BRAVELUTE   80,920
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A Cacao Valentine for You

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Snack
This special treat will keep you on TRACK!
361 calories, 48 carbs, 11 fats, 20 protein

Or share it with your special someone after your holiday meal.

And it is 100% anti-angiogenic. That's a good thing for you because food with anti-angiogenic properties help you defeat fat cells, cancer cells, heart disease, arthritis, and a whole lot more, according to Dr. William Li.

That sounds pretty amazing, but we tend to stay clear of food that older people tell us is good for us. I still remember spinach cooked beyond recognition.

So I'll tell you the other unbelievable part. This is a beautiful picture of chocolate goodness. And, at least for me, it does NOT launch a major attack of the chocolate binge monster!!

Want to know how to do it? You can just chop and combine everything. Or slice your strawberry hearts, mix yogurt with cocoa and honey, arrange in blossom fashion and sprinkle with cacao nibs. Serve with a cold glass of water and a pot of tea.

Slice 1 cup of Strawberries into lengthwise halves. (Hint: use your knife to cut off the cap leaving a "canal". Slice across the canal as you cut the berry in half so that it resembles a heart)

Mix well:
3/4 cup no-fat Chobani Greek Yogurt
1 Tablespoon honey
1/2 Tablespoon plain cocoa powder

Place 3 strawberries on your serving plate. Mound the Yogurt mixture over the top. Create the blossom by sticking the pointed end of strawberry halves into the yogurt. Start at the plate level working around the mound. Move up about an inch and alternate placement creating an petal or artichoke look.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of cacao nibs. Give it a try! Give yourself a delicious Cacao Valentine. Enjoy!!

What's that? What are cacao nibs?? Well, they are the cacao bean chopped up into little niblets. Cacao beans grow on the trunk of the cacao tree, are harvested, fermented and processed into the chocolate you know in your candy, the chocolate you know that awakens that chocolate binge monster.

Cacao nibs are the whole food before the manufacturers get hold of it. I find mine at my local health food store. They haven't found their way into any grocery I have available yet.

Cacao beans have more of those healthy things that fight off cancer than any other food. And you get ALL of that in cacao nibs. At least half is lost through processing on the way to your chocolate candy that you crave.

Want to know more about chocolate and caco beans?

If you'd like to learn more about anti-angiogenic foods and what they can do for YOU, we have a team her on Spark People: Eat to Defeat Fat Cells, Cancer Cells, and More . . .

You can find links to Dr. Li's video at, and also a link to the anti-angiogenic food list at And you are also welcome to join us as we learn more about how to prevent lots of health issues with WHAT we eat.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PHEBESS 2/14/2013 5:38PM

    Mmmmm, I love cacao nibs - I eat them straight!

I also make "brownie yogurt" - mix your nonfat Greek yogurt with cocoa powder and stevia, then add some chopped nuts - great snack or "dessert"!!!!

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BRAVELUTE 2/14/2013 5:18PM

    Christina, the 6 petal plate is mine. I own 4. I found them at a local department store. They also had bowls you could purchase, but I didn't. I like to use them with my new way of eating. Everything always looks so bright and cheerful on the plates. AND you have lots of opportunities to use the 6 petals creatively!!

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POPSY190 2/14/2013 4:58PM

    Looks wonderful.

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CHRISTINASP 2/14/2013 3:17PM

    PS Is that your crockery set? I think it must be 'cause it's the same plate as on the pic on your sparkpage. It looks lovely!

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LESLIELENORE 2/14/2013 2:47PM


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CHRISTINASP 2/14/2013 11:49AM

    Oh, that's a cute idea! For today it's too late for me but I'll save this and make it for my honey later!
Very creative. Thank you for sharing !

Comment edited on: 2/14/2013 11:51:16 AM

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SHARJOPAUL 2/14/2013 9:30AM

    Sounds wonderful

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Challenges are overwhelming at times

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

In January, 2012, it was a huge challenge to walk from the parking lot though the door of the YMCA for my first Livestrong session. To say nothing of the treadmill and strength training which followed. I've come a long way since that day.

I've taken on 2 challenges for spark coach this week and I'm starting to feel overwhelmed. One I've done before: 10 minute challenge. And the other, some boot camp challenge. I did the January jumpstart challenge when I was in NC. This new one has you do 30 minutes of cardio daily and a Nicole bootcamp video.

This was strictly my choice but I'm feeling overwhelmed right now. I had set my personal fitness activities to include at least 2 miles of walking and 45 - 60 minutes in the pool, depending upon the temperature.

I felt I needed to do the challenges
1. The 10 minute daily to have that to fall back on if I lose motivation or steam. I can do the 10 minute sessions with my eyes closed, sitting in a chair if I need to.
2. The Boot Camp to teach me what I need to know to learn where I need to take my fitness.

I like the feeling that I can do so much more now when I'm not carrying around the 45 pounds. But I have no clue what needs to happen next for the next 45 pounds.

So my 2 miles and swimming will give me the needed cardio and then some. I guess I'm just worried about the Boot Camp videos. The name makes them sound way beyond my current fitness level.

But I've done the first day, and I modified the jumping jacks, and one other. I wonder if I'll EVER be able to do THAT one?

Well. We'll see. If I'm doing it to learn, I can't expect that I can already do it all.

Well, I have a speaker to go listen to at the Y: Why Eat Raw Food? and I plan to get in some cardio while there. Maybe some treadmill, and the pool before the kids get out of school.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FISHER011 2/12/2013 5:55PM

    Wow! You are amazing & give me strength- thank you!
I did the boot camp 1 video today & I modified my arm movements, but I was out of breath & had to stop.
baby steps emoticon
You are doing great! emoticon

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QUERIDAANA 2/12/2013 2:15PM

    I can relate to being overwhelmed by challenges. I weighed the pros and cons of being on a challenge team and the pros won out, in my case. I will be a little less active on the computer and more active outside. I like your idea of walks and swims. You can do it, just cut back when your body tells you you need to.

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LESLIELENORE 2/12/2013 12:42PM

    emoticon but if you are feeling overwhelmed take a little break. You don't want to burn out.

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CHRISTINASP 2/12/2013 11:25AM

    Pardon me, double post.

Comment edited on: 2/12/2013 11:25:46 AM

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CHRISTINASP 2/12/2013 11:25AM

    Sue, my impression is that you are doing ONE wonderful job after the other. I admire you for keeping on with ETL and for starting to exercise the way you did! You are already doing so much and making so many changes in your lifestyle. Please don't ask too much of yourself. 'Overwhelm' is not a good place to be; you don't deserve that!
Maybe it's best to FIRST get the 10 minutes 'into your system' and allow that to become a habit, fitting it into your personal circumstances. THEN, after that, you could take on the next challenge and enter the bootcamp arena!
They say it takes at least 40 days to get used to a new habit / activity. Then it takes half a year, I hear, before you have truly integrated it into your life. So take your time. I feel it's more important to move in the right direction, which you definitely are doing, than too 'run too fast' and get discouraged because of overwhelm, or develop a complaint / injury.
Or, if you should feel up to it, I would still let the bootcamp challenge go for now, but see if you can do say, 10 or 15 minutes of the bootcamp video's, at your own level (adjusting exercises if they're too hard at first), twice a week. That way you may gradually work up to the desired level.

Comment edited on: 2/12/2013 11:30:06 AM

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No more quick fixes!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

In 1985 I finished with the Cambridge liquid diet and started gaining back the 35 pounds I had lost, plus some more.

So I am NOW working on getting rid of that fat. Layers and Layers melting away with the help of
getting 8 hours of sleep every night
anti-angiogenic food,

great science laid out by Dr. Fuhrman at ETL,

and wonderful tools at Sparkdom to manage all of it.

If you need a fantastic tracker to track your nutrition, your fitness activities, your weight, your measurements, or attitude. Spark People has them. If you need ideas for how to eat in a healthier way, or to exercise when you think you can't, or if you need motivation or support or a shoulder to cry on or a deaf ear to rant into, it's all there at

What are you waiting for?
Consider this your invitation.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FISHER011 2/13/2013 11:48PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LESLIELENORE 2/11/2013 5:49PM

    emoticon emoticon

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MAUITN 2/11/2013 4:53PM

    Keep on going!

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CHRISTINASP 2/11/2013 12:43PM

Hear, hear. Let's go for changing habits - for good.

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MIAJOEB 2/11/2013 12:29PM

    YOU are really going for the burn... Keep up the spark spirit.

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No Wonder!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Every so often, I come out of my fog and things seem to click. The last time that happened was when I imagined a half pound of fat melting off my body, flowing down into a bottomless hole like the Grand Canyon, where it would never be able to make it back up onto my body again. That visualization has stayed with me.

Today, I packed up 44.5 + pounds:

Each black bag from my EZ up tent has two 10-pound dumbbells for a total of 40 pounds. Then I added a 2 pound zumba stick to each for a total of 44 pounds. I figure the bags weighed close to the extra half pound needed.

I had the thought that I would attempt to carry them around the block. I didn't make it out the driveway carrying the 45 pound packs. And then I put them in the wheeled box and couldn't get it up and over the hose.

So I said, "No WONDER I was so fatigued! No WONDER it was so difficult to get me out of my recliner and moving on down the street to the pool!!
No WONDER I feel better than I have since 1995.

In fact 1985 was a milestone year and I can remember what I was able to do, how much energy I had then. I taught school, played the organ at a church, sang with a quartet, directed a Sweet Adelines Chorus, and prepared and led them through their first show AT CHRISTMAS TIME, and also took them to competition with all the rehearsing, choreography, costuming . . .

I wouldn't want to do all that again AND work at the same time, but I'm close to thinking that I could do it. When I reach the current short term goal weight (scheduled for April 1) I will be at the same weight I was in 1985.

I wonder how I'll feel physically then, NOT having to carry around the 50 pounds I was carrying last July?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ONTHETRAIN 2/12/2013 11:30PM

  Bravelute: You are a remarkable insightful person and you should be so proud of yourself for your accomplishments! You have truly inspired me to continue on my journey of losing weight and gaining back my confidence and health! Keep up the good work!! I had been thinking about joining Sparkpeople for a number of years and always postponed it. I was afraid of failure and relapse... I received a new laptop from my DH for Christmas so that barrier was removed. I am determined now to remove any excuses I rationalized in my head. In your words..."No Wonder" it took me so long. Thanks for being the good example that newbies like myself need to be a diehard "Sparker"!

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BRERRABBIT1 2/11/2013 11:10AM

    :) Congratulations, BraveLute, on your 45.5 pounds gone! Thank you for my Valentine hearts; I've looked and looked for cacao nibs and so far cannot find..


**The trouble with ignorance is that it picks up confidence as it goes along.**

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BRAVELUTE 2/11/2013 9:36AM

    Christina, my dog weighs 10 pounds. So I've lost 4.5 Yorkshire Terriers! ; )

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SHARJOPAUL 2/11/2013 9:28AM

And remember those weights are a lot more dense than your fat was, so your fat took up more space.

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CHRISTINASP 2/11/2013 7:15AM

    That is emoticon
YAY for you.
My mom always told me that 1 kilogram equals two packs of butter (being 500 grams), to make me realize how much I'd lost after I'd lost weight.
Do you know how much your dog weights? I often think about that because my dog weighs about ten kilograms and when I lift him I think about just how much weight that is. We have tried to carry the dog at times, like once when he was overcome by the heat and he couldn't walk during a vacation. It is QUITE HARD to carry him for more than five minutes, even though he looks pretty small!

Comment edited on: 2/11/2013 7:21:08 AM

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NSTARSMITH 2/10/2013 9:04PM

    One day recently I carried a 25 pound bag of cat litter down the stairs. Granted, the bag was a weird shape and hard to get hold of, but I was acutely aware of the PAIN IN MY KNEES as i navigated the stairs. I have lost 60 pounds - 25 x 2 + 10. NO WONDER is exactly what I said. NO WONDER I had to climb the stairs on ALL FOURS!!! amazing! More power to YOU! Spark ON!

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LESLIELENORE 2/10/2013 6:14PM

    emoticon That's a good idea. I doubt I could get the 145 pounds I have lost up off the floor.

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Saturday, February 09, 2013

I went to a concert tonight-The Marlins. They played and sang every type of music from Glen Miller to Andrew Lloyd Weber through the Beatles and Chubby Checker.

What fun. We were given tickets for this series of concerts, so it really wasn't a reward for my 5th SP Anniversary or losing 44.5 pounds, or starting a SP team, or walking 4 miles on the bike trail, or this 45 minute a day fitness streak, or feeling better than I've felt since 1990.

But it felt like it!!
This is their web page, and I believe you can hear some of their music if you click on the music link on the left, but I am evidently missing a plug in. I'll have to work on it or order a CD.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FISHER011 2/12/2013 5:56PM


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LESLIELENORE 2/10/2013 2:13PM

    Cool! Way to go!

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CHRISTINASP 2/10/2013 1:53PM

    I listened to their 'I believe in America'. Handsome brothers! And harmony in the music. Glad you had a good time.

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SHARJOPAUL 2/10/2013 9:45AM

    I'm glad you enjoyed it!
If it felt like a reward then it was a reward.
Congratulations on all your GREAT achievements!

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NORASPAT 2/9/2013 9:57PM

    I am so glad it felt like all of those things great you had a good concert. Our is tomorrow if DH can get there with the snow.

I will try to get us there though. Great positive BLOG!

emoticon emoticon

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