My (Kinda) Healthy Thanksgiving

Hehehe, do you like how I threw in “kinda”? We all have to live a little, right??

Our family does a pretty simple Thanksgiving, but I know some people have an all out smorgasbord. What side of the party does your family fall on?

My family does the traditional turkey thing. We started getting a free-range fresh turkey the past couple years and it’s pretty tasty too! This is the second year I am “brining” the turkey myself. I did a homemade concoction last year and found a great option that was a little simpler this year.

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This is the brine I used this year.

Lucky me, I only have to do the prep part, my mom does the cooking the bird part. At 46, I am still blessed enough to have my mom fixing most of the important holiday meals in my family.

I will be fixing some of the sides to help out though. I’ve finally taught my daughter to eat sweet potatoes, so I get to make more mashed sweet potatoes than I usually do. I’m still working on that picky 15-year old I have upstairs. I will be making regular mashed potatoes for him and my dad, well kinda regular. Don’t tell, but I will be substituting cow’s milk for cashew milk and LOTS of real butter. We love butter and eat lots of it, give me all the good fats to keep me healthy!

We try to avoid dairy (cow’s milk) and as much gluten as possible. Dairy and gluten are inflammatory and my family has major reactions to both. We don’t have the typical “allergic” reactions people think of, ours are more subtle. Stomach aches the next day, unexplained fatigue, constipation, brain fog, vague complaints that are easily overlooked, but we know more now; so, we make accommodations, it’s not as hard as you think.

We will have homemade sweet potatoes biscuits from our local farmer’s market and we will also have pie as well. My mom likes to make sweet potato pie. I am not really a pie person, so I bought apple cobbler, it still has some crumbs (yes, gluten) and such (sugar), but that’s ok. 😉

We will have peas (my dad LOVES frozen peas), and green beans for a real green veggie, and I think I’ll make brussel sprouts too, we love sprouts, but that’s a new thing. If you’re family doesn’t eat sprouts, try a little onion and bacon, they might just change their mind.

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Sprouts w bacon and onions, OH MY!

We don’t do anything extravagant, our family gatherings have dwindled in size as people grow and spread out. I have some of the best memories of Thanksgivings with all my cousins when we were growing up. Games of Trivial Pursuit, chasing each other on trikes and 4 wheelers, driving around the driveway before we were old enough to drive… good stuff.

We will have one dish that is a staple, and yes, we will go all out and splurge, and yes, we will probably pay for it… but we WILL have homemade dumplings like my great-grandmother used to make. We’ve subbed gluten-free flour before, and it’s just not the same. Sometimes, you just have to go for the real thing. We are fortunate that we can splurge, but if we do it too often, we really see health problems. We should avoid it, or those health problems will worsen, but it’s SO HARD to be completely gluten free and dairy free.

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Dad’s ole faithful

A couple years in a row, I made some homemade cranberries, but nobody really cares, and my dad IS having his out of a can, (insert eye roll) but what’s it matter, it makes him happy. Now that I’m thinking about it, I’m kinda wishing I did get some fresh cranberries… hum… I think I still have time, so maybe I better cut this off here. 😉 

I’d love to know some of your family’s favorite dishes. It’s always fun to learn new things and other’s family traditions.

I hope you and your family have a happy and healthy day of thanksgiving and gratitude for the goodness in your life.

Be well & Enjoy the Journey!

Gobble, Gobble.

Why I Believe in Functional Fitness

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NEVER SAY NEVER

Contrary to popular belief, I am not superwoman… I’m soooo far from it.

I AM Katie Pink extraordinaire though… that works for me. It’s taken me a long time to figure that out. My path has had many avenues and many dead ends, paths that were laid out for me, and paths I foraged own my own. I’ve grown from all of it. What I’ve learned is that I need to keep FUNCTIONING at my most extraordinary. I don’t like the alternative.

Life is HARD. Life is always full of stressors. Life is about how we learn to navigate the challenges. I deal with a bad hip and short leg, Fibromyalgia, scoliosis, asthma, irritable bowel, and a few other diagnoses. I’ve lived with pain all my life. Having strong muscles to support my body equates to less pain. When I workout, I feel strong. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally too. I am better able to “function”.

As a child athlete, I’d always been in decent shape. I didn’t realize all those years of soccer, gymnastics, skating, tennis, biking, hockey, etc. were actually like pain medicine. When I stopped doing all of those activities, the pain increased, I didn’t know why. I was young and didn’t think about how my body worked. I didn’t think about the everyday function of my body. I didn’t think that all those activities were keeping my muscles strong and “functioning”.

I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at 25, just weeks before starting nursing school. I was told to decrease my stress and exercise more. HAHAHA. That was an oxymoron knowing what the demands of nursing school were going to be. I didn’t workout, but I did work, as a waitress, the physical demands of the job helped to keep me strong in some ways but sure didn’t help that back pain. I was functioning, but barely.

I’ve learned a bit since that initial Fibro diagnosis. I’ve struggled with my pain, my sleep, my stomach, my hip, my anxiety, my ADHD, and that little voice in my head that doesn’t always believe in me (she’s not nice). I made sacrifices. I missed opportunities with loved ones. I missed opportunities to learn. I missed opportunities to enjoy my life… because I wasn’t functioning.

I’ve learned that the secret to dealing with chronic disease is maintaining “function”.

So, my goal is “functional fitness”… What does that mean? It means keeping my body functioning the best it can with all the stressors that life brings. Life is not going to stop and allow me to regroup and take breaks, it just keeps on happening. If I’m not happening with it, I’m losing. When I’m losing, I’m not functioning at my best. See the circle there?

So, what do I do? Strength training, core training, yoga, pilates, workouts that keep my body functioning. When I say functioning, I mean, full range of motion in my joints, no pain (or very little), a digestive system that absorbs nutrition and eliminates toxins, a sleep schedule that doesn’t leave me tossing and turning at night, a life that I can enjoy with the people that I love. That isn’t the way it’s always been, and it’s not fun to not function.

Non-functional means pain. Non-functional means sleepless nights. Non-functional means exhausting days. Non-functioning means missing important events and milestones. Non-functioning to me… means not living. It’s depressing and demoralizing, and I didn’t like it. That’s why I speak out about my health and how I’ve started to save myself.

In saving myself, I’ve saved my marriage and my family. In saving myself, I’ve also learned how to make my family healthier and happier. I’ve learned how to help them avoid chronic illness and disease, or at least how to make it more “functional” and that’s not easy.

Today, I wanted to share all this with you. The ones that believe in me. I want you to believe in you too. I’m an example of what you can be. I’m also willing to help you figure out the secrets I needed to figure out. I share a lot of those secrets in my health and wellness articles.  I also share a lot as a Health Coach because I enjoy helping people feel better. It helps me believe there is hope in the world. If I can help one person feel better, I can help two. And, one by one, we can make our world a happier and healthier and more functional place. That works for me, and I think it just might work for you too.

Enjoy the Journey, Friends… that’s what it’s all about!

exceed your limits

 

Dear 17, (starting and stopping)

Dear 17, (starting and stopping)courage is the absence of fear

You’ll start with the greatest excitement! It makes you tingle. IT’S FUN! You know what I’m talking about. You’ve always been this way. Like the day you got your driver’s license. No more taking the car when you shouldn’t. You got lucky on that one, you won’t always be so lucky.

Actually, one thing you should know… we create our own luck. I’m still learning that at 46.

Sooner or later, the excitement wears off…. Sometimes it’s the monotony, sometimes you think it’s too hard (that damn anxiety and self esteem thing again), or maybe someone doesn’t think your excitement is warranted and you take it to heart.

That’s when the trouble starts. You will let it get to you. It will devastate you. It will STEAL days from your life, DON’T LET IT!! I say that now, but I still let it. I still have to talk myself down. We’re just sensitive. It’s a good thing though, trust me.

It will take you years to understand how sensitive you are. You will accept it, but at the same time, take offense to anyone that tries to use it against you. Problem is, it’s too late once they step inside your space. You react. You can’t help it… It’s a defense mechanism. You learned all about it in college in one of your psych classes, there were plenty. Ha, I love psychology, you’ll see Enjoy the classes, pay attention just a little bit more, it helps you navigate through life more than you realize.

About the sensitive-reacting part, that’s gonna be a problem. That’s the stopping and starting catalyst!! Ugh, I wish I could help you learn… I’m still learning, guess I always will be. Aren’t we all?

Your biggest problem… you let your reaction to the outside world consume you. It changes you.

It changes your relationships.

It changes your thinking.

It changes your ability to think.

It changes your ability to function.

You basically shut down.

Kate, you need to get over that shit… you lose days of your life!! It’s NOT healthy. It’s toxic. I know it’s the anxiety. I wish we knew then what I know now. (sigh)

The shut down, that’s the anxiety. It interferes with your whole world. It’s ugly and it hurts. It’s heavy, the weight may not be visible, but it’s there and it’s real. When you finally figure out how to lift it off of you, you realize how heavy and consuming it actually is. You only realize the weight when you feel the weight lift. It won’t lift until you finally address it and do something about it. That’s the hard part. That takes strength.

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It’s ok to be afraid…

Strength isn’t something we have. It isn’t something that people are. Strength is something that people earn. Strong is something people become. And you will. You are so much stronger than you know. You will prove that to yourself over and over again. I will still take decades for you to really believe it though.

You see, at 17 you’re still learning who you are and what life is all about. Being a kid and growing up is the “learning” part, it takes years, even more than those arbitrary 18 years that precede “adulthood.”

Adulting is hard shit! Enjoy your youth. I wish you knew how much you need to enjoy your youth, we all do. We make it too serious, and it doesn’t have to be that way. I think we’d all be a lot healthier and happier if childhood wasn’t so serious. #lessons

Make life work for you, my dear. Hold your head up. Face your fears. Share your strengths. Share your wisdom. Help others. It will all help you be who you want to be.

only impossible journeyThe only things you cannot accomplish are the things you don’t attempt. #truth

We’ll chat again soon, promise.

Love,

Me

Dear 17,

Dear 17,

You will have amazing kids, they need somebody like you. Not you at 17, but you later. The “you” you become. Let me tell you what I mean…

You are clueless. You will go through life that way… not your fault, we all do. We never know if our decisions are right until they are done.

At 17, you don’t even know what life is yet, really. This, all this life that you’re living at 17, it’s all just part of the lesson, part of learning what life is. All the heartaches, triumphs, anxiety, fears, growing pains, it’s all just a way for  you to learn. Learn how to not be quite so clueless.

One of the hardest lessons is learning HOW to make mistakes. Sure it seems easy, but trust me, there’s more to it. You see, those mistakes are the key to NOT being clueless. Without making those mistakes, you WILL be clueless forever. MAKE MISTAKES, lots of them, they are your lessons.

Follow that love of knowledge that you have, that love of helping and giving to others, that love of adventure, and especially whatever that instinct is you have to “try anything once” – that’s a youth thing and one you might not want to outgrow as quickly as I know you will.

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Don’t be afraid. 

What doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger. Won’t seem like it at the time, but truer truths will never be spoken.

Anything worth having is worth working for. At 17, I know you already say “anything worth having is worth fighting for”… wait until you really have to mean it. Watch what you fight for vs. what you work for. Hard work will get you further, and build your character. Fighting will do just the opposite. Always choose positivity over negativity. ALWAYS.

Anxiety WILL stop you. It will slow you down sometimes, and it will paralyze you others. It is actually going to change the course of your life. DEAL WITH IT. Once you figure it out, then, you can really deal with it, and really help others. Trust me on this one. 😉

The whole anxiety thing is going to take until your mid-30s for you to even recognize that it is the catalyst for so many of the interferences in your life. Suck it up, buttercup, and keep moving forward. It’s ok. It’s gonna piss you off. Figure out how to deal with it. Anything having is worth fighting for, right? 😉 Then, and only then, will you realize your path…

Greatness isn’t something you are born with (no matter what your bloodline).

Greatness is something you have to discover within yourself. You must be open to it. Seeking. Less afraid to make mistakes. (This is why you have to deal with that anxiety.) You’ll make enough mistakes to start to get over them, trust me. Mistakes are just lessons we haven’t mastered.

NEVER STOP SEEKING YOUR GREATNESS… this is the whole “wisdom with age” thing everyone speaks of. You’ll be in your 40s before you know this truth. Nine years of college and graduate studies will not do it for you, those years will aid you, but the struggle is yours alone.

I have so much more to tell you, but most of it you’re going to have to figure out on your own. DON’T let it scare you. The scared ones are the ones that rarely, if ever, find their greatness.

More later.

Love, Me. fullsizeoutput_38eb