On 1-7-11 This Blog Moves to LifeBlissSolutions.com

Hello beauties!  Yes, we’re moving.  Our content will be the same but the blog will be a part of the LifeBliss Solutions website.  This will be convenient for you because you will be able to get the fantastic Goddess lifestyle goodies and LifeBliss Solutions news and event information all in one place!

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Stay safe, have fun, and see you next year at LifeBliss Solutions!

I’m thinking about keeping Passion Fruit though.  Maybe make it into a tantra blog?  Hmmm.

Lifestyle Change, What is it exactly?

You’ve heard it on Oprah.  You read it in a book by Dr. Oz.  You’ve seen it thrown around year after year like a rag doll.  Let’s just stop the b.s.  Is it a real lifestyle change that you can live with, or just a perpetual diet, based on the premise that you’d rather be miserable than overweight?  Like the woman I know who works at the weight loss clinic I used to go to, who only eats 10 foods, all low carb fruits and vegetables all week long only to “treat” herself with pancakes on the weekends?  She’s shaped like a skeleton and rarely smiles.  Or like the gung-ho gym guy who told me that if I wanted to slim down and maintain it I’d never be able to eat another cookie again for the rest of my life?

Stop Stop Stop!!!

Lifestyle change is perpetual, ongoing, forever.  But it’s not a diet!

Lifestyle change, in the context of LifeBliss Solutions, means making  fundamental changes in the way you do things so that they support, not sabotage your efforts at being healthy and happy.

For example, take Marita.  She’s a single suburban mom with 3 children.  She’s also a busy professional with a lengthy commute and thinks she doesn’t have enough time to prepare nutritious meals that her children will eat for dinner on weeknights.  She ended up going through a fast food drive thru twice a week, which was sabotaging her efforts at maintaining a healthy weight because she was eating  junky food too late in the evening.  To solve the problem she began doing basic food prep for dinners on the weekend and mid-week, and packing larger lunches and making dinner the lightest meal of the day.  She also incorporated some raw dishes to cut down on prep time and her children loved it, especially because they got to help make the meals.  With her lifestyle change, she was able to drop that 15 lbs of fat and she kept it off.  As the children got older, things got even easier.  She made a few more practical changes but NO DIET, NO CONTRIVED WORKOUTS.

In order to make effective lifestyle changes, you have to first identify your current lifestyle problems.  Then, you have to keep a wide open mind for solutions.  The key element of lifestyle change is to be honest about what changes you are able and willing to cope with for the rest of your life, that won’t make you miserable in the process.

Happy Solstice and Welcome to the Golden Age of Truth and Beauty

It’s December 21, 3:28am, the winter solstice 2010.  I woke up to get a glimpse of the total lunar eclipse this morning.  Earlier I had been looking for historical or ancient symbolism of this unique event, a lunar eclipse on the winter solstice.   The winter solstice is the time when the sun reaches its lowest point in the northern sky.  The day of the winter solstice is essentially the shortest of the year in the Northern Hemisphere.  The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days.

While I gazed out of my bedroom window (did you think I was really going outside in the 20 degree temps?) at the progression of the eclipse, it came to me.  The solstice is the darkest and longest night of the year.  From here it only gets brighter.  This coupled with the dark crimson moon  reminded me that we are currently experiencing a time of  Kali Yuga, or dark age (not the Goddess Kali).  According to the Hindu faith, Kali Yuga is literally  the age of the male demon, or the age of vice.  Kali Yuga is the last of the four natural stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures.

The bright and luminous moon, closely associated with the divine feminine, grew duller and duller.  It made me think of recent times of women forgetting about their divine essence,  and the feminine attributes of nurturing, collective cooperation, creativity and deep respect for the environment.  It made me lament that women have been affected by corporate conditioning, hiding their true beauty behind plastic masks and starving their bodies in pursuit of the perpetually unattainable standardization.  I thought of the unnecessary pain and abuse of not only women, but of humankind worldwide, due to excessive greed, jealousy, selfishness, and aggression characteristic of this dark age.

I couldn’t help but imagine that in this time of darkness (well not really for me, I’m a city dweller and there’s light pollution) is a very important event.  Within the next hour, we will begin to see Luna’s re-emergence as a bright and powerful cosmic entity.  Slowly I’ll watch as the darkness again becomes light.  Is this our release from 432,000 years of  Kali Yuga, or dark age?

I am not Hindu (so please forgive me) but I would like to believe that this is the end of Kali Yuga and the beginning of the Golden Age of Truth.  Women and girls will once again recognize their power and beauty.  The world as a whole (feminine and masculine) will begin to experience a divine feminine spiritual revolution and enjoy the benefits of a more evolved and civilized egalitarian society?

Today’s event can serve as an inspiration.  I will start with myself right now.  I can spare a little (actually a lot) more general kindness to people around me.  I will pay more attention to the needs of others, instead of ignoring them because I’m crankified.  Although I love my body and am generally comfortable in it, I have my moments.  I am going to appreciate and adore it more, even the parts that tend to annoy me (the hereditary belly pooch).  Adoring my body includes getting it into the best shape in can be in, without extreme measures or harmful abuse.  (I need to lose a few pounds of fat).

What will YOU do to bring on the Golden Age of Truth and Beauty?

Working Smarter, not Harder, for Fitness

This morning I went for a 3-3.5 mile brisk walk.  I am recovering from some bizarre (and common) knee ailment that involves pain, clicking, crunching, and swelling.  I don’t even remember any injury.  I just woke up one morning busted.  So, today I’m not having any knee discomfort, even after my morning exercise. I’m happy about this.

Usually when I go out to walk I end up running.  I hate running but in my mind I’m getting it over with so I speed it up.   It used to Not my goalbother me when the strange bone-thin ultra-animated yuppie snot showoffs rudely breeze past me (invading my personal space).  But not today.  Things are different.  AND, today a rude dork came very close to getting flattened by an SUV that I had stopped at the intersection to avoid, how embarrassing, that snot.

Anyway, back to running vs. walking.  I am fully aware that in the end your can get rid of more fat for the amount of exercise time by running.  But when you start having aches and pains, like last year’s boot camp injury, plantar fasciitis, it’s time to tone it down.  My body sent me a message and I am listening. I’m not 20 years old anymore.  I need my feet and knees for what I love, dancing.  So I’m not running anymore.  I will have to exercise longer at the lower intensity to get the same results.  It’s well worth it to me to not dread my workout and also to not have these injuries that could stop me from dancing forever.  I have a friend in her mid 40s who just had a hip replacement and is learning how to walk again, thanks to her ignoring of her body telling her that running was destroying her.  I certainly don’t want to go through that.

There are plenty of other things that I can do to make up that calorie-burning deficit.  Things that I think are fun and don’t seem like exercise, like (belly, soca, freestyle, wild woman) dance!

Lesson to be learned: one size does not fit all.  We each have a set of abilities and limitations that need to be considered when we set our fitness challenges and goals.  It’s best to do an honest assessment and adjust accordingly.  Most of us are not designed to be a size zero.  But all of us can become a little fitter, a little sexier, and a little happier with a customized plan of action that doesn’t involve pain and torture.  LifeBliss Solutions is launching a program to help you get your groove back in March.  Stay tuned.

Countdown to the Throwdown: Planning a Thanksgiving Feast

I so love preparing a feast of epic proportions for my family and friends to enjoy.  I went to get a pad and pen to jot down my plan to keep from spending all day Thanksgiving in the kitchen this year.  Instead, I’m here, sharing my thoughts with you.  There will be four courses and lots of wine, and I want to partake in the festivities while I throw down in the kitchen.  As always, every single dish will be fresh and home made by me, except the pie crusts (total pains in the ass last year), the macaroni pasta, and whole grain cornbread, made from the Hodgsen Mill mix.  This will take some strategic planning.

The Branscomb Thanksgiving 2010 Menu:

1st course

Butternut squash soup

Green salad with grapes, pecans, and gorgonzola

Main course

Herb roasted turkey

Cornbread and crab dressing

Wild mushroom gravy

Roasted garlic red smashed potatoes

Macaroni and cheese

Old fashioned mixed greens

Sautéed green beans with shallots and almonds

Dessert

Apple pie

Sweet potato pie

The plan:

Sunday – make herbed olive oil

Tuesday – make cranberry sauce and refrigerate.  Mix brine and refrigerate. Make butternut squash soup and refrigerate.

Wednesday – take frozen greens out and refrigerate.  Put together macaroni and cheese and refrigerate.  Put together sweet potato pies and refrigerate, make apple filling and refrigerate.  Bake cornbread. Saute dressing stuff and refrigerate. Soak the turkey in the brine.

Thanksgiving  day- Roast turkey, make mashed potatoes, saute green beans, toss salad, bake dressing, macaroni and cheese, and pies.  Fellow kitchen superheroes, what’s YOUR plan?

Nutritional Density: Let me break it on down (Part 3) Forget it, Just Eat Twinkies

Of course you have heard about the Kansas State University human nutrition Professor Haub, who lost 27 pounds eating Twinkies, donuts, candy bars, and other jank.  It was an experiment to test his theory:  “In weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most — not the nutritional value of the food.” So, that’s all folks, let’s just all stuff ourselves with ultra-processed snack cakes and live happily and skinnily ever after, Yay!

NOT SO FAST, PRETTIES!

I absolutely hate these types of stories because in a society where the average viewer had the attention span of a flatworm, inevitably people will take this and run with it the wrong way.  So put the donuts down, I’m gonna break this on down for you right now.  Please share it with any over-zealous cake eaters in your life.

Twinkies

Every person is not fat for the same reasons.  Professor Haub expressed that pre-Twinkie diet, despite eating whole grains, fresh fruits, vegetables, and occasional treats he wasn’t what he considers healthy, simply because he ate too much.  Too many calories, portion sizes too large.  So he was fat because he just ate too much.  On his Twinkie experiment he limited his caloric intake to less than 1800, instead of his normal intake of 2600 calories per day and lost weight.  However, not everyone is fat simply because of portion size/high caloric intake.  In many cases the culprit is an imbalance of the types of nutrients: fats, protein, and carbohydrates, which is directly related to nutritional density.  Take Judy (not her real name) for example.  Judy is from Georgia and grew up on some good old fashioned soul food, and you know what I’m talking about.  Fried chicken, greens with hamhocks, fried pork chops, and macaroni and cheese that would make you smack your mama.  Guess why she was fat.  She consumed way too much fat.  She did cut calories and portion sizes and would lose a handful of pounds and would very quickly plateau.  She wasn’t fat because she ate too much, she was fat because she ate too much fat.  Don’t get me wrong, she did have to reduce her overall caloric intake to achieve and maintain her healthy weight.  But the process went easier, faster, and lasted longer when she added more high-fiber fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at the same time as her moderate overall calorie reduction.

On his nutrient deprived junk food diet the professor must have been starving, both literally and figuratively, and here is why.  Nutrient dense foods may have fewer calories but the comparatively higher water and fiber content makes these foods much more filling and satisfying.  For example, many years ago I used to eat Jiffy cornbread.  Jiffy is made with refined flour, is high in sugar and low in fiber.  [ 1/4 cup (1/6 package), 170, 4.5g, 27g, 2g Fiber: 1g]  I could eat the entire thing by myself, yes it is delicious!  But I switched to Hodgson Mill cornbread, which is slightly less sweet, tastes better, and is made with mostly whole grain, with [Serving size 1/4 cup (1/6 package), Calories: 130, fat: 1g, Carbs 27g, Protein: 4g, Fiber: 3g].  But the biggest difference is that I can’t eat another bite more than one or two slices of the Hodgsen Mill cornbread which adds up to about 130-260 calories, much less than the whole pan of Jiffy cornbread at whopping 1020 calories!

According to the highly respected Discovery Health expert, Dr. Mehmet Oz,

Since more than 40% of the calories in the American diet are derived from sugar or refined grains, both of which are nutrient depleted, Americans are severely malnourished.  Refined sugars cause us to be malnourished in direct proportion to how much we consume them.  They are partially to blame for high cancer and heart attack rates we see in America.

Nutritional density is extremely important to not only weight loss, but to overall wellness and disease prevention.  We didn’t even go into the disease discussion.

Families who live in food deserts, usually in very impoverished urban or rural communities, have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, so they often rely on the kind of food Haub was eating. I also took offense to Professor Haub’s statement,

These foods are consumed by lots of people,” he said. “It may be an issue of portion size and moderation rather than total removal. I just think it’s unrealistic to expect people to totally drop these foods for vegetables and fruits. It may be healthy, but not realistic.

While I do agree that it is unrealistic (and unnecessary) to expect people to eliminate junk food entirely from their diets, I can not throw my hands up and say to hell with the fact that some communities basically get all of their food from convienience stores, and are suffering from obesety and various serious ailments as a result.  We will cover this important issue in a later post.

No Fake Ass Food and (New Rule) No Real Food Faking as Other Food

I saw this “healthy mac and cheese recipe” and my foodilicious panties got all in a bunch!  I am all for taking a classic dish and making it a little healthier.  Like greens, nowadays I use smoked turkey neck to season them if I’m using meat at all, instead of the traditional pork.  Or using whole grain pastry flour to make my pizza crust.

I saw this on the site of a totally cool healthy foodie but she lost major points on this one.  Here’s what’s in the fake ass healthy “mac and cheese”:

Looks delish huh?

spaghetti squash
cashews
nutritional yeast
Arrowroot starch (just for thickening)
lemon, juiced
dry mustard
turmeric
paprika
sesame seeds or tahini
miso paste
garlic
sea salt

WTH!!!!  Does your macaroni and cheese normally taste nutty?  Lemony?  There’s no cheese nor anything remotely cheese-like!  I wanted this to be a good dish when I saw the spaghetti squash.  It has the shape of pasta but not the texture.  If you’re okay with that then mo’ power to you.  But one of the major attractions to mac and cheese is its TEXTURE!  It’s just not acceptable.  I’m being closed minded.  I’m not gonna even try that crap.  I may have been a little more understanding if this were not even offered as a mac and cheese alternative, but as spicy, lemony, nutty squash crap.  I’d try it then.

I have a better alternative to mac and cheese that won’t piss you off, cheesy quinoa.  Although quinoa is technically a seed it has a starchy mouthfeel.  And when you add some real cheese–badow!  you’ve got something your family won’t stage a violent mutiny over.  And oh, so simple:

Prepare quinoa as the instructions say.

Add a little milk or soy milk, stir in some mild cheddar cheese, and salt to taste.

Trust me!  I wouldn’t try to pull the wool over your foodie eyes.

It’s fine to substitute or make things similar to others but the nutty-lemony spaghetti squash trying to pass as macaroni and cheese is simply perpetrating a serious fraud.  Remember, everything tasty won’t kill you.

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