May 23, 2012

Fat-free Foods and Coffee

Here are a couple of basic tips to think about as you're working out this summer...

May 22, 2012

Give It More Gas

These were my reward for running a 5K twice in two days.

You know me. You know I'm always working on something, over here. 

Seems I was born to figure things out and make things in my life work better. Sometimes I try to make things work better, in general, and the Universe reminds me that it's not my work. I have enough to worry about in the Land of Dillan. ;)

I am not a quitter. That's why I'm always working on things--because I don't give up. Over the past few years I've had to learn the hard way that this doesn't always serve me. Like with former romantic partners. Or jobs. Or lost causes of some other sort. In one instance, my tenacity proved to serve me--with my current partner. But when she wasn't ready to be in a committed queer relationship, my pushing didn't make things better. No, it did not.


It's all about learning when, why and how to be tenacious. And not quit when things get challenging or we feel resistance. When you feel like giving up, sometimes you just need to give it more gas. 

Choose wisely. Start with what's easy--when you are on your own and you feel like giving up or quitting, like I did two weeks ago when I went for a run.

Ever since making some big decisions for myself in recent months, I've been coming up against the ugly 3-headed Body Image Monster. He and I are not friends. We haven't been since I was a child, actually. I've always been on the thicker side, not lanky or lean in any way, and the Body Image Monster always likes to hang out on my shoulder, right beside my ear, and tell me how I don't measure up. He's affected my eating habits, exercise habits, speech, etc. for more years than I would like to admit.

On this particular day, I was feeling strong and confident--ready for a run. I told myself I would run a longer route, to push myself past what I had been doing to see if I could complete it. BIM tried to tell me I wouldn't make it. While I was running, one of my good friends called (I run with my iPhone for music). BIM tried to get me to quit and take the call. I instead chose to keep running, I told myself that if I made it all the way I would try and call my friend back then. If we were meant to talk, he would be available then. After I had met my own challenge. 

I kept running.

I made it the whole way, never stopped once, and ran right up to the door of my house with ease. I wasn't sprinting, but I wasn't walking it, either. I logged the run on this handy tool: and it turns out that I ran 3.2 miles! That's a 5K!


When the BIM and the temptation to talk to my beloved friend tempted me to quit, I just gave it more gas. 

I stuck to my promise to myself and saw what I could do when I met my own expectations.

Knowing me, you can bet I challenged myself to take this insight into other areas of my life. The way we do one thing is the way we everything.

love, Dillan

May 17, 2012

Cool Thai Slaw

I used to call this recipe rad pad thai, but I like this better. It resembles a slaw more than pad thai. ;)

Perfect meal for those evenings when you want something crisp and spicy with raw veggies to balance other cooked meals with meat during the week (if you eat meat, of course).


Cool Thai Slaw

1 package thin rice noodles/vermicelli (look for a brown rice noodles)
1 package firm tofu
2-3 Tbl. sesame or coconut oil
2 large carrots, grated
2 cups red or green cabbage or bok choy, thinly sliced
2/3 cup green onions, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 green pepper, diced
1 package fresh bean sprouts
several sprigs of fresh cilantro

Thai Slaw Sauce
4 Tbl. peanut butter
3/4 can coconut milk
1 Tbs. sriracha sauce/spicy red pepper pepper sauce
1 tsp. red curry powder
1 tsp. tamari sauce

1) Dice tofu and lightly saute in coconut oil or sesame oil until brown. Remove from pan and drain on a paper towel.
2) Prepare rice noodles according to package (usually boil 4-6 cups of water, add noodles, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes, strain and rinse with cold water---but check the directions).
3) In a small bowl combine and whisk: peanut butter, coconut milk, tamari, spicy sauce, red curry powder to taste.
4) Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and toss. Chop cilantro and add it in. Toss more.
Serve cold with fun salad tongs onto plates with extra sauce and spice nearby for folks to add as needed.

May 16, 2012

Making It Happen

We all have dreams. We also have a lot of fear about whether or not those dreams will ever come true.
A few years ago, Joshua Rosenthal, the director and founder of the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, shared this wisdom in something close to these words:

"you have the same ability to see into the future as you do into the past. That clarity you have of memories and past experiences--you can have also have that clarity for your future. We just don't exercise those muscles enough."

And then, he had us exercise those muscles. He had us envision our lives in the future--where we were living, what we were doing, who we were with, etc. We did it incrementally, first a few weeks, then a few months, then YEARS into the future.

As someone who detested lists and organization, I found this exercise frustrating. I didn't like it. I didn't believe in it. I went along with it, however, as I did each and every aspect of my health coach training program, because I trusted Joshua. I trusted that he had tools that I needed to experience a better quality of life and support others in that search.

And I was smart to trust him. And I'm very grateful for all I learned.

About three years later, I exercised that muscle of seeing into the future. It isn't a special power I possess. We all have this power. We can actually see what we want and then watch as it unfolds before us. 

Back in January of this year, I decided that I was exhausted of life without a car. I had owned a car. I really cool one--a Volvo S40. When I moved to Boston in 2006, I sold that beloved vehicle to free myself from the financial responsibility. Because I didn't have a good sense of money and spending, I was really afraid I wouldn't be able to handle the cost of owning a car in Boston. I also wanted to soak up the life of a city-dweller---using only my legs and my bike to get me around.

Six years later, that lifestyle was becoming a major source of stress. The farther outside the city we moved, the harder it became to get anywhere without a hassle. It began to tax my relationship because I frequently asked for rides from my partner in bad weather or simply to spend an extra twenty more minutes together. My daily commute sucked another 10 hours a week (sometimes more!) from my life that I wanted to use for other things. My desire to live simply wasn't resulting in more peace and happiness. It was making me feel stuck, frustrated and tired.

Last week, when I found myself a mere 8 miles from home for jury duty, it took me almost two hours to get back home. It was pouring rain in the morning, so biking wasn't an option and if a stranger hadn't given me an unexpected lift, it would have taken longer. That was it. That was my limit. I decided I wasn't savoring my existence living from such scarcity. I had things to do, people to see, a great life to live. And I was tired of waiting--for the bus and for me to stop being a victim of circumstance.

I decided it was time to manifest my vision. To make that future I saw so clearly become my reality.

We hopped into my partner's new car (we are both living from abundance these days) and took a drive down to the smartcar dealership. Within two hours the papers were signed and I was all set. I didn't even hear all the details of things. I just knew I was getting my independence back. My freedom of movement. More time freed up to live my life the way I want to.

Most of all, I wanted to show myself that suffering in scarcity is a choice. Embracing abundance and happiness is a choice, too. No one could make my situation better but me. 

Here's two gems I have learned from being carless for 6 years:

1) I appreciate time more. I know how long it will take me to get somewhere on foot, bike, train, bus or car so now I can make informed decisions about which mode of transportation I will choose every single day. This was an appreciation and skillset I never had in the past.

2) I value my money so much now, I am able to have everything I want and need--including a car for more reliable and faster transportation. Since I spend more consciously, more is available to me. When I moved to the city, I deprived myself of something because I was afraid. Now, I manage my resources to live the life I choose, as defined by me.

No one can make these things happen FOR us. We are the ones who make our lives happen. For better or for worse.

Cheers to choosing BETTER!

May 14, 2012

Coconut-Cherry-Chocolate Breakfast

When I recommend eating oats for breakfast, a lot of people/clients tell me they hate oatmeal.

For a while, I didn't understand this. The instant oatmeal packets of my childhood never bothered me at all.

When I became a heath coach, I began to understand the problem. See, instant oatmeal packets contain a lot of sugar. Well, the ones I ate did. Up to 13 grams of sugar! That's about 3 teaspoons. That is a lot of sugar and I don't see myself putting 3 teaspoons of sugar into a bowl of oatmeal these days. If I tried eating my oatmeal plain, that wouldn't taste so good, so I can see why my clients are struggling to find a good balance.

Here's what I made the other day and it was not only tasty, it had no refined sugar AND was jam-packed full of nutrients. I think the key to enjoying oatmeal is to change it up a bit, add things to it and always remember how awesome it is for you. If you consider that eating it is doing GOOD THINGS for your bod, as opposed to how delicious but nutritionally-void other things can be---it helps the oats go down easier.

That's my opinion, anyway.

Here are two recipes for this tasty mixture---try both and leave your comments!

Chocolate-Cherry-Coconut Oats (or Quinoa)

1/2 cup instant oats or leftover cooked quinoa
1 Tbs dried cherries
1 tsp raw cacao powder (don't be scared--it's cocoa that hasn't been processed or combined with sugar)
2 Tbs coconut milk (the real thing, out of the jar/can. The one in the container will do, too.)
1 tsp raw shredded coconut
dash of cinnamon
1 tsp maple syrup or raw, local honey (these are sources of sugar, yes. But they are natural and come from the earth with little to no processing.)

Combine the oats, cherries, coconut and coconut milk in a small pan over very low heat. Warm, mix into a bowl with raw cacao powder and maple syrup. Enjoy!

Chocolate-Cherry-PB-Coconut Oats

1/2 cup rolled oats soaked overnight in water
1 Tbs of fresh-ground peanut butter in place of coconut milk
(same ingredients as above)

Strain the soaked oats and rinse them with clean, fresh water. Return to bowl, add peanut butter and the other ingredients listed above. The peanut butter will replace the coconut milk for your fat source and add some additional protein.  Eat this cold or only slightly warmed. Experience the texture of soaked oats without warming them before you eat them. What do you think?!

Now you have some inventive ways to enjoy your oats.

I would have added a picture of the finished product but, quite frankly, the end result isn't exactly photogenic. When you mix raw cacao powder into anything, it turns very brown. That's all I'll say about that. ;)

Each of the ingredients above adds some essential, awesome nutrients to your day. Do some research and see what you discover. Can you believe you'd get that much nutrition in ONE BOWL of food?


Two Friends Make Quinoa

At the end of March, my good friend, Nick Oddo, came up to visit Boston. We were going to attend the birthday party of our mutual friend and fellow health coach, Matt Germain. On this particular day, Nick and I were debating whether or not to make a video of cooking together or just hang out and talk. God knows we both love talking to each other! We ended up giving the video a try and now have a precious afternoon full of fun and laughter for the memory books--and the video to prove it!

Ever since we met in 2009, Nick and I have been connected from the heart. He was there for me the day in July 2009 when I took the stage and spoke in front of my 1,500 classmates for our graduation from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. He took me to lunch and gave me a much-needed pep talk--and we've been doing that for each other ever since that day.

I've learned a lot from Nick during the course of our friendship, but one of the most profound gifts I've received is the ability to grow and take honest, compassionate criticism. We share a love for the book The Four Agreements and no matter what is happening in my life, Nick will always remind me of those four essential truths.

We all struggle in our lives. We all face odds that seem insurmountable. The truth is, however, that we CAN surmount pretty much anything---but we need to keep our minds, thoughts, and perspective in check. Our egos can run amok and make things seem pretty dire.

Try reading The Four Agreements and you'll see what I mean.

And always, always surround yourself with good-hearted mature people who sell it to you clearly and honestly.

I hope you enjoy this video and the simple recipe it contains--but more than that, I hope you glean the most important message: there is nothing more healthy for you than a good friend.

Here are some post-video production stills--hope you enjoy!

May 1, 2012

Simon Says, "Do Your Best"

Sometimes your best looks like this.

Simon, our turtle, loves sunning himself on his rock (under that heat lamp). Today, however, he only made it halfway.

Did he beat himself up about making it halfway? Not from what I could see. Instead, he fell into a deep sleep.

He did his best. He climbed as high as he could and decided that laying halfway into the water was the ideal lounging experience.

from The Four Agreements: "your best will change from day to day."

Sometimes our best means making a 5-star dinner and sometimes it means roasting beets, wilting spinach and topping them with goat cheese.

Sometimes it means going out for sushi.

Sometimes it means jogging for half a mile and walking the rest of the way. Maybe it means simply walking. Jogging will come later.

Doing your best is especially hard during a major transition--between relationships, between jobs, between work days. If you're at the stage BEFORE a major transition, that icky place where you know change is imminent and obviously coming soon but you're really not feeling ready for it, doing your best is really important. When super-stressed or scared or nervous, the last thing you want to do is beat yourself for not meeting your own or someone else's expectations.

To hell with that crap.

Get out of bed, eat the healthiest food you can, try to move your body and make sure you get plenty of sleep. Drink water. Ask for hugs.

Today, do your best.

Getting Unstuck

Everyone has those moments where we get stuck--literally frozen, paralyzed, like God just took a picture of us.

We were about to do something awesome, take a leap of some kind, practice a healthy habit maybe--and FREEZE.

Here's a little video I made about what I did when that happened to me recently...

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