Client Spotlight – The Vegan Converts & Making a baby with Gio & Casey Weeks – baby Luca now too!!

A beautiful, fit family who conceived by incorporating veganism!

Sometimes clients become friends, but in this case an “old” friend of mine – Giovanna – became a client. Giovanna and I met in elementary school in Maple Ridge, BC, Canada over 25 years ago. We actually went to different schools but both attended Catachism (click it if you don’t know it) where we met and eventually ended up at the same school. Giovanna has always had a light shining SO brightly within her….but she never had that Knight in shining armour that deserved her until…..Casey. Wow, what can I say. From the minute I first saw an image of these two together with their gorgeous smiles on display, I knew it was love. Casey seemed to be such a positive and loving force in Gio’s life.I’m so thankful that the two of you met and made a family -the world needs more true love like yours.

Happily settled in Houston, Texas, these two and their two pooches just added one more to their tribe; baby girl Luca – sorry folks, I didn’t get an image I could use here….and Luca was just born this past weekend of April 14/15. Congrats to the two of you. All my love and so much more and thanks SO much for taking the Vegan in 60 mentorship program on, I really hope it did help you with your little one.

So much love.

xx

S

How did the two of you meet?

Casey was a spin instructor at a studio and I had a huge crush on him and went to all his classes till he noticed me J

Did you plan on having a family early on in meeting and did age play a factor in this?

We both wanted kids one day but at the time didn’t think about it until I went to the doctor about a year after dating and she told me I had to see a fertility doctor.

How long were you trying for a baby before you went vegan and can you share any part of your personal story with our readers about WHY you decided to a make the change?

I had been doing fertility treatments for over a year. 4 Iuis and 2 IVF cycles and after getting pregnant on the last try but losing it right away I needed a break. Casey ended up watching some documentaries on Netflix that really opened our eyes to going vegan. I took about a 3month break and we went very strict vegan and I felt so great. I was working out again and not thinking about treatments and we really did feel healthier. I didn’t think it would has any effect on fertility at first just wanted to get healthier after all the hormones that were in me.

What have been the best and worst parts of trying to conceive – hee hee?

The worst was all the treatments for sure, not having control. The hormones they inject in you. The weight you gain with all of it. The stress of it. The best was when we took a break and just relax and were able to just do it the old fashion way and it worked! We could enjoy each other finally again and with being vegan I even lost weight so I felt better about myself too.

Once you became pregnant did you decide to go back to a carni lifestyle?

I have been back and forth, only because the first 3 months I was very sick and some things I could not keep down. We still try very hard though but as soon as the baby is born we are committed to going back to vegan again. I just know I felt amazing and even though I love this little baby, it has been a hard pregnancy. So I am so excited to be going back and I know Casey is too.

We know this has to be our lifestyle now, not a back and forth.

Is there anything you have learned in the process of becoming pregnant that you didn’t know veganism could impact positively?

I actually think that if I stay strict vegan I would have had less “problems” and that a lot of it was in my head. I know how healthy I felt before I was pregnant and I really think my body fixed itself becoming vegan. It made me a happier and less stressed person to, I really believe that. So now that I will be a parent I want to get back to that frame of mind and I know veganism with help me.

What is the best advice you have for couples having trouble conceiving?

Even though I hated hearing this so much, letting go and not stressing about it really is the key. Being a healthy, happy person is more important and I think that will help you so much more than stressing about what you need to do to actually conceive. Your partner and you should love just being with each other and not make it a chore to have a baby.

What was your fave and least fave vegan meal of all time?

I thought actually that quick oats for breakfast would have been my least fav but I really loved it. I don’t think there was anything I didn’t like. I really enjoyed all the vegan items we ate. Well…my first attempt at a falafel was probably my least…but if someone else makes them I love them.

Would you raise your child vegan – why/why not?

Casey and I have talked about this just a bit. We will teach them about being vegan but I think we will let them ultimately make the choice in the end.

Please let us know your best vegan recommendations for your best meals in Texas or abroad!

Ripe Cuisine is great! they are a food truck right now but opening a restaurant. Also Local foods is doing a good job of vegan items as well.

If there is anything lingering in your mind about this whole process, please feel free to share it now!

Thanks so much for all your support on this!

Vegan Oatmeal & Almond Cookies

If you follow my recipes  you know that I’m not a dessert creator however, yesterday was a bit of a change up. Movers arrived in the cold and I was doing my best to stay out of the way of the pandemonium of unloading our Canadian container into our house here in Pittsburgh. I though, well, I’ll put on some hot french press black coffee to start…then I thought “gee, some deliciously chewy/crunchy/oven fresh cookies would be nice to offer up”….I think I was channelling some 1950’s housewife for a minute.

After scouring my cupboards I thought I had what I needed to put some vegan cookies together. Lo and behold, after googling around for inspiration I found a baking time that I thought would work with the ingredients I had and – voila! Delicious, oatmeal cookies with very little effort.

Enjoy these and feel free to recreate the recipe to suit your own tastes or ingredients.

You could add cranberries, chocolate chips, raisins, coconut, walnuts…go nuts!

Ingredients:

  • 1 .5 cups quick oats
  • 1 cup All Purpose Flour
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup raw turbinado sugar
  • 1/2 cup soy free earth balance
  • 3 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract try my homemade version HERE
  • 2-4 Tbsp nut milk

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). If you don’t have a true 350 please try to find it or bump up your temps. My cooking time here is based on 360 degree oven temp.
  2. In large bowl mix oats, flour, coconut, baking powder, salt and cinnamon and mix together.
  3. In a smaller bowl cream earth balance and  sugar together then add  syrup and vanilla.
  4. Combine dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Stirring until the mixture is crumbly.
  5. Add 1 tsp of nut milk at at time. If you can roll into balls while still a little dry this is perfect. If the mix is still too crumbly, keep adding small amounts milk until you can make balls that stick.
  6. Place the rolled balls onto a silpat on a large baking tray
  7. Bake for 20 minutes. Edges will be firm and the cookies lightly browned. They will be softer than you think is ok but they will “set” while cooling.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
  9. Dust with cinnamon

These are truly the nicest chew/crunch factor ever. I adapted this recipe heavily from one I found online.

Raspberry vegan shake – Bodybuilder friendly

My life has never been boring. I attribute this entirely to the fact that I have ants in my pants and have since I can remember. My folks like to think that because they had me wrapped up in so much dance as a kid that I never knew how to do anything but plow full speed ahead – I think I tend to agree with this.

The latest passion I have developed is for bodybuilding. Not the stuff where you become Arnold Schwarzenegger over night, but the kind that gets you in about the most amazing shape of your life – AND it’s easy to maintain. As I have embarked on a new adventure I thought that I would share a recipe that worked for me and may help other people who are on the same path!

There is a lot of calorie/macro counting which is TOTALLY not my thing however, it’s interesting all the same so here I am, learning more!

Ingredients: 

150g Soyganic Tofu

1/2 1 navel orange

1/2 cup frozen raspberries

1/2 cup Vega Vanilla protein

1/2 large banana

Method: 

Add water and blend baby blend!

Health Breakdown: 

285 Calories

40 Carbs

5g fat

22g Protein

136g Sodium

24 g sugar

Forged by fire.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for 2017 to end…and for some of you it already has ~ happiest of 2018 to you!

This last year has been FULL of everything. A lot of negative with a sprinkling of some positives that helped us to limp along to the finish line. I am grateful for all the new relationships I’ve made with friends and clients alike. I’m learning so much about who I am and what my position on this planet is and it’s empowering.

 

Shots in Rittenhouse

In January, I was in NYC solidifying collaborations & partnerships which was very exciting. We spent time back in Philly revisiting all of our favourite Vegan haunts and waxing nostalgic about our first time visiting Pennsylvania.

February, after an ass kicking bout of food poisoning, I was back in Calgary freezing my nards off and visiting my step-daughter Anastacia, who was re-diagnosed with a second childhood Cancer. Pretty rough start to the year while the clock was ticking down for us to “make 1MM or leave”.

 

March. I was in Savannah, Georgia, competing in a WNBF show where I didn’t do as well as expected and was generally miserable about it. I met new friends and will savour those relationships for life. I learned a lot about coaching BS during that trip.

Vancouver Vibes

April I regrouped and spent 5 weeks busting my chops for another kick at the can in Vancouver, where I came in first place & redeemed myself to myself. I got to see my besties and my family and couldn’t be happier because I released my first Vegan cookbook!

May, we took a 10 day trip back to Mexico to unwind & shoot a bit …then we moved from our shack in The Hill District to our home on the Slopes & secured a Studio lease on the South Side – exciting!

June we moved into our new home AND new office/studio digs and tried to settle in. Both of our dogs ended up getting Lyme Disease which required antibiotics and a lot of costly follow ups.

July, we rode from Calgary to Pittsburgh on my motorcycle which is NOT built for 2 and long haul trips. We also got to see Anastacia at the end of her surgery and beginning of new chemo. We saw a lot of cool sites on the way back home…South Dakota & Rushmore/Black Hills being the best of the best.

August, understanding our 1 year visa was running out we spend the entire month of August on the ground in Pittsburgh putting together our next 5 year petition. It was horrible, stressful & costly. We wanted to spend more time in Pittsburgh in case our Visas were denied and we had to move back to Canada. We spent a few days back in Manhattan for some work I had to do & had a good time in Jersey City. We celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary.

Falling Water

September, back to the grind and finishing touches on our application. Another amazing month in Pittsburgh however, FULL of ticks outside. We traveled to Chicago for Riot Fest & fell in love with the city. My parents also visited this month. To date, the only people that have visited us in Pittsburgh at all. I was voted on of Canada’s Top Vegan Influencers and featured in a magazine spread. 

Chicago, baby.

October, the final countdown. I was asked to a complete an interview in The Native Society online publication alongside some pretty prolific positive influencers in North America and Beyond. Later in the same month we were crossing the border late at night with our dogs in tow and a roof rack full of clothes with no idea when we would be back home, if ever.

November, tick tock, November 1st arrived and we both had a 5 year approval to head back to the US and really dig in on Business Development for our Engineering company. My training business picked up a lot online this month as well as in person which was a great ego boost that I needed then.

December, all work & a little play with 6 days in Fort Lauderdale & another photoshoot.  Businesses ramping up and travel for next year is starting to roll out.

Pfew. Those are the things I rattle off the top of my head!!!! I’ve decided to leave behind the evil stress of the “Birth Mom” drama we’ve been under. If you know me, you know it’s sick and I don’t talk about it anymore.

I have faced adversity, I have nearly lost my mind, but all in all I am made of STEEL now. My marriage & training was the only thing that kept me going for all the days that were hell on earth.

The best thing to come out of 2017 is the forging of my relationship under fire – indestructible now, as the tests we have survived would have killed 1000 marriages by now.

Find your fire, walk through it and push on through 2018. I did it, you can do it.

XX – S

So you didn’t know you were eating bugs?

While there is generally no health risk imposed by the consumption of Carmine (as studies thus far) I wanted to bring up an interesting subject to get the conversation going about food ingredients and what we are putting in our bodies. Although carmine is not known to cause any adverse effects to most individuals’ health, it is a common allergen. For those who are allergic to the substance, it can be extremely dangerous. If you are prone to allergies or have experienced a negative reaction to carmine in the past, it is recommended that you cease consumption of the dye or get tested for an allergy to it.
While some may be able to stomach eating most anything, Vegans, Vegetarians, Pescatarians, Kosher folks and Glutino’s alike are always on the lookout for what’s in our favourite foods. While we usually point the finger at packaged goods, even alcohol can contain some pretty big surprises.
As a side note, a great link to finding out if your favourite libations are “animal free” is BARNIVORE…just click that link and check it out, you may be surprised.
Even “Honest Company” Jessica Alba slings Carmine…not that she’s standing on a Vegan soap box but, before I cashed that endorsement cheque (as someone running a natural-vibe company) I would be asking myself what product I am endorsing?  You can’t be all that honest if you’re selling Beetlejuice (ha ha ha, I had to).

Strawberry yogurt, fruit punch and other red-looking grocery products are often colored with dead, ground-up cochineal beetles? The ingredient is called “carmine,” and it’s made from insects. It’s listed right on the label of many of your favorite foods.

While colourful food is fun and lively we have to ask ourselves “how did it get SO red/blue/green?”. Things like cakes, cookies, ice creams (in their conventional varietals) may all contain Carmine.
We can stop the use of this product in our homes by incorporating all natural food dyes instead of our usual go to’s.
Here is a listing of links to some great alternatives for the colour loving cook:
Lastly, here’s a little something something from our friends at the FDA on requirements for food labelling.
Happy nibbling you little beetle brains <3
FDA Urged Improve Labeling of or Ban Carmine Food Coloring
To protect those consumers, CSPI urged the FDA, if it didn’t ban carmine and cochineal extract, to require that labels indicate that the colorings are derived from insects. CSPI recommended that ingredient lists declare: “Artificial color (carmine/cochineal extract (insect-based)).”

The art of the juice cleanse

Many times have I committed to a juice cleanse and never have I managed to document any of the experience for clientele or the general public. Because I have embarked on yet another cleanse I feel that I had the time and space to do this – because I’m not leading a group cleanse or making juices myself.

This time, I decided to go with a commercially purchased cleanse. I looked at several options before taking the plunge and took several items into consideration:

– what was the company selling the cleanse all about

– where were they located

– price & value

– ease of starting/receiving juice

I had initially chosen a company out of Calgary as this would be a place to pick up from that was easily accessible and had nearly 0 carbon footprint. Unfortunately, they took more than forever to return emails (terrible, spoiled Albertan vendors with no idea of the rest of the worlds customer service initiatives *steam*, this province is so alienated by the oil and gas industry) and when then did, they were not helpful, or cheery, with getting a cleanse to me outside of their prescribed days and times – even though I said I would pick up.

So, as it has been going lately, I decided to look out of province. Why? Well, their markets aren’t as inflated and their vendors generally care about having paying customers.

Enter “Raw Raw” Cleanse: http://www.rawrawcleanse.com.

It took me just 2 days and $200 per person for a 6 day cleanse to arrive via courier to my office. Tina, the proprietor was very helpful. We had a bit of a hiccup with juice types and after sending an email, I was assured the additional juice would arrive next-day (today hopefully) to get the sequencing of juices done right. Wow.

If you are interested in the juices I have been drinking you can find them HERE. 

 

DAY 1

The juice arrived at 10 am to our offices. It came packaged in a styrofoam cooler with cooling gel packs above and below the juice. The package also contained a juicing reusable bag, a note on the expiry, a 25% off coupon and a quick reference card for consuming the juices in the right order.

 

IMG_7804

The "how to"

Because I was ravenous, I opened up the cooler and immediately (took pics for all of you) then shook and guzzled my first “Clean Greens”. I’ll just put it out there, green smoothies are NOT my favourite, never will be. I understand their vital importance in balancing our vitamins and minerals, but they are sour, and so was this one.

Next, on my way to a meeting I grabbed the ginger berry. WAY more my style and super easy to drink with a lovely ginger taste – can’t complain.

I did a couple random circles around the office looking at trail mix and bananas, but I did not partake. Win. Next, Cool melon. This is where I learned I didn’t have any cool melon but double the almond milk variety. So I drank an almond milk one…it was great – a little extra nut fiber in there, but it was good. Cool melon – for real – on the way home I snaked a cool melon out of my boyfriends order. Simple, sweet and minty – I actually use the same recipe for watermelon martinis in the summer.

On the way home, I was feeling like I needed a nap. By the time I got home, I completely thought I would have one – except work got in the way a bit. I felt SUPER agro for about 1 hour, so I ate a handful of cashew nuts – raw ones. By the time I walked the dogs and puttered around with small chores, I realized I might as well just get on with it and do my day 8 of 21 Day HIIT challenge. During this 20 minute super workout I felt like I had OK energy and could cope with all the exercises without utter exhaustion.

I then used the next Clean Greens as a post-workout drink – it still tasted bad. I was in bed reading by 8:30pm and sipped away at the final Citrus beverage until I fell asleep. I LOVE this one. Spicy, citrus-y, deliciousness. At this point, I was feeling full and so far haven’t felt starving. I don’t think Jeff can say the same.

I fell asleep and was probably up around 3am. Not sure if the lack of sleep ability was the dogs or what, but it was a tough night.

DAY 2

Waking up was a bit hellish. I managed to get back to sleep by 6 am and slept until about 7:45.

Got out of bed, guzzled some water and had my first Clean Greens. I didn’t feel hungry at all, and I still don’t.

As I sit and write this I miss coffee. The smell, the taste and the buzz. Hoping that getting through my errands and a big dog walk will pull me into the land of the living by 11 am.

Stay tuned……………………….

I headed out of the house just after 10 am with my second (and favourite) juice in-hand to have a scoot through the country with my pups.  I took the dogs out for a walk in the woods and nearly left them there – woah nelly, settle down. A little bit more easily aggravated these days I have to admit. Hangry. By 1130 am I was still tired and now annoyed at my dogs.  Again, I drove home and thought I was going to crash heavily, and didn’t. Instead, I had a handful of cashews, brewed up an herbal peppermint tea and hunkered down to watch a very disturbing movie on Netflix. I hopped up for one of the many million pee’s during the movie and grabbed by third juice of the day for “lunch”. I have just taken the dogs out for another walk, wrote a letter and am now going to attempt my HIIT for the day: WORK OUT .

It is currently 7 pm. I made it through a HIIT and 12 minutes of a 20 minute spin – legs were far too tired – I also managed a bit of Yoga without issue.

I lapped up half a clean green for a recovery drink, with a small handful of cashews.

Literally a handful of cashews.
Literally a handful of cashews.

Let me tell you , my stomach was grumbling, so I had another cup of herbal mint tea and did some laundry. I think I may pay heed to the recommendation of “moderate” exercise. I don’t even listen to my own good advice.

I currently have two juices left and am feeling quite alert. Not aggravated, that was definitely a morning thing. Though, I have been fantasizing about food for the last couple of hours. Poor Jeff, went to his grandmas and she ordered a pizza. Ruthless day for him.

I would call day 2 a success……nighty night until tomorrow!

DAY 3 

Day three arrived. My sleep wasn’t nearly as interrupted as last night however, I still woke up a little tired. Getting the ball rolling on the day seemed a little less painless and I had no desire to eat or any hunger.

The work day was 10 hours long with no breaks, a few times I had to run to Jeff’s office to scarf down some almonds & cashews. Probably ate at least 3/4 of a cup of each throughout the day.

I thought about food all day. When I wasn’t stressing about something, I literally only thought about food. I had to plan a luncheon for tomorrow and ordered about twice as much pizza for 15 people as I should have. I could taste it.

I think today was the hardest day by far. Knowing it’s nearly over and hearing a little voice inside your head say “c’mon, just have a snack”……I’ve been beating that voice back all day.

There is one more drink to go before bed. I know I can make it, I think Jeff has at least 5 meals prepared for us to eat tomorrow – which is SUCH a bad idea when you’re coming off of a cleanse. Honestly – ease into it with soup and salads….or suffer the wrath.

The dirty bits: bowel movements still occurring however, not at the mass and frequency expected. I didn’t go at all yesterday, no urge either. Jeff wont let me talk about his poops in public. Sissy.

Overall, today I felt the most spacey I have and the most weak. I opted for a longer walk with the dogs instead of exercising at full out capacity.

Ok, I lied. I'm a workout addict.
Ok, I lied. I’m a workout addict.

I will say that removing meals does remove a sense of community and that is one part of the human culture that I quite enjoy. There is a certain void left in a day where there is no communion with others, a sharp empty space that only cooking and enjoying a meal can fill. That, is what I truly craved most in this cleanse.

Vegan Tofu Lettuce Wraps

Versatile recipes rock

I found this recipe in a Canadian Living magazine that looked pretty ok. While I modified it quite heavily and used it two-ways, it still was a pretty decent one. I think that you should start with 1/2 the vinegar as listed here. I have noted other modifications in the recipe below.

Whether you choose to have this as a full meal or a side, you can serve on noodles or rice or as a lettuce wrap as I did in the main body of the picture.

This keeps well for a couple of days in the fridge before it gets too soggy.

Ingredients: 

1 lg. pack of firm tofu slice into quarters then into smaller pieces that are no more than 1/2 an inch thick and 2-3 inches long

1 cup veggie broth

1.5 tbsp tamari

1.5 tbsp hoisin sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar

2 tsp cornstarch

5 green onions* separate white & greens

4 cloves garlic minced

1 heaping tbsp fresh minced ginger

2 cups frozen peas* rehydrated in warm water

2 cups sliced mushrooms*choose shiitake, white, brown or oyster

3 cups thinly chopped green cabbage

2 tbsp sesame oil

8-10 Romaine lettuce leaves halved width-wise

Sesame seeds to taste

Crushed cashews to taste

Sriracha sauce to taste

Method: 

Sauce

First add all wet ingredients into liquid measure. Stir. Slowly add cornstarch until mixed thoroughly. Ensure you have 1-1.5 cups of liquid.

Set aside.

Over medium high heat fry tofu in 1/2 oil until all sides brown. Usually takes about 10-12 minutes per side.

Remove from heat, press with papertowels to remove excess oil.

Add remainder of oil to pan and sautee garlic & ginger for 2 minutes, add whites of green onions for 1 minute, add peas and mushrooms for 3-4 minutes, add cabbage for 2 minutes.

Next, add sauce mixture and turn while it thickens. Remove from heat.

Plate with lettuce for wraps, over rice, noodles or alone. Top with tofu, cashews, sesame seeds and green onions.

Serves 4 with rice or as a side, 2 without rice.

Vanilla Bean Sugar

With a moment to spare in between travels I had the strangest desire to make Vanilla Bean sugar. I think my anticipation of the SWEETNESS of summer brought this craving to me…and now to you, today.
This recipe is uber simple and requires very little time. With the finished product you can: add it to baking, coffee, as a topping for freshly cut fruit or home baked desserts. You can also use this as a rimmer for sweet cocktails or as an ingredient for rubs.
Ingredients: 
2 medium vanilla beans
1 cup raw, organic sugar
Method: 
Slice open bean pods with knife and cut in 1/2.
Add sugar and beans to food processor and pulse until mixed as well as you can. Note: the sugar will “smoke” up in your processor if you leave it on low/high…less likely when you use the pulse option.
Once mixed use a sieve or pastry sifter to sift out any large pieces of vanilla bean.
Voila! Instant vanilla bean sugar. Be sure to keep the remainder of the vanilla bean chunks to add to your very own homemade vanilla extract.  
Decorate your mason/glass jars with fancy material lid covers and bows, give these away as gifts!

Heavenly Hashbrowns

Sorry Kuma, these are too good to share.
Sorry Kuma, these are too good to share.

I am a fool for hash browns. Perfectly toasted, hot and savory. It has taken me a while to perfect my recipe. I hope you like it. The hint here: don’t substitute the potato variety!

Ingredients: 

5-6 large Yukon Gold potatoes

1 tsp freshly chopped rosemary

1/2 tbsp truffle oil

1/2 tsp garlic salt

Cracked tri-colour pepper to taste

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees.

Wash and cube un-peeled potatoes.

Parboil on stove top for approx 10 minutes – do not allow potatoes to start to flake/fall apart.

Drain well, rinse with cold water.

In large bowl toss potatoes with truffle oil (or any other oil if you don’t like truffle oil) and rosemary.

Spread across baking sheet and bake for 30-40 minutes turning twice.

Remove from heat, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Serves 4 moderately hungry folks. 2 VERY hungry hikers.

To flake…or not to flake

Frosted flakes….nuff said.

 

Here I sit crafting this particular post because lately the theme around the wellness industry has been FLAKES. Loads of ’em. Making alliances and bailing at the last moment, looking to get something for nothing, failing to understand business relationships…the list goes on and on.

In being a part of so many of these {negative} experiences I realize that being direct may be difficult and I know that I’ve definitely been judged for it however, it’s all in the delivery – so make your decisions count and always make them from the heart.

“There are no regrets born of telling the truth – truthfully.” – Mark these words. 

I would like to share with you all some thoughts on when and how to flake (or not to flake), and what said flaking may be interpreted as by those who are the beflaken.

I also tend to make up my own words as they suit me……kind of like those people who say things like: Nucular, irregardless, expresso, expecially,excetera.

#1 – If you’re not feeling it – don’t do it. Don’t kid yourself, take one for the team or whatever you want to call it. Go with your gut, feel your feelings, be real. Letting people down is so much worse because then you know you’ve doubted yourself, leading to MEGA second guessing in the future which then leads to an emotional = Ugh. Don’t agree to meet someone for a coffee when you know you’re going to bail later. This usually leads to making up a lie or just NOT showing up. Not cool. Pull up your big girl/boy panties and decline gracefully from the start.

#2 – If you have questions – ask em. Just like your teachers (hopefully) taught you, there are NO STUPID QUESTIONS. If you are getting into something you’re unsure of, clarify it. Don’t join a movement, a fitness class or a congo line without knowing that you’re into it at least 100% of the way.

#3 – If you’re only in it for the money – get ready for some let downs. I don’t know how many times I get asked – “so how do I get paid?” or “what’s my share?” when talking about new business co-ventures like retreats or special events. I get it, we all like to make money. You need it for things like food, shelter, entertainment and other necessities. But if the first thought in your head on any collaboration is “when do I get mine?” you may be in for some rude awakenings. Money isn’t everything – there are experiences in life that may cost YOU physically, emotionally or financially…but in the end, you’re better {AND RICHER} for it.

#4 – If you are working in the health industry (or looking for a mentor who is)- be sure you (they) practice what you preach. Nearly every one of the health, wellness and fitness elitists I meet can’t keep up with their own labels let alone be a “guru” to people who are looking for a leader. A leader should be a shining example of a well rounded and functional person (faults and all). How can you truly provide knowledge, understanding and empowerment to others when you don’t empower yourself with those same things? Be aware. There is nothing more false than a person who stands on a soapbox professing to be the next best thing since sliced Ezekiel bread by day,  who secretly hates themselves in masked Facebook/Twitter posts by night.

Be true to you. Warts and all. It is more motivational for the world to see you as a real whole person than someone who is trying to be the next Ghandi and failing miserably. Be a leader, be a living being with feelings, failures and fears.

Summarizing, if you are about to get involved in a life journey that doesn’t feel right. Stop and ask yourself a few questions before giving the big thumbs up and flaking later. The last thing anyone (including you) needs to question is your own integrity, truth and self-awareness.

Harness your power to be real, and leave the flakes to the nasty breakfast cereals of the 80’s.

NAMASTE!