Hi again! 🙂 Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas holiday with their friends and family! Mine has been awesome- days and evenings loaded with family, friends, singing, viewing Christmas lights, seeing plays, watching movies, big dinners, Holiday flavored cocktails and lots and LOTS of sugar- oyveigh! I was telling a friend the other day how last Christmas, I was convinced I had Candida and that that was the cause of all of my health issues. I didn’t allow myself any holiday treats or goodies that year, which in and of itself was depressing. This year, I decided to get my fill and went a little sugar crazy. If I didn’t stop, I was going to turn into a holiday cookie 😛 Welp, now my stomach has been acting up a bit, probably because I’m not used to eating all that sugar… but the difference is that this year I’m not freaking out about it. I’m sure once my diet has been back to normal for a week or two everything will balance itself back out. And the key is balance. Which I’m proud to say I have a lot more of in my life now- whether it be my diet, my work life, my social life or whatever!
Kristin Chenoweth posted this on Insta and I loved it so much I had to share… (She’s amazing too btdubbs <3 ) The end of the year brings up all of the insecurities and “stuff” (as I like to call it) that we are still struggling with or working on accomplishing… But you should know that this is normal and natural and a part of life. In life we move forward and then we take a few steps backwards. Our journey is constant and isn’t just made up of one straight rode forward to our destiny. It’s made up of hills and forks and mountains and slopes and rivers and desserts that cause us to take new turns and sends us flying backwards or sometimes cause us to take a rest. But that’s what I believe life is all about. Not the destination but the journey in getting there. And I think we are all working on being happy along our excavations… and not just looking forward to obtaining it once we get there. Cuz once we get there, I think our life is over.
When I was little I always thought about the day when I’d become a famous singer. (Yes, I sing. Not so much anymore because my main focus is on my acting, but I can still carry a tune 😉 ) I wanted to be the next Britney Spears (during her “Hit Me Baby One More Time” and Justin Timberlake days… not her I’m crazy so I’m going to attack the papparzi and shave my head off days. Although I do think she had good reason to attack them. Leave the celebrities alone already! They’re people too, not zoo animals.) Anyways, I look back and think about how often I wished for the day when I’d be famous, or when I got married to my “soul mate” (I no longer believe in soul mates. Instead I believe in the timing of our lives. I’m still working on trusting the timing of mine 😉 My life that is, not meeting someone)… or when I moved out of my house and made my own rules (my parents were crazy strict and I snuck out a lot- whoopsies!) or the day when I turned the real age of 21, not the fake age on my East Lansing, Michigan fake ID. Ha! But I think back on those days and think about how I should have savored my childhood more. Savored my high school and college years when the things I was “stressing” over were so minute in comparison to the responsibilities and stresses you accrue as you grow older.
I read something the other day that said Depression exists when someone’s mind set is constantly living in the past and Anxiety happens when one is constantly living in the future. This made a lot of sense to me. Dwelling on the past is simply that, dwelling. And looking to the future is a waste of time because it rarely turns out to be what you think it will (and even when it does, it’s still not as “film-esque” or picture-perfect as you pictured it would be)… So what’s the point? Why do that to yourself? You might as well live in that very moment and enjoy it while you have it. That’s why it’s called the “present” after all, isn’t it? Because when you are really present, and alive and experiencing it, it can be so exhilarating! I literally get high when I’m on a hike or a long walk, listening to amazing music and taking in the colors of the trees or streets or people around me. I’m sure when exercise is involved, those spiking serotonin levels definitely play a part in that high… but how about when someone kisses you for the first time and you didn’t expect that to happen? How amazing is it to be caught off guard? It really grounds you into that very moment, doesn’t it?
These are some of the things I’ve been thinking about this holiday season and end of the year. My family started a new tradition last year, where instead of buying crazy presents for each other, we go into the city, have an amazing dinner and go see a play on Broadway. This year we had my aunt, uncle and cousin join us, which has definitely been trying with all of us under one roof (don’t get me wrong), but on that day, it really was beautiful to be able to enjoy all of that with them. And I’m so thankful to have such a big family and people in my life that care about me, a father that has his own business that I can work for in between acting gigs and just a roof over my head in general! So anyways, I thought I would share that with all of you and just reflect on it 0:)
Oh! And going back to the sugar thing… for those of you that went a little sugar happy this Christmas like me, here’s a treat for you… Try cutting out sugar in entirety for the next five to seven days. Sugar causes cravings for more sugar and can be very addictive. BUT natural sugars, such as fruit, can be very beneficial. Try only eating fruit when your sweet tooth acts up and it will retrain your brain, and your pallet for that matter, to enjoy other foods and rely on different things for energy. *Stevia is okay too, but try only using it to sweeten your coffee. Your main source of energy and “sweet treat” should be coming from the fruit.
Here’s a great smoothie recipe to help! When I first moved back to Jersey, one of my biffle’s hooked me up with an AMAZING Nutritionist. (She was the health professional that got me back on the road to good health.) We did a two week cleanse to help correct my gut flora, which I damaged from too many colonics and cleanses (I know, I know, I’m cray. I literally was the health food industries perfect, brain-washed customer. But hey, ya live, ya learn. Am I right? Okay! Glad we agree on that 😀 )
Anyways, these smoothies were part of the cleanse (although I doctored mine up a bit) and now I try to have one once a day. They’re packed with nutrients and they’re soooooo gooooood! I have it in the morning to start my day and sometimes I don’t even need coffee after it. (But usually I still do cuz I love my coffee. I gave it up for far too long and realized it is part of the balance in life, to allow myself to have it. PLUS it has it’s health benefits! Coffee contains antioxidants and is a natural laxative for cleaning those dirty bowels. Haha! 😉 And come on, ya know y’all love your coffee too!)
*Also, Alicia McDonough is the name of my amazing nutritionist- for those of you that are interested in doing a cleanse, need help with weight management or are dealing with food allergies or health problems of your own and want to go the holistic route. She helped me get to the balanced place I’m in right now with my diet and nutrition, so she’s not that cray nutritionist that wants you to just drink green juice for the rest of your life… if that’s what you were thinking 😉 Check her out at Shore Nutrition and Wellness! She’s amaze-balls 😉
So here you are! Enjoy and happy sugar cleansing y’all! 😀
Frozen Strawberries and Blackberries
Low Fat Sugar Free Greek Yogurt (I like Fage)
Protein Powder of choice (*I like Nutritional Frontiers Vanilla Flavored Protein in my smoothies. The flavor blends best with the other ingredients but it comes in lots of different flavors including Chocolate, Strawberry Banana, Peanut butter and more! I also get the dairy free protein blend. It uses pea, rice and pumpkin as the source of protein so it’s great for people with dairy and other food allergies! It also has a lot of other vitamins and nutrient-deanse ingredients, including MCT oil, which I’m SUPER into right now!)
Greens Powder (I like Nutritional Frontiers Pro Lean Greens. It’s assists with detoxification, cleansing and rejuvenation and is also nutrient dense.)
No Sugar Added Coconut Flakes
*You will also need an appliance to blend the ingredients. I like using my NutriBullet because you put it all in the cup and then it’s ready to eat and you can even take it on the go!
Start by putting the frozen berries in the bottom. This will weigh down the other ingredients and helps everything to blend nicely (when dealing with NutriBullet). *Also, I use frozen strawberries and blackberries because berries are packed with antioxidants and are low on the glycemic index. Strawberries and blackberries are some of the few fruits that are okay to eat if you are dealing with Fructose Malabsorption- which is what I was dealing with. A very dear to me friend, whom is extremely knowledgeable about health and wellness, helped me figure this one out… Thanks “Giving Tree”! 😉 Anyways, if you don’t know what it is, don’t worry about it, I won’t bore you. But if you’re interested you can read about it here. (If you think you have it, don’t panic. I only cut the “problem foods” out for a month or so and slowly weened most of them back into my diet. However, I still have to be careful with my sugar intake… slap on the wrist for my Holiday Sugar binge :P)
Next put in a handful of spinach. I usually do a big handful to up my daily greens intake 🙂 But if that isn’t your thing, you can skip the spinach since there is plenty of nutritional greens in the Lean Greens Powder.
Next slice half a banana into the mixture. (Bananas are high in potassium and fiber, but they are also higher on the glycemic index so I only do half unless I’m really hungry or had/about to have an intense workout. If I want the other half, sometimes I’ll slice it up and put it on top of the smoothie to eat when it’s ready.)
Then pour in the aloe water so it’s about 1/2 an inch to an inch high. Aloe is great for your digestive tract and helps the ingredients blend smoothly.
I sprinkle tumeric powder in next. (Turmeric is a great anti-inflammatory which was beneficial for my spinal surgery and my intestines.) Then I blend all of those ingredients in order to create more room in the Nutribullet.
Next I top it with the Fage low fat sugar-free yogurt. (I choose to do low fat because fat helps to fill you up and keep you feeling fuller longer.)
Then, I put a scoop of protein powder and a scoop of greens in and blend the last of it.
I top it with lots of cinnamon (cinnamon is especially great for diabetics and anyone watching their blood sugars because it helps in stabilizing your blood sugars and glycemic index spikes) and coconut flakes. Sometimes, depending on how hungry I am or what my body is craving, I top it with some low sugar granola and fresh sliced strawberries (extra vitamin C! Mmmmm!)
I’ve found that if I don’t top my smoothie with something hard or crunchy “to chew”, I end up being hungry again an hour or so after eating. I read up on this and it was explained that our brains don’t recognize smoothies or juices as food because we are not chewing them. When you eat and chew your food, your brain ends up getting a signal that you are full and then sends it to your stomach which helps it to stay fuller longer. If you are just drinking your food, your brain never receives that signal and then your belly will send a signal back to your brain saying, “Hey, what’s up? I’m still hungry!” Get it? SO… add a little crunch to your smoothie and make sure you chew it. You’ll feel more nourished next time- TRY IT!
*(That’s not a smoothie above, it’s juice, but same applies to those green juices!)
Happy blending!! 0:) … and chewing!