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Strength & Wellness Magazine

10 Ways You Can Fight For Better Health Now The Life Behind The Live Project

Sneak In Some Spinach

The Editor’s Pen Edition October 2012

Strength & Wellness Magazine

The Life Behind The Live Project


wanted to be Diana Ross. I wanted the big flowing black hair. I saw a commercial for Mahogany. I was hooked. I wanted to sing. My childhood list of dreams didn’t end with me imitating her sweet voice in the mirror using an upside down brush as a microphone. I later wanted to be a dancer, then a doctor, and a writer and a police officer, then a teacher and a gymnast and a reporter. Though my list changed often, I knew ultimately I simply wanted to do something in the world that would help people in some way. Some of those “little girl” dreams came true while others faded to black. As I grew older, I had no idea my dreams would change to simply wanting to live another year to enjoy my husband and see my children grow up. I never knew that all of my goals and ambitious would change to simply desiring to see another day. That’s the interesting thing about life. The plans we have versus what actually happens. A year ago, I was sitting in a leather recliner in my Hematologist’s office slowly flipping through the pages of a magazine. My left hand was carefully propped on the arm of the recliner as fluid flowed through a clear line from the cold pole to my arm. As I was getting another round of chemotherapy, I recalled thinking “This was certainly not my plan.” That year had proven to be one of the most challenging years of my life as Systemic Lupus attempted to annihilate my kidneys, feet, blood, legs, eyes, skin, hair and mind. Though sitting in the chair was never on my list of places to be at that moment, the powerful thing of that moment was that I was sitting in the chair. That chair represented a place of rest and strength since a few weeks before, I was discharged from a nearby hospital after a 31day

Living the Green Life and W

e need to eat our leafy greens and according to the Food and Drug Administration, adults should be getting at least two to three cups of leafy green vegetables a day. In an attempt to “cook myself healthy,” I’m finding that many people have the same conclusion: It’s not easy eating green! Leafy greens actually taste fabulous when you bring out their best. We can benefit greatly from eating green vegetables and they serve as viable protection against many diseases. My two favorite greens are Kale and Spinach. Spinach has a mild, sweet taste and easily takes on the flavors of spices and other foods. Just eating a cup of Spinach a day or a few times a week can help your body fight off illness, give you more energy, radiant skin, soothe achy joints and is packed with antioxidants according to website, the World Healthiest (Recipes, cooking, plating, food styling and photography by Ursula Metz)

Energy Packed “Green” Eggs (without the Ham) Ingredients Two eggs (any size), 1/2 to 1 cup of Spinach, black cracked pepper, a dash of sea salt or table salt

Work it Tools: A whisk or fork, sharp knife, spatula (optional), a bowl, a plate, a frying pan or griddle Turn your pan or griddle on a medium to high heat setting. Use a little oil or cooking spray on the bottom of your pan. As the pan or griddle heats up, crack your eggs into a small bowl and mix them with a whisk or a fork. Add your spices, mix again and set aside.

The benefits of eating fruits and veggies There are many health benefits in the ingredients of the Spinach dishes. Eggs and Chickpeas are packed with protein while Spinach is full of iron, antioxidants and Vitamins A and K. Carrots contain beta-carotene and nutrients that fight heart disease and cancer. Tomatoes are great for lowering blood pressure while Strawberries and Grapes are full of Vitamins C and fight inflammation pain.

Chop the Spinach into fine pieces then add to egg mixture. Mix the Spinach into the eggs. Scramble (or fry) your eggs to desired taste and consistency with your spatula or fork, then place on your plate. This is a great, easy-to-make dish for breakfast and a simple way to “sneak” in some greens. If you don’t eat eggs, I’ve tried Tofu scrambles as a substitute and it was yummy. I’ve also added mushrooms, onions, green and red peppers and diced tomatoes on occasion for extra taste and extra nutrition.

in the Spinach Spicy Spinach & ChickPea Salad Ingredients Large Spinach leaves, 1/2 carrot, Chickpeas (canned or freshly made), Red Cherry Tomatoes, cracked black pepper, Cayenne Pepper, Paprika.

Work it Tools: A plate, sharp knife, vegetable peeler, hand held vegetable shredder (My shredder is made by Kom Kom-a gift from Chef Elaine Lee) Before you make the salad: Peel and shred your carrots, wash your veggies and Chickpeas if you wish and slice your tomatoes into half moons.

Berry Green & Grape Smoothie Ingredients Hand full each (or a cup) of Spinach, Red Grapes and Strawberries, a Banana, a cup of Pineapple (fresh or canned), Pineapple juice (amount as desired), ice cubes (optional), a cup of cold water (based on desired density, you can choose to add more or less water).

Work it Tools: A sharp knife if you choose to cut up any ingredients, a glass for drinking, a straw (optional), a good blender ( I use a Ninja blender). Pour your water and pineapple juice in your blender, then add your fruits and the Spinach and the ice cubes at the top. Blend the mixture for a two minutes or more to desired consistency. Pour in a pretty glass and enjoy! Your taste buds will be overpowered with sweetness, not the Spinach!

Place the Spinach on the plate and make a bed, then add Chickpeas and tomatoes and sprinkle carrots over the mound. Add a few sprinkles of Cayenne Pepper (the more the spicier), a few sprinkles of Paprika & cracked black Pepper to desired taste. You can also add chopped onions or garlic for an extra punch of flavor and use lemon juice, lime juice or olive oil or desired choices for dressing. Note: The salad is spicy and the citrus juices make it even more tangy. Enjoy this as a meal or side dish. You’re creative. Try your own taste ideas and see what happens!

Did you know...


Quick Facts

Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease that, for unknown reasons, causes the immune system to attack the body's own tissues and organs, including the joints, kidneys, heart, lungs, brain, blood, and skin. If left untreated, lupus is potentially fatal. Lupus can lead to organ damage and failure- serious conditions that arise include kidney disease, pancreatitis, pleurisy, cancer & more Lupus is one of America’s least recognized major diseases. While Lupus is widespread, awareness and accurate knowledge about it lags decades behind many other illnesses. More than 16,000 people are diagnosed with lupus annually

1.5 Million People In the America Have Lupus?

hospital stay because of a vicious Lupus flare. I was alive by the grace of God and at that moment, that was all that really mattered. I’ve spent many days in the Hematologist’s office for various reasons. Down the hall from the main examining rooms sits a large room full of comfy leather recliners with silver IV poles and things to read speckled about the shelves. When I sat in the room months before to get iron infusions, I was resting next to warriors donned in scarves and draped in soft blankets as they triumphed through chemotherapy treatments. They were laughing and chatting as if they were sipping tea at a girlfriend’s soiree. What was interesting about them was although at the time I wasn’t getting chemo, and wasn’t battling cancer, they were the ones who were quick to welcome me with a smile and kind word as they slowly flipped through magazines. I thought their physical challenges seemed momentarily greater than mine, yet they readily served as my cheerleaders. As my doctor worked to increase my iron levels, he was working to save their lives as cancer ravaged their organs and weakened their bodies. But they weren’t weak. They were my teachers that day. They showed me how to work through my challenges when life didn't seem fair. They were mothers, and sisters and sometimes dads and uncles sitting in amongst the leather recliners. They were my examples. It took several months to get 10 rounds of iron infusions and when I

(Information and facts from

had my last one, it was bitter sweet. I was going to miss the people in the large room but as I walked out for the last time, I took their lessons with me not knowing I would be getting chemo later on. Months later, I was laying in a cold hospital room one evening watching Law & Order for the umpteenth time and thinking out loud to God. “Can I get out of here today, please?,” I would mutter as I flipped through the channels trying to ignore the smell of the wiggly green Jello on my food tray. I wanted to go home and get back to life. But something happened as I stared at the flat screen T.V. on the wall. Instead of begging God every other minute to get out of hospital, I started thinking about the time I had to use while laying in the bed. I leaned over, grabbed a notepad and a pen, moved the Jello tray out of the way and started to write. I wrote down how I felt and how I wanted to live and how I wanted to do something for someone else instead of whining about my pain. I ended up writing the first few ideas for The Live Project. A year later, The Live Project lives and it was born in a hospital room surrounded by the smell of green Jello with Law & Order playing in the background. At the nucleus of the organization lies compassion, and sharing with others who may be facing of what I’ve faced. And just like the cancer girls donned in scarves and full of kind words regardless of their condition, I want to give back to someone what they and so many others have given to me during my journey back to health. This is one of the many purposes of The Live Project.

Fitness Finds

Gold’s Gym 2-in-1 Aerobic Step The Gold’s Gym 2-in-1 Aerobic Step has many uses and comes with a special chart to show you different exercises you can perform to get in shape. It’s also an “ab rocker” and has two adjustable height levels. I’ve used it for pushups and weight lifting as well as Step Aerobics. I purchased this from Walmart for about $40. Editor’s Note: These reviews are strictly my opinion after using the products! I’m not a representative of any of the aforementioned companies.

ZigNano Zigfly Premier Women’s Running Shoes These are by far the most comfortable running shoes I’ve ever owned. When I made a decision to start getting back into shape, I knew a good, comfortable running shoe would make a big difference in my performance. ZigNanos were the answer! After healing from neuropathy, I started a walk-run program which included the use of a running track, a treadmill and working out on an Elliptical exercise machine. The ZigNanos provide extra cushioning for my feet and the lightweight material doesn’t make me feel like I’m wearing bricks when I move. I love them so much that I wear them for many other reasons, like shopping! The average price for the shoes is $60 and I purchased my pair from Sports Authority. (Photo source: Reebok Weight Training Gloves Though I can’t bench press a car, I’ve graduated up the weight ladder using hand weights for strength training. The gloves are soft and help keep the weight bar in the center of my hand without slipping...and they’re pretty. I picked them up from Target for about $12.

1. You should see a doctor for a basic medical checkup. It’s important to know the status of your health not just on the outside, but on the inside. Let’s be honest— not many people love going to the doctor and many of us are too old to look forward to getting a lollipop as a reward for visiting. But, a simple check up can prove to be life saving. Even if you feel well, it’s still important to find out the true status of your health through physical exams and a basic blood test. If you don’t have medical insurance, you may be able to get a free check up at many charitable health center locations around the world. The Virginia-based National Association of Free and Charitable Clinics is excellent source to find a free health center to suit your needs. Upon visiting the NAFC website, you can input a city or zip code to pinpoint a location of a clinic that offers free services in cities across the U.S. The non-profit organization’s website is located at Each clinic will have different requirements to qualify for medical help. 2. Water is not just for the fish. By drinking more water, you can get many internal and external benefits. Water is powerful! It cleanses the kidneys, helps curb your appetite and can give you good looking skin according to WebMD. Water can also help stave of kidney stones and prevent dehydration. If your job requires a lot of sitting, having a water bottle on hand can help when you defeat those ravenous office cravings for those calorie-packed treats that are often in high volume around the coffee pot. 3. Keep it movin.’-Exercise definitely makes a dramatic difference in physical and mental wellness. Not everyone will be able to exercise and get fit the same way but everyone can do something. Simply parking your car a further distance from the mall entrance can add body strengthening steps to your day. Exercise has many benefits for the body including managing your weight, increasing your energy, keeping stress at bay, building your cardiovascular system and strengthening your bones. It’s a common question as to how exercise (which requires lot of energy) can increase your energy when you’re tired all the time. In this case, the body is like a faithful car. Even if the car is not given the best care, it will usually still start up and run and get us from place to place. But, once the car gets a tune up, oil change and tire rotation, it runs better. Exercise can simply make your body work better! AWARENESS

4. Act like Popeye and eat some Spinach. Spinach is one of the friendliest “greens” around because it gives a lot of bang for your buck, it tastes good and is easy to eat in a variety of ways. While growing up, I remember

watching the cartoon Popeye The Sailorman. Popeye would pop open his can of Spinach and quickly gulp it down right before he was about to get into a fight with his rival, Bluto. The spinach gave him instant energy and his enemies couldn’t match his strength. I learned there is much truth to getting energy from spinach as it serves as an excellent source of Vitamins K and A, folate, manganese and magnesium just to name a few of its nutrients. Spinach can also help the body fight against cancer and inflammation of the joints according to the World Healthiest Foods, a free website that provides detailed information about healthy foods and how they benefit the body. Spinach has a very “gentle” taste and can easily take on the flavors of various spices and foods making it very friendly for the palate. Try the free recipes in this edition of Strength & Wellness Magazine to see just how simple it is to add more Spinach to your meals. 5. Stamp out the sleep stoppers. Getting more sleep each day can make a dramatic difference in how you think and feel. The lack of daily adequate rest makes the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet less potent. Most people have extremely busy lives and claim that a lack of sleep is definitely an issue. Sleep deprivation can translate into greater problems later on including weight gain and more stress. According to the Center for Disease Control, not getting enough sleep also contributes to depression and illness. Getting more sleep can be accomplished with power naps during the day and giving yourself a definitive deadline each night to go to bed regardless of the extra work that may need attention. Your health is worth it! 6. Think of food as fuel. Food is good. Food is fun. Food is fabulous. Food is also fuel for the body. By thinking of food as more than the pleasure, you can instantly start making different choices about what you eat and how often. For example, if you think of breakfast as your fuel to kick off your day, you may be motivated to eat something that won’t make you sleepy after you eat it. You know your body better than anyone and you can understand it more keenly by watching your body’s reaction to certain foods and planning accordingly. If food is seen as fuel for the body, you’ll want to give your body power-packed, energy boosting foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains. For example, if after drinking coffee in the morning and eating a doughnut you feel like you want to grab your Tweety Bird blanket and hit the sack, change the game. Try a healthy breakfast smoothie loaded with your favorite fruits and healthy juices instead! Food can give you physical energy if you eat foods that you love that provide it! Consider trying a new healthy food this month that you’ve never had. You might love it! 7. Stop stressing. Stress is a realistic part of life and excessive stress can damage the body and exacerbate chronic conditions. Stress can be managed in many ways and each person can tailor an anti-stress plan to suit their needs. I often evaluate stress by placing it in categories including “This ain’t my problem to solve,” “This needs my attention and I can’t ignore it, or “Oh no, not today!” There are some life issues that need swift solutions while others can be completely deleted from our mental files. I work through stress in many ways including praying, running, laughing at old 70s sitcom reruns, playing Uno with my daughter, taking time out to have fun, reading and relaxing, praying, Bentonite Clay masks and a little piece of chocolate to name a few. Balance is the key in managing stress! (Article continues on next page).

8. Plan for an immediate lifestyle

change. If you think of lifestyle changes as permanent and not temporary, you may be very successful in starting and maintaining your wellness goals. For example, when I decided to start eating more healthy foods, I knew that I didn’t want to start, get excited for three days, then stop! I had to learn how to apply a realistic plan of eating that could last me until my old age. “Would I want to eat like this in my 90s?,” I’d think as I was trying a new dish to supercharge my health. Perhaps thinking of improving your health can work better by thinking in terms of decades instead of days. This work well for exercise goals, too. I would often get real hyped and impressed when I saw people do new exercise plans and equipment only to discover that I got bored after a few weeks because the hype wore off after the routines didn’t fit me. “Would I want to exercise like this in my 90s?”, I would ask myself as I tried to do what others did. When I started to respect how my body worked and ate healthy foods I enjoyed, the plans worked and stood the test of time! I’m no longer trying to gain and maintain good health for a season, but for a lifetime. 9. What’s the truth? By getting honest with yourself about where you stand health wise, you can gain the power you need to make a change. Go ahead and step on that scale, deal with that pain in your legs, get your blood pressure checked and fight for your health! If you are out of shape or having other physical challenges, you know it! Be honest about it and face it without beating yourself up. Though I can’t turn back the hands of time and un-eat that purse-sized slice of pie at the banquet two years ago, I can face today and the future knowing I have the privilege of making good choices. Don’t beat yourself up about former bad choices in your health. The past is the past. Please get armed, get educated and get moving in a direction that will improve your health from here on. 10. Do one thing. Making a change in your health is not necessarily easy and if you need to make many changes, it can be downright overwhelming. To be successful in your wellness goals, just try one thing today. For example, if you still plan to eat lunch at a place that has a loud speaker, find the healthiest meal in that restaurant you can get your mouth on. Maybe today when you eat whatever you choose, drink only water with your meals instead of sweet tea or a soda. If you drink five sodas a day, start drinking four instead, then graduate to drinking three and so on. If you eat burgers stacked three patties high, eat only two patties today. Add a handful of spinach on top of a warm bowl of soup or try whole wheat crackers instead of cheese. Some of my examples may seem a little funny, but small consistent changes can lead to big, repetitive ones that can last a lifetime. Remember to try one healthy way of changing your life today! (These tips helped me, but please consult your physician for further advice.)

“If you think of lifestyle changes as permanent instead of temporary, you may be successful in reaching your wellness goals.”

The month of October is set aside to bring awareness to breast cancer. Consider getting involved in your local community support breast cancer awareness. Please get a mammogram and encourage someone else to get one to. It is proven that early detection makes a great difference in the number of survivors who’ve been diagnosed with the disease. The next edition of Strength & Wellness Magazine will have vital data about self care exams, mammograms

Strength & Wellness Magazine Strength & Wellness Magazine is the official online, bi-monthly publication of The Live Project. Unless otherwise noted, all content is written by Ursula Metz. Permission to use articles and photographs taken by Ursula Metz can be done so by sending a request to

Founder, Ursula Metz Twitter: Website: Facebook: http://facebook.comliveprojectonline

Strength and Wellness Magazine  

Strength & Wellness Magazine, the official bi-monthly publication of The Live Project, is designed to encourage and educate readers through...

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