Stuck between two passions


This is so how I felt at 4:30 this morning getting up to go to the airport.   Been doing a LOT of soul searching lately.

I actually didn’t know I had two passions until less than a year ago.  

My first has always been science.  I’m a chemist.  I have the privilege to work for one of the worlds largest health care companies.  I’ve liked science and facts for as long as I can remember.  Santa got me an invisible man anatomy set for 5th grade and a microscope by 7th grade.   This weekend we took the kids to the museum of national history in NY and I was so excited to donate my microbiome to science.   Ironically I’m a chemist for skincare and not a doctor or biologist. 

  

I proudly wore my sticker “I swabbed for science today”


My second passion is helping people achieve their health and fitness goals. (Which I guess ties into biology).  

 I am starting to realize it’s all science.  I’m amazed at what the human body is capable of and what you can achieve through exercise and nutrition.  
I was really shocked by my own transformation when I honed in on my nutrition and treated food like a science last year.  I weighed it out and counted my nutrients.  My “macros.”  I’m not as strict now as I was last year because I like ice cream and wine, so I’m struggling to find the right balance for me.  As always these guys come first…

The other portion of a health journey is mental.  Through helping others it seems to me that health, fitness, and achieving goals is more mental than anything else!  Another science, the science of the mind.

People have the hardest time mentally, we make excuses for everything (myself included).  I’m tired, I don’t have time, I’m “too” out of shape, I don’t have money, I don’t know how to cook, I’m too busy, I don’t like (insert physical activity here), I’m stressed…I’m in a rut. 

So I guess thats where I am right now.  In a rut.  I want to continue helping people reach their health and fitness goals, but I feel like I can no longer use Facebook as a platform for connection.  Too many negative people, too many co-workers, too much judgement of how I spend my time.   

Since I’ve been in my “rut” I’ve been horrible about keeping up with my exercises (daily) and indulging way more than I should.  Coaching kept me accountable.  

So, what’s the point?  I guess the point is I am still figuring stuff out, how to live into both passions.   I have a very small group I’m hosting for summer now. 
Questions for you

– how do you connect with new people?

– what is your biggest excuse?

– what are you passionate about and are you living your passion? 

– would you be interested in joining us?

Call to Action- Let’s Get Fit For Summer

With the warm weather upon us, we are reminded that summer is coming. I for one am so excited to do more outdoors. I just wish I didn’t have to cook dinner when I come home! Looks like I’ll be making more on the grill.

That being said, what I also love about this time of year is how committed people are to their health and fitness goals.

What are you doing to get fit? Is it working? Are you open to something NEW?

Last year, I started helping people achieve their health and fitness goals, and it has been the most rewarding experience.  A few highlights include

  • A mom who was on the verge of tears daily who is now content and enjoying her kids childhood
  • SEVERAL running PRs (2 5Ks improved by 4 minutes and a half marathon by 20)
  • 30 lb weight loss
  • A few women who were able to advance their yoga practice (hello headstand)
  • New friends made by all

I am looking for women, specifically working moms with little time on their hands. People who aren’t the best cooks and need quick and easy kid friendly recipes. Women who rarely take the time to take care of themselves and always put everyone else first. Women who are exhausted and just don’t know how they could possibly even find time to exercise. Women who have a gym membership, but never go. Women who are living on coffee for breakfast or their go to cereal they have been having since their college days. Women who used to have time to train for races before they had kids but now running takes too long.

I’m looking for you, because last year I was you! 30 minute workouts, easy food, and most of all SUPPORT have changed my life.

I’m not saying I can change your life, but you can. The power is in your hands and I have had the pleasure to connect with so many women this year, women who were hanging on my a thread and now just feel good.

MAY 1st is the start date. Send me a message and we’ll work together to find something that will work for your unique situation and preferences.

We are going to have an awesome summer, you ready to join us?

Jessica Heidi's photo.

Fact Friday: Antioxidants

I am driven by FACTS (as a scientist) and I have been feeling that there is so much fluff out there, people never know where to go for information, and is that information true? Then, what does that information mean to ME? So, what I have decided to do is create a FACT FRIDAY post where I will highlight a different ingredient in food or skincare as or class of chemicals and give YOU facts from reputable sources and be as clear as possible without expressing my opinion, just the facts.

 

Please feel free to request what ingredients you are curious about.

For my first Fact Friday: I was going to talk about chia seeds, BUT I realized you may not know WHAT Omega-3 fatty acids or antioxidants ARE or WHY you should even care?! So our first fact Friday is going to be about: ANTIOXIDANTS, what they are, how they work, and why they are important.

ANTIOXIDANTS:

Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals….HOLD UP.

What are free radicals? What kind of damage can they do to your body?
“Free radicals” are unstable atoms, or molecules, in your body. They are missing important components that would make them more stable. So they rob other cells of those components to meet their needs. This causes injury to previously healthy cells. Over time, this damage can lead to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, or Alzheimer’s disease.

Your body produces free radicals through its NORMAL processes. Your body also contains ITS OWN antioxidant molecules, which deactivate harmful free radicals. But things like cigarette smoking, pollution, and excessive alcohol consumption can create SO many free radicals that your body has a hard time defusing them on its own.

aap-antifreestop

Antioxidants- What they do
• stabilize those free radicals and can help minimize the damage to your cells
• Help decrease inflammation
• Help maintain the immune system
• Potentially decrease the risk of degenerative diseases

Antioxidants include
• vitamins (such as vitamins C and E
• some minerals (such as selenium)
• flavonoids, which are found in plants
• The best sources of antioxidants are fruits and vegetables

antioxidants

Antioxidants in Shakeology:
• Camu-Camu
• Acerola Cherry
• Bilberry
• Goji berry
• Green Tea
• Luo Han Guo
• Pomegranate
• Rose Hips
• Vitamins A, C, E

 

Resources: http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/antioxidants-topic-overview

http://www.webmd.com/diet/antioxidants-directory

ACE Health Coaching Textbook

Fact Friday- Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Don’t be scared of the word “fat.”  Fat is essential in our diet for our cells to function properly in our bodies.

I am going to throw some serious science at you guys today!  As always my takeaway message is eat in moderation.  Here try to eat foods high in Omega 3s (list below) and try to minimize Omega 6 rich foods (processed foods, certain oils etc)

What is the Difference?

Omega-3 and Omega-6 are a chemical class called fatty acids.  The # corresponds to which carbon has the first double bond (Start counting from the right, and each point is a carbon)

Omega fatty acids UK

Your body does not produce Omega-3 fatty acids, so you need to obtain them from your diet.  Two crucial ones — EPA and DHA — are primarily found in certain fish. ALA (alpha-linolenic acid) is found in plant sources such as nuts and seeds. Not only does your body need these fatty acids to function, but also they deliver some big health benefits such as lowering the risk of heart disease, depression, dementia, and arthritis.

How do they do this?  They set off signals in our bodies to reduce INFLAMMATION.

Omega-3s curb inflammation in the blood vessels (and the rest of your body), this especially helps your heart.  At high doses they also make abnormal heart rhythms less likely and lower your level of blood fats called triglycerides. Finally, they can slow plaque buildup inside the blood vessels.

Omega 6 vs Omega 3

This may seem like a scary crazy image- but the takeaway message here is Omega 3s set off your metabolic pathway to release anti-inflammatories in your body.  How cool is that?!

Where to Get Omega 3s

When possible, try to get omega-3 fatty acids from foods. Aim to eat fish high in DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids two to three times a week.

These include:

  • Anchovies
  • Bluefish
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Salmon (wild has more omega-3s than farmed)
  • Sardines
  • Sturgeon
  • Lake trout
  • Tuna

Good food sources of ALA are:

  • Walnuts
  • Flaxseed and flaxseed oil
  • Canola oil
  • Soybean oil

While foods containing omega-3 fatty acids have health benefits, some — like oils and nuts — can be high in calories. So eat them in moderation.

 

So I threw a lot of complicated stuff at you-  takeaway message….  Live in moderation.  Try to eat foods high in Omega 3s and minimize your intake of processed foods and oils.

Happy Friday!

Any requests?

Don’t Skip the Stretching!

I got a wonderful email today from my health care provider (Aetna) and there were so many great little nuggets of information I am going to dedicate a blog post to each one.

Stretching… don’t lie, I know when the video is over and there are 3 minutes left of stretching, you turn the video off and go put in a load of laundry or empty the dishwasher.  Don’t!  Stretching is just as important as the workout both to warm up your muscles and cool them down.  This prevents injury.

Experts say the best way to do this is to go at a slower pace for 5 to 10 minutes. So if you’re jogging, you should walk for a few minutes to warm up. And then again to cool down.

Stretching’s important, but bouncing is for balls
While stretching is important to remain flexible, if you don’t do it right, you risk injury. You should stretch your muscles a couple times a week.  Hello yoga!

yogakids

Avoid the following:

  • Stretching cold muscles
  • Holding a stretch for more than 15 seconds
  • Bouncing (don’t do that)

Other ways to avoid injury include using the proper equipment. And having the proper form. No matter what the exercise warriors on television advise, don’t overdo it. If you push yourself too hard, you could go from warrior to war torn.

For more on how to avoid injury from exercise, visit the National Institutes of Health Medline Plus website.

Find your strong

I could start this with “beach weather is around the corner… Blah blah blah.” No.   Strong is not always about your body.

This NOT about looking good in a bathing suit.


This week has been really horrible. Social media always makes it seem like life is sunshine and rosy all the time. That everyone is doing everything and they’ve got their sh%# together and everyone is all smiles.

So not the case. No one wanted to wake up this week, I was a horrible mom and yelled most mornings, no screamed. I got to work stressed out, I missed 70% of my workouts, I picked the kids up late every day, I think they got a bath twice.

My current exercise group had an amazing week though, they felt stronger, more empowered, lost weight, got more done at work, had patience for their families. I just was not my best self.

We made up for it with ice cream Friday and some Saturday workouts.

The eternal debate… Hard or soft ice cream. Hard coffee ice cream is my weakness!

Felt better after sweating on Saturday.  Don’t have a weight bench for decline push-ups? Use the stairs!


Anyway, I am reaching out if you want help reclaiming your inner self. I need YOU to keep me accountable. I will be expanding April 4th and participating in #summerstrong with my coach.

I am going to share what I learn with you. I’ll recommend a workout you enjoy (from boot camp, cardio, weights to yoga/Pilates), I’ll provide motivation, support, a meal plan and friendship.

I have high interest already so comment below if you want in. I’m accepting 10 new clients only. We’ll chat and I’ll give more details.

Just visualize yourself 30, 60, 90 days from now. Where do you see yourself?   A faster runner?   Getting into that yoga headstand, or maybe succeeding at work, or having more patience for your family.   Let’s get you there.   It’s worked for me every time, now I want to share the feeling with you.

Nutrition, Exercise, Support…Success

Reclaim your strong.  Regain your happy.

Almond Crusted Chicken 

  First of all… Happy St. Patrick’s Day! 
Tonight I wanted to make some Almond Crusted Chicken.  It is absolutely delicious, healthy, and the kids LOVE it.  

Here is the official recipe- but I modified because that’s just too many ingredients for this busy mom and Samantha is allergic to eggs.   
Makes 6 Servings

Ingredients:

6 (4-oz) raw chicken breasts, boneless, skinless

1/2 cup almond flour

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 1/2 tsp. finely grated lemon peel (lemon zest)

1/4 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. ground black pepper

1 large egg, lightly beaten

1/4 cup water

1 Tbsp. olive oil

3 tsp. olive oil

6 cups mixed vegetables
Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Place a chicken breast on a cutting board. Hold it flat with the palm of one hand and, with a chef’s knife in the other hand, carefully slice it in half horizontally (parallel to the cutting board). Repeat with the remaining chicken.

Place each chicken breast half between 2 pieces of plastic wrap and pound with a mallet or tenderizer until 1/4 inch thick (or about twice the original size). Set aside.

Combine almound flour, garlic, lemon peel, salt, and pepper in a shallow dish; mix well. Set aside.

Combine egg and water in a shallow dish; whisk to blend.

Dip each chicken breast into the egg mixture; dredge in almond flour mixture until evenly coated. Set aside.

Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat.

Add chicken breasts; cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Turn chicken.

Place skillet in oven; bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until a thermometer instered into the thickest pat of each breast reads 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

While chicken is baking, heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium heat.

Add vegetables, cook stirring frequently for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender-crisp.

Serve chicken with vegetables.
WHAT I DID

Almond flour, Trader Joes Salt Grinder Everyday seasoning, garlic salt.  

   
 Cut chicken breasts in half, coated in milk then almond mixture, heated on skillet a few minutes each side then popped in the oven.

  
Side of asparagus, recipe courtesy of my brother in law.  Olive oil, salt, pepper.  Roasted in the oven until crispy, topped with lemon juice.  

Enjoy! 

Ps- for all you amateur cooks out there, I can’t live without this meat thermometer!  You pick the meat (chicken, lamb, pork, steak, turkey) poke the meat, it beeps when it’s cooked.  LIFE SAVER!

  

A running & steak kind of day

I needed to get some fresh air.  Work has been totally hectic and I’ve been spending so much time at meetings and conference calls I needed to step away so I took my lunch break to go for a wonderful run outside.   There were so many people out!  I think we all had the same idea.  I made sure to pack my clothes just in case the opportunity presented itself!

I love my bridesmaid gift from my sister in laws wedding.  The perfect tote for sneakers and a change of clothes!
  

Running has such a transformative power.  You are outside, the sun is shining, you are pushing your limits, and all the stress from your brain starts melting away and you are able to really think.   I came back in totally refreshed and with new ideas for how to innovate in the lab.

run

James came home with some Chinese food but I already had dinner cooking.  I still took my fortune cookie though!  I agree with this sentiment whole heartedly!

   

I don’t know about you but I just love steak.   I’m super happy to report I made this recipe by winging it and it was delicious!  

1 package skillet steak ($6.50 at ShopRite).  I used 3 slices

Montreal Steak seasoning, lift coating

1 onion

1 pepper

1/2 cup quinoa.

Softened the onion and pepper in olive oil in a cast iron skillet, cooked the steak on high heat about a minute or so each side. Had a side of quinoa for carbs.  

Quick, easy, inexpensive, and delicious.
  

My favorite dessert is a container of yogurt topped with fruit.  Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and kiwi.

 

Mental Resolve

Last Friday, as my blog post mentioned, I was pretty devastated. It did affect my weekend a bit which I am not proud of. During my workout this morning I had an epiphany, so I am writing this with my heart rate still recovering because we all know, if we don’t write it down immediately, the thought is lost forever.

Basically what I came to was, no matter what happens today I am not going to quit coaching. It has had so many positives in my life. The first is that I have reconnected and met so many amazing people. People doing it all against all odds. People who push through adversity. Everyone has their own story and I have loved learning about each persons life.

Secondly, a huge part of coaching is personal development. If I hadn’t started coaching, I would not have started listening to books in my car. I would have never picked up a success or motivational book and those books have advanced my career and helped my marriage.

Coaching is not about the money. It is about helping others (as well as myself) unleash the strong amazing person that is inside each and every one of us. The only way I can do that is to continue to reach out to more people. This blog, and instagram may become a bigger platform for me. The negativity on facebook is staggering sometimes. It is sad that with such a huge networking platform where we can reach the world people choose to complain about the weather or traffic. There are so many beautiful things we can share.

Plus fitness and nutrition are a passion of mine. It is FUN to see what the human body can do and even more fun to watch someone else realize it when their transformation begins.

Each person is going through something, and I am going to be there if they need a friend.

  

Doing it all

I’ve been listening to a ton of books on my commute to and from work (thank you audible) and this theme has been resonating with me a lot, I wanted to bring it up.

When we do what is in line with our values we are at peace.

If you value time with your family, but whenever you are home you are on your phone there will be an internal struggle within yourself.

These guys are the ones I need to put first.

IMG_1757

But the struggle is so REAL!

I want to learn about new innovative products for skincare, dive deeper into the acne category, explore new ingredients and run a million experiments.  I want to exercise, train for a marathon, lift, swim, bike, and get yoga certified.  I want to learn about the biochemistry of nutrition, I want to understand carb cycling and macros in addition to other modes of calculating how much of each nutrient you should be eating.  I want to read motivational books, and journal, and reach out to as many people as I can and help hundreds of moms get in shape and start taking care of themselves.  BUT, at the core of everything I don’t want to miss my kids childhood.  Seriously, because I mean, how cute are they?!

I REALLY want to do all these things and I want to give 100%, but in reality I just can’t!  There are only 24 hours in a day.

I had to find a way to do some but make sure I was putting my kids and husband first. I started realizing that I was spending so much time away from my kids because I was working and I started to not enjoy my work as much. I made it a point to put my phone away from the moment I walked in house until the kids went to bed. By just making that small change, those 2 hours are for my kids. I mean, sort of. I am still cooking dinner and cleaning up during that time, but if they are talking to me, they have my attention. I am not being distracted.  I may pull it out to snap pictures here and there of dinners we are making.

I found ways to accomplish most of what I want to in the 24 hours a day that I am given.

I have my entire life to become an expert in any of those field.  I will run a marathon some day and I will get my yoga certification some day.  That day is just not today.

Think about the things that you value in your life, put them first and the rest will fall into place.

IMG_2283

We may just have to prioritize the amazingness.