Why You Should Call Yourself a Feminist and Stop Being Afraid of the Word

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Yesterday I heard a woman (who was giving a lecture at the time) say “Oh, I’m NOT a feminist!” Similar to how one might say “Oh, I do NOT eat fast food!” Here’s why this bothered me. Hang tight. This is important.

Feminism is defined as “the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.” 

It’s unfortunate that many people equate feminism and being a feminist with “man-hating, non-shaving, violent-protest-engaging, angry women” because let’s be honest, we’ve all heard one of those and at some point might have even thought that automatically when we heard the word.

Negatively associating feminism with those things is like associating all apples as being rotten because of that one time you bit into a bad one or knew someone who knew someone who did.

There will always be radical people, radical situations, illogical events, and so forth, but that does not mean that the definition of a word has changed. We have to continually circle back to the heart of a meaning. Redefine it for our generation and keep going strong.

Why am I so passionate about this? Because feminism IS IMPORTANT! It’s why women are where they are today and it’s what we need to keep moving forward. Name another word that defines the same values and pursuits.

Lastly, everyone should be a feminist. Especially men. Re-read the definition again and tell me where it says you have to have a vagina, you don’t. You just have to agree with the advocacy of women’s rights. And if you’re a really stand up person, you’ll do what you can in daily interactions and situations to show that.

Women need to stop putting down other women for the choices they make, whether it is to stay home with children, work, or both. Men need to do the same and encourage a work place that isn’t biased and chauvinistic, because holy hell, it still happens all the time.

So the next time someone says “I’m not a feminist” I dare you to say that you ARE and explain why. Be the change you wish to see in this world. It will improve your workplace, your life, the lives of those around you, and the world we live in.

Happy Wednesday.

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5 Warm & Healthy Holiday Drinks

Five Warm and Healthy Drinks

Guest Post by Emily Newhook

By the time January rolls around, my warm drink repertoire could use an update. I’ve made pot after pot of Earl Grey tea and my standby recipe for hot chocolate is starting to get stale (even when I add more mini-marshmallows). Here are five healthy options to help you kick the holiday sugar coma and ward off cold season.

1.    Turmeric Tea

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Spicy, sweet, peppery – this tea is not for the faint of heart, but it may be good for the rest of you. Many of us would be more inclined to include turmeric in a vat of curry than a pot of tea, but research from the past half century corroborates the spice’s long-standing reputation as a salve for myriad health problems. Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric) boasts significant antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which could in turn help alleviate chronic diseases like arthritis and discomfort experienced by skin cancer patients. An important caveat: recipe curator Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks urges readers to use hot – not boiling – water to preserve the properties of raw honey.

2. Lemon + Honey + Ginger Tea Base

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Different variations of this recipe have proliferated rapidly throughout the blogosphere over the past few years, largely because the make-ahead tea base is essentially a one-two punch for whatever ails you as flu season sets in. The recipe lends itself to customization, but the fundamental preparation is pretty unwavering: pile sliced ginger and lemons in a mason jar, cover with honey and let the mixture set in your fridge for a few days. (Sandra’s Alaska Recipes advises a touch of cardamom for added spice.) Mix a scoop of the final product with hot water and enjoy.

3. Coconut Hot Chocolate

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Dates and coconut milk may seem like unconventional ingredients for a great cup of hot chocolate, but Kelly Brozyna’s recipe is a great option if you’re wary of sugar or dairy. Even if you’re not, consider this: coconut milk is also a great source of healthy fat (like the kinds you might find in avocados and olive oil), and dates – which substitute for the processed sugar used in most cocoa recipes – are high in dietary fiber. Make sure you have a blender on hand before you gather supplies, though.

4. Rose Petal and Vanilla Tea

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This fragrant combination of roses, vanilla and honey is a great olfactory alternative to the richer scents and flavors that usually characterize cold weather recipes. (The specialty ingredients may take a little extra time and money to procure, so you might reserve it for special occasions rather than everyday drinking.) Prep is easy – just assemble the rose petals, vanilla, honey and hot water – but give this one ample time to steep (about 30 minutes) before straining and serving.

5. Superfoods Hot Apple Cider

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Apple juice, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon – at first glance, it might sound more like a pie, but Leanne Vogel’s superfood cider gets an extra boost from spices and ingredients reputed to improve your immunity and energy levels. If you plan to follow this recipe to the letter, though, make sure you’ve got a juicer on hand. The preparation stage is a little time-intensive, but it also ensures that the final product is free of processed sugars and other energy-draining additives.

Emily Newhook is an outreach coordinator for the MHA degree program from The George Washington University, MHA@GW. Outside of work, she enjoys writing, film studies and powerlifting. Follow Emily on Twitter @EmilyNewhook and Google+

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Chocolate Microwave Mug Cake: Less Than 8g of Sugar

I have a sweet tooth. And after the holidays I find myself craving chocolate like CRAZY! Instead of banishing all things sugar, I’m trying to work to find the right lifestyle balance. Tonight I embarked on creating my first mug cake and lord help me, I’m still sitting in my living room in shock at how good it was. There’s a 100% chance I still have hazelnut spread on my face…oh and apparently on my shirt, oops.

If you just HAVE to have a piece of cake, this is the way to go.

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What you’ll need:

  • A microwave
  • A mug
  • Cooking spray
  • A desire for cake
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (or regular)
  • 1 tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon unsweetened baking cocoa
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure honey
  • 1 teaspoon chocolate hazelnut spread (or peanut butter of your choice)
  • Sprinkles (optional)

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Directions

  1. Spray mug with cooking spray to coat bottom and sides
  2. Combine all ingredients except hazelnut spread or peanut butter (this will be the frosting) and sprinkles
  3. Beat together with a fork
  4. Pour into mug
  5. Microwave in 1 minute increments until top is fluffy and cooked through. It took my 800 watt microwave 2 minutes.
  6. Take out and pour onto plate. It should just plop right out and look like a cute little muffin and look something like this:

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7. Let cool for 3-5 minutes (this thing is a little hottie!)

8. Take 1 teaspoon of chocolate hazelnut spread and frost your cake muggy!

9. Sprinkle on some sprinkles!

10. Try not to moan as you eat it

Tips and suggestions:

  • As I spooned on the hazelnut spread, it began to melt which made it easier but you may find that melting the spread or peanut butter ahead of time and then drizzling it on is easier.
  • I used Barefoot & Chocolate’s  hazelnut chocolate spread but try any kind you want! Regular peanut butter would work fine as well. Or White Chocolate Wonderful. I like Barefoot & Chocolate because they use all natural, fair trade, and organic ingredients.

IMG_2292I was amazed at how tasty, satisfying, and delicious this came out. Unlike some of my past alternative recipes (that have maintained the texture of sweets but not the taste) this actually taste like and felt like real cake!

The entire thing is under 200 calories and 8g of sugar. If you’re watching carbs it nets you 20g WITH the frosting. Below I’ve compiled the nutrition facts for my recipe and then some of the Betty Crocker cake mix and frosting. By the time it’s said and done, a regular piece of cake can be as much as 440 calories and 38g of sugar!

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Let me know how you like it!

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Ten Changes For The New Year

Every year we all grow and every year I think I’ve got it all figured out only to discover that 365 days later I’ve got even more ideas on how to improve. The point is, we never stop growing, learning, maturing, and developing. Finding ways to allow ourselves to continue to grow and keep an open mind and a loving heart towards ourselves is key.

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With that being said, here are the ten things I’m vowing to do for myself starting now and throughout 2014:

1) Process before responding. Now this is bigger than listening. I’ve become a much better listener in the past year than I ever have been. I’m no longer just waiting to talk, I’m listening. But often times I’m not processing enough before I’m responding. I find myself responding in ways that I think must be “correct” or “appropriate” in the moment but that really aren’t the best for me. And that down the line aren’t solving anything. When I’m discussing with people and they are truly asking for my response I need to drop the urge to do so immediately and allow my mind to fully engage.

2) Forgiving myself and trusting my past actions. For the first 2 years after I lost my Dad I made some huge, some hasty, life changes and decisions. I cut out more people in my life than I ever thought was possible and some of them weren’t even for what seemed like logical reasons. But looking back I don’t regret it and I see how clear my scope was. I was given a gift of being able to see what truly mattered in my life after such a great loss. I wouldn’t have had that strength and courage to bravely say no to people and consciously walk away from toxic friendships without that. I’m now in a beautiful zone of clarity surrounded by the people who have meant the most all along.

3) I will be patient, loving, nurturing, and more caring with my body. Self hate runs deep within my veins. It’s easy to spiral in that doubt and pain cycle of critiquing myself and doubting my own abilities. My body is going to constantly shift and change. I’m not always going to look one way but I can always work on how I feel. I need to take more deep breaths and focus on the beauty within my body and stop making hateful comments on it it at any given moment.

4) Lead the way instead of merely pointing in a direction. I can preach all I want about how I disagree with someone or how much I believe in something else whether it be women’s issues or how much sugar to eat. While words are powerful, the act of doing what you believe and living a life full of those actions speaks stronger than any article you post ever can. More internal focus.

5) Truly owning independence in the face of a co-dependent nature. Like a lot of people, I want to make others happy. I want my family to be proud of me and support me and I’ve always tried so hard to do things to ensure their happiness and others as well. While it’s important to care about the ones you love, it’s necessary to find a balance and realize that sometimes feelings of guilt are normal and just that, feelings. We all have to move forward with our lives and sometimes make choices that won’t be as convenient for others.

6) More nothing days. Today I took a 4 hour nap. I was so exhausted from being exhausted my body finally gave up. Planning more days to do absolutely nothing and not feel guilty is key in order for me to feel well rested and regain that energy and motivation for a healthy life.

7) Set measurable and attainable ways to do new things. Merely saying “I’m going to write more this year” won’t help me accomplish anything if I don’t actually set specific goals. The same goes for weight loss, exercise, you name it.

8) With that being said I’m going to write more. I want to set aside 10 minutes a day to free write. To write about my day, to vent, to free my mind of clutter. That and I want to truly commit to one blog post a week. What could you make time for with just 10 minutes a day?

9) Listen when my body is trying to speak to my mind. Ever hear that quote about how if you judged every animals ability by how high they could climb a tree then fish would never get any praise? The same is true for communication throughout your body. While your mind may say to you “put down that cupcake!” your knees won’t tell you to stop running, in some cases they’ll just give out on mile ten. When we can quiet our inner voice (and mine is loud so sometimes I really have to tell it to shut up) we can truly begin to notice the language of our bodies. My headaches also tell me more than just pain, they tell me I’m dehydrated, that I need a better bedtime, that maybe I should finally make amends with that old friend. Your body is smarter than you think, it just doesn’t talk to you in the same ways. Listen.

10) Remembering that most of the time it’s not about me. When others act out, seem distant, or whatever it make be, it’s human nature to immediately think “well what did I do?” or “they are being so rude to me!” Chances are while it may be painful, the source is usually not you, it’s something they are going through. And when we all go through things nothing is more frustrating than everyone needing you to coddle them because they think it’s about them. Be aware of this and while you make sure to keep boundaries in place, realize that sometimes people aren’t present or there for you because they have too much going on in their own lives. It doesn’t mean they don’t care about you.

While I could go on and make a list of other things like less chocolate and more vegetables, these are true life changes that I can make from the inside out. That I can make into habits from the core of my very being. These are New Years resolutions that I’m finally excited and truly aware of.

Being Healthy is the Main Goal

A reminder that you are more than just your body. You are your mind, your outlook, your personality, your love, and yourself. We all have goals we want to strive for but make sure to check in with yourself from time to time and make sure th…ey are healthy, realistic, and goals that come from your heart, not society. This can be so hard to do but we have to remember that healthy has more than one shape, more than one weight, and looks different on every body. The biggest goal we should all have is the continuing journey of loving ourselves inside and out. Hate will only fuel misery. You are worth all the energy it takes to feel happy, be loved, and fuel love. Don’t forget that ♥
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We Are Aware of What We Choose to See: How Consciousness Affects Our Health

Whenever we embark on a fatloss journey, it all sounds easy in theory.

I just have to eat less.

This won’t be THAT hard.

I can totally eat 1200 calories a day.

But then once we start, it can suddenly feel like the world is against us. We’re hungry, there are less choices, and who the hell actually follows those meal plans with turkey bacon and a bazzillion ingredients for every meal!? I don’t have endless dollars and turkey bacon is gross. That’d be like eating a mound of broccolli and calling it veggie cake. Get OUT of here, it’s not the same!

mindful-eating-lessThe reason why it seems so hard is because we suddenly have to become conscious. All of this time we’ve just been eating. I don’t know about you but when I’m not on top of my health, I’m not sitting down planning out how many cheetos I’m going to eat. I just find myself covered in orange in front of the TV wondering how I ever found a boyfriend. You know, where the cheeto dust is so thick on your fingers that you have to use your teeth to truly lick it off? Yeah. It’s OK, you’re not alone.

The point is, being conscious and aware suddenly makes us feel trapped, obsessive, and super observant about all aspects of our lives. We have to be brutally honest with ourselves about what we’re putting into our bodies. It’s a GREAT thing but it can also be hard to find that balance of caring about what you’re eating and not obsessing. It’s ok if you don’t know every single calorie in every thing you eat. It’s about changing your lifestyle, not doing jumping jacks because you ate a tic tac.

030413p42_clip_image002Think about it this way. What color shirt did you wear yesterday? The day before? What color are you wearing now? Yeah. I have no clue because I’ve never actually cared about this part of my daily routine. I just wear clothes. If you suddenly decided to figure out what color you wanted to wear every day and became conscious of it, you’d notice it more. It’s a lot like when there’s a recall of a product or an influx in the hype about some movie or show. Suddenly you see that stuff EVERYWHERE! And you think, wow, is there more of this? How long has this been going on? The fact is, our lives are determined by how conscious and aware we are of things. Quite frankly, things don’t exist to us if we don’t pay attention. But as we all know, our health will catch up with us if we don’t pay attention to that. I will continue to choose to ignore Miley Cyrus but I won’t ignore what food goes into my body.

So if we all take a deep breath and realize that it’s less about this shift being extremely difficult and more about us just being aware of what is happening, it starts to seem a little more bareable. Ok. I got this.

Make a plan for yourself. Don’t just leave your success up to fate. Set daily goals and changes for yourself. Soon things will become habits. Say no to the cookies in the breakroom, or just don’t go to the breakroom. Every time you make a positive choice for your health instead of a bad one, THAT is progress! And those are all huge and important steps.

Guest Post: Guilt Free Holiday Dishes

The fall season is upon us, which means holidays filled with family gatherings are just around the corner. Besides family, what is one of the staples at your holiday get togethers? – Food!

Food not only fills the belly, but it also fills the spirit and helps to unite people. There is nothing more endearing than sharing a great meal together. However, all of those delicious treats that are served often end up leaving you feel a little guilty – and your pants feeling a little bit tighter. Enjoying great food and full bellies doesn’t mean that you have to eat foods that are high in calories. This holiday season, keep your family and friends happy – and healthy – by serving some of these guilt-free holiday dishes.

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Image Courtesy Of: Nanalena

Sweet and Savory Snacks

Instead of setting out bowls of deep fried potato chips and dips that are high in fat and calories, welcome your guests with this sweet and savory snack mix. Made with garbanzo beans, wheat cereal, raisins, dried pineapples, and honey, this snack is certainly a much healthier alternative to bags of potato chips and cheese puffs. The addition of Worcestershire sauce and chili powder adds a little hint of spiciness, which perfectly accents the sweetness of the pineapples, honey, and raisins.

Wild Rice Stuffing

Stuffing is one of those quintessential holiday side dishes. However, while the traditional version certainly is mouthwatering, it isn’t necessarily very healthy for you. For a healthier alternative that has no fat and is very low in calories, but is just as high in deliciousness, try this wild rice version. It is made with a combination of brown and wild rice, as well as mushrooms, celery, and green onions; and it takes hardly any time to whip up. Talk about a delicious, healthy holiday dish.

Tuscan Pork Loin

Is ham a main dish for your holiday affairs? If so, try substituting that cured variety for a healthier, and even tastier, Tuscan pork loin. Use a lean cut of pork loin and add garlic, rosemary, and lemon zest to give it a delicious, mouth-watering taste. Not only is this holiday main dish better for your and super tasty, but it will leave you feeling less “over” stuffed than your traditional ham dish. Oh, and it’s really easy to prepare-another added bonus.

Holiday Bark

When the dinner dishes are cleared, gather your family back around the table to satisfy their sweet tooth; but, instead of serving not-so-good for you pies, cakes, and cookies, try out a healthier sweet treat, like this holiday bark. It is made with white chocolate, as well as dried cranberries and almonds, which add a bunch of antioxidants and protein. Not only will that sweet tooth be tickled, but your family will gain the health benefits of the ingredients, as well. The holiday bark also contains much less fat and calories than a big ol’ slice of chocolate cake or pumpkin pie.

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Food certainly is one of the main ingredients of a holiday gathering. While you do want to retain the memories of a great family meal, you don’t want to retain the excess calories. This year, be more health conscious and avoid the extra weight by serving up healthier food options.

Naomi Shaw is a freelance writer and mom of three in Southern California. She loves to cook and with the holidays approaching, she knows that being more health-conscious will make for a much happier crowd. You can find more of her writing at the Candy Concepts Inc. blog.