Friday, July 30, 2010

Foodie Friday: Salmon

Raw salmon

Foodie Friday: Salmon

I am a huge fan of fish! Fish (Wild-caught, not farmed-rasied) is so good for us (though we need to be careful of fish with high-levels of mercury; ie. Tuna).

Today I am highlighting Salmon. According to World's Healthiest Foods, "Salmon is low in calories and saturated fat, yet high in protein, and a unique type of health-promoting fat, the omega-3 essential fatty acids." They also say that, 
  • Enjoying Salmon or Tuna Just Twice Weekly May Help Raise Omega-3 Levels at Least as Effectively as Daily Fish Oil Supplementation
  • Omega-3s Better Absorbed from Salmon than Cod Liver Oil Supplement
  • Provides Cardiovascular Benefits
  • Help Prevent and Control High Blood Pressure
  • Protection against Stroke
  • Eating Fish Daily Provides Substantially More Protection against Heart Attack
  • Omega 3s Help Prevent Obesity and Improve Insulin Response
  • Omega-3-Rich Fish Protective against Colorectal Cancer
  • Increases Heart Rate Variability-A Measure of Heart Muscle Function

  • Protection against Fatal Heart Arrhythmia

  • Just Two Servings of Omega-3-rich Fish a Week Can Lower Triglycerides
And the list goes on! So how do I like my Salmon?

I love "simple salmon." My most favorite thing to do with salmon is to bake it on a little coconut oil and then sprinkle fresh-squeezed lemon juice on top. There is nothing more fresh and natural than this "Simple Salmon Recipe."

So tell me, what do you like to do with your Salmon? If you don't dabble in it much or have never dabbled in it at all, I strongly suggest you get some for this weekend! (And ps. Goes great with wine!)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Where the (Open)Sky is the Limit

Remember when I mentioned awhile back about my "upgrade" to the site? There are II parts to this (and hopefully more beyond that)! 

Today I am happy to announce Part I: 
My OpenSky Shop

Over the past several months, people have continuously asked me what products I use, love and recommend for various health-fitness-vibrance-foodie-related things.  

I researched the best resources and platforms for displaying, reviewing and bringing these products to you. In the end, The OpenSky Platform was by far the best! 

So what makes OpenSky different from all the others?  

HUGE #1 - My OpenSky Store and the OpenSky Network doesn't even "officially" launch until August 10th, yet they have somehow already managed to get on ABC's Good Morning America.  

#2 - This is my store. I own 100% of it and thus I will never bring to you something I do not 110% believe in. I have complete control over the products I sell and how I choose to sell them. (Please make note: My recommendations are purely based on my experiences only. I do not claim to be an expert on "prescribing" to them.)

#3 - Ted Rubin. Ted believes, "Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass... it's about learning to dance in the rain. :-" Ted is the Chief Social Marketing Officer & Board of Advisors at OpenSky. I have had the pleasure of speaking with him on the phone and networking with him over the past couple of months. I believe in the passion Ted brings to the table.

The OpenSky Vision says, "Buying from people you know & trust is the best way to shop." I couldn't agree more. And I'm guessing you feel the same!

On August 10, 2010 my OpenSky Shop will go live! At that point, I will introduce some of my products. One of them I have been using this past month during my "first-month gluten-free!"

So mark your calendars - August 10th....and meet me back here - or wait - maybe in our "new spot?!?" That's Part II - coming soon!

Corporate website


Remember: Where the (Open)Sky is always the Limit! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday Day

Man thinking about math

Good Morning!

Welcome to another Wild Card Wednesday! If you don't remember what this is, click HERE.

This past week someone asked me the question (with regards to Social Media),
 "If you could give one or two words of wisdom about all of it, what would they be?"
Answer: Participate & Engage.
(And since there are only 2 words, I'll give you a little why. If you want to partake in the social space you must first show up. And then you must actually participate in the conversation and engage with people by providing value!)

Remember, the Wild Card Wednesday can be any questions you have! They don't have to be all about health, fitness and food!

You can ask via formspring ( or any other way you'd like!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Motivation Monday: Stuck in a (Career) Rut?

Businessman Relaxing in Cubicle

How many days have you been stuck in your cubicle at work, watching the clock tick and realizing that 5 minutes has seemed like an eternity?

Don't be stuck in that position any longer - you owe it to you! But before you get up and out, you must consider 3 Important Things:
  1. I don't want to be here, but do I know where I want to be? Just because you are unhappy with your current position and/or company, doesn't mean you really know what you would rather be doing. If you know that where you are at currently is just not it, perhaps this list of 15 things might "Ignite the Spark."
  2. Why the clock ticks slowly. Have you thought about why you feel like your position is dead end? Is it lacking challenge for you? Does the subject matter bore you? Are you in an environment that doesn't fit your personality? Make sure you understand that.
  3. Financial. Does your current position financially satisfy you? If you didn't have that income and/or benefits, would you be okay? Do you have enough saved if you left today with nothing else lined up?
If, after taking in those 3 things you are confident in moving up, on and out, perhaps you've reached the end of (that) road. 

And in that case, I say - Carry On!


Friday, July 23, 2010

Foodie Friday

Foodie Friday will definitely be one of my favorite "themes!" I LOVE food and since I'm on a journey to find out what I can eat and how to make the best of it, being a "foodie" is truly fun for me now!

Close-up of a fork in a bowl of beetroot
Today it's all about the beet! Yes, a simple beet

I hated beets as a child. They had a taste that could not be acquired. But now I am drawn to their naturally sweet flavor!

According to WHFoods, Beets "Provide optimal health, protect against heart disease, lessen inflammation & protect against birth defects." In 1 c. of boiled beets you will consume only 74 calories and still get a whole lot of essential nutrients. 

Beets compliment salads very well! I wouldn't know about the power of beets + feta because I've never had that combination, but have heard it's phenomenal. Because I'm still a plain-old-Jane (working towards more) I appreciate spinach + romaine + beets + grilled chicken + olive oil currently. Try it out - I think you'll like it, too! And the "beet" goes on....


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wild Card Wednesday

As I mentioned on Monday, many of my Blog posts will be more "themed." I am dedicating Wednesdays to all of you! 

Girl and boy surrounded by question marks

People send me questions all of the time via email, private message and more. Typically people will preface their questions with, "I'm really sorry to be asking you this - I'm sure you get sick of people asking questions, but...." My response is always - "Please don't say sorry. I am happy to help and answer questions." The truth is that I believe the most positive thing about our lives is that we can take our own experiences (positive and negative) to benefit someone else. Mine just happen to be through health, fitness, food and an overall "zest" for life mixed with social media, marketing, personal branding and all things generation z.

That being said, Wednesdays are now "Wild Card Wednesday." To ask me a question, just go to my formspring profile & ask away! ( Each time I answer (on Wednesday's only), I will have my answer automatically published to this Blog so you can all see the Question/Answer!

So what are you waiting for? Ask away! (ps. If you'd rather not ask via formspring, you can always ask via the comment section below, email or private message!)


Monday, July 19, 2010

Motivation Monday

Since my Blog has grown and I have found that there are so many things to discuss and provide, I will be moving forward with more "themed" days. 

Mondays will be, "Motivation Monday." We could all use that extra push on Mondays (along with that extra coffee)!

One of my most favorite motivational quotes belongs to Jim Rohn, who says, "Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going."

Motivation comes from within, but is typically driven by or sustained by an outside force (person, thought, action, etc.). What is motivating for one person, will not necessarily be motivating for the next. Some are motivated by a need, others by a want. 

What's important is that you find your motivation. If you don't have any - get some. Without it, you won't form a habit and without a positive habit in place, you likely will not form positive change.

When it comes to your health, fitness and overall vibrant lifestyle - think about my 3 thoughts/questions to find your own motivation: 
  • What do you want to accomplish? Set the goal, write it down and have it in your view. You'll be more likely to stay motivated.
  • What will the outcome of goal achievement mean for you? (Weight loss, vibrancy, healthier, happier, fitter, etc?) Use motivation as your bridge to that place.
  • Just do it. Stop being lazy.
And back to Mr. Rohn, "Motivation is what gets you started....." So what are you waiting for? Get started today - after all, remember last weekend when you said, "Starting on Monday.....?!?"

Stay tuned for next Monday when I'll give you my ways to beat your exercise boredom!

Motivational sign in gym

Sunday, July 18, 2010

One Month Gluten-Free Anniversary

Happy One Month Gluten-Free Anniversary to me! 

Time flies when you're busy focusing! I remember how miserable I was just one month ago!

Here is my "Food List" to date! If you would like me to email you this Excel Sheet so you can track your own, please let me know, and I would be happy to share with you!

GAP(Sarah) List - Month 1

As I mentioned yesterday, Gluten Free is the (only) way for Me! It leaves me smiling, happy and healthy!

My brother JJ & I at the County Fair on Friday night! Blurry? Yes. Why? Because JJ's friend Matt was having issues at midnight getting it right:)

CHEERS! (And here's to month 2 of new discoveries, health, fitness & vibrance - all Gluten Free!)

Gluten Free Resources

Since Gluten Free is not easy and I'd like to try to remain some "normalcy" in my life, I've started my journey with building the most comprehensive Gluten-Free Resource List I possibly can (clearly this is not even 2% of the resources out there - but it's a start)!

Here are 11 Resources to get us moving:
  1. CeliacChicks
  2. Celiac Disease & Gluten-Free Forum
  3. Hold the Gluten
  4. Gluten-Free Girl & Chef
  5. Gluten Free Blog
  6. Gluten Free Mommy
  7. Jen's Gluten Free
  8. Gluten Free Food List
  9. Whole Foods Market (Gluten-Free Shopping)
  10. Gluten-Free Snacks for Me
  11. Gluten Free Dee
Bonus: A small video on Detoxifying from Gluten. Adults: make note of that awful bloat she mentions!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Gluten Free, the (only) way for Me

I am making an absolute, 100% commitment to ME to be completely Gluten Free. Here's how/why I've come to this conclusion.

I see my 20-40 feet of intestines as an "upper" and "lower" half, which they are. This is why doctors do Endoscopy and Colonoscopy. Endoscopy for upper and Colonoscopy for lower. I have problems in both. The difference is that my prior doctor only discussed my lower problems and told me to cure with medications and that I could still eat whatever I wanted and my new doctor has first focused on my upper problems and is helping me (mostly) via food recommendations.

So the new doctor has found a lot of inflammation in my stomach and esophagus so far. And he knows that I get severely bloated and distended. He also knows that me off gluten makes my upper problems disappear. Thus, the first thing he suggested - adios wheat/gluten!

I am confident that the wheat/gluten is the 100% cause for my upper digestive problems. As for the lower, I am still working on this. I am headed in the right direction, but (the lower) is not to the place I want it to be. 

If the "how" didn't explain enough of the "why," then perhaps you've never felt even a slight bloat in your life and you just simply can't relate. Be Thankful!

There is not a day that goes by when I am "upper-bloat" free that I don't thank God! So many times lately I've been having these "mental blocks" where I feel like any moment I may bloat up again. My brain is remembering the past several years of constant discomfort. It's almost like some post-traumatic stress, and I clearly need to reverse those thoughts.

Couple linking pinky fingers, close-up of hands
The only way I know how to take care of those lingering issues is to make a pact with myself to be completely, 100% Gluten Free because each day I'm not faced with an "episode" is yet another day of building confidence.  

Will this be easy? No! Will I cry sometimes, as I already have? Sure! Will I want to re-think this pact? Most definitely! But will doing this make all the difference in my life? Absolutely!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Working with what You've Got

No matter where I'm at, I never let my location affect my workouts. Sure, I'll take days off - rest, relax and have fun, but I'll never use the excuse, "Well I couldn't workout because there was nothing to do!"

Being in Minnesota, at my parent's house is no different. All they have is a treadmill (old-school) and a set of 12.5 dumbbells. 

And yet, I was still able to get an extremely great workout in! Here's how:
  • 7 minutes interval running
  • 4 sets with 4-move circuit
  • 7 minutes interval running
  • 4 sets with 4-move circuit
  • 7 minutes interval running
  • 4 sets with 3-move circuit
  • 10 minutes interval running
And one hour later I was done. I was exhausted and dripping with sweat - proving that you can always get a great workout when you just work with what you've got! 



Yesterday I was in Chicago meeting with a company. My last meeting there was with the Division CMO. We began talking about me, my background and social media in general. After awhile he said to me, "Do you have a Blog?" I responded, "Yes, actually two. One that's primarily marketing and social media-focused, and the other health/fitness/food-focused." It was the latter that sparked his interest. He wanted to know more, so I told him briefly how it was "born" and why I'm so passionate about it today.

He then said, "My 14 year old son has Crohns. He is gluten free, too." And then instantly, I think we could have talked all day on the topic about frustrations, food choices, "discoveries" and so much more (especially because they have treated it to the degree I have - via food - or the lack thereof certain foods - smart people!)

Man speaking with his hand
After speaking with him, it made me realize even more how important this Blog is to me. This is not just a "Blah, blah blog" to me! Not only are there people like me out there, but there are more than I could even imagine. They are people just like me, fighting their own battles. And they are not just adults, they are children, too. His son is 14, and the little girl at my cousin's daycare is just 3 (with Celiac). I complain, cry and get negative from time-to-time about all this, but younger kids and children are the ones who really don't understand why they are the way they are. It's an ongoing daily struggle, but what I hope and pray this Blog does is truly reaches out to even one person in the form of motivation, help, advice or just a place to come to say....I read Confessions, Truths & the Journey of a (Mis)Fortunate Fitness-Foodie Junkie because, "iRelate."

(ps. I am dabbling into the idea of "moving" this blog & transforming it into something bigger. It won't happen overnight because I'll have a lot of work cut out for me, but I'm extremely excited and I think it will provide even more value to all who stumble across it! If you have thoughts/ideas/suggestions/needs/wants from this Blog, please feel free to email me, tweet at me @sarahkayhoffman or leave a comment here.) 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Heights

As promised from yesterday....highlights from Montana!

Yet another trip with Ryan. 
New places, faces and scenery!

 Because I wasn't bloated and felt amazing, I was able to climb with Ryan to the top of Mount Helena. GORGEOUS!

Mind over matter. If I could do it there - I can do this anywhere!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Convenience is King

In Social Media we hear "content is king" all too frequently. What I learned from being in Helena, Montana for the past few days is: Convenience is King.

I have taken living in California for granted when it comes to food. In CA, I know that no matter where I go, what I'm doing, day or night, convenient health food is never out of reach. This is not the case in so many other places of the country. And quite frankly I don't think people care, either.

My first sign that "my food" would be too far away was on the drive from Spokane, WA to Helena, Montana - there was not one Starbucks. In California, you barely go 3 miles without seeing one. Trust me, I realize that Starbucks is not necessarily my "health food," but I'm #JustSayin'.

I struggled the entire time there - I mostly went to the grocery store to gorge on carrots, watermelon and my new "love," the Fruit & Nut Bar (see picture above). Oh, and water. Lots of water! 

In California it's not only "convenient," but it's also the "norm" to cater to people like me. And I have truly taken this for granted. At this point, my health and fitness lifestyle is probably the only lifestyle that California complements. 

But I must embrace it while I can....

Though it sounds so negative, negative, negative, there were 3 amazing things that came out of Montana:
  1. Yet another trip with Ryan. New places, faces and scenery!
  2. Because I wasn't bloated and felt amazing, I was able to climb with Ryan to the top of Mount Helena. GORGEOUS!
  3. Mind over matter. If I could do it there - I can do this anywhere!
More on those 3 points included!


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Endoscopy Full Results

Pictured Is A Technician Performing The Newborn Blood Test For Phenylketonuria, A Hereditary, Autosomal Recessive, Metabolic Disorder In Which There Is A Defic Of Phenylalanine Hydroxylase, Resulting In Elevated Lev Of Phenylketone In The Blood And Urine. Untreated, Thi Lead To Mental Retardation. Pku Test Test For Phenylketonuria

My full endoscopy results came in yesterday.

Seems as though I'm basically a dog just out there chasing my tail! 

The Doctor said I definitely have a lot of inflammation, but it doesn't point to any specific cause. If I don't know the cause, I don't know the action - well, the full action anyways. 

I don't have Celiac, though he said that staying away from Wheat/Gluten will probably only help me. The only harm he sees with me eliminating Wheat/Gluten is total daily caloric intake (and me not getting enough). I don't have a problem with this, though! I teach myself daily that when I'm hungry, I eat!

In a few weeks, he wants to do further "exploring" via, you guessed it - more blood tests. I won't lie, it's getting old. Very old! I'm just trying to remain positive. And of course, I'm dotting my "I's" and crossing my "T's" when it comes to being careful with food. Between the two, it's been my best bet against this "fight with my 40 feet of intestines!"

My mom says, "I think you're quite healthy." To her I responded, "I sure am. It's just a bum-tum."

I take each day at a time. Smart (food) choices, healthy (workout and movement) habits - and of course, a smile!


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Online Communities for Health Nuts

Just in case you have never ventured to the DigitalMention Blog, I thought I would share with you the posting I put up there today. The posting was called, "Health Nuts Unite via Online Communities."

There are so many places online for daily support, motivation and overall "acceptance" for whatever your interest is in health, fitness & food. I encourage you to find a community, participate, engage and "show up." You'll be surprised at the connections you can make and the rewards you'll reap from that! (Please let me know of any others I forgot - would love to add more to the list!)

It was another fabulous day for the "Sarah-Food Camp!" No problems to report. Perfectly "perfect" feeling. The only complaint I have is that due to the leg workout around 10:30am, I felt completely famished for the rest of the day. That's okay, though. I just listened to my body, ate and felt no bloat! 

Carrots with roots

Tonight for dinner I'm going to introduce carrots, as the thoroughly-steamed version. I may have a cup, with some sprinkled cinnamon on top! I'll report back:)

I am supposed to have my Endoscopy follow-up tomorrow. Seems as though my biopsy results are not in yet, so this may be rescheduled. I'm not happy about that. I'm not very patient! 

I'm looking forward to a great night sleep. I worked so hard at the gym today that I have a feeling I'll be out before 9pm!


Courage is Grown in the Doing

I heard Paul Coughlin speak. He said, "Courage is Grown in the Doing."

His application was different than mine, and probably different than how you are imagining this now. Take it for what it's worth to YOU!

The first thing I think of is the Nike Courage Commercial.

The second thing I think of is the "softer" side of Courage through the "Courage is..." song and slideshow.

And then I think of how much the both resonate with me - and how I've applied "Courage is Grown in the Doing" to my own life:
  • I am courageous each and every time I choose "my food" over the food I actually want. 
  • I am courageous when I put my "I can do this" hat on and get the toughest of my workouts in. (Note: Today was one of those days - Legs at 7 sets, final in this series!)
  • I am courageous when I take chances to further my professional "self."
  • I am courageous when I don't allow "negative" people, thoughts or influences shape the person I am and working so hard to be.
  • I am courageous when dessert comes out and I say, "No thank you - I'll just have some Coconut Butter or Watermelon." (Side Note: NOT because I'm on a diet or wanting to be difficult, which is also part of me being "courageous" and not worrying what other people think.)

I am courageous in many ways. But what's important in that whole phrase is the part that comes after "Courage." " Grown in the Doing." 

I didn't get the courage to do these or anything else overnight. (And there are many things I'm still working on "growing by doing.") You won't either. But you never will if you don't start now! Having the courage to think, act and do the things I am currently able to has literally "grown" through "doing." 

For example, I practice these "crazy" eating habits on a daily basis so that by the time I am in public, with friends, family and out for social events, I am okay with sticking to what I must. I know my limits. And these daily habits have made me courageous!

Think about it....Courage is Grown in the Doing.


Sunday, July 4, 2010


Happy 4th of July!

We had a BBQ at our house yesterday. There was so much great-looking food. It was definitely a challenge for me to stick with my own chicken and turkey only!

Close-up of sliced watermelon in a plate

But then I decided to try the watermelon. It looked so juicy! There is obviously no wheat, gluten or anything I'm not supposed to have in it. I still got worried, since I haven't "ventured out" in 2 weeks (YES, today is the 2-week mark)!

So I ate some. And then some more. And even some for breakfast today! No, not some - like 3 cups! Good bloat! I'm in the "clear" to have me some low-cal, high-water concentration, watermelon!

Now that I have hit the 2-week mark, here is my comprehensive '"Definitely "Okay"" Food List: 
  • Turkey
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Fresh lemon juice
  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh orange juice
  • Coconut Milk
  • Coconut Butter
  • Cayenne
  • Avocado
  • GF Flax (grounded)
  • Watermelon
  • Banana
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Garlic + Sea Salt + Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Honey
  • (weakened) Coffee
  • (small amounts) Soy Milk
  • Red Wine
  • Vodka
  • 100% Raw, Pecan with Cashew Nut Butter
And here is my (very) "Questionable" Food List: 
  • 100% Durum Whole Wheat Pasta (reaction on 7.1.2010)
I'm looking forward to even more "Definitely - Okay" Discoveries!

For today, in honor of the 4th, I leave you with....
"I cover my heart with my hat when they fly that Red, White & Blue. Just like my Daddy taught me: How 'bout you?" - Eric Church


Friday, July 2, 2010

Endoscopy: Partial Results

I once read that a "successful" blog is not a "Dear Diary." I do agree, to a degree. But since this is my personal blog where I share with you my "journey" with all things health, fitness & food related, I think it's only fair that I insert the "Dear Diary" portion. I have even dabbled in the idea of changing the name of my Blog to Dear Diary: (something xyz)?

So I digress....

I woke up today, starving! That's why it's called BREAK-FAST. You are supposed to "break" the "fast." (Don't forget that - make sure you break it, each and everyday. Not just when it's "convenient.) But today, not for me. No food, no water - nothing. Today was Endoscopy day! 

I got to the surgery place, where they took my blood pressure and started my IV. One highlight of my day was when the nurse asked, "Wow - your blood pressure is so low. Do you workout a lot? Run? High intensity?" Of course I responded, "Yes." She said '"that's fantastic how "abnormally (yet normal) low" it is!"'

From there, I waited until my doctor was ready. By the time they actually start anesthesiology, you basically have 1 more minute of coherence to roll over on your side. And that's the last I remember. It was over shortly after....leaving you with just a burning throat!

Side Story: While I was waiting to "snap out of it" a little more, I heard a man ask the doctor, "So do I need more Nexium?" The doctor said, "Well, you can either cut your Martini's or take 2 Nexium/day, which is expensive." He laughed and said, "Oh no, not my Martini's." And I could relate to that! Though, if I could manage anything with a change in diet alone vs. the medication I would in a heartbeat! But still....ouch:)

They waited until my husband got there to give him "preliminary" results, as they know patients aren't fully "aware" yet! They told us that they did find inflammation in both my esophagus and my stomach. They took biopsies, which will help determine anything beyond that. 

My followup is next Wednesday. 

I'm not sure what all this means, but it doesn't surprise me that there is inflammation. I'm back to my diet from the "wheat stray" yesterday. Trust me, I will be "testing" those waters again. Just not for awhile. 

Until then, I'm happy, healthy, (un) bloated & internally (currently) screaming....


Bread, wheat and kitchen knife on whit background, close-up


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Wheat - a Culprit?

If you remember, I told you in yesterday's post that I was going to be doing a 100% Durum Whole Wheat "Test."

Immediately upon finishing my Leg Workout (which, by the way today I was up to 6 sets - so hard!!) I grabbed my 3/4 cup of "wheat." Clearly I was starved. I gobbled it down quickly.

Within a few minutes I got that red dot in my cheek. It's painless, but shows up with certain foods I haven't pinpointed yet. A few hours later I definitely felt a slight bloat. I'm not going to say I was miserable because I wasn't (and then again, I only had 3/4 cup). But something didn't feel right.

I am keeping my eye on this in the next day or so. Nothing new will be added until then, as I want to truly make this a "test." 

Tomorrow I have my endoscopy. We will see if my biopsies find anything. Wish me luck as they "count-me-down" to sleep - 5, 4, 3, 2 (I'm out)!

Until then....