Chia is an ancient Mayan word for strength. Introducing it into my diet has helped my hunger and stamina exponentially. It’s a good source of protein, fiber, calcium and omega-3. Eating chia puddings have become a staple for me on days I’m losing weight and feeling motivated to work out. My favorite cookie is definitely my mom’s gingerbread so combining her spices with chia pudding seemed like a perfect fit to satisfy my sweet tooth in a healthy way.
4 tablespoons black chia seeds
1 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon* of cinnamon
A dash* of ginger
A dash* of clove
*Can be increased with preference.
Combine ingredients in Tupperware bowl and leave in fridge overnight. If you would like to make more for the week, just keep the ratio of 4 tablespoons per cup of coconut milk in mind.
In the morning, enjoy a healthful, yummy gingerbread chia pudding !
Taking a moment to reflect on my weight loss journey tonight, I am appreciating where I am at. Many people are surprised when I tell them I’ve never actually set a goal weight. In fact, I only recently even bought a scale and that was due to being interviewed about my weight loss. I just wanted to be able to speak about my weight with certainty. Even now, though many people acknowledge I have a ways to go or more weight to lose, I still don’t really have an end goal.
Dr. Wayne Dyer was a brilliant man, whose life’s work has affected my own greatly. He once said that, “Deficiency motivation doesn’t work. It will lead to a life-long pursuit of try to fix me. Learn to appreciate what you have and where and who you are.” This resonated with me on a deep level.
When you focus on lack, you experience more of it. I don’t want to spend my life being someone who focuses on fixing all of the perceived problems I may or may not even have. When I stopped focusing on my weight problem, I stopped having a weight problem. My weight loss has truly happened out of self-love. I wake up everyday and try to do better for myself. I became discerning in all areas of my life: from food, to the people I allow around me, to how I occupy my time, to the thoughts that flow through my mind. I choose what’s best for me in that moment. I eat plants that’ll make me feel good and motivated to be active, versus processed food that makes me feel like crap. I let go of people who cut me down (even if it’s a joke, it’s never nice) and hang around the ones that build good vibes with me. I meditate instead of focusing on the thoughts that stress me out. It’s really been simple. Enough time has passed that physically, I’ve drastically changed from who I was even a year ago.
Even now, standing at a hundred pounds lighter, there are people who can only see what I have yet to lose, focusing on lack. I don’t listen to them. I focus on what I’ve gained, what I’ve accomplished, and how amazing the human body really is. When you focus on loving who you are in this moment, everything changes. When you stop listening to the people who don’t believe in you, you start to believe in yourself. This mentality and way of life has opened doors I only dreamed of. The more you focus on being love, which is your true, authentic self, the physical transformation will also become evident.
As a child, I basically ate whatever my parents decided to put in front of me. Until one day, I started questioning the choices of my parents. I was 14 years old when my dad’s side of the family all decided to be on the Atkin’s diet. I watched my dad order a beef burger without the bun, eat as much bacon and sausage as he wanted for breakfast, not eating many vegetables and completely cutting out carbs. Being someone who never particularly enjoyed eating tons of meat, I was repulsed by it. I called it the “flesh” diet. I declared I was a vegetarian and started preparing my own dinners. I didn’t really know how to be a healthy vegetarian, I just knew I didn’t want to contribute to the killing of animals. Once I researched documentaries like “Kentucky Fried Cruelty”, and saw the brutal treatment of animals in factory farms, there was no turning back. I often ate pasta drenched in garlic and olive oil, or omlettes covered in cheese. It wouldn’t be until years later that I truly would make the connection between food as medicine and vitality.
Back then I never could have imagined cutting out eggs and dairy. It took me seeing years later that it’s common practice that male chicks are ground up alive and baby calves are taken from their moms and slaughtered for veal- that there is no humane treatment of animals in any food industry. We are exploiting the most innocent beings on this planet by giving them a life of misery. This connection started making me think about energy in food and focusing on sourcing food that is “cruelty free”. If everything is energy, why would you ever want to consume a product sourced from an animal who lived in misery? It made me question how much negativity we bring into our own lives by absorbing that which we create from these tortured animals.
It wasn’t until I started working at Whole Foods Market did I really put the idea into practice. I set out to eat the highest energy, nutrient-dense foods. I finally learned how to not only eat compassionately for the planet, but also how to eat compassionately for myself. I took E3-Live, a super nutrient-dense algae high in 65 vitamins, minerals and amino acids, every morning with my orange juice. I ate chia pods on my breaks instead of bagels and cream cheese. I often grabbed organic pink lady apples, bananas, and cashews if I was hungry. I always had Lara bars on me, and drank chia kombuchas. If I was craving cheese, I bought cashew cheese and gluten-free crackers. I replaced my morning omlettes with my now favorite dish: the tofu scramble. I often ate at the salad bar, but mixed an avocado from produce with lemon juice over my greens instead of dressing. This diet gave me so much energy I had no problem working out for a couple hours after an 8 hour shift.
I was over 300 lbs when I first started working at Whole Foods. This change to a plant-based diet combined with regularly working out led me to drop over 90 lbs over the past year and a half. Little steps and daily decisions from the heart has led to a huge transformation in my life. It’s been less about the end goal, and more about how to make a loving decision towards myself and the planet in the moment. The weight has fallen off in the process. Every day we have choices to make. Every day we have the ability to channel love and light into every decision we make. It’s our little choices over time that lead to life-changing transformations. I truly believe compassion begins on your plate. What we decide to eat can literally transform our world: from our bodies, to our energy levels, to our environment.