i Heart Walking

My heartstrings have always been easily pulled by compelling causes, the struggles of friends, and the many health threats that seem both impossible and too easy to cure.  I’m lucky to have so many friends and family that are committed to health and fitness not only as a part of their own healthy active lifestyles, but as a lifestyle and commitment that they share with others.  It’s such an amazing community, and one that can touch so many people in very powerful ways.

On September 21st I’m participating in the Charlotte Heart Walk, as the team leader for ‘i Heart Walking’ team.  My goal isn’t a monetary one, necessarily, but a goal of connecting all of my friends (and their friends) from the fitness community in Charlotte to walk in solidarity for stronger hearts and healthier lives.  We all live, promote, and spread our active lifestyles for the same reason – because we feel passionately about health, a health that goes deeper than appearance, and impacts the quality and and length of our lives.

A few weeks ago a friend of mine, and a former fellow lemon (translation: we worked together for lululemon) shared this incredible video that documents one of her family member’s battles with an acute heart disease.  Please take a moment to watch it and share in her experience.

We don’t always think about heart disease impacting us at younger ages — its so easy to place it in a different age category and out of our minds.  The reality is that heart disease, and it’s varying levels of acuteness, impacts all age groups.   Lauren’s video, very powerfully, conveys this message and her story shares the harsh reality of how important heart health and the work of the American Heart Association really is.    The work of the American Heart Association benefits an incredible number of heart related illnesses, support programs, and individuals, all with their own stories, struggles, and battles to keep on beating.

Save Lauren's Heart

Please join my team, donate, or spread the word to make a difference at this year’s Heart Walk in Charlotte.   I would love nothing more than to walk in a sea of my favorite Charlotte fitness enthusiasts, and friends, all representing their fitness families as one united community committed to heart health, and active lifestyles.

I will be there representing my own MADlifestyle with a full and hopeful heart.

Full Health + 1/2 Birthdays: Celebrating the Good

The total chaos of the past few weeks left little time for grocery shopping, and even less time for at-home food preparation.  The unfortunate consequence of all this was that meals became few and far between, and resulted in frequent meals out.  On the other hand, the fortunate upside is that living in Charlottesville allows for pretty awesome clean eating (if that’s your thing).

Still on my kale binge, I was beyond excited to walk into The Farm and see these fresh Kale salad’s being set out for lunch.

Kale from the farm

I grabbed a huge water (since coffee had been overly dominant in my total beverage intake), a banana to add a little more to the meal, and happily set up back at the office.

There were carrots, sunflower seeds (my favorite) and a lemon juice and salt dressing.  I’m a huge fan of citrus dressing on Kale salads, and if it sits for a little while prior to eating it, it softens the leaf so it’s not such a huge dry crunch.  My dad actually gave me that tip and has an orange kale salad that is on my short list to make this fall.

kale lemon salad

The week I discovered this amazing lunch option at The Farm happened to be two weeks prior to opening the Charlottesville location, and the week that my parents were coming to visit.

One of the most exciting summer traditions in my parent’s lives (that sounds sad, but it’s not…) is my dad’s garden.  Growing up we always had an overflow of tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and whatever other vegetables we chose to plant that year.  In the last few years my dad has started growing Kale, and it yields such a huge and continuous crop that he some with him.

Ralph Kale

This is just a small bunch from the huge bag he brought, and went into a number of meals, smoothies, and salads over the following two weeks.   But that all happened after my parents left. While they were here, the food tour of Charlottesville continued — and hit it’s peak during Dar’s 1/2 birthday party.

Since life has been crazy, and work has been even crazier, our clients, friends, and all of Dar’s boyfriends (with their significant others) met at Champion Brewing Co for a surprise 1/2 Birthday + 1 year in Charlottesville night of fun.

Dar Birthday at Champion

It was a great distraction from the (then) half-complete build out, and an amazing group of people.

Champion: Dar's birthday

After we left Champion, we all walked over to one of my favorite local spots – Mono Loco – to continue the fun, just with food.   Dar led the way, ‘Up-style’ with the balloons Uday got her, attached to her belt.

Dar's 1/2 birthday

Throw in some bubbles and Dar was a happy 1/2 birthday girl.

Bubbles

Surprise parties, beer, and bubbles aside, the night was desperately needed.  There are times in life when everything collides at once: stress, work, and anxiety; and we don’t take care of ourselves the way we should.  Sometimes that means not eating well, other times it comes from sacrificing our own workouts, and most times, it means we’ve deprived ourselves of the happy and fulfilling stimulus of being surrounded by friends and conversation.

food blog: mono loco

food blog: mono loco

I think that’s the  piece of the ‘health’ recipe that we sometimes miss – the complete and total human need for other humans.  For friends, for connections, and for the ability to escape the stress of regularly scheduled life.

mono loco

The last few weeks, through our opening, it has been this third element of health, and life, that has been so critical in keeping things in perspective– lessening the weight of all we have to do.  I am so grateful for all of the support from friends, family, and our new growing community — seriously thank you all, it has truly made all of the chaos worthwhile.

Today marked the end of the 1st week of business, and was met with a full 9:30am class – full of bodies and full of energy –  which made for an amazing morning.  Tomorrow begins week 2, and I can’t wait to see what it holds.  I’m thinking that more friends and less stress are exactly what’s on the menu.  Plus, I finally managed a full-restock of the fridge, so things are definitely looking up.