A Vacation Away From Life

  1. Every now and then we all need that “vacation away from life” you know getting away from the repetitive day to day 9 to 5 workday. I don’t mean a regular vacation but a vacation to refresh, refuel, allow you to free your mind and think. Some of us can actually get away for a month or more maybe somewhere exotic maybe just staying at home and taking care of YOURSELF. I recently went to Florida, visited the islands of Sanibel, Captiva, the Keys….I was able to go for sandy walks, went bike riding,visited a day spa, see how the locals live and just reflect on ME. I was able to come home with a positive outlook and refreshed until my next vacation away from life, remember we have only one life to live, one body was given to us so shouldn’t we pamper it and take care of it the best we can? Into next time….butterfly kissesūü¶č

Kickboxing My Way Out of Stress

Yesterday I was up at 4 a.m. Why you ask?? Well, I have tried yoga, aerobics, and meditation in the past as a form of de-stressing myself. After getting cancer, my endocrinologist suggested yoga but I just can’t get into it and aerobics? Forget it! And I can totally relate to Liz Gilbert in Eat, Pray, Love when she says that she can’t focus enough to meditate. I find myself thinking about cleaning out the refrigerator and making a shopping list in my head when it comes to meditation. So I have been wanting to do kick boxing since I was in high school and I have been trying to come up with ideas to de-stress and just feel better all around so I suggested to my almost 20 year old daughter that I wanted to try kick boxing and to my surprise she wanted to try it too! So going back to getting up at 4 a.m. I wanted to get in an early class (first class was free) I don’t know what it was but from the second I stepped into the place I felt like it was just right, like I knew I was going to love it! And you know what??? I totally loved it!!! Actually both my daughter and I loved it! It really pushes you and gives you a workout but something about putting on boxing gloves and hitting a huge object that really helps my stress levels. I ended up joining and getting a membership, my daughter is going back to college in northern Michigan or she would have joined too. I have to say I felt great all day long. Since I’m leaving for Florida in a few days, I made the member ship begin 2 days after I get back and I really can’t wait to go back! So my point of the matter is everyone goes through stress even if it’s just a little stress we all go through it! And it’s normal to go through it, what’s not normal is how we handle it sometimes. We get angry we tense up and end up getting really stressed. I remember asking a nurse in the hospital “how do I prevent myself from getting cancer again?” Her answer??? “Don’t stress” easy? No! Manageable? YES! I finally found my way to de-stress through kick boxing and also my walks around our metropark I am able to help myself heal…. so what’s your way of de-stressing? I urge you to try different things and stick to what works for you….it’s so important for our physical well being but also for our mental well being. So find what clicks for you and then you’ll be able to fit another piece of the puzzle that is know as your life! Butterfly kisses to allūü¶č

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies-Recipe of the day #2

I personally love anything peanut butter and I came up with a simple and healthy yet satisfying option when I want something sweet. If you have an allergy to peanuts that’s ok, I have made these little gems with almond butter and sunflower butter as well and were just as delicious! I should also mention that I make them with coconut sugar it tends to keep the glycemic index low but you may use any sweetener you’d like.When I make any type of cookie I like to display them on my beautiful COOKIE plate, my good friend gave it to me one year for my birthday not only do I think of her when I make cookies but they always seem to taste better when displayed on my lovely plate! We do eat with our eyes first! Enjoy! And until next time butterfly kisses to allūü¶č.                                                              

INGREDIENTS 

-2 cups creamy or crunchy peanut butter

-1 cup coconut sugar 

-2 eggs

-1 Tbsp vanilla extract

-1 cup chocolate chips ( at this point it’s up to you , you can experiment and use white, dark, toffee chips or add walnuts or chopped pecans)

DIRECTIONS 

Oven 350 degrees F

-In a medium bowl add all ingredients except the chocolate chips and mix well

-When mixed well then add the chocolate chips and gently mix again, refrigerate for 10 minutes so batter is not too smooth this will prevent the cookies from spreading so much

-prepare a cookie sheet with parchment paper and drop spoonfuls of the batter onto the baking sheet. Bake for 5-6 minutes and let cool. 

I enjoy my cookies with a great cup of ‚ėēÔłŹ coffee.

Pictures of my Travels

Remember a few days a go I promised that I would post pictures of my travels? Here they are. Never did I dream I would ever visit any of these beautiful destinations. I still have to pinch myself when I think of my travels. I still have so many more places in my heart and on my mind that I want to visit. if not now then when? Nobody knows more than me how short life is! Get out of your boxes and do what you need to do to make you feel complete, happy, exhilarated….no matter what it may be, it could be anything from visiting India to visiting that new Indian restaurant on the corner that your just not sure about. Open your minds, open your hearts and jump out of your boxes! I hope you enjoy my pictures, I have millions of them, so many memories but for now I will just give you all a small taste, I will post more in the future! Butterfly kisses to all!!

Living Life to its Fullest (or trying to at least)

The very first time I was told I had cancer, I was 31 years old. For 31 years I did EXACTLY what I was told…by mom, my dad, friends, family, society in general. Graduated with honors, never talked back to my mom or dad, married the guy you write home to mom about,¬†¬†became the housewife, the mommy, and everything else in between. Don’t get me wrong, I loved every minute of it and still do! But when your told you have about 5 months to live, you tend to rewind your life in your brain, much like a movie reel but in fast motion. If you know anything about me, I am a loyal to a T, I used to worry about everything and anything I could, actually my worrying even kept me up at night and it would be over stupid things, things I could not control anyway. Always been pretty boring never going out of my box, not even peeking out of my box. Well, in summer of 2012 I peeked out of my box and went to France for 10 days. Visited a castle, was waited on hand and foot, had liver pate, sting ray with fava beans and the best cr√®me brulee ever! Visited Lourdes, oh yeah and got to model jewelery. Since then I have visited Turkey about 10 times (that’s a really long story in itself)¬†visited fairy chimneys in¬†Cappadoccia 3 times, saw where Rumi is buried in Konya, walked in an actual underground city, prayed inside the Blue Mosque, walked in the hallways of Hagia Sofia, saw Enrique Iglesias in Ankara, walked under a bridge that Cleopatra had been on hundreds of times, drank Turkish and pistachio¬†coffee,¬†visited Kos Greece and saw the actual tree under which Hippocrates used to teach his students, picked figs off of a fig tree, had a Greek style picnic as the sun was setting, visited Venice Italy for New Years Eve then went back 2 years later in Spring, rode in a gondola, ate authentic pizza with prosciutto, had the best damn desserts ever! And most importantly fell in love with the most AMAZING, HUMBLE people that I call my extended family.¬†AND if it were not for me to get cancer, I would never have visited these amazing places that you only read about in magazines while your waiting to get your teeth cleaned or met these remarkeable people! I am 100% sure of that! BUT I also have to thank my family for allowing me to do such things and visiting these places and giving me the wings to fly. There are people who live to be 100 but only go through the motions that is called “life” then there are kids who are terminal with cancer who have lived more than an adult. I am still waiting for the Dalai Lama to R.S.V.P. to my lunch date with him but while I wait I will plan my next adventure. Please, don’t wait to face death directly in the eyes like I did in order to live, open your minds, open your souls, even if you don’t have the money to visit an exotic place then go eat an exotic meal at a local restaurant that you’d never thought you would try. I never in my wildest dreams ever thought that I would be eating sting ray and love it as much as I do, or learning how to make Turkish coffee in Istanbul! And now, in between my adventures, I try new things right here in my own back yard. In the days to come I will post my pictures from my travels its just a tiny little taste. Hope you enjoy looking at them as much as I enjoyed being there, but for now¬†LIVE LIFE TO ITS FULLEST, your only given one life! Butterfly kisses to all!

Symptoms of Thyroid Cancer

As I mentioned in my About Me section, I was diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer which doctors have said its the “good cancer” well, I have no idea what planet your on but on my planet? There is no such thing as a good cancer. Yes, its true the survival rate is in the 90 percentile however, you still have surgeries to go through, radiation to be administered, you still suffer, you still second guess things, you still have pain and you go through some suffering, and yes you still become a cancer survivor!

Without boring you with all of the tiny little details, in summary, I had a horrible sinus infection in the fall of 2003, I went to my family doctor and during a routine checkup (after prescribing meds for my sinus infection) he said “hmmmmm,I feel a lump on the side of your neck but more than likely its nothing, most people women in particular have a slew of thyroid issues but to be safe I want you to get an ultrasound at the hospital” well…..not to get into a long sordid story but that ultra sound led to a biopsy which led to a cancer diagnosis. I have never smoked, I don’t drink in mass quantities and am a nutritionist for Gods sake! I’m not going to lie, it has been a long, surreal, painful road BUT with support from family and close friends, faith in a higher power¬†I got through it, so how did I get so lucky getting this type of cancer? You can only get¬†it through being¬†exposed to high quantities of radiation, I am not sure but I believe I was exposed when I was a little girl, I used to get sore throats all the time and each time I went to the doctor he would give me a neck x-ray¬†(with no guard or protection) so that’s where I believe I was exposed.

So what are the signs of thyroid cancer?  One or more lumps on your neck, trouble swallowing or breathing, neck or throat pain, cough, hoarseness or change in your voice, loss of excess hair, dry and brittle hair, fatigue and no energy, low sex drive, and change in mood. If you experience 2 or more of these symptoms have it checked out by your doctor.

Remember…..not all doctors are created equal! Get a second, third and even fourth opinion, this is YOUR life YOUR body we are talking about! My family doctor said to me that he has many friends who are doctors that specialize in this field BUT he said just because they are his friends does not mean they are good doctors. He told me he was going to give me the BEST there is and boy did he ever! I got an amazing surgeon and an equally amazing endocronologist! Never be afraid to ask questions, or second guess anyone!

Lastly, I know how scary it could be to get this type of diagnosis. You feel alone, you are confused, you are scared, and the future does not seem as stable as it used to. PLEASE….anyone out there have any questions at all, don’t hesitate to ask me, either here out in the open through my blog or you are welcome to email me at ljsexybutterfly@outlook.com …….I will do all I can to answer your questions and help you through this life changing journey…..remember what I said in my About Me section? YES, I do thank my lucky stars for going through Papillary Thyroid Cancer because I believe I was meant to go through it to educate you and to be your cheerleader in the stand. It has personally changed me in a positive way. Butterfly kisses to all!

Recipe of the Day #1-Healthy Sweet Potato, Yam and Leek Au Gratin

Due to all of the low carb diets out there, potatoes have gotten a bad rap when in fact they are quite healthy and good for your body. Both sweet potatoes and yams are highly nutritious they both contain approximately 6 grams of fiber per cup and both are high in vitamin C and iron which ate essential for a strong immune system. Leeks which are a cousin to the onion and garlic may help with anemia, heart disease, lower blood pressure and helps aid in pre menstrual syndrome and control hot flashes in menopause. They are high in vitamin A, iron, calcium and magnesium. Sage, which is an herb that is in this recipe, (and also a personal favorite if mine) is a great antioxidant and free radical which may help slow the aging process. When drunk regularly, sage tea is beneficial for reducing hot flashes. A typical gratin is loaded with butter, cream or milk, I promise you that you won’t miss any of those ingredients in this yummy dish!

INGREDIENTS

-1 pound yams, peeled and sliced thinly

-1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly

-1 large leek or 2 medium leeks, sliced thinly

-2 Tbsp. fresh sage, chopped or 2 tsp. dried (I highly recommend using fresh)

-4 Tbsp. unrefined (so there is no coconut flavor) coconut oil

-salt

-Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top

INSTRUCTIONS

-Preheat oven 400 degrees F.

-Leeks tend to have a lot of dirt hidden in its leaves so once sliced, place in a large bowl with cold water. Keep rinsing and straining until no more dirt is left behind.

-In a large pan, heat 2 Tbsp. of the oil and add leeks. Cook until leeks are soft, and add salt to your liking. Last minute of cooking, add the sage.

-Oil a 9 x 13 or 8 x 11 baking dish, place yams over the bottom of pan, salt to your liking. Add half of leeks over yams then add sweet potatoes over leeks and remaining leeks.

-Drizzle remaining 2 Tbsp. of oil over top and cover with aluminum foil.

-Place in oven for 40 minutes and half way through uncover and remove foil.

-While still hot, sprinkle Parmesan cheese to your liking.

If you’d like, experiment with herbs and spices, add nutmeg, cinnamon or pumpkin spice for a true autumn flavor. I love serving this for Thanksgiving or a Halloween party. But can be served anytime of year! Enjoy and butterfly kisses to all!