Be A Modern Day Hunter-Gatherer!

By: Shannon Shull

How do you fuel your body? Think about it…what did you feed your body the past few days? Can you say with confidence that you properly fueled your body? Do you even know what your body requires in order to be properly fueled?

My husband’s best friend sent this video from TED.com.  My husband watched it, was inspired and naturally sent it to me with bold letters, saying WATCH NOW. I only wish I had actually watched it right away. Of course it sat in my inbox for weeks before I finally took the time to sit down and watch it. Once I finally did, I was not only astounded by the information, but my eyes were opened in an amazing way.

I’m no biology wiz and I’m certainly not a crazed health food nut, BUT you don’t have to be a genius to understand that if you fuel your body properly, it will in turn operate better for you on every level. I mean come on, let’s use our common sense – if we eat fast foods, processed foods and junk foods and drinks on a daily basis, nearly eliminating any foods rich in real vitamins and goodness, then naturally our bodies will feel and show the negative effects. It’s basic logic. But as smart as we all are, do we actually commit to properly fueling our bodies? For most of us, that answer is no and that’s because we give in to the convenience and cheap costs of the poor eating habits of our current society.

Do you know what mitochondria are? I remember the word from biology class years ago, but I couldn’t tell you what it is. I now know that mitochondria are basically the power centers of our cells. They are power houses, the power producers that manage the energy supply for our cells. I have learned that they are critical to our lives! Check this out…without mitochondria we would be no larger than bacteria!

I personally would prefer to have VERY healthy mitochondria! Our bodies need B vitamins, sulfur and antioxidants for our mitochondria to thrive. Now here’s where the hunter-gatherer thing comes into play. Think about our long gone ancestors and the ways they obtained their foods. They had to hunt their meats and fish and gather their veggies, roots and fruits. The fuel for their bodies was locally obtained and organic, not to mention their fuel was RICH in all the goods that our bodies need to thrive.

It’s not enough to just take vitamins. We also need to get our nutrients from food.  We need to develop a food plan to best fuel our brains and our mitochondria. By NOT properly fueling our bodies, we set the stage for chronic disease, smaller brains, you name it – the list of the negative effects go on and on. It seems like such a simple, logical thing yet most of us do not commit to it.

We all want to be healthier, we all want our children and family to be healthy, yet why is it that in most cases it takes being diagnosed with a life-threatening disease to get our attention? Well, I personally have decided that I’m not going to wait for any health scares to knock some sense into me. I’d rather fuel my body properly now and reap the benefits of a long, healthy life. Yes, it costs more to eat healthy, but would you rather pay the price now by taking the time and money to commit to eating food that restores your health and vitality or pay the price with doctor visits, prescription drugs and surgeries? As Dr. Terry Wahl’s says in this priceless video, we can continue to eat that delicious, convenient, processed food and watch ourselves and our children grow steadily overweight, depressed, diabetic and watch our healthcare costs soar out of control OR we can eat for our mitochondria and have more vitality! The healing powers of food are out of this world.

I urge you to make watching this video a priority. For your own sake, for your family’s sake, become a Modern Day Hunter-Gatherer and together let’s watch and feel our bodies thrive with vitality because we are fueling it properly!

Daily I will try to commit to having more….

Green Leaves , Sulfur Rich Veggies, Bright Color Fruits – and, at least once a week – Grass-fed Meats, and Wild Fish.

I may not always succeed, but I am making a conscious effort to be a Modern Day Hunter-Gatherer.  How will you fuel your body?

Reasonable Resolutioning

By: Summer Brons

With the end of January on the fast-approaching horizon, we’re at a logical checkpoint to assess our progress on all those resolutions we set just a few short weeks ago. In the face of a promising new year, it’s easy to hold our heads high and jot our lofty ambitions down on paper (or scrawl them across a keyboard), confident that THIS will be the year we refocus and really buckle down on the pursuit of our dreams. “2011? What a joke! 2012 is going to be MY year,” we say to ourselves, a confident grin spreading from ear to ear.

So…reality time: How are things going so far?

Whether your goals are centered around health, work, home, family, or even a simple vow to spend more time doing absolutely nothing at all – it’s easy to fall off the wagon if you’ve set the bar too high for yourself.  We tend to be results-driven creatures with a love for instant gratification, disregarding the concept of a step-by-step process. This explains why many resolutions are discarded (or forgotten completely) before we’ve even it made it through the first quarter.  Folks throw in the towel because all they see on that list they wrote on December 31st are statements like, “lose 40 pounds,” “get a promotion,” “spend more time painting.” These are all great things to strive for, but where’s the plan of action?

The road to weight loss is paved with consistent exercise and a balanced diet. Instead of getting frustrated because the scale isn’t registering the numbers you’d like to see each morning, break the process down into bite-size chunks. You didn’t gain the weight overnight and you’re not going to lose it overnight, either. Figure out what steps you need to take to put yourself on the path to losing those 40 pounds and go from there. At first, your success may be found in getting to the gym four times a week and bringing a healthy lunch with you to work instead of eating fast food each day. Next, you’ll see success by realizing you’ve dropped five pounds. And guess what? Five pounds turns into eight turns into 15 and so on until one day…you’re at your goal weight! But be realistic, because it’s not going to happen by default just because you slapped a shiny “RESOLUTION” label on the idea and you happened to notice it’s nearly the end of January.

The same goes for your other goals. You want a promotion at work? Great! Figure out how to best position yourself to catch the eye of your boss and make them think of your name first when that new management position opens up later this year. Perhaps you can offer to take on additional responsibilities, assist coworkers without having to be asked to do it, show up on time (wait, that counts for something?), or…here’s a thought, ask that boss of yours if he or she has a few minutes to spare, then sit down with them to share your thoughts. A well-spoken “I really enjoy being a part of this company and I’m looking forward to future opportunities here beyond my current scope of work. Is there any advice you can give me that might help me along a path to advancement?” can go a long way in garnering respect and displaying ambition.  Remember, just like the weight loss intentions, just because you’ve decided you want a promotion does not mean you’re going to walk into work the next day with a corner office and a generous raise, so don’t get discouraged and give up hope when April rolls around and you’re still daydreaming about throwing staples at that loud, obnoxious coworker who sits two cubes up.

Finally, just to round out the few examples I mentioned above, Ms. “I’m going to paint more often in 2012” shouldn’t be prematurely tossing out the oil canvas, either.  Sure, it’s wonderful to take time out of each day to devote to creative efforts, but it doesn’t always happen. Besides life getting in the way, sometimes you just flat don’t feel like it. The creative muse can be a fickle thing, so quit beating yourself up if you don’t hit that goal to write 500 words each day or to practice your crochet technique for an hour each evening. Try something more manageable, like blogging three times a week instead of seven, or taking just two photos per day instead of ten to improve your photography skills. If you’ve included your hobby, passion or artistic endeavor in your new year’s resolutions, don’t forget to be just as realistic about your goals in this department as you are with everything else. Very few things happen overnight, bestselling novels included.

Remember, the key is to keep things MANAGEABLE. Don’t stand in your own way with an “all or nothing” mentality.  Progress is just as successful as seeing a goal ultimately come to fruition, so use those stepping stones along the way as motivation to keep going and as validation that you’re on the right track. You’re the only one who can make things happen for yourself, which, in turn, means that you’re the only one who can prevent things from happening, too.

So go ahead and take inventory of those 2012 resolutions.  If there’s any you’re struggling with so far, take some time to break them down further and create a plan to get from point A to point B…preferably in once piece.

Good luck!

How Weight Loss Changed Me

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

“Are you dating anyone?”

That was the third question my internist, Dr. Brad Word, asked when I stopped by Columbia Medical Group for some blood work.

His nurse, Teresa, shot him a dirty look and said, “Why do you ask that just because she’s lost weight? She’s still the same person she was before she lost weight.”

In his defense, Dr. Word always asks me that question; it’s usually about the third one. He is a family doctor in every sense of the word, no pun intended, and when one of us see him, it’s like we all see him. He always asks about the family first; in this case, he asked how my mother and sister were doing. Dr. Word isn’t hitting on me, nor is he a nosy doc; the question and my resulting answer, he says, gives him a barometer my mood.

Back to his question, “Are you dating anyone?”

I laughed it off and gave one of my usual flip answers: “No, can you believe it?” or “Why? Do you have someone in mind?” But later that night, I recalled his nurse’s reaction and wondered if I was really the same person I was before I lost weight.

To quote Madonna, “No matter who you are, no matter what you did, no matter where you’ve come from, you can always change, become a better version of yourself.”  When I compare my self of today with my self from 85 lbs. ago, I’d say that I’m the same, but a little better.  Mary Pat 2.0, if you will.

My fundamental self, that person I am deep down, has stayed the same. I still root for the underdog, play Devil’s advocate and use humor to avoid familiarity. I procrastinate. I am competitive, obsessive-compulsive and rebellious. I don’t like the status quo, and heaven knows, I still have the same hips, just a little smaller.

On the flip side, since I’ve lost weight, I’m more direct and stand up for myself more. I am more confident. I take a few more risks. I’m more forgiving of my mistakes, not as hard on myself as before. While my sister would say that I still seek the spotlight, I’d say that I’m more comfortable staying behind the scenes and giving credit to others. On a superficial note, I’m smaller, and my clothes look better. And after years of short styles, I’m growing out my hair.

Not all of the changes have been positive. I find myself less tolerant of those with unhealthy lifestyles. Because I had such an unhealthy lifestyle for so long, I have a hard time understanding that one. I’m also less social because I have less free time and still haven’t figured out how to manage social events that revolve around food and drink.

As I move into the second year of this new lifestyle, the changes are evening out. I’m working on losing the last five pounds and building strength, but the physical changes are slowing down. The things that were first so challenging and disruptive at first – grocery shopping, cooking, working out – have become more comfortable routines. The overwhelming high of “finally losing the weight” is being replaced by the steady satisfaction of attaining wellness and enjoying the resulting benefits. Finally, I’m getting used to the person that I see in the mirror.

But am I dating anyone? Why? Do you have someone in mind?

How have you changed as a result of a lifestyle change? Was that change temporary or permanent? Were the changes welcome or disruptive? What advice can you give someone who goes through a significant lifestyle change?

Live Your Dream

By: Crissie Miller Kirby

In my first Every Woman Blog posting, I talked about taking a leap of faith when I chose to enter the blog contest last summer and I also mentioned introducing you to some of the people I have had the pleasure of being around over the last few years; this post is about someone I admire, respect, and, love.  She took a leap of faith, herself, a few years back and, now, she is living her dream.

Liz Barnes Myers

Liz Barnes Myers grew up in the Batesburg-Leesville community and graduated from Columbia College with a degree in Biology in 2000.  Liz worked in pharmaceutical sales for a while and then followed that with a sales stint with a waste management company.  All the while, her love of photography loomed in the back of her mind.

It’s no small wonder; her photography “gene” runs deep as her beloved grandfather, Pa, Barnes was a wing pilot and photographer during World War II.  She grew up “reading” the stories in the pictures he took during that time; some of her most precious memories of him are conjured while viewing those photos.  Others saw the fire in her; family and friends, alike.  They encouraged her over glasses of wine and during football games.  She purchased her first “nice, good” DSLR camera in the early spring of 2009 and began photographing anything that she possibly could.  Finally, her husband just said “Do it!”, and she quit her “day job” and started her photography business, Zil Photography, LLC.  She took that leap of faith, figured out what she really loved doing and just jumped, and as she said, “never looked back.”

Enter what I like to call the “Krazy Kirby’s” in April of 2010 . . . Of course, I knew Liz.  We were from the same town, went to the same college.  Her grandmother, Ma, Barnes sits a few pews ahead of us at church on Sunday mornings.  In early 2010, I kept seeing on Facebook all of these beautiful photographs that Liz had taken.  Let me stop here and tell you that I, myself, have this obsessive habit of taking an exorbitant amount of pictures.  I’ve taken, literally, thousands of pictures of my children over the last 6 years.  But, how am I supposed to ever get shots of me with my children?  Enter Liz!  I had to have some of the Zil pictures!

Me with my two boys

We held our first session in April of 2010, and, immediately, I was hooked.  Liz has now photographed my family 5 times over the last two years and has captured some precious memories, some she may not even have realized were so important.  She’s captured my youngest son, Smith, right before he turned 2 and we cut off all of his baby curls.  And she captured him just a few weeks after those curls were gone.  She took the very first photographs of me with just my two boys; and she took some very poignant photos of the boys with their father not long after his return from Afghanistan.  She captured the very last family photos ever made of our family, together, before our separation and divorce.  And she’s captured the new, single me.  We’ve ventured to the beach, the State House grounds, Lake Murray, downtown Batesburg, and our own little house during those sessions.  The sessions with the boys are always a little harried, but, they love Mrs. Liz.  Maybe it’s the promises of candy or bubbles that come.  Maybe it’s the fact that she doesn’t mind stretching out on the grass, or climbing a ladder, just to get a shot.  Maybe it’s the fact that much of the time, she just lets them be what they are: little boys.  This is why I love her – she always delivers such precious memories of my boys; little moments just frozen in time; capturing their little personalities in the photographs she takes.

When talking with Liz, she talks about how she loves getting to “tell a story in photographs, and not in words,” but insists that she is still learning each and every day and how “ignorance” really played a part in her taking this leap of faith.  She didn’t know enough to be truly frightened about starting her own photography business.  She just jumped right in and now lives by the following motto: “Live Your Dream.”

As women, we all tend to sometimes “settle” for the more stable job, the one that makes the most “sense;” not always choosing the career that really sets us on fire.  This is why I both admire and respect Liz, and, I guess, honestly, I’m a little jealous!  She is truly doing something that she loves and it shows in her attitude, her demeanor, and her work.  Take a moment, sit back, and really think . . . are you really performing a job that you love; a job that excites you and challenges you?  What is holding you back?  What can you do to help you “Live Your Dream”?

To see more of Liz’s work or to contact her – you can find Zil Photography on Facebook or Twitter or on her website: http://www.zilphotography.com/.

New Year’s Resolution “Check-In”

By: Brady Evans

I’ve been reading a lot of blogs lately and it seems as if during the first week of the year all of them were professing how they “don’t make resolutions.”

Hm.  Why not?  We can’t be so perfect that we don’t need to change, can we?  Or are we just turned off by the fad-ish feeling of it all?  If you aren’t making changes at the beginning of the year, then when are you?

I, for one, am proud to say that I make resolutions every year.  Just last year I made the resolution…  well, actually, I’ve totally forgotten what I resolved to do, but I bet it meant a lot for awhile!

This year I resolved to speak less and listen more.  I spend enough time giving my opinions (three blogs, facebook, twitter).  These media are all about me, me, me and what I have to say, say, say.  I’m a super opinionated person anyway (and I really try to be nice about it and I *do* bite my tongue when necessary) so I thought it might be nice to turn over a new leaf and keep my thoughts to myself.  I’m not trying to say that all my thoughts are Debbie Downers or Negative Nellys, instead, I’m saying that sometimes people just want to talk to you and walk away without more advice or anecdotes.

My tactics have been few, but effective:

1)  During my commute to work I think everything I want to say about everything and sometimes I even have one sided conversations out loud and once I do, I’m good.
2) I type out long emails and then carefully hit the delete button until all of my opinions are gone.

Am I liking it?  Not one bit.  Is it good for me?  Yep.

How are your resolutions going?

Mark Your Calendars: Columbia Style Week Coming in June

By: Staci Rutherford

For the first time ever, Columbia, South Carolina will have an official fashion week!

Mayor Steve Benjamin and the Columbia City Council issued an Official Proclamation declaring June 5th-9th, 2012 Columbia Style Week.  This is a major event for the Capital City that will include five days and five nights of fashion, arts and entertainment.  As a style-obsessed blogger, I am beyond excited that we will have an outlet to showcase talented fashion designers, models and local retailers.  I will feature a calendar of runway shows for Columbia Style Week so we can help make it a huge success.

The “Follow Your Heart” Charity Fashion Gala and Auction is the official kick off event for Columbia Style Week’s “Road to Runway Tour.”  It will be held at Tapp’s Center for the Arts (located downtown at 1644 Main Street) on Saturday, January 28, 2012 from 7:30 pm to 10:30 pm.  Partnering with the American Heart Association’s “Go Red for Women” campaign, the gala will be hosted by Arielle Riposta-McConchie and Alicia Zeigler of Wink Magazine.  Dr. Norma Khoury, of the South Carolina Heart Center, is the keynote speaker on heart disease and its impact on women.  The event will also include a silent auction, refreshments and wine, live entertainment and DJ, a Red Dress fashion showcase and more!

A portion of all ticket sales and 100% of silent auction proceeds will go to the American Heart Association.  Click here to purchase a ticket.

If you are interested in becoming involved with Columbia Style Week, they are looking for volunteers!  Visit the www.columbiastyleweek.com for more details.

These Are A Few Of My Favorite Things …

By: Elizabeth Webber Akre

It’s no secret.  I love to cook.  Everyone who knows me knows this.  My favorite pastime is cooking for friends and family.  I don’t know if I’m particularly talented, but I know that I have a love and passion for cooking.  But, that’s not enough.  You have to have the right tools.

Here are a few of my favorites from my kitchen:

Knives.  You have to have a good knife.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to work with a crummy knife.  But good ones don’t come cheap.  When we got married, we received a Global vegetable knife.  That started our love of Global.  Now, for each holiday or birthday, my husband gives me a new one to add to the collection.

Ricer.  This tool may not be familiar to you.  I think they were probably more popular back in the days of the food mill.  But believe me, you should have one of these babies.  They make the best mashed potatoes on the planet.  It just creates a nice silky texture without over-working the potatoes.  Want gummy mashed potatoes?  Use a hand mixer.  Want fluffy, delicious ones?  Use a ricer.

Mandoline.  Ok, this one is fabulous, but incredibly dangerous.  With the aid of a huge razor blade, you can use this tool for perfect slices.  Mine has a dial that allows me to choose a specific thickness; 1/8” up to 3/8” for slices and julienne cuts.  The first one I had was more basic but just as effective.  Rather than having a dial, it had plates that you could snap in that would change the thickness of the cut for you.  Whether you go basic or all out, this thing will allow you to have uniform tomato slices, onions, squash, apples, pepperoni…you get the idea.  BUT, you must use caution because the last thing you want is to get in a hurry and run your fingers across that blade.  Yikes!  Hello Emergency Room.  (LMC has one you know, but you don’t want to go there unless you have to!)

Cherry/Olive Pitter.  I love this little gadget!  All you do is load the fruit in the little bowl, press down and the pit just flies right out.  This is great for fresh cherries (pack in the kids’ lunches and don’t worry about choking hazards) and nice olives like Nicoise, Calamata, etc.  If you are an olive lover like me, you can spend a fortune buying the pitted ones rather than the whole olive. With a tool like this, it’s a piece of cake to pit them and use them in any application you can think of.

So, these are just a few of my invaluable tools.  Of course, there are all kinds of other cool thing-a-ma-jigs that I’d love to have.  However, kitchen stores, like shoe stores, can be very dangerous for a person like me.  I have to exercise self-control in both places so that I can actually afford to keep food on the table!

Bon Appetit friends!