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The Official Blog of The GEM.

Diamonds on your inside. That’s what we want. Don’t you? This blog is a place to visit for guidance, humor and wit about healthy, happy lives. We only have one life. Make it count!

Color Me Badd

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Families that eat together, stay together.

Tis the season to hop up the kids on candy, iced cookies, and brightly colored punch. Quick trips to the McD’s drive thru. Beware.  I am learning more and more about the negative effects of processed food on our children.  Like serious ones. Ones that we are currently treating with medications. ADHD, depression, anxiety, aggression, even poor hand writing (yes, hand writing. I will ‘write’ about that one soon.)

New research has found that delayed food sensitivities caused attention deficit disorder and removing these food sensitivities could reverse attention deficit disorder in 75 percent of children.HOLY COW. Aggression, violence and bullying are on the rise in schools. A study in England found that supplementing prisoners with multi-vitamin and fish oil could reduce violent crime in prisons by 37 percent.

But I can’t deprive my kids of the fun stuff…..WAAAAAA. Stop whining.  Did you really just say that?

Small changes can have a big impact on your family’s and your children’s health and happiness. Starting with what you bring home.

  • Eat at home and Eat together.  You complain of not having enough time to cook, but you spend hours watching The Food Network. Create a special place to sit down together, and set the table with care. You’ve all heard the research that family meals are basically the cure for every problem in America.Well, just try it and see.  At the very least, you have a chance to find out what your children are up to.  Taking back our family dinners will help us learn how to find and prepare real food quickly and simply, teach our children how to connect, and build security, safety, and social skills, meal after meal, day after day.
  • Eat a real breakfast. This is a critical life skill we must reclaim and teach our children. Kids (and adults) who eat breakfast are thinner and smarter. Think REAL, whole protein-rich food to power up the brain for the day. Scrambled eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, smoothies. BUT NOT CEREAL, which has more sugar than a twinkie–and has essentially no nutritional value.
  • CLEAN your kitchen. Throw out foods with ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORS, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated fats, and sugars or fat as the first or second ingredient on the label. Fill your kitchen with real, fresh, whole, local foods whenever possible. Shop at nearby farmer’s markets.Have fresh fruit and veggies always available for your kids to snack on.
  • Take your vitamins.  A multi-vitamin and  Omega-3 Fish Oils are a MUST. Our kids have different needs at different times and supplements can fill some of these gaps. Deficits in magnesium can cause insomnia and constipation.  DHA deficits cause diminished brain function and inflammation.
  • JUST STAY AWAY FROM ARTIFICIAL FOOD COLORINGS. 

PEACE.


Is a Goal a Verb?

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One of my very favorite movies is Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts.  In the opening and closing scenes there is a crazy guy walking down the street yelling, “Everybody’s got a dream.  What’s your dream, baby?” Pretty Woman is a modern day Cinderella-style story. Julia’s character, for the most part, ‘falls into’ the fairy tale ending. What luck.  She really didn’t have a plan.  And while she had some sense of a moral compass, the career in prostitution seemed to dilute it’s nobility. Hey.  Wake up. Dreams are for sleeping. Goals are for winning.

In the real world, dreams don’t come to reality without hard work and a plan. Do you have a goal for yourself? For your family? For your career? A goal without a plan is just a dream. Write down your goals. List a first step to achieve that goal. Then add another. Hold yourself accountable, with tangible results and deadlines. Give yourself a real punishment if you don’t accomplish your goal. Punishments such as no chocolate for a year, donations to organizations you dislike, no more shoe shopping–they seem to have profound effects on the bottom-line results of your success.

Draw out your path. It is the ONLY WAY to arrive where you want to go.


Fat Thursday

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No more dry, creepy giant birds and casseroles made with ritz crackers and cream of mushroom soup for Thanksgiving.  For the first time ever, we are going Italian.  Homemade lasagna, chicken marsala, sauteed spinach, mozzerella! angel hair pasta, garlic bread, Prosecco, gelato.  The works!  Some say, ‘What a travesty! Thanksgiving is about turkey and green bean casserole.  Sweet potatoes, marshmallows and 3 lb pumpkin pies.  That is the tradition.’  I say, ‘Hell no!’ Thanksgiving has nothing to do with that 20 pound bird.

What it IS about is…stuffing your face with great food, laughing with long-time friends and family, drinking too many bloody marys in the comfort of people who love you.  The most important thing on Thursday is to STOP AND GIVE THANKS.  Thanks for your health, for your happiness, for your opportunities to make a difference. We all have incredible wealth–that manifests itself in so many ways.  A family that loves you, a family you love (usually).

This Thanksgiving, tell someone who won’t expect it that you are grateful for them in your life. Hug your kids just a little longer. Make the day a little more special. Light a candle for someone you miss. Make your guest tell something big or small that makes them smile. I promise everyone will be better for it.  Cheers to all of you!


More Awesome!

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Remember my earlier post about The Book of Awesome?  I can’t get it out of my thoughts.  So I thought I should share a few more AWESOMES:

Fluff.  With chocolate nut butter.  On a spoon. Too awesome for words.

Hot pink, green and aqua Christmas decorations.  Glitter. Awesome!

Walking onto the Survivor’s Circle stage at the Komen 3Day Walk closing ceremony.  Awesome.

Impromptu girl gatherings in my kitchen for juice and laughs.  The idea of starting a happy place called The Gem, super awesome. (More about that in the coming weeks).Overhearing 4 women talk about my tacky holiday decorations–and then rising above the front porch chair to wave at them–then seeing the looks on their faces…..Awesome!

Dental Floss.  Fluffy socks. Jeans that button easily. 7 minute frosting. Sonic Ice. Awesome!

The disco ball in my dining room.  Awesome.  The new quartz chandelier that replaced it after a year and a half, awesome.

Having happy, healthy friends & family…AWESOME.

What’s awesome for you today?  Live it, love it.

 


Inspire someone. Influence. Motivate. Can you do it?

The Komen 3 Day/60 mile Walk this past weekend brought out many inspiring people. Many were walking because they really wanted to show support for a loved one who was battling this disease. Some walked to honor those who had lost their lives to kancer. Some were ‘Survivors.’ They all felt inspired to make a statement of 60 miles and raised over $7million to prove it. Some of these people had NO business walking 60 miles. Too heavy, too old, too weak. And yet they did it.

One woman in particular stood with me in the Survivor’s Circle in the opening and closing ceremony. Rinni obviously represented some aspect of inspiration to be on stage. She carried the flag of COURAGE. This forty-something woman looked like she was finishing up a chemo regimen. That’s a scary battle that takes courage–one that every woman on that stage had experienced. As we rehearsed the day before the Walk, I learned this was far more that just a round of chemo. This marked the end of her THIRD recurrence. While training for this walk, Rinni’s kancer returned with a vengeance to her brain and liver. Her doctors insisted she drop out. Her teammates, her fabulous friends, however, refused to let her fade into the woodwork. They insisted she take this small yet powerful journey with them. They pimped out a wheel chair in hot pink sparkles and wings and PUSHED HER FOR SIXTY MILES. She had the COURAGE to stay in the game and face this kancer with her head up to be the true inspiration for all of us. She has children. She could have easily stayed home and focused on herself and her family for the rest of her limited days. I must say most of us would shrink into the darkness of fear of stage four kancer. She wasn’t about to. She chose to be out in front, to show others how to live in the face of something so scary. AMAZING. Her flag, no doubt, was the definition of INSPIRATION.

See pathetic photo of me below. Mile 58 of the 3 Day Komen Walk. Not a pretty sight. And definitely not inspiring. Who would take notice if I dropped out? I could easily hitch a ride home and call it a crazy weekend. It wasn’t a race, there were no prizes, I had nothing to gain, really. Nor did the thousands of women out there with me. Thank God I had teammates who motivated me to keep going, that I had a flag to carry,that Rinni was now a part of my psyche, that it mattered.

Sometimes you want to quit. Sometimes you think no one will care anyway. It’s too hard. It’s too much to handle. Well, I call bullshit. Get up, get moving and make a difference. Believe it or not, you will inspire someone else to do the same. You may never even know it. It may seem others have it easier. More than likely, they don’t. They are pushing through their challenges, never giving up. So do something, do anything, that matters.

Sunny D(isgusting)

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Sunny Delight–Sunshine in a Bottle they say. It has been marketed to us kids since the seventies. Today it is all over kid programming–offering a refreshing, healthy beverage. Seemingly happy kids bouncing around in the sunshine, playing, laughing, unwittingly consuming crap. They serve it in schools, they serve it in Lunchables (that’s another post).  It all seems benign.

Take a moment. What do you think are the ingredients in that seemingly harmless orange bottle? My first guess was water, orange juice and obviously sugar. Well, that is partly correct. Real orange juice comprises less than 2% of this concoction. Get out your dictionary and call your doctor. You are poisoning your children. I have bolded the dangerous ingredients.

Water, High Fructose Corn Syrup and 2% or Less of Each of the Following: Concentrated Juices (Orange, Tangerine, Apple, Lime, Grapefruit). Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C), Beta-Carotene, Thiamin Hydrochloride, Natural Flavors, Food Starch-Modified, Canola Oil, Cellulose Gum, Xanthan Gum, Sodium Hexametaphosphate, Sodium Benzoate To Protect Flavor, Yellow #5, Yellow #6

In addition to the HFCS which is linked to obesity and insulin issues, there is CANOLA OIL in your juice.  Say what? WHY is there equal parts of juice as there is inflammatory building, artery blocking CANOLA OIL? If that oil wasn’t enough, they’ve added artificial coloring–which is made from petroleum.  Do I need to explain why petroleum is harmful to consume? I won’t even go into the sodium hexametaphosphate, mainly because I can’t even spell it much less know what it does.  Oh, and why does juice needstarch?

Our lives are busy.  We know that.  But don’t err on the side of processed convenience if the label screams UNHEALTHY.  Don’t allow your children to control the choices at home.  When you explain WHY, they usually get the message.  They don’t want to consume poison either.  If you educate your children on these hidden dangers, they will eventually make better choices for themselves–even when you aren’t around.


GMO. OMG! WTH?

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GMO.  A genetically modified organism.  Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie.  Not something you are eating everyday. GMOs are foods that have been genetically altered using another organism’s genes to obtain certain desired traits.  Peanut genes in a strawberry? Why do you care?

Allergies. Many children in the US and Europe have developed life-threatening allergies to peanuts and other foods.  Soon after GM soy was introduced to the UK, soy allergies skyrocketed by 50 percent. GM soy contains a protein that was never before part of the human food supply, and might be allergenic. In fact, sections of that protein are identical to those found in shrimp and dust mite allergens. Tasty.

Development. Children are three to four times more susceptible to allergies. Also, they convert more of the food into body-building material. Altered nutrients or added toxins can result in developmental problems.  Isn’t it suspicious the developmental delays that are so prevalent these days??

Unknown Disease. Monsanto, the corporation responsible for producing roughly 90% of genetically modified seeds around the globe, will try to bring their new, GMO sweet corn to a grocery store aisle or farmer’s market near you. These are seeds that are resistant to pests–it causes organ failure in mammals. While we are a bit stronger than a rat…I deem that frightening. 

This is the first time an engineered vegetable could be served straight to your dinner table. Usually they are hidden in the ingredients of packaged foods (high fructose corn syrup, all soy items).

Since GMOs tolerate Roundup (that kills any living thing around it), these new GMOs could pass the same health and infertility problems that are linked between Roundup to crop disease and livestock infertility, on to humans who consume this GMO corn.

What do you do?

Eat organic. Limit packaged crap. Eat whole. Grow your own heirloom seeds. Know where your food comes from. Know that Monsanto is the devil.

Happy Halloween.


Energy Vampires?

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Pull out your wooden stakes and garlic, it’s time to protect yourself from the Energy Vampires. And not just because it is Halloween.  These are people who bring you down, who can magically suck the life force from your soul while you sip your latte.  They are never satisfied, never positive and NEVER stop complaining.  They leave you tired, weary and not happy. Do you know someone like this? Even worse, are you someone like this?

Energy Vampires…

  • Are unrelentingly negative. Their negative energy appears continuous. THESE PEOPLE SUCK ME DRY.
  • It’s all about me.  These are the folks that think of no one but themselves.  Reading this, they would have no idea this was about them.  Cue Carly Simon’s “Your So Vain.”
  • Make mountains out of molehills. These Drama Queens can turn a broken nail into a Shakespearean tragedy. REALLY?  It’s can’t be that bad, can it?
  • Complain constantly about their partners, jobs, children, bad luck, the weather, EVERYTHING.  Nothing is EVER good enough. SHUT UP. PLEASE!
  • Debbie Downers. They render a room dark in minutes. Half empty folks.
  • Not me! Blame everyone else for their problems. It is NEVER their fault.

The one that makes me the most crazy is that ‘Woe is Me’ Vampire.  They are always  the victim and the world is always against them.  They can recount every horrible event since they were four.  The next one I come face to face with, I plan on sucker punching them and telling them, “GET OVER YOUR SHIT AND MOVE ON.  YOU HAVE ONE LIFE.  LIVE IT.

Tell them.  Kill them with kindness. Laugh. Create boundaries. But for the most crazy of the Energy Vampires, you may have to disconnect from them altogether if possible.  Life is too important to be around villans such as this.  Surround yourself with happy, shiny people like yourself.  Maybe the blinding light will melt those life force suckers.

As you think of the Energy Vampires in your life, what will your silver bullet be?


Cynics Apply Here.

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Don’t you love it when a simple little thing that happens can be described as “Awesome?”  Even the most sour cynic can attest to a few things that make them honor the little joys in life.  Those that can’t…we no longer have room for you in our world.

Go out and buy “The Book of Awesome.”  Yes.  It really is  awesome.  I implore all of you to get it.  OR even better, compile your own book of awesome.  It reminds us to find a little happy in everything.  Awesome things like:

Having a whole row on the plane.  You can get up a pee anytime you want.  You can rest your arms.  You may even be able to pull off a row nap.  You can imagine you are insanely rich and paid for the extra seats just because.  AWESOME.

Laughing so hard you make no sound at all.  I LOVE IT WHEN THAT HAPPENS.

Building and amazing couch-cushion fort.  Squeezing through a door as it’s shutting without touching it.  AWESOME!

When you spill something on your shirt and it doesn’t leave a stain. Finding money in your old coat pocket–or even better, that tube of lipstick you haven’t seen in a year.  The first scoop out of a jar of peanut butter. Licking the cake batter off the beaters of a mixer.  Hitting a bunch of green lights in a row.  AWESOME.

Finding a mix tape given to you by an old boyfriend or girlfriend.  When a cashier opens up a new checkout lane at the grocery store and you become first in line.  Free samples of your favorite food at the store. Seeing someone laugh in their sleep.  AWESOME!

That first early fall morning you walk out the door and need a sweater. Making the perfect margarita the first time around. AWESOME!

Remembering how lucky we are to be here right now. And how focusing on little happy things can make us happier and more enjoyable to be around. UNBELIEVABLY AWESOME.  Come on. Lemme know what your AWESOME was the morning~


DANGER, Will Robinson! Someone is poisoning you!

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If I tackled you just before you unknowingly drank poison, wouldn’t you hail me as your hero?  Well, consider this your face plant. You probably have been consuming this toxin on a daily basis. Worse, you may even be serving this modern day hemlock to your sweet innocent children.  Does Crystal Light ring a bell?  Sugar free popsicles? Diet Pepsi addiction got you stuck in the drive thru?

Sir! Put. Your Weapon. Down.

Nutra Sweet.  Equal. Aspartame.  Sweet Poison. This chemical, yes chemical, is toxic.  Not a little toxic.  A lot toxic.  There are account after account of reports to the FDA heralding the dangers and side effects of aspartame.  But to no avail.  This chemical breaks down in the body as methanol and formaldehyde. Those guys don’t sound very friendly.  A few of the 92 different reported symptoms listed include: Headaches/migraines, dizziness, nausea, extreme depression, irritability, insomnia, anxiety attacks, vertigo, memory loss, and joint pain.  Chronic illnesses can be triggered or worsened by ingesting of aspartame: Brain tumors, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, lymphoma, birth defects, fibromyalgia, and diabetes. Gulf War Syndrome.

What is scary is that unlike many things we put into our body, aspartame’s by products go straight to the brain. It actually crosses the “brain / blood barrier” as it is called.  Several of the experts who now speak out against aspartame took part in the research and development of this chemical. One of the world’s foremost authorities informed the development company, Searle,  in 1971 that aspartic acid (a by-product) caused holes in the brains of mice.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME?

So? You say.  I am not scared of that.  Ok, how about this? Artificial sweeteners can make your body fat.  Yes, fat.  By tricking the body into thinking sugar is coming, insulin is produced awaiting its arrival.  This unnecessary spike in blood sugar is no bueno for your system.  That excess sugar is then stored as fat.  But who cares that you are fat if you’ve got cancer.

Your body begs for diamonds on its insides.  Not corrosive poison.

Start today.  Be a Hero! Throw that sh*t out.  Real sugar is best.  Begin with detoxifying your body of all residual chemical toxins from aspartame’s chemical make up and their toxic by-products, and see if any adverse health symptoms remain.  At the very least, your brain will be clearer and your body more brilliant.

You can thank me later.

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