healthy lifestyle.

5 Link Friday: Fave YouTube Videos

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  1.  Is your busy lifestyle hindering you from preparing healthy meals? Then subscribe to the Domestic Geek. Here you will find recipes and meal prep tips on everything from smoothies, to salad in a jar and decadent deserts. The host’s upbeat attitude and fun way of preparing meals make this one of my favorite YouTube videos.
  2. is the YouTube channel for Brendon Burchard. Brendon is a life coach and self help guru with an amazing amount of energy and wisdom. With several New York Times bestsellers including, The Motivation Manifesto and The Charge, as well as over 4 million Facebook likes, well if you are not curious — what’s wrong with you? Just kidding. Check it out.
  3. “Spend less than you earn”. I heard this advice for the first time over a decade ago while listening to Anthony Robbins ‘ self help CD set “Get the Edge”. In the YouTube video Tony reviews how to end financial self-sabotage. If you are serious about financial security this video should probably be in your self help library.
  4. In this video, Dr. Mercola interviews Andrew Saul a.k.a. The Megavitamin Man. Saul is a big believer in large doses of vitamins instead of or in conjunction with destructive medications, to treat certain diseases and he has over 30 years of research to support his claim. He has several videos from which you can gather information about vitamins.
  5. Dave Ramsey’s Life, Money, Hope is a series of bible based teachings on handling money and having financial peace. Again if you are seeking financial freedom, you are missing a key piece from your arsenal if you do not watch this entire series. If you are not a believer in the bible, don’t let that deter you from listening. That will definitely be like throwing out the baby with the bath water.

I hope you enjoy this installment of 5 Link Friday. Let me know what you think about this installment, the videos you watch and about this series itself. I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment or question below. Thanks. JRF

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5 Link Friday

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This marks the first in a new series: 5 Link Friday.  I will post five links to web pages I’ve been reading and/or that may have been of help to me.  Hope you like it. Enjoy and share if you do. Hope you find them as helpful as I have.

Today, I’m sharing five websites that have helped shaped my beliefs about taking care of my mind and body.  The authors of these sites and their guests have helped me understand how to chose good foods to put into my body. They also remind me that when it comes to my body, no one knows it like I do.  Note: Not paid links.

The Truth About Cancer – Hear the experience of others who have suffered through this deadly disease. What causes cancer?  Are we doomed to it’s effects?  Is there a cure?  Bit by bit you will uncover truths you never knew about this disease that has destroyed too many lives.  You may also want to check out Chris Beats Cancer as well.

The Gabriel Method – Jon Gabriel, the author of the website has used his story of how he shed over 200 lbs mostly by using visualization to build a portfolio of helpful techniques that can guide you through your most difficult weight loss challenges.  How long has it been since you’ve been trying to lose those extra pounds. Why not see if Jon can help?

Food Matters TV – Through this website I was able to connect with the most amazing doctor, Dr. Dana Cohan, an MD who is also a Naturapathic doctor.  I’m a big fan of FM.TV, their paid subscription service – think Netflix for healthy living.  James Colquhoun and Laurentine ten Bosch, the husband and wife team who are behind the movie Food Matters and Hungry for Change have stocked their websites with a wealth of invaluable information you can turn to again and again as you build knowledge and experience you can parlay into living a healthy lifestyle.

Check them out and let me know what you think. You can start with their 10 day free trial.  I think you’ll be hooked! – Whether I’m looking for high peat organic soil or in-depth information on high intensity exercise (HITT), Dr. Mercola’s website is a wealth of verifiable health information that has, along with other resources, have steered me towards a more healthy way of eating. Dr. Mercola probably deserves some credit for my recent very high HDL results.  I find the information he doles out freely on his website to be very useful and sensible.

Longevity Warehouse – As organizer of one of the largest health conferences for women and well known raw food guru, David Wolfe has had an enormous impact on the way I think about food.  Although he didn’t coin the phrase, I learned “make food thy medicine and medicine they food” from him.  His favorite mantra I think is “you are what you eat”. So if you are starving for tried and true techniques on how to develop a healthy way of living, check out his website. This particular site is more for selling products such as raw cacao and high ORAC scoring coffee. But you will also find videos of recipes and of his conferences.

I’m very pleased to have become acquainted with the above websites. There are several more that I could list here but I think you will find a wealth of information as I have by visiting the above ones. Thanks for reading and sharing.

Have a great weekend! JRF





If I can’t eat it, can I drink it?

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Jason Vale, the Juice Master often reiterate his dislike for certain vegetables.  However he gets past his distaste by juicing.  Hence his favorite question, “if I can’t eat it, can I drink it”?  Below is a plate of freshly prepared fruits and vegetables I put together for my morning juice.

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organic beet greens, beet, pineapple, cucumber, celery, apple, carrot, lime, zucchini.

The juice was delicious but I wanted to make it a “thickie” or smoothie since it is my breakfast and possibly my lunch.

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after juicing

So I added a tiny ripe banana, 6 strawberries, and a tablespoonful each of chia, hemp, pumpkin and sunflower seeds and blended for a few seconds in the Vitamix.

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Done and delicious!

SuperJuiceMe Update: Day 14

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Today, day 14 of my SuperJuiceMe program, started with an electrolyte sodium shot (1 stalk of celery juiced with 1/2 a cucumber) followed by a three mile power walk.  I must say this has been a lot easier than I thought and I’m thinking about extending this experience beyond the 28 days.  Of course since I’m primarily doing this to lower my blood pressure, if my readings are getting lower and are low enough when I return to my doctor on day 29, I may follow another juicing regimen.  Maybe juice a couple of days per week instead.  We will see.

I have not weighed myself again and won’t do so until day 28.  I’m getting a lot of compliments on how good I look.  I have an abundance of energy so I have been exercising more and more.

The juices are very delicious and refreshing.  Sometimes I want to stick my finger into my glass, scoop out the residue and lick it.  Gross I know but I used to lick the bowl after mixing up a cake batter.  I know some of you know what I’m talking about. That is the same feeling I get after drinking a green juice which is then blended with avocado. Amazing!

A couple of “did you knows?”:

2014-06-14 19.32.37Did you know that the harder the fruit/vegetable, the more juice you can extract?

2014-06-14 19.32.37Did you know that you can juice cauliflower and asparagus?

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Did you know that if you sandwich green leafy vegetables, such as spinach between hard fruit such as an apple, you can maximize the juice yield?

So this was just a short update on my progress.  All being well, I will provide another update in seven days.  Why don’t you join me and get SuperJuiced!

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If Wishes Were Horses and all Things Organic

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organic (grass fed) yogurt, coconut chia cereal and mixed berries (strawberries, blackberries and raspberries)

So today, Nablopomo challenges us to “Tell us how you wish you ate if it’s different from your day-to-day reality.” Wow! Big one. I certainly wish I ate less processed foods like those awesome blueberry scones from Starbucks. They sure are yummy though. I also wished I ate less Trader Joe’s chocolate mint chip ice cream and way less bread.  But if you ever had a piece of hot Jamaican hard dough bread with butter, you would surely empathize.   I have been successful in cutting out meat from my diet without even a hint of craving it. However, I can’t seem to ditch ice cream or pastry.  And some would say that I don’t need to ditch ice cream but you have no idea. I can eat a pint in one sitting.  Yes, I admit it.

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Carrot, celery, beet, apple and ginger juice

On the other hand, I would be happier if I could just bring my own food to work everyday.  Yes, I do bring food sometimes. Smoothies or green juice, boiled eggs and perhaps the occasional spinach omelette.  But I would like to do this more consistently.  For me, this is because:

1- My homemade yogurt parfait taste way better and is far healthier than the stuff I buy on the street.  I also make a mean (I think) roasted butternut squash and coconut cream soup.

2- If I did this every day, I could avoid the saturated fats that restaurants use to prepare their meal.  Not to mention the abundance of sugar and sodium.  And tell me why, oh why do restaurants add bacon to everything?  I don’t get that.

But I digress.

3- I would absolutely know what is going into what I eat.

My day to day reality is full of inconsistencies.  Some days I eat like a bird — picking at this and that.  Other days, I eat whatever I feel like.  Still on other days I carefully select healthy fare for each meal and practice perfect portion control.  I must add that this inconsistent behavior with food is kind of typical of a lot of other things in my life.  Not a good observation but the truth nonetheless.  Mmm! How did I get here?

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Roasted butternut squash coconut cream soup

So basically, I wish I ate the foods I think about eating – fresh fruits and vegetables; herbs and spices; and nutrient rich, natural supplements — all the time.  I wish I wasn’t always throwing expensive, organic provisions away because I don’t make the time to prepare them.  Finally, I wish I fully utilized the measuring spoons and cups, food scale, and all the other useful kitchen tools I’m always purchasing, hoping to do better.

This topic has really given me something to think about.

M.I.A. and Dealing With High Blood Pressure

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I haven’t posted since March 12.  Apart from having a bad cold which I attribute to too many late nights up reading followed by long days at work and evening activities after work, I have not really felt much like writing.  Needless to say, I have not kept up with my March blogging action plan including NaBloPoMo. Thankfully, there’s April and a chance to start another month with new plans.

So what has been happening apart from the many long days, long nights, and a fairly harsh winter?  I decided to pay some attention to my health. Specifically, the high blood pressure (hypertension) I was diagnosed with more than 17 years ago.  I have struggled to maintain a healthy level – deemed to be 180/120, especially during the winter when I did not exercise as much.  The Mayo Clinic website gives, I think a very comprehensive overview of what hypertension is all about. They also published the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Diet research. I have reviewed the DASH Diet but have come to the conclusion that, despite its many benefits, I don’t follow instructions very well and this would be a nogo from the getgo for me. Though hypertension is common (it affects some 67 million or 31% of Americans according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is a very dangerous disease which can cause brain damage. Read Dr. Amen’s blog on this here.

Digital blood pressure monitor

Some causes of hypertension such as a lack of proper diet and exercise can be controlled with making these lifestyle changes. However, in the majority of cases, maybe 85-95%, the cause is unknown. I believe my hypertension is hereditary because members of my entire immediate and extended family, who are at least 40 years old, suffers from it and I have lost several relatives to stroke. For me, merely cutting out certain foods or adding certain others is just not enough. Believe me, I have tried.  In addition, I have tried several medications but have had so many nasty side effects/issues with them.  From headaches to coughing to falling hair, you name it, not to mention the long-term effects of taking these medications, on my kidney and liver.  I really do shudder when I read the side effects of each drug.  In addition, my insurance company prefers to pay for lots of generic medications that don’t seem to do the trick rather than a good brand name one that works well.  Also consider this – the CDC says that high blood pressure costs the United States $93.5 billion in 2010. These costs are due to health care services, medications and missed days from work” (

So I have decided to take matters into my own hands and go all out, adapting several activities and making some deliberate lifestyle changes to help me combat this disease.

Manage stress: I have decided to incorporate yoga into my weekly exercise routine as a way to assist in managing stress.  I also plan to get weekly deep tissue massages and monthly infrared sauna treatments.  Through my readings I have discovered that these activities help in de-stressing my system mentally as well as physically.  Of course, it would be much better if I could avoid stress all together but I do live in the real world.

Eliminate meat:  Although most online articles cite eating red meat as risk factor in elevating blood pressure, I had no trouble eliminating all meats, except fish from my diet.  It’s an experiment but at this stage I am willing to try anything that is not harmful. After all, I’m already ingesting chemicals through my medications daily.  This is my fourth week of going meatless and I must say contrary to what I thought, I do not miss eating meat.  I have cooked it for my children and was not tempted in the least to have any so I’m thinking this is a win for me.

Increased physical activity:  As mentioned above I will start practicing yoga and will increase walking activities.  I have no interest in going to the gym. I have done nothing but give my money away to them over the past few years because going to the gym just does not suit my lifestyle.  I’m content with walking, yoga and working out on my Pilates machine.  I also try to walk the stairs at work as often as possible. As a matter of fact,  I lost 22 lbs last year just by walking while doing Weight Watchers.

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Organic mixed berries (strawberry, blackberry, raspberry), yogurt, almond milk, flax meal, and ripe banana.

Making my food my medicine and my medicine my food: Hippocrates say “make food your medicine and medicine your food”.  It is one of David Wolfe’s favorite sayings. Eating well has always been a strong suit for me, since I was a teenager. But I must admit a sweet tooth may be what’s keeping me in trouble. I love ice cream and baked goods, especially cheesecake.  Thankfully I have no patience for baking so I settle for buying sweets on occasion.  Otherwise I would be baking to my heart’s demise. A homemade smoothie or vegetable juice always start my day.  I have pinned some of my creations on Pinterest. If I can’t drink my concoction at home, I take it to work in a mason jar or my Nutribullet cup.  I have never smoked and I rarely drink alcohol.  However, I find that hormonal changes and the current long, harsh winter has up the pressure (pun intended) and it is a daily struggle to eat less baked goods.  Thankfully, I’m not a binge eater and I gave up emotional eating a while ago.

Increase social interactions: I have begun going out more and socializing with my friends.  For example, a friend and I have partnered up to go to plays and musicals together. She realized that I was not getting out and I’m grateful for her insight here.  I am also friends with two wonderful ladies from my church to whom I’m very close. We are planning some fun activities in the coming months, including traveling.  I also gained a walking partner with whom I expect to step up my game.  I may even graduate to wogging (walking/jogging) as she is a runner and this may create some balance in our exercise relationship.  I read somewhere that social interactions is one way to help combat stress so I’m hoping that the increased social interactions will not only strengthen my bond with these lovely ladies but will also help to reduce the level of stress in my daily life.

Overall, my body is going to be what I make it.  I believe it is good to have a health professional oversee my health and well-being but I am no longer interested in surrendering my temple to someone else – other than Jesus.  My doctor is a caring and competent individual. I would not have stayed with him the last 7 years if he wasn’t.  However, noBODY knows my body like I do.  It is time for me to take the lead and focus on maintaining a healthy body.

Below are several of the resources I have used over the years.  I refer to one or more of them regularly as I build my arsenal of natural and homemade remedies.  Hopefully, this list can help someone who may be on their own journey.

Body Ecology Diet and the Baby Boomer Diet  by Donna Gates.  This is where I learned about cultured vegetables and fermented foods as a whole. Because of Donna, I have developed a real love for Kimchi because it lead me to start watching the Kimchi Chronicles hosted by Marja Vongerichten.  I have also made my own cultured vegetables and plan to make more as well as kefir, on an ongoing basis.  Fermented foods are very beneficial to the health of digestive health.

David Wolfe’s Longevity Now Program and his shopping website Longevity Warehouse where I can view many videos on making delicious and healthy concoctions, is one of my favorite resource.  I have also in the past subscribed to his forum Your Best Day Ever along with his newsletter by the same name.  One thing that I learned from David’s program is how the correct nutrients can help in reducing calcium buildup in our bodies.

Young and Raw. I participate in their monthly smoothie and juice challenges via their Facebook page.  They provide many helpful recipes and pointers.  Group members originate from across the globe and provide priceless feedback through their own success stories and comments.

Subscriptions There are lots of free books on juicing and smoothies, as well as other free or low costs books on health and well-being, available for download on your kindle or kindle app on your android phone.  They are the producer of Hungry for Change.  This film really speaks my language.

By using the knowledge I glean from the above materials and working with my doctor, I’m positive I will be able to come up with a formula to kick this hypertension to the curb.

Finally, I do believe that a healing miracle from God is not out of the question either, therefore I continue to pray and have faith believing that healing is possible.  Do you or someone you know struggle with the effects of high blood pressure?  I welcome your comments and any experience or ideas you may want to share.  Please vote below if you can as well.  Thank you.