Ahhh, the age old question – do I really need a Vitamix to “juice?” Well, it’s a great idea to have one, there’s no doubt…but you can make some super awesome smoothies just the same (and with pulp, which has its own nutritious benefits – especially for kids!) I get asked all the time about juicing recipes and “how to start” with juicing and smoothies.
The “Juice 101″ Five Rules:
1) Start slow and build up. If you’re not used to wheatgrass & kale, don’t be throwing down a “super green machine” as your first juice. Both your digestive system and your tastebuds need to start slowly – just like an exercise program. Think the juicier, the easier to start – celery, cucumbers to begin. Then begin adding carrots, leafy greens. Kale, collards and nightshades like beets should be your last additions.
2) Sweeten it up! Offset certain combos with a natural “sweetener” – most often pineapple, apple or banana. It will not only cut the acids, it will help make those greens a little more palatable.
3) Think of juicing like “beauty for your insides.” Different facial creams for different maladies, right? Wrinkle cream, antioxidant cream, etc…same thing with juices. Some will detoxify your body (like celery for post-athletic endeavors to detox lactic acid); others will alkalize (like alfalfa, parsley, wheatgrass). So mix it up, depending on your flavor of the day!
4) Make it fun for kids (okay, and you too). Try new things – especially with smoothies, since just about anything can be blended together. What fruits are out there in season that you’ve never tried? Google their vitamin benefits, and make sure to teach the kids along the way what they’re drinking. My kids love to learn about their food – and yours will too!
5) A juice a day keeps the doctor away – no, really. I get asked about flu shots, and no, I don’t take them. It’s a personal decision, but my goal this year is to “superfood” my immunity to offset any environmental toxins. The end result is hopefully an immune system that can not only ward off colds, but also train itself to create internal “supercells” to ward off bigger infections or strains. While again, I’m not chastising folks for getting a flu shot – I’m just going off the shot grid this year. I’ll let you know how it goes! However, I will say that a daily glass of fresh citrus juices and greens will help that immune system!
Here are some great recipes to get you started:
JUICING (if you have a juicer, such as a Vitamix):
The Supergreen Machine: Parsley, spinach, kale, celery, cucumber, lemon, apple, wheatgrass
The Purple Flu-Eater: Beet, broccoli, kale, parsley, celery, grapes, apple
Superglow: Lemon, spinach, parsley, kale, carrot, celery
Detox Punch: Celery, carrot, ginger, cucumber, tomato, wheatgrass
Veggie Starbucks: Carrot, lemon, ginger, orange, wheatgrass - take juice and blend with 1 banana (bananas don’t juice well!)
Add the above to a blender to make a “smoothie” version – also add ice cubes (milk if it’s your preference, or almond milk); 1 teaspoon of Spirulina; and for green drinks above, also add 1/2 cup of pineapple.
Now get to juicing/smoothie-time…no excuses! Power pack your Fall!
It seemed poetic this week, as my blog topic, to write about something that stands for women. I start coaching my daughters in running this week, and I’m watching them grow up so fast. If I could encapsulate 35 years of experience into a letter for them, this is what I would say.
Dear Maizie and Willa,
You baffle me daily, at six and eight. The light that shines in your eyes, the exuberance of youth. The enthusiasm that adults forget to have – freedom to bang on drums with abandon one minute; to the quiet reflection of losing a pet for the first time, crying and burying it with solitude after only knowing it for six months.
It’s that gravity and honesty that drives me to write this letter. In 35 years, I’ve learned a lot – made a lot of mistakes; driven down the “wrong” paths (or just ones that weren’t right for me) on behalf of others; and also unearthed a person that I hope you are proud to know as your mom.
I stand before you, even as elementary schoolers, and see larger than life personalities (I should know, both of you fought to stay in the womb longer – past your due date!) Soon, you will learn to compete with your peers – a lot. Please don’t forget that they are your friends – and if someone is better in math, or science, or reading, or soccer – celebrate that triumph; whether they celebrate your triumphs in return doesn’t matter…you lifted someone else up. Don’t compare.
Words like beauty, fitness, skinny, fat, pretty and ugly will enter your vocabulary. Make sure that when you use them, they aren’t in judgement of others, especially yourselves. Your mother spent 15 years trying to live up to a girl who never looked back at her in the mirror – one who was always 10 pounds thinner; fit into the jeans on the cover of Vogue; and had the face of a movie star. She was never meant to exist, just like an alternate you is not meant to exist. Please look at that mirror, every time, and say at least one thing about yourself that you love – and then say two more. Then take that love and self-confidence, and tell another girl. Otherwise, smash the mirror.
You will learn over the years, the term “mean girls.” You might even be tempted to become one. Please don’t, fight the urge. Because no matter how popular, or “cool,” or elevated they may seem, they are hiding their own deep, dark secrets from the world that masks their pain. When they make fun of you or others, it isn’t to be cool – it’s to take the attention away from that hurt place inside themselves. Be the person that supports their growth to heal.
Significant others – you don’t need a white knight, or a knight in shining armor. You can be a princess, but make sure that you can use your OWN bow & arrow against evil; just don’t trip over your cape. Maybe you’ll save a few “misters/mistresses in distress” along the way. One day, you’ll be surprised – there’s that one person who stands by the sidelines while your star shines in megawatts, and he or she claps the loudest. The one who takes your calls and texts; understands that not every woman wears makeup every second of the day; would live in poverty or riches to do the dishes next to you; and loves your family. That’s the partner I hope either of you marry.
Over time, you will be benchmarked by your peers. High school superlatives, college acceptance letters, finding the perfect person to marry, or landing the best job of anyone in your graduating class. Again, you’re not competing in life. The only benchmark that matters to your mom is how swollen your heart becomes by life.
Do you feel compassion for others? Are you compelled to act to make this world better? Do you go to sleep at night knowing, with gratification, that you are a better person than when your alarm went off at 6am that morning?
If so, you have made your mother very, very proud. At six and eight, you already define why I’m on this earth – to help support my dreamers, my star-gazers, the ones who want to save the world.
I love you so much,
Okay, so I’m no Jane Greenthumb – everyone who knows me, knows that I’m a die-hard vegan who buys her fruits and vegetables. That’s right – as in purchase from a farmer’s market or grocery store. Dating back to college, I have always somewhat “dared” plants to stay alive under my tutelage – and it hasn’t been for lack of trying!
I’ve also given in to the “excuse train” by blaming my backyard – a small, postage-stamp-sized plot in our neo-traditional neighborhood. Since the family spends time in the parks and outdoors, we’ve rarely focused on the backyard (as evidenced in the picture!)
This month, I had no choice (or better way to put it – no excuse!) Being a Food Revolution ambassador for my home state, we have monthly challenges to help spread the word about real food & whole food.
This month? Start an herb garden! My daughters and I started small enough, buying the seed packets and seed starters – thinking that I’d create a windowsill garden for cooking & juicing herbs.
After being inspired by the seed outing, as well as sprouting our little buds – I kickstarted our raised bed project in the backyard. I’ve always dreamed of having this “bounty from the backyard” – to give to friends; use in cooking and juicing; teaching my kids how things are grown; and even to give to shelters or those who need it. We put down landscape fabric to help clean out the grass (I say grass, it was more like weedtown, ha!) Next step, this week we’ll get the mulch. Slow & steady, in this case – hopefully, brings the worms!
I’m finding that it’s much less overwhelming – and less daunting – to take it in stages. While our little “sproutlets” take root on our front porch in the next ten days, we can get our mulch & raised beds in for their happy growing.
Despite my husband’s and my travel schedule with work; busy family fall activities gearing up; and all the rest of “life” that crops up to give myself more excuses – I’m sticking to this one. The reward is too great to find other things to do – and I’ve got to “walk the walk” before I “talk the talk” of real food to others.
So to all those plants that didn’t make it over the years – here’s to you motivating me to do it right this time, and hopefully to inspire a few other little herb gardens on the block. My kids’ smiles were priceless, not to mention how their eyes lit up to pick out different seed types – “What, I can grow a pumpkin? Mommy, what are chives?”
I always thought the Food Revolution ambassadorship was a chance to teach those in my community about whole foods and the real food movement. I’m quickly finding out that it’s also an amazing way to connect with my kids on a level that will benefit them for their lifetimes in good eating (and growing!)
I’ll keep posting this month on the “Clark garden” – it’ll help keep me honest. If you want to find out more about creating your OWN herb garden or backyard garden (remember, start small – have an achievable goal, which is why a windowsill herb garden is a great place to start), visit Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution movement here: www.FoodRevolutionDay.com.
Have you practiced yoga with additional hand or ankle weights? If not, it might be time to “shake up” your yoga routine. Yoga purists aside (egads, we’re changing “yoga!”) – it’s an evolution to help balance, core strength, alignment…and also to add resistance to certain “kinked” muscle groups during balance poses.
What’s another benefit? Anti-aging! Not only does it “rev” your metabolism, SELF magazine also attests that it reverses the clock – in bone density, energy, vitality and appearance.
Want to try it and you’re local? Come see me this Sunday at the Baxter YMCA in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
Not local but still want to check it out? Watch this video from SELF for some great guided asanas to get you started!
Hair. For women, it can be a sensitive topic (and from what I found when I changed from blonde to red, men as well!) When we cut it, curl it, style it differently – or in my case, change the color completely – it challenges the norms & values we associate with women. Why does this happen? I’ve got my own ideas – of course, the opinions I state here are my own (albeit a little sassy).
I dyed my hair red about eight weeks ago now. Red has a long history in my family – my trailblazing grandmother had it, as well as my uncle and his family (sons & daughter). My grandmother was somewhat of a renegade to me – one of the first female Marines, she is honored at the Women’s World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. She also raised three kids on her own in a time when single parenthood wasn’t exactly the cat’s meow – until she met her match in my grandfather, a tall Idaho norwegian.
My whole life, red signified independence & individuality thanks to her – a waving of some feminine flag of “my age, my status, my name doesn’t matter.” In some way, I knew I’d always go red at some point, just to try it. Identified as a blonde for 35 years, it was time for a change.
The day I dyed it was so immensely freeing – it was a fun experience, and I’ve uncovered a different side of myself (hey, everyone has layers, right? Life’s about identifying which layers to you build again versus the ones you peel off and discard). The funny thing was the variety of reactions – everything from, “You’re a blonde. You’ve always been a blonde” to “wow, that’s…a change for sure.” Some positive, none overtly negative but with a twinge of “good Lordy!” in the back of their voice.
To me, it’s a great study in what we associate hair with in society. Yes, I’ve been a blonde for 35 years, but it has been from a hair stylist for a good 15 of those years. Is that any different? My personality is no different, and I hate to break it to those who think that blondes might have more fun (while I did kick up my heels for several years)- redheads, brunettes and black-haired ladies can rank.
So enough about me – what is the greater picture here? I learned a lot about my own sense of self (something I thought was strong to begin with, but it was a good test). Is it important to hear, “you look beautiful?” From some (ie, family) – absolutely. From those you know – while it’s gracious to compliment (and just a nice thing to do), we should be careful not to hang on those words. For when we rely on those compliments, we lose a little bit of that strength. For women, our strength is our banner for other generations – our daughters, other girls we might influence.
In October, the United Nations celebrates the independence of women during the “Day of the Girl” celebration. I choose to fly that banner by helping with a Proclamation (red hair and all), and you can too. It’s part of the #SuperFitWomen pledge that I’ll be talking more about this fall in my blogging.
For more information, VISIT: http://dayofthegirl.org/2012/08/11-reasons-to-pursue-a-day-of-the-girl-proclamation/.
Here’s to raising your banner, ladies!
I’ve re-read that quote several times in the last few weeks. GRATITUDE. Wow, that’s something to remember, isn’t it? During times of change, it’s hard to proverbially hold your breath, close your eyes, and “jump off the cliff.” Something I’ve found that works AMAZINGLY well is just what Karen says above – giving gratitude and acknowledgement to the things/people you DO have in your life as changes happen.
I’m so excited to continue my journey in life as a student at Duke University’s Center for Integrative Medicine. Over the next several months, I’ll be updating you on the “pigtail coed” as she completes coursework towards a certification as an Integrative Health Coach.
What’s an Integrative Health Coach, you might ask? GREAT QUESTION! Integrative Health Coaches help individuals, groups, corporations, sports teams, clubs, etc – visualize, realize and go after their optimal health goals. It is founded in a proven model of the “Eight Wheels of Health” by Duke University – and clinically-proven to garner results in many, many facets of life. From weight loss, to fitness, to stress reduction or addiction control, to personal and professional development or nutrition – the Integrative Health Coach layers over traditional medicine, working with allied health professionals either in private or corporate settings to put the “patient” (and in our case, “client”) in the driver’s seat.
What does that mean for me? Well, as an athlete; yoga instructor; a “working road warrior” with the NASCAR and ARCA motorsports circuits; and a busy vegan mom and wife, I have a lot of passions. None of which is more prevalent than wanting to HELP people, inspire them, and to get them to realize their dreams (in any arena…training, nutrition, fitness, job, new beginnings, etc). So while I will keep working in PR, I’ll also specialize in sports performance, nutrition, exercise, movement and rest for those in athletic endeavors, teams, clubs, or heavy travel professions. I’ve lived that life and know the obstacles, and I’ve conquered the mountain!
Does that mean that I will ONLY coach athletes? No, of course not! I love to help people, it’s that simple. There is nothing prouder than a moment where I’ve listened, or helped inspire someone to make a step they’ve always wanted to make, HAPPEN in their lives. So if you need me, call Girl Friday.
After all, it’s not just Girl Friday PR anymore – good ol’ “Pigtails” is also Girl Friday Health!
Stay tuned for the updated website…and the T-shirts. :)
For more information about Integrative Health and the changing face of healthcare, visit www.DukeIntegrativeMedicine.org.
Peace, happiness, pigtails and pigeon pose – Demi
Dec 21, 2010 – It’s that time of year…time to be grateful. I wish I could say our gratitude reached far and wide 365 days a year (I’d like to think the world would be a much more peaceful place), but hey, that’s life! Before my website gets updated and this blog gets a refresh, I wanted to reflect on my 2010 and give thanks to the folks around me.
So rather than a “12 Days of Christmas,” I give you a “12 Groups of People GFPR is Thankful For in 2010.” My twist on an old favorite…and my grazzis to all! Without further adieu…
1) Family. Without you putting up with my travel, my ideas, my crazy “next big thing,” and living life out of a pocketful of dreams…I wouldn’t exist. Here’s to sprinkling that little patch of stardust back your way, and thanks for all you’ve done to support me physically, mentally, emotionally and financially!
2) Kids. Every single day, I can look at the world through a 4- and 6-year-old’s eyes. How cool is that? I’ll tell you, way cool. Everything I do, I do for two little girls to look up at me someday and say, “mom, you blazed the trail. I knew I could do anything in my life without limits.” Thanks Maiz and Willa for being the push off the cliff – and reminding me that sometimes life is all about dressing up like a princess & refusing to take a bath. :)
3) Racers. From bankruptcy to millionaires and back, this is one population of people who should (or maybe shouldn’t) run Wall Street. They personify the American Dream, as well as being able to chase it. Not afraid to roll the dice, they’ll put everything on the line in the name of doing what they love. I wish every single person on earth knew that way of living on the edge – it’s a great reminder that YES, we are all ALIVE! Success or failure, they give it every ounce of what is inside them. Absolute thanks for that inspiration, it makes me work harder for my clients…knowing that stake in the game.
4) Runners. You can’t be negative and run 12 miles in the rain or snow on a Saturday, when everyone else is asleep. Runners know that they are a little tweaky, off base from the rest of the world – but at the same time, that drive and determination runs the spirit of everyone around them. They take that warmth from a long run and let it be their buzz – and it radiates to others. So thank you, runners of the world…for motivating us, pushing out the door when it’s 8 degrees, and proving that life is just about having the courage to put one foot in front of the other. Starts there!
5) People in the world who say “I can’t.” You’re the ones I want to motivate – I just haven’t gotten to you yet! Honestly, when you say that you can’t, it’s a mental click that makes it so. I used to live that way my whole life – protecting myself with a fear mechanism that I thought would keep me doing things that would instantly fail. Well, here I am, big girl, and I’ve had a lot of “cliff jumping” moments that didn’t work…and just as many that did. It really is all about the journey – and yes, you CAN.
6) Vegans. For every vegan, there is a naysayer. A restaurant that doesn’t serve food you can eat. Or a person in your inner circle who says, “How on EARTH? And WHY?” Then, there’s that inner desire to make a positive change for yourself and your health. I absolutely salute your commitment – making recipes that take twice as long; or driving 20 miles outside your house for a vegetable; or passing that restaurant. Your quiet diligence pushes me to go “full tilt” first of the year from a vegetarian to a full vegan.
7) Scott Jurek. You are my hero. A vegan ultramarathoner, not only do you show the naysayers that yes, it CAN be done – but you do it with a quiet positivity. Without every giving criticism to the critics, it’s that type of stoicism that helps prove the cause. Not every vegan is a blood-throwing PETA member – sometimes it’s just your neighbor; or your co-worker; or your run partner.
8) Selfless yogis. I qualify this, just because there are some yogis out there that are just as commercial as an infomercial. The ones who aren’t…who stay after class to help a student learn a posture; or who drive to do seva (service) work miles from your home, for free; or who strive to bring yoga to new populations and better the world. Thank you, you are why I became a teacher.
9) Selfless people. Not just yogis are selfless…there are a lot of amazing, inspirational, humble people out there who are making a difference – without a camera, or a pen, or a mouthpiece to a media outlet. To you, thank you for pushing through with your work, and thank you on behalf of humanity. You give us a gift every day for our children and grandchildren.
10) Teachers. Note I could have said “world leaders” or “pacifists” or “dealmakers.” Well, behind every successful one of those is a set of really amazing teachers. The ones, much like yogis, who pour their all into their students (without rock star salaries). Thank you for creating our next set of diligent, peaceful world leaders. We appreciate you.
11) Eccentrics. This is a broad spectrum of people – from those who dare to think differently; to those who tinker in their garage to make the “next big thing” despite the naysayers; to the comedians of the world (famous and infamous) who keep us laughing. Without a quirky push in our lives and a drive to be creative, life is just going through the motions. Thank you for keeping me smiling, as well as keeping hope alive.
12) YOU! Last but not least…thank you for being in my life! I read a quote the other day that said, “People don’t just fall into your life. They are around you because you fostered them in.” So for whatever karmic reason that you and I communicate, I appreciate what you have done to give my life meaning and reason. THANK YOU for hopefully making me a better person.
Grazzi, grazzi, grazzi…my gratitude for you all! May your holidays be merry, bright and full of laughter. Then, let’s get out there and make the fireworks happen – MAKE YOUR 2011 FULL OF PROMISE! Let life take your breath away! Peace, Girl Friday
Nov 17, 2010 – “Do you ever feel just so paper thin, like a house of cards, just one blow from caving in?” -Katy Perry
Can you tell I’ve been downloading some running songs lately? Well, I have to admit that I love Katy Perry’s new song, “Firework.” Dedicated to help stop the bullying against gay & lesbian teens, it’s also a nice anthem for anyone who’s in a rut. “Baby you’re a firework, show them what you’re worth.” Who WOULDN’T respond to a call to action like that?
I’m in an era of self-discovery myself, and I’m doing it while running a new business. I have people doubting me all the time (especially in a my primary industry of stock car racing) – questioning if I really belong there amidst the guys. It’s okay, I’m not judging whatsoever – it’s an absolute privilege to be at a racetrack to work, and I like to think I don’t flaunt it. I also understand that I have a flair for the flamboyant – so if you saw a set of blond pigtails speeding towards you with a headset on, a notebook in hand and pen in mouth, you’d probably do a double take. What the? Who tha? Head scratch….
That’s what I think is cool about the whole situation. At my core, I really have no care for what people think of me. I’ve had every label that you can have, based on pre-judgements, insecurities or even positives. In order to really light the fire within, you can’t be afraid of what others think. You’ve got to set your “inner house” on fire to discover those fireworks that Katy Perry is talking about. Once you love yourself, you’re going to radiate that out into the world. And at that point, it won’t matter if you paint your face blue, wear pigtails or dreadlocks or shave your head – it’s YOU that matters.
I’d love to sit here and say “your work should speak for itself.” Well, our society has a long history of branding those with individuality – which translates to an innate sense of self. So rather than going down that road, I’ll just give this advice.
1) Work hard, no matter what it is you do. Do it well first, then love it.
2) Be yourself. If you don’t know what that means, then FIND YOURSELF.
3) Find yourself = peel the onion. What do you love? What do you NOT love? Be that.
4) Find ways to set your inner house on fire. What have you put off today, this week?
I guarantee you, once you find a passion inside, you just lit the flame of what makes you tick. Once you do that – man, watch out! You will be setting the stage for igniting your own spirit.
My pigtails were an accident – it was a hot day, and I had been doing it to my daughter’s hair. I figured I could still put a headset on with pigtails, rather than one ponytail. What began as a utilitarian experiment became what sparked what’s at my core – a spritely, energetic Girl Friday that runs like a fire. It really can be as simple as that.
Let it shine, baby, let it shine – make those colors burst…BOOM, BOOM, BOOM! Peace.
Nov 10, 2010 – Yes – crash, burn, fly downhill at the speed of light. Let all your cares blow away with the wind and just FAIL. Screw the world, no one has helped you, right?
Cruising downhill is a runner’s term. You see, all beginner runners start out doing the same thing (it’s pretty textbook) – they take off running and see a downhill and think, “oh yeah, this is where I’ll book it and make up some serious time.” The more experienced runners shake their head and let them pass, knowing the outcome. Lo and behold, as they press to the uphill (because yes, everything that goes up must come down, and vice versa- that which goes down, must come back up)…they start the burnout process.
Weak knees, burning calves, heaving chest…all due to bad energy management. As time goes on, that novice runner learns to “cruise” downhill- meaning using energy super efficiently. Tucking elbows in to sides, letting legs “go” (rather than tensing up & speeding up), going loose like jello and breathing consistently. That way, when they get to the uphill, they are ready for a steady incline and “spurts” if necessary on a jaggy hill.
How does that apply to life? Well, in my world, running has everything to do with life. Think about it, the last time you “fell downhill” in business – call it failure, or call it just plain got down on yourself. It was a big fat downward spiral, probably – speeding through negativity, letting it snowball on itself and adding more limiting beliefs to the equation. So once you got through the process of the downturn and looked to the uphill in the distance – you just didn’t have the oompf. How is that a recipe for winning the race? Um, it’s kinda not.
So here’s a scenario – next time you feel like you’re spiraling…be it in a business relationship (say you haven’t been paid by a client; or you just lost an account for your company; or you can’t find funding for a venture; or you’re not in that dream job). There are a million examples here – the only consistent being that feeling of snowballing downhill.
Take a deep breath, and see what you can do to tuck those elbows in, conserve your energy, and go loose. Loose = calm in almost any situation, and once you’re loose, you can assess a situation and pinpoint a solution. After you’ve loosened up, see the positive and make it your “uphill.” So if you haven’t found that dream job, where have you been looking? Go turn over a completely different rock in a completely different place, and go ahead and take on that uphill.
I guarantee if you cruise in your downhill, you’ll have that breath and energy to look forward to any uphill – and completely conquer it. So go get to cruisin’ and find your inner rock star!