March 22, 2012

Thank You For Not Gendering

This might be my new tattoo. Not sure yet.

I would say it's because I'm transgender that this issue irks me, but I know cisgendered* people who feel similarly. And some people just want to know more about it. And so, I write. I write from my experience and the experiences of other people but, like anything in life, there are many people who have many opinions and experiences about gender identity and expression. I hope you keep reading and exploring this topic, especially with folks in your daily life.

I'm writing from my perspective as a health coach. As someone who is walking my talk in this capacity, seeking out new ways every day to be fearlessly healthy, (have you seen the new Fearlessly Healthy: 30 Day Intensive I just launched?) I want other people to have this experience, too. And from my experience, and from knowing other folks--being fearlessly healthy starts with being yourself and taking care of yourself. And telling other people what that means for you.

Thank you for not gendering people. Thank you for not needing people to fit into the blue box or the pink box. Thank you for hearing people speak up for themselves and identify themselves as transgender and cradling that confession with delicate hands. Thank you for not calling people "ma'am, girl, woman, lady" or some other gendered word because of the sex characteristics they possess. Like my boobs. It's a costume I can't return right now--I lost the receipt. Give me a break and check out the other gender markers I'm using---like my haircut and my clothing. Has anyone seen me wear makeup or a dress in the past 6 years?

Thanks for understanding when I don't answer questions that I'm not able to answer yet-like which pronouns I prefer. Maybe other people wait to be asked. I've never been that type. I understand you're trying to be nice but when I need you to be nice and in-the-know, I'll let ya' know. ;) In the meantime, you can go about your life and not feel worried that you're calling me the wrong thing in conversation.

And thank you for doing that with anyone walking around the street, at your place of employment, in your family home or at school because, while I take deep breaths and use my words for how I'd like to be identified, others may not. You may be creating an unsafe space without even knowing it. And if you're reading this blog, you probably want to know how to savor your existence and support others in doing that, too.

Diversity of gender expression and gender roles isn't something that only LGBTQ folks experience. It is in your life, too, and in the ways other people live. Maybe you want to be Mr. Mom (old 80s movie with Michael Keaton) and have your wife be the breadwinner. Maybe you're a female entrepreneur making significant dollars from your laptop while your baby crawls beneath your feet under the dining room table. Maybe you had a gestational surrogate to have a baby, and you're heterosexual--like the actress, Elizabeth Banks (and some of my friends). Maybe you're happily married, without kids. Maybe you're not married at all. The list goes on...

There is more than meets the eye in many homes in our country. It's not just happening "on the fringes" within marginalized communities like the LGBTQ population, but because there is so little visibility to these "unconventional ways of living" we assume it's not happening at all and/or we can't speak to it or advocate for it. Don't assume it's not happening in other peoples' homes. It is.

I recently realized how little most heterosexual people know about the realities of LGBTQ culture and issues outside of caricatures and stereotypes in mass media. And how painfully much I DO KNOW about heterosexuality---even though I'm not heterosexual and never have been. And I'm no spring chicken.

The secret to visibility is normative culture---staying within what is considered "normal". 

So here's my solution to bring visibility and make this part of the normative culture: stop gendering people. Practice using the words PERSON and PEOPLE on a daily basis.

It's 2012. Terms like ma'am, lady and sir are no longer needed for a population growing far beyond the gender binary (male and female). 


1) If you're in customer service (or better yet, someone who is CHARGE of training folks in customer service) refer to people by their name. Or simply say, "please and thank you". No ma'am or sir needed at the end. If you're seating people at dinner, say, "right this way to your seat". Provide bathrooms with the word RESTROOM printed beside the door. No need for the out-dated chick in a skirt icon anymore. 

Not all women wear skirts 24/7, am I right? Sheesh.

2) In your everyday life, at your work or walking down the street, make the assumption that the person you're about to address or refer to prefers no gender identity. Say, "can I help you with something?", "excuse me, you dropped this" or "that person over there needs help" or "what did that person say to you?"

3) Listen when people talk to you and ask them questions based on what they share---no more, no less. Exist to support, not to get dirt. I've known many transgender people who get asked some pretty off-the-wall personal questions. Consider if you'd ask your hetero friends the same questions about themselves or their husband's anatomy. 

4) If someone comes out to you as transgender or queer, don't continuously call them whatever you think they are. Or what they look like. It can be very hurtful. 

I get that this may be weird or hard or unfamiliar. I went through a phase in my life, as I struggled with my own internal transphobia (fear), when I did the very things I'm suggesting you don't do. Now I know how it feels on the other side, so I'm sharing that hindsight with you.

Practice not gendering people and consider that your positive impact may never be known to you, but may profoundly make someone's day a whole light better.

As your best.

*taken from

1.cisgendered412 up336 down
adj form of cisgender

The opposite of transgendered, someone who is cisgendered has agender identity that agrees with their societally recognized sex

March 21, 2012

Pad Thai made at YOUR PAD!

So, here's what I learned from making pad thai at home: I think thai restaurants use A LOT of sugar and A LOT of oil. I used moderate amounts (ok, hardly any) and it came out great. I can only imagine the measurements they used in the take-out we once ordered a pretty regular basis. Not anymore!!!

Friends--it's simple, awesome, healthy and delicious. Give it a whirl!


1/2 pound flat rice noodles or mung bean noodles
1/2 cup sesame or peanut oil (canola is ok, too)
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. red chili paste
1 tsp. sugar
3 Tbsp. Thai fish sauce
1/2 cup water
2 large eggs, beaten

1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions
1/2 cup snow peas, strings removed and finely julienned (or not, who cares?!)
1 1/2 cups fresh bean sprouts
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup chopped napa cabbage (optional)

3 Tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped dry roasted peanuts

Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, add the noodles and cook just until the water returns to a boil. Remove the noodles immediately, and drain them. Rinse in ice-cold water to stop the noodles from cooking further. Set aside.

Heat the oil in a large saute pan. Add the garlic, chili paste, sugar, fish sauce and water. Cook to 1-2 minutes, until slightly thickened. Add the beaten eggs, stirring constantly, until the eggs are soft set.

Add the noodles to the pan with the chili paste mixture, toss and saute for 3 to 4 minutes over med-high heat. Add the scallions, snow peas, bean sprouts, red chili flakes and lime juice. Toss to mix well and heat through, about 1 minute. Place on a dish and top with cilantro and peanuts.

*borrowed from the Whole Foods Market Cookbook and modified a bit for personal style. ;)

March 15, 2012

Why It's Healthy to Take a Vacation

I never spent money on vacations. I used to flash that fact like a badge of honor.

I'm no longer proud that I once lived my life with such imbalance--depriving myself of much-needed rest, respite and rejuvenation.

We got more joy from those 4 days away than we could have predicted. And we even struggled a little, because unwinding can be hard when you're so wound up to begin with.

We were present with it, talked about it and understood it for what it was---fallout from working too hard for too long.

As a health coach, I prioritized good healthy food the whole time, but made room for some snacks and treats along the way. Here are some tips for how to rock out and enjoy your vacation even more by being health-minded as you do it:

1) bring probiotics. Ever notice how you eat differently, move differently and sleep differently while away from home? You may also notice your elimination changes, too. Bring probiotics with you to support your immune system during and after air travel as well as to balance and regulate your intestinal flora (your gut) for foods that are new, exciting and maybe adventurous for you. In other words: avoid constipation and/or diarrhea. Trust me, this really works.

2) prioritize healthy food and drink plenty of water. Eat the best of what's available to you, the healthiest, most natural foods possible. Drink plenty of water. Use the time away to also get away from unhealthy habits or patterns that aren't serving you at home, i.e. coffee, sugar, white flour products, etc.

3) don't make too many changes to your normal groove. If you retire at 10pm at home, retire at 10pm on vacation. If you don't walk 6 miles a day at home, don't walk 6 miles a day on vacation. If you don't eat 5,000 calories a day at get the idea. Act as you would at home, only DO change this important piece: DO AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

Take a vacation, my friends. It's good for your health. ;)

March 11, 2012

Fearlessly Healthy: a 30 Day Intensive

Fearlessly Healthy: a 30 Day Intensive 

Fearlessly Healthy: a 30 Day Intensive
Start date: May 1-30, 2012 
Cost: $149
Location: your big comfy couch

Are your fears affecting your health? 

Three years ago, my life was unrecognizable. I was stuck in a loveless relationship, was unhappy at work and I struggled with acne, depression, sinus infections, insomnia, overeating and anxiety on a daily basis. I felt stuck, paralyzed by my fears and my health suffered as a result.

There's a connection between what we eat and how we live. Changing that whole scene for the better starts with conquering our fears and making the conscious decision to be fearlessly healthy---inside and out.

Who would you be if you lived your life outside the lines and started living as your fearless, healthiest self?

If you aren't afraid to feed yourself well with nutritional home-cookin' and the occasional pat of butter, you will have less fear in every aspect of your life.

I don't live without fear--I just don't let it get the best of me, especially in the kitchen. 

Join me in this 15-day program to get up-close and personal with your fear. Zoom in on your biggest fears so you can start taking them down, one by one. And we'll practice that with pots, pans and your stove.

As one of only 15 participants in this exclusive program you'll get:

-weekly emails from me full of tips to tackle your fears
-two interactive video tutorials with me and your fearlessly healthy crew
-an easy-to-download Fearlessly Healthy Cooking ecookbook
-access to an online forum with other fearlessly healthy friends
-30 minutes of individual coaching during your Fear-Smackdown Session with me!

from some of my fearless fans:

"The Fearless Living Program honestly and truly, changed my life. I've been working with Dillan to find ways to shift my perspective on a lot of things in my life. Turning that mirror on yourself can be hard, but with Dillan's incredible support and a network of fantastic friends to cheer me on and share like experiences, I knew I wasn't alone. Fearless living is a day by day thing...every day I continue to think about the experience and find ways to keep challenging myself to keep it going. And I have some great new friends that are continuing down this path with me. I feel so blessed!" -Melanie

"The best thing for me was to be able to see other people who struggle with the same stuff that I do. I takes the legitimacy out of self criticism because I would never fault others for the things that I fault myself. Time to let go!!!" -Sara

"Dillan, thank you so much for offering this program to all of us. The connections I made to others as well as how I connected to my inner voice has me doing so much differently and feeling so connected to what it is that I want for my life, and I'm not scared to go and get it! I am eating differently, doing yoga daily, and meditating daily! What a transformation! :) thank so much!" -Tracy
Does this sound like the right thing for you right now?

I designed this program to support you in a small, intimate group of 15, so seats will go fast. Register now to secure your spot.

This group is open to anyone regardless of who you are or how you identify. 
LGBTQ folks are strongly encouraged to participate. 
We'll be addressing the issues that we face as we search for solutions to live out, proud and FEARLESSLY. xo, Dillan

March 8, 2012

Spicy Sausage & Collards

I have no riveting story to share about how or why I made this. It is merely the creation of randomness that happened in my brain. And it also met all my cooking criteria for an Ideal Meal:

1) easy
2) healthy
3) tasty
4) cheap
5) contains greens


Spicy Sausage & Collards

1 large bunch collard greens
8 cups water
2 extra large sweet potatoes, cut into cubes
1 lb spicy chicken sausage*, cut into 1/2 thick coins
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 package frozen okra
2 large garlic cloves
1 Tbsp course sea salt
2 Tbsp hot pepper sauce (I used Sriracha. Not the healthiest, but whatev. Share better suggestions below if ya got 'em)
4 Tbsp butter
cooked grain of choice: rice, quinoa, etc.

In a large pot, bring water, salt, diced garlic and hot sauce to a boil. Add collards and cook over medium-low heat for at least an hour.

  • Tip for cutting collards: see that huge, thick stem at the bottom?

  1. hold the bottom of the stem in one hand and slice the leaves right off with a sharp knife
  2. After the leaves are off the stem, pile them up and roll them up like you would a sleeping bag. Then slice  the roll-up into strips about 1 inch wide.)
While the collards are cooking, melt 2 Tbsp butter in a large pan**. Add onion and cook until soft. Add okra and saute for 5 minutes until soft. Add remaining butter and sausage and cook until browned and crispy.

When the collards are soft, take one strip out and chew it. It should break down easily in your mouth. If it doesn't, give it more time in the pot. If it's ready, add the sweet potatoes and simmer until they become soft when you poke them with a fork.

You should end up with two separate dishes like this:

Combine, serve over grain of choice and ENJOY!

*sausage: when buying meat, try to buy locally-sourced products--from farms and farmers who live as close to you as possible. Beware meat from large factory-farms. Watch the first 20 minutes of Food, Inc. the movie to better understand this.

**pan: ok, so I tried to use my stainless steel pan to sizzle up the okra and sausage. My best efforts couldn't make this happen and I don't know why. I succumbed to the teflon-covered pan and it worked perfectly. Use teflon-covered pots and pans rarely and with caution. We don't know what teflon is doing to our health.

Pedal Power

See this?

This is my precious.

In 2006, my old beloved bike was stolen. Don't be too sad, it's my fault. I left it outside overnight "locked up" on the Boston city streets with a pathetic excuse for a lock.

I mourned. I grieved. Then, I bought this fixed gear bicycle you see above. Why a fixed gear, you may be wondering?

I wanted to be cool. Not much more complicated than that. Anyone who buys one and doesn't confess the same motive might not be telling the truth. I'm kidding. People have all sorts of reasons for doing what they do. If they are riding a fixie, ask them why!

I simply wanted to know what the big deal was after years of riding bikes with tons of components, derailers, shifters and gears.

A fixed gear bike is awesome because there are less parts to get dirty and/or fix.

Exhibit A:

how many parts are on your bike?
It's almost spring and whether or not you buy a fixed gear bike, I highly recommend you get something with two-wheels soon and bring some pedal power to your spring season.

Here's three reasons why :

1) REDUCE COMMUTE TIME: if you don't have a car like me, commuting can suck. I was adding an extra 10 hours to my "work week" by commuting almost an hour each way, 5 days a week.

2) REDUCE STRESS with EXERCISE: not only was my commute time getting me down--10 hours is a big loss!--but I also wasn't getting much exercise, either. Tendonitis in my shoulder has me grounded from lifting heavy things for a while--goodbye, gunshow--so my gym membership is pretty useless because I'm not a treadmill person. Biking 4.5 miles each way today gave me a TON of energy and boosted my mood like 8,000 points. That was one day. Imagine what doing this daily will do for my spirit?! 

3) INCREASE COURAGE & JOY: I'm not sure where you live, but I live in a city. And I commute in city traffic. During rush hour. If ever I needed a boost of confidence, getting from my front door to work and back home again makes me feel pretty damn brave. And cruising past all the large metal machine, and the people in them, caught in traffic? Feels awesome. What joy can biking bring into your life after work, school or on weekends? 

Get a bike. Be car-less!


March 6, 2012

What I Learned From the Waves

Last week I spent four days in South Beach, Miami with my girlfriend.

If I ever needed a vacation/break, this was the time. We planned it intentionally because ever since I moved to Boston 5 and a half years ago, it's right around this time of year that I want to rage and throw tantrums. Wait, did I say "want to"? I meant, I do.

So, we planned a little get-away so I could thaw out some, soak up some rays to make much-needed vitamin D and generally get some perspective of life outside of the cold, grey weather here up nawth (that's how we say it, here).

Right before we left, I was really battling some intense emotions and I hoped the trip would help me sort them out. As usual, when we set an intention and ask the Universe for support--we get exactly what we need.

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