September 26, 2012

Dropping the Storyline-Dillan Heads Home

Last weekend, I traveled home to New Jersey (where I was born and raised) for my elementary school reunion.

Here are my reflections before I went:

And here's what happened at the reunion:

September 24, 2012

Balance Makes It Better: a workshop for LGBTQ folks

Balance Makes It Better: a holistic health workshop for LGBTQ folks

Where: The Meeting Point  3464 Washington Ave, Jamaica Plain, MA
When: TUESDAY, 10/23/12, 6:30-8:30 pm
Cost: $20*

You've heard the phrase "everything in moderation"? 

It applies to every aspect of your life--your food, friends, family, exercise and career. Balance actually makes everything BETTER.

I created this workshop specifically for the LGBTQ community (and those who support them) and the unique questions and concerns that we face in finding peace, health and happiness just waking up and walking around in our lives each day. It sure ain't easy, but with the right attitude and some practical skills, it can be better.

Bring your questions and an open mind to this workshop that will address:

  • cravings of all kinds: where do they come from and what can you do about them?
  • body image truths and realities
  • friends and food: did you know they were connected?
  • work/life balance: it IS possible

As part of this workshop, you will leave with:
  • simple recipes to eat more balanced meals
  • tips for staying cool and balanced when you're feeling angry, sad or frustrated
  • tricks for balancing your sleep schedule
  • info on how sugar might be messing with you more than you know 
In addition to these resources to take away and keep forever, you'll get to hang out with me and a whole crowd of folks who "get it". Whether you share your experience or listen in silence,  you will be a valuable part of a life-changing evening. Bring your open mind, and open heart and the willingness to find more balance. This workshop is specifically for LGBTQ folks, but all are welcome to attend, share and learn.

Questions? Email me at:


*registration is $20 and there's a special student rate. You can also donate for an additional registration which covers the fees for folks who aren't able to pay.

Dillan Hits the Hometown(s)

September 17, 2012

Kale Isn't Scary

Veggie Curry Quinoa with Nuts (optional)

Getting my cooking legs back under me after 6 weeks of recovery time from surgery. Did I already tell you how hard it was to not cook for myself for all that time?

There's a whole other post about that one...

But last week, I found myself with a cup of quinoa, some zucchini and some other stuff. I trusted my gut that I could make something healthy and delicious, as long as I took the inner critic out of the situation.

You know the one I'm talking about? The one who says, "oh, that won't be good enough. It's not pretty. It's not from a recipe."

Screw that. As long as it has a lot of veggies, some healthy fats, I'm good to go. Some spices tossed in? Great. Other fun stuff for texture and crunch? Also good.

Here's what happened that day. Give this a try to start flexing your fearless muscles in the kitchen. You really have nothing to lose at all...

Veggie Curry Quinoa with Nuts*

1 cup raw quinoa
1 large zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup walnuts and/or cashews, chopped
1/2 cup raisins

4 scallions (green onions) diced
1/2 cup shredded carrots
2 tsp curry powder
dash of cinnamon
dash of salt
2 Tbsp coconut oil

Rinse your quinoa before you start cooking it. It helps remove this little film around it that can sometimes make a weird soapy taste. Rinse it in a fine mesh colander (strainer) a few times. Once rinsed, add it to a medium-sized pot with about 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then simmer until the quinoa is fluffy and popped open. You will see little tiny bits of quinoa around the pot, like little worms--that's ok. It's just the outer covering of the grain.

Once that's cooked, set it aside to cool.

Prep your other ingredients.

Combine everything into a large bowl, stirring well.

You can eat this warmed or cool, over spinach like in the photo above. It was GREAT!

*allergic to nuts? Leave them out.

September 11, 2012

Homemade Chai (courtesy of the Chai Wallah)

I can't lie. The "homemade" here is this guy's incredible chai mix:

Click on smiling Neil to buy his blend

And I used his recipe:

bring to a boil 1/2 cup each of water and milk of choice (I like almond milk)
1 tsp chai mix
1 1/4-1 1/2 tsp of sugar or honey

simmer 2 mins

strain into your favorite mug & ENJOY!!!

Cookin' with Collards

Are you afraid of cooking and eating collards? Well, I was.

It's funny that I wasn't afraid of drinking Starbucks Frappucinos or eating Twinkies or Burger King chicken sandwiches. Now THOSE are foods to be afraid of. What the F is even in that stuff?


Cooking and eating collards? This is nothing to fear, compared to processed chemicals and the like. Collards are just pure, awesome plant-y goodness.

Here's why greens rock:

Sinuses going crazy from allergies right now? Guess what, greens help cleanse all that junk out of your respiratory system.

 Collards are jam-packed full of vitamins (if you really need to know the list you can Google it) and there's always that awesome plant-based fiber. Having trouble in the bathroom? You might need more fiber. Got some acne issues? Fiber helps with that, too.

You just need a simple recipe to get these nutrient-dense greens in your bod with little to no effort.

Here is a simple, very basic recipe I made up. Many on the internet called for ingredients I either didn't have or didn't want to use, but you should experiment to find which things you like with your collards.



2 Tbsp butter
1 large bunch fresh organic collard leaves (off the stem)
1 cup free-range chicken broth (free-range means the chicks got to hang and have fun on the farm)
1 tsp hot pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

1) melt the butter in a shallow saute pan or skillet over low heat
2) while that's happening, get the collard leaves prepped

Here's how you get the collards off the stem:

once you have the leaves off the stem, lay them flat on top of each other. Make a neat, little pile. Then roll 'em up and slice them like pinwheels!! (watch those fingers)

3) once you got those guys sliced up, toss them in a skillet or pan with the melted butter and add the chicken stock. Add the hot pepper flakes after about 10 minutes.

4) simmer over med heat for 20 minutes, check on them. If they are a darker green and soft, they are done.

5) sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, serve with homemade bbq chicken and homemade mashed potatoes.  HECK YEAH, COWBOY!!

September 4, 2012

Can't Cook? Don't Eat Crap.

As part of my recovery process from my surgery on August 7th, I haven't been able to cook for myself for almost a month now.

Except for a fried egg, here and there.

As someone who does enjoy cooking, less than some but more than others, it's been hard on me. I haven't been able to decide what I want to eat, how I want it to taste and what I can and can't grab when I'm suddenly starving (apparently testosterone makes me act like the Hulk when I get hungry):

 +   HUNGER     =

So, what's a health coach to do?

Well, I applied what I knew and made the best of it. Just like I tell all my clients.

Most mornings, I had instant oatmeal and added nuts, seeds, butter, nut butter, honey, maple syrup, raisins--any or most of those. Lunch was tasty leftovers from friends or whatever Brenda had made.

Dinner was more of the same from lunch.

I can't exercise, so everything I'm eating isn't being worked off, the way that the body likes to utilize energy/food. So, as I'm trying to make good decisions with the food I'm being offered and what little I'm able to make, I'm also trying to consider what my body needs to heal well AND the pounds I'm adding since I can't exercise.

Yeah. Or as that swimmer guy from the Olympics would say, "JEAH!"

My physical limitations created a need to ask for help--and an even greater awareness of what I wanted to consume, how, when, where and why. 

Here's my biggest secret: Don't Eat Crap. 

I felt like celebrating. I totally did! But I also felt like I needed to eliminate the massive build-up of toxins (anethesia and Rx drugs for pain) and the monotonous diet of simple carbs I had while recovering that first week. Eating crap food wasn't going to help me celebrate this milestone in my life.

Here's what I did to cleanse and restore following surgery (good advice for anyone, anytime):

1) prioritized veggies as much as possible: thanks to my pals who made delicious, veggie-based dinners for me to eat. WOW! They helped so much. I also ate chopped-up carrots, broccoli and cucumbers on a daily basis for snacks.

2) water: we bought huge containers of water with the little spigot on the bottom because I couldn't raise a glass to fill it at the sink. I felt like an animal making hourly migrations to the watering hole...

3) reduced sugar and wheat: both major causes of inflammation, I reduced or limited how I consumed these in the weeks following my surgery. It gave me the room I needed for better food AND helped aid all my tissues in speedier healing.

4) read, wrote, slept and welcomed visitors: since I was busy doing these things, I wasn't walking around the house eating from boredom.

5) ask for help: when I felt hungry, I asked for help reaching for things. When I needed meat, I asked for it. When I needed veggies, I asked for them. Water. Some ice cream.

This recovery process and my experience with cooking for myself is just another example of how everything in our lives happens for a reason and we can use every experience to learn and grow from it.

On Feelings, Feeling Them and Expressing Them

Oh hell yes.

Here we go!

I thought I was someone who felt my feelings. And then expressed them.

Coming out as transgender has helped me see myself in a whole new way, including the ways I do (and don't) feel my feelings and (do and don't) express them well.

Ooh! Let's talk about "expressing them well". Did you catch this expression of feelings:

Melissa Harris-Perry is an incredible person, in my opinion. She's brilliant and she's honest. She's honest with herself and with the people who sit around her table.

To many people, her response looks "unprofessional", "impolite", "emotional" or "black female rage".

As a white person, I learned that the system that defines Melissa's response is called white supremacy. It means that the culture we live in here in America decides what we do and don't get to do and say, etc. Manners, etiquette, how express ourselves---it all happens according to a code of behavior that largely white, straight people agree on. And everyone else has to learn to follow the rules.

It's relatively easy to follow those rules when you're white. And straight. And cisgendered. And middle class. And able-bodied.  I could go on. How many of those identities apply to you?

Want to know what happens when you aren't (any or all of) those identities? Some of the people with those identities judge you. And berate you. And ask you questions, with a sense of entitlement to the answers. They question you and make you question yourself. And they do things called microaggressions that cut you down, make you feel rather like a animal in a zoo and then when you have a response to their behavior, they act like you just did something horribly wrong. And label your response as either appropriate or inappropriate.

Still with me?

Good. I'm proud of you. Because somewhere in here is You. Maybe you're the person doing the judging, criticizing or attacking. Maybe you're the person being judged, criticized or attacked. Maybe you're both.

Maybe this happens in your family. Or at work. Or in your relationship.

Get in touch with what's happening in your life. What are you seeing? What is happening to you? Around you? BECAUSE of you?

How does it all make you feel? 

Because the more you understand this, the more compassion, patience and love you can practice for a.) yourself and b.) other people.

People often compliment me on how well I understand and connect with teens and younger adults--or all people, for that matter. Do you know why? Because I feel deeply the things that they are feeling, because I went through that, too. I understand, from a deep place of knowing, how scary it is. How hard it is. How awkward. How painful. My worst moments are when I lose patience with the people who aren't self-aware and then act insensitively, coming from their own place of not feeling their own feelings. We can't be kind to others when we aren't doing that for ourselves, first. It can make an awful mess.

Pay attention to what you're feeling. Give it room to breathe. Allow yourself to have that feeling. Express it. Don't apologize for it. 

People will do and say some inappropriate shit. And it may help you to express how it makes you feel. Think about the way you're delivering it, not because you have to subscribe to white surpremacist culture----("this is how it's done--according to us")----but because you want to use your expression to build and expand upon, not destroy.

Melissa Harris-Perry, thank you. Thank you for expressing yourself and giving us a concrete example of how the adults at that table (with the exception of that one woman on her immediate right), all highly educated and refined, weren't able to create a compassionate space for you to have that response--probably because they aren't letting themselves feel their own feelings about the topic you were addressing. They were having an intellectual, abstract conversation, but you actually expressed how the topic made you feel.

To continue developing my communication skills, I am going to re-read this book:

I am not sold on whether I find it helpful or just another way to conform to the "right" and "wrong" ways of expressing feelings, according to the author who is white and male. I strive for "productive" vs. "unproductive", using MPH's response as a teaching tool--but I can only take responsibility for my 50%. What words did she use? How did she phrase her thoughts and feelings? How did the people at the table respond and how much of that had nothing to do with what MHP said or how she spoke?

Is her response labeled inappropriate because she raised the volume of her voice or because the truth hurts and is hard to hear?

Express yourself and your feelings about this, or anything else, below.

September 1, 2012

Killer Cravings-a Teleseminar to conquer your food cravings

Killer Cravings-a Teleseminar to conquer your food cravings
Date: Wednesday, 10/24/12
Time: 8:15 pm EST
Location: Your comfy couch
Cost: $15

You know what your food demons are. I don't have to tell you. And you know exactly how, when, and where they strike.

But what you may
not know is those suckers are totally within your control to...well, control.

Halloween is on the horizon and, for much of my life, that meant one thing: candy corn. Forget costumes. To hell with parties. I cared about one thing and one thing only: which brand of candy corn was the best and where I could get it first. 

Things are different for me since becoming a health coach. Last year was the first time in my whole life that I didn't have one piece of candy corn. I don't plan on having any this year, either.  

That's a pretty big deal.

You might want to join this teleseminar if you:

  • drool each time you walk past DD, even though you hate their coffee
  • avoid fast-food joints by driving 2 miles out of the way
  • dread parties and dinner invites
  • fear the oncoming holidays 
  • can't stop snacktime from becoming a meal 

Cravings can be killer. In addition to controlling your life and your daily plans, they can also sabotage your energy, motivation, mood and healthy exercise schedules? You're trying so hard, but you just can't stop giving in!

Trust me. I totally get this. As a self-identified sugar baby, I know your pain and your fears of the killer cravings in your life. 

On 10/24/12 you'll hear me talk about my cravings, why I have them and what I do when they rear their ugly little heads. You'll also get a chance to chat about your killer cravings and share your fears, questions and concerns about how to control them.

Get 'em before they get you. Tune into this teleseminar to learn:

  • where cravings come from
  • what your cravings are telling you
  • ways cravings are messing with your healthy habits
  • the #1 best way to conquer your Killer Cravings!!

Your teleseminar ticket includes access to a free recording of the call to keep forever and listen to each time a killer craving strikes.  It also includes:
  • a PDF download of 10 Tips to Conquer Cravings
  • a mini-ecookbook to Kick Cravings to the Curb

Cravings not an issue for you? Maybe you're working on a fear of something else. Give my 5 Days of Fearless Living program a try. It's free. 100%. Read more here...

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