Thursday, November 24, 2011


Last night I went out to dinner with a bunch of girlfriends last night to celebrate the birthday of my friend Marijean.  Since some of us hadn't met before we decided to go around the table to tell how we knew the Birthday Girl.  When it was my turn it occurred to me that though it wasn't unusal that we had met via a social media seminar - she is, after all, Social Media Queen of Charlottesville (as well as the "First Lady of Pie") - it was surprising that of the women I knew at the table I had met every single one on-line!

Considering my line of work it's not unusual for me to meet people through social media.  What I was surprised by, however, was that these women - whom I may never have met if not for Twitter - are now truly some of my greatest friends!  And, by the way, these are some really amazing, inspiring women

This was actually the third in a series of events that transpired this week that had me thinking about the importance of friendships in our lives, as well as how lucky I am to have these relationships.  

The first came earlier in the week in the form of a message from my childhood best friend in Minnesota (yep, that's me rockin' the perm in high school!).  Jen and I became friends during the first weeks of junior high when I unknowingly started "going with" her former boyfriend.  She had words of wisdom for me about him that I took to heart and I have been listening to her ever since.

Her message wasn't anything deep - just a "hey, how are you? Haven't talked to you in awhile" - kind of thing.  But it reminded me of a pact she and I made several years back at a time when both of our lives seem to be moving faster than the speed of light.  We vowed  we'd never apologize - or expect an apology from the other - if what seemed like too much time had passed since we'd last heard from the other.  We realized that this happens not because we don't care, but rather because sometimes life just gets in the way.  You can do this with a true friend and the best part is - when you do get back in touch it feels like no time has passed at all.

The third came on Saturday while hanging out some girlfriends. One of these friends is battling cancer. While she is an extremely strong woman, the cancer is putting up a good fight. Every day I wonder what big thing I could be doing for her. It occurred to me through our laughter that night that even little things can be pretty big if you take time to stop and enjoy them.  

It's easy to get caught up in your own world and let things like friendships fall off.  But without these friendships (and the many that I haven't mentioned here) my life wouldn't be complete.  I cherish every moment I have with these women -  not just because cancer has forced me to recognize that we don't always how many more there will be -  but because I know I am truly blessed to have them.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Basic Green Smoothie


1 cup blueberries or strawberries or combination
1 cup kale or spinach
1 banana
1/2 cup ice*
4-8 ounces coconut water**
1 ounce whey protein

*if using frozen berries ice isn't necessary **adjust liquid to your preference***makes 2 large smoothies

This is obviously a really easy recipe that is fairly sweet from the berries and banana.  You can go much greener (and less sweet) by omitting the banana and adding in things like celery and other greens.  I've tried green apples, mache, arugula, cucumber and watercress with success (though I am personally not a fan of cilantro, avocado, parsley or dandelion greens).  Other good options for adding nutrients are things like dates, figs, and various seeds (pumpkin, sunflowers, sesame, etc).  I've found that tossing in a tablespoon or two of flax seed is a great addition from a nutrient standpoint without changing the texture or taste.  And, if you've thought about adding some omega-3 to your diet but gag at the thought of swallowing those huge fish-oil pills I recommend trying Barleans Omega Swirl. It comes in yummy flavors like berry, orange and lemon that are great additions to a smoothie. But don't tell my kids -   they'd die if they knew I was adding fish oil to their breakfast!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Eat! Part 2: The Green Smoothie Challenge

Since it's taken me so long to get to posting this I will give you the condensed version of the story (which, as you know, is NOT easy for me to do!).

A Quick Recap
When we last met I confessed that I had really let things go over the summer and was feeling pretty yucky, especially considering that my 20 year High School Reunion was coming up.  I went to Tracey Webber of EAT! to help me get back on track.

The Challenge
Tracey really got to me about how important getting back on track was not just for my physical health, but my mental health, as well. To do this she suggested making "Green Smoothies" every morning for breakfast.  I had tried a few of Tracey's green smoothies during the Cleanse I did with her last spring and was pretty sure I could handle it for a little while, as long as she didn't make me drink the one called the "Blood Transfusion" (recipe here).  To help motivate me Tracey vowed to do what we eventually entitled "The Smoothie Challenge" along with me. (Note: the photo above is not actually one of my smoothies but a stock photo.  I will post mine once I remember to take photos before drinking!)

Making a smoothie every morning really isn't that hard to do, especially for someone like Tracey who truly lives the life she teaches.  Unless, of course, you are heading to the caribbean for a week on vacation with you family, as Tracey was.  Did that stop her?  Of course not!  She literally packed her Blend Tech into her suitcase so that she could make smoothies along with me every day.  And she did it!  Every day Tracey and I e-mailed what we put in our smoothie that day, how it tasted and how we were feeling.  Now that is a dedicated support system!

At the beginning of the week I'd hit Whole Foods and Cville Market for fruit, veggies and box of frozen wheatgrass cubes (expensive but so easy in this form). A basic smoothie would consist of handful or two of some type of green - usually spinach, kale, watercress or mache; some type of frozen berries - usually blueberries, raspberries or strawberries (I'd use fresh if they were in season but out of season froze are cheaper and taste great), coconut water, whey protein powder and some ice.  Some of the recipes called for other ingredients like avocado (which I love to eat but found I hated in smoothies), celery, and nuts which I'd add if called for.  I also threw plain greek yogurt in quite often because I like the texture (though during the cleanse this isn't allowed). By the end of the week it usually turned into a "Whatever-I-have-Left Smoothies" which, surprisingly, often turned out to be my favorites.   

When my reunion  (in Minnesota) came around I attempted to maintain the Smoothie Challenge by making  one every morning at my parents house.  My veggie-loving mom was quick to jump on the bandwagon, but my dad was a little skeptical (surprise, surprise!).  We did convince him to try a few of my concoctions, but he drew the line at the ones that "looked like bird poop".  I can't blame him, some of them do look pretty disgusting.

Tomorrow I will post a basic recipe for an easy-to-drink-but-still-packed-with-vitamins-green-smoothie, as well as the "Blood Transfusion" smoothie of Tracey's that is so packed with nutrition you will feel like a new person after drinking it (if you can swallow it).  I will post a few of my favorite recipes I come up with new favorite combinations as time goes on. Yes, I'm planning on maintaining the smoothie thing into the future, as it's really easy, tastes great and starting your day off with all those nutritients feels really, really awesome (and did I mention it's a great hangover cure???).