I Am Thankful For

Everyday I identify something I am grateful for or will show gratitude to and that is before I roll out of bed. It is part of a short mindfulness exercise I began three weeks ago I have found to put me in the right headspace to start the day.

Since we are in Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. I will share highlights of what I am thankful for and there are many more for sure. It is a fantastic exercise to document and promotes just what the mindfulness practice does for me… a positive mindset.

I am Thankful For:

  • Morgan (my daughter) – it’s a great feeling seeing her grow as a woman who is so determined to thrive in law school and future career. She has always been disciplined in her studying but this commitment is something I haven’t seen before. She knows what she wants and is going after it with a fierceness.
  • My Sister (Jamie) and Brother (Brian) and their families – with our mom and dad passing away too young in life we are the family remaining and it’s interesting how we each bring different memories of them in our conversations. They each impacted us in different ways but one common aspect is the emphasis to live our lives in the present as we never know when it could be our time to go. We have one shot at this life…live life now! I get to spend some of my Thanksgiving with Jamie and her family while connecting via phone with Brian and Linda, my sister in-law, as they live in Erie, Pennsylvania. It’s been too long since we have seen each other with COVID…
  • My core circle of friends – you know who you are. We are who our circle is and my circle is full of positive energy and life! I want to be around my circle as much as I can!
  • Team Total Fitness – I have the privilege to coach for Team Total Fitness. The joy it gives me to help our team in whatever they are trying to achieve is very rewarding. Helping people be fit…I mean come on…what a pleasure! I just posted on social media yesterday about our Saturday morning run group – how much positive energy each one of them brought. It’s infectious… If you want to be around positive people, get fit, and live in the Tampa Bay area, come check us out.
  • My Job – In this crazy environment we are in this year I am thankful I have a job and I have the ability to bring some of my passions outside of work into the workplace. On Friday I was part of a team who launched a mindfulness community and our first live virtual guided meditation practice. I have met some extraordinary people in the process…
  • My Health – I am so happy I took ownership of my health over five years ago. I was oblivious to what I was doing to my body and on life auto pilot. My life is very intentional now and I’ll never lose that. I just set a personal record (PR) this week in one of my health biomarkers. When I was at the peak of my unhealthy version of Alan my cholesterol spiked to 327 and I was taking Crestor to help manage it.

    After going plant-based and not taking the pill I dropped it to 150 and it has hovered in the 150-160ish range since until this week when I had blood work done. The new PR is – 132!!! Woah!

    If you follow this blog or know me you know I eat pretty damn well – plant-based – with limited process foods. I increased my compliance within recent months as I was preparing to compete in a couple National Championship races (that were ultimately canceled). I ate so clean I should not be surprised by this number but it just goes to show the power of what we put in our mouth along with exercise and sleep. We have so much control over our health.

    One benefit this provides me is the ability to have the optimal amount of blood and oxygen flowing throughout my body to push it to optimal limits for competition. Animal products reduce the flow and cause inflammation…I don’t like that so much. What a difference I can feel throughout my body even when I’m not exercising. It’s working for me, not against me… Not to mention no migraines, high blood pressure, excess fat, fatigue and additional – out of healthy ranges for other biomarkers.
  • Living in Safety Harbor, Florida – I choose to live in Safety Harbor as it places me in the perfect location to do the things I love to do. I can walk out my door for a run or ride on beautiful trails along Tampa Bay. I am 20 minutes from Americas top beaches and I can be active outside year round. It’s what I call – paradise.
  • Not eating Turkey on Thanksgiving – a little fun here along with some scary facts after. Do you know anyone who really likes the taste of turkey? I remember all of the techniques used to make a turkey have any taste… frying it, basting it, roasting it, injecting it… All to try to give it some flavor as it has to be one of the blandest foods in existence.

    Most of the people I have been around over the years raved about the sides at Thanksgiving and I think it’s because the taste of turkey actually sucks until you doctor it up in some way that doesn’t really help much but make you tired and damage overall heath in the process.

    Did you know this about turkey: (citing Dr. Brian Clement – book, Poison Poultry and video talk):
    • Are 121% larger than in 1929 (average of 13.2 to 29 pounds); what are they pumping into them to make them so large? It’s not anything good I’ll tell you that…and it’s going into your body if you eat it… I want no part of those hormones, antibiotics and other toxins…
    • Turkeys are artificially inseminated as they are just too large to do it themselves (again, 121% larger)…how sad is that…
    • Those labeled as free-range doesn’t really mean anything other than that you are paying more money than one not labeled free-range. That is a self-regulated meaningless term and means those turkeys have access to some sunlight for maybe 30 minutes a day…still confined in the factory farm conditions but labeled differently. Unless you know exactly where your turkey is coming from you don’t know what they have been subjected to…and you don’t want to know what they are fed…I’ll save some of the pain here…
    • Promotes cancers, heart disease, diabetes, Leukemia, obesity and other chronic illnesses that animal products do…it’s just picking which one or more you are vulnerable to…
    • Processed meats including turkey (deli slices) are considered a level one carcinogen – that is the highest level of cancer producing/promoting you can get…same as smoking cigarettes or being exposed to asbestos – this citation via the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine promoting what the World Health Organization proclaimed a couple years back. I used to think eating a Subway Turkey Breast Sandwich was a healthy choice when in reality it’s a level one cancer promotor…crazy…

There are other options than turkey though that taste so much better and promote health. I will be preparing a plant-based mushroom and nut roast full of all kinds of flavor and goodness this holiday to go along with these plant-based sides and dessert:

  • Cider-Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pepitas
  • Coconut Sweet Potato Casserole
  • Jalapeño Cornbread
  • Roasted Fingerlings with Garlic and Parsley
  • Mushroom Gravy
  • Pumpkin Pie of course
  • More but you have to visit the Giraffe’s Den to find out…

I hope for those celebrating Thanksgiving you have a fantastic holiday and for those who don’t it’s still a great opportunity to stop and reflect on what we are thankful for from time to time.

– Add Health to Your Life

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