blues Archives - Vitanova

Changing Course – How Pepique Stout Cleaned Up His Act

Pepique Stout embodies the typical American male. He ate mostly fast food and a lot of meat, drank too much, smoked pot and cigarettes, and his life and health were spiraling out of control. Then, one day, he decided to quit drinking and smoking, and that led to a path of eliminating all “crap” and becoming a vegan. Now, he’s healthier and happier than he’s ever been, and he has the blood tests to prove it.

My story of how I changed my life began with drinking. The first major health change I made was five years ago. I quit drinking, smoking pot and cigarettes all on the same day. That was intense. I went through intense biological changes after that. It proved to be too much to handle all at once, and I fell into a depression. I went to a Western medicine doctor who put me on antidepressants, which I stayed on for about six to seven months. As I progressed through AA and really started to find myself and find my spiritual strength and become more aware of what was important to me, I realized I didn’t need the antidepressants anymore. And furthermore, they scared me. The side effects caused me to get cravings that made me want to up my dosage. And I was getting brain zaps in my eyes every time I moved my eyes. So, I stopped the drug. I wanted it out of my body. At that point, I was freaked out by anything foreign in my body, and I took a very firm stance to not do anything like that at all. When I was going through my first divorce, I went back to smoking cigarettes, which was after about six months of not smoking, and that lasted for about six months. I quit cigarettes again on the same day I quit alcohol a year earlier. So now, my alcohol quit date and cigarette quit date are exactly one year apart on the same day. I now have four years without cigarettes and five without alcohol.

I was also eating a lot of fast food back then. I was driving a truck for my job and eating badly. I was a carnivore of the highest sort. I never really anticipated making any changes in that area. I didn’t feel I needed to make any dietary changes. I just accepted all the health risks of eating that way. It was just the way I was. After pushing forward with this clean quest (no drugs, alcohol or smoking), I started watching documentaries here and there, and gaining knowledge about the health industry and started taking a little better care of myself. But really, I didn’t change a whole lot as far as diet and exercise. I had a physical job, so I just put effort into that.

Somewhere along the way, before I met my second wife, I started smoking pot again. And since I’m an addict by nature (and I accept that about myself), I can’t do these things in moderation. I eventually become self-destructive. So, I decided to be totally sober all the time after my wife and I got married. Then, we decided to have a child, but we ran into infertility issues that were rooted in endometriosis. Through surgeries and miscarriages, it ultimately led us to find that there was no cure for our problem other than a dietary cure, which led us to investigate a vegan diet—no sugar, gluten or soy. That lifestyle was going to prove to be really difficult because a lot of the known vegan products on the market are soy based.

 

We were faced with a dilemma; does my wife cook three meals, for my wife, her daughter, and me, or do we all change and adopt a vegan diet? Prior to these changes, I had already decided to quit fast food. That was probably one of the more impactful changes that I made. I didn’t really feel that sluggish when the meat was from a good source, but I did feel bad when I ate fast food. But even eating meat from a good source, I still felt like I just wanted to take a nap or sit around and not do anything. It was kind of like a food coma. Once we took meat out of our diet and went headlong into the vegan diet, we did a lot of research to motivate us because her daughter and I didn’t want to make the change at first. We were just doing it for my wife. But then, the guilt factor kicked in because she was cooking the majority of our meals. I didn’t want to ask her to cook meat for us when she couldn’t eat it, so we made the decision as a family to go vegan. As it progressed, we really started to enjoy it and we began to educate ourselves. We’d watch food movies as a family, Forks Over Knives, Food, Inc., Farmageddon, and more. There is a wealth of knowledge on how to eat vegan, and it’s easily accessible these days. The Beautiful Truth was the most impactful of all the movies we watched. It’s amazing to see how deceived we’ve been by the FDA and the cancer drug societies and the like. Everything we need is already here. We don’t need to process it. It grows in the ground. Just go and find it. It’s a basic thing that we’ve all forgotten. We’ve been so deceived by the lies of the dairy industries and the meat industries that are trying to just make money, but they’re no better than the cigarette industry. They’re lying to us and telling us these things are necessary.

The vegetarian food industry is stuck on soy as the easy way to get protein. There’s a common misconception that you need some sort of protein source like processed soy or meat product to be healthy, which is just absolutely not true. There is more absorbable protein in some vegetables than there is in some steaks. Yes, granted, the meat products contain more protein when they’re sitting on your plate than the broccoli does, but when it goes through your body and you digest it, what come into your body and what goes out as waste, you will wind up with more absorbable protein from some of the vegetables than you ever will from eating meat. That’s the thing that the meat industry doesn’t tell you. They aren’t lying; you just aren’t absorbing much of the protein. When I eat a full plate of broccoli and kale and all these other intensely deep-green vegetables, the amount of nutrient that my body absorbs is above and beyond anything else I can get from dairy or meat or processed soy.

In addition to eating a vegan diet, supplements are a big deal to me. I eat a full breakfast and then I take supplements with a vegan shake. I have to make the exception when I eat out that I won’t always find non-GMO, but I do insist on organic whenever possible and vegan. Animal rights were not what drove me to become vegan. It’s the health factor. I tried it, I put it in my body, and I feel the difference, and that’s my marker…how I feel. I’m a big advocate of spices, too. They are therapy in your food, too. Turmeric and cayenne pepper I put into just about everything. There are a ton of good spices. Most of the Indian spices are really powerful. The spices themselves are almost more healthy than the food they’re on. And that’s also really overlooked by Americans. We’re a salt and pepper society. I’ve been exploring the culinary aspect of creating something that is not only delicious but also nourishes my body, and when I’m done eating it, I feel great.

I went to the doctor recently, thinking there was something wrong with me. It turned out that it was my recent second divorce that was causing my anxiety. The doctor ran all kinds of tests: heart, blood, lung x-rays—everything—trying to figure out what was wrong with me. Turns out, I’m the epitome of health! I didn’t have any deficiencies. Again, my diet was all I need to be healthy. Vitamin B12 and iron, which are common deficiencies in under-educated vegans, were perfect. When I first went into the doctor for the antidepressant, I was anemic and the doc put me on an iron supplement. And that’s when I was eating meat almost exclusively. So, that was an aha moment for me. Now, as a vegan, I have more iron absorption and I’m not anemic. I also do a lot of probiotics and supplementing to fill in the gaps, definitely, but they are all organic, seed-based for protein, and none of it is soy based. That’s what I find works best with my body. Western medicine, and my tests, proved that it’s working for me. Hydration is also a huge factor. I carry around a water bottle at all times.

This is a full-body growth experience that has led me to feeling healthy and stable and not depressed. All of that depression and anxiety was because I had too many of the things that shouldn’t be in my body and not enough of the things that should be there. By cleansing my body of all foreign crap and poisons (as I refer to alcohol and tobacco now) and sugar, I’m happier and healthier than I’ve ever been before.

Tara Marlow’s Story – Life is Short. Make It Matter!

Tara Marlow is the travel blogger behind the site Travel Far Enough, where she and her husband inspire others to quit their corporate cubicles and live the lives they dream of. But her own life and dreams weren’t always aligned: until 2011, Tara worked 70-hour weeks and envied those whose lives revolved around traveling and writing about it. A road trip with her preteen daughter brought Tara’s priorities into focus, challenged her to drastically reorient her life around them, and compelled her to live her dreams. 

I grew up in Australia and took my first overseas trip as an 18-year-old. I was immediately bitten by the travel bug! At age 22, I moved to America, where my former husband and I thought we’d stay five years before moving on. The marriage didn’t stick, unlike the travel bug, but a beautiful daughter came from that marriage.

Five years turned into 20; I met my wonderful husband Rich and built a career in Texas. Before I realized it, I was drinking the Kool-Aid of corporate America and found myself working 70 hours a week. I got up each day to rush out the door, work at a frenetic pace, and come home only to work more while throwing dinner together before sitting down in front of the TV to work on my laptop. I had migraines a few times a month from the weight of it all.

Work was costing me my health and my relationships with family and friends. However, I stuck to my promise to my daughter that we would take a mother-daughter trip every year. In 2010, I knew I needed to get away from the craziness for a while and that our annual girly getaway would slip through my fingers if I didn’t make a plan. So, I asked her if she wanted to take a road trip. Without any hesitation, she said, “Let’s go to Mount Rushmore.”

I laughed because Mount Rushmore had never been on my list! But she’d learned about it in school. I thought, “Why not?” We agreed that we’d make it an epic two-week road trip and visit some other cool places along the way. We researched the stops to make, created road-trip playlists, downloaded audiobooks, found a questionnaire we could talk through, and came up with a mantra: “Try something new every day.” Little did I know that this wouldn’t just become a fun road trip; it would change my life.

My daughter and I reconnected as we traveled. Our reconnection on the road made me realize that I was missing out on her life when we were at home. I wondered what I had missed over the years of 70-hour weeks.

A year later, both my father and Rich’s father passed away. Around the same time, my daughter came to me while I was working and asked if she could talk to me for a few minutes. I replied, “Yes, but give me five minutes.” Three hours later, I finally went to her bedroom to find her sobbing on her bed. She said, “Mum, you said five minutes. It’s been three hours.” This was not a proud parental moment.

That was the absolute turning point for me. It was time to listen to what was happening in my life. I talked with my husband, and he said, “You know, yes. You are spiraling. You’re not in a good place. You should consider what else you can do.”

In mid-2011, I got my ducks in a row at work and gave notice. I rediscovered my passions for travel, writing, and photography and researched them like crazy. For the next year, I took online courses and sold my photography at local markets. Life was good. I could breathe again.

In 2012, our life changed again. My husband had his own “aha” moment after watching my transformation and decided to join my quest. After a family discussion, we decided to move to Australia. Even with the stress of an overseas move, my migraines stopped.

For our family of three, moving to Australia was the right decision. Now, I can spend three hours deliberating John Donne poetry with my daughter, take hikes with my family, and go camping or explore epic snorkeling spots in the middle of the week. And when my daughter graduates, Rich and I will be traveling full time. Life is open to us now.

We have a daily routine focused on family, health, and following our bliss. Over coffee and our daily vitamin D each morning, we plan our day. It may be writing, working on marketing, or exploring a new spot. When my daughter returns from school, we talk about her day at length. We make healthy meals together with the abundance that Australia’s farmers’ markets have to offer. Our evenings are like most families’, with a key difference: we ditched the TV when we left America. We love it. Life is healthier for us in every way.

I’ve thought about what drives me to make each day better than the last, and it’s simple. It’s what we talk about on our website: Life is short. Make your life matter.

Respect – Powering Communities Around the World

Too many of us live as though our lives are already scripted for us. We don’t realize that we are the agents of our own rebirth. When Ibrahim was startled out of passively playing his role, his real, purpose-driven life began. Now, he’s changing the world. 

I remember a day in middle school when our religion teacher said that he would tell us a story of the good woman and the bad woman. He started to describe his version of a bad woman: a sovereign, independent woman with her own dreams and aspirations who doesn’t necessarily cover every inch of her body, who chooses to express herself in her own style, and who doesn’t spend every ounce of energy on her family.

As he spoke, I thought of my mother, who has the most integrity and kindness of anyone I know. The fact that he put her in this category of a bad person jolted me into the awareness that not every narrative that children inherit from adults is true or right. It was a pivotal moment, when I realized that I could apply my own filter to every conversation and decide what works for me and what doesn’t.

Before that day, I would inherit conversations and perpetuate them, conversations that had continued from one generation to the next. That was the moment when I developed the kind of critical thinking that changed the trajectory of my life. I am thankful to that teacher for his perspective; because of him, I allowed my own perspective to enter the equation and guide my decisions. I determined to use my own judgment in my decisions from that point forward.

In the early 2000s, I had built a successful career in general technology investing. I could see the great damage that humanity was doing to the environment in California and around the world. I wondered how we could sustain this path of destruction of the earth without destroying ourselves. When a gentleman pitched the idea of investing in a new subdivision outside of Los Angeles, my partner and I saw the path ahead: buying a lot of land, cutting down a lot of trees, and contributing to urban sprawl, leading to more burning of fossil fuels for people to go to and from work.

The safe financial choice was clear, and we rejected it, just as I had rejected the narrative my religion teacher prescribed for me years ago. We chose, instead, to pursue a path that will help save the earth and invested heavily into waste energy. Humanity generates a lot of garbage, and even after recycling what’s recyclable, there’s still a lot of waste left—waste that can be turned into a fuel. We don’t need to bury it in the ground or throw it into the ocean, destroying so much of our world and its ecosystems! We can turn it into clean, consistent energy that can fuel five, if not ten, percent of our energy needs.

For the last decade, we’ve successfully only invested in socially and environmentally sustainable enterprises. Watching the world begin to reject the old, dirty ways of generating energy and replace them with sustainable solutions has been rewarding from not just a financial perspective but also a humanitarian and environmental one. It feels fulfilling to be part of that.

When we are young, we think we live forever. I wake up now with just enough awareness of how short a human life is. My awareness propels me to move quickly to make a difference because I know we don’t have as much time as we think we do. That’s why I wake up every day feeling happy to be alive and able to do more of what I love. My life is purpose-driven. Living a purpose-driven life is really natural, but we don’t know that until we choose to live it and have the courage to pursue it. I consciously choose to embrace my purpose every day through my morning ritual of oral hygiene, vitamins, and exercise before I start on my work. I love the planet, I love people, and I want to contribute my gifts to creating a world that sustains everyone.

Ibrahim AlHusseini is a partner in the Full Cycle Energy Fund, created to finance and own projects that revolutionize our relationship with waste by converting a costly environmental problem into clean, valuable fuel that can be used to power communities around the world.

Daily Rituals

Rituals are fundamental to the human experience. 40,000 years ago, Neanderthal humans were already engaging in rituals, and the wisdom of ritual has permeated cultures all around the world today. You can create your personal transformation by starting your day with a ritual of affirmation and nutrition.

Ritual is so powerful because it is a place where research, respect, and rebirth converge: its positive impacts are proven by research, it expresses respect for the self and the wisdom traditions of the world, and it facilitates our rebirth.

We are grounded in research when we partake in ritual. A 2010 article in the Journal of Psychological Science describes how repeating a positive phrase or carrying a good luck charm concretely improves not only our belief in ourselves, but our performance! And in 2013, Scientific American confirmed that rituals powerfully impact our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. They build our confidence, help us get better results, and heal our grief. Ritual can truly help us succeed.

http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/05/27/0956797610372631

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/why-rituals-work/

Research also supports the importance of taking a multivitamin each day. The Harvard School of Public Health describes the importance of both a healthy diet and a daily vitamin. Note, however, that not all multivitamins share the same health benefits. Those manufactured with synthetic ingredients cannot provide the same overall health benefits as those crafted with organic fruits and vegetable sources.

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/what-should-you-eat/vitamins/

Simple things such as the ritualistic daily use of the right multivitamin can create a dimensional behavior when coupled with positive thoughts, the warmth of a cup of tea, and inspirational visualization. You can give yourself a healthy, research-supported start to your day by making your morning vitamin a catalyst for your own affirming daily ritual.

We respect ourselves as individuals and world citizens when we partake in ritual. Around the globe, rituals celebrate children coming of age, inspire performance, honor grief, and support physical healing. Tapping into the power of ritual joins us with our ancestors and our global community.

And engaging in a daily ritual respects the self. When we pause each morning to affirm ourselves, engage our senses, and take our vitamins, we are expressing love for our whole selves—we are engaging our inner selves in personal healing, growth, self-unity, and power, and we are thanking our bodies for giving us our earthly experience.

You can also respect your body by choosing scientifically based, organic, healthy foods and vitamins sourced in an ethical manner. Say “no” to synthetic compounds and “yes” to organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs and to cultured, whole-foods vitamins and minerals, including DHA.

We create and invite our rebirth when we partake in ritual. Mahatma Gandhi said, “Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn.” The great paradox and power of ritual is that by engaging in the same affirmations and actions each morning, we can transform ourselves and embrace a vita nova—a new life—every day. Ritual both unifies our days and makes each of them new.

A morning ritual that includes affirmations and your vitamin supports your inner and outer rebirth. Transformation happens not only in our minds, but on the cellular level in our bodies: right now, your cells are regenerating! The cells on the surface of your lungs regenerate every two weeks, and even your skeleton regenerates every ten years. Your positive thoughts and botanical supplements directly affect this process of transformation and rebirth.

Take a moment to envision what a reborn you would feel and act like. Imagine affirming yourself each day, telling yourself that you can experience this rebirth. Now, visualize yourself achieving it. Doesn’t that feel good? Resolve now to begin affirming yourself towards your rebirth each day as you take your vitamin.

Every day holds the opportunity for your rebirth. Join us, your ancestors, and the world in transforming yourself through the scientifically validated power of ritual and nutrition. You can find affirmations to support your journey at www.facebook.com/vitanovanutraceuticals/.

“My life is hectic, and getting myself up and motivated in the morning is crucial to my success. I always brew some green tea, close my eyes, and picture myself on top of Mt. Everest. I say an affirmation, such as ‘Today will be my day because I am smart and strong. I will succeed.’ Then I take my Vitanova Women, take a deep breath, and make it so. This ‘me time’ is when I give myself a morning lift.” Amy Rose, 46, from San Francisco, California

“When I play competitive tennis, I always wake up extra early. Every morning, I brew a pot of coffee, stretch, grab my bike, and head to the gym. It is really important that I use three identical racquets all strung equally and wear my special socks that have a left- and a right-specific sock. This ritual gives me the focus I need to envision myself winning.” – William Scott Sutter, 50, from St. Louis, Missouri

Bonnie McCoy Comes Alive – A Story of Rebirth

Bonnie McCoy had been in a cocoon for 30 years—a cocoon of dedication to her family, caregiving, and self-sacrifice. Inside of her cocoon, the musical gift passed down from Memphis Minnie to her father waited patiently for its time to be reborn in her. When her husband was paralyzed, she realized that it was time for that gift to spring to life and touch the lives of many.

Blues music has been in my family for many generations starting with the great Memphis Minnie, a groundbreaking 1920s-era female musician in a genre dominated by men. My father, too, was an amazing musician. I have always known that they gave their musical gift to me, but for the past 30 years, I have placed myself on the back burner to do everything for my family, including my beloved four grandchildren who are in my custody. I have no regrets—my family and my grandkids are my greatest joys. Now, I am ready for the world to get to know the real Bonnie McCoy and to pursue my own dream. It’s time to step out on a limb and live!

My dear father, who taught me so much about the music I love, whom I took care of until he died, told me on his deathbed, “Bonnie, you’re going to have to start taking care of yourself.” I finally realized what he meant when my wonderful husband Marcus, the man who sang original songs for his coworkers and helped me care for my grandchildren, became paralyzed. He’d been diagnosed with spinal synopsis and a herniated disc two years before the horrific snowstorm last February. He went outside and tried to shovel the snow. I yelled out to him, “You don’t need to be doing that in your condition!” But he said he knew what he was doing and would be okay. Three days later, he went to the ER with shooting pains in his back and shoulder. He became completely unable to walk, and the doctors told us after his 3-hour MRI that he had a 50% chance of never walking again.

I saw my husband paralyzed and thought, “That could have been me.” The realization that someone could instantly lose something so important and miss out on ever accomplishing their dreams hit me so hard. I told myself, “Bonnie, now is the time. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve been true. I’ve been there for people. But I have so much to offer!” My body was ravished with inspiration.

Marcus had surgery and surprised his doctors by walking again in less than a month—they’d never seen that happen. My husband walked himself out of that hospital with no wheelchair or ramp. I thought, if Marcus can do that after all we have been through, it’s time for me to step up to the plate and finally do all the things I can do. He inspired me so deeply, and with him by my side, I finally saw what my daddy meant when he told me to start taking care of myself.

My health hasn’t been the greatest, but I’ve seen improvement as I do a lot of positive things each day to keep myself healthy. I see my doctors on time, I eat well on my road to becoming a vegetarian, and I say a little prayer as I take my vitamins each morning.

There’s so much I know I am capable of doing, and I want to share my experience the world. I want the world to know me. It’s time.

Every bit of pain and every bit of joy comes to life through Bonnie’s passionate singing. This summer, through Vitanova’s “Dreams Come True” program, Bonnie and her husband Marcus May will record an album of original music to share with the world.

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