Thanks Giving with No Turkey.

After photographing Rebecca and Evan's Wedding this past Friday we made up a trip up to Verlon's parent's ranch. Now here's the fun part... dun dun dun -- a no turkey thanks giving! Alright, it's not the first one but Verlon & his family are vegetarians thus the no turkey thanks giving, which well for a carnivore such as myself is always odd because for some reason I completely associate Thanks Giving with turkey. But since we've started dating I've started discovering a lot of the health benefits related to going "veggie". Since it was just Thanks Giving weekend -- I'm thankful for so many things but let's not make this an awards "Thank You" speech.

My healthy lifestyle journey started last year in December but really went full-force earlier this year (aka I bought a gym pass and incorporated into a regular routine). I worked on a design project earlier this year for local farmers and the benefits of eating locally which went hand in hand with trying on this healthy lifestyle. What I found was crazy, the scary facts about non-organic vegetables and what it can do to your health along with vegetarian health benefits. The obvious was that most vegetarians have lower BMI's but what I didn't think much about was how they have lower levels of cholesterol, lower blood pressure, less chances of heart disease, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, renal disease, osteoporosis, metabolic syndrome, dementia (Alzheimer's disease) and various other disorders. Isn't that list nuts? If simply eating vegetarian can lower my chances of all of the above, of corse I'm going to make a more health conscious decision to do so! So that's pretty much when I decided my home is a meat-free home, no meat is prepared in the home for 2 reasons - try and eat more healthy meals in the home and 2- preparing raw meat is kinda gross... I guess I'm not a "true" meat eater. Plus no matter how long I'd cook a chicken i'd stress that it had some sort of shade of pink...eww. The only time I'll eat meat is if we go out for dinners or breaky. 

Now why the lifestyle change and why I've been hesitant on writing about it?

Well, I thought I would fail --- I thought I would set out on this journey and just give up because it's "too hard". Well, it's not -- it's pure and simple commitment to bettering yourself. My journey hasn't been as extravagant as a lot of other people, but I set the pace that was right for me. This year I've managed to trim down 20 lbs -- and well, it wasn't easy it was just commitment. It wasn't as drastic as I would have loved it to be, but there was quite a few pauses in there with working 14 hour days, 6 days a week, travelling, and various other excuses. Still, I'm proud that at my prime I set up a routine that when life isn't so hectic it's easy to stick to. Monday-Friday, you'll find me doing my workouts at the gym in the morning -- and since this was really the first year, along with my busiest wedding season.... I took a mini hiatus in August. But now that I'm back, I'm feeling great just all round have more energy. Honnestly, the fact that I lost the weight was really awesome and yes, was a part of my initial goal but a lot has changed since the beginning of this year. My new goal is to be "healthy" inside and out. 

We go through life so incredibly busy with work, and other commitments we rarely take time for ourselves, to better us where it be mentally or physically -- we forget us. And then we get older, we retire and suddenly we're ill because we've been so busy for so long not paying attention to the day to day things that have affects on our bodies. And here is why I want to be healthy... I want to avoid disease and illness as best I can so I can live a long and healthy life.

Why? Because I grew up with two ill parents. Although what illness' my parents have wasn't necessarily related to poor health choices, being more aware of yourself never hurts. However my mother's disease isn't really about being healthy or not its more genetic predisposition my mom was diagnosed when I was in elementary school with a bone disease called "Ankylosing spondylitis". Because of that it also is related to her having inflammation in her eyes, glaucoma and vision loss. AS is a disease that slowly fuses the spine and has chronic pain. Now here's the lifestyle change and how my mom tries daily to conquer her disease -- she never stops. Seriously, this woman is crazy she is constantly doing something whether it be running around the house cleaning constantly, walking, stair climbing she is like an energizer bunny. Yes sometimes the disease takes her out and she has days where she doesn't want to get up and is in a lot of pain -- but she tries to stay physical. If she doesn't there is a really good chance that the disease will win. My mom is such a fighter she was truly given the short straw in life and I'm sure there are folks that are worse off-- but to me she is such a inspiration. She continues to fight her various illness'. I watched as a child this woman fight and push through all the cards she was dealt health wise. And never really fully understood it all till I grew into an adult how dedicated to healing my mother is. And that is why I want to fight like my mom, fight chances of illness before it's even an issue. 

Funny little side note story, I was about 8 or so -- and well any parent knows that elementary schools are a breading ground for these evil things called "lice" oh I think I just got a shiver. Well, the one time I got lice as a kid was when my mom under went eye surgery... I remember coming home from school and giving my mom the yellow paper of doom that the nurse gave me and a few other children after lice checks; while she was in bed healing. I remember her laughing and saying naturally this happens when she just got out of surgery (picture a very heavy portuguese/english accent). So there was my mom when she should have been resting after surgery but she was combing through my 8 year old bug infested head. I'm surprised she just didn't get my dad to buzz cut my hair. Thanks mom. I'm thankful that I have a role model like you. Although I know you won't read this because your still mastering the power button on the computer, maybe I'll show you this sometime.

Below are some photos from my and Verlon's Thanks Giving Weekend.

Right: Duffy Lake, Left:Joffrey Lake