Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve Food Prep

“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. ” 

― Walt Disney Company

So today was food preparation day since I have been saying for a while that New Year's Day was the day I was going to start a strict diet for 30 days. I am not even labeling it a New Years resolution but yet using New Years as a reason to start new. It is very much needed as I have gotten a bit off track this holiday season and since I am unable to workout much at all with my back diet is extremely important. This not just to keep my weight down even though that is a huge part but also to see how diet can improve an injury such the one I have been dealing with for over 6 months. 

I will be starting the whole 30 diet first thing in the morning. 

Step One: Clean out your fridge. 

Now I am not one big on wasting but sometimes it is necessary to get you on the right track otherwise you will always have a reason to not do something. 

Step Two: Place all your produce out so it reminds you it exists.

Step Three: Make sure you have containers. Not just for packing the food you cook but to also bring your food to work. Having food with you at all times in a necessity.

First up....Spaghetti Squash. I cut it in half. Place it upside down in a microwavable dish with a little water covering the bottom. Then I microwave for 10 mins.

First mistake....or well first mistake I am admitting to is leaving butter on top of the microwave while I cook spaghetti squash. The clean up got a bit messy needless to say. 

Next up...Mashed sweet potatoes. Now normally I cook my sweet potatoes in the microwave but I have say this way the potatoes turned out much better even though the process was way longer. 

If I had paid much attention to the recipe I would of remembered that I should of been looking for the potatoes to be drooling should I say. So the first time I took them out I started cutting them up realizing they were not done yet. Back in the oven they went until the caramelizing process started. Yum....

Ok it would of been nice if my dog got up and helped me a bit but she was having too much fun enjoying the first. Look at that smile! :)

I am a big fan of coconut oil but since budget has been a big issue recently I chose to buy a tremendously big bottle of olive oil from Costco since I was positive that would last me a while and it was much cheaper. Just because funds are tight doesn't mean you can't make this work. 

Next up....sauteed onions and mushrooms with garlic. Why? Well why not I guess. I have done many diets before and I know if I don't do something to spice up the chicken it will get very boring after a while. 

And now of course the chicken. Sauteed a little in a pan to brown each breast and then popped it in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 mins. Came out a bit dry so it probably didn't need to cook that long. Lesson learned I will eat it anyway. This food is not to be wasted.

Of course I didn't have a plan before throwing the chicken on to cook so I had to scramble for some quick spice ideas. Nothing much simpler then salt and pepper. Of course if you notice the box below I had to do some digging since I haven't been cooking a lot recently and the chicken was cooking fast and not waiting for me to figure out what spices I was going to use. 

Of course in the end finding out my thermometer was broken I couldn't make sure the chicken was 165 degrees so I just went with the good old cutting open and making sure it wasn't pink and was flaky.

Of course when you are working on eating healthy water just automatically comes with it and since I don't like water much expect Evian which is one of the most expensive waters out there and coconut water which cost even more. I have to get creative.

Now at this point in the day I decided to forget or just skip breakfast all together. Its early afternoon and I am completely exhausted. So lesson learned for sure. I had to put my cooking to work to give me a few calories so I could get back on my feet. Of course as I sat down to eat I decided I was done cooking for the day. Being at a complete loss of motivation and energy. I believe I have prepared enough food to get a great start in the morning. 

Man, for someone that really dislikes cooking this is certainly one of the hardest parts of eating healthy for me. I already this will be very difficult but it is my determination that has gotten me through every difficult situation I encounter.

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

My application to the University of Washington

This week I will be completing my application to the University of Washington Bachelor in Nursing Degree Program. This is a huge step for me in my career and by no doubt will not be easy. Of course when is anything worth doing easy. I pride myself in having to work extra hard in everything I do but I rejoice in the fact that I never give up. 


Ever since graduating nursing school, I have known I wanted to pursue a more advanced degree, because when I do something I want to do it to the best of my ability which requires continuing to increase my knowledge to better care for others. During the last 9 years working as a nurse, I have traveled around the country gaining vast amounts of knowledge in different specialties and experience in some of the top facilities in the country. This has helped me to see the good and bad of healthcare, what we are doing right, and what we can improve upon.

My career path has not been without its twists, turns, and bumps in the road. From the very beginning, I have had to push on when people told me that I should not bother pursuing such a profession. Had I believed them, I could have resigned myself to the fact that I had neither the money, nor the academic aptitude for advancing my education. My account of my father's struggle with Multiple Sclerosis and its effect on the rest of my family gained me a scholarship and off to college I went. With my strengths not being an ability to learn quickly and effortlessly, but rather in my level of drive and determination to succeed, I knew I would have to put in a lot of extra time, and use every resource at my disposal to achieve my dream. I struggled a lot. I had horrible test anxiety. Every time someone told me it was not worth it and that I should just quit, I knew that there was one more person that I could prove wrong. That is exactly what I did. This experience has served me well throughout my career as I have worked in many different facilities, and with many years spent as a travel nurse I have had to become comfortable with ever changing and not always the most welcoming environments.

I have had the unique pleasure of working in many different locations throughout my career. My experience has taken me not only to different facilities, but to different cities, states, and regions of the country. My desire to help those who need it most has been an excellent fit so far. Not only have I been able to learn how to work effectively with vastly different personalities, almost everywhere I have gone I have had an opportunity to work extensively with the local homeless population and with a great number of IV drug users. Those among us who have been written off by most of society as a lost cause, still need and deserve to be cared for. Every person who looks the other way or mutters under their breath as they walk by these people has squandered an opportunity to make a difference in someone's day, maybe even their life.

I have been selected for and have pursued a variety of leadership opportunities in my organization, including being a charge nurse and representing my department in the clinical practice council. I have also been nominated and elected as the future chair of the council for 2014. I am an active part of a mindfulness based stress reduction group in my organization which is at the beginning stages of researching and working with pilot groups to future see how we can implement these tools within the organization to not only provide better care for the patients but for the staff as well. I have received many letters of recognition from patients and staff.

Recently, I was selected to give a speech for the American Heart Association at Cheney Stadium about my own personal transformation to encourage and inspire others to live healthier lives. I truly believe that we cannot provide what we don't have ourselves. If healthcare providers don't care for themselves how can they teach others to provide this care and be the example?  To further my mission to lead by example, I have enrolled in a teacher training program starting in February to become a yoga instructor. I feel this will be a valuable contrast to my other fitness related certifications and credentials which I put to use when I volunteered to teach a circuit training class at Tacoma General Hospital to employees. This is my way of giving back to other healthcare workers and helping them change their own life so they can in turn better change the lives of the patients they care for.

 My reasons for pursuing my BSN not only lie in my passion to better myself but to also put my career in a position where I will be able to have a greater influence in improving the working environment of the front line staff and have more of a direct impact in improving the quality of life for the staff and the patients. After my BSN my ambition lies in pursuing my masters in healthcare leadership and being the type of leader the doesn't just give orders but inspires others to keep the dream alive and continuing to make an impact in the lives of others.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

New Year Better You: What will you do?

So we are only a few days away from 2014. I hear some people say New Years resolutions are stupid. But from what I can see a resolution to better yourself would only be stupid when um...actually I don't see any reason a goal would be stupid. People say when you make a New Years resolution it never happens. If you want to accomplish a goal you have to work toward it. Unfortunately we can't just say my New Years resolution is to lose weight and never take the appropriate steps toward achieving that goal and expect it to happen. I personally think New Years is a great time to set a goal. Sometimes or mist of the time we need a reason to get started with something and if New Years can be enough of a reason for you to take that first step then what are you waiting for?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

A Birthday Wish

A birthday wish and birthday cheer create smiles for another year. With friends by your side, we gather all night with hugs and cheers to start a great year. 

I had such a great birthday surrounded by so many great friends with lots of hugs and smiles. I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people in my life and I look forward to making this year a fantastic year! 

"A friend is someone who understand your past, believes in your future, and accepts you today just the way you are."

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


                   "Some people confuse acceptance with apathy but there's

all the difference in the world.  Apathy fails to distinguish
what can and cannot be helped; acceptance makes the
distinction.  Apathy paralyzes the will-to-action;
acceptance frees it by relieving it of impossible burdens."

-  Arthur Gordon

Acceptance is recognizing a process or condition (often a negative or uncomfortable situation) without attempting to change it, protest, or exit. It is a response to anything occurring in any moment of life. There, strength, peace and serenity are available when one stops struggling to resist, or hang on tightly to what is so in any given moment.

Apathy is lack of interest, enthusiasm, or concern. It is a state of indifference, or the suppression of emotions such as concernexcitementmotivation and/or passion.

Sometimes life brings us curve balls that we can't dodge from. Now of course if we had a time machine maybe we could go back and do something differently. But as far as I know there is no time machine. And would we really want one if it did exist? This is life. People get hurt, sick, die and most of the time for an unknown reason. Things aren't really fair or even make since. People who get sick didn't do anything wrong most often to be put in that situation. It just happens.

I think this is why acceptance is so important. It will help us to make the life we have the happiest life we can. Really if you think about it our life doesn't have to be long to be great. It doesn't have to be full to be meaningful.

I definitely know what its like to struggle, to accept life for what it is. For how it is. I feel its about creating a balance between determination to never give up and acceptance. I think we can have them both at the same time. Just because you accept this moment for how it is doesn't mean you are not going to continue to move forward in your life. I also don't think of acceptance as giving up. Because giving up and doing nothing will not only keep you from moving forward in your life but it will always push you further back.

I know when I went to my doctors appointment yesterday he really said something that clicked with me. When I told him I refused to give up hope that things can be better he said that was good because if you give up hope you won't even try to get better anymore which means you will actually get worse. So just say you try to get better but you end up maintaining it still seems like a much better quality of life then getting worse. If you don't like your situation now you certainly won't like it then. If I sit at home on the couch and take pain pills my health will deteriorate. That is a fact. But if I keep pushing obviously within limits and those limits will be a learning lesson but if keep pushing I will continue to improve the quality of my life and happiness.

Just remember we all struggle, we all fall down and you are not alone. Remember things can be better even if it is just accepting in our mind that it is so.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

New Year Better You



Even though we don't need to wait until the new year to set goals and change our life sometimes we need something to help kick start us and I firmly believe a new year is a great way to get you on the right path to a newer and better you. 

Starting January 1st I am going to do the Whole 30 Diet again to get my new year off to a good start. I know from experience that healthy eating makes me feel incredible. And with my current injury preventing me from being able to workout at this time I know the one thing I can control is my diet. That is the one thing that can keep me feeling and looking good. Of course the holidays brings lots of temptation and challenges in this area so even I need to get back on track. 

Whole 30:

I have so many goals I want to accomplish fitness wise but at this time none are possible. If this changes by the new year it will be the most exciting new year I have ever had but if it doesn't I will work with what I have. That's all we can do in life really. 

Water vs. Rock

"People don't resist change. They resist being changed!"

— Peter Senge

This is really so true if you think about it. If the change in our life is our idea we are very happy with it aren't we? But what if the change is an obstacle we didn't choose and that is steering us away from the life we were planning. In some ways we can choose the direction of our life but sometimes we can't. Sometimes to get to that life we dreamed or try to get there we have to stop resisting. We have to move with change and not against it. Accepting things as they are. If you think of it like water. Water is one of the strongest things on earth if not the strongest. But its strength lies in its flexibility and persistence. And really that is how life is. We may not always get what we want right away. We may have to work for it. But if we stand firm and resist we may never be able to penetrate the obstacle we face but yet if we are flexible and move with it we may just be able to sneak through the cracks. Look at a boxer for instance, if the boxer stands firm he will get hit and risk defeat. But if he moves with the punches, flowing in between them he can get out of the way and in the end suffer less and stand longer through the fight. This task is not easy but with practice we will find less resistance and with that greater strength to endure what we must and cherish what we can. 

"Pain is a relatively objective, physical phenomenon; suffering is our psychological resistance to what happens. Events may create physical pain, but they do not in themselves create suffering. Resistance creates suffering. Stress happens when your mind resists what is... The only problem in your life is your mind's resistance to life as it unfolds."

-  Dan Millman

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Learning the hard way

"The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward."

- Rocky Balboa

Many times in life we have to learn the hard way. When you were a kid and your mom told you not to touch the hot stove cause it would hurt did you believe her or did you have to try to out for yourself to see if it was true. Seems like unnecessary pain doesn't it? But if you never tried it out you may always have this curiosity about it. Do you ever have a gut feeling about something but you ignore it and find out it was right? How often does that gut feeling lie? But ultimately in life there is no manual. It's a series of trials and errors. Love and heartbreak. Pain and happiness. 

This week I learned a pretty big lesson. I didn't listen to my body once again. I thought I could push through. I thought I was strong enough to keep going. But really it turns out strength would of been letting go. It's funny how we feel giving up for the moment and saying no, shows we are weak, when really giving up and letting go portrays true strength. 

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

One week post injections - Prolotherapy series 1

"Determine that the thing can and shall be done, and then we shall find the way." 

- Abraham Lincoln 

So I was told by my doctor that I could try to go for a walk a week after my injections in my back. Here we are one week later and I walk 1.2 miles. I even ventured out into the woods for the beginning of the walk which isn't surprising that I would start off the hardest way. Hills and uneven terrain had me thinking to myself here you go again getting too overzealous. But it was sure beautiful letting go of the fact that I was also turning into an ice cube. It was so worth it anyway.

But I walked very careful and slow and it all turned out ok. Of course I am a bit sore but no shooting pains which I consider a good sign. Slow but steady wins the race they say.

Today I started working on some laundry and doing a little more around the house. Now let's be real this girl is a clean freak and is getting very tired of not being able to clean the house well. But I also know that if I do too much I won't be much. Meaning I will never recover if I don't play the game right now. So I have been wearing my SI belt. I even started using this ridiculous move I was taught by a physical therapist called the golfers lift/squat. I remember when I was taught it I took it as a challenge of course. I showed him I could do a one legged squat without holding onto anything. Needless to say this is harder then is seems and I was never very good at one legged squats in the past. Previously I thought to myself I can't be caught picking things up like this in public. Am I really going to let my ego stop me from doing what I need to do. Maybe we should all be a little more ridiculous and vulnerable at times. But ultimately this move definitely seems to save your back in certain instances. Just make sure you don't kick anybody on your way down. ;)


This whole process and recovery will be trial and error but hopefully my determination and conscious effort to continue moving forward toward better health will get me where I want to be.

Strong Body
Strong Mind