Sunday, January 31, 2016

So, here’s the thing…I'm a failure.



I’m a failure and I am totally OK with that!  No really, I am.  I wasn’t at first but now… I have come to terms with the fact that I’m…a failure.  

These things happen and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We all can’t be successful at everything we do.  Or, maybe we can be successful at some things and a successful failure at other things.  So, instead of getting all up in my feelings, I am just going to embrace my success at failing.   

I started Christine in Progress (C.I.P) all the way back in 2012 as a way to chronicle my health and wellness journey and hopefully inspire some people along the way.  (You can get a better glimpse into what prompted that by reading my post, I am living in a place of gratitude.)    

I was doing really great. I mean REALLY GREAT!!!  I successfully transitioned from a lifetime meat lover to a Vegan!! I even embraced the fully raw lifestyle!  I went from loving sleep to flipping tires at 5 am!! From drinking gallons of coffee to blending smoothies! And I lost over 70lbs in the process!!  In addition to getting control over a chronic illness, high blood pressure, and leaving the borderline diabetic zone, I was motivated, I was inspired and I was… out of my mind obsessed and focused on sticking to “the program.” It’s amazing the lengths one will go to when their life is on the line.  I don’t regret it at all.  It was absolutely necessary to be all or nothing in this process.  My dad always told me don’t ever do anything half-assed… so, I put my full ass into it! :) Seriously, I was sick, I was tired, I was scared, and I was in a position where cutting corners was not an option, period.    

I was fully committed to the process for just about three years, give or take.  Yep, I said, “was.” Did you notice that? You, my friend are very observant.  Was. I was completely and totally obsessive-compulsive level committed to the entire process.  No excuses, no pain, no gain…. Blah, blah, blah all that.   

Then…LIFE got in the way.

I work a day job, although early on I was working a day job, running a successful business and teaching at a local college all at the same time.  Because of my health issues at the time, I had to let the business go and take a break from teaching.  I’m married (though my husband is perfectly capable of caring for himself) I’m just saying… I’m married and there are things that go along with that… like responsibilities and whatnot. We have two daughters at home who also have lives and their lives have quickly become our lives.  Our youngest is a gymnast, a singer, and a very cute, very active 10-year-old. And our 15-year old is a smart, beautiful, philanthropist running her own charitable organization, who dabbles in art and is a track star on the rise. Oh, and let’s not forget their super important social obligations.   *insert sarcastic face here*

There were tons of “changes” going on at the day job and it was quite frankly, very freaking stressful up in there! Time became less and less available, my focus was suddenly all over the place and honestly, let me just come right out and say it, people... I got a little lazy.   

In the beginning, I was so sure I could do it all!  I could take care of me, them, as well as everyone and everything in between!  If you let me tell it, I was super woman!  Slowly, I started to put myself on the back burner for every other priority in my life.  Before I knew it, I looked up and realized I had not been to the gym, on a hike, walk or to a yoga class in like “forever.” Hell, I had a pile of exercise DVDS’s in my entertainment thingy that suddenly started collecting dust!  

I was still eating pretty healthy, drinking juices and smoothies here and there but not every day.  Fresh fruits and salads were still on the menu but I was definitely not eating as healthy as I could be. Truth be told, there are unhealthy vegan foods, lots of them… trust me, I know. Gingersnaps, for example, I love them things and they are vegan (Nabisco brand). Doesn’t make them healthy!  French fries are also quite vegan… again… doesn’t make them healthy!  There are also a host of “convenience” foods that are totally vegan and in a time crunch, they are quick and easy to grab but… yea… Just saying.  

The only constant, my daily meditation practice. I think I keep that in my life because honestly, meditation keeps me from killing everyone!  I’m just kidding about the desire to kill people thing.  No killing!  Flipping off, maybe… so yea meditation… that shit keeps me calm!   Yay meditation!

Then… the scale broke… or…something.

I looked up or, down at the scale one day and realized I gained more than 20lbs!  Like 22.5 and rising! What?!?!  How the (****) did that happen? *Looking around asking no one, in particular.* UGH!!  Seriously?!  I mean in hindsight, I totally saw that coming. I mean HELLOOO!!!!   Sigh. 

This sucks! 

I got a little down on myself.  No one is harder on me than me.  Over the course of a few weeks, I had many unproductive talks with myself.  It just made matters worse and I become completely unmotivated. Completely. Unmotivated.  As in, not motivated. Couch dweller. Comfort food seeker. I would rather do anything than deal with the issue at hand so I am going to avoid it. You get the hint.

So, I stopped blogging about it.  Because, well… I was embarrassed. I mean, I put all my bizznass out there! And people were really cheering me on.  It was great! I often heard things like, “Yay go Christine you are an inspiration, if you can do it I can do it too!”  And, “I don’t know how you do it all I am so inspired by you.”  And here I am talking about, “You just have to make your health a priority.”  “If you don’t take care of yourself how can you take care of everyone else?”  “Make time for it!”  Oh and this one is a classic, “If it’s important you will make time if it’s not, you will make excuses!”  You get it… I was pouring and drinking all that really good cool aide. 

People were so committed to my success, that they not only cheered me on, they joined me.  There were friends, coworkers, and perfect strangers and followers of my blog, who were getting on the juicing wagon and even trying meatless Mondays, it was great! It was a movement!  I was part of this movement!  But then the movement kept going without me.  I couldn’t keep up with the movement.  

No, I didn’t gain ALL the weight back but I didn’t keep all the weight off either.  How could I continue sharing my epic health and wellness journey when in reality I was struggling to keep up with myself and the pounds were slowly sneaking back on?  I was so embarrassed!  I felt like this was a colossal public failure.  Granted, I am not Oprah so it’s not like it was all that public.  But it was public enough for me and I just felt sad about it. 

So, here’s the other thing… 

Shit happens!  And we need to get over it!  It’s called life! And I am a real life person living you know… life! Yes, I was totally and completely devastated by the setback. But, that is exactly what it was, a setback.  People have set backs every single day.  We don’t need to call the National Guard to come handle it, we learn from it.  That’s called progress.   

The good news, I have not had any health issues in quite some time.  I can’t remember the last time I was really sick other than a cold.  In the grand scheme of things what’s the big deal, I gained a few pounds. OK, so what?! I can also lose them if I so desire.

It’s about the progress! 

After a much-needed eye-opening talk and come to Jesus moment with a very good friend I discovered something really awesome.  In essence, what Christine in Progress is all about is… the exact definition of the word progress:

Prog·ress:
noun/ ˈpräɡres/
1. Forward or onward movement toward a destination.

Synonyms: forward movement, advance, going, progression, headway, passage

Christine in Progress is about the constant and ever-changing progression of life, my life.  Yes, it was started as a way to chronicle my health and wellness journey but maybe it’s about so much more, it’s about life in motion life’s adventures, the success, the failures and all the stuff in between. 

So, I’ve decided to try something new. Instead of beating myself up because something didn’t work out quite as planned I will celebrate the successful failures of my life’s journey. There is a lesson to learn in every experience.  This time around, I learned I am not superwoman and I need to be kind to myself, take it one day at a time and celebrate every moment especially the successful failures! 

Allow me to reintroduce myself…

My name is Christine and I am an expert in the area of “progress management.”  :)  I am also a successful failure! I am a mom who sometimes doesn’t know what the hell she is doing but my children love me anyway.  I am a wife that is not perfect but perfectly made for him.  I am a really good friend, I am a worker bee, I am a funny girl, I am a drama queen, I am a writer,  I am an amazing shower singer, I hate walnuts, I love red lipstick and I love a good vanilla soy chai latte! (With 6 pumps of Vanilla, extra hot!!)

I am just a woman who is trying to live a healthy, whole balanced life. Sure, I’m stumbling around trying to figure out what that looks like for me but, that’s OK. Aren’t we all just stumbling around trying to figure things out?  I hope you will continue to join me in this judgment-free zone as I continue to share my journey toward a destination.   

Welcome to Christine in Progress, destination… forward! 

Thursday, January 8, 2015

JUICES vs. SMOOTHIES: Which One is Better?



Check out this video from my favorite raw foodie FullyRawKristina, Juices vs. Smoothies::  Which one is better?


She answers this age old question perfectly.


If you are trying to decide between Juicing or Smoothies this video might help you make the choice.


Both offer excellent benefits and I actually do both, I use smoothies as meal replacements and juices as snacks, just before a workout or anytime of day I need a pick me up.  


Are you team juice or team smoothie? Leave your comments below! 



Sunday, November 2, 2014

Recipe - Fried Cinnamon Apple Rings with Vanilla Ice Cream

So, sometimes you want something a little sweet, sometimes you want something fried, sometimes you want something both sweet and fried. Sometimes....

I made this last weekend!! Fried cinnamon apple rings!! 

Fried -  Cinnamon and Apples - FRIED!  
OH MY GAWD! 

Served with vanilla ice cream, it was a huge hit with the family!  Everyone totally lost their minds! Apple rings, fried, with flour and cinnamon and sugar!! They are like.... mini apple pies but... fried and whatnot!   They are like.... the most amazing thing in the history of ever!

Now... are these the healthiest things in the history of ever? No.  
Are these the worst thing in the history of ever? No. 
I can think of far worse selections one could make, but... this is definitely not something I would ever eat on a regular basis. This is absolutely, positively, a once in a while treat/dessert.  Even if I opt to bake these little guys in lieu of frying, they are still quite naughty on the calorie, sugar and carbohydrate scale.  

So, if we want a healthier alternative to these fried battered apples... we could bake the apple rings coated only in cinnamon, skip the ice-cream, and then we would be in a much better place.  I think I will post that recipe as the healthy alternative in another post. But, for today... we are going "there" honey...Fried Cinnamon Apple Rings.....


Fried Cinnamon Apple Rings with Vanilla Ice-cream







Recipe: 



Ingredients
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Vegan version - 1 Tablespoon ground flax seed, equivalent measurement of egg alternative or skip the “egg”   / Not a vegan, use 1 egg
  • Vegan version – 1 cup Coconut, Almond or Soy milk / Not a vegan, use any milk you prefer
  • 4 - 6 apples, sliced crosswise ½ - ¼ inch wide (I like Gala) I washed the apples but I did not remove the skin. There is no rule here.. if you hate the skin, remove it.
  • Coconut oil or vegetable oil for frying  (You can also bake these suckers until golden and crispy see note below)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • Cinnamon – a lot of cinnamon  :) 
Instructions
  • Slice the apples crosswise into ¼ - ½ inch wide circles then cut “rings” out of the middle of the apple slices using a knife or small round cookie cutter.  If you are feeling really crafty you can use fun shaped small cookie cutters like hearts or stars! 
  • In a bowl mix together flour, baking powder, salt, and a tablespoon of sugar.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together the wet ingredients until they are well combined.
  • Toss the dry ingredients in with the wet and mix well until smooth.
  • In a large deep pan, heat the oil over medium-low heat.
  • Dip the apple rings in the creamy batter until well coated then place the apples in the hot oil.
  • Cook the apples in small batches, turning regularly until completely golden brown.
  • In a bowl or plate combine sugar and cinnamon and mix well, set aside.
  • Place the finished fried apples on a paper towel or a cooling rack to drain.
  • While still hot dip the apples in the cinnamon sugar and coat well.
  • Serve immediately while still hot with your favorite vegan or non-vegan vanilla ice-cream.
  • If you want to get fancy you can drizzle a little caramel sauce over the entire thing! 

*Note:  If you are baking the apple rings, follow all the instructions for mixing the ingredients and coating the apples, then bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes.  Oven temperatures vary, so I would check and turn the apples as needed.  They are ready when the flour is golden brown and crispy.  Dip them suckers in the cinnamon sugar and… you know the rest!

Enjoy!  


How would you serve your fried cinnamon apple rings?  How would you improve the recipe?  
Share your thoughts in the comments below! 

for the apple rings
  1. 4 large apples (I used gala)
  2. 1 cup flour
  3. ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. ¼ teaspoon salt
  6. ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
  7. 1 large egg, beaten
  8. 1 cup buttermilk
  9. vegetable oil for frying
for the cinnamon sugar topping
  1. ⅓ cup sugar
  2. 2 teaspoons cinnamon
Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, sugar, salt and ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine the egg and buttermilk. In a third dish, make your cinnamon-sugar topping by combining the ⅓ cup sugar and 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Set that aside too.
  3. Next, slice the apples into ¼-inch thick slices, and use circle biscuit cutters in graduated sizes to make rings out of each slice. Discard the center circles containing the apple core.
  4. Pat the apple rings down with a paper towel to remove excess moisture.
  5. Heat the oil in a frying pan over medium heat to 350°F.
  6. Combine the contents of the first and second dishes as the oil warms up. This will be your batter.
  7. Dip the apple rings in and out of the batter one at a time, removing any dripping excess by tapping the rings against the side of the bowl.
  8. Fry the rings in small batches, turning them to ensure browning on both sides.
  9. Once the rings are golden and crispy, transfer them to a plate lined with paper towel for a few seconds.
  10. Quickly transfer the apple rings, one by one, into the cinnamon-sugar mixture and coat evenly.
  11. Transfer to a wire rack and serve warm.
Notes
  1. Apples can go a long way in the recipe, so if you don't get to all 4 apples, don't worry. Make as much or as little as you like.
  2. Here's a tip: cool the apple rings on a cooling rack, not on a plate. The heat from the apple rings will cause the plate to get steamy and wet, increasing the odds of soggy apple rings. Keeping the rings on a cooling rack lets the air circulate, keeping the rings crispier for longer.
- See more at: http://fortunegoodies.com/cinnamon-apple-rings/#sthash.wa4cntlc.dpuf

Monday, August 4, 2014

Focus On The Good


Today was pure insanity!  Everything was just crazy, it was one of those days were everything that could go wrong... went wrong. I was tired and irritable, I just wanted to go home climb in the bed and stay there. Its an understatement to say I was having a really bad day!

However, when I got home my day took an entirely different turn. Our youngest daughter showered me in hugs and  kisses. Then, our oldest daughter took me out  to the back yard, she had a surprise for me.  She wanted show me a flower she planted for me while I was gone. She clearly worked very hard and, she was so proud. "Mommy it's your favorite color, red!" She showed me with so much excitement. "Mommy, I wanted to give you something pretty." I love these girls so much I think my heart might explode.

— Feeling thankful.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

So, This Happened Today!

So, this happened today!

I had the pleasure of meeting the Acting U.S. Surgeon General, Rear Adm. Boris D. Lushniak. He was a speaker at The Health Beyond Health Care Conference held at The Washington Post. Health and Wellness are the spirits by which I live and breathe, so its no strange occurrence that I had the opportunity to meet Adm. Lushniak. I wish I would have had the chance to pick his brain regarding details and specifics about the many health challenges millions of us are facing now and in the future. I am sure his revelations would have been even more of an inspiration beyond this fortunate encounter. The small tidbits he disclosed, and witnessing his thoughts on the future of heath nationally and globally, showed me that the high politics of National Healthcare will soon be at the forefront of our political arena beyond the impasse and gridlock of the current congressional debates.

He was a very passionate speaker and incredibly nice to chat with.  This was definitely a highlight of my week.
Pictured with U.S. Surgeon General, Rear Adm. Boris D. Lushniak

 Details about the conference including video clips can be found below: 

From workplaces, schools and neighborhoods designed to encourage exercise to advertising campaigns promoting healthy foods, the places we live and the information we receive about food and exercise have a profound effect on our well-being.
Architects, a former NFL star, a nun and others spoke at a Washington Post Forum June 18 about efforts outside of traditional health care improving the health of Americans. Join the conversation and watch video highlights from the forum below.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-live-live/liveblog/washington-post-live-health-beyond-health-care/



Thursday, June 12, 2014

About Last Night...



So, I don't know if you noticed but, I am having a complete love affair with Fashion to Figure!  This is probably the third outfit I have posted that was purchased from Fashion to Figure.  

Fashion to Figure markets itself as a trendy plus size clothing store and I must say, they are just that. This place is a far cry from the boxy, baggy, unflattering maternal plus size fashion found at most retailers.  At Fashion to Figure they say the focus is on "bringing fashion to the figure" and they deliver.  

Though I have officially grown out of plus sizes, I am still a "curvy" girl and as it turns out, if the cut is just right, I can sometimes, still fit into some of the smaller women's sizes.  Lucky me because I am basically obsessed with this store!   

Let's talk about this epic little black and cobalt blue dress shall we?!  I wore it to a cocktail party during a recent trip to NY and I received compliments all night long.  The dress is nicely cut, the fabric is soft and feels wonderful against my skin. The length is perfect for me, it falls just at the knee and the fitted strapless top and full skirt create a very nice hourglass effect.  I paired it with a matching cardigan and strappy black heels. This is the perfect dress for an evening out on the town. Of course, you can wear the dress alone without a jacket or sweater.  More good news, this dress will transition perfectly into fall, add a pair of tights and a blazer or pull out a leather jacket and some bling to give it a little more edge.   This dress will definitely be spending a lot of time out on the town!  
 

Outfit of the day - Cobalt blue and black strapless dress and matching cardigan - Fashion to Figure


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Playing Dress Up - Summer Fun Day -


I am really excited about this jumper!! If you are a lady under 5ft 5 you understand! I stand just at 5 feet tall and I just happen to love the jumper trend unfortunately, I have had the worst time finding a jumper that would not require major alterations. Due to my challenging relationship with jumpers, I was really in denial about this one. Our 14yo daughter actually picked it out and when I saw it, I fell in love but, I was convinced there was no way it would fit. I was positive the jumper would be too long or too tight or too baggy or some combination of the three so I started to leave it on the rack. Because our daughter just so darn convincing, I tried it on and... it fit perfectly, right off the rack! That never happens! Needless to say I will be wearing the heck out of this jumper all summer long! 

Outfit of the day - Jumper Fashion to Figure