The Hemp Connection + women's health

Best of luck--er--healthy choosing--to all of you in 2011!

Yes, some of us encounter circumstances that bring things we want, our way, a little more easily than they come to others. However, much of what we perceive as"luck", is the manifestation of a collection of prudent choices we've made, coming together to provide us with positive circumstances.

As a dietitian and exercise physiologist, I have lost count of the times that I've heard a client say,"But look at you. You're lucky. You don't have to worry about your weight like I do."

That's complete and total magical thinking, ladies. Some of the choices I make that play a part in what these clients see:

--exercise, sometimes walking, sometimes time at the gym…regardless of what it is, a commitment to being physically active, even on days when I don't feel like it. In fact, more commitment on the days that I don't, because that's when I need it the most.

--certain foods that simply don't come home in my grocery basket. Doesn't mean I don't eat them, but it does mean I don't set myself up to eat too much of them by allowing their colorful packages to stare me in the face every time I walk into the kitchen.

--associating with people whose goals for themselves are consistent with my own health goals. I tend not to stay out too late at parties because I value my sleep, I enjoy being active but also going to museums. I have friends who allow me to be balanced, rather than obsessive in any direction. Friends whose lives revolve around foods I know I shouldn't overindulge in, are not friends I can spend a whole lot of time with and maintain an expectation that I can be healthy.

--spending time with animals and nature to restore my energy reserves.

All of this takes commitment. I'm not known as the Party Girl in my circle. I'm actually kind of a nerd. But I have awesome family and friends, tasty food in my kitchen, I laugh and love a lot, and I fall asleep easily at the end of a day when I've worked hard on inCYST as well as my own physical, emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health.

What my clients see is not a lucky person who never lifts a finger or never sacrifices, but a person who invests in health, who gets a return on her investment for the effort, and who wants everyone she aspires to help to join her on that journey.

I've never offered the idea that somewhere in all of this you're going to arrive at a place where you won't ever have to make responsible choices. But I do want you to trust that when you make responsible, self-nurturing choices, things that used to elude you suddenly show up on the radar. And I want to show you how it's done.

On that note, here is a recipe from the South for black-eyed peas. They are traditionally eaten on New Year's Day for good luck. But they happen to be high in protein and fiber, excellent for hormones, and a proactive choice you can make to invest in your own health. One small, positive step is a most excellent building block for bringing more positive energy your way.

See you next year!

If possible, use fresh basil in the dressing for this easy salad.


•3 cups canned or cooked black-eyed peas (2 15-ounce cans, drained)

•1/4 teaspoon salt

•1/2 cup finely chopped onion

•1/2 cup finely chopped celery

•1 small sweet red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped


•Basil Dressing

•1/4 cup cider vinegar

•3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil, or 1 teaspoon dried

•2 to 3 medium cloves garlic, crushed

•1 1/2 teaspoons sugar

•1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

•1/4 teaspoon salt

•1 cup olive oil

•fresh basil or parsley for garnish


In a serving bowl combine black-eyed peas, 1/4 teaspoon salt, chopped onion, celery, and green pepper. Set aside.

In a small bowl or other container, whisk together the vinegar, basil, garlic, sugar, remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, and pepper. Gradually whisk in the oil until the dressing is well blended. You can use a blender for this step, if desired.

In a medium bowl, combine the black-eyed peas, the chopped onion, celery, bell pepper, and basil dressing. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, at least 2 hours or overnight. Serve with a garnish of fresh parsley or basil, if desired.

Serves 6.

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Best of luck--er--healthy choosing--to all of you in 2011! + women's health