The point of this article is to demonstrate that female empowerment is in and it is not going anywhere. And furthermore, to highlight an amazing organization working to empower young women through education and exploration.
April’s Woman of the Month is a local Colorado athlete out of Boulder, who has recently made her debut into the Ultra Running* World. At only 25 years old, she has accomplished more than most do in a lifetime, all while keeping the most humble and down-to-Earth attitude you could imagine. Running is what she’s most known for, but this woman has inspiring dreams and is giving back to her community in outstanding ways. So without further ado, meet Clare Gallagher!
Simply put, ghee is pure butterfat. When butter is simmered for a period of time, the proteins (casein & whey) sink to the bottom of the saucepan while the milk solids (containing impurities and lactose) float to the top in a froth. The frothy top-layer is scooped off, and the proteins stick to the bottom leaving this middle layer of beautifully gold and fragrant butterfat.
There are days over this past year that I have wanted to quit. Throw FemTribe out the window and never look back. There have been days when I felt on top of the world! Determined to overcome all obstacles in my way to making FemTribe a success. I have been angry, I have been scared, I have been happy. I have NEVER been bored.
While it’s barely Spring, you can still grow all sorts of greens in the comfort of your own kitchen window sill. It’s super easy, fun, cheap, nutritious, and only takes about 30 seconds a day for a week or so!
Here are instructions for sprouting your own micro green sprouts!
Step 1: Gather your materials. You’ll need a glass jar (mine is quart-sized), a lid that allows breathing (this can be as simple as nailing holes in a metal screw-on top), and your seeds or beans! I used broccoli seeds from Natural Grocers.
Step 2: Add just enough seeds to cover the bottom of your jar, about 2 tbsp for a quart jar. Add a couple inches of room-temp water to cover the seeds. Put the lid on, and store out of sunlight overnight (~12 hrs).
Step 3: In the morning, drain the water from the jar. Rinse with fresh, room-temp water and drain again. I try to roll the seeds around the side of the jar so they don’t pile up too much and receive equal amounts of sunlight. Place the jar in a window sill where it will receive the best sunlight.
Step 4: Repeat this rinsing and draining of water each morning and evening. If you’re afraid you’re not draining it enough, you can leave it propped upside down so it breaths and mold doesn’t form.
Step 5: When the sprouts turn green, you can start to enjoy them on salads, omelettes, soups, sandwiches, in smoothies… any way you’d like! When you want them to stop growing, simply store in your fridge up to a week in a breathable container and use the jar to start your next batch.
Day 7 – Ready to eat!
Optional Step 6: I like the crunch that the seed shells add, but if you don’t want these, you can put your sprouts in a large bowl. Fill the bowl with cold water. The seed shells typically sink and the sprouts float (or vise versa depending on the seed). You can easily scoop out the shells and compost/discard them
Health Benefits of Sprouting:
Cancer protecting benefits – tons of antioxidants (especially broccoli sprouts due to their sulforaphane content)
Great source of fiber – improving digestive processes
Great source of amino acids, proteins, and enzymes
Great source of Vitamins A, C, K, and most B’s
Great source of minerals – manganese, copper, zinc, magnesium, iron, and calcium
Great source of omega 3 fatty acids (anti-inflammatory effects)
Higher nutrient content and higher bioavailability of these nutrients (your body actually absorbs more nutrients)
Prevent anemia by increasing iron intake
Other seeds, beans, or nuts you can sprout:
Seeds: Alfalfa, Broccoli, Chia, Celery, Clover, Fenugreek, Radish, Kale, Onion, Pumpkin, Sesame, and Sunflower.
(AVOID: any nightshade seeds like eggplant, hot peppers, sweet peppers, potato, or tomato. They’re potentially poisonous.)
Beans: Adzuki, Chickpeas, Green Peas, Lentil, and Mung
Nuts: Typically if a nut is “sprouted” this just means it has been soaked for 2-12 hours to make the nutrients more bioavailable. This neutralizes phytic acid or enzyme inhibitors.
Have fun experimenting!
*There are many different ways to sprout, this is simply the easiest I have found and takes up the least amount of space and time.
*The temperature of your house may slow or speed up the sprouting process. In the winter time, if your window isn’t insulted, it can take much longer than a week. Try a counter space farther from the cold window that can still reach some sunlight.
“Benefits of Sprouting” - https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/seed-and-nut/sprouts.html
General Reference and “Benefits of Sprouting” - https://draxe.com/sprout/
“This can be as simple as nailing holes in a screw-on top” - http://www.verticalveg.org.uk/6-easy-steps-to-sprout-heaven/
“Other seeds, beans, or nuts you can sprout” - http://www.thekitchn.com/beyond-grains-sprouting-seeds-nuts-and-beans-204708
Our lives are incredibly busy. From demands at work, stress at home, attempting to have a social life AND trying to take care of ourselves... sometimes it just seems that there are not enough hours in the day to get it all in! This is an incredibly overwhelming feeling, but the good news is: you're not alone. Despite all the stress we place on ourselves, our bodies are incredibly resilient to the stresses of our daily life, such as skipping meals because we’re too busy, sitting at a desk for hours at a time, or opting to watch Netflix instead of hitting the gym - all typical choices a person may make over the course of a week. (It’s not just me, right?) But where does that really leave you? What if you gave yourself a few minutes to check-in with yourself? How could your life improve if you could lessen the amount of stress you experience in your daily life?
On average, a person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. This means we breathe about 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 breaths a day, 8,409,600 a year. Do you think about your breathing on a regular basis? Perhaps the better question is how often do you forget to breathe?
Since I’ve been lifting weights for the last two years, my awareness about my breathing has become a priority for my daily health. Focusing on my breath during lifting weights got me thinking... I forget to breathe all the time! Both inside and outside of the gym. Don’t worry – it’s not in any real dire sense, like I’m going to pass out or send myself to the hospital, but in small, significant ways that add up.
I wish I could be more mindful about cultivating my meditation practice (woohoo! I’m up to five minutes without squirrel brain!), but there are very few times in my day where I’m consciously focused on something as simple as my breath.
Therefore, I decided to consciously pay attention to my breathing throughout the day, for an entire week, to see where it led me. To see if I could relieve some stress and tension from my life. Let me tell you, it’s harder than it sounds. So with this, here are my four takeaways that I found beneficial, and I encourage you to give them a try for yourself.
1. Create and Maintain a Morning Routine - I start each morning with a writing meditation. While doing this, I make sure that I get my coffee intake and sit down to eat breakfast. Not only do I make sure I am fueled for the day physically, but mentally I’ve taken time for myself thus creating intentions for the day. In addition, I choose an affirmation or mantra that will help me refocus on my intentions when I am having a particularly stressful time at work. If I can leave you with anything - it’s meditate and eat well to kick off your day. Don’t just take my word for it, experts and other professionals agree as well.
2. Take Five... (or sometimes 30) - During the day when I am not walking my dog or spending an hour at the gym, I am glued to my computer. It’s sad to say, but when I’m not at my computer, I’m on my phone checking emails and updates. I’m even that person that eats lunch at their desk because I’ve got so much to do and not enough time to do it. But guess what? This is not something to celebrate. Not only is this unsustainable, but it’s actually not good for you. Take a break. Eat lunch outside or with a co-worker. Stumped on a project or can’t figure out the language you need for that sensitive work email? Then go for a walk, meditate, or read a book. I promise it will make you feel happier, less stressed, and more connected to the present.
3. Stretch - We hear it all the time, “you need to stretch more!” I know that I should stretch before and after a workout, but here’s the truth. I’m guilty of not stretching enough. I try to do some stretches at my desk or even take a phone call while I am rolling around in happy baby. But the reason I have a hard time doing it is because I can’t slow down, be patient, and breathe through the pain. Anyone else been there? Not only does breathing help, but I actually come away with more energy. Don’t believe me? Try these 6 simple stretches at work.
4. Unplug… (especially before bed) - Step away from the screen. I repeat. Step away from your screen. You can’t let go of the day if you’re constantly checking your social media feed every six minutes. Instead, try cooking a meal, talking to your significant other, read a book, or pick up that crafting hobby you’ve been meaning to try (for me, it’s coloring and illustration). Relaxing and destressing before you hit the pillow is crucial to helping you get better sleep. I put my phone on airplane mode so that I can still use it as an alarm clock, but no one can interrupt my sleep.
Remember being conscious of your breath isn’t only about breathing in and out. Take the time to purposefully incorporate a few deep breaths over the course of your day to help relieve stress and connect with yourself. This will help you be present in the good and bad of your daily routine, while having techniques and tools to help get you through it. Life’s not always the easiest, but when you start paying more attention to your breathing, you might be as surprised as I was about what you learn about yourself.
I have always been extremely competitive - even when it doesn’t really make sense. For example, I like to compare my fitness level to my very-naturally athletic, and tall fiancee. While I am fairly athletic myself, I have much shorter legs and a less-fit body, making the comparison between him and me unfair. Yet I still am so hard on myself when he runs faster or can go further. It really did not make sense to judge myself based on his accomplishments but I did so readily.
Unfortunately, this made our workouts together rather hard. I was always pushing myself to the extreme to keep up when I was not in the shape to do so. Honestly, I was lucky I did not end up with an injury. It was hard for me to watch as he bounded ahead of me with ease and energy, whereas I was huffing with every step. Did I care that he had longer legs, and therefore had a longer stride? Did I care that he was a natural runner? Nope. All that crossed my mind was how I ran more often than him but that he could still outrun me, and I was filled with negativity.
One day as I watched him gracefully and handsomely bound ahead, I had a huge realization. The thought hit me like a truck. Here I was promoting this business that encourages people, particularly women, to love themselves and to use workouts as a way to express that love, but I was not practicing it in my own routine. I thought I was practicing what I preached, but when I saw my adorable fiance out ahead of me, the real truth came bubbling to the surface. I was not exercising out of love. I slowed down because I was losing the imaginary race between me and my fiance, which showed me my thoughts were negative and ugly. I was not practicing the fundamentals of FemTribe, I was belittling myself.
For the rest of the run, every time I began to have a negative thought about myself, my running abilities, or how I should be better, I replaced it with the simple phrase “I run for me.” Trust me, I had to say it A LOT.
I run for me. Four little words that changed the rest of my work out. Four little words that changed how I saw myself. Four little words that worked.
The transformation was astounding. I was suddenly strong. I remembered that I loved to run. I breathed in the freedom that running allows. My stride suddenly grew, and my breathing was not as labored. Four little words gave me pride.
It was a complete 180 degree turn. I went from being discouraged, and wanting the run to end, to feeling empowered, feeling that I was healthy, and knowing that I was running FOR ME.
I could feel satisfaction in myself, without the need to beat my much taller running mate. I did not - and could not - catch up to my fiance, but I was happy and finally enjoying my run.
I was helping my body get stronger, and I was doing it at my own pace. It felt amazing.
I encourage everyone to repeat the phrase “I workout for me”. You do not work out because you dislike yourself, and you do not workout because your friend can run farther than you. You workout because it makes you happy, gives you energy, and is good for your body. You workout for YOU. It is as simple as that. It is tempting to feel discouraged when you see some hunk lifting 60 pounds when you’re struggling to lift your 8, but if you’re working out for you then your satisfaction could be even greater than his. You won’t feel the unrealistic pressure to be perfect, or to do something your body is not ready to do. Leave others out of the equation - work out for you. Besides, as my gal pal Mother Theresa said, “It was never between you and them anyway.”
Self (ish) Love
With the excitement and craziness of the holidays all around us, it can be hard to zero in on what’s truly important. Gifts to buy, parties to attend, vacations to plan and time with family- the list goes on and on. Amidst all this, I’ve got a challenge for you, Tribe members.
This holiday season (and beyond): I want each of you to BE SELFISH.
Hold up. When has that ever been okay? Well, I’m arguing that it’s more than okay- that it’s actually healthy and frankly, incredibly NECESSARY to live the full life that you’ve been dreaming of.
Recently, I’ve been trying to practice self-love in every element of my life. I’ve been attempting to tune into my intuition, listen to my soul and do what “feels” right- regardless if I understand the reasoning behind it.
Sounds easy, right? Wrong.
This has been been one of the toughest decisions to stick with. I’m often confused by my desires, hesitant with my direction and doubtful that I am following my true path. I’m sure a lot of you feel that way pretty often, and it can be a very confusing time. As for me, I’m currently living semi-nomadically with a storage unit and a car full of skis. My weeks never look the same, my clothes sometimes smell and I’ve eaten more frozen burritos than I’d care to admit. I’m skiing as much as I can, cooking when and where I can, and plowing through books. I’m flaky with commitment, vague with my plans and spontaneous in my decision-making (even more so than normal). Over the last few months, I’ve frustrated my friends, accidentally broken some promises and been wildly unpredictable.
But you know what? I’m more alive than I’ve ever felt before. The secret? I’m being selfish- but for the right reasons.
All my life, I’ve been taught to be self-LESS, to think of others more often than myself, to put my beliefs / wants / needs on the back burner. I was told to never demand too much from any situation, person, relationship or job.
Being selfish was not tolerated in my household growing up, nor is it a socially acceptable quality now. I am an only child, and as a kid I was hyper-aware of speaking up for myself. I worried that vocalizing my needs would be dismissed as being “spoiled” or because I have “only child syndrome.” We’ve all met people who live up to the “only child” reputation, regardless of whether or not they actually are. I grew up (and still deal with) bratty folks every day who are demanding, impatient, narcissistic and self-absorbed. I knew from an early age that I couldn’t let that be me- WOULDN'T let that be me.
So over the years, I’d bent over backwards, accommodated others’ needs to the point where “compromise” became my middle name. I became a “yes” girl, following orders, others’ expectations and the pre-determined path society laid out for me. I had a hard time raising my voice or saying “no,” for fear of disappointing friends or family (though maybe I wanted a quiet night at home instead of going out, and that I actually hate coffee and prefer tea any day of the week).
It became so bad that I would get such anxiety if I thought I’d made a friend angry, and wouldn’t be able to let it go until I had scrutinized every conversation and possible outcome to see where I’d erred. I had trouble carving out “KK days,” just for myself, where I did nothing but what I wanted for an entire day because I’d be racked with guilt that I flaked on friends, or worried I was being too anti-social (though I actually enjoy being alone).
So 26 years later, I decided I was done.
I made a change- a mindful adjustment that has dramatically altered my life and opened up a world of possibility. And now, I challenge you to do the same.
I’m not suggesting it’s easy or necessary to drop off the grid, walk out on your commitments or erase your life and start fresh. I’m aware and so incredibly thankful that I am able to live like this, though I know it's not a forever thing. At this time in my life, I’m blessed with good health, great friends, flexible jobs and minimal commitments. I can answer to my own beck and call, and have found such a strong sense of empowerment from doing so. I believe each and every person is entitled to an incredibly free and joy-filled life.
So how do you get it? Three “easy” steps (that are some of the hardest to do):
1. Start by taking inventory of your life and identify what doesn’t serve you anymore- a relationship, a job, your diet, a routine, hairstyle, etc. Trim the fat. Become a minimalist. Less is more. Quality over quantity. These cheesy one-liners are around for a reason. Check in and decide what stays and what is okay to change, and then… LET GO.
2. Become more forward-facing. Set goals. Push yourself to learn a new hobby or skill. Start a new workout routine. Learn to cook an exotic dish. Get out of your comfort zone. It’s incredibly rewarding when you realize you’re not bound by anything or anyone. Yes, you may have a family or a job or a mortgage, but zeroing in on what’s most important to you allows the surface crap to fall away. You will have more energy and chutzpah for the relationships and experiences that actually matter in life.
3. Get out there and F***ING do it!!! Again, arguably the hardest and most challenging step. Get your butt moving and GO. I understand it’s not easy, but nothing ever worth doing is easy, right? If you want it bad enough, it won’t be easy – and in fact, thank goodness it’s not! The experience is much more worthwhile knowing it was not handed to you.
Being selfish for the right reasons is a game changer. How can you share your love and kindness with the world if your needs are not met? If you don't care for yourself physically, mentally, emotionally, sexually, etc- then how can you expect to lead a fulfilling life and inspire those around you to do the same? It’s time to stop “talking the talk” and actually start “walking the walk.”
So, stop reading this article and GO. NOW. Move forward with gratitude, and open mind and the courage that you’re about to live the life you deserve. If you’re feeling nervous, go sign up for some FemTribe classes to jump-start your self-confidence and get back in shape (2017- New Year, New You whadduppp).
Enough reading- now go kick some ass!
Peace, (self) love and lots of chocolate,
How to Get Outside and Exercise This Winter
I am the biggest wimp when it comes to cold weather. I’m convinced that blood doesn’t pump to my fingers or toes! Moving to Oregon from Arizona was a shock as well, as it’s not only colder, it’s also more cloudy. Yet me unfailing belief in the power of getting exercise in the great outdoors is important, no matter what time of year it is.
My fitness lifestyle has always involved being outside. During my first really bad rainy Pacific Northwest winter I gained weight. I was so confused as to why this had happened! Then I realized I wasn’t working out as much because I didn’t want to go outside, and it was affecting my mood. This fall, I decided not to prepare to hibernate, but rather to embrace the cold and keep my active outdoor daily lifestyle.
Why should I even think about working out outside rather than just run on a treadmill indoors when it is rainy, snowy and cold outside?
Great question, me! So have you ever heard the term winter blues? Well fresh air and exercise together can help that. Being outside brightens your mood (Vitamin D anyone?) and stimulates your mind. You will find that you are much more alert for the rest of the day if you run outside in the morning or midday. You will burn more calories and strengthen your heart, while making you happier and more energized. And don’t worry about the cold air making you sick, that’s a myth. What’s worse is staying indoors all winter and breathing in the air that is circulating in your workplace. I mean, who wants to breath the same air as their coworkers all day? So, now that I’ve convinced you to go outside where it’s miserable, here are some tips to help you get outside this winter.
Warm Up Indoors
First thing: make the rule that when you get home you can’t sit on the couch until you have worked out! If you head home after work, set out all your workout clothes right by your door. Go ahead and change too so you’re ready first thing as soon as you step outside. Before you leave though, get your body temperature up by doing some jumping jacks and lunges. And remember to stretch thoroughly, as that’s important before and after any workout. For an extra heat boost, try putting on your running jacket indoors so whatever heat you produce is close to your body. I like to get a little bit too warm before I head outside, as it really helps you get going.
Keep It Simple
Hesitant to go do a full 10 mile run in 30 degrees? When it’s grey? And windy? And it will probably start raining? And you just got new yoga pants, and netflix has a new season out of your favorite show… I don’t blame you. Keep it simple, just do a 2 mile walk with your dog. If you are trying something that is new or even a little hard, start small and then build up. Just a walk on a lunch break is better than nothing. Seriously. You can do that, right? Just make the commitment.
Have The Right Gear
This one is a big. Something that really motivates me is new cute workout gear or new running shoes. If you are really trying to make it a priority to stay in shape and get outside this winter, invest in some gear. It’s all just motivation to get you moving. Here in rainy Portland, running rain jackets are really popular. If you like trail running, but some of your favorite trails are a little icy or snowy, don some lightweight running crampons.
Now I am usually a firm believer that you can go to Target and spend 15 dollars on cotton tank top to workout in, and that will be just fine. You don’t always need nice expensive workout wear. However, I think working out outdoors in the winter is an exception. If you are too cold or get too sweaty or wet, you will hate it and never want to do it again. I learned that last part from personal experience! I found that having good winter running gear makes a world of difference. I am a little cold at first, but once I warm up, running in the cold is actually very enjoyable. Also remember that you are going to get warm so don’t over dress. Common advice is to dress as though it is 10 degrees warmer than it really is. If you are running make sure you have gloves for the wind against your hands. Warm headbands that cover your ears help a ton too. Wool is a great fabric that will keep you warm even when wet. With the right gear it will be never to cold to work out!!
Check out the graphic below for what to wear for certain temperatures. And remember if you are running in rain, or at night/dawn/dusk wear reflective clothing or a neon vest!
Take Advantage of Winter Specific Sports
If you are in an area that you can ski or snowboard, that is an awesome way to get outdoors... and is a killer workout! However, if those activities don’t interest you there are other ways to embrace the winter. Snowshoeing is a great and less expensive way to enjoy the snow and get a ton of exercise. Most sporting goods stores, like REI or Cabelas, or any ski rental company, will rent snowshoes for 10-15 dollars per day. Even shoveling snow is a great way to break a sweat!
Or take your family ice skating with a thermos of hot chocolate. Sometimes giving yourself a reward like hot chocolate or a bath after your workout can give you motivation.
Stop Using the Weather as an Excuse
I use to be the person that needed perfect conditions to go run or be outside. If you wait for the perfect time, it isn’t going to happen. Moving to Oregon changed that for me. I found hiking in the rain (with a good raincoat) to actually be very calming and meditative. Saturday, I did my first run in snow and ice, and it was incredibly fun. I found running in snow gives you a little bit of a cushion and makes you slow down and pay attention to your breath.
The Power of Breath
When you are cold, your reaction is to sometimes take short sharp breaths. Remember to take deep long breaths. When I started doing yoga, it really made me focus on my breath while moving my body. Use these deep therapeutic breaths while you are running, walking, snowshoeing etc. and you'll find you are warm and finding your stride before you know it.
Speaking of excuses, one of the best fitness tips for motivation is to get a workout buddy. This could even be a coworker that you walk outside with during lunch. Having someone to hold you accountable will make it harder to back out of your fitness goal.
My husband and I rarely text or talk during the day when we are both at work. So a couple days a week we take our dog on a long walk and we end up talking a lot since we've barely seen each other that day. Well we have kept that through the winter even in the rain, and even in the early winter darkness. We just grab our headlamps and rain coats, and go!
Hopefully these tips will help you get outside this winter and beat those winter blues!