Low Calorie Enchiladas

I love these little pouches of heaven. Easy to make and great macros with tons of fiber!!! The wraps (Let’s Skip the Sandwich) are from Wegmans, and you can only find them at the larger stores like Pittsford or Ridgemont. There’s another brand that gets close (Ole Xtreme Wellness) to the same macros, but you’ll have to adjust. Here’s the basic recipe, but you can add or subtract anything you’d like.


1 pkg Tumaro’s Let’s Skip the Sandwich

Overnight Beer Shredded Chicken

Fat Free refried beans (I use Old El Paso)

Old El Paso Red Enchilada Sauce

Kraft Fat Free Shredded Cheddar

Sargento OR Weight Watchers Reduced Fat Mexican Blend

Nonfat Plain Greek Yogurt

Green Tabasco Any type of Hot Sauce you’d like-as long as it has no cals!


1)Preheat oven to 350 first. Then set up your work space by placing a small plate on your digital food scale and lining up the ingredients-I like to start with refried beans because I can smear them evenly on the wrap. I typically put the wrap on the plate, tare it and then add an item, tare-add another-etc. Each wrap should have this much of each item in order to get the same macros in each serving. Makes 8 servings.

1.5 oz shredded chicken

14 g fat free shredded cheddar

14 g reduced fat Mexican blend cheese

41 g fat free refried beans

1 TBSP nonfat plain Greek Yogurt (.1 oz)


2) Roll them however you want, but make sure they will fit in your casserole pan

3) Pour the can of enchilada sauce over the entire pan, make sure each enchilada gets some saucy love!

4) Bake at 350 for about 20-25 minutes


Macro breakdown for one enchilada: Cals-186, Fat-4.3, Carbs 18.7, Protein 24.6, Fiber- 8.5


If you want less protein reduce your chicken or nix the Greek yogurt! Sometimes I add peppers and onions! YUM




Overnight Beer Shredded Chicken


3-5 lbs boneless chicken breasts

3 cans of beer

1 packet of taco seasoning

water if needed to add


1) add all ingredients to crockpot

2) add water or more beer to cover the chicken

3) cook at low heat for about 12 hours ( I cook overnight)

4) Chill-skim off hardened fat (or skip this step and drain the chicken with a slotted spoon)

5) The chicken will fall apart naturally- I store it in some of the juices from the crockpot so it doesn’t dry out too much

Use it in enchiladas, salads, tacos, quesadillas, spaghetti squash dishes-so many more!


Go Figure…

It’s January 21st and I haven’t written anything original in over a year. I can’t say why, only that I have been a busy  lady, busy living other people’s lives and not creating my own. I was just perusing old posts and I think that the theme became very centered on me finding the real Mr. Right, which side tracked me from finding myself.

These last 10 months I’ve been prepping for a new goal… figure competition. You know, the kind of competition where girls and guys put on the skimpiest of outfits, prance around stage, only to have their bodies be judged by someone else? The kind of competition where the bodies glow a bronze-like orange, with ever so bright white teeth, and you just want to feed everyone a cheeseburger ? Yeah.. that kind of competition.

It’s been quite the journey. I started out in February of 2015 by trying a ketogenic diet, but this was too strict for me, and it put stress on my already strained relationship. I then transitioned to “if it fits your macros” diet and found a lot of success when I was actually weighing and measuring my food. It seemed so tedious and time consuming, not the kind of eating I was used to doing; which consisted of coconut oil and meat. The weighing part was annoying and always seemed to get in the way of actually enjoying my meals. The good news was that I wasn’t limited to broccoli, rice, oatmeal, fish, and chicken. The world was my oyster, as long as it fit my macros… bloody hell.. how was I to make three meals fit my macros??? This was a challenge.

The transition from being a Crossfit junky to a pure Gym Rat was different. I wasn’t used to using machines and isolating muscle groups. The experience was humbling to say the least. I thought I was strong until I attempted a tempo style leg press and leg extension. Starting out with thirty five pound dumbbells for bicep curls was pretty stupid too!

Ten months later and I am in the zone. I generally prep my meals for the week so I know exactly what I have left for snacks and desserts. I’ll post some of my favorite recipes and food hacks tomorrow because it can be quite overwhelming. I’d do anything to help someone else NOT spend hours on end in the grocery store staring at nutrition facts.

My workouts are all programmed by my coach, Kyle Glickman;  I just have to go out and tackle them. If you see me staring at my iphone for a few minutes, it’s because I am looking up an unfamiliar movement on YouTube. Hours in the gym have morphed into an hour and a half and cardio isn’t all that bad when you’re watching Netflix! It will be interesting to see how I feel about all of it as the show gets closer, but for now I can handle it.

Never attempt a lifestyle change without talking with your loved ones and friends. It’s important that everyone is on board with your goals. People feel uncomfortable when you’re not eating what they are eating, drinking alcohol with them, or can’t spend as much time hanging because you have to walk that 400 calories. This is especially important if you’re in a relationship; because your significant other may get jealous of the time you spend with “My Fitness Pal”, Pintrest, and your $20 digital food scale You have to make sure that you’re both on the same page and they’re going to be supportive of your goals and the means in which you’ll need to obtain them. Bottom Line: You’re going to need some cheerleaders-and if your people aren’t in your corner you’ll need them to sit the flock down.

Now is the time when I give my thanks to all of my friends and family who have been extra supportive and “in my corner”. I so appreciate you!!!!! I can’t tell you how awesome it has been to walk the 400 cals with a friend or have someone push me through a tough super set. I appreciate those of you who have just said, “awesome, keep it up, so proud”. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

pull downs


Pukey Poultry- re-post 2011

I was determined to make some tropical fare  to take our minds off of the dreary weather. How better to accomplish this than to add some pineapple and cilantro to a plain and mediocre turkey patty. SO, I did it. I had these beautiful patties combined with pineapple, garlic, cilantro and jalapeno. My mouth just watered thinking about it…. notice how I used the past tense, waterED. My mouth stopped watering when I threw these tropical turkey pies on the skillet and they began to melt like a super soaked wicked witch of the west. NO JOKE… MELT. By the time I was done, my perfect little patties looked like something my neighbor’s dog would regurgitate. UGH. A friend remarked that he would eat it as long as it was edible. EDIBLE???? I don’t even think a rat would eat this poultry gone puke.

I was puzzled and chalked it up to bad meat. I proceeded to defrost some chicken tenderloins, tossed em in a glass dish and mixed in my pineapple salsa for flavor. Boy, was it ever yummy! We packed the leftovers in a glass dish and snacked on it the next day, yum. The third day we decided to finish it up, but, to my dismay, the chicken had the consistency of wet and soggy corn bread. The chicken was mush, just like the tropical turkey burgers. These are the things that make me go, “hmmmm”.

So, what’s the deal???? Why did my poultry go to mush? According to Wikipedia: Pineapple (Ananas comosus) is the common name for a tropical plant and its edible fruit, which is actually a multiple fruit consisting of coalesced berries.[1] It was given the name pineapple due to its resemblance to a pine cone.[2] The pineapple is by far the most economically important plant in the Bromeliaceae.[3]  This bromeliaceae (family) contains a special enzyme called, “bromelain”

Although you may not actually hear the term “pineapple enzyme” thrown around a lot, you might recognize it by its other name: bromelain. Bromelain is a protease enzyme that is found in all parts of the pineapple, but the stem contains the largest concentration of the enzyme. So, what does “protease enzyme” really mean? This is simply a term applied to enzymes that have the specific trait of being able to break down, or “digest”, proteins. To put it into a better perspective, we are going to look at the top uses that make this pineapple enzyme so coveted.
This first use may seem a little funny, but it’s one of the top uses for bromelain–and one that you are likely to try out yourself simply from pure curiosity. Bromelain can be purchased in a powdered form to be used as steak tenderizer. No joke! Living cells contain compounds known as amino acids. These amino acids work hard to join together creating what is essentially a peptide bond. These peptide bonds play a huge role in the structure of tissues. Because the pineapple enzyme bromelain breaks down these peptide bonds by separating and digesting the amino acids, the structural integrity of the tissues degrade. In simple terms: bromelain tenderizer + meat = tender, juicy meat! You have to be careful when using meat tenderizers as they can cause the meat to lose too much consistency and turn mushy if left too long. Just follow the directions on any bromelain-based meat tenderizer and you’ll be chowing down on a steak fit for a king–without having to bust out that medieval looking meat mallet!
This all according to types of enzymes (yeah, seriously, there’s a website all about the types of enzymes).

WELL… now at least I know my mushy chicken isn’t bad bird gone barf!!! Interesting huh??? BUT, that’s not all that bromelain can do… more from types of enzymes:
Another popular use for the pineapple enzyme is for digestive aid. Because bromelain is well known for its ability to break down proteins, studies are being conducted to determine whether this enzyme could be the answer for people with digestive issues. Although formal testing has not produced much hard evidence either proving or disproving this theory, several manufactures offer bromelain in a capsule form with claims that it can help treat bloating, gas, and even irritable bowel syndrome. The purchase trend for this form of bromelain has grown rapidly over recent years, so there may actually be some truth to the claim. I wouldn’t recommend jumping on the wagon straight away, though, as we still don’t know what the long-term effects are.
Yet another “up-in-the-air” claim is that bromelain can reduce the swelling, inflammation, and bruising that can result from injuries or surgery. Bromelain wouldn’t be applied directly to the injured area, but studies have suggested that the regular consumption of bromelain supplements can speed up the initial recovery process. It must seem pretty promising because this technique has been approved for use in Germany since 1993. Jess’ note: I guess I better start stocking up on pineapple! They even use this for a gouty toe!

There are some known risks about bromelain supplements that you should be aware of if you are thinking about taking them. Diarrhea, nausea, and upset stomach are fairly common if bromelain is taken on a regular basis. Other reports suggest that vomiting, drowsiness or sluggishness, and heavy bleeding during menstruation. Anyone with an allergy to pineapple should definitely stay away from products containing bromelain, as they are likely to experience an allergic reaction to the enzyme.
It is recommended that people with peptic ulcers or people who are taking any kind of prescription medication consult their doctor before taking bromelain supplements. Bromelain supplements have not been proven safe for consumption by pregnant or breastfeeding women, or for children. So, while this pineapple enzyme makes a killer steak tenderizer, its safety and usefulness towards health issues is simply unconfirmed and should be used with caution–preferably under the supervision of a doctor.


I can’t believe this guy’s face isn’t being dissolved by the pineapple enzyme bromalain!!!!

Fail Harder- repost January 2012

We are programmed to think that there is no room for failure. Failing is bad.. don’t do it; but how does success happen without failure? One doesn’t just don a pair of skates and become an instant olympic figure skater. A friend of mine, Kate Sonnick, posted this video on another friend’s facebook page this week. The video was named, “Fail Harder”. Students at an advertising school came up with the brilliant concept.

Forget “Just Do It”, this was what I was looking for… “Just Do It” insists that you take a risk, the risk of failing… Failing is scary, especially when ego is involved. What will other people think if I fail? Will my failure affect their perception of my abilities as a coach, psychologist, mentor, friend, etc.  Perhaps, but what I should be asking myself is, “Will my failures inspire those same people to try… because without failure we do not have success.” This is the incremental way that we as humans can change our thinking to increase positivity and to encourage and motivate others. I’m not saying to go out there and TRY to fail… I’m saying take risks towards bettering yourself, listen to your intuition, and embrace failure as much as you would celebrate the success… Set goals, make the commitment, and stop using the excuse “But I’m afraid I might fail”, because if you never fail, you can never truly succeed.


The stuff we put out there….

I was hopeful that people would start sharing their lists with me and with the world wide web, and guess what??? They did! I’ve had so much feedback regarding the last post. I don’t know if it was the energy I was putting out there or if there was a fear of being honest and open about what each of us wants for ourselves-perhaps my jump off the proverbial cliff inspired others to take the leap as well? Whatever the reason, I feel humbled. I am just so amazed at the effect that just one person can have on people around them. I put my thoughts and feelings into words and BAM there was a reaction. It’s like a raindrop on calm waters, a loud bang in a peaceful night, or a push of a domino. People were talking about what they wanted or continue to want in their relationship or future relationship. I received numerous emails from people I haven’t spoken to in years-people I speak to everyday, and people I don’t really even know very well. It reminded me that no matter how big or small- the waves we create have an impact on something or someone-who then react and in turn their reaction touches someone else, and it keeps going-the ripple effect so to speak.

This is not about tooting my own horn or asking for recognition, it’s simply about putting it out there. What is it that you want in your life? How do you want to feel? How do you want to be known? Who do you want to be?

I met a man the other night-a first meeting-kind of an impromptu date. He said to me, “I read your blog post, it’s kind of overwhelming, and I’m not sure I will be able to do all of those things.”

I thought about it and my response went something like this-and if I didn’t actually say it verbatim-this is what I meant, “you know-it’s not really about following it all and strict adherence to the guidelines-it’s more of a declaration of who I am and what I’m looking for and what I know I cannot have in my life again. It’s a living document to be revisited throughout life. If you really like me and you want to be with me and we align then you’ll try your hardest to respect all of what encompasses Jess Hayden-you will TRY. It’s really about the kind of guy I want to be with-the kind of man who will demonstrate respect for me and our relationship-a cultivation of integrity. It’s about the kind of man I choose to be with.”

His response was simple, “well-I’m willing to try.”

You just never know what will happen when you put it out there…. (to be continued)

Dear Future Boyfriend

I stumbled across a blog from the amazing Danielle LaPorte a few months ago. This woman is uh-mazing. She speaks to my heart, soul, and brain! Sometimes I channel Lady LaPorte when I need a cheerleader on my shoulder… quotes such as “everything you have ever done, in the history of humanity, has brought you to this point; that’s a whole lot of life force on your side” and “Care more about being accurately and precisely who you are, than caring what someone might think about you” resonate clearly within my whole being.

I’ve found myself single once more, but this time I’m actually enjoying the dating scene. I’ve met a variety of totally awesome men-some who I could see in my future, some who I think were dear and sweet-but couldn’t see a spark in the dark, some who are just dusting off their dating pants after coming out of a long-term relationship-who need a few more dates (not me) under their belt so they can get the cobwebs out, and some who aren’t totally sure they’re in the right place to date. It’s been a truly wonderful experience and I thank all of them for assisting me in my road to relationship journey-which continues to evolve each day.

At any rate-a recent blog-“Dear Dudes” was delivered to my email a few days ago by Danielle LaPorte.  As I pilfered through my inbox-as one does when their inbox is flooded with advertisements and junk-I saw her email and I opened it. My mouth dropped as I read this most profound letter to all of the GOOD MEN out there… I found myself nodding and laughing and thinking-this isn’t just for all of the GOOD MEN, this is also for the GOOD WOMEN to study-because her letter projects/radiates/shouts out what women should be looking for in a GOOD MAN. It’s like cliff notes for guys on how to treat a lady-how to read a lady-and how to “dance” with a lady-or really it’s like cliff notes for GOOD people in general-and how to treat each other when you find yourself smitten.

I realized as I read the Dear Dudes-that I had a few of my own that weren’t included. I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE if, as you’re reading this, you become inspired to write your own “Dear Dude” or “Dear Lady” because this isn’t just about what ladies want-it’s about taking off the masks and making declarations and objections to the universe about what we all deserve and have the ability to give and receive. The objection part is really just calling people out- objecting to the universe when we see people subconsciously or consciously self-sabotaging their potential for finding a deeper love in a partnership. Whether the Dear Dude or Dear Lady is for you, for me, or for some fantasy person out there… do it..write it.. declare it… make it happen!!!! I want to see those declarations and objections in my comments section!!!! I realize this is a risk and I’m willing to take it-just remember to please keep it tactful!

Dear Future Boyfriend,

1) I cry a lot. Please don’t let this scare you-I cry when I’m angry, I cry when I’m sad, I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m touched by the struggles or kindness of others, and I cry when I’m frustrated. When I cry, I only need you to touch my arm, squeeze my hand, beckon me into your arms, or kiss my forehead. I need nothing else-no words, no comforting pats on the back, no rationalizing or talking it out… just be present with me in the moment without trying to fix anything.


2) Which brings me to fixing-when I tell you of a dilemma I might be facing, please don’t try to fix right away. I need listening and then a question, just one question will do, “how can I help?” I promise I will tell you exactly what I need-it might just be the nearness of you.


3) Messy-I’ve always been a messy person and somewhat ashamed of it-but I’m now learning to embrace it. Be forewarned-I’m not OCD-but I’m also not a disgusting slob and I enjoy a clean living space-it gets done when I get around to it. It’s ok to light a fire under my ass sometimes. I accept it.


4) I speak my mind. I say what I’m thinking-sometimes there’s no point to it at all-just airing out the brain and purging. Along with this-I’m working on my filter-I tend to give gifts of TMI – again- I’m working on it and am very aware.


5) If you want to keep me interested-pursue me and keep me engaged-touch base with me at least once a day-I don’t need full on text or phone convos-just a check in. I want to be pursued-I’m worth it and you’re worth my attention too. This could be disastrous if I’m not that into you-it’s a risk we all take when dating though, and I promise to be up front with you if I’m not feeling it anymore.


6) I talk. If you want to tell me a secret-make sure you tell me it’s a secret-I like sharing, but won’t if asked not to.


7) I have amazing friends and want you to get to know them and want them to like you, but it makes me uncomfortable when you text, email, call, or meet up for drinks with my friends when I’m not around. However irrational or jealous or insecure that sounds-it’s how I feel. Please respect my feelings and don’t misinterpret it for being controlling. So, unless you’re making benign arrangements (borrowing a saw, a camera, a pan) or plans with me in mind (purchasing a gift, trying to figure out how to apologize, or conjuring up a surprise)-please don’t cross the line. My friends are my life-line, my support- I wouldn’t ever want to feel any reason not to trust. Becoming too friendly with my friends creates blurred lines for everyone. I promise to adhere to the friends rule as well.


8) Family-please don’t introduce me to your family unless you really like me and can see yourself with me for the long haul. I tend to get attached and find it really difficult and unfair to break those connections when a relationship ends-even though I know it has to be done. Conversely-you want to get to know my family and want to share the time between yours and mine. Family is sacred-wait until you know. This includes your kids-please-if you have kids, don’t introduce me to them until we have decided we are in it to win it. Maybe down the road it doesn’t work out-but I’m not going to meet your kids until you and I are both sure that a life together is what we want. In the mean time-I can deal with the inconvenience of not being able to see each other when you have your children. It’s not fair to your kids if one of us is not totally invested. Your kids will respect you all the more for waiting and not having a turnstile of women in their lives-I promise you-if you truly love me and want me in your life-your kids will too-after all- I’m a GOOD WOMAN too.


10) I like surprises-flowers, little gifts, notes, sweet texts… I like- keep it coming- also my friends like to see me liking and that means BIG things for you all around.


11) I am always rooting for you. I like you after all and want you to come out on top. I may disagree with what you are doing or have done-but I want you to do well and will try to make that happen-ask me for help if you need it.


12) Planning & Dating-I like to know that you’re thinking of me and want to make sure that no other guy is going to sweep me off my feet while you’re not around. So… make a plan for when you want to see me next.


13) I need a strong man by my side-tell me like it is-don’t be wishy washy- games and flirting are fun, but be direct and if you’re not feeling it anymore-be a man and tell me-stringing me along is so not cool.


14) Must love or like cats and dogs. I have a cat and a dog-they are a part of my package. I may compromise on sleeping arrangements if you are allergic, but they’re a part of who I am and I will not get rid of them.


15) I have a heart of gold-I am a helper and a giver. I will often do things to show you just how special you are to me and to let you know I think about you even when you’re not around. Accept these gifts of gratitude and please see it for all that it’s worth-it’s because I believe you’re worthy of receiving tokens of my love and appreciation for being present in my life-not because I’m obsessed or trying to bribe or manipulate you. If you ever feel like you are unworthy or I’m manipulating we need to talk.


16) If we happen to come to a crossroads and we part ways- know that I have break up boundaries and that I need time to heal. I can’t go from girlfriend to good friend over night. It takes time for energy to shift and for love to change from romantic to friendship. When I don’t respond to emails or texts it doesn’t mean I never ever want to talk to you- or are playing games or being manipulative-it just means that I need more time. I will let you know when I’m ready-if you don’t respond to a text or email from me I will assume that you aren’t ready. I will also promise to retreat back to the life I had before you appeared-again-I need my friends to be my friends during this time and assume you would need your friends to be there for you. I’m not asking anyone to take sides or to call names or point fingers-I’m just asking for space.


17) I love to cook, I’m an adventurer of food, please adventure with me… it’s so much fun to cook for someone else.


18) I need physical contact-I like a hand on the back, linked arms, forehead kisses, back massages, and compliments whispered in my ear-think Eric Clapton “Wonderful Tonight”. On the flip side-I’m not into making out in public or excessive PDA in front of an audience-don’t be offended if I swat you off when I don’t feel it’s appropriate-trust me-I like you and can’t wait to have my hands all over you-just not in front of the faces of friends and family.


19) Drugs-no thank you. Alcohol-enjoying a few beverages here and there is fine, but you don’t drink excessively and you know when to say when. Cigarettes-if you smoke an occasional butt when we’re out don’t expect me to kiss you until you wash your mouth, hands, and face. I hate it and would prefer you don’t ever do it-in fact smoking is a deal breaker for me if done one a regular basis. Cigars-I might take a puff once in a while and that’s your philosophy too.


20) I love that you are intelligent, articulate, witty, and hilarious-you make me laugh, have an appreciation for the arts, history, literature, and science and enjoy learning. You’re like an urban cowboy-you’re adventurous, handy and like to get your hands dirty, but you clean up well. You like the outdoors and are always pushing me to get outside and enjoy it with you. You’re handy and can fix stuff around the house-if you don’t know how to do it you’ll figure it out.


21) You have your own interests and appreciate that I have mine-we know how to make time for each other. I promise to always encourage you in pursuit of your goals and know that you need time for yourself and I need the same. I’m cool with it all as long as you can carve out some time for me (see #12).


22) Last but not least-talk. I believe in talk therapy-you are open to that as well and not afraid of what that means. I believe in talking and being honest with each other no matter how much it might hurt-I can take it and will be interested in it. I don’t mind goofing around and being silly, but some subjects are sacred and require a certain level of seriousness- I believe that we should talk with intention-don’t throw stuff out that we don’t mean and can’t uphold later on. If you’re annoyed, happy, want to kill me, feeling unsatisfied, think the sex could use some spicing up… TALK. I need a man in my life who can cry without being ashamed, who can be controlled in his temper-but talk it out without acting, who can be honest with himself about his feelings and who can share those feelings with me-you are this man.


So, I think that’s it… though I’m sure I will come up with more as I journey.


I’m looking forward to meeting you…


Jess xoxo


P.S. Please access Danielle LaPorte’s letter here-I have only added my own individual needs to hers. If you think it’s too much-it might be for you-we are all beautifully complex human beings and this is absolutely WHO I AM! Again-I invite you to write your own notes to the current man or woman in your life, to the future man  or woman in your life, or to the fantasy person in your life…..


PPS. I realize that some guy friends in my life have objected to this letter by Danielle… they say-why do women think that we need to give them something to complete their happiness? I say, “did you read anything about us wanting you to make us happy?” I say, “look in the details of the fabric… it’s about how we know we operate-it’s about men too-I mean-this could probably be written from a man’s point of view as well-it’s not really gender biased-it’s just that women tend to put their feelings out there more often than men… not ALL men, just more often-it’s a fact-our brains are wired differently” Here’s the thing though… I feel like Danielle is giving all of the men out there the key… the key to breaking the code… you can resist it or you can study it and figure us out… it’s not a list of demands or specific rules per se… it’s just what we talk about and wish for our friends, for ourselves, for our universe… OK.. that’s enough.. write on you writers!




Sometimes you have to just walk away…

I’ve been thinking a lot lately; which is really never good for me because thinking a lot equals racing thoughts that keep me up at night. Recently, my world shifted a little and I’m having difficulty navigating the shift. * ADHD side note- shift sounds a lot like a certain 4 letter word that means “poop”- take out the “f” it’s all the same shift*

I don’t want to speak about my shift explicitly, but let’s just say I’m adjusting. There are some decisions that I need to make or don’t need to make- but there’s a whole lot of “stuff” floating around. The draw back to this adjustment is frequent crying at random times in random places-what can I say-I have a tough time with change. The positive side is that I’m beginning to be able to get a better perspective, though it feels extremely drawn out. I’ve been hanging on to what hasn’t been serving me for a while now-and before you jump to conclusions-I’m not really talking about any one specific “thing”, but many things in many different facets of my life. I typically try really hard to fix whatever is broken and make “it” better. I want to work out my differences or problems, often analyzing the heck out of them. Funny thing is, I rarely look at what I need and if I’m getting fulfillment too- because generally speaking-pleasing others is fulfilling to me. Sometimes though, I come upon a situation where I just can’t see how to make it all work. Then BAM- something completely thought provoking occurs-usually brought on by some seemingly mundane event.

I was faced with a very challenging work out the other day. I walked in thinking I was going to nail it and would be able to go slow and steady. I started out strong, but then got light headed and dizzy. My heart rate was soaring through the roof, and I kept pushing through. I pushed and pushed and pushed, but my body wasn’t having it… and then I thought to myself, “sometimes you just have to walk away.” I did, I walked away. I walked away with tears in my eyes and a pain in my heart, not because I was giving up, but because I was giving in. I was giving in to my gut and listening to my body. Something I have a really tough time doing. The crying wasn’t really attached to the workout, but to the realization that sometimes I just have to surrender to reality.

“Sometimes you just have to walk away”, can apply to almost any challenge you face. I’m not advocating giving up, quitting, and not trying, I’m saying… when you’ve tried, and you’ve put all of your heart and all of your energy into something, but it’s just not giving you what you need-or it’s not good for you, or it’s just not working right…. sometimes you just have to walk away. Come back the next day, look at it from a different perspective, let it come to you, or try something different. Walking away can be very scary, but what is it that we are truly afraid of? Is it not getting the attention, not winning the award, looking like a “bad person”, not meeting the goal, failure, losing someone or something? What is it really? There’s a whole new world on the other side of fear and guilt, own your stuff and apologize if you’ve hurt people along the way.

After some truly heartfelt conversations with my friends about different circumstances in each of our lives, a good friend of mine told me, “you just gotta get in that dinghy and start paddling-don’t look back”. She often reminds me that I’m doing much better in my dinghy than when I was trying to tread water and make a raft out of materials not suited for floating the long haul.

So when stuff just gets too overwhelming or frustrating and you feel like you’re banging your head on a wall-let go of the rope you’ve been hanging onto-it’s likely that the fall isn’t that far. You might end up with some bumps and bruises, but nothing you can’t handle… you’ve spent your whole life preparing for each moment that you meet. So, dust yourself off, get up and walk away….

Kale Salad


I love the health benefits of kale, but have heard a lot of complaints from folks who say that it’s difficult to cook. This recipe took me under 10 minutes to prepare, and it’s ohhhh so delicious! Thanks to Lisa for the inspiration of the basis of this salad!

1 bunch of fresh Kale de-ribbed and chopped- any variety

2 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp salt

1/8 cup lemon juice

2  chopped figs (optional)

2 apples chopped (core removed)

handful of chopped crasins

1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano

1/4 cup finely chopped pancetta (optional)


Whisk lemon juice, olive oil and salt together in a small bowl

Add lemon juice mixture to Kale and massage into Kale until fully coated

Fold in chopped apples, figs, & crasins

Mix in Pecorino and Pancetta

Wait 15 minutes before serving


What’s the deal with kale? Would pop-eye kick the can of spinach for a bunch of kale???

Kale is a super green whose varieties are not all GREEN! There’s the deep purple Redbor Kale, Red Russian Kale, and the Kamome Red Kale. The red varieties seem to take on more of a purple/pink hue than red.  Kale, also known as borecole, is one of the healthiest vegetables on the planet. A leafy green, kale is available in curly, ornamental, or dinosaur varieties. It belongs to the Brassica family that includes cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, brussel sprouts, collards, and cabbage.

The Huffington Post Canada published an article in July of 2013 comparing spinach and kale. The results indicated that Kale has an overall edge, but that Spinach is a little better for pregnant women due to it’s high folate content. Here are some highlights from the Huffington Post article.

Vitamin A: Spinach is a great way to get vitamin A, important for skin and eye health, into your diet — a one-cup serving provides 56 per cent of your recommended daily intake (RDI). But kale is a vitamin-A powerhouse, giving you a whopping 206 per cent of your recommended intake for the same serving.

Vitamin B6: Kale also beats out spinach in for vitamin B6, though less dramatically. The former has 9 per cent of your RDI for this essential vitamin, thought to be related to heart and brain health, though spinach still provides 3 per cent of your RDI.

Vitamin C: Remember that tip about vitamin C? You’ll get a little in your salad anyway when you eat kale, which has 80.4 mg or 9 per cent of your RDI per one-cup serving compared to spinach’s 8.43 mg or 1 per cent. Vitamin C is important for tissue repair health all over your body.

Vitamin K: We might not think about vitamin K very often, but it’s important for our bodies — it helps protect our bones and is key in blood clotting. Both of these vegetables are a great way to get more in your diet, especially kale, which has 684 per cent of your RDI. Spinach has plenty as well, with 181 per cent.

Important: if you’re on blood-thinning medication like warfarin or need to restrict your dietary vitamin K for any other reason, talk to your doctor before eating vitamin-K rich foods like these.

Folate: Folate, known as folic acid when it’s added to foods and folate when it occurs naturally — is particularly important for women of child bearing age, as it’s related to the prevention of neural tube defects in developing fetuses. Spinach is the winner here, with 15 per cent of your RDI in every cup. Kale is still a source, but a less impressive one at 5 per cent for the same amount.

Calcium: When people think calcium they think dairy, but it’s actually found in many vegetables as well. A cup of kale provides 9 per cent of your daily calcium needs, compared to 3 per cent for spinach. As well, spinach has compounds that could impede absorption so it shouldn’t be your key source of the mineral.
Getting enough vitamin D is important too—your body won’t absorb calcium properly without an adequate amount of vitamin D.

Copper: Copper is a trace mineral, so we don’t need a lot of it in our diets, but we do require it for the production of red blood cells; it’s also related to nerve and immune health. Kale is a good way to get it, with 10 per cent of the RDI in a cup, while spinach also has a little bit at 2 per cent.

Manganese: It’s another mineral our bodies need in small amounts, and kale has you covered at 26 per cent of the RDI per serving. Spinach isn’t too shabby either, giving you 13 per cent of your daily manganese, important for forming connective tissue and hormones.

Bottom line- both greens are power houses, be careful with your consumption of either green if you’re on blood thinning meds (vitamin K is for “clotting”) and if you have osteoporosis or any other calcium deficiency. Eat foods rich in calcium at meals opposite your kale or spinach dining days.




Called to Action

Ever in a situation where you feel like you need to do something? I always feel like I need to DO something. FIX something, HEAL someone, HELP someone, give them the rope and the manual on how to climb out of the hole. I want to help, not watch you suffer. I’m a doer not a watcher; I’m involved, not disassociated;  I’m the girl who’s on all the committees because I want to be in the mix and a part of the betterment. I bite off more than I can chew and I think I can create change! I’m a take the reins and give your horse a kick kinda girl… why wait, JUST GO!!!!!

Whoa There!!!! PULL UP!!!  I feel called to action… but I just need to PAUSE. Sit with it. Struggle, discomfort, and frustration are all a part of the recipe for growth. We even talk about it in education when kids are learning new concepts or learning to read-it’s in the struggle time when the “a-hah” moments click. Sure growth comes easily at times, but generally speaking we have to work at whatever it is we want in life. It’s not just going to come to us; I mean-yes the Hiltons and the Kardashians of the world may get hand outs, but they still have to work at maintaining that or at some point it’s all going to be gone. Some people are born with a talent, but it takes practice and nurturing to develop that talent into genius. My dad and I had a recent conversation about marriage and how people say, “marriage is hard work.” My dad says, “it shouldn’t be that way, I already have a job.” I say, “everything you do in life is work”, life takes nurturing and cultivating. It just does. Plants don’t grow without water and sun; muscles atrophy without use and blood supply; a research paper doesn’t just write itself, and love is no different. Sometimes, you have to sit back and welcome discomfort and struggle. You have to celebrate the failures because without all of that you wouldn’t grow and appreciate the wins.

My friend’s daughter was on a team that just kept losing. In the beginning there was hope and optimism in her voice, but as the season progressed doubt and defeat began to edge in. They won their first game last week after a number of losses. When I congratulated her on the win, the smile that washed over her face was that of pure joy and confidence, she beamed from ear to ear. I’m not sure she would’ve been so grateful and appreciative of the win if her team was a winning team and this was just one more win. Struggle, failure, and frustration humble us. See my “Fail Harder” post from a while back. They are lessons that teach us that no matter how hard we try we can’t always be in control, we can’t always win, we can’t always help; it teaches us that this universe is way bigger than we ever imagined and it’s ok to be in an uncomfortable place for a while-because usually, when you’re not forcing something to happen-is when it happens- just like that- life opens up and opportunities abound. Opportunities that we may not have ever imagined because we were so focused on fixing the problem and what wasn’t happening.

I’m a serious “take action addict”- I don’t like the feeling of discomfort and uncertainty- or not having control- but I keep needing to remind myself to take my own advice.

Next time you’re  in a place where you  feel like you’re losing control and life seems to be falling apart, pull up on the reins. Pause-let go of your plan and your need to be in control. Stop and immerse yourself in the discomfort (sometimes it’s really ugly), give yourself a “time out”, don’t offer the oars and the instruction manual too-give it some struggle time, look at who you are and what you really want or are trying to achieve from your actions. Is it control, is it a sense of peace, is it money, are you running away from your problems, is it communication… whatever it is- it can’t be forced or it will fight back fiercely. Change and growth can’t be forced, it requires stretching and flexibility-and sometimes some wait time for everything to align just right. Giving up control is scary-but in reality we are never truly in control of anything else but our own actions and reactions. So grab those reins and pull up a little-let yourself be present in the moment, sometimes no action is the perfect reaction-you might just be surprised at what gifts the universe brings you.

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