Making The Complicated Simple

Posts tagged ‘women’

SimpleChef: Baked Swai With Mango Salsa, Steamed Green Beans and Roasted Rosemary Potatoes

A huge target recently opened in our neighborhood and since they carry food, I went on a little field trip to compare some of their prices with other local grocery stores.  In the frozen section they had this white fish fillet, Swai, I’ve never had before.  Interestingly it has 2.5g of fat and 13g of protein per serving, and the package cost about $6 and has 6 fillet sweeeetttt!

I wanted to experiment with my new fish fillet to bring you this week’s SimpleChef recipe. I made a Baked Swai with Mango Salsa paired with Steamed Haricot Vert and Baked Rosemary Potatoes.

Haricot Vert is a French green beans smaller than regular green beans which takes less time to cook.

Photographer: Michelle Meiklejohn

I enjoy cooking with Rosemary because not only it smells good but also can be used as an antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic and fungicidal.
If you are from Haiti like I am, mango is one of the fruits Haitians absolutely love.  I like to add mango as my fruit serving with fish or make some mango lassi with greek yogurt (that’s for another SimpleChef, hint hint).

This recipe is very simple and easy to make. You will need:

  1. 10 oz of Swai seasoned with 1 garlic clove, salt, pepper and a dash of sea salt
  2. Already made mango salsa. I got mine from  WholeFoods Market
  3. 1 lb of small red potatoes cut into fourths
  4. 4 cloves garlic minced
  5. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  6. 1 cup of haricot vert prepared according to package instruction
  7. 1 tsp of fresh rosemary chopped
  8. A cast iron skillet
  9. Preheated oven at 425 degrees.

Step 1: Heat up your cast iron in the oven for 8 minutes. Be careful not to burn yourself and remove it. Spray it with some olive oil cooking spray , line it with the Swai fillet and put it back in the oven for 12 minutes.

Step 2:Mix  potatoes, oil, 4 garlic cloves minced and chopped rosemary in a bowl. Spread the mixture in aluminum foil paper and bake it for 35 minutes. You can put it in the oven together with the fish and time it separately.

Step 3: When potato is nicely baked, mix it in a bowl with the haricot vert.

Step 4: Serve right away by adding some mango salsa over your fillet  and


Enjoy and spread the love…..


Motivation Monday: Fit For Life Stay on Track

I am asked a lot lately  “How do you stay on track? I am kind of on and off again and don’t know what to do to lose these extra pounds, what should I do? I thought a lot about these questions and the answer I have is to go down memory lane and share with you what it was like when I had those same questions not too long ago.

I remember after losing 50 pounds from 238 lbs, I was supposed to be in heaven but I was not.  I still didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, I hated laying down on my bed to button my jeans, I hated the workout I had to do to slip into my one size too small Spanx, I hated having to shop at plus size stores.  My husband once tried so hard to please me by taking me shopping; he made babysitting arrangements and all, guess what? I hated every moment of it because all the stores except  for the department stores like Macy’s and plus size stores didn’t carry anything bigger than a large or size 12.

Meanwhile I gained back 10 lbs.  What a disappointment it was for me!   All my efforts went down the drain.  I stopped going to the gym, I was just embarrassed to be around people who knew me when I was smaller.  Meanwhile I had to go to work and face my co-workers.  I just put a big smile on my face and pretended that I was doing GREAT!

I don’t know if my husband was trying not to end up in the doghouse but no matter how I looked, he never made me feel any different.  He kept telling me to be patient, “you’ll get it.”  That wasn’t enough to make me feel better about myself because simply I did not believe in my core that I could shed those pounds.

My friend, we are truly are worst enemy.  My progress no matter how small,  I was the first one to tear it down.  Even if someone told me “You look great”, my answer was “Yeah but I still have a long way to go.”  My words, my thoughts, my actions, everything in me was sending the message “you are a failure, you will never make it”, yet I believed by repeating this insanity I was going to reach my weight loss goal let alone any goals in life.  Sure enough, my husband didn’t know what else to tell me because he was running out of encouraging words, better yet he couldn’t understand why I was being so hard on myself.  Then one day the Aha! Moment came.

My Aha! Moment was that I had no love for myself, I didn’t believe in myself and I said I wanted to do this and that but deep down I didn’t think I deserved it because I was too busy figuring out why any of what I wanted couldn’t happen.  The enemy was living with me. The enemy was within.  I had one last pity party with a big slice of cheesecake and I caught myself in the mirror eating and that’s when it clicked. I thought to myself “what are you doing? Aren’t you tired of doing the same thing over and over to start your diet over again on Monday?”  I got tired of being tired and decided that night to just focus on what I could do today only that would get me closer to my goal.

What got me through was to stay in the present, to believe in what I wanted, to silence the naysayers in my head and to have laser focus.  What got me through was to embrace the people around me who cared and to let them know what was going on inside of me and ask for help. What go me through was to stop buying this video, this diet tea, and all the new stuffs on infomercials that I thought would get me motivated “If I buy this… I will stay on track”. What got me through was to keep it simple and to stay consistent with the same thing for at least 6 weeks.  What got me through was to see myself as a miracle and that my body was a temple to take care for in order to live my divine purpose. The answer was simple.  My motivation was inside me all along, my motivation was the way I thought of  and saw myself. Do I deserve what I want or not?

My motivation to you today is to be gentle with yourself and to stop being your worst enemy.  Be happy where you are on the way to where you want to be.  Stop saying “I’ll be happy when x, y, or z happens.” NO, be happy now with all your extra pounds and patiently work your way to where you see yourself in the future.  Every day wake up and focus on what it is that you can do today to get closer to your goal and stick to your diet.  You will go to bed proud of yourself knowing that you got one step closer.  And if you fall on your way there, at least you fall between the stars.  So put down the twinkies, stop starting your diet over “TOMORROW”, get that DVD playing on your TV and do the workout you talked yourself out of doing this morning NOW, plan and pack your meals  and most importantly smile because you deserve it.

Until next time spread the love…..

Knowledge is Power only if You Use it.

Yesterday I was sitting in front of my computer and was going down memory lane while doing some goal planning.  I posted a before and after picture of myself on Facebook to put myself out there and inspire others struggling to take their first step.  Wow! I got more than I bargained for.  Incredible women all over the world reached out.  I was blown away by the fact that so many sisters decided to change their family tree and leave a legacy of healthy lifestyle.  I also received so many questions on what my plan was.  In response to those requests I want to share what a typical day looks like for me training and eating.

I get up and start my morning praying to get my mind right and prepare for the day.

I then pack my cooler for the day.  On Sundays I cook for the next 3 days to avoid the guesswork especially when you are hungry during the day and can’t wait to eat something. Then that’s when magically you find yourself ordering a 700-calorie salad at a fast food chain thinking that because it’s a salad, it must be healthy.  Nutrition is key and really 80% of your success and a flat tummy starts in the kitchen, not by doing 2000 crunches every day.

First, let me take you through the food prep steps.  I love variety in my food and get super bored eating the same things. I look for at least 3 new recipes making sure the serving size is clear; something that takes at least 30 minutes to prepare.  I recently purchased this clean eating book and I’ve tried several of the recipes and like it.

The cookbook is available at

I confess that almost all the recipes I add my own spices, a little Haitian zest in it.  As long as they are salt-free with no MSG, season away.  I also prepare a menu in advance for the 3 days.  For the next 3 days I eat the same meat and just change things a little.  For instance you chicken can be a sandwich on Monday, paired with  rice on Tuesday  and pasta Wednesday.

Preparing the menu goes like this:

Protein Starch/ grain/carbs/dairy Veggies/Fruits
Meal 1 3 egg white + 1 whole egg ½ cup oatmeal dry cooked with water and cinnamon 6 ounces of fresh or frozen strawberries
Meal 2 Lean Ground Beef


Sweet potatoes or Brown Rice or Quinoa or Whole wheat couscous or polenta


1 cup spinach prepared with onions and garlic
Meal 3 Grilled salmon 1 cup of veggies with Shiratakee noodles
Snack 1 Chobani greek yogurgt with cinnamon, 1 stevia 1 apple
Snack 2 Celery sticks 1 tbsp almond butter (good fats)

Now repeat the same process for Day 2 and Day 3.

Frustration comes sometimes out of not doing what you know you are supposed to be doing to reach your goals.With the menu done, I prepare my grocery list and stop at least 4 stores depending on what I am buying:  whole foods, local health food store, trader Joe’s and stop & shop.  Don’t go shopping tired or hungry, that’s a recipe for failure.

Once I step into the house I grab the meat and fish for the next 3 days and season them on the spot with scallion, peppers, ground cumin, turmeric and salt-free Mrs. Dash.  I put them in separate containers and let them season over night.  The longer the seasoning seats in there the better.

With your meat and fish ready to go, after Church on Sunday you just transfer everything to a pot or in the oven and bake all of them at the same time.  On the side you steam your veggies, bake your sweet potatoes and cook your brown rice or quinoa.  A great investment that cooks your rice perfect 100% of the time is a rice cooker.  I use mine all the time and spend time with my son instead of stirring and watching stuff cook on the oven.

Rice cookers are very affordable (the cost of 2 Starbucks coffee ), and available at

Once everything is cooked you transfer them to containers and in the fridge.

Before you go to bed you line-up 5 or 6 empty containers and have you food scale ready and voilà! your entire meals for the next day are ready.  You pack them in your cooler and put the cooler in the fridge.  Now if you have a big family you will probably cook more food. The idea is that it is already cooked and can be frozen. For my husband I fix all his meals on separate plates and stack them in the fridge.  When he gets off work all he has to do is put the plate in the microwave and he is good to go.  Involve your entire family in your journey this way someone doesn’t show up in the house with a pizza or sub. Make it a family affair.

The cooler that I have is available at

The foodscale is also available at

Imagine how much time you have to yourself in the morning with your meal ready for you and the family.

Second, my workout goes something like this:

Monday: Legs, Low intensity Cardio, Abs

Tuesday: F55 Cardio (HIIT)

Wednesday: Back, Chest, Low intensity cardio

(cooking for next 3 days)

Thursday: F55 Cardio and Abs

Friday: shoulders and arms, Cardio

Saturday: Plyometrics F55 style.  Try this workout and your tushy will be screaming for you momma the next day

Sunday:  Thank you Jesus I worship, spend quality time with little man, rest and cook away.

Sometimes your days don’t go as planned but your food is already prepared, no worries about that.  If you don’t get to do your workout in the morning have a must-do commitment  with yourself like 30 minutes of something (jump rope… etc).  When I don’t feel like doing my cardio, I pick a television show that I like, I don’t have cable at home (on purpose to be more productive) I go to the gym and watch the show while I am on the treadmill sprinting or just walking. Something is better than nothing and you kill 2 birds with 1 stone: your cardio is done and you watched your favorite show doing something good for you,  instead of being on the couch or in bed doing mindless eating to wake up the next day feeling guilty.  Last thing is to have a way to track your progress and write what you put in your mouth.  Remember the title of this blog, when you see and acknowledge your progress, the walls your hit, your habits, it makes it easier to seek for help, it motivates you to keep going. Take pictures every 2 weeks and compare them because when you look at yourself everyday it’s hard to see the progress. Pictures don’t lie and they are a means to keep you motivated and accountable.

The workout journal that I use is also available at

You can have all the people in the world believing in you, encouraging you, if you don’t believe in yourself and encourage yourself first, change will not happen. Your body is your temple and the vessel that God blessed you with to express your divine gifts. Take care of it like it was a pot of gold, forgive yourself for all the times food was used as an emotional Band-Aid and start now.  Start now my friend.

See you at the top and spread the love……

You Deserve It

It’s time to say goodbye to 2010. Time to take the annual self-inventory and hopefully it displays a decrease in faults and increase in virtues. For me the year was like a rollercoaster.  Divine power, an amazing family and great friends kept me smiling, gave me a shoulder to cry and told me “I believe in you” when I needed to hear it.   No matter how 2010 was, fortunately you get to start with a clean slate on January 1, 2011.  Yes you can, and you deserve it.   But do YOU believe it?

On of my favorite verses that I memorized is in Matthew 17:20

Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed …….. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

The size of a mustard seed that’s how big your faith needs to be to get you going.  It’s not enough to say you have faith, just like anything else you practice over and over to be super good at it, you must also practice your faith, positive thinking, positive speaking and weed out the negative, always.  FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) may have kept 2010 from being you best year ever but FAITH (Fantastic Adventures In Trusting Him) is more powerful.

In the spirit of this wonderful year we are about to start, here is my recipe to making 2011 your best year ever.

  1. Change yourself from the inside out. It is believed that it takes 21 days to form new habits. From  January 1 to January 21, take at least 30 minutes when you wake up and 30 minutes before you go to bed to feed your mind with positive thoughts, read something motivating, pray, practice visualizing your dreams and take time to be still and just enjoy the silence.  I love to read pretty much anything and I recently skimmed through this book and I think there is a lot of good things to get out of it, it kind of puts you on a schedule and gives you an idea of where to start on the inside.  Check it out is even a free summary of the book if you are on a budget:

  2. Let go of past hurts, frustrations and especially forgive.  Carrying those emotions around is like being in the middle of the ocean with 50lbs around your ankle while you are waiting to be rescued (good luck with that!)There is always a blessing in disguise.  Some people were removed from your life to protect you or prepare you for better meaningful relationships.If 2010 was like hitting rock bottom for you,  Congratulations! Because once you get there, there is no other option but to go back up. You know the feeling of losing everything, nothing working like you expected, and you are basically left with nothing right?  If you change your thoughts during those trying times, you can actually start something new, fearless.  You’ve lost everything, you’ve hit rock bottom, and there is nothing else to lose so you might as well try something new.  The worst thing that could happen is you breaking even. One of my all time favorite books on going for what you want and facing challenges is “The Alchemist” by Paulo Cauelho.  You will love this book
  3. Set goals, set goals, set goals with a completion date.  One of my mentors and role models, Zig Ziglar created this “Perfomance Planner”.  It is simple and helps you set your goals with date the simple way.  You don’t have a big manual to read, it is straight to the point.  I bought one 6 years ago and I was just putting dreams in there just to let my mind “run with the wind..”.  I picked it up the other day to find out that 6 of those dreams I wrote down, I actually made happen.  So write it down and put a date on it.  Break down those goals in 1, 3, 5 and 10 years and the short-term ones break them down to months even days.  Here is an example: when I am preparing for a fitness competition, I write down my budget for everything: suit (I get the price in advance, fabric and all), registration, airfare, hotel fare, food budget, supplements, massages, waxing, etc….  I add it up and chose a date to have the funds for everything.  I take the total divide it by the number of days I have until my completion date and figure out how much money I need to put aside everyday to be able to do this show.  You would be surprised to find out with advanced planning it comes down to what you spend for Starbucks coffee or lunch everyday. You may start with “how in the world am I going to come up with $800” and end up with “$5 a day is very possible”.  Use the same approach for all your goals and simplify your life.  Knowing what it will take to make this dream come true every day makes it real and keeps you accountable.  Here is where you can order this amazing performance planner:
  4. Whatever you do everyday, like mentor Jim Rohn says “ leave everything better than it was” including yourself.

Believe it, see it, smell it, touch it.  My 3-year-old son, Horizon, reminds me of this every day, how?  He is so daring, he tries everything, he smiles a lot, he is not afraid of anything, except for the 9 o’clock fly that comes out if he doesn’t get ready for bed at night… lol  Every morning he wakes up and says “mommy today is going to be a beautiful sunny day, and I am very very Happy”.  He is so much like my husband.  I smile at his innocence; I smile at how easy he sees life.  He reminds me to approach things with the heart of a child who believes it will happen and everything will be OK….

Until next time, spread the love and a very happy happy new year to all of you…. After all YOU deserve it because YOU  are a “Champion”.

Wanna, Gonna, don’t have, if I had …. What type of person are you?

85 days before 2011.
85 days left to put into action the resolution list you put together on January 2010.
That’s it, 85 days.

It’s amazing how time flies and it’s frustrating when it flies and you look at that resolution list to feel like you didn’t accomplish a third of what you wanted to. Maybe that’s why “New Year’s resolutions” do not work. They are just a list that 90% of people never put into action.

I remember reading an article way back where the author was saying how crazy and unrealistic it was to start a new diet before Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Why not? I said to myself reading the article.
Why conform myself to the status quo?
Why go on this eating spree to find myself depressed, demoralized on January 1st writing another resolution list only to add 10 more pounds to the ones I already wanted to lose last January?
The list pretty much goes like this:
– I wanna lose 20 lbs
– I’m gonna wake up every day and do 1 hour of cardio before I go to work
– I’m gonna eat healthy and stop eating junk

Then pretty much around February it sounds like this
– I don’t have that much time anymore
– I don’t have the perfect gym membership
– If I had a home gym, perfect gym membership, workout body etc…

You commit to something time and time again to find yourself not getting anywhere. I want to tell you to break the status quo and make those 85 days count. Finish the year with a BANG. Thanksgiving is THANKS GIVING not ALL THAT YOU CAN EAT GIVING to your body. Make it count and plan to cook healthy meals (so many resources available now for clean eating Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners).

Make those 85 days count because you just cannot wait for the ideal situation to start because that just gets you into a rut and to quote Napoleon Hill

Getting into a rut, which means that we accept our fate because we form the habit of daily routine, a habit that finally becomes so strong, we cease to try to throw it off.”

I know what the rut is like in your weight loss journey. You start good on Monday, you eat healthy, on Wednesday you eat healthy half of the day to fall off the wagon. Depressed and disappointed at your lack of discipline, you manage to pick yourself back up and resolve to starting over without making any friction. You step on the scale 1 week later to notice that you are either the same weight or you gained 2 or 3 lbs.

There is a different way to think about where you are today. Resolve to take it one step at a time. Get a mentor, get a personal trainer, get on something and stick with it for 85 days. When you are getting closer to your goal, it will get harder and you will be tempted to quit. That’s the time you should hang in there the most because that is the time that will set you apart, the time that will put you in the small percentage who actually made it. Once you get to the other side, there is no going back and you will change your life forever.

85 days? Who do you want to be, a wanna, gonna, or Action kinda person?

Spread the love………

Change your perspective, change your life.

I remember before starting my journey at 238 pounds, the biggest I ever was in my entire life, the only thing I always thought about was how much I used to weigh, what sizes I used to wear, how good I looked in those jeans and it went on an on.

I hated the person I saw in the mirror and every time I felt like doing something about it, I started thinking about all the reasons why it couldn’t happen.  You know, the list, or should I say the dictionary of excuses we pull out:

  • I don’t have time, by the time I get off work I am tired, I have to cook and take the baby away from my husband who didn’t have a chance to sleep after work.
  • On weekends, well I didn’t have a baby sitter
  • It’s so hard, I want to lose 20 lbs in 1 month (thinking about this product I saw the other night on TV).
  • I just love eating…………….. (you fill in the blank).

Then one day my husband told me “Honey change your perspective and everything else will follow.  WHY do you want this?  ”.   I did and I love him everyday for this piece of advice.

We keep saying we want to lose weight, get leaner, and build more muscles, yet we are letting our mouth control our destiny.  You don’t need someone to tell you not to eat this piece of cake or eat out all the time.   A common pattern I notice is that usually at that stage people want something and the WHY they want it is not enough to convince them to change their behavior.   An example:  I had a co-worker who smoked 1 pack of cigarette in the 8 hours we were together at work.  When she went home I don’t know how much more she smoked.  I asked her one day if she thought about quitting.  She told me to mind my business and did not want to hear about quitting.  Long story short, she was diagnosed with throat cancer and quit cold turkey because it was a matter of life and death.  I wished for her it didn’t come to that but it did.  The WHY was so big, she quit cold turkey and luckily had a happy ending.

WHY do you want to lose weight, eat clean, run a half-marathon?  If you were told your life depended on it, you would do it, no questions asked. Once the WHY is big enough, the how will be almost insignificant because every time you hit a wall, you will remember the WHY and put that Haitian griot (fried pork) with rice  and beans down.

One can say, it’s easy for you to say that.  Well,  took me  2 years ½ and I am still working on improving EVERY DAY.  It’s is not a walk in the park but you know something, if you change your perspective and think

  • I will focus on 1 lb a week
  • At least 4 healthy small meals today
  • 30 minutes of workout rain or shine.

The funniest thing I did was buying a pedometer and after putting Horizon to bed, while I was watching CSI etc….I was not on the couch but on my feet, with my sneakers on, walking in place because I was not going to bed without reading 10,0000 steps on the pedometer.

Slowly but surely you will get there, just take the first step and change your perspective.  Be kind to yourself.  This wonderful person in the mirror is a child of God, and God did not take his time to create a dumb, fat, ugly, lazy, incapable of committing to anything person.  NO, change the way you think about yourself and see the end result EVERY DAY in your mind.  See that person every time you make the choice that gets you closer.  Sometimes you will have to travel ALONE; that friend you were counting on to start the new plan with you will quit, she will try to talk you out of a healthy meal  “It’s only a small piece, commmooonnn girl……”.   You will get tested but you know what, you are stronger than a slice of pizza…..

Spread the love and get on board.

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