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Monday, May 14, 2018

expectation is the mother of disappointment

I don't know if that is a quote that Socrates already claimed, but over the last week or so, that thought grew and bloomed into what I am guessing is going to be some kind of vital pithy saying that I'll throw out there every once in a while (mostly for myself, but for days that I am waxing eloquent it could also be shared with those feeling like a bag of crap - pardon me while I pat you on the back with this broom).

Quite frankly, I don't suppose it is something very comforting.  It basically blames that disappointed person when they already feel quite terrible already.  I do not like this aspect, but I think if you can walk around that to the other side and examine this under logic, you can hold it to prevent at least some future disappointments.

If you think about it, when you have no expectations, you really won't be disappointed in what comes out of life.  If you can perceive it in this way, you can almost be an amused bystander as things happen to and around you.

I am generally an optimist.  I do not find any joy or use in approaching life with a dark curtain pulled over it.  I don't see this as helpful, except in rare instances that feel like they will upset the very balance of my entire being, and in that case, I will purposely imagine the absolute worst possible scenario so that whatever does happen, it is sure to either meet or exceed my expectations in a good way.

What I am about to suggest to you is going to sound depressing, but I can assure you that if you take a good look at this, it actually yields pleasant results.

Here is a dreadful example from my own very exciting life.

A couple months ago, I was preparing for a speaking engagement. I had been doing some over the winter with good success - I was meeting a lot of people I didn't know and getting great feedback.  I went to a new venue and had to do my own marketing and promotion (gah, horrible). 

I figured I could pull in maybe like half a million tremendously interested people who would be basically shoving each other out of the way and risking being trampled like it was Black Friday at Best Buy.  I imagined my books selling out and basically becoming a millionaire while famous people asked me if I'd like to sign up for either becoming the next greatest comedian or someone who should have an honorary doctorate at Harvard for my groundbreaking presentation skills and information.

The day was going to be great.  I had my outfit picked out, my sister and friend were going to help me with admission and book sales, and I was looking forward to being able to hold a microphone (BECAUSE I LOVE MICROPHONES).  Early in the morning, a friend told me he couldn't make it.  Sometime in the afternoon, I got a text from a friend saying that she couldn't make it that night.  A half hour later, I got another text from another friend saying the same thing, but for a different reason.  An hour later, I got another text with the same message.  After person number 6 or so, I still had a very optimistic outlook.  It was fine - they have things going on or they are not well, it will work out, plenty of other people will still come and it will be fantastic.

I mean, facebook said it would.  Just LOOK at all of those people who say they're coming!  It will be great.

We scurried around and set up the room and the tables and the projector and my laptop and the microphone, the books were set up, the clipboard with the names of people who were coming were on it, ready to be checked off.

Although there were hardly any people there, I figured they must be coming later.  They're just late, lots of people are late all the time.  I'll start anyway because I said I would start at 7:00 and I will.  I walked to the front of the room and looked out at the audience.

Terrible news and spoiler: I was not about to become wildly rich and famous this night.

This was when it hit me.  In this audience were a pile of people related to me (thank you), a few people who must have just felt sorry for me but wanted to support me, and a very small handful of others.

This is it?  This is it!  Oh holy crap.  So, I put in all of this work for nothing?  I'm not even going to have enough money to cover the cost of this room.  This is unbelievable! 

 And then, the blind rage and insatiable fury welled up inside from the depths of my soul and I could barely see straight.  I am not sure because I have blocked it from conscious memory, but I think the only reason I got through the first fifteen minutes of that presentation was because I was reading slides like some sort of  unsocialized seventh grader who had to do the first public speaking presentation of her life but who really preferred to spend most of her time hiding in books or under tables or perhaps, more suitably, rocks.

Now, I don't know about you, but what made this exceptionally worse was that this failure got to be full blown in front of my family, who now would be permanently scarred with the embarrassment of having to be related to me FOREVER MORE, who really must be dying to sneak out to the bathroom in a nonchalant manner, but then just run full speed out to their cars, drive to the nearest bar, and get black out drunk at the thought that this was a branch on their own genetic chain and there was nothing that they could do about it except conveniently forget to invite me to the next family reunion and sharpie my face out of every picture ever taken with them.

After the first fifteen minutes, when I had begun to accept my distressing and unpleasant fate, I began talking to myself instead of listening to myself. 

Now you listen here, missy.  You stop this nonsense right now.  Suck it up, buttercup.  I don't want you to express one more second or iota of this blind rage out of your face that you are experiencing because even though apparently tonight you are not going to become wildly and insanely famous, there are still people in this audience who deserve for you to take a cliff dive out of your own head and give them the information that you promised, and without the boiling ears and the facial expressions that are basically plain as day written on your face that you are going to go on a psychotic spree immediately at the conclusion of this presentation.  Whether you like it or not, you are going to stand up here for the next 45 minutes, and even though you would like to throw the microphone across the room and go bananas, that is not going to happen.  There must be ways that you could prevent this from happening again, so you will fix this later, but for now, rub some dirt on it and do this.

While this was undoubtedly the worst presentation I have ever done in the history of my life, I did learn some things from it and was reminded of other things I knew before, namely that:

1.  You can't take anything personally - you have to have thick skin for being in front of people and if you want to achieve anything of any worth at all.

2.  People flake.  If you've done direct sales, you live with this on a daily basis.  Expect it, it's not personal.

3.  Asking people to pre-register is a better idea than crossing my fingers and hoping people will show up.

4.  Being a wildly successful and famous person takes more than five minutes of effort.  Unless you're that kid yodeling in Walmart.

5.  Remember why you're doing what you're doing.  I got into health coaching and writing because I wanted to help people.  I really wanted to be able to help them change their lives.  I was tired of seeing people suffering from preventable issues and not getting answers or feeling that they are heard regarding their chronic health issues and lack of energy and brain fog from who they were dealing with in the medical community.

6. Some people have really good advice, even when you don't want to hear it.

It took the gentle words of dear people to help me to be able to pick this up and look at it again without wanting to scream, and without feeling judged as a complete and utter failure in all aspects of life to walk through this and try to make change for the next time around.

The next speaking engagement I did was wonderful and vividly reminded me of why I do what I do.  I walked in without expectations, telling myself that the people who would show up that night are the ones who were meant to be there - whether there were 3 people or 300, they were the ones who were supposed to be in my circle that day.  They were supportive of each other, asking questions and helping each other.  We made connections and laughed and learned from each other.  I walked in thinking that I am here to help, and I will help in every way that I can.  I walked out having connected with many other people, making new friends, and with opportunities to expand my business and to genuinely help other people.

Oh.  Yeah.  How about that.

Our lives are saturated with things that we might not prefer, but if we can back up, there is space to look at things through a different perspective.  Although my situation is embarrassing and makes me want to erase it from the hard drive of my memory, I shouldn't - it is a place for me to learn something.  I hope that it could be used to help others to learn the lesson without having to go through it. 

We are not alone in our disappointments.  They fill our days.  People will fail you and not be who you want them to be.  You will find yourself in places you wish you could rewind and do over again.  In this, I've been thinking about a very well-known passage in the letter that the apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth - you've likely heard it, it's about love.  It says that you can do all of these heroic deeds, like letting yourself be burned as a martyr, to selling every last possession you have and basically living like a monk in a hair shirt, but if you don't have love, you're nothing.  You've basically wasted all of your efforts.  You could be the most amazing understanding genius and be a person who possesses all faith, but you will gain nothing.  It goes on to say that love endures all things and love bears all things. 

Here it is directly:  

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.  Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.  Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

So let me encourage you to bear all things and endure all things.  When people are idiots, you can bear all things through love.  When you wish you could sell them down the river, love endures all things.  When your life is so stupid and you would like a reset button, endure all things.  When things are not going the way that you had hoped and are so far from the things you wish for, bear all things.  These things have been done for you already.  You have been the idiot.  You have been the one who should be on a raft floating down the river. 

I mean, good thing you aren't right NOW, I mean, that was before.  We are clearly fixed of all idiocy at present.

(Literally just wait five minutes and I'll have another story on tap.  Don't you worry.)

Peace, love, and endurance,
Ms. Daisy

Thursday, February 15, 2018

on volatile dehumanization

We stand at the junction of two paths.  Floods of people are going to the left, floods are pouring off to the right.  They are convinced they are going the right way.

They try to prove how right they are and they start by yelling at the other side, telling them how stupid they are.  This (remarkably) doesn't seem to convince them, so they dehumanize them, writing them off as less than human (maybe like 3/5?) and suggesting that they are a scourge on humanity and need to be disposed of.

Then strangely - I'm sure it's not at all connected - there is an uprising of violence.  This isn't a time to connect and see why or what caused it, it is a time to shift more blame, stand taller on the soapbox, and to yell louder.  This is advanced and successful communication.

The horrors of the past are filed under the fact that those old timers were ignorant.  They were slave traders, not seeing others as human.  They were greedy little pigs, seeking gain for themselves, running others over, letting nothing get in their path.   They were awful in their push for more land, dehumanizing the native people, raking them over the coals into a trail of tears.   They were influenced by old ideals and they do not resonate with us.

But we are faced with it now - it's not just relegated to our history.  It's here, saturated in lust as people are bought through the sex trade and human trafficking.  It is saturated in a hunger for power and land conquest.  (Does this story seem new to you?)

The ship is sinking and we're arguing about the curtains.

Do you remember how to have a conversation?  Do you remember how to listen?  Do you remember how to disagree without hate?  Can you keep your passion without losing your mind?  Can you hold an idea in your hand and turn it over intelligently?  Can you respectfully return it?  Can you use social media and remember that there are humans on the other side of your flippant words?

The people on the "other side" are people.  When you treat them otherwise, you are the slave trader, you are the one standing behind the Cherokee mother, swaddling her baby, poking her to keep moving west, you are the one buying a half hour with someone's daughter, chained to the bed.  

Every atrocity could only be committed because the psychology allowed for another group to be seen as less than human, as idiots, as maniacs, as ones to be subdued, as worthless, as a waste of space, as disposable trash.

You stand on the dark side of history when you participate this way.

You were made with intelligence.  You were made with compassion.  You were made for connection.  You were made to use your talents to love and serve others, not to amass a tiny, temporal kingdom. 

It does not mean that you must bow out of the conversation.  You have a voice that ought to be heard.  In order to hear, you really ought to listen.  

Every idea that isn't yours isn't a personal attack.  

Every belief someone holds that isn't reflective of your own is not a pointed insult.

There is so much poison out there.  You can drink it.  You can make more of it.  You can spray it all over your house, your land, your children, and bathe in it.

Or you can retain your intelligence with magnanimous poise and nobility, genuinely listening and seeking to understand.  

You will be written into the tapestry of our history for future generations.  Which side will you be standing on?

Peace, love, and get it together,
Ms. Daisy

Friday, February 9, 2018

Coconut Elvis Granola and Evil Canola Oil

You may already know this, but I am not a superfan of cereal.  Most of the time I feel like it is a little bit of a worthless thing, but that is because it is mainly marketed as something you eat for breakfast and it is (usually) loaded with sugar.  I am a strong advocate for eating something savory in the morning (after your 16 ounces of water, obviously) as it sets the tone for your palate for the rest of the day.


Sometimes you hear something that just inspires you.  I used to eat cereal.  Growing up, that was breakfast.  If I was lucky, it was going to be Lucky Charms (with as many marshmallows as I could possibly get).  As I got a little older, I thought I would refine my tastes with muselix or granola.  You know how that is - it's the fight in your mouth.  The challenge of the hard clumps that cut the top of your mouth - really, I've heard it said that there's nothing like it to wake up to (except maybe a good set in the chlorine).

Because I never buy it, my children think that it is Christmas, their birthday, and Superbowl Sunday all in one if we have cereal in the house and they end up acting like they are some kind of deprived and starving animals and eat it for dessert and the $6 box is gone in a day and a half.  (Well, that was worth it.  Not.)

Today is some sort of snowpocalypse and everyone is out of their minds.  People aren't going to work; children aren't going to school.  Instead, they are playing video games, skiing, and going to trampoline parks. 

This was the day that the granola was destined to be made.

I had a recipe from a friend that was called "Elvis Granola".  Out of all of the people I know, this friend is the all-time world champion of granola eating, so I knew that it was going to be legit.  This "Elvis Granola" contained peanuts and chocolate, so even though it was basically dessert, I figured it was worth a try, even if that try was going to actually be dessert and not breakfast.

There was only one problem.

The original granola recipe called for canola oil.  Excuse me?  Canola oil?  No.  No way, José.  As if I would use poison in my recipe! 

What's my problem with canola oil?  Well, first of all, approximately 90% of canola oil is made from genetically modified ingredients and sprayed with Roundup (glyphosate - made by Monsanto).  Glyphosate is a known carcinogen.  That looks like a bunch of cancer all over the place.  I'll pass, thanks.

The other problem that I have with canola is that it is inherently modified.  Canola oil wasn't invented until the 1960s in Canada, and it was invented because of a demand for a cheap oil (olive oil had a price point that was too high for manufacturing of faster foods).  It was derived from the rapeseed plant (within the mustard family).  Using it as rapeseed oil without hybridization led to a host of issues mainly because of its toxic levels of erucic acid (which can also be found in other members of the Brassica family, but has high concentrations in rapeseed and canola), like blistered lungs and skin. 

Good news, though.  It is used to make paint because it will adhere to wet metal, which is great for ocean vessel applications.  Mmm, practical AND tasty.

By 1978, chemical companies figured out how to get the erucic acid levels lowered a bit so that we could escape the pesky business of lesions on lungs and other problems, and so they could market it to manufacturing as a cheap alternative. 

In 1995, the brilliant scientists found a way to inject the DNA with a bacteria so that it could be resistant to Roundup, making it possible for farmers to spray mass amounts of Roundup on their fields, killing all of the weeds, but the canola plant would survive.  Genius?  Yes.  Diabolical?  Probably.

Canola oil is highly processed and also very reactive to heat, light, and pressure, causing oxidation.  (That means rusting in your body.  That means premature aging and degenerative diseases like cancer, Alzheimer's, dementia, and WRINKLES.)  When canola oil is heated, it produces high levels of butadiene, benzene, acrolein, formaldehyde and other related compounds.  Have you heard of any of those?  Yeah.  Poisonous carcinogens.  Awesome.

This study shows the unfortunate side effect of how canola oil decreased levels of vitamin E so drastically that some animals died.  (They supplemented vitamin E to see if and how that would help.)

Meanwhile, back in the kitchen, I decided that I would sub out the toxin for coconut oil so that when my offspring saw homemade granola and decided to go on a wild binge, I wouldn't be contributing to their early deaths.

Here is what I did instead.

Coconut Elvis Granola

Preheat oven: 275 F.

 Mix these guys in a pan: 1/4 cup organic coconut oil, 1/3 cup maple syrup, 1/4-1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter,  1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon.  Stir.  Cook a few minutes until you think it isn't going to do anything different.

 While that is simmering, get a big huge bowl (Pyrex for vintage feels) and dump in: 4 cups organic oats, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed, 1/2 cup unsalted peanuts, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds.  Mix it all up.

Dump the warm liquid into the dry crunchy.  Mix all over until everything looks so happy.

Pour onto two stainless steel (seriously, do not give yourself Alzheimer's with the aluminum baking pans) baking sheets and spread out.

Bake for 20 minutes, rotate pans, bake for 20 more minutes.  You may need a little longer than that, but check it at the 40 minute mark.

Let it cool.  Add a bunch of non-soy dark chocolate chips.  I like Enjoy Life brand because they don't have any allergens.  This is how I made it the first time, but I would add shredded coconut to the final mix because dark chocolate and coconut are bae together.  It would benefit the overall flavor to double the peanut butter and make it 1/2 cup instead of a wimpy 1/4.

I did not eat this for breakfast, and I won't because I am an egg and toast kind of girl, but it is an amazing dessert.  I poured it over my organic, grass-fed, whole milk plain yogurt and ate it until I thought I might make myself throw up.  Moderation?  I doubt it.

If you try it, let me know how you like it.

Peace, love, and actual granola,
Ms. Daisy


Monday, January 1, 2018

Weight Loss on the Winning Team

Well, lovies, we've made it.  2017 has been cleared off of our plates and we're here with a fresh start, a new calendar waiting for you, blank, and ready.  The first day of 2018 greets us with the promise of new hope, dreams, and aspirations.  Will you focus on self-improvement, sanctification, connection, your health, being intentional and present, dropping addictions, loving more, enjoying your littles, learning something new, or a combination of all of those? 

Or perhaps you resolve to not make resolutions.  You've failed in the past and you aren't about that useless nonsense of flipping a calendar and waving a magic wand, hoping that you will magically change into someone new. You know yourself well enough to know that change comes slowly, and not because it is tradition when the Gregorian calendar tells us so. 

Whatever camp you find yourself in on this day, perhaps you are like many of my clients and friends who find themselves not quite exactly where they'd like to be physically after the head-on collision they've had with the holidays.  It all starts so subtly.  An extra bag of candy from the grocery store at Halloween because they've got a 2 for 1 sale slides quickly into the eating frenzy and near bake-off of Thanksgiving, which careens us smack into Christmas and Hanukkah, at which point we have given up on the voice of moderation because "it's the holidays" and we'll deal with that later, but now is the time for enjoyment!

Ah yes.  Enjoyment.  January 1 comes and that luster of "enjoyment" looks like you staring at yourself in your mismatched plaid pajama pants, gazing disgustedly at your puffy face, your unshaven bits (PSA: Hey guys!  It's time to shave those beards!  No, seriously - the homeless look is now officially out of vogue - unless you're a millennial, then whatever, man, go back to your microbrewery in the basement.  We won't bother you while you so creatively express yourself.), and a pile of glorious lumps you have somehow managed to acquire over the last few months.  You look aghast, wondering if it is the lighting or if, please God no, let me not really and actually be this hideously ugly.

Okay, that's it.  I'm not going to say it to my friends or on facebook, but bruuuh, I have got to do something.   And so it begins.  You start to reel it in just a little because you know you cannot go on like this. 

But what will work?  What will bring the success that you crave?  (Hint: It's not taking my locker at the gym.) 

Will it be to swear off cookies for the rest of your life?  Will it be to sweat it out on the ellipitical for three hours a day everyday for the unforeseeable future (a.k.a. until Valentine's Day when they have candy hearts and boxed chocolates for sale)?  Will it be to make chard sandwiches for breakfast to punish (I mean, reward) yourself?

If you even have an inkling about the nature of our complicated brains, you will know that these things can only work for a short time.  They are not sustainable (especially the chard sandwiches - right, Court?).  We are desperate little creatures sometimes and we will resort to absurdities to climb out of our panicked states.

I am not all about that cray cray thang.  I believe in making sustainable change slowly, and making it a lifestyle (want more?  Hint: YES, YOU DO.  Check out my book on Amazon: Just One Thing: Simplifying the Mystery of a Healthy Lifestyle.  You can snuggle it on your pillow or frame the cover and hang it on the wall.  Blow it up to poster size and put it next to your mirror with a speaking bubble that says, "YOU CAN DO EEET!"  Or just read it.  Any is fine.). I want you to be able to actually enjoy your life with a cookie, but not be a slave to the sugar god.  I want you to be able to look at something (even though it looks completely delicious) and shrug and be able to say, you know, right now I'm just not feeling it.   Contrast this with the feeling of you holding that third cookie in your hand, biting down, chewing, and thinking, I don't even really want this.  What am I doing right now?!  

What works?  In my health coaching practice, there is one thing that brings a glowing highlight of attention to what is going on in your life, and where you can study yourself to make good and lasting change.  It isn't exercise (although you ought to exercise).  It isn't swearing off foods exactly.

It's a food journal.

What?!  Yes.  A food journal.  Let me propose something to you.  I know it may seem wild, but just hear me out.  I believe that there is a potential that you may have slight cognitive dissonance between what you think you are eating and what you are actually eating, and you won't be able to bridge that gap until you put it in black and white and see for yourself.

My awesome clients have come back to me with amazing revelations.  They see that they are desperately in love with tortilla chips.  (This is actually a recurring theme among many of them. Read: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.)  They see that they are eating about a micro-ounce of protein all day and it suddenly dawns on them why they feel like they got hit by a truck and have energy swings like a cross between a Nanny 911 toddler and your 16 year-old self raging through a tornado of severe PMS.  They see that they are surviving on McDonald's and coffee during the day, cheese and crackers for dinner, and three bowls of ice cream before bed.  They realize that they are drinking a lot more junk than they thought they were (whether that is the poisonous Coke Zero or Tito's vodka or vanilla caramel lattes from Starbucks). 

You can do this old school - pen and paper.  You can get an app.  (And if you do, for the love of all that is good, do not bother tracking your calories.  Counting calories is so Jane Fonda era.  What counts is that you're eating real food.)  You can do it throughout the day.  You can do it at the end of the day.  You know what will work for you.  I also recommend that you write down a few other things in your food journal: how much sleep you got the night before, your overall mood (on a scale of 1-10), if you took any vitamins that day, and your stress level.  Those things will give you a broader picture of  what is going on in your life and how your body is responding to things.

Exercise is great and has many benefits for mental health, brain plasticity (by creating BDNF), preventing Alzheimer's, dementia, and increasing overall good mood, but it will not erase and repair your five donut a day habit.  Food is first.  In my personal guesstimate, I'd say that weight loss is 85% your food and beverage choices and 15% exercise.  Exercise comes to tone up the flabby.  Exercise is how you get that solid six-pack, but you won't even find that six-pack if you buried it under six layers of bagels and Pop Tarts.  Hear me: I do want you to exercise, but I want your exercise to be effective.  It is a lot easier to keep something up when you are actually hitting goals and making change than when you shovel ice cream down your pie hole and put yourself back ten steps.  You're fighting yourself and that is a losing battle, no matter how you look at it.

I want you to win for 2018.  I want you to smash goals.  If you're still breathing, you life isn't over.  Your race isn't finished.  It is not time to give up.  You've got stuff to give.  You were put on this planet to do something, to help others, to give your talents to change the world.  That is a lot easier to do when you have energy, a clear brain, and a body that works optimally.  No, it's not everything.  Your eternal soul will long outlive your shell, but what you do here and now makes a difference for eternity.  Embrace it and go get it.

Peace, love, and let's do this!
Ms. Daisy

p.s. If you'd like to work with me and have someone come along side of you and cheer you on and guide you toward your goals, get in touch with me.  It is an honor to watch people grow and change and become who they have wanted to be.  I'd love to help.  (Send me an email and connect with me:  I do Skype as well as in person programs.