A Glorious Saturday Night Full of Life

What an epic Healthy Giraffe Event Saturday evening that had a mix of chaos, laughter, yelling, teary eyes, learning, cooking, sharing, and love. This event took place at the beautiful and spacious home of Celia and Joel Dubey, the first ever not at my place. Thankfully we did as we had 41 glorious people join for quite a special night. Here I will recap the event and share photos at the end.

Celia offered to host a Healthy Giraffe Event some time ago and we thought this was a great time to do it prior to Thanksgiving. These events usually center around nutrition  where we learn something about it, cook a healthy entree tied to the theme, and finally play a game where again I would tie in more education about the topic.

Several weeks out from this event I had a change of mind in terms of the theme for the night. Poultry and turkey were going to be the main target as we were headed into Thanksgiving but a couple things popped in my head. With Thanksgiving being so close I really wanted to have the spirit about life and being thankful for those in our lives. At this point Celia and I were expecting a larger than normal gathering with several coming for the first time.

Also around this time much was happening in my life preparing for a big weekend in South Florida with my family and teammates. I went back to one of my favorite podcast interviews to spark ideas on how to spend the weekend together. It was with a gentleman named, Jessie Itzler, who was a guest on the Rich Roll Podcast. In the episode, Jessie shared an interesting view how he lives his life in the present. I go into depth in the blog, Life Life Now, about his perspective and what it meant to me.

I thought to myself, “this is the theme for the night!” My intent would be to generate thought on how we can live our lives to the fullest while being thankful for the special people we have in our lives. With that approach I would sprinkle education about turkey in the game and save poultry with a specific focus on chicken for another blog and/or event. Oh, the irony with chicken and turkey as they are thought to be a healthier version of meat…more to come there…ouch.

So planning continued and the night arrived. Guests could bring an appetizer, side or dessert and we would cook a main dish together. The house quickly filled and we kicked off the night by watching three videos from one of my favorite resources, The Happy Pear. They demonstrated how to prepare a Vegan Turkey Sandwich, Brussel Sprout Topping, and Cranberry Sauce. Everyone was assigned a group for the night and the groups were assigned to make one of the Happy Pear selections…this is when chaos began.

The house exploded with movement in the kitchen, living area and downstairs grill. We used as much space as we could to prepare everything but if you can imagine the number of people working on three dishes…it was fantastic energy. Honestly I was a bit anxious at this point in regards to the craziness but knowing from past events, this is what makes the experience. It was awesome to witness and I was so happy to see how it all played out as we set up for everyone to fill their plate.

While we sat down to eat, I shared a bit of context about the main topic, Live Life Now, including a backdrop of some life events that changed my perspective and that led into a video clip from the Jessie and Rich podcast mentioned earlier.

The nugget from the conversation we watched was Jessie describing his relationship with time. In a nutshell, he described how it pertains to his remaining years alive. The way he looks at life and his limited time here puts what he states, ‘an insane urgency’ on how he wants to live his life now and take the necessary action to do so. He describes the importance of building your “Life Resume” vs. focusing on a business resume although important in its own way for sure. The messaging here was positive…take action now on what is meaningful…powerful stuff!

We had a discussion together sharing examples in our own lives. The video and conversation seemed to resonate but as the facilitator you still ponder if it was useful/OK/appropriate. Since that moment many have shared how it generated positive thought and reflection and that was my intent.

I talked through a resource I developed for the group to take the concept and our discussion to the next level if desired. The resource was a document to complete for self reflection with a goal to take action on the things that help us live our lives now.

Then it was time for Game Night…oh this usually gets loud and crazy and on this night the group did not let the tradition down. I played the role of Steve Harvey hosting a Family Feud style game including trivia on giraffes, our hosts Celia and Joel, traditional Family Feud random questions, general health, and turkey. The turkey trivia was sourced from my blog, Don’t be a Turkey. It’s a sad story what has happened to turkeys over time and how unhealthy they are to consume.

Finally, I wrapped up a spectacular evening with a parting message leveraging a portion of a video clip of Michigan State Head Basketball Coach, Tom Izzo, who delivered a most moving speech in his post game press conference the day after tragedy struck his team.

When I first watched the video two weeks ago I was in tearing up. Near the end of the press conference, he asked for those listening to go home on that night and whomever it was that was special to them to tell them they loved them and appreciated them because you never know how things can change in a moment. I asked for the same and called it a night.

I am so thankful to be around a community that gives me so much life. I hope I can enrich this community’s lives as much as they do mine.

– Add Health to Your Life

Enjoy the photos below from one incredible night – Healthy Giraffe Style

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This was a picture I shared in a deck telling a story about unhealthy Alan on the left and a healthier version on the right. One of the most hysterical comments of the evening via Denise Morrow, “Who’s the cute guy?” On a large television screen I point to me and ask, “you mean him?” Denise immediately responds, “no, the guy on the right!” The house erupted with laughter and I’m still trying to find my ego… The cute guy in the photos is Kevin Griffin, lead singer from Better than Ezra.
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Kicking off the night…what a view from above…
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Don’t try this at home…I’m moving my hands so fast the camera couldn’t slow them down for a clear picture. Here I think I was demonstrating how fast you need to use cooking utensils.
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Proof with smiles people were having a good time or they were laughing at me after Denise asked who the cute guy was on the screen…
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Main entree preparation has begun…
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Work being done outside the kitchen as well in preparation…
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Chaos in full effect…love it!!!
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Not sure I ever saw the kitchen this quiet…
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I think Joel said, “I’ve never seen anything look like this…” Ha! Props to all the teams for working together in tight quarters. Elia was all over the place on this night…Eva will never need to cook again… I see the back of Bob’s head…learning some new plant-based tricks…we fuel our kick-ass multi-sport bodies with premium grade nutrition!
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Captain Dave Morrow still showing excitement after winning the Long Course Aquabike National Championship two weeks earlier in Miami.
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Now they look under total control…compare this to the photo above with Joel…ha!
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The entree is coming together quite beautifully…
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Here I’m hoping by being next to Dylan some of his speed runs off on me. Earlier in the day he won the overall race at Miles for Moffitt 5k with a personal record time of 16:32…geez! Pictured here with proud mom, Lauren.
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So happy to connect with my sister, Jamie, around living healthy! We honor our mom and dad.
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Reviews were fantastic…very flavorful!
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Dave upset with the news Valhalla Bakery is closed for another week. Not pictured – me, more upset than Dave about the news. Cindy and Amy having a great time!
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Super ladies…Celia and Roberta…great smiles and energy!
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Scarlett and Keith getting a well deserved breather…
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Joyce & Roberta mastered the recipe and took over operation! Thank you so much for cranking out the quantity and quality!
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The very next morning Bob was an animal on our run-bike-run. Was it the Happy Pear Turkey Sandwich? All the other plant-powered food? Woah…watch out age groupers as always, Bob Brown is coming after you and fueling on a lot of plants now…it’s only going to get worse for you…

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