Love. And Food.

For the purpose of experience as you read the following, imagine you’re watching a cliché romance film. You know those feelings you get when you watch someone sickeningly pour out their heart to the love of their life. Your mind is completely submerged in the most pukey-est love fantasy and YOU KNOW YOU LOVE IT! 😆

“Hey. It’s Alyssa. I just want to say: thank you for being patient with me, and waiting for me while I explore an alternate lifestyle without you. In that time, I discovered how much I truly love you and don’t want to live in a world without you. I want to wake up to you every day. Your aroma is intoxicating. I feel my heart beat faster thinking about you. I love the way you taste. I love the joy you contribute to my life. Never again, will I leave you, for now I know, we’re meant to be together.
I just hope you can forgive me and that we can move past this. I love you.”

Are those love chills shimmying up your back?! What is this secret, steamy sensuousness all about anyway?!?!
I’ll tell you what it’s all about!!!!
I’ve been drinking coffee.

Yeah, and I love that stuff. Hardcore. Hahaha! Am I freaking you out yet???

Last year around this time I embarked on a caffeinated coffee-free lifestyle for a variety of reasons. I actually titled my post Coffee is Great but Freedom is Better. I don’t even know what to think about this!! While, honestly, I would adore it if I could skip a day when I’m just not feeling like having any and not suffer the consequences, there just aren’t that many days I don’t feel like having any! Please see my above love confession. It’s 100% true.

I felt moved to write about this because I believe some follow up from this “journey” would be valuable. Side note: it also applies exactly to why my website is titled Fabulous Life Adventures. Many folks associate adventure with extreme activity such as climbing snowy mountains, swimming with sharks or sky diving, and while those are most certainly adventurous, every single day of life is an adventure – from the most boring and mundane to the exciting new experiences. If you are open to viewing your life from God’s (or whomever/whatever you believe in) point of view, you can see how incredibly exciting your life is!

So I went through nearly a year’s worth of adventure exploring my relationship with coffee. I had completely given up the caffeinated stuff, occasionally drinking decaf, for a good three months. Once I hit that length of time, which was right around my thirtieth birthday, I decided to treat myself to the real stuff once a month. Then eventually it became once a week. Then I would “overindulge” on the weekends, perhaps having a cup or two Friday through Sunday, and I literally had a caffeine hangover when I got into work on Monday. I was totally depriving myself of something that does not seem to be imposing too many harmful offenses (when never missing a dose, of course!). It did not seem to have any influence on my hormones. I also stopped using half & half and instead used heavy cream, which has much less mucus-producing power (yes, I still owe you a discussion on dairy. Trust me, I will deliver). And now I DO enjoy drinking it black! Which means, YES! I DO LIKE COFFEE!!

I was definitely missing it all the more when I had learned of coffee’s anti-inflammatory affects on the brain in a webinar regarding brain health.

Can you feel my passion over this simple beverage? You may think of me as a major dork, and I would not disagree with you! Proud dork right here!

Interestingly, while I was caffeine- free, I was suffering from headaches somewhat regularly. Since I have been drinking it regularly, no more headaches. Hmmm!

So, let me relate this to other foods: chocolate, candy, beer, wine, whiskey, bread or pasta, cheese, a juicy hunk of steak, French fries, pizza, sweetened iced tea, frappuccino …. insert your favorite foods and beverages here!!! I encourage you to go on a journey with your favorite foods or beverages. You know what? It is totally true that if you love something, set it free! Establish healthy boundaries with you and your favorite foods or beverages, know why you love them, or discover that you don’t truly love them as much as you thought! Only YOU will have that answer.

Need Some Laughs?

I was in need of a feel-good mood the other day and I turned to some stand-up comedy on Netflix. For a while I had been wanting to check out Ellen Degeneres’ Relatable. I have never seen, or felt moved to watch any of Ellen Degeneres’ comedy, until now. Mostly because I simply haven’t paid much attention to her. Recently, perhaps it was by watching Jerry Seinfeld’s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee featuring her, I recognized her genuine, down-to-earth character.

I had a feeling that this quality character trait would deliver the perfect, feel-good stand-up comedy I was looking for. I’m glad I finally got around to watching it because it was hilarious! I absolutely recommend you watch it.

I still needed some more laughs though (home life has been slightly chaotic due to a kitchen remodel, which I will report back with later about how to stay healthy (and sane) without a kitchen sink and all the other good stuff a kitchen provides). I needed some more Ellen in my life! And so YouTube, once again, saved the day. Watch her Here and Now stand up from 2003 here.

You cannot deny yourself a laugh from this woman.
Enjoy!

Ellen Degeneres

31 Days of Health Recap

The month of January was quite the adventure for me! How about you??

I got the idea to do 31 Days of Health around the beginning of December. I love the New Year. I love reflecting on the past year in regards to what accomplishments I’ve made – seeing just what I am capable of doing, and understanding I am capable of so much more. It is a time to look ahead and implement new standards and new goals. Instead of keeping that all to myself, I wanted to share it with the world!

Little did I know, I was all in for a project that was way bigger than I perceived. You see, I had every intention to see this through. It didn’t matter to me if I had a huge response rate, or zero response rate; it didn’t matter if the response was good or bad. These are fears that would have completely held me back in previous years. And now, I have a different view on fear – I crave it! So 31 Days of Health was happening whether I ended up liking it or not (and whether you ended up liking it or not).

I was not prepared for this project. What I have learned about a project like this is that it is ideal to create it entirely, and then share it! But that is NOT what happened, having gotten the idea in December, and not beginning any of the writing – or creation of images! – pretty much until December 30. What I am about to explain to you what happened to me is something I have felt very guilty for, and I apologize if any details gross you out -you’ll know what I mean by number one 😉 :

  1. I missed my period. Started to get it! But it was just playing tricks on me (aka I was spotting). This has never, in my entire history of “menstruating-hood”, happened to me. And haha! No. No there was not any chance of pregnancy, if you know what I mean. Stress was to blame. I felt so guilty for sharing tips to reduce stress, meanwhile I was stressed out to the point I confused my hormones.
  2. I got sick. Like, almost went to the hospital sick. I again felt guilty for sharing healthy food suggestions that pump up your immune system and reduce your risks for getting sick. I also couldn’t shake the thought that I was putting myself through a lot of stress as I had preached reducing stress, meanwhile I place stress at the heart of my developing a croupy cough, which apparently is rare in adults.
  3. I threw my entire sleep schedule off, and definitely was not getting enough sleep. Guilty again! For sharing the suggestion to go to bed early and wake up early. I could have accomplished this, had I chosen to continue posting each day early in the morning. Instead, I found I preferred to post by midnight. Yes, I used the schedule feature for the blog so that it would automatically post at a designated time, but that isn’t possible for Instagram. Out of all the features Instagram has, can they make this?? Either that, or I will totally pay someone to manage my social media, because I truly dislike social media. And after this adventure, I have developed a stronger belief in a world without social media. Call me old-fashioned! Call me what you will – I want nothing to do with it!
  4. With the stress, the sick, the lack of sleep and changed schedule, I was completely off my exercise routine. Shame! Day 2 was all about exercising! I am just now getting back on my game.

I wanted to keep all this a secret and make you believe that I am this magnificent role model. I was afraid that you might not trust me if you found out all this craziness happened. But I am taking a chance. Because this wasn’t about me. This was 100% about you!!

It is possible to implement all of these healthy actions into every day usual routines. Hence, why I believed it was so important to end on “Give Yourself a Break.” Life does happen. There was nothing usual about my January, so I encourage you not to compare. While it is possible to practice all of these healthy actions, it is necessary to leave room for mishaps. That is the beauty, and perfection, of life. Appreciate the struggles just as much as you do the blessings. Would you be who you are today, where you are today, or as strong as you are today, without having gone through some struggle?

Here is something I need from you: Hoping you still have faith in me, and that you have followed and practiced some – or all! – of these healthy action suggestions, can you share with the world and me which one(s) really spoke to you? And if these did create something positive in your life and you want more from me, what would you really love to see me produce? This will allow me to create more efficiently, so pleeeease don’t feel like that would be selfish of you, or that you would be asking me to go through another bout of stress. Look, I will pursue another project whether you ask me or not, so I think it’s worth it for you to get something you want!! Comment below, or if you feel more comfortable chatting privately, send me an email.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! Thank you for reading. Thank you for following. Thank you for trusting me.

alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 31: Give Yourself a Break!

Ahhhh! It’s the last day of 31 Days of Health!! Amazing. I’ve noticed some consistency with the folks liking these posts – thank you. I hope there have been some positive rewards for you as a result of following the thoughts I have to share. In a day or two I will get into a recap of these 31 days, and what to look forward to from Fabulous Nutrition. For now, let’s devour this last healthy action!!!

Today isn’t necessarily about, “Hey, put your feet up and relax!” Of course if you need a reason to do so, please, put your feet up and relax! Today is more about accepting imperfection. I’ve thrown a lot out there this month to help you move toward a healthy lifestyle from including certain healthy foods in your diet to practicing healthier habits. There are even more things you could do to carry out a healthy lifestyle. And you know what? It’s not all always going to be easy.

Life happens. Some days you’ll be a little short on time, short on patience, short on sleep, or short on all three together! Don’t stress it if you slept in even though you went to bed planning otherwise, or had good intentions to avoid added sugar but couldn’t resist a cupcake, or tried to start your day on a positive note but your children have truly tried your patience today.

What matters most is your persistence over time. Think: progress over perfection. In fact, all the good and bad, right and wrong, ups and downs…that is perfection! We can’t know and appreciate success without knowing and experiencing failure.

Be patient with yourself. Appreciate your successes. Appreciate your failures! Give yourself a break! And when you do fall, intend to get back up.

Happy Day 31! You made it!!!

Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 30: Make Vitamin A Part of Your Day

I was interested to find that only about one third of Americans consume enough vitamin A Daily. I’m definitely biased about the vitamin because I adore the foods that it is rich in. Tomatoes, lettuces, hearty greens like kale and collards, and carrots are among my favorite foods. I am lost in the winter-time without deliciously ripe, juicy tomatoes drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, truffle oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper!!

It’s pretty easy to know which foods are high in vitamin A. Carotenoids, a group of vitamin A nutrients, are orange in pigment, giving the vegetables and fruits they exist in their bright orange and red colors. Lettuces and hearty greens are also excellent sources of carotenoids. Here are several examples:

  • Sweet Potatoes (1 cup – 250% Daily Recommended Intake (DRI))
  • Carrots (1 cup cooked – 147% DRI)
  • Spinach (1 cup cooked – 105% DRO; 2 cups raw – 40% DRI)
  • Kale (1 cup cooked – 98% DRI)
  • Romaine Lettuce (2 cups – 45% DRI)
  • Bok Choy (1 cup – 40% DRI)
  • Cantaloupe (1 cup – 30%)
  • Red Bell Peppers (1 cup fresh – 25% DRI)
  • Broccoli (1 cup – 10% DRI)

Vitamin A is also present in some animal foods, such as shrimp, eggs, salmon, tuna, and chicken. These are retinoid, or active forms of the fat-soluble vitamin. Synthetic forms of vitamin A are fortified in cow’s milk, yogurt, and other processed foods. It isn’t necessary to consume animal products for the purpose of obtaining adequate vitamin A, as carotenoids are capable of being converted to the active form in your body.

Be sure to include plenty of the red and orange veggies along with the leafy greens to support your immune system, reduce inflammation, support beautiful skin, strong bones and sharp eyes! Also include some healthy fat and protein with vitamin A rich foods, as these nutrients will support its absorption.

Enjoy!!
Alyssa

31 Days of Health. Day 29: Infuse Positivity Into Your Day

Infuse positivity into your day. Ahhh, this life saver. Love this one!

There is so much power in this healthy action! Can you believe that it is possible to be spiraling in a whirl of horrible emotions at one minute, and the next you can be feeling the exact opposite? It doesn’t matter if you’re feeling depressed, angry, sad, hopeless, or annoyed. You do have the ability – I don’t care who you are; if you’re human, you have the ability – to change your brain chemistry in an instant with this tool!

Years ago, I was an angry individual. I still struggle with handling this shitty emotion, but certainly not in the magnitude I have in the past. Anger was my go-to emotion for just about anything. It was the emotion I wore on my face often to signify power. It is still so familiar to me, that even in times of jest I use it for fun.

I think there were two catalysts that set me towards freedom. One was that I noticed chronic anger in others, and I could see it was not an attractive trait. The other was the multiple times I had been innocently asked, “What’s wrong?” when truthfully, at that time, nothing (at the surface) was wrong. I remember walking past a man on the street one day who said, “You dropped your smile on the ground!” I was so pissed at him…BECAUSE IT WAS JUST MY FACE!!!

But I heard it so many times that it was kind of starting to hurt my ego. I felt weak. I began to notice: I look mad pretty often. I suck. And I knew deep down I craved more for myself, so I decided I would try to change my image. I don’t think, at the time, I expected that slight action to lead me to happier places.

I decided that I would try lifting the corners of my mouth more often. I’m sure it didn’t start out looking very pretty or natural. But you know what, that shit worked. I just did it as often as I thought about it. For years I told myself I was miserable and that I wasn’t worth anything. I was depressed… I believed that I was too stupid, weak and shy to do anything admirable. I believed I was fake and lazy. I believed that I had nothing valuable to share with the world. As a result, all of these feelings surfaced as anger. But as I molded my face into a smile more often, I was telling my brain something phenomenal – that I was happy.

It wasn’t just the faking it ‘til I made it that launched me into a happier state. No, that was the beginning! When I experienced pain, I started reading positive quotes. I came to create a private Pinterest board titled “Pick Me Up” and another called “Keep Building.” Some days I would wake up feeling awful, and it just became a habit for me to open up my brain-building Pinterest boards and read through all the quotes that resonated with me. Lo and behold, I was fueling my brain…strengthening my brain! I was blessed enough to cross paths with someone who introduced me to affirmations. I began habitually listening to these on YouTube. These led to discovering more, and more, and more uplifting content.

And one day, I realized: I am happy! Even in the midst of difficult times, I can confidently say I am the happiest I have ever been.

It doesn’t matter if your story is better or worse than mine, the power of positive words goes a long way. There is a science to it, though I don’t really know much about it. All I know is that you can transform any moment, day, week, and year by the words or feelings you choose feed your brain. Try it today.

Alyssa