Monday, May 1, 2017

Meat Free Monday__Beyond your Plate!

Hi everyone!  Happy Monday!

I hope you and yours had a great weekend!

In most countries around the world, May 1st is Labor Day, or International Workers' Day.  I used to have the day off while living in China.  Here in the States though, we celebrate Labor Day in September, and have resisted changing our Labor Day to May 1st since the 1920s, as this labor day has long been associated with the socialist and communist movements.  In recent years, people have taken to the streets to protest capitalism and fight for economic equality and better protection for workers.  Today I'm not going to talk specifically about human workers.  Instead, I'd like to give light to a local problem in New York City regarding animals who are exploited in the name of profit. 

I'm talking about the poor horses in Central Park.  If you've ever had intentions on taking a "romantic" carriage ride around the park, please reconsider!  I live right next to the park. These horses are being worked to the bone; they're out all day and night, sometimes still being run at 1 or 2 am. They're forced to work in extreme weather conditions, in heavy city traffic and they're dirty. 

Look at their manes and hooves compared to the beautiful NYPD horses:


They live in this "stable" next to Dewitt Park on 52nd and 11th, under fluorescent lighting and with windows that are half the normal size.  The building is three stories high and can accommodate 70+ horses.  How could they possibly ever escape if a fire broke out?!  


Confining large animals in this manner is unnatural and inhumane!


It should also be noted that the prices for the carriage ride went up in May 2010, from $35 + tip for the base ride and $10 for each additional 1/4 mile to $50 + tip for base ride.  The price increase was supposed to fund larger stalls and more resting time for the horses, but that doesn't appear to have happened.

Furthermore, the drivers are aggressive to the protestors that hang out outside Central Park, and repeatedly tell them to shut the F up, even in front of elderly and small children. Which leads me to ask; If the drivers were proud of what they were doing, would they need to tell any protestors to shut up?  Kuddos to the protestors for having the nerve and the integrity to stand up for what's right, even if it means compromising someone's profit.  

I know it's hard to believe, but there are people who believe in dignity for all living creatures.  

If you want to enjoy Central Park, I would recommend a boat ride on the lake or ride on a CitiBike through the lower loop path!  It's cheaper and better for your health and the health of innocent horses who belong on a pasture, not on the streets of NYC.  If you must go on a horse in Central Park, ride on the carousel!

I humbly believe that as a global society, we need to re-think our attitude that animals are to be used for human satisfaction.  I grew up eating meat, but I can promise you after 10 years of abstaining from meat, I'm still alive and running well, and I don't miss it.  I also don't miss the circus, Seaworld, "petting" wild animals, riding elephants, etc.  Gandhi said it best, "The greatness of a nation can be judged by the way its animals are treated".

Even if this post inspires just one person to take action to help protect animals, I know that's one person closer to a more peaceful world.

Namaste!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Fitzness Friday__You've got 10 minutes to get fit.. What should you do?

Hi everyone!  Happy Friday!  

Another weekend is upon us.  I hope you have some exciting plans ahead.  

Whatever your plans are, I'm sure you want to feel great, right?  

Well here's a quick routine you can do, no matter where you are, without any equipment, and will burn about 250 calories (the equivalent of one package of M&Ms).  

Interval timer for this workout found here.

Playlist for this workout found here.

10 minutes on the clock..

Get ready..

Set...

GO!

Plank for 1 minute

Butt Kicks for 30 seconds




High Knees for 30 seconds

Right side plank for 1 minute

Jump rope for 1 minute (imaginary rope is fine!)

Left side plank for 1 minute

Jump rope for 1 minute (imaginary rope is fine!)


Plank to elbows (up, up,down, down) for 1 minute

High Knees for 30 seconds



Butt Kicks for 30 seconds

Reverse plank for 1 minute

Plank for 1 minute


DONE!

I'm the real deal, folks! No time for fancy cameras or fancy editing! 



Finished before my baby woke up from her nap!

Working out doesn't have to be dull or tedious!  

Do you go to the gym and have no idea what to do once you get there?  Send me an email!  

Want a dynamic workout from the comfort of your own home?  Send me an email!  

Have pain somewhere on your body and want to prevent an injury?  Send me an email!  


I specialize in exercise program design that meets YOUR individual needs, 
whether you're a weekend warrior or a fierce mama to be! 

getFITwithFITZ at gmail.com

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Wellness Wednesday__Does the world really want more women to "Lean In"?

Today's post is written in spirit of International Women's Day.

I was in the mood for a cheesy "feel good" movie last night, so I found my way over to the Hallmark channel.  Normally, their movies all follow the same plot and are so predictable. However, within the first five minutes of playing this one, I was annoyed.  The main character, a girl of about eight years old, was sent to the principal's office and was reprimanded for exposing secrets about the cafeteria food.  The principal told the little girl, "Strong women get into more trouble".  I know it's just a movie, but this happens in real life in schools all over the world!

This comment stuck out at me because I was and still am like that little girl.  From a very young age, in grade five, I was trained to raise my voice on behalf of those who had no voice.  I was raised to believe that I could do anything I put my mind to.

Society: Be Yourself.

Society: No, not like that.

It's been hard to be a strong woman.  I've had to accept unfair labels (problematic, stubborn) and name calling (bitch) for speaking out and holding my ground in ways that would earn an average man admiration and respect.  My direct communication has been mistaken for aggression.  The world doesn't really want more women to "Lean In".  The world wants "polite and silent" girls.  Society tolerates very little blabbering, neuroticism, anxiety, melancholy, sarcasm or any other character flaw which makes a woman "weak".

But it's okay.  We all have the right to be who were are. The weird one, the nerdy one, the lover, the worrier, the thrill seeker or the artist.  Be them all and be them all at once.  You are the ONLY you that there is and will ever be. How tragic it would be to act like you are anything but that.

Be Bold For Change

On International Women's Day 2017 we must celebrate how far women have come but never become complacent or forget about how far we still have to go. Today I'm confronting injustice.

The systematic oppression of women begins in schools. From the curriculum and programming we offer little girls, to the books they're required to read, to the "history" they're required to reflect on, to the behavior they're expected to exhibit, to the male majority leading schools (despite being a female-dominated industry).  Later to the careers young women are encouraged to pursue, to the gender roles and expectations emphasized in modern society, to the tradition of gender oppression in organized religion.

If this sounds like an exaggeration to you, you're probably on the right side of the coin.

I too never really understood the struggle until I became pregnant and was on the receiving end of unsolicited advice and opinions of people who wanted to decide my life for me. I never really understood the struggle until I found out I was being paid less than a man for doing the same job (in spite of possessing more qualifications!).

I didn't even know about "International Women's Day" until I lived overseas!  How many news channels are actually covering IWD today? So the majority of women don't wear hijabs here, but let's not kid ourselves...The USA is NOT a friendly place for women or families. No woman should have to choose between having a career and having a family. We need to redistribute childcare and elderly care work to empower women. We need to reallocate federal tax dollars spent on military expenditures and subsidize support for families. We need to be not just pro-birth but pro-life across the entire lifespan.

We need to stop laughing at stay at home dads and celebrate them with fanfare. We need to normalize involvement of fathers because it's good for the child, it's good for societies and it's good for mankind.

If it can be done in other countries, I'm sure we can figure out how to do it here.
The promise of equity is possible. It starts with an unwavering commitment to a fair chance for every girl-families, communities, governments and their partners can and must work collectively to set in motion a virtuous cycle of equity for today's girls, and for generations to come.

Some facts and figures for you, on this International Women's Day, 2017:

Geography, wealth and gender are key markers of inequality for children.  The poorest girls are more likely to be married as children and less likely to have equitable and equal access to health care, education and social-emotional support.

Conflict, natural disasters and climate change also undermines equitable education for girls. Based on estimates for 2013, some 59 million girls are still missing out on their right to primary school education. Globally, two thirds of secondary school-aged children are enrolled in school; in the least developed countries, only one third are. It's not a question of intelligence, but rather access; in most countries with available data, girls outperform boys in reading.

Africa's increasing share of the world's child population makes investing in girls, particularly the poorest, more imperative than ever.

We have the tools needed to disrupt the destructive cycle of marginalization. Let's do something about it...

Happy #IWD2017 to all the wonderful, diverse, challenging, supportive women in my life. I could not do what I do without you. Thank you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Igniting the Spark of all Children

Today I had the unique opportunity to visit the United Nations Headquarters with students representing my school's Student Council.  I was so proud and happy to observe my students contributing their voice to a very important conversation about education around the world.

It was especially exciting to meet Mr. Ishamel Nii Dodoo, Development Officer in the Executive Office of Secretary General Moon.  His commentary about education around the world was well informed and came from the heart, in particular when he shared his own journey of growing up in Ghana to studying at Oxford.  His most pivotal comments were as follows:

The best resource a nation can have is human capital; to have the knowledge and wisdom to create prosperity in nations around the world.
A nation of wise people won't fight.
A nation of foolish people will engage in conflict.
Education is a right, not a privilege.
We need to improve the quality of learning, not the quality of teaching in our schools.
We have a responsibility to foster global citizenry in our schools.
It's "smart economics" to educate women around the world.
On average, females in the workforce account for $1.7 trillion in economies around the world.

In the context of school leadership, improving the quality of student learning vs the quality of teaching will have the biggest impact on children around the world, especially as more people depend on the Internet, technology-based learning and self-guided learning.  Teachers need to improve their capacity to be facilitators of learning, rather than relying on direct instruction in the classroom.  Teachers spend time, effort and money attending professional development workshops and seminars that oftentimes do not directly improve student learning. However, if we as school leaders can invest time, effort and money into project-based learning and real-world learning experiences such as the one my students experienced  today, I believe we would see a direct correlation in improved academic success.

All children have a spark. It's our job to ignite it.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

September's Meat Free Week Meal Plan

Hey everyone, Happy Sunday!

Here's this month's Meat Free Week Meal Plan.  I took into account the changing seasons and weather and included root vegetables like potatoes, pumpkin and sweet potatoes into the mix. 

I also included some dishes from Greece and Spain that I enjoyed while living abroad.

I hope you like it!

May you be happy,
May you be healthy,
May you be safe.





Thursday, September 15, 2016

A reminder...

Authentic
I am the woman I say I am.
I am truly present and connected to life in a caring way.
I have a genuine commitment to my vision.
I live with detachment and let go of what could, should, would happen.
I do what's right, even it it's not the popular thing to do.

Attentive
I don't give up.
I notice the small details.
I am consistent and I get results.

Above-Average
I go beyond the call of duty.
I take risks.
I embrace the unknown because that's the only way to grow.

What does living beautifully mean to you?


Saturday, August 13, 2016

Shout out to Pret A Manger..

This is a quick shout out to Pret A Manger..


They have great coffee, yummy vegetarian-friendly soups and salads, and they donate their daily leftovers to food banks and charities working to eliminate hunger.





Just another example of how you can vote for the type of community you want to live in, 
with the power of your wallet!!

Be the change you want to see in the world!
 
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