Motivation Monday Stacey

motivation monday staceyToday’s motivation Monday is going to be about my cousin Stacey. For people who know Stacey, especially her family, they can’t help but to be inspired by her. Life has thrown some serious obstacles at her throughout the years but nothing can stop her from pushing through. Someone could write a book on all the things that life has thrown at her and most people would have a hard time believing that it all happened to one person.
Stacey is a few years older than I am. She was the first grandchild and I am the second. So just that fact always made me look up to her. We didn’t have a lot of time to spend together growing up because our parents lived in different states. When we did get together I loved being with her, she was always so funny and very blunt. By blunt I mean she tells it like it is, which, is something I admire about her. She’s a very real person, which most people have trouble doing. I’ll never forget her love of broccoli, her first car had a personalized license plate that said broccoli in fact.
I will just share a couple of things that she has been through just to show you her strength! The first thing I remember was when Stacey was 16 years old and a junior in high school she got in a horrible car accident. We didn’t know if she would make it for a while. She had so many injuries. She had to relearn to do almost everything. But she did it and still graduated high school and went onto college too. She now works as a mental health professional. Over the years she has had many things happen to her body because of that accident. She often has internal bleeding and was told she would never be able to have children. Well God had other plans and blessed Stacey and her husband with an amazing little boy, George the third otherwise known as G3.
Stacey is an amazing mom to George, she is always posting about these great crafts or projects that they are doing together at home. George is such a smart boy and I know she adores the time she gets to spend with him. I love that I get to keep up with them on Face book, but I wish we lived closer so our kids could play together. I know they would be the best of friends.
About three years back another obstacle jumped into Stacey’s life. She found out she had Lymphoma. This truly devastated her as it would anyone. She never gave up for a second, she went through chemotherapy and prepared George all along the way. She made him a therapy doll and tried to really help him deal with all the changes that she would be going through. I can’t imagine how hard it would be for a three year old to understand that their mommy is sick but that it would take a long time before she would be healed. She went into the process so strong and was very brave about losing her hair and had fun finding wigs and even named her wigs.
Throughout this time Stacey has met some amazing people who had different types of cancers. I’m sure she motivated them to make it through this even when they didn’t feel strong enough. Since then she has gotten much stronger and continues to encourage people in her survivor group. She also belongs to a Live strong workout group. She has completed a mud run and every year does a race for colon cancer, called the Undy 5000.
She is the true meaning of a survivor, she is still going to have more surgeries and obstacles but she will not stop fighting or give up! I admire her strength and the light heartedness she seems to have when facing these huge mountains. In her own words she said, “For some reason, I’m still here.” I don’t doubt for a second that God knew when he gave little George to Stacey that he knew that they both would need each other so much throughout the years. I’m so glad that she has been given this blessing to help her push through the times when she may not feel like she can take it anymore.

I hope that this encourages some of you out there today who may be struggling with whatever obstacles you have in front of you. My very brave and courageous cousin Stacey has had more than her share of hardships, but she keeps on going and you can too. Even if you aren’t facing cancer we all have struggles and moments of weakness when we feel we have more than we can take. Just keep on going and take it one day at a time, you will find a reason to keep fighting, just like Stacey has done and will continue to do for years to come! I love you Stacey, I am so glad God made us cousins. You are an inspiration to all who know you!

Super food Ch Ch Ch Chia seeds

chia-heartChia seeds are an ancient grain but a newer fad in the healthy eating world. At least I discovered them about a year ago in my health journey. Who would have thought we could eat the same very seeds that we used to grow these strange chia pet creatures when we were kids. I love to put them in every smoothie that I have. They have no taste at all and I don’t even know they are there. So for this super food post I will highlight some of the benefits of Ch-ch-ch chia seeds.
Benefits of Chia
1. They may be a natural treatment for type 2 diabetes. This is because they can slow down the process of digestion in our body. They also contain tryptophan that helps with sleep, mood, and appetite.
2. Chia is full of antioxidants and omega 3 fats. The Omega 3 fats in chia can help to reduce inflammation, and also may reduce cholesterol as well. Another thing that omega 3 fatty acids are good for is our mind, they can make your cognitive skills sharper.
3. FULL of fiber- we don’t have to talk about the benefits of fiber right? So for people who really try to pack in a lot of fiber Chia is a good way to do so, it’s a great alternative to wheat bran!
4. Helps with insulin stability, which can help with stomach fat and also bloating. It helps your body manage its insulin levels.
5. Along with lowering cholesterol, it can help with blood pressure as well. If you have metabolic syndrome, you need to put Chia into your diet.
6. Chia seeds help you to feel full after you eat them, which is a good reason to put them in smoothies!
7. Chia are a great source of calcium which can help your bones and teeth. They also have other nutrients manganese and phosphorus as well.
Ways to use Chia seeds
Chia seeds can be compared to flax seeds in their benefits, but a positive of chia seeds is you can eat them whole, you don’t have to ground them as you do Chia. As I stated earlier I always put them in my smoothies. That is the simplest way I know to use them. Here are a few recipes that I will be trying VERY soon!
This one is from http://www.thegraciouspantry.com

Clean Eating Strawberry Chia Seed Spread
Ingredients:
• 2 cups strawberries – cleaned and chopped
• 1 cup water
• 1/4 cup chia seeds
• 1/4 cup honey
Directions:
1. Place all ingredients into a metal pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat slightly so the contents of the pot don’t splatter all over your stove, but still bubbles in the pot.
3. Stir constantly! The chia seeds burn on the bottom of the pot very easily. So keep stirring (I had to change pots half way through because the seeds burned so easily).
4. Stir and boil until the mixture has reduced by half and has thickened. Again, it will not be as thick as jam, but it sill definitely thicken.
5. Pour into a clean glass jar and allow to cool for 1 hour. Place in the fridge overnight to continue cooling.
Nutritional Content:
Note: There is no way for me to know exactly how far you will boil down the spread, and therefore I have no idea how many servings this will end up being for you. The below numbers are for the entire recipe. Simply divide by the number of servings you end up with.
Calories: 904
Total Fat: 35 gm
Saturated Fats: 4 gm
Trans Fats: 0 gm
Cholesterol: 0 mg
Sodium: 28 mg
Carbohydrates: 142 gm
Dietary fiber: 48 gm
Sugars: 84 gm
Protein: 20 gm
Estimated Glycemic Load: 50

Raspberry Coconut Chia Pudding Pops
Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 4  Size: 1 popsicle  Old Points: 1 pts • Points+: 2 pts
Calories: 74 • Fat: 5 g • Carb: 6.8 g • Fiber: 4.6 g • Protein: 1.8 g • Sugar: 0.6 g
Sodium: 27 mg

Ingredients:
• 1/2 cup lite coconut milk
• 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
• 3/4 cup raspberries
• 2 tbsp chia seeds
• 1 tbsp sweetened shredded coconut
• 8 drops Nu-Naturals liquid stevia (or sugar/honey to taste)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients in a large container. Mix well and close container; refrigerate 4 hours so the chia expands.

Mint Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
(inspired by and adapted from A Dash of Compassion)
Makes two 8-ounce servings

• 1/3 cup sugar
• 1/3 cup water
• 1 handful whole mint leaves
• 1/3 cup whole chia seeds
• 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• pinch of sea salt
• 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
Directions:
• In a small pot, mix together sugar, water and mint leaves
• Bring to a boil and remove from heating, allowing to cool before using (it will thicken as it cools)
• Remove mint leaves from syrup before using
• In a high-speed blender or bowl, mix together chia seeds, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, sea salt, almond milk and two tablespoons of cooled mint simple syrup (you will have extra — pour it on ice cream or more fresh strawberries!)
• Divide mixture into two 8-ounce mason jars and refrigerate for at least two hours before serving
• Serve chilled

I hope you enjoyed this information on Chia seeds. I’m finding it easy to put this super food into my diet every day. I hope you will try some of these recipes and incorporate Ch- Ch- Ch- Chia into your life too.

Motivation Monday Christine McMillen

Motivation Monday Christine McMillien

Today’s motivation Monday post is about a lady I haven’t known very long Christine McMillen. I feel as though we had an instant bond because we are both navy wives. That really means we understand each other’s lifestyles. We also named our son’s the same name so that means she has great taste. Christine has been doing the weight loss mission with me for about 12 weeks now, and I noticed from the start that she is someone who doesn’t give up easily! As we have grown to know each other over the last months I have found out that her husband who is retired is currently deployed as a contractor. We also have had conversations about her son as well, he has a form of autism. Whenever we talk about him she always has a passion in her voice and a sparkle in her eye. Christine has a lot to juggle in life she works full time at a difficult job and many times she has long meetings and very stressful days.
One thing that spoke volumes about her drive to succeed was not too long ago when her husband was home on a rest and relaxation leave period. They took a trip to Hawaii and Christine made time to work out and make the most of that time, most people would have just simply rested but she kept on going with her goals. The very next day after she came back from her trip she came to our mission and weighed in even though her time with her hubby was quickly coming to an end. She’s so amazing!
This past week our mission was to climb a mountain. This isn’t an easy mountain by any means, it is 1,594 feet high, three miles total distance. One thing that we all love about this mission group is that it’s made for people of all levels, we are all competing with ourselves and setting goals for ourselves while encouraging our teammates. One of our rules when we do challenges is no man left behind. Well by some accident this time Christine was left behind. Little did any of us know that she had a miserable day and was looking forward to this climb, and the conversations that make her day better each Wednesday night. Well this week the norm wasn’t happening and as she struggled to keep up with the group she grew tired, both emotionally and physically. She decided to turn back and just go home.
This news soon traveled up the mountain to our trainer and he hurried down the mountain to try and catch her and to help cheer her on. He always runs up and down the mountain several times during these climbs to try and encourage all of us. He was too late and we all felt horrible that she felt so defeated. This isn’t the case with our group normally we all lift each other up. When I came home from the climb I jumped on face book to try and chat with Christine. I found her very upset and there was little anyone could do to cheer her up.
The great news is that Christine wasn’t defeated! This Saturday she climbed that mountain with our other trainer Sarah. I am so proud of Christine for accomplishing this obstacle even when she thought she wasn’t in good enough shape or that she simply would do it later. Our whole group knew that she could do it, we have seen her at the challenges and she is unstoppable.
I also have to brag again on our trainer Sarah. She took time out of her busy schedule to climb this mountain with Christine. She knew that this was something so important to Christine’s journey and that it would mean so much to her. That is another reason why I love my trainers, both of them. They share that passion for people that I share and it makes all the difference in their business.

Transform30

As many of you already know, my husband and I are starting a challenge tomorrow, called the T30 (transform30). I wanted to go into a little bit about why we are doing this. Most people see me as pretty fit and in good shape, neither of us are overweight, and we have no current health problems. Our reasoning behind this is to just feel better! Sure along the way we may shed some pounds and inches, which will be pluses of the program. As a family, we eat healthier than most American families, but there is always room for improvement. We want to rid our bodies of toxins and just see what this program can do for us. We have done our research on challenges like this, and this one is the best around! The best part of this is that we are doing it together, we will have moments of weakness I’m sure, but we are in this together. Everything works better when you have a buddy along for the ride.

My friends who have already been doing this challenge for a while are having AMAZING results, and the best part is their energy levels. I think we all could use more energy for sure! So tonight, we will take some pictures so that we can truly see the results along the way. Feel free to cheer us on, or maybe even join in with us! It’s only 30 days, which may seem like a lot, but it will go by quickly. It just takes a little planning along the way. I’m looking forward to what simply putting more plants into our bodies and less processed crap will do, and how we will feel! Check out my website for more information or to contact me. http://crystalstephenson.transform30.com
t30challenge

Fitness Friday SGO Fitness

gogartys

This Fitness Friday I am going to focus on the people who really helped me get to where I am today. As I have said before I never was active my entire life. Well a little over 2 years ago a good friend of mine gave me a gift certificate for a free month of boot camp! As a girl who likes the word FREE I knew I needed to use this coupon. I received it for Christmas, so my plan was to start in January as so many people often do.

I remember the night before my first day, I was terrified, just the words boot camp brought me to thinking of Jillian Michaels screaming in my ear, or my worst fear being humiliated in front of people I don’t know. I barely got any sleep that night just playing through possible scenarios of what I knew was going to happen to me.

Well the day came and I went through with my new found resolution to lose weight and get into shape, for probably the first time in my life. My fears and worries were all wrong of course as we all find in life most times. What I did find however was a family. These were people who I could share jokes with, who would learn to know me so well that they can push me to levels I could never begin to push myself. I found a support system that is so important in a weight loss situation.

As I said this was two years ago and I am still a part of the SGO Fitness family. The whole group is amazing. I have met people of all types who I have learned so much about life from, which has also shaped me into who I am today. I have reached goals that I NEVER thought I would ever begin to accomplish. Most importantly I have friends who I know consider family. Even when my family moves to a new duty station I know they will remain a big part of my life forever.

I have heard so many people talking about bad experiences with trainers, or in gyms. So many people begin that resolution like I did that January and they don’t have a happy ending like I do today. They have the opposite experience happen to them. I am overjoyed that my fears were wrong and that I took that step into the unknown because I don’t know where I would be today if I hadn’t taken that step.
So for any friends out there who are having a hard time getting started or feel like your road is many miles long, it’s so important to find an activity that you love just like I love boot camp. IT will make all the difference in your success. Find friends who are uplifting and encouraging just like my SGO Fitness family.

I’m not saying that this journey is over by any means, or that I haven’t had sore muscles or never wanted to give up. All those things have happened multiple times, but Sean and Sarah Gogarty are the kind of people that will lift you up and remain positive in any situation. Thanks Sean and Sarah for your friendship, positive attitudes, and knowing just the words to say in every situation! I love you both!

Local Friends if you want to join in my experience and start your journey to health, it doesn’t matter what shape you are in or your age. Ability level doesn’t matter either. They will make it possible for anyone to participate in fitness and you will enjoy it on the way! http://www.sgofitness.com

Here’s a workout I did with SGO this week for anyone to try.

SGO Fitness Bootcamp Workout
By: Sarah Gogarty (ACE-CPT)

Dynamic Warm up (10 minutes)

Bodyweight no rest HIIT circuits
30 seconds work, no rest x 3 sets

Wide squats
Heel clicks
Alternating Side Lunges
Skaters

1/2 Burpees
Squat Kicks
Mountain Climbers
Bike crunches

Push Up Jacks
Back Extensions
Surfers
Toe Touch Crunch

Toe taps in right
Sprinter start right
Toe taps in left
Sprinter start left

Burpees
Chatteranga
Boxer fast feet
Boxer shuffle

Cool Down and Stretch

Super Food Coconut Oil

coconut oil
My trainer Sarah probably knew this one was coming. I am always talking about Coconut oil. I am in love with it. There are so many uses for it not only dietary uses either. You can put it on your face as a make-up remover/ moisturizer, use it for dry skin or eczema, or of course there are many cooking options as well. We will stick to mainly cooking and benefits of it for today though.
From Dr. Oz’s website: Coconut oil is high in antioxidants and is very heart healthy. It can help boost your immunity to bacteria and viruses. It can also help with thyroid function as well as help maintain blood sugar. Other helpful benefits of coconut oil are that it can help reduce cholesterol, and aid in digestion.
Some ways you can use it are of course in baking, simply omit the other oils and substitute coconut oil. It goes well with kale and other leafy vegetables, or in oatmeal. Make sure you buy the organic virgin variety of coconut oil if you are going to use it, quality is VERY important with this oil.
Some major benefits of coconut oil are:
1. It contains lots of saturated fats which we are learning aren’t as bad for you as we originally thought. In moderation of course don’t go out and put coconut oil in EVERYTHING you eat. They go straight to the liver from the digestive tract, where they are used as a quick source energy or turned into so-called ketone bodies, which can have therapeutic effects on brain disorders like epilepsy and Alzheimer’s.

2. The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil have been shown to increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term.

3. It can also help lower your blood cholesterol levels and help safeguard against heart disease as well.

4. Coconut oil can help protect your hair from damage, moisturize your skin, and be used as a sunscreen as well!

5. One other factor of CO is that using it can help prevent seizures in children who are prone to them.

http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

Recipes with Coconut Oil:

Mom’s Salmon Patties
• 6 ounces salmon (I used Bear & Wolf Wild Alaskan Pink Salmon canned from Costco)
• 1 egg, scrambled
• 1 pinch ground sage
• 2 Tablespoons almond flour
• 1 teaspoon coconut flour
• salt
• pepper
• butter or coconut oil
This recipe makes 3 patties.
This is a very simple recipe inspired by my mother’s recipe, and her recipe inspired by her mother, my grandmother. Grandma called the Salmon Croquettes, but she dipped hers in flour before frying. My mother had a slightly different version, and the one you see above is my revision.
As I mentioned, this is a super easy recipe. If you’re using canned salmon, simply open the can and if your brand contains bones or skin, remove both leaving only the flakes of fish.
Pour the salmon into a bowl, break the fish into small pieces, and add in the scrambled egg and all other ingredients. Mix gently and allow to sit for about two minutes so that the coconut flour can absorb the moisture.
Use a 1/4 cup measuring cup to form patties.
Melt your favorite fat in a skillet and heat until nice and hot. Drop the patties in and sauté for about two minutes on each side to brown. These stuck in my stainless skillet so be sure to use plenty of fat.
Turn down heat and continue to cook on each side about two minutes until the patties feel firm.
Three patties contains: 340 calories, 45 grams protein, 17 grams fat and 5 carbohydrates.

You can read the original post here: http://gapsdietjourney.com/2012/01/recipe-moms-salmon-patties/

The following recipe is non-edible. I haven’t tried this yet, but I have been wanting to. I have a friend who thinks I am strange for wanting to make all these things homemade but I have my reasons. Regular deodorants have aluminum in them which has been linked to Alzheimer’s.

Homemade Deodorant Recipe with Rosemary, Lemongrass, and Coconut Oil
2 tbsp. beeswax granules
1¼ tbsp. Shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, etc. (I used Shea)
1¼ tbsp. coconut oil
½ tbsp. bentonite clay
½ tbsp. baking soda
10 drops lemongrass essential oil
6 drops rosemary essential oil
1. In a double boiler, or a small saucepan over very low heat, combine the beeswax, coconut oil, and Shea butter until melted completely and mixed well.
2. Whisk in the baking soda and bentonite clay until well combined.
3. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes and then stir in your essential oils.
4. Take an old (clean) deodorant stick and make sure the plunger thing is twisted all the way down. Carefully pour your warm mixture into the container
5. Let sit with the cap off until it has cooled completely. Then, use as normal.

Motivation Monday Erika

ImageThis week’s motivation Monday picture is of my dear friend Erika! I have known Erika for about 4 years. Our youngest children were in a mommy and me preschool class together. We quickly learned that our children were becoming very special friends and our friendship would also blossom quickly as well. Erika is the kind of mom that really does so much for her children and for other people’s children as well. She is always at her children’s school volunteering and running around taking kids here and there. Sometimes the kids aren’t even her own, but she does it with a smile. Well as most busy moms, usually we put our own needs last. We make sure everyone else is taken care of and there is no energy left at the end of the day for ourselves.

Well Erika has recently decided to start making time for her health, and I am so proud of her! When Erika sets out to do something, she doesn’t do it lightly, she does it with her whole self. She started boot camp classes with me and she really steps it up a notch. One day while we were doing a competitive game I looked across the field and I saw someone do a flip and then a roll onto the ground. I was staring in amazement, then I noticed it was Erika and I was then even more shocked, it looked like a move out of the NFL!

Another story about our friendship, Erika decided to join me on a hike around Christmas time. This isn’t an ordinary hike, it’s a 6.4 mile hike with an epic rock climb at the top to get onto the picturesque potato chip rock. This rock gets its name from the way it looks obviously. It’s very thin and if you have a misstep you will plummet to your death. Well Erika is afraid of heights. We got onto the rock by some miracle (neither of us really were excited about this part) and we are about to snap a picture together and I move closer to Erika for the picture and she says, “DON’T TOUCH ME!” This is why I picked Erika for this week’s motivation picture! She went on a women’s retreat this weekend and I was so proud of her when I saw these pictures of here repelling herself across a very high wire. I’m so amazed at the level she brings to the workouts and to life in general. She motivates me to push it to the next level and to go out of my comfort zone. I know have to really push my sprints to the next level at boot camp, because she is always on my heels. Erika, I am SO proud of you, keep up the good work girl!