  These babies are not always at the top of our favorites list, but they should be.  Greens are nutritious, muscle building power houses.  As it gets cold on out here on the East Coast, many of us are not nearly as motivated to eat salads like we were during the warm summer months.  Here are a couple of quick ways to help you get motivated to get more greens:

- Add them to your protein shakes/fruit smoothies- Blend them into your protein shakes before you hit the gym then put it in your shaker bottle.

- After you take your eggs out of the pan in the morning, quickly sautee some greens and then throw them on top of your eggs.  My favorite thing to do is put a little hot sauce on top.  Yum

- If you are warming up soup, throw in some greens- easy.

- Use greens as a side dish at dinner- maybe with chopped onion and garlic


Here is my favorite green filled breakfast recipe:

1 banana
3 handfuls of baby spinach
1 Scoop of vanilla egg white protein powder (or whatever you have)
1 tsp raw cacao
10 oz water

Blend it up into a delicious, protein packed, green smoothie
Mine has less than 300 calories and 25 g of protein- Not a bad way to start the day ;0)

xoxo
J

Monday, November 5, 2012

Boobs or Abs?

Why can't I have both!!!???!!!

The body fat percentage game is so unfair to us ladies.  The second those abs start popping through and looking all washboard, then the boobs start to go.  And go.  And go some more.  It is by far, the rudest thing I have ever experienced. This got me thinking about the fine balance we female athletes are forced to contend with:  our physical appearance and our physical accomplishments.

Fortunately for us, we are tough and we do not have to get boxed into one definition of sexy.  I am so thankful that when I go into the gym I have an instant network of bad ass women who are confident, strong, beautiful, and feminine- whether they are rockin' D cups or mosquito bites, 6 packs or baby bumps.  These women are my constant reminder that strong and fit is sexy.  There is no one definition of sexy and just as our physical strengths are all different, so are the things that make us light up the room with serious sex appeal.  

To all of my Crossfit ladies, I love you and thank you for being a constant source of support, inspiration, and eye candy. 

xoxo
J


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bad to the Bone Broth

So after talking with some friends, reading some blogs, and consulting various sources, I decided to start adding bone broth into my diet. Bone broth not only provides the body with some awesomely awesome minerals, but it also helps aid in the healing of the digestive system.  This is the main reason I wanted to learn more about it.  A couple of friends of mine who have gluten sensitivities and other food allergies similar to my own started making it, using it, and experiencing the benefits. 

It is fairly easy to make, too.  After looking at a gagillion recipes, this is what I did:

Got out my trusty 1970's crock pot
Put a whole, organic chicken in it- giblets, too
Put in two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (this helps draw the minerals out of the bones)
Added some salt and chopped onions
Filled the crock pot with water
Turned it on high for the first four hours and then switched it to low

After 8 hours or so, I took the chicken meat out and set it aside.  I let the bones keep going in the crock pot for another 16 hours.  Then I cooled the broth, strained out the bones with a slotted spoon, and stored the broth in mason jars in the fridge.  It will last in the fridge for about 7 days.  You can also freeze it.  If it is in your budget, it is best to use organic meat/bones for your broth. 

You can drink the broth like a warm tea or drink.  I also added some of the chicken back into it when I reheated it along with some veggies for a quick chicken noodle soup.  It is so yummy on a cold morning!

It is really easy and so nourishing!  Just another delicious way to add variety to your Paleo eating regime.  There are about 6 million ways to make different bone broths, too!  You can use fish, beef bones, whatever. 

xoxo
J

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sweet Potato Cassarole

There is something about the cool weather that totally has me in the mood to cook.  Today I found the most bomb ass dinner recipe of all time on Paleo Pot's website.  I just had to share it with you guys!  It is a crock pot recipe, which makes it even more awesome for me since I want to get in a strength wod tonight while the girls are doing Crossfit Kids.  When the three of us get home, we are ravenous beasts, so tonight's hearty recipe will totally tame our monstrous appetites and will be ready to go when we walk in the door. 

The recipe came from
http://paleopot.com/2012/02/hungry-man-sweet-potato-casserole/

Here are the tweaks I made:

Ingredients:
  • 1 pounds of lean ground beef 
  • 6 strips of bacon
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 1/2 large vidalia (or any) onion
  • Spices- cinnamon and salt
  • 1 skillet or pan
  • Coconut oil or ghee to grease your slow cooker

  1. This recipe recommends you microwave your potatoes before you peel them. I don't do microwaves.  Preheat oven to 350 and soften your sweet potatoes in the oven- the microwave is a piece of shit that zaps the nutrients out of your food.  If you don't have to, don't use it.
  2. Peel and slice your sweet potatoes into 1/8″ slices
  3. Dice your bacon finely and brown it in a pan into crisp pieces
  4. Remove your bacon from the pan and set it aside for later
  5. Dice your onions into large chunks and add to your pan along with your ground beef. Make sure you use a deep skillet or pan big enough to brown 2 pounds of beef and 2 onions.
  6. Season your beef
  7. Make sure your beef is fully browned and onions are translucent.
  8. Beat your 4 eggs in a bowl, blender, or food processor.
  9. Grease your slow cooker with some coconut oil.
  10. Line the bottom of your slow cooker with slices of sweet potato. Just enough so that you cover the bottom.
  11. Spoon in a layer of your seasoned beef onto the sweet potatoes.
  12. Sprinkle some of your crisped bacon pieces on top of the beef.
  13. Repeat.
  14. Once you have finished layering, pour your egg mixture over the top.
  15. Cook on high for two hours and low for 4.
A huge thanks to Paleopot.com for this deliciousness.  Check out this site!  It's great!  I am pretty sure this website/recipes will become another one of my favorites.  Hope you guys try this out and ALWAYS cite your sources ;0)  Taking credit where credit is NOT due is a pet peeve of mine- even if it is just on a blog. 

xoxo
J



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Product Review: AMRAP Nutrition Refuel Bars

Today a bunch of Crossfit Inspire and Proven members met up at the Reebok store to do a WOD.  Needless to say, they are going to do some serious mopping tonight.  Everyone left some sweat on the floor!  Not only was this a fun event, but it was productive.  Everyone got some new, sweet workout gear in addition to kicking some ass.  My whole family got new sneakers!  It was a really fun event and a big thanks to Darin for putting it together.


When I got home from all of my shopping and woding, I had a wonderful surprise waiting for me!  Ron Slavick and the super sexy people at AMRAP Nutrition sent me four boxes of their new bars in exchange for a little writing I did for them.  Let me just tell you, they are delicious.  And huge.  I guess I am used to Larabars because these babies looked ENORMOUS when I pulled them out of the box.  I made Nate taste test them with me and we both thought they were delicious.  Lara bars are wonderful but they do not always keep me full.  These bars have 14 grams of egg white protein and are HEAVY- in a good way!  They are completely Paleo and use raw honey as a sweetener.     These are great meal replacement bars.  I'm pretty sure they would be able to keep me full for at least 3 or 4 hours.  I cannot wait to take them to school on the nights I have class for 6 hours straight or for times like today, when I am out and about and do not want to play food roulette at a restaurant and wonder about hidden sugars and gluten. 

You can get them at www.amrapnutrition.com.  The price breakdown is about 3 bucks a bar.  Given the size, quality ingredients, and the fact that it could replace an entire meal, I think it's a pretty good deal. 
xoxo
J
p.s. Do you love how I'm finally adding pictures?  I will stop being such a dinosaur now ;0)

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wing Salad

It's football season and sometimes we all want some wings.  Well, at least I do!  As you know, wings are a personal favorite of mine.  They are just so damn delicious.  However, they do not always agree with my belly.  Fried food usually hates me in ways I never thought possible.  BUT...I continue to indulge because I am a glutton for punishment and for wings ;0)

As most of you have noticed or will notice, the cleaner  you eat, the more sensitive or intolerant you will become to certain foods.  It's a normal, beautiful process but sometimes you just want to eat some goddamn delicious snack attack food without feeling like someone punched you in the stomach and then hooked you up with fiery diarrhea. 

Here's the best of both worlds bitches!!!!! 

Wing Salad

As much romaine lettuce as you like
Baked chicken or shrimp or no meat at all
Frank's Red Hot as much as you like (I usually toss in a couple of tablespoons)
Bleu Cheese, if you tolerate it (1/4 cup)
an avocado
If you really like celery, you could chop some of that up and add it too.
Toss and devour

Really delicious, gives me my wings fix, and does not make my belly hurt. Hope it saves one or two of you from a fried food ouchie belly as well ;0)


xoxo
J

Thursday, September 27, 2012

I crossfit, my spouse doesn't

Crossfit has become a huge part of my life over the past two years and for the past two years I have been sporadically offering my husband to join me.  It's not his thing.  He's okay with that.  So why aren't I?

Well, after a lot of introspection, I am finally starting to understand why and hopefully some of you other 1/2 couples can relate. 

1)  I'm a show off.  When I was in college, my husband came to a lot of my tennis matches.  I could show off my athletic skillzzzz in front of him.  If I invited my husband to watch a WOD, I would feel like the biggest tool bag on the planet. 

2) I like to share.  Even though he wasn't participating in tennis, we could share it.  We could talk about the match, we could analyze my game, and he knew my teammates.

3) Curiosity.  I know he's strong and he has a mental strength that I know would just kill it in these kinds of work outs.  I want to see what he can do!

4) The power couples.  All of the boxes have them.  Those amazing couples that just straight up kick ass together.  It is so fun to see them do the work outs together and accomplish things as a team.  I believe just like what we learn about ourselves during the workouts, we learn about our partners.  I'm sure the bond that happens while doing a partner work out with your spouse or seeing them persevere when something is really hard translates into your life as a couple.

5) I'm also wondering if my husband seeing what I can do would make my accomplishments seem more real to me. This is connected with my own disbelief of the things I am doing when I am at the gym.  Sometimes I can barely believe myself when I say out loud what I did in my work outs that day.  I NEVER thought I would do the things I am doing, so I guess it will be ultimate reality when I have him to witness.   

6) And sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder if I could totally kick his ass ;0)

xoxo
J

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keepin' it Real

I feel like I should have my own reality show: "The Keepin' it Real Housewives of Chester County."  The first episode would include me rushing from the gym in a panic to pick up my vomiting child at her school.  In my first confessional, I would discuss how guilt ridden I was because I put her on the bus this morning even after she told me her stomach felt weird.  Then, the cameras would pan to my other daughter, yes, the reckless one with the broken arm.  Just keepin' it real in the CC.  

My wardrobe would not be designer jeans and a pair of breast implants the size of Texas.  It would involve the cleanest sweats I own (clean meaning I only wore them to two workouts before washing), flip flops, and a pair of boobs that are lucky if they get into a bra on a daily basis.  There would be no chefs, no pilates on machines with a playmate instructor, and very few manicure/pedicure/hair/massage appointments- if any.

Reality would look like half-assed dinners, sweat filled/grimey workouts in crappy clothes, and a hair trim every two months.  Taking a shower without someone coming in is the spa day and taking a shit without an interruption is my colonic appointment.  A shopping spree on Melrose is a trip to the grocery store where I  pick up a treat for myself that didn't get consumed by the kids. AND I didn't feel guilt ridden because I bought a three dollar and fifty cent bottle of gourmet tea when that money could have been put into college savings or given to charity. Confessional #2- ARRRGGG  I'm so SELFISH!!!!  I bought expensive tea AND went to the gym!!!!  

It would make my day to see an episode of the "real" housewives where their nannies take a day off,  they got baby shit on their clothes right before they walked out the door, and then realized they've been walking around all morning rockin' a boogie.  Not that I wish harm or misfortune on anyone, but I get a pretty freaking good chuckle out of the scripted, television representation of the"reality" of housewives.  I really think if I had my show, I would get like 6 million viewers.  Mostly appreciative mothers and fathers who will feel more adequate because of my misfortunes and thankful someone actually had the courage to stop putting on a bleach blonde facade and keep it fucking real.

xoxo
J


Thursday, August 16, 2012

Oh Rawgust...

So now we are midway through week three in Rawgust. Many of you are commenting to me that Rawgust has not been the zen experience you expected and some of you have fallen off the bandwagon completely.  Please know that going raw is a lifestyle change, not just a way of eating.  It takes some people YEARS, not weeks, of transition to make a full commitment to living this way. It is not a lifestyle for everyone or every physical composition- including my own.   

The important thing to take away from this challenge is to make steps towards healthy living.  Healthy living can look a lot of different ways and just like all of our personalities are unique, so is what is going to work for our varying physical constitutions.  It can take a lot of dabbling and experimenting with different ways of eating and exercising to find the lifestyle that works best for you. Someone may thrive on a vegan diet, while someone else does great on meat.  Just like I am all about Crossfit, someone else may be all about yoga.   Do what works and do what you love. 

So if you have been giving Rawgust a go and are beating yourself up not being 100% or even 25%, I want you to knock it off.  Focus on the aspects of taking on the challenge that you enjoyed.  Maybe you discovered a raw recipe that totally knocked your socks off.  Maybe you added an avocado to your salad.  However it has worked or not worked for you, it's positive.  The fact that you embraced a challenge speaks volumes about your commitment to your own health and well being.

Kudos my loves!    
xoxo
J

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rawgust- Progress, not perfection

Well, let's just say I have room for improvement in my 100% Rawgust hahahaha! I probably ate 2/3 raw this past week.  I noticed that I did eat WAY more fruits and veggies though.  I lost a couple of pounds and my skin looks like a teenagers (a combo of this horrible humidity and detox).  Whoo hooo!  Rawgust is like puberty all over again!

Rawgust is not only about raw food for me, it is about balance.  I think I achieved a fairly decent amount of balance this week.  I'm trying not to think so much about food and how I can get the perfect nutrient to calorie ratio out of every fucking morsel I put into my body and then get mentally exhausted and eat wings instead.  I'm challenging myself to not over think shit and just eat.

This attempt to be less of a perfectionist and live more is seeping into a lot of elements in my life.  It is a good feeling.  I'm not moving into a complacent place (as if that were possible) but in a place where I am not so hard on myself and am trying to focus on doing what is healthy for me in that moment.  Sometimes this defies what neurotic Nazi Jane has thought of as healthy- like taking rest days and eating some fries when the mood strikes.  Balance is healthy.  Stress is not.  Trying to be perfect is not. 

I love that saying, progress not perfection.  I'm trying to put that into my mental rotation of shit to say to myself (aka mantras).  I hope all of you who are participating in Rawgust are saying this too.  The goal is progress, not perfection. 

Smoothie of the Day
1 banana
1 packet of frozen unsweetened Acai
1 scoop Vanilla Sun Warrior
10 oz water
Blended and topped with gogi berries (I love those little buddies!)

xoxo
J

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

My Rawgust

Good morning from the land of sleeping children!  I have been running my girls ragged this summer and they are sleeping in today!!!  Yay!!!

Today is August 1st and my first day back into the land of raw.  I never go into anything in my life without a plan, so of course, my raw eating is no different.  I am not going to do one hundred percent raw as I had planned.  I am going to do 80%. 

Here is what the menu looks like for today.  Breakfast was delicious ;0)

Breakfast- preworkout
1 banana
1 orange
1-2 handfuls of spinach
1 tbsp maca powder
3 tbsp hemp protein powder
blended into a smoothie with 8 oz of Vita coco coconut water (not raw- coconut water is pasteurized unless it comes straight from the coconut itself)

Lunch
2-3 cups romaine
1 avocado
1 can of salmon (not raw, clearly not vegan)

Snack
2 tbsp chia seeds

Dinner
1 banana
2 scoops Sunwarrior protein powder
water

Remember friends, hydration is key.  You will be doing a lot of detoxing as you add more raw, organic foods and lots of water and exercise can help flush those toxins like the little bitches that they are.  Fruit is a heavy detoxer and not everyone tolerates a lot well. When I look at my day, after coming off of Paleo, 3 pieces of fruit seems like a lot, but in the raw world, you eat a shit ton of fruit.  I'm trying to find the right balance between too much and too little. 

Hope you guys have a successful, happy, and vibrant August 1st!!!!

xoxo
J

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Rawgust

A few of my Crossfit buddies are vegan and have been asking me about raw foods over the past couple of months.  We have been sharing books and stories, now we are going to share a challenge.  The month of August will be Rawgust (har har har). 

The purpose of this challenge is individual.  Some people are going balls to the walls and 100% raw and others will be incorporating fish, eggs, and chicken to their regime. 

My personal goal is to be a support person to those who are delving into the raw lifestyle for the first time and to revamp my Paleo regime.  I want to eventually merge these lifestyles.  When I eat raw, I feel vibrant.  When I eat Paleo, I feel strong.  I decided to merge this shit and get the best of both worlds!!!! I swear, I want to create a new subculture:  Rawleo. 

There are positives and negatives to both ways of eating for me.  Paleo can be a little carb obsessed and the amount of fat does not suit my constitution.  For some people, it works beautifully.  When I eat a lot of fats I feel weighed down, heavy, and yucky.  When I'm eating 100% raw, I miss meat and fish to the point of craving it like a boss.  Plus, I love to go out to dinner and raw food eating is not always the most social scene friendly lifestyle. 

Here is some food for thought- I wonder if anyone else in the world besides me does better eating carbs???   I actually lose weight when I'm eating lots of fruits and veggies and am discovering that I hold onto weight when I'm eating a ton of fat. Anyone else? 

I'm hoping to find balance between the two worlds and get juicing, green smoothieing, and eating clean.  I want abstain from meat and fish during these 30 days in support my vegan love bugs, but I'm going to the beach in August and I will want to indulge in some fresh fish while I'm there. 

If anyone wants to try eating more raw foods, jump on in!   It's summer, so now is the perfect time to eat more raw fruits and veggies!  Your challenge could simply be to eat raw for one meal or try to eat more leafy greens.  I will try to post ideas every week about ways to make this happen to support you. 

xoxo
J


Monday, July 23, 2012

Your body is precious

"Your body is precious.  It is your vehicle for awakening.  Treat it with care."  Buddah

My body image and perspectives on health are constantly evolving.  There is often this interesting interplay of old ideas about the self that are still attached and newer, more healthier ways of being.  Sometimes these maladaptive ways of being are easy to shake, sometimes they hold on for months or even years beyond when I am conscious of the fact that they no longer serve me.

It takes a lot of effort to shift fully into new ways of being and healthy habits.  It takes time, it takes patience, it takes mistakes, and it takes forgiveness. There are many things we engage in that serve emotional purposes:  overeating, overexercising, abusing drugs, misusing alcohol, being abusive to those we love, being abusive to ourselves, the list goes on.  It can be difficult to delve into the complicated, emotional issues and baggage that make us tick.  It is difficult to be vulnerable.  It can be challenging to think you want one thing and find out your want another.  We have to acknowledge these things, make effort to understand them, and move forward when we are ready.  Sometimes back lashing into unhealthy ways of being or witnessing the unhealthy habits of others sparks a renewed vigor for self-improvement. 

It is so important for us to treat our bodies with kindness, support, and love.  Women can be excessively critical of our bodies and fall into the latest, greatest quick fix fad and not focus on health.  We often engage in negative self-talk and perfectionism.  With celebrities, boob jobs, penis pumps, and advertisement around every corner telling us how to look, what is sexy, and what we "should" be, it is really difficult to not get wrapped up in it.  Men are subjected to this hellish objectification too.

Appreciating our own uniqueness is vital to healthy living and enjoying this beautiful gift that is our lives.  Deciding what healthy living looks like for your is important.  Our physical needs are just as individual as we are.  Trying different ways of eating, exercise, spiritual outlets, etc. just move us forward into finding what works.  There is no failure, only evolution and awakening.     

So remember this quote from the Buddha, and have a wonderful, positive day.
xoxo
J


Monday, July 16, 2012

My Neglected Blog!!!

Oh my poor little neglected blog buddies!!!  I am so sorry I have been the ultimate in blog bitch outs this summer.  Needless to say, taking four classes, hanging out by the pool with the kiddos, socializing, and crossfitting my ass off has taken priority over the blog.  So sorry to leave you all high and dry, but I have a feeling you guys have been having too much fun beaching and barbequing to miss me too much ;0)

What I am figuring out this summer is that negative thoughts breed negativity.  That was my update from the department of the obvious for all y'all.

But seriously, when you think negatively, it influences your entire being from head to toe.  This can be applied to anything from your eating habits to the way you view your job.  We all have bad days, and we have a right to them, but being in constant patterns of negative thinking only serve to make you miserable.  I call negative people, "Eeyores."  You know them when you encounter them.  They drain the shit out of you and are not nearly as fun or cute as the Winnie the Pooh character.  "My life is so hard, my life sucks, things will never get better, I will never be as skinny as ______, I will never be as smart as_______, Things just never go my way..." 

FUCKING BARF. 

I cannot stand when people act like this and I really cannot take myself when I fall into these patterns of thinking.  So I have spent most of my summer trying to be positive and having some serious fun in the process.  I started practicing my own psychobabble on myself and reframing the hell out of my life.  Hey, I gained a few pounds- but hell to the yeah, I'm getting stronger and my boobs are making a guest star appearance in my bikini!  Yeah, school is rough, but goddamn it, I'm going to write research papers on cool shit.  Did I have to take a modified on a workout because I suck at pistol squats and fall on my ass?  Yup, but I'm getting better at pistols and I got a good laugh when I fell.

I am also trying to spend more time in the here and now and making sure I am enjoying myself.  If I want to do something, I do it.  If I don't want to do something and it isn't urgent or no one is about to die if I don't step in, I allow myself to come back to it later.  I'm forgiving my "imperfections" and trying to stop force feeding other people in my life my standards and expectations.  It's a much happier place to live.  

So words of wisdom from Jane:  When life hands you lemons, toss in some vodka and make it a party.   

xoxo
J

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Head Over Heels

I was driving in my car this morning and "Head Over Heels" by the Go-Go's came on the radio.  If you listen closely to the lyrics, it has managed to sum up the contents of the past six weeks of my life perfectly. 

This blog is very personal and I feel that in sharing it with all of you, it can help anyone who is struggling with some of the things I have been working through lately.  I feel a lot of this type of suffering in a lot of people right now and if one of you is able to relate now or later, this blog has served its' purpose.

I am a high achiever, a hard worker, and a very driven person.  These are all very positive characteristics to posses, but as someone very wise pointed out to me yesterday (Ken)- all of these things can have a dark element to them.  Over the past few weeks, I have been very, very dark.  It's very unlike me, and people asked me over and over again what was going on, what was wrong, and pointing out that I did not seem like myself. 

This is true, but I was too bogged down in bullshit to realize it.  All of the sudden, it smacked me in the face.  I woke up one morning and I was miserable.  I did not want my life anymore.  I wanted changes and I wanted them now (did I mention I lack patience?).  The problem was, I had NO idea what I needed to change.  I was confused, afraid, and very, very unhappy. 

I began to blame everyone else for what was "wrong" with me (there really is no such things as "wrong" though- everything was just right- just not comfortable).  My thoughts were entrenched in negativity and suffering.  Everyone else has it so easy.  No one works as hard as I do.  I'm pulling more weight than I should have to pull.  I can't do everything.  I can't fix everything.  Negative, negative, blah blah blah. 

Then after talking it out with family, friends, the lead minster at my church, and a therapist, it finally hit me:  I am doing ENTIRELY too much. 

My life is insane.  Literally.  I am a full time doctoral student, a full time mom, a full time wife, I babysit at the gym, I go to the gym 5-6 days a week on top of the babysitting, I volunteer, I to to church, I blog, and some months, I eek out a social life, try to volunteer at Molly's school, try to go to Nate's shows, hit up family functions, and try to throw in a yoga class in the mix just for kicks.  Oh yeah, and I'm trying to add in therapy once a month.  Then emotional chaos piled up on top of the life chaos and BOOM- Implosion. 

How did this happen???  Ummm...you guessed it.  Me.  I did this.  I created this insanity.  The chaos I created for myself was affecting my marriage, my relationship with my friends, and my relationships with myself.  The closest relationships to me suffered the most because they are the easiest to take for granted and to abuse.  My husband was the easiest person to neglect, to blame, and to make the scapegoat for all of my problems.  I wonder how many other married people do this? 

So I was given this piece of advice:

breathe. 

Once I was really ready to hear it, I took that advice to heart, slowed down, and did some serious self-evaluation.  It took me awhile to understand all of the good advice people were giving me because I really had to give time to let my heart soften and let the message permeate my being.  And when it finally did, I felt the shift.  The shift was beautiful, peaceful and stamped the tornado Jane back into a little chaos tumble weed. 

So now I'm back.  Ready to stop neglecting the people who really matter to me.  Ready to slow down the chaotic pace of my life.  Ready to dial back the pressure I put on myself to look perfect, get the perfect job when I'm finished with school, and be everything to everyone.  I wonder how I completely lost focus of what is real and what is important?  My husband, my kids, my family, my friends.  Oh yeah, and MYSELF.  Self work is something we tend to neglect in the chaos of life.  I am such a work in progress and I need to sit with myself and work through these issues of perfectionism, control, and people pleasing.

Long blog short:  I'm scaling my shit DOWN, yo!  Focusing on what is really important on the ways I can share my gifts with others in a way that is helping them become their best selves and me to be my best self.  I am not focusing on 6 pack abs, getting a nicer house, prestige, or other little things my ego needs to feel adequate.  I am perfectly adequate just living, being authentically me, and...

breathing.  

xoxo
J

Friday, June 1, 2012

Earth Speak

Whenever I am going through a difficult time, I find myself time and time again drawn to one of my favorite stores:  Earth Speak.  For those of you who have never been there, it is a new age hippie shop smack dab in the middle of Kimberton.  They have crystals, sage, books, candles- everything an incense burning love child like myself could desire. 

Today Lilah and I drove there so I could get some crystals, sage, a feather, and five minutes of serenity.  If you have never picked out crystals or stones, it is a really cool experience.  Usually the piece you were meant to find sticks out like a sore thumb.  You read the description of the energy it is supposed to work with and usually that shit applies.  It directly connects in a way that is far beyond coincidence.  At some point, I would love to use crystals therapeutically.  I have used color meditations before, but never went full on crystal hippie on people.  I think that is something I need to be more open to incorporating in my psychological practices with others and have less fear about people thinking I am bat shit crazy. 

The earth and nature have so many incredible lessons to teach.  We can connect with it in ways that we can feel, but never logically understand.  I feel this when I am hiking, at the beach, or holding the right crystal during a meditation.  There is something magical about the smell of burning herbs and essential oils that resonates with me in a way that feels calming, grounding, and peaceful.  During times of turmoil, I try to make a more conscious effort to connect with the earth and connect with what is "real." 

If you have never been to Earth Speak, you have GOT to check it out. 

xoxo
J

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Product Review- Wen

One of my best friends in the entire world got married last weekend.  She was probably the most beautiful bride I have ever seen.  Having done a lot of make up in my day, I have seen a lot of gorgeous brides- call me biased, but Tara took the (wedding) cake.

Part of the fun of the day was getting hair and make up done.  Our friend Deena did our hair and she and I got to talking about my "no pooing."  I have been using a mixture of baking soda and water on my hair since December.  It was working as far as keeping my hair clean, but I was starting to notice that my hair was getting dry and coarse.  Deena suggested Wen.  She works for QVC doing on-air make up and hair.  If she suggests a product, you bet your sweet ass I'm going to try it.  She is an amazing artist/stylist and knows her shit.  She suggested Wen because it is a cleansing conditioner- not a shampoo.  It is made from essential oils and has a couple of chemicals in it, but no sulfates, phalates, or other really yucky carcinogen style chemicals. 

Lilah and I made a pilgrimage to QVC where we bought a big ass bottle of Sweet Almond Mint.  I used it yesterday for the first time and was super happy.  The dryness went out of my hair almost instantaneously and it was so soft that I cannot keep my hands out of it.  My hair and I are about to get real sexual.  Today I used like a shampoo again, rinsed it, and then used it as a leave in conditioner.  My hair isn't weighed down and is softer than it has been in a long time.  I won't be weirded out if you want to touch it.  You know you want to. 


Seriously.  That infomercial don't lie.  Wen is fo' real. 

xoxo
J

Thursday, May 24, 2012

What Rx Means

I did two movements Rx so far this week that I have never done before.  I was finally able to get one Rx handstand push up with some great coaching from Darin, Tara D., Mike B., and Michelle K. and I did Rx ring dips in a WOD.  My dips took forever and weren't all perfect, but I did it.  I can do ring dips Rx. 

The meaning of this goes far beyond the ability to do functional movements.  At a time in my life where things are scary, changing, and constantly stressful, accomplishing these movements this week had significance beyond putting an Rx on the board.

It shows me I can get through things that are hard and I can do anything I put my mind to doing.  It means I can count on myself to do things that are out of my comfort zone and succeed.  And even if I whine through the process, I still have the strength and perseverance to get through shit that sucks.  And that means I can do this no matter what "this" may be. 

xoxo
J


Saturday, May 19, 2012

I am in love

With Lamb.

Seriously.  For a former vegan, I am picking the rudest thing to eat- baby animals.  WTF has happened here, people?

My newest food love happened purely by accident- as all good love affairs do.  When I was grocery shopping, I noticed they added grass fed lamb to the organic meat case at Wegmans.  I've had lamb before in restaurants and liked it, so I figured I would give it a go.

BEST DECISION EVER.

I grabbed ground lamb and made it into burgers and grilled those little lambies up (sorry vegan friends).  Delicious to the maxx my friends, to the maxx.  They have a snap texture, almost like sausage.  My crystal ball says there will be ground lamb stuffed peppers on the menu sometime this week.

Here is the recipe for the burgers:

1 lb ground lamb
1/2 tsp of the following spices:
coriander
cumin
salt
pepper

and 2 cloves of garlic, pressed 

As for eating meat, especially meat that is cute, I am transitioning really well.  I'm feeling good and I am noticing a lot of strength gains and am getting more toned.  I start a thirty day Paleo challenge on Monday.  I feel like I'm finally adjusting to eating meat and doing the Paleo thing and am ready to take on this challenge. I have been contemplating cutting out protein powders for awhile since it is a processed food and ditching them is part of this particular program. I started weaning myself off of foods that I tend to over indulge in like peanut butter and salty nuts.  I mean, who doesn't want to eat salty nuts all day long ;0)  Giving up alcohol for the next 30 days is going to be okay too.  After a few weekends in a row of partying and hang overs, I'm ready for a break.  Sorry vodka and sorry asshole behavior- you're out too.  So if any Crossfitters needs a designated driver for Night Gone Bad, I'm your girl ;0)

If anyone wants to try the 30 day challenge, here is the website:
 http://whole9life.com/category/whole-30/

xoxo
J


Friday, May 18, 2012

Impending Doom

I have thoroughly enjoyed the past three weeks off from school.  I have been able to spend time with my friends, focus on my kids, and focus on myself.  I honestly haven't been this relaxed since I started my doctorate.  Over the past couple of days, I have noticed myself feeling overwhelmed with the impending sense of doom that school is about to start again and my fun is over.  Back to seriousville, grindsville, and stressville.  BOOOOOOO.

I fantasize about quitting sometimes and just going back to doing the mom thing, but I am WAY too invested in myself and my future patients to give up now. 

Not to say I don't enjoy school- actually, I'm one of those sick nerds who loves it.  I love the learning.  I don't even mind the reading.  But I HATE that education is such an evaluative process.  Psychology is not like math.  It is subjective and every single person practicing, practices differently and with different talents and skills.  It really doesn't even seem logical to me that we are graded on it.  I wish I could just learn because I enjoy it and not be graded on it. I get really good grades and I work hard, but I get so wrapped up in the evaluations I am receiving that is sucks the joy out of learning. 

That, my friends, is bullshit.

This semester is going to be different for me. I going to work very hard to not see school as a chore anymore.  I want to see it for what it is:  my future in helping other people live their best lives.  I refuse to spend another semester feeling afraid of failure, worrying about what theoretical orientation will get me the best job, and dwelling on the debt I am accumulating.  I am going to concentrate on truly, and authentically enjoying this process. 

So if any of my you, my loves, see me retreating into a hole of fear, sadness, and/or stress, I am counting on you to bitch slap me and remind me to get my shit together and enjoy the process.

xoxo
J

Monday, May 14, 2012

Growing Grattitude

Today I am grateful for therapy.  I am currently working with an intuitive healer to help me overcome some physical issues and emotional trauma that I have been coping with since my car accident in 2004.  She is a nutritionist, a therapist, and is just overall a cool ass lady and I feel very blessed to be working with her.  While helping me deal with a lot of issues I have been having, a lot of crazy things have come up for me.

Having this happen made me very thankful that I chose to be a psychologist.  Patients tell me all the time how helpful therapy is, and until experiencing it for myself, I didn't understand.  My therapist had insights that I NEVER would have come up with on my own and rang so true. I always thought I was very open emotionally until I experienced therapy.    Talking to someone who was completely removed from my life opened up a whole world of emotional dumping for me that I was not totally conscious I was holding onto.  It was very cathartic. 

Through the process, I realized how hard I try to protect the people in my life from my emotions.  Not only is it taking away from myself, but it made me realize that I am very afraid to show "weakness."   I have been trying to be real with my emotions and less protective of others. I surround myself with very capable people and I believe they can handle it.  Over the past few weeks, I have allowed myself to be more emotionally vulnerable and cried and vented with friends when I normally would have tried to handle my issues on my own.  I have been honest about my wants and needs and am feeling way more connected to where I am headed in my life-even though it seems confusing and scary at times. 

So thank you for allowing me to talk to you about my experiences and being open to hearing about my experience in therapy. For all of my psych buddies who have not gotten into therapy like we have been told over and over to do- I would highly recommend taking the time to do it.  It is very, very helpful.

xoxo
J


Friday, May 11, 2012

For the Ladies- Period (get the hint dudes)

This blog is for the ladies.  Not hating on my male readers, but it is in your best interest that you stop reading now unless you want to read about female menstruation.

I was recently gifted a Diva Cup.  For those of you who don't know what the Diva Cup is, here is the website:

http://www.divacup.com/

Essentially, it's a silicone cup you shove up your vagina and it catches your period before it has a meet and greet with your pretty little panties.  It was Diva Cup meets Jane's vagina fate. I received the Diva Cup the day before I got my period.  So I took a deep breath and I decided to give it a go.  It was a little scary, I'm not going to lie, but I'm one brave bitch, so I went for it.  The first test was when I wore it for the squat workout this week.  I was terrified that I was going to squat it out (birth style) or it wouldn't work and sweat would not be the only thing on the floor after the WOD.  I'm not going to blog any more of the dirty details (I am happy to give them in person) but I am going to tell you I'm a convert.  The Diva Cup works.  It stays in place and you cannot feel it if inserted correctly.  I wore it overnight on my heaviest days and it worked as effectively, if not more so, than a tampon.  It is a money saver and an environment saver- double awesome. 

I've been looking for a natural alternative to pads and tampons for awhile.  I'm going to be honest, it freaks me out that you could get Toxic Shock Syndrome from tampons.  But some of the more natural, organic lady products are a little too high maintenance for me.  I do not want to launder bloody pads every day.  Seriously.  Gross. 


The only problem I could see in using one is if you are dealing with a "stall" situation, it might be difficult to clean your cup and reinsert.  Easy to navigate if you pack baby wipes in your purse or even use toilet paper.  If anyone has any questions, you know I am all about answering them honestly and descriptively hahahaha.  This is a product I would totally recommend. 

xoxo
J


Monday, May 7, 2012

Regionals

Over the weekend I took Molly and Lilah down to Maryland to watch Crossfit Inspire compete in the Crossfit Mid-Atlantic Regional Competition.  I took them for two reasons.  One was to give my husband a break and the other was so they could see the female athletes, especially the ones from our box. 

When it comes to raising two young girls, I want their perception of what is beautiful and what defines a woman to be vastly different than what society generally believes women should be.  I want them to be around women with muscles, women who can hang with the guys, women who are confident, women who are strong.   I want to expose the girls to a world where girls can do anything boys can do and where the boys are cool with it. 

I want Molly and Lilah to experience what Crossfit has shown me as far as body image, typical gender roles, how men and women interact, and how they treat each other.  I remember the first time one of the men at the gym told me that he looked at my numbers when he came in the afternoon and tried to beat them. A man was looking at my numbers as a goal.  As a woman, that was a big freaking deal.  I remember the first time one of the guys told me I was looking "jacked."  That was a compliment full of respect and admiration, not "your hot and I want to get in your pants." 

My girls are begging to do Crossfit kids.  I cannot wait for them to start.  Not only because it will make them strong and confident, but because it will continue to expose them to the way the Crossfit culture respects and treats women.  

xoxo
J

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

While making dinner...

My daughter Molly has the Learning Fair at her school this month.  She brought her board home and Lilah proceeded to scribble all over it while I was in the shower a couple of weeks ago.  As usual, my Maguiver mind was in full effect and I just told Molly that we would paint the whole thing black, put gold glitter all over it, and give it cheetah spots. She was satisfied with this- tantrum averted. 

Today I decided it was time to paint the board.  I stripped them out of their clothes and sent them outside with paint brushes and paint and told them to work on it while Nate and I made dinner.  While he and I were joining our creative forces to come up with the most amazing spice rubbed pork with apple chutney EVER, the girls "worked" on their project.

I was just putting the finishing touches on the salad when Lilah came in covered from the neck down in black paint.  Molly followed, a little less paint covered, but still a hot mess.  I was PISSED!  I whisked them both into the shower and they proceeded to inform me that they were, and I quote:

 "Pretending to be black people." 

Needless to say, I was no longer angry.  I am still laughing as I am writing this. This was WAY too funny not to blog.  Hopefully the girls got to experience their inner Beyonce tonight. 

I will post the recipe for our Paleo friendly dinner as soon as I figure out the measurements.  The girls requested to have it again tomorrow, so I will figure out the ratios then.  Hopefully they will be satisfied being white tomorrow night when I'm making it. 

xoxo
J

Monday, April 30, 2012

Grattitude Monday

Today I am grateful for my friends and penises.

I had the most amazing weekend spending time with my lovies.  There is nothing better than getting to cut loose and spend time with positive people who make you laugh and feel amazing after a LONG ass semester.  It felt great to get dressed up, do some dancing, and act like a wild asshole at Tara's bachelorette party.  I brought penis whistles and straws which provided a lot of entertainment.  I never want to imagine a world where this type of phallic fun does not exist.  I really want to start carrying penis straws everywhere. 

On Sunday, I walked in the door from the gym and got a phone call from my friend inviting me to a Fellatio 101 class at her house.  Game on.  I love talking about sex. I'm pretty sure if you have had one conversation with me, you are already well aware of that fact.  Needless to say it was a blast.  All of the girls (and our amazing gay friend) laughed, shared, and learned.  I was thankful to have a male perspective so we could check in, ask questions, and get feedback from someone sporting a dick.  I'm pretty sure we all have a few new spicy tips and toys that all of our partners/random strangers will be thankful for.  We had so much fun that we decided to do a Kink class next. Bow chica wow wow. 

I bonded with my friends over penises and bonded with friends with penises for the entire weekend.  It really doesn't get any better than that!

xoxo
J

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The smell of Saturday night

I will never forget the moment I found my signature scent.  I was 21 years old and walking around a perfumery in Paris (Epcot at Disney on a family vacation).  I picked up the most beautiful, apple shaped, blue bottle.  When I sprayed it, I was overwhelmed.  I had never smelled something like it and I haven't since.  I turned to my companion (my mom) and asked her what she thought.  She loved it and she bought it for me. 

That day in Paris (Epcot) changed my Saturday nights forever.

My favorite perfume has accompanied me on many, many wild nights.  The last thing I do before I leave my house on a night out is put it on.  It is my exclamation point.  My scent makes me feel sexy and a little dangerous.  It helps me put the mom away for the night and bring out the sensual part of me that has been stifled.  It helps me remember who I was before I had my kids.  I remember she still exists and gets to come out and play sometimes too- except her play dates involve vodka, dancing, and flirting.  

I have worn my perfume for 11 years now.  It has been with me through many unforgettable evenings. This Saturday night is my best friend's bachelorette party and it is going to be sealed with a spray.

xoxo



Monday, April 23, 2012

Growing Gratitude

My friend Lisa is the ultimate Earth Mama, hence her blog:

http://www.earthmama101.com/

One of the things she has challenged me to do this week is to blog about what I am grateful for on Mondays.  So here is goes, Lisa, this blog is for you:

Lisa is someone I am extremely grateful for.  She is one of the most zen bitches I know.  There is something ethereal and peaceful about her.  She also has an edge and amazing sense of humor.  When I met Lisa almost 10 years ago, I have to admit, I was in awe of her. To this day, I still am.  When I blog about  making things happen- that's Lisa.  She recently took all of her zen energy and manifested herself a farm ;0)

Lisa has taught me so much about natural living, patience, and peace.  In our friendship, sometimes I think I am the storm and she is the calm. I thank God we have had each other during this wild ride of motherhood.  She is never afraid to talk about how difficult, lonely, and isolating motherhood can be- all while embracing its challenges.  She keeps it real, while not being judgmental. She always has a hug, a smile, is the best yoga buddy, mechanical bull riding, gardening, down ass chick I know.  Lisa is intuitive and seems to just know when I need her.  Sometimes it seems we are hitting the same ebbs and flows at the same time and an hour or two long phone call is all it takes to get us moving through our walls.  

So Lisa, I am so grateful for your presence in my life.  Your are a beautiful, amazing person.  I have come to love you dearly over the years.  We are going to be old lady friends.  The friends that sit on rocking chairs together and talk about the good old days and our bacon emergency phone calls.

 Thank you for being you, for being such a blessing in my life, and your ability to help me become a better Jane.

I love you!  Thank you for always loving me- even when I am hard to love ;0)
xoxo
J


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Make it Happen

I have managed to surround myself with very highly motivated people.

Between getting a doctorate and being at Crossfit almost everyday of the week, I spend my time with people who get what they want and work their asses off to get it.  Yes, there might be some bitching and moaning through the sweat, tears, and finals, but you bet your sweet ass that if any one of these people want something, they go out there and they make it happen. 

This is inspiring to me and in all honesty, it makes me proud to recognize this in myself.  I have made a lot of sacrifices in my life to make things happen and can't is not an option.  I wanted to stay home with my kids- my husband and I made the necessary sacrifices to make that happen.  We don't drive fancy cars or own a home, but having our children home was something we both wanted, so that is what we did.  I wanted to get my doctorate- I am currently busting my ass to get that done.  I sacrifice time with my family and friends in order to find a fulfilling job that will hopefully not only help others, but allow my family some financial freedom someday.  I want to be fit and healthy- I go to the gym almost everyday and eat clean.  I wanted a spiritual life- I church shopped until I found the faith/community that I connected with.  This shit did not just happen on its' own.  I made it happen with the help of a supportive, loving spouse, family, and friends. 

Reflecting on my hard work keeps me constantly motivated and constantly inspired.  I want to do better for the people who count on me and who support me.  Surrounding myself with like minded people helps strengthen my will power when I am feeling like a whiner who needs to throw themselves a pity party. 
I read a quote today from someone on facebook that said:
 "If it's important, you'll find a way.  If it isn't, you'll find an excuse." 
I personally have very little tolerance for whining and excuse making- including my own.  When it comes to making your life what you want it to be, I have one piece of advice:
MAKE IT HAPPEN
So get out there and get shit done today my friends!   If you want something badly enough, think outside of the box and find a way to make it happen. You are never as stuck as you think you are.  Don't be afraid to ask for help from family and friends.  If you want your life to be something it is not, there is always a way to make it work, and if I can help you along the way I am more than happy to do so!
peace, love, and mother efin motivation!
xoxo
J

Monday, April 2, 2012

Focusing on Health

So I just started another 30 day challenge at Crossfit Inspire.  I noticed myself being pretty cranky and rebellious over the previous 30 day challenge.  I find myself tired of focusing on numbers.  Whenever I do these challenges, I do really well for the first couple of weeks and then getting angry, rebellious, and even complacent when I try to measure my health in numbers.  For instance, when I am close to my goal weight, I get a case of the "diet fuck its" and eat more junk.  When I am further away from my goal, I tend to get anxious and upset.  It can seriously ruin my day- which is positively ridiculous.

I'm over it.  Numbers are stupid and are getting on my last nerve.  Weights, body fat percentages, clothing sizes.  Seriously.  Suck it.

This new 30 day challenge is really good for me.  I am partnered with Tara D. and Michelle K. who I love to pieces. This challenge is less focused on weight loss and is more focused on following a healthy eating plan- either Zone or Paleo.  I'm going Paleo since it is pretty much exactly how I need to eat to keep my food sensitivities and migraines under control. 

I'm retiring the scale as a part of this challenge.  30 days without monitoring my weight or body fat.  I'm over it.  I am exhausted of thinking about how my body should look, what size I should be, and how if I just got down to 125 pounds I could fly through pull ups with the greatest of ease.

I want to enjoy my body as it is.  I look good, I feel good, and I'm happy.  I want to eat nutritious foods that make me feel vibrant and sustain me through my work outs.  I want to focus on feeding my family healthy dinners that contribute to their well being.

I am exhausted of feminine body perfectionism and size 0ism.  Can we please move the fuck on???  I know I'm ready. 

xoxo
J

Friday, March 30, 2012

Nuts for Coconuts

Holy shit.  I'm not sure why I have been trying to doctor up the most perfect food for the past two years, but I have seriously done myself a disservice. 

I am talking about young coconuts.  Here is a good youtube video about them if you have never heard of them or seen them:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P3Yd6eC2fx0

One day I was having a serious snack attack.  The only thing I had in my house that remotely resembled dessert was a young coconut.  Normally I make complex smoothies with these bad boys, but that day I decided to just blend the coconut meat and coconut water and sprinkle it with some raw cacao nibs.

Utter freaking perfection. 

It was so delicious and I cannot believe I had never done that before!  I do have the Bentley of blenders- the Vitamix- and I'm not sure if a regular blender can blend the meat into a smooth, creamy drink like mine did, but it is worth a try.  If you can't find a young coconut, you can get a can of full fat coconut milk, blend the solids with the liquids, pop it in the fridge and a few hours later you have an almost pudding like coconutty treat.  I will sometimes add a couple of drops of Chocolate Stevia to it, but I am trying to slowly wean myself off of Stevia.  I get young coconuts at Kimberton Whole Foods in the produce section and they have them at Wegmans too (when I don't buy them all). 

This whole experience speaks to my most recent thoughts about food- trying to cook, uncook, and eat simply. 

Sometimes the raw/paleo recipes out there are so freaking complicated.  It takes a lot of time, a lot of money, and a lot of kitchen know how to make a lot of these recipes work.  As my pallet becomes more finely tuned and is more appreciative of the true flavors of food, I am finding I don't want all the salt and spices and I don't want all of the drama of the crazy concoctions.  They are fun once or twice a week to curb a craving, but it can be mentally and physically exhausting to try to do this at every single meal.  I am no Giada and I do not have hours and hours to spend in the kitchen.

Another thing I am contemplating is protein powder.  I am wondering how useful this really is for me.  I get plenty of protein.  Whether I am eating vegan or eating meat, getting enough protein is not an issue.  So why do I supplement with something, that even at its purest, is a processed food?  Just something I am tossing around in my brain.  It is really fun to have protein powder in a smoothie for some variety, which is why I am really resistant to giving it up.  Plus the protein I use is raw and plant based so I feel like it is really good for me.  On the flip side, it is an expensive ass way to get variety.  Weigh in with your thoughts on that.  I would love to hear what you guys think.

xoxo
J

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Listening

For those of you who know me personally, you may not believe that I spend most of my day quiet.  I am usually listening to my kids boss me around, reading, and writing.  When I am around other adults, I get so excited that my brain goes into overdrive and I tend to not be able to control my excitement.  That comes out in the form of massive amounts of talking.  The more I like you or know you, the more uncontrollable the talking. 

I have found myself being a little conversation dominant because of this and have been working this week on really trying to shut up and listen.  There is still a lot of work to do, but the reinforcers of my new "listening to others" behavior are strong.  I am really getting to know the people in my life who I care about on a much more personal level. 

Sometimes it is easy to keep things on the surface.  It is not easy to get "deep" with people and really listen to their needs, their fears, and what is really happening in their lives.  It can be scary to go there and sometimes we feel like our own stresses are overwhelming enough, let alone taking on the stress of others. But by being more attentive to the people I care about, I find that their problems and issues are not added stress.  I am genuinely grateful to get to experience them and their emotions.  I find it helpful and reassuring that other people experience the same emotional things that I do and that we can relate to each other.  This ability to relate creates even more love in the relationship. 

As much as I love a fun, light conversation, it is the complicated stuff that helps me grow and bond with those I love and begin to really understand those I am coming to love. 

xoxo
J

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Open

This summer, the Crossfit Open will be aired on ESPN.  This will be an opportunity for many of the people in my life to see first hand what I do at the gym.  I am so excited.  I'm going to be honest and tell you the real reason why:

Bragging rights.

Okay.  Seriously.  I am tingling at the thought of watching those games with people.  When somebody turns on the television and sees Annie Thoristotor and Chris Spealer, they are going to see what my box buddies and I do every single day.  We may not be quite as fast as the most elite, but we are doing the exact same freaking things.  Some people that I work out with, are pretty damn close to hanging with those elite athletes.  This is amazing to me.  Oh yeah, and back to bragging-I totally hang with elite athletes.  They are apart of my posse now. 

As far as my own athletic performance goes, the braggs are about to happen so put on your obnoxious caps- we are going in.

I am not the top athlete at my gym, but I am performing at a level I never thought possible.  I scale walls, I swing kettle bells, I could dead lift my husband- a skill that could come in very handy someday. I am no fucking joke.  I am so unbelievably proud of all the things I can do that I would have NEVER tried before.  Not because of laziness, but just from lack of knowledge and a lack of understanding that I could do these things. I had never done a chest to bar pull up off a band until Thursday.  Today I knocked out 24 of those babies in 7 minutes in between 65 pound thrusters. At first, I felt really proud of myself, but now I am in the ecstatic zone.

I think sometimes we have to take our desensitized hats off and realize what we are doing as athletes.  We are doing crazy, amazing, unbelievable things.  Because we are doing them five days a week, we forget exactly how hard, how intense, and at what level we are working.  Some of us are really hard on ourselves.  The Open brought tears, anxiety attacks, vomit, temper tantrums, and disappointment.  Yes, we should all strive to do our best and sometimes we do feel like, "I had one more rep in me!"  But HOLY SHIT!  SERIOUSLY GUYS!!!!  LOOK AT WHAT WE JUST DID!!!

I am walking away from my Open experience with a serious amount of pride.  Pride in myself, and pride in my elite athlete friends.  I cannot WAIT to see those games on ESPN and say to whoever is near me, "Guess what?  I can do that."

Pretty freaking bad ass if you ask me and I CANNOT WAIT for next year.

xoxo
J


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Crossfit- Not for the Weak or Easily Offended

I was posed a very interesting thought/idea/question/dissertation idea from Eileen P. yesterday.  She asked me if I could write my dissertation on what makes crossfitters do crossfit and why are we all so similar?  I'm not sure if the scientific community is interested in this research quite yet, but maybe after the Crossfit Open is on ESPN, there will be funding. 

This was an interesting thought and really provided me with something to chew on.  I could probably blog for days on this, but I will try to keep it as concise as possible. 

There are so many different people at Crossfit Inspire and Crossfit Exton.  All ages, all races, all socioeconomic statuses, all different occupations, sexual orientations, and lifestyles.  So what exactly is the common ground that brings us all together and we suddenly feel like we have found people who "get IT" and "get US?"

1.  We are crazy  
Anyone who does the things we do could be considered certifiable.

2.  We are in tune to our inner beasts
When people refer to Paleo as Primal, I think that is a good assessment of Crossfit in general.  It is a primal experience.  We cuss, we make sexual innuendo, we throw temper tantrums (some more frequently and more loudly than others), we grunt, we sweat.  There are hot, in shape people all over that place sweating.  Of course it is going to bring out some lewd fun, a random sexual fantasy, and an occasional erection. 

Aside from that, the work outs put you in a place of complete and total discomfort and make you do thing you would never do- unless you were in the wild.    If I were in the wild, you bet your sweet ass I would scale a wall to get away from a bear.  Instead of being chased by a bear, you are being chased by a crazy ass trainer and a group of psycho crossfitters.  And guess what, you do it.  You do all of the things you are afraid of doing and you have the biggest group of cheerleaders behind you when you do accomplish these feats.  And from doing it comes an insane amount of confidence, pride, and determination. 


3.  We are determined. 
 There is a sense of determination that binds us all together.  Even when we get down, we know that we are going to get back up on that bar with that ripped hand and make shit happen.  And there is no one in the room doubting that you can do it.  You are usually the only one selling yourself short and that usually doesn't last long.  I have never heard someone say, "hmmm...I don't think you will ever get a pull up."  There are only yeses and people telling you to do it. 

4.  We are perfectionistic
I have never said to anyone, "Man, I really need to clean up my diet, or get a better front squat" and have them look at me sideways like I do in my non-crossfit personal life. Crossfitters understand the constant striving to be better and to beat your next goal.  They get that average is not good enough and they encourage you to do your personal best. 

5.  We understand that we are not perfect
When we fuck up, we are all there for each other with a pat on the back or reassurance that it can and will be done. 

6. We are competitive
This helps us strive against and with each other to do things we never thought we would do.  I am so thankful that people keep upping the bar, because when they up their bar, I up mine and I have NO excuse not to. 

7.  We are team mates
You guys are my team.  Just like my tennis team in college, there is a special bond that you feel with your team mates that you don't feel with anybody else.  It is a unique experience.  This is what crossfit feels like- at least for me. 

What are your thoughts, my loves???
xoxo
J

Friday, March 23, 2012

I Lied

Okay, so I lied.  My last post was not my last.  I thought my new project with the beautiful and talented Tara D. would be up and running by now but school, the Crossfit Open, and her upcoming nuptials have gotten in the way.  That's okay, we go with the flow.  That is how we roll.

School has been insanely busy.  I have only had one major adult temper tantrum.  It came with the brilliant idea of quitting school and moving to Greece or Australia so I ccould evade the collectors who would come calling trying to obtain my hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans.  But I got over it and I am still here.  

I moved back into the realm of Carnivorousness.  That happened after a major set back for me with my Candida- I am pretty sure I have explained this shit in a previous blog, but if you have questions, ask and I shall answer.  I am finally feeling back to my old self again.  No more random anxiety attacks, weakness, or migraines. 

I have been thoroughly enjoying indulging in everyone's blogs.  I am just loving all of the honesty, hilarity, and positivity coming from all of you beautiful, wonderful friends.  It is like getting to look straight into your heads and getting to know you on a very personal level.  It is kind of voyeuristic, but that can be fun, right?  I am a psychology nerd, so this might thrill me in a way only the truly nerdy can understand.  Thanks again for letting me be a peeping Tom in your world.

In having this experience, it made me think about how personal I get on here and how connected this makes me to all of you.  Sometimes this connectedness can make me feel bogged down when I have so many other responsibilities and I feel like I have to write an earth shattering, mind blowing blogs (which I have yet to do).  And I think I tried to drop this blog because the experience was getting a little intense for me and a little scary.  I think I was really scared to tell my readers I had started eating meat again.  I felt like a hypocrite and like a complete and total waffler, so I bitched out.  Bottom line.

But what I am coming to realize through the stepping away process has been that it is not about amazing writing or how many fun facts I can tell you about the foods you are eating or if I am eating meat or not.  It is the honesty and the connection that comes from just putting myself out there and being real.  It is about expressing my struggles, not repressing them to protect you or myself from them.   

So thanks bitches for keepin' it real and thanks for inspiring me.  I am going to continue to try to do the same for you.

xoxo
J


Friday, February 24, 2012

Sayonara

Well, my loves, I am moving on with my blog life.  Wipe away your tears, my darlings.  It is going to be okay.

It is time for me to bid Optimal Health Mama a fond farewell.  It was fun while it lasted, but I am officially done with this blog.    

I hope OHM has been helpful for you guys.  Thank you so much for sharing yourselves with me and being so beautifully respectful of my thoughts and ideas. 

And don't you worry...I have things planned.  Just not executed quite yet.  But when they are, you will know. And you will be psyched.

Thanks again!  This blog would have been nothing without your constant inspiration.
xoxo
J

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Two D's

I was really kicking ass this week.  I was working out hard, eating right, droppin' pounds, and feeling great.  Abs were starting to pop. 

Enter midterms.

It all goes to shit.  I relapsed into potato mode.  And tortilla chip  mode.  And hummus mode.  Not unhealthy fare, but in the amounts I eat them, it ain't pretty.

WTF???  Seriously!  What the fuck happened to me???  When I'm experiencing success, why do I backlash into failureville?  Oh yeah, psychology major, because I am trying to stuff down emotions with food.  Food works like booze in that way.  It can numb you and distract you from what's really going on emotionally.   All of the discipline I had reserved for my eating got channeled into sitting down and banging out pages and pages of midterms.  Then, food became my distraction from the stress of my midterms.  It became both entertainment and an escape.  That sucked- because I undid all of the positive work I had done over the week in a matter of two days.

This is where the two D's come into play.  I need discipline and I need distraction.


So here's the deal.  Stella is going to get her disciplined groove back and I am going to come up with some distractions for myself when I am stressed out or bored besides food.  Too bad Crossfit isn't open 24 hours a day.  I have been avoiding meditation for quite awhile, maybe that will work.  Or maybe Tara D. will get 15 phone calls a day instead of two to three.  One time I went to an Overeaters Anonymous meeting as a part of a project for school.  A lot of the women were knitting to distract themselves from eating.  Maybe everyone I know will have hand knit sweaters before the end of the week ;0)

xoxo

Monday, February 13, 2012

Club Six Pack- Cut the crap

I'm am now excited to embark on Club Six Pack.  My initial excitement turned into horror and now has turned back around. 

I noticed myself feeling some sort of way all of a sudden- possibly resistant- to the six pack.  Negative thoughts have started creeping into my head- insecurities, doubts, and fears.  Even bullshit stuff like:  Will I still look feminine with a six pack?  Will my husband like my body?  Will I lose more of my breasts in the process?  What if I can't do this?

Making changes can be really, really scary and embarking on things that challenge us can make us feel overwhelmed.  We are attached to our habits, our lifestyles, and our bodies.  Looking different is change.  Eating differently is change.  Doing things you have never done before is change.  Scary stuff. 

I think I am ready to embrace change and accomplish a life goal of a six pack.  I know that my husband will never be repulsed by my appearance.  I will not look like a man.  And if I lose my boobs, Victoria has a secret called padding.  Oh yeah, and I can do this.

I asked Darin, one of the Crossfit trainers, about accomplishing a six pack.  Darin said something very wise- each plan is going to be different for each person.  How you get a six pack is going to be different from how I get a six pack.

Then he laid the doozy on me.  I had to cut down on my fruit intake.  Not cut it out, but cut it down.   For most people, this isn't a big deal, but many of my calories and food enjoyment come from fruit.  I use fruit in smoothies, fruit in salads, fruit as a meal.  I made excuses for a day and a half about how this was impossible for me.  Now I have finally come to the conclusion that I am being resistant, and this is manageable.

My eating habits are going to be tweaked.  Six pack abs equals serious sacrifice and I have to cut the crap.  No more five potato diners (boo), coconut milk ice cream (double boo), and no more french fries (damn it).  I need to incorporate more veggies in my diet and cut my fruit intake to 5 or 6 pieces a day- yes, you read that right- that is cut. 

Almost everyone who has expressed interest in Club Six Pack is a Crossfitter (shock).  Here is what I would suggest you do:  Get your body fat measured (mine was 19.5% to start), talk to the trainers about your diet and ask them to make suggestions on how to tweak it to get results.  Don't be resistant.  And while you cut the crappy food, make sure to cut the crappy mentality and doubts while your at it.  None of them serve you ;0)

xoxo
J


Friday, February 10, 2012

Club Six Pack

So I guess the Valentine's themes are falling to the wayside as the people in my life are moving my writings in other directions.  I love when this happens!  Blogs seem to take on a mind of their own with the energy and feedback of the readers.  It's pretty freaking cool ;0)

I've been grain free for a few weeks now and am feeling amazing!  I cannot believe what a difference cutting corn and brown rice protein powder from my diet would make.  Now there have been some delicious substitutions, because you know I need some treats every now and again (Daily).  Sweet potato chips have replaced tortilla chips and I have been eating a lot of oven baked fries.  When I say a lot, I mean A LOT.  Last night I came home from class and literally ate 1 sweet potato and 3 regular ones.  I'm no joke.

I have been gently reminded by some of my fellow gym buddies that we are trying to work on six packs for summer.  I like to refer to my stomach as One Ab and a Pooch.  Thankfully it is pretty flat, but I have some work to do.  I haven't really been watching my calories or weight.  I am still seeing a lot of physical improvement from my workouts, but if I'm going to get into the six pack club with my buds, I'm going to have to get my ass/abs in gear and do some dietary tweaks. 

Thankfully, there is still time. 

The first thing on my agenda is to talk to the trainers to find out exactly how a 6 pack is accomplished.  One of my raw fitness gurus said that, "Abs are made in the kitchen," and I firmly believe that BUT I'm sure there are some workout tricks that can help this process.

I know the nutritional answer to this is protein and veggies.  No carbs.  Well, that shit ain't gonna fly here.  I'm the least carb phobic person on the planet, and honestly, I thrive on fruit.  So my nutritional adjustments are  going to involve major economic destruction in Idaho as I cut potatoes way down and up my fruits and greens. 

Anyone can get in on Club Six Pack,  Club Healthier Eating, or Club Exercise 3x per week.  Tailor it to your goals.  Join in and let's have some fun together!



xoxo
J

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Growing and Outgrowing

Sometimes we grow and sometimes we outgrow. 
Some people are a constant fixtures in our life while others fall away.  They become memories of the old you and who you used to be.  The same goes with lifestyles, thoughts, and ways of being. 

That is okay.  It happens.

This feeling of moving forward can be anxiety provoking, scary, exciting, and maybe even freeing.  But taking chances, making changes, and struggling is what brings us to new understandings of ourselves. It helps us find what we really want in our lives. Staying in patterns or with people or emotions who no longer "fit" might just prolong your agony or bring unneeded negativity into your life. 

I am writing about this because this theme keeps following me this week.  Releasing, growing, and outgrowing.  Things keep surfacing in conversation and the people around me have been talking about releasing in terms of pounds, relationships, anxiety, fear, inadequacy, etc.  With these conversations also comes the joy and excitement of moving on and moving on up Jefferson's style.

So go ahead and ditch shit- trim the fat shall we say.  Start to get rid of all of the things that no longer serve you.  Move forward, move on.  Release these things/relationships/ideas to the universe and start moving towards a healthier, happier, more beautiful, loving you.

I find that as I surround myself with supportive, positive people, my world has become more positive, my thoughts are more positive, and my "can'ts" have quickly become "cans."  Sending lots of love, positivity and growth your way today.

xoxo

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

You're Sexy and You Better Know It

Sometimes we look at our physical bodies and are  harsh, lame ass critics.  We waste time and energy focusing on flaws when we could be enjoying these beautiful bodies we have.

So knock it off assholes and shake what your mama gave you!!!

 Take a good hard look in the mirror and check out those parts that make you super sexy.  When someone tells you that you look great, you better take that shit and run. Give yourself a compliment- you are totally allowed.  No one is going to call the narcissism police.

Focus on the sexy in other people while you are at it- especially your partners.  They deserve a little devilish harassment.   Nothing feels better when your long term love suddenly remembers you are that hot ass bitch from 10 years ago they couldn't keep their hands off.   

Just in case you may not  have noticed, the next couple of blogs are going to be Valentine's themed my cutie little Cupids.  

Have a very, very sexy day!!! 
xoxoxo
J

Friday, January 27, 2012

Keeping things Clean and Chemical Free


































This wonderfully educational photo came from : 

The Glamorganic Goddess

Hi friends!  I know we all want to keep it so fresh and so clean clean, but we do not need many of the chemicals our bath products fill our bodies with.  After many years of experimentation, I've gotten my beauty routine down and pretty much chemical free.   I am still working on finding good, chemical free make up, but I promise, when I do, it will be on this blog immediately.  If any readers have some suggestions for me to review and try, I'm so in!!!!

Step 1
Replace your face and body lotion with Almond or Coconut Oil

Step 2
Instead of wearing perfume, dab your favorite essential oils behind those pretty little ears of yours or find a natural perfume at your local health food store

Step 3 
Ditch shampoo. Sounds gross, but I don't use shampoo- I use 1 tablespoon of baking soda to 8oz of water, fill up an old shampoo bottle with it and put the rinse on your hair.

Step 4
Ditch conditioner- 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to 8oz of water- yes, this smells, but it rinses out of your hair without leaving the smell.  Coconut water also makes an insanely good conditioner.  You can even leave it on overnight for extra luxuriousness. 

Step 5
Hit up the health food store for an organic, natural soap.  If you cannot recognize or pronounce the ingredients, don't buy it.

For the seriously brave
Ditch deodorant, use natural, or make your own.  I use this recipe from The Raw Divas website:
http://www.terawarner.com/blog/2011/01/how-to-make-your-own-natural-deodorant/

Hope this helps you guys keep it pretty while ditching the chemicals going into those gorgeous, sexy bodies of yours!!!
xoxo
J


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Resolutioners and New Members

I know everyone who works out consistently curses January.  It is the time when your classes are filled with unfamiliar faces, there is a waiting list for treadmills, and the parking lots are packed.

I have to be honest.  I love it when new people come to crossfit.  Not only because I love to see people connect with it and get hooked, but it allows me to see how far I have come.

Yesterday we had some new faces in our class and a tough work out ahead of us.  At the end of the work out, some of the "veterans" and I were talking about how fun the workout was and how we totally rocked it.  One of the newbies said, "You think that was FUN???!!!???"  The collective reply was, "YES!" 

Then I quickly remembered the first time I did a wall ball and how I wanted to blow my brains out.  I remember the first time I had to do a bunch of burpees and wanted to run to my car.  I remember the first class, seeing all of these amazingly fit women and men doing things I NEVER thought I could do. 

Now I call this fun and I have to force myself to take rest days.  Interesting.  I never had to force myself to take rest days from trail running or the Y.  Call it a cult, an addiction, whatever.  I'm fucking hooked and I have never looked or felt better in my life.  I have never had so much fun exercising before. 

So after a little shit talkin from Christina (my favorite shit talker on earth), the newbies decided to do extra hand release push ups and sit ups with us. I can already tell a couple of them will be back.  It's time to hand out the red kool aid and get some more people kicking ass and taking names!

xoxoxo
J

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

What does grain free raw vegan look like?

Here is what grain free, high raw looks like for me today:

Breakfast- preworkout smoothie
1 Scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Vanilla
2 bananas
8oz coconut water
1.5 c spinach
1 tsp Maca powder

Lunch
4 tbsp peanut butter (not raw but you can always do raw almond butter.   I am really loving peanut butter right now)
1 apple
4 7inch carrot sticks cut into slices

Dinner Smoothie
2 scoops warrior blend chocolate
1 young coconut (meat and water)
1 c. cherries or a banana (depends on my mood when I get there)
1 tsp raw cacao

So that's the day.  I might throw in a Larabar for good measure, but right now I feel STUFFED from lunch.  Not really thinking the snack will be necessary.  If you aren't into smoothies, you can always eat a big ass salad.  My favorite one from dinner last night was a 1/2 bag of salad, a shredded raw beet, 1/2 a cooked sweet potato, an avocado and YUM. 

Have a fierce and fab day!!!
xoxoxo
J