Finding Treasures in Your Local Market

Local Markets are Amazing Finds

It’s 3 am and I am sipping on an eclectic array of African seeds I purchased this weekend while searching for a liquor store for my Ancestors.  The later I’m sure sounds anything but normal but as in most African-centered religions or those by way of the Far East offerings of fruit, liquor,  and other human delicacies are a close familial tradition of thanksgiving to Ancestors, the Dead and in truth the Immortal.  So in my liquor hunt as the only spirits I indulge in are often watered down almost koolaide sweet Moscatos. I refrain from harsh liquors, alcohols and other substances that may alter my consciousness not for any religious restrictions. I am not religious. I’ve just always been ‘different’ kind of close to the Earth, sensitive to energy and the metaphysical phenomena. Those gifts I’ve had all my life quite naturally so I always figured why mess with what is natural?  –So it was no surprise to find in the far right corner from the liquor wholesale store images of hookahs that caught our attention. It was as if the Ancestors were leading the way! Right next door there was this local market!

Local Market Treasures Foods, Medicines, Incense, and More!

Local Market Treasures
Foods, Medicines, Incense, and More!

Herbs, Spices, Seeds, Fruits and More

There in that corner was a treasure trove of Ancient African, Indian and Middle Eastern seeds, spices, incense,  figs, cashews,  the most interesting short brown basmati rice,  shelves of curries, cumins, corianders, chutneys, peppers, cinnamons,  dates, dried apricots, more rows of incense and Ayurveda medicines! I was like a kid in a candy store, like my herbalist days at Howard on Georgia Avenue in the Blue Nile seeking the Elders advice. But this time with all that excitement, I let my “Instincts” do the choosing. I found the infamous Black Seed Kalonji  oil, Argan oil from Morocco, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Neem oil, Neem powder, Neem toothpaste- (exhale). I was in awe of all the herbs and medicines I knew and the prices that seemed not only reasonable but especially non-gmo! Boom what a subtle treasure, i thought!

The Sum of Me In Kind

In this small very Southern town, the absence of Ethiopian Merkatos, African markets, Bodegas and Botanicas, and other international stores I have felt quite isolated from real culture. I never knew just how diverse and global I grew up. My lifestyle consisted of many different people from ALL walks of life; artists from Spain who played Cuban and African drums,  decedents of ancient Mayans from Guatemala, Senegalese and Malian griots and dancers, Jamaicans, Eritreans and Ethiopians, Orthodox Greeks, families from Poland, Germans, Italians, of course aristocrats from France, not to mention the islands of every colonized tribe.  I am truly a Rainbow Daughter feeling kinnected to the many, regardless of racial and tribal differences. And it’s evident in my food choices! The fact that I have a real preference for Nag Champa incense (Satya Sai Baba) version. Or that  I’ve been chewing Fenugreek seeds for over 20 years had me in a kind of awe. I didnt grow up on these spices, these Mediterranean -Ancient Egyptian- old African  foods that I cherish and I love! I re-introduced myself to them when I became a yoyo Vegetarian many years ago.  Finding these spices in this traditional market allowed me to see aspects of my life journey. And I am thankful!

Grasping the NOW + Living In  It! 

I meant to share (post) over the weekend. I am learning to live more in the NOW then to try to overthink and orchestrate some marketing or blog type strategy. Social media is a phenomena I choose to indulge in ONLY in a way that allows me the Zen-like freedom if that can exists harmoniously. I’d rather be True to Self, Authentic, and Be Inside the Moment as it happens! If I can share these feelings, passions, ideas, moments with you – I will do so and allow for greater more intense expression, that is real and close to my heart.  Less thinking, and rethinking, less pretense!  There is so much I have held back for years! It’s the right time to simply be all that I am – no matter how contradictory I may seem. My day consisted of Working Out, then editing  @Home Fitness videos where I’m envisioning myself transforming into my favorite Superhero and secretly sharing with a few Fitness Trainer friends how much I’m feigning for the Gym meanwhile I’m sipping on Cardamom and Fennel seeds thanking my Ancestors and realizing WE are all forever eternal in this Cosmic Dance of life, death and rebirth.  I am inspired by beauty, by art, by spontaneity as well as deep thinking and blueprints.
And Loving this creative messy, tacky fumbling learning wrapped inside of wisdom and deep compassion is joy! So much Gratitude + Love ~ Ria Sweetraw Takharu  🙂

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Uplift, Purify, Tone! Ancient Cedarwood Aromatherapy

IMG_7652-1.JPGCleanse, Empower and Relieve Muscles Aches from a Gruesome Workout!

Not only do Essential Oils feel good on the skin, they can be used potently in Aromatherapy and inhaled through the nasal passages. Aromatherapy is an ancient healing modality practiced in Antiquity such as Egypt, Africa, India, Tibet, the Mediterranean and throughout the Tribal Regions of North America. Cedar was considered by the Sumerians to be the symbol of “Power,” “Greatness,” and “Immortality.”

Cedar Wood Essential Oil

Cedar Wood Essential Oil

Goddesses like Bast, Isis (Ast), Sekhmet, Hetheru and Aphrodite  were known for their magical and healing use of aromatic scents to heal the body, mind and spirit. These Goddesses were the Queens of Nurture and  in tune with the essence and elements of Nature. They healed the sick, heard flowers bloom,  and brought about births and the wailing back to life and memory. Using their divine feminine intuition, and shaman like powers they were revered, celebrated, honored and respected as the embodiment of womanhood and deity. There is much we can learn from these world culture stories and myth. Their energies and boons (spiritual gifts) remain in our DNA and in the very fabric of this Earth and cosmos.

Isis (Ast) the "Throne" Sacred Goddess of Healing, Magic, Regeneration, Agriculture

Isis (Ast) the “Throne”
Sacred Goddess of Healing, Magic, Regeneration, Agriculture, Children, Wisdom, Marriage

The use of oils and perfumes directly absorbed through the blood stream is a powerfully conscious way to heal, rejuvenate, maintain and strengthen the body’s immunity, mental clarity and sensuality and overall natural organic balance. By using a simple diffuser the essential oil can burn into a vapor by tea light candle in a ceramic sculpture. This method fills the room beautifully with any scent or combination you choose.

Red Cedar Tree

Red Cedar Tree

For the past few days, late nights especially I have blended Cedarwood EO with Tea Tree EO (my senses LOVE this Astringent) and a dash of Cinnamon EO!! ❤️
Note: Cinnamon Essential oil is powerful and can burn the skin! So add just a drop if mixing with other oils and carrier oils. I use Cinnamon mostly for household cleaning and spiritual clearing in prayer and rituals. I may also add Jasmine or Ylang Ylang to bring a lightness or floral air to my body and environment.

Cedarwood has been my favorite essential oil for over 20 years! It’s  safe and great for the skin, hair, in a spray bottle, or diffuser. It was known for its spiritual uses by Tibetan Monks in the Himalayas. It has a woodsy aroma that I add Jasmine oil floral scent. It can be used as an incense, perfume and massage oil.

Soapstone Aromatherapy Lamps

Soapstone Aromatherapy Lamps


11 Truly Amazing Facts about Cedar Tree and Cedar Wood Oil: 

  1. Cedar was considered the Holy Tree of Life -Sumerian
  2. Sumerian God Ea was the Patron of Cedar Wood
  3. Ancient Egyptian sarcophagus were made of ancient Cedar Trees
  4. Cedar resin was held in high esteem by nobility and royalty in Egypt, Iran, the Middle East, the Celts and Syths, Ancient Hebrews, the Greeks and Romans
  5. Temples and Tombs and fleets of Ships were constructed with Cedar Wood
  6. Cedar wood groves were considered Sacred and Guarded by the State
  7. Cedar wood trees are one of the only trees to mimic human sleep patterns based on seasons these trees shift their biological rhythms much like that of humans  waking up on overcast rainy days at 10 am, bright days at dawn, nap at 3 and 4 pm,  fall asleep at 11 pm (they are known to have souls)
  8. Cedar wood trees have oxygen rich bacterial properties that are so powerful  a hectare of these coniferous giants emits more than 30 kg of airborne organic substances   to render all the pathogenic microbes in a large city harmless
  9. the extracts, poultices, compounds of cedar wood have a history of healing inflammatory disease, eliminates asthma, edema, bronchitis, coughing, infections of the urogenital system
  10. it can aid in gynecological diseases, the bladder and uterus, strengthen immunity, help heal varicose veins, hemorrhoids, rheumatism, paradontal diseases, toothaches and tooth decay, arthritis, and muscle strains, insomnia, and stress, mental and physical fatigue, and help restore activity in the cerebral cortex
  11. as a Beauty Aid it has been used for dermatitis, blackheads, irritation, skin problems, nail repair, wounds, cuts and hair growth, and as a natural deodorant

Resource: L. A. Shchennikov

cedarwood (1)


More Healing Benefits of the Cedar Wood Tree Essential Oil 

From Organic Facts:
HEALTH BENEFITS:
The health benefits of Cedarwood Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an antiseborrhoeic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, astringent, diuretic, emenagogue, expectorant, insecticidal, sedative and fungicidal substance.

cedarwood-deodara

TONIC: Cedar Wood Oil can be used as a general health tonic, since it tones the organ systems and stimulates metabolism. It tightens and tones muscles, skin, nervous system, stomach, digestive system and brain functions. It boosts the functionality of the kidney and liver, which further improves overall health and wellness.

ANTISPASMODIC: Relieving spasms is yet another important medicinal property of Cedarwood Oil.  Nearly all types of spasms and related ailments can be relieved using this oil. This includes spasms that affect the respiratory system, intestines, muscles, heart and nerves. People that have trouble sleeping due to restless leg syndrome, respiratory seizures, asthma, and other spasmodic conditions also find relief from the soothing properties of cedarwood oil.

#fitness #natural #wellness #essentialoils #aromatherapy #organic #naturallifestyle #healing #riasweetraw @riasweetraw

Happy Fortitude Fitness ♥ Friday

Happy Friday Family!
(Happy New Moon in Sagittarius and for the vedic kemetic astrology Opichius New Moon!) I had no idea it was a new moon although I think a few days ago, I was looking at a crescent waning moon and thought “Ahh, how gorgeous” before rushing into my next task.  At some point I did find it was in Scorpio! Thank God for Breath, Yoga and the slow-down -and -pause moments to place you back into center.  I am thankful for that awareness.

Fyi: If you are a must know metaphysics enthusiast like myself and wonder how you can use the new moon for your benefit, here’s how:
New Moon Magick: New beginnings, new ventures, fresh starts, new jobs/hunting, optimism, new love, romance, hope and faith, strengthening your health and good intentions.  New Moon in Sagittarius: Philosophical,  Health and Sports, Compassion and Freedom-loving, Optimistic, Chanting, Yoga, Natural Quest for Knowledge. Truth and Wisdom.

New Moon in Sagittarius Art: Steel Eyes

New Moon in Sagittarius
Art: Steel Eyes

Yesterday was Cardio for me, today Dirty 30! Working my way back into the Gym..I’m so VERY excited. After visiting my Trainer Fitness friend on his birthday at his new gym this week, I was very wound up eyeing the equipment and space! I truly do love training, working out, dancing, nature and the best organic, nutrient rich foods; guess I’m a true Sagittarius, Virgo moon! Haha! Something about the Primal Physical Element mixed with a heap of Hermetic Mentalism that turns me on! What can I say- Strength is Sexy! Mind, Body and Spirit! 😉

"Thought is the Sculptor who can create the person you want to be." Henry Thoreau

“Thought is the Sculptor who can create the person you want to be.” Henry David Thoreau

And in keeping in that alignment, Happy Happy Fortitude Fitness Friday! Whoot whoot!

  • Get Your Early Morning Superfood Protein Shakes and Smoothies
  • Eat Whole Foods after your workout or training
  • If You are doing the Intermittent Fasting remember to Hydrate and Train Smart!
  • Remember to use Good Form
  • Hydrate some more!
  • Show and Share Gratitude and Appreciation!
  • Get Shyt Done!
  • Love Yourself Some More!

Fortitude Fitness Fridays Inspiration!

Fitness Fridays Inspiration

Fitness Fridays Inspiration: Maggie Watson

Self Acceptance and Change : A Great Mix of Action !

Self Acceptance and Change : A Great Mix of Action !

Make it Your Intention to Be Both; Give and Take! True Reciprocity!

Make it Your Intention to Be Both; Give and Take! True Reciprocity!

BElieve in YOUrself! Stay Consistent! Eat Right, Eat Clean, Work Hard!

BElieve in YOUrself! Stay Consistent! Eat Right, Eat Clean, Work Hard!

EatClean Fight for Fitness!

Eat Clean, Train Mean,  Fight for Your Fitness!

 

InLove,

Ria

 

 

Watercress – ♥ The Anti-Aging Intracellular Super Food that Loves You Back!

Watercress the SuperFood that Loves You Back!♥

 

watercress_beneifts_naturalself

Healing Benefits of Watercress

I LOVE WATERCRESS! I started eating this mineral-rich green leafy veggie in the 90s in New York City and have been hooked ever since. Why? It’s extremely bitter,  a bit difficult to get used to the tart flavor, but it’s extremely healthy and something about watercress lets you know it’s working for your wellness! Watercress is a green that loves you back! 

Watercress is a  cruciferous,  aquatic plant found near watery springs and streams that has been used for centuries as a medicinal plant since the age of antiquity. It was noted since the age of Hippocrates for successfully healing sick patients.  If you are looking for a high Vitamin K source, watercress is the answer with a whooping 85.0 mg in 1cup (INRtracker) and great for brain, blood clotting and bone health.  Looking for a high Vitamin C superfood, watercress is high in phytonutrients including antioxidants, and  immune boosting protection up to 48%  of Vitamin C daily allowance (2 cups of raw watercress).  How about Vitamin A? Watercress gives 44% of the daily recommended allowance.

Watercress contains more vitamin C than an orange, more calcium than milk, more iron than spinach and more folate than bananas (Horticulture Week). Watercress is a powerful antioxidant, nutritive to add to salads, greens and juices. Watercress can be eaten raw and steamed in many varied recipes as sides, main dishes and added to wraps and sandwiches.

Excellent Blood cleansing Phytonutrient Nutrient Rich Superfood 

An excellent free radical DNA blood cell cleanser and builder. Watercress is low in calories, cholesterol and saturated fat. It’s a great source of Protein, Iron, Copper, Folate, Panthothenic acid,  Vitamins A, C, D, K, E, B6, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Calcium, Magnesium, Phosphorus, Sodium, Maganese, Selenium and Potassium.  Watercress is an excellent source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids and Omega-6 Fatty Acids. Watercress increases Lutein and Betacarotene.

What’s Watercress Good For? 

  • Clear Glowing Skin
  • Strengthen Eyesight Health (cataract development)
  • Heart Disease and Cardiovascular Health
  • Reduces Risk of Cancer
  • Fights Inflammation
  • Increases Energy
  • Cleans Blood and Repairs Oxidative Red Blood Cell Damage
  • Helps Reduce Belly Fat and Weight Loss
  • Decreases Risks of Diabetes
  • Bitter Bite equals Cancer Fighting Nutrients
  • Fights Flus and Common Cold Symptoms
  • Preventative Nutrient against Asthma and Respiratory Infection
  • Great for Strong Thyroid Health

 

 


Recipes

Watercress can be added to almost ANY food or recipe. Add to your favorite salad, throw sprigs into your smoothie or juicer and add fruit,  add to your sandwich or wrap, place into pasta or omelet, add into a raw or cooked soup, or saute watercress as a favorite side dish to your meal. 

Watercress Apple Juice: Water or Coco Water, Watercress, Spinach, Apples!

Watercress Apple Juice: Water or Coco Water, Watercress, Spinach, Apples!


Watercress Juice for Iodine, Detoxing the Liver and Inflammation 

1 bunch of Watercress

2 green or red organic Apples

1 Lime

Directions: Wash produce. Soak Watercress 1-2 hours  in 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide to properly cleanse any parasites, or impurities. Rinse a few times. Peel lime.  Juice and InJoy!


 

Vegan Friendly Recipe

Vegan Friendly Recipes

Watercress + Avocado Simple-Salad Recipe

3-6 cups of fresh raw Watercress 

1 ripe Avocado 

1 tablespoon thinly sliced Red Onion 

3 tablespoons Cold Pressed Olive Oil 

4 teaspoons of Braggs Amino Acid 

1/4 cup of sliced Organic Red Apple

 

Directions: Place ingredients in bowl add olive oil and Braggs, stir and serve.

 


Steamed Watercress 

2-3 bunches  fresh Watercress

3-4 cloves Garlic

1/4 cup of Vegetable Broth

Salt or Braggs Amino Acid

2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Directions: Wash thoroughly. Steam or place in iron skillet or wok on medium heat. Add oil, then garlic until warm and browned. Add watercress and Braggs or salt. Steam and cook until leaves and stems are tender. Serve and InJoy!

MY COMING OUT, FINDING BALANCE, LISTENING TO YOUR BODY

WHERE HAS RIA BEEN?

You probably think I jumped off the face of the earth but I was  recovering from  a serious bout of Anemia and had to take a break from weight training lifting and exercise. It was awful! I had extreme guilt, shame and was in denial. For years I bragged about my almost perfect health and going Vegan was something I aspired to become to prove to myself and the world that it was ‘better’ more spiritual and optimal for health even in extreme fitness. What I was shown was something quite the contrary. I turned the shame and isolation into a time of deeper spiritual innerstanding of peer acceptance, self acceptance, food and nutrition and personal dietary needs to obtain balance, wellness and fitness.

whereisria_fitness_riasweetraw

BEAST MODE THEN WHAT?

whereisria_fitness_riasweetraw2It’s true when I’m into my fitness I go hard and had no idea that according to TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) some Spleen meridian issues (pathologies) causing Anemia and other heavy blood flow can be aggravated by intense and excessive exercise! My almost 2 hour workouts with heavy weights and cardio didnt seem to help my situation at all.
I was absolutely floored when my medical doctor insisted I have a blood transfusion (?) huh, is this that serious I thought and no I would not place some random persons blood into my system. I’ve suffered from Anemia for many years, especially as a vegetarian. This time being Vegan proved to be stressful on my body producing allergies I’ve never had like cashew and other fickle bouts of allergic reactions. This time my usual period of ‘cleansing’ felt more like a nightmare. I was literally sick and could not understand why.

FOODPICS_RIASWEETRAWFor over 20 years, being Vegetarian and Pescatarian  was my way of life, this time going back to Vegan proved too much for my body and my emotions.  It was as if I was being initiated at yet another level of what reality is, should be or can be. That ‘it’ (in my case ‘diet/nutrition’) was absolutely ‘factual’ on an individual intimate level that can not be judged or validated by anyone other than my self. And that true ‘enlightment’ would prove that all things are both light and dark having their sun and moon, good and bad, what was seen as medicine could in deed be poison if taken in excess and without a balanced approach.  Although, this all seemed very logical AND spiritual simultaneously I suffered with this resolution  and my actions emotionally and spiritually.

In my personal evolution, I no longer over emphasize or stress about my weight (well not that much) in fact I’ve pretty much given up the dogma I had about every little thing I eat or don’t eat.  I eat what I want (within reason) with no guilt or stress and ironically I weigh less than I did when I was on a strict diet! I have turned away from replacing ‘religious’ attitude and behavior with the “Raw Food Movement” or “Vegan” ideology. haha I can even laugh about it now. I was so obsessed!

But two months ago, I was really quite devastated when I was diagnosed with severe anemia I felt great guilt and bewilderment. I thought me being Vegan as the socially accepted eco-friendly super-conscious movement stamped me as spiritually acceptable and within the social guidelines of my peers and the gurus I worshiped.

Anything but VEGAN for me was unacceptable and yet my body was rejecting this way of eating and seeing it as an imbalance rather than balance! WTF! I was embarrassed and felt like a fraud for having this dis-ease, symptom, imbalance. The whole ordeal became  quite personal and intimate. In secret, I was in a kind of spiritual-emotional anguish and had a hard time admitting that I was somehow different from the pack. I had to find out that there is no cookie cutter way or answer for the “All” and that “Some” are just plain different requiring whatever the body, mind and spirit sought as balancing chemistry to properly function in her immediate environment. That environment has everything to do with food choices, that these variables and  adjustments should be carefully taken into consideration. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ stamp on my nutrition simply what works best for my constitution in the environment which I reside, the work I do,  my emotional space, home life, etc., is my ‘right’ way and path.

If I was residing in a warm tropical climate, my food choices would better be suited and reflect that temperate climate, amount of Sun, melanin chemistry and molecular food choices, just as certain American climates and geography warrant a varied array of food choices, herbs, seeds, roots, etc.  These variables seemed to propose very real and factual  variables in my health and in my final choices.

What I had preached and followed for so many years was leaving me exhausted, lifeless, debilitated, and imbalanced. What once felt rejuvenating, refreshing, and whole had none of the effects they once had on my constitution. I was a very different person at a very different time, place and space and needed very different variables to balance my life and produce the wellness I deserved.

PERSONAL JOURNEY TO BALANCE, COMING OUT! 

I am not ashamed that I eat small amounts of organic, free-range meat and poultry on occasion. My body seems to have adjusted to the chemistry and my anemic symptoms (Spleen meridian pathologies, according to TCM Traditional Chinese Medicine) have vanished. Of course other areas of my life have also healed in the process of me moving forward both on a psychological and emotional level as all things are connected fundamentally.

46BD_PICS_RIASWEETRAW

I embrace the many changes in my personal life and have left my past to it’s past forging ahead in a very newly rebirthed Body, Mind and Spirit! People are still amazed when I say I am 46 and I no longer hide the fact that my age is just a number that has produced wisdom and strength in this incarnation.

I am so ready to get back into the gym, train, finish my new certifications in Personal Training,  Fitness Nutrition (NASM) and Wellness Coaching (ACE) courses and get back into the best shape of my life! I really do love athletic BEAST MODE along with some dance, yoga and meditation! 
~ with Love, Light and Ascension Ria, December 7, 2015

Fitness Update, Fitness Programs, Nutritional Meal Plans, Fit Apps

Fitness Goal: Be Healthy, Feel Lighter, More Energy
Programs: 30 Day Vegan Challenge: May 6, 2015 – June 6, 2015
Initial Weight:
140 lbs, May 6, 2015
End Weight: 131 lbs

Fitness Goal: Cultivate Daily Fitness Habit 
Program Motivation: 30 Day Fitness Challenge

Programs: Hero’s Journey (30 Days), Cardio, 30 Day Yoga, Running, Sprints
Initial Weight/End Weight: Not Monitored, Not Recorded

Fitness Goal: Loose Weight, Tone Body
Program: 21 Day Fix Extreme
Initial Start Date:
 July 21, 2015
End Date: August 12, 2015
Initial Weigh In: 130 lbs
End Weight: 127 lbs

Current Plan 
Fitness Goal: Shred, Gain Muscle, Stamina, Strength, Endurance
Programs: 2nd Round – 21DFX and P90X (hybrid)
Initial Start Date: August 13, 2015
Initial Weigh In: 128 lbs

————————————————————

Progress CheckIn

progresspic_fitness_riasweetraw_815-16-15

August 15, August 16 Progress Pics, Toning and Building Muscle (see my sweat and baby muscles! lol)


Fitness Update, Fitness Programs, Fitness Plan Calendar, Nutritional Plan 

So I’m on Round 2 of 21DFX  AND I picked up or rather dusted off my copy of P90X! Years ago, I shamefully admitted that I wasn’t strong enough to finish or even attempt to follow along with the P90X routines!!!!! I remember saying to myself “one day I will get there!” I guess that day is today-right now. I’ve been doing the program with success and satisfaction. I love the program and laughed that it took me so long. Pike pushups, Banana Rolls,  no problem,   I’m in there! Wall Squats, One-Legged Wall Squats – I’m screaming,”Bring it on!” I get up, take a pause, bounce back, ready for more!

I’m sweating, I’m smiling, I’m sore,  I’m satisfied.   I can actually see transformation and gains! This  is exciting. My Calves are already getting rock hard! I see my Quads are becoming defined.  Traps and Shoulders, Arms and Biceps sculpting into view. Large and small changes everywhere.

Steps to Creating a New Improved Fitness Plan for My Wellness Goals
I updated my Fitness Plan and created a Fitness Plan Program calendar which I synced to my iPhone. I use this on the Beachbody site and add the P90X hybrid program manually. Since it’s a hybrid program that I created for this Round 2 of 21DFX it’s  different from the pre applied options on the site. So far this method is working out perfectly! I have the freedom to mix up the P90X exercise sessions at will if I choose to do so  and they compliment the 21DFX program perfectly giving me that EXTRA DYNAMIC GRIT I am constantly seeking. What girl doesn’t love a challenge?

21-day-fix-banner

Round 2 – 21 Day Fix Extreme Program

 

tony-bio-P90X-thumb (1)

P90X Program

Follow Up Routine – Keeping Tabs on My Daily Habits
Finally after these workouts, I want to eat for results and nutrition value AND crawl into a ball and sleep! Yeah, I worked that hard! I eat based on my Fitness Plan (i.e., goals), record my meals and snacks in my Nutrition Journal, then find a comfy spot to crawl into a little ball to Recover. Ready to do it all again, the next day!

 

 

screenshot-www.myfitnesspal.com 2015-08-17 07-31-01

Modified Nutrition Plan: Sample Nutrition Journal using MyFitnessPal.com App (August 16, 2015)

Nutritional Plan Modifications – Vegan to Vegetarian -type
I’ve modified my Nutrition Plan from 1200-1300  calories or less doing 21 Day Fix Extreme  (21DFX) program  – Round 1-  to 1300-1500 calories (give or take 500-100 calories) doing Round 2 – 21DFX AND  P90X hybrid programs.  I have also included Sardines, Organic Eggs and very bitter Yogurt (Acidophilus, Bifidus, L. bulgaricus) for additional protein sources and omega fatty acids. Of course, I stick to my vegetarian staples like Spinach and Kale, Red Quinoa,  Chickpeas, Black Olives,  Certified Organic Tofu, and lots of Vegetarian meatless alternatives! But since I was lacking in serious protein deficits I added the above mentioned to help me increase my muscle production (faster)and achieve my Fitness Goals. The trade off is more mucus so I’m not sure how long I will choose to maintain the dairy (reduce it or eliminate completely) but for now I will see how my body responds to these variables. I plan the meals according to my workouts. If i have a hectic high calories workout I make modifications to my meals, for yoga and pilates days I adjust for lighter meals more greens less protein but I stay consistent on my greens, protein shakes, water intake, and supplements.

Brands iLike using for these Round 2 includes occasional Creatine from GNC.Staples include; Raw Spinach, Raw Almonds, Coconut Oil (Nutiva), Hemp Protein Powder (Navitas), Shredded Coconut, Vitamin C -EmergenC (post recovery).

Brands iLike  and using for Round 2 include occasional Creatine from GNC. Daily Staples include, Raw Spinach, Raw Almonds, Coconut Oil (Nutiva), Hemp Protein Powder (Navitas), Shredded Coconut, Vitamin C -EmergenC (post recovery).

 

Caloric Calculations and Keeping Daily Stats and Records – What and How?
I added my 21DFX and P90X exercise programs to the Exercise tab of the MyFitnessPal app. How? Since the app itself is in my opinion limited on the exercise database side, I had to do it myself. (A quick note, Bodybuilding.com is great for keeping track of workout and gym plans and programs, but sucks on the nutrition functionality.) So…since I started with myfitnesspal app I figured I would continue with it and make my own adjustments.
Here’s How: I researched the specific exercises, duration (length), and calories burned using online tools to calculate projected caloric formulas based on my current weight. Which, by the way, went from 140 lbs in May  2015 to 128 lbs as of August 16, 2015. One helpful tool is this P90X website: P90X Calories Calculator. I can provide more how-to in another post.

Vegetarian + Vegan Protein Shakes, Smoothies and Homemade Milks
vegan-certified-big
I  had a Facebook inquiry yesterday about the dangers of Carageenan in Almond Milk. I replied to the Brother that I do not buy or no longer purchase store brand Almond or Coconut milk. I stated this many times on Facebook but perhaps it didn’t translate very well. I had read a few articles on the risks of the sea moss carageenan causing cancer AND the marketing shams the companies producing Almond Milk providing very little almonds to milk production ratio’s worth the costs of carton of store bought milk. Since these issues both raised considerable concerns for me and my family I decided there and then to make my own and haven’t looked back. The irony is that I had just taken a pic of my almond milk and green protein just that morning prior to his inquiry on Messenger.  I will post another article on this issue and provide recipes for both Almond Milk, Coconut Milk and Vegan Protein Smoothies for Pre and Post Workouts. 

almondcoconutmilk_1

August 16, 2015

 

green-almonds

Daily Green Vegan Protein Shake

 

Typical 21 Day FX Meals & Earlier 21DFX Meal Plans
Using the 21DFX containers has been awesome. In the beginning of the program, they truly helped me to ‘cut’ my meal portions. Since I wasn’t at the ‘Very Active’ fit lifestyle I was accustomed to in my earlier fitness experiences, I had to actually learn how to cut down my eating to fit my fitness goals. 1st slim down, i.e., loose weight, then only then get ‘toned’ and then build muscle.  I did it this way because I wanted the look I was after and the results to follow in sequence. I tried (with a Trainer) I might add, to simply get toned but following his dynamic crossfit-bodybuilding-‘bulk up’ -slim down plan was chaos for me. I hadn’t learned the fundamentals clearly and it translated into a sometimes hit or miss meal plan and  gym results that I wasnt happy with. Doing it methodically and in sequence works better form me and I’m finding it effective,  faster, more powerful results. I understand it takes some learning to acclimate oneself to and some serious nutrition study and science. 

 

Earlier 21DFX Foods for Round 1 following a 1200-or less Caloric target plan.

Earlier 21DFX Foods for Round 1 following a 1200-or less Caloric target plan.

Since I record my daily meals and snacks I’m aware of how many calories the Coconut Milk, Coconut Water and Almond milk contain including Fats, Sugars, Sodium and other Vitamins and Minerals I keep mental note of for overall health and wellness. I go for Complex Carbohydrates, and Healthy Fats, but  I also watch and take note at how foods effect and transform into muscle and Energy!  I am constantly researching and taking notes. Learning new things is my daily mantra!

Make Modifications + Adjustments When Necessary – Turn “Problems” to Solutions
For instance I will share a pic of some ‘early’ eating in my 1st round of 21DFX .
The granola pic is one breakfast I have modified in Round 2. Why? Sugar and Fat content!
I watch how many glasses of Coconut and Almond Milk I consume, and I don’t or rarely use the dried cranberries , raisins, or “high sugar” fruit. I have almost entirely omitted bananas due to high sugar content. Bananas are high in Potassium and are  great for metabolism and source of electrolytes for the body especially during or after workouts when the body sweats out water and minerals. How can you solve this physiological biological need? Solution,  Drink Coconut Water instead! Coconut water is isotonic, nutrient dense, superfood that helps the body to heal and maintain welleness. 1-cup  of coconut water contains 600 milligrams of potassium, essential electrolytes including minerals, and vitamins.

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Source: AscensionKitchen.com

What I modified and substituted: In Round 2 -21DFX, I add half a cup of bitter yogurt, 1 color container of organic granola, fresh cherries or blueberries, NO dried berries, NO banana, or if I can splurge on sugar,  only half a small banana. When your goal is to get shredded you do not want high sugar variables in your ratios of Carbs,  Fats, Proteins, (Sugars) totaling your  daily Calories. In my Breakfast meal with the granola, banana, Understanding these ratios are key to getting the results you desire. 

early_round_breakfast

Typical Organic Cold Cereal Breakfast for Round 1 – 21DFX. I have omitted adding dried cranberries and bananas due to high sugar content in Round 2.

 

Real Life Case and Point – Learn From Your Past and Make Adjustments that Serve You!
Although “healthy” with organic ingredients, the typical breakfast pictured above would look something like this in actual calories, and ratios.  And remember this is ONLY breakfast and projections!

Breakfast – “Healthy” Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
Cherries – 9 cherries – Fruit Cherries, 9 cherries 39 10 1 1 0 8
Home – Organic Banana, 1 medium banana 110 29 0 1 0 15
Homemade – Almond Milk, 1 cup 218 7 19 8 0 2
Cascade Farm Organic – French Vanilla Almond Granola, 1 cup 360 64 9 7 150 22
Dried cranberries – Dried Cranberries, 0.25 cup 130 33 0 0 10 28
Add Food

Quick Tools – TOTALS
857 144 29 17 160 75

Sugar at 75 grams already at your Breakfast meal is astounding and puts you at a -4 total sugar for your entire day!!!! It’s eye-opening when you finally put your meals to numbers. The “I cant figure out why I’m still not seeing results” mantra becomes VERY- VERY CLEAR! When you can actually see the data and science behind the words your plan becomes  very, very clear. Of course these numbers are estimated values and projections, but keeping track as closely as possible ensures more control over the outcome of your results then winging it any day of the week! Keeping your Goals doable, measurable and achievable. 🙂

The above sample breakfast can be modified many times over. One way might look like this with the almond milk swapped out for 1/2 cup of Fage Yogurt, NO  Banana,No dried fruit cranberries, 9 or so Cherries Fresh or Blueberries, and 1 cup Granola this can be 1/4 cup as well  which would further modify these variables.

Breakfast (Modified 1) Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
Cherries – 9 cherries – Fruit Cherries, 9 cherries 39 10 1 1 0 8
Cascade Farm Organic – French Vanilla Almond Granola, 1 cup 360 64 9 7 150 22
Fage (Fage Usa Dairy Industry, Inc – All Natural Nonfat Greek Strained Yogurt, 113.5 g 65 5 0 12 43 5
Add Food

Quick Tools – Totals
464 79 10 20 192 35

 

A strictly Vegan version might look like this table below. Modifying the Fage Yogurt for Homemade Coconut Water or Milk and adding Raw Pumpkin Seeds (Pepitas).There are countless ways to adjust your Meal plans to get the variables and results you seek. AND you can use the 21 Day Fix Container System to further cut your calories and loose the weight properly, safely and effectively. Because it  Works! 

Breakfast (Modified 2) Calories Carbs Fat Protein Sodium Sugar
Cherries – 9 cherries – Fruit Cherries, 9 cherries 39 10 1 1 0 8
Cascade Farm Organic – French Vanilla Almond Granola, 1 cup 360 64 9 7 150 22
One Coconut Water – Coconut Water, 1 cup 44 10 0 0 44 8
Pumpkin Seeds – Raw Pumpkin Seeds, 1 tbsp(s) 18 2 1 1 1 0
Add Food

Quick Tools – TOTALS
461 86 11 9 195 38

***Remember, these are  Breakfast Meals post workout. I often add (and input into this app) a PreWorkout Green Protein Shake and follow up with a Post Workout Green Protein Shake. In the case of expending -500 calories or more on workouts I add a second smaller meal or snack. To speed up recovery time and fuel metabolism and body function. I may expand to having smaller meals every 3-4 hours until bedtime as my workouts turn into training. I’ve even learned what to snack up on for better results! 😉

 

READ, READ, READ! Never take My Word for It! Read, Research and Empower YourSelf
If I may further add with a little research, I found this article to be ‘most’ helpful to better innerstand the Carb-Fat-Protein-Sugar Ratio!

We’ve heard it all before, “carbs are the enemy.” Well, not really. Completely slashing your carbohydrate intake will certainly help with dropping the pounds (and fast) but you’ll also be left feeling cranky, tired and lethargic. “Carbs are essential for life as our brain and CNS require them continuously to work properly. Restricting carbs completely will allow for any muscle mass to be metabolized to provide us with energy,” says Tim McComsey, a trainer, dietitian and correspondent to HUMANFITPROJECT. It all comes down to using them correctly, not cutting them completely. “To get lean, a balance of the right amount of carbs first thing in the morning and after workout is ideal,” he says.

~ From MensFitness.com 

Loosing weight, Getting Fit, Shredded, Maintaining Health and Wellness is a Science
And you best get up on your reading, research and learn as much as you can.  Never rely on someone else to ‘tell’ you what to do or how to to it, but seek that information for yourself as a means of Empowerment, Wisdom and Knowing. Stay Open to new information and new ways of doing things. Modify and Improve whenever you can. Stay focused, motivated and inspired and I promise you the sweat and tears will be worth it. You are creating and transforming. (Okay Im starving! haha )

 

InLove, Respect and Power! 

riasweetraw_signature_web

 

 

Ria 

Iron Rich Vegan Foods + Why Vegans are Crazy!

Happy Thursday!  So this started out as a how to fitness quickie article then turned into How to make Homemade protein bars to  “Why Im not 100% Raw!”  Ok Im gonna split this up! First things first! 
My energy is a little low these past few days. I haven’t figured out what ‘right’ balance I need when I’m on my menses. I usually crave meat around this time (not sure if it’s my O Blood type thing). There have been times when I’ve been vegetarian for years and one day have a burger and my whole system perks up! Then, I go another year no meat! I suffered through anemia for years as a vegetarian and vegan which always made me go back to eating a little organic poultry and meats. And finding balance between the two in a Serena Williams kind of Flexitarian food choice. One thing to note is I was not sick for 2 years while lifting iron and eating grass fed organic meats and poultry! When I came to Virginia, got back on my Vegetarian and Vegan diet, my allergies reappeared – well I got strange food allergies I’ve never had before! Like being allergic to cashews!! I looked like Will Smith in Hitch on his allergic scene. I have yet to kick the sniffles and mucous! (exhale) I’m actually looking forward to heading back to Georgia and the consistent hot temperatures my body seems to feel more naturally aligned with.  But I’m not giving up on the Vegetarian Vegan road! For one, my menses have been lighter and less drama filled. But I do feel ‘life-less’ and having rare headaches which seems to go back to my anemia. 😦  Today I’m searching for this happy medium where my body says “I’m satisfied nutritionally – you’ve provided all the nutrients, minerals, vitamins, we need to keep you healthy. Job well done!”

30 Day Vegan Challenge!  DONE!

Fresh, Certified Organic + Local Grown Foods!

Hhmm Vegan + Vegetarian Foods with more Iron and zinc! 

Tips: Vitamin C helps the body absorb Iron, Calcium and Caffeine inhibits iron absorption

  • Quinoa – my favorite is Red Quinoa – 4 mg
  • Watercress Iron, Magnesium and Vitamin K
  • Lentils – 6.6 mg
  • Tofu – 6.6 mg
  • Spirulina – 5 mg
  • Cooked Spinach – 3.2 mg
  • Pumpkin Seeds – 4.2 mg
  • Blackstrap Molasses – 4 mg
  • Chickpeas – 4.7 mg
  • Beans – Black (3.6 mg), Kidney (3.9 mg)

Foods High in Vitamin C 

  • Limes
  • lemons
  • Cherries
  • Berries
  • Kiwi
  • Citrus Fruits
  • Currants
  • Dark Leafy Greens
  • Melons
  • Cilantro
  • Basil
  • Peppers
  • Chilies
  • Kale
  • Organic Tomatoes
  • Oranges

 

Whey Vegans are Crazy! 

 

 

 

 


Why Im not 100% Raw Vegan! – w Jason Wrobel 

 

 

 

 

#1 Menses Yoga Pose – Savasana ?

I recently saw this video on a search for finding the best and or worst yoga poses to do when on you menses. I dont have cramps, Im not out of sorts, quite the contrary Im high vibration and high optimistic and moving forward with big energy. I can admit my periods had become a night mare once I hit my mid 40s! Prior the winter of 2012, I had the over 30 years of serene almost non existent periods – sans cramps, or discomfort, sans wild mood swings, or symptoms, in fact, being vegetarian seemed to help me through those years. There were times when my period was almost non existent or lasted for 2-4 days tops! I used to brag on it. But then as I hit 40-ish and through diet changes I guess my periods were less kind. The last few years especially I suffered quietly. Now, they are much lighter. Not to my almost non existent state of yesteryear but showing a much healthier improvement. I have no cramps, very little almost-non-existent bloating,  and my emotions are steady, balanced and clear.

I usually have to shut down for a week while on my menses but so far my energy is fine, and I’m honestly ready for sprinting, planks, sessions et al.

 

During yoga I mastered a crow pose with little effort. Then  I found that the most important pose for women on our menses to do is Savasana (the Restorative Pose) to take Sacred Time for ourselves as needed. To be intuitive, to be still and restful. “Deeply connecting to our Souls and Intuition”  Sara Avant Stover, yogini and best-selling author of The Way of the Happy Woman.

She further asks:

  • What are the Dominant Emotions that I’m feeling during my cycle this month?
  • What issues are coming to light through situations in my life? 
  • Through my relationships, through my emotions, that need my attention? 
  • What feels really hard right now, feels really challenging? 
  • And what Am I needing to know and to learn from those challenges?
  • How am I being called to heal and transform ? 

 


Day 9 ♥ – Crow Pose – From My Yoga Pages

So yesterday I did the  Crow Pose in my Yoga practice! You can imagine how stoked I am right now!!
I had only planned on ‘stretching’ out better to make up for missing my Warm ups, cool downs and stretches the day before my HIIT morning practice! Since I was sore, I really just went into the practice completely open-minded and found myself pushing, stretching and breathing into the yoga teacher’s poses and my own simply because my body seemed to want to go in that direction (i followed what my body wanted). Bending and breathing into poses with a kind of thankfulness and lightness.  This is little huge personal milestone for me. I’ve done a crow pose before but not with such ease and feeling of body control to be honest before it felt more of –(pause) — doing a physical exercise.This felt so different!!!

10690271_10205323009053014_5463141337779671149_nThis time mastering the  Crow Pose felt cohesive! It is as if my physical body AND strength are coming together in unison. I know that may not seem to make sense – or perhaps it makes perfect sense. But I feel more in tune with my Body when I exercise whether I’m doing sprints, planks, hill drills, and yoga! There is a different feeling I’ve never felt before this ‘all encompassing experience’ I have surrendered to lol. In my early days of yoga, I had this feeling of ‘oneness’ with my Body, Mind Soul and Spirit. But I lacked the Strength that my body could have had,  although I was very flexible and ultra spiritual!!!  There was still something missing in my ecstatic state of love and being!

Today is not merely physical or spiritual, there is a kind of “Call and Response” my Body is doing that I have never felt privy too. Beyond the  duality of my past understandings. It’s beyond the mindset of grabbing some protein, shakes or meals, hitting the gym with the guys, sweating and hurting like crazy, bulking and prizing my new muscles, then heading to another meal, etc. I didn’t know what I was missing until it was gone and I had to create another way.

If you would have told me a year ago or even 6 months ago that Squats and Push ups with Planks would change me dramatically I would have thought no its the gym and pumping Iron that can do that – ONLY! But then I’m not after The Arnold Look, I don’t want to be Swole. I’m not eating what  Arnold ate to get those muscular results and gains either. Being Vegan and Vegetarian has its rewards.

Rise, Crow Pose -Instructor-Subha in Jamaica, WI

Rise, Crow Pose -Instructor-Subha in Jamaica, WI

I’m after ‘feeling AND being the MOST Fit I’ve ever been in my Life! Not to simply look aesthetically pretty to the eye,  but actually be stronger in my ability to do things (simple exercises and poses I could not do before) those that are REAL AND FUNCTIONAL as I define them:

  • Can I Sprint? And How fast? 
  • Am I Flexible and Agile? 
  • Am I Strong AND Confident? Can I lift my Body weight and beyond? 
  • Can I do the splits, pull ups, push ups, headstand with ease? 
  • Do I feel and look sexy to me (and others)?
  • Am I happy and living the Best of What (Who) I am? 
  • Am I aligned with Earth and Purpose?
  • Am I psychic, radiant with higher energy, in tune with my vibration and in synchronicity? 
  • Am I in the ‘Right’ Direction? And using the Tools available to me to keep me at Balance in this journey? 

 

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Benefits of Completing My First 30 Day ((PURE)) Vegan Challenge

Benefits of Completing My First  30 Day Vegan Challenge

30 Day Vegan Challenge!  DONE!

My 30 Day Vegan Challenge actually helped prepare me for this next phase in my overall fitness, nutrition and wellness journey. While training (bodybuilding and weight training in Georgia, I truly fell off the wagon and drank the Kool Aide (well I haven’t had kool aide since childhood) but I bought into the lie that I couldn’t sustain my heavy training on a Vegan Vegetarian diet! Although, I ate mostly free range, organic. non antibiotic, non GMO foods and chicken and meats many of my friends since high school and college were shocked I was eating the meats and demanded that I explain myself! lol I was for over 20 years a die hard health freak advocate and practitioner. I’m not saying that eating healthy meat, fish, or poultry is unhealthy, there are just as many health and scientific claims that the organic, grass fed varieties are healthy for nutrition. I am saying that is  a PERSONAL CHOICE that should compliment and align your beliefs and lifestyle- spiritually, intellectually, physically, mentally, etc. (That is All!)  What works for some does not work for all. We are beautiful, unique individuals.

A plant-based, whole food nutritional program is beneficial in bringing balance, wholeness and overall wellness. The vegan challenge helped to become more sensitive to energy on a spiritual level and opened me up to my ‘astral’  intuitive side (Divine Feminine) using  visualizations, intentional awareness, grounding, releasing and goal setting as tools to my spiritual development and overall re-establishing my personal empowerment.  I can’t say it was an easy 30 days. I lost 10 lbs from the 30 Day Vegan Challenge! My body seemed to release so much I felt as if I had experienced a healing crisis. Perhaps I will write more about that in another article. For now, I’d rather focus on the benefits of using both the Vegan Challenge which focuses on clearing up and strengthening nutrition habits and goals, with the 30 Day Fitness Challenge focusing on exercise and fitness goals. Combining both is an excellent mix for success! (June 14, 2015, 7:44 pm Est)

 

PERSONAL JOURNAL NOTES: 3o Day Vegan Challenge and 30 Day Fitness Challenge

hunger games "you can do this"

You can get in good exercise where ever you are as long as you have a good plan and road map that will get you the results you’re after. No access to the gym, no worries! There a hundreds of workouts, apps, plans, books, tools and gurus you can follow along with to meet your daily, weekly, monthly and annual goals. Remember it starts with a simple step and each workout is like a building block toward your overall success in fitness and wellness. “We” can do this! Personally I just want to maintain my “girlish” figure and tighten everything up. Why? Because I CAN!

As a former ‘recovering-people pleaser’ it’s empowering to set this goal for myself  as a way to strengthen my willpower and personal radiance!

 

The Journey continues…