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Saturday reading

Sunday Reading #13

Good Morning!

Life has been extremely cool as of late. Super Strength Health has gained a lot of momentum, and I’ve had the ability to show my face in a very exciting project (which you’ll read about in this post-don’t worry)! Stepping away from teaching in a formal way has opened up the opportunity to teach on a much more individual level and I am feeling significantly more fulfilled and self-motivated to get out there and help people feel as awesome as they can. In turn, I feel pretty awesome myself.

Neat how that works out.

Couple of house keeping things: Saturday Reading is now Sunday Reading, because, WOAH, I’m usually pretty busy on Saturdays and I imagine other folks are too. ALSO the wonderful folks at Fern House Co.  have made my website responsive, thus meaning it should look awesome on any device. Ahhhhh. That feels good.

Onto the links!

1) Definition : Strength and Training for Ladies – edited by Christy Morgan

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This magazine is written for vegan women who lift weights, which could not be more perfect for a babe like myself.  When I saw the first issue I knew it was important that there be a voice out there that talks about healthy vegan weight gain via weight lifting. For some reason I was a little nervous for that voice to be me.

So. I sent them an email saying “Hey guys, have you ever thought about doing this kind of story?” to which they responded “Here’s how to submit.”

WELL. I suppose that DOES make sense.

So my story is in there, and I am extremely proud of the work I put in to get to a point to write about weight gain with pride, happy with the writing, and stoked to be amongst the other amazing ladies in the issue. Coincidentally, my vegan gluten-free Caesar salad with Miso Dijon glazed tempeh and Polenta Croutons  also won in the “most innovative” category of their salad contest.  I like winning stuff. It feels awesome.

2) The Anti Diet Project by Kelsey Miller 

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The Anti-Diet project is amazing. It is a series of posts (that I believe is ever-expanding!) over at Refinery29 that explores one awesome women’s experience with Intuitive Eating. With article titles like “Just Eat the Christmas Cookies Like a Normal Person, Please”, “Why Intuitive Eating Could Change the World”, “7 Diet Lies you Probably Believe” and “Breakfast with the Diet Rebel” why would you not want to read? This lady is sassy, honest, and exploring some deep stuff as she recovers from chronic dieting. Get at it!

 3) Grilled Polenta and Zucchini Salsa- by Jeanine at Love and Lemons 

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To me, this is a perfect Summer recipe. It is vegan and gluten-free, involves the GRILL (a must for summer time) and even includes an option for milling your own cornmeal (which I did, because that’s how I roll.) When I made it I included some roasted chickpeas with the zucchini slaw (because, protein, I like it.) and it brought the dawn of the season straight to my mouth.


4) The Unspoken Downside of Training for Performance by Nia Shanks 

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I love Nia Shanks. She is one of the very first bloggers I found that emphasized a focus on exercise performance as opposed to physique, and encourages short, high intensity work outs as opposed to long steady-state cardio. This concept for how to exercise is total normal to me now (Thanks Grassroots Crossfit!) but at one point and time it was REVOLUTIONARY. short, performance focused exercise changed my life.


In this article Nia talks about potential downsides of exercise for performance. Type A personality types (like, ahem, me, and half the people I know) can take exercise goals just a weeeeee bit far. As someone who has fallen down a rabbit hole of compulsive exercise in the past, it’s pretty easy to see transference with weight lifting. It could easily be like this: “Didn’t get a PR on my deadlift? I’M THE WORST!”. Instead, Nia reminds us to chill out. Some days we won’t beat our formal exercise records. Some times we are tired. Some times our body needs rest. That’s cool. Do it for the experience, and generally, you will improve. A great reminder.

5) Citizen Radio by Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein 

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Citizens Radio is the best. Allison Kilkenny is a journalist and Jamie Kilstein is a comedien and when it comes to the world of podcasting, that is an excellent combination. The two of them release podcasts five days a week with unfiltered, unsponsored news. This means the listener (me! you!) gets the facts without having to wonder if a corporation sponsored the opinion. My love for citizens radio has taken me from being a general political not-know-much to a kind-of-know-a-lot. I feel like I am a better person because I am informed- all due to Citizen’s Radio.

The whole she-bang is FREE and clearly quite time intensive. Listen to their podcast, buy their book, donate to their show. And for goodness sakes, don’t forget to enjoy it a little.

Happy Sunday!

Saturday Links #12

And here we are. 12 weeks of amazing links, and I swear it has flown by. How are you dear readers? I have realized I use these Saturday Link lists to talk about my own life, and as my readership grows I have become curious about yours. TELL ME ABOUT YOU. Come on. Do it.

So. It’s Gemini season, which means like all of my BFF’s have birthdays and the sun is out. My dudefriend and I have escaped to Monterey (my home town, in case you didn’t know!) and we slept in until nine-freaking-thirty, sat in a coffee shop for mostly leisure purposes for four hours, booked a cheap hotel room with a fireplace, and kicked it by the ocean. NOT BAD. Also, I got my business cards in the mail (hand set type and letterpressed by Mello Press), which I am ridiculously excited about. I love my job. I love my creative, talented, business supporting friends, and I love my life . Thanks for being a part of that.

Onto the links!

5 ways to build self confidence with healthy bragging- By Kris Carr 

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Somewhere along the road, I learned that it was not cool to brag, no matter the circumstance. This article puts into words a feeling that I’ve had for quite some time- that bragging can be helpful! These days, I am all about healthy bragging. Not for just myself (Although I do happen to do it) but also for my friends. Nothing is more inspiring than hearing about other people’s accomplishments and sharing in their joy. Watching people succeed makes me want to bust my ass to live my dreams!

My Ever Changing Viewpoint on Paleo and Crossfit- By Juli Bauer for PaleOMG

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I am a vegan who religiously reads PaleOMG, because I think Juli is hilarious and fun. I have never made one of her recipes, and likely never will due to the whole no-animal-products thing, but I’m certainly not going to let that stop me from enjoying the shit out of her writing. JULI, IF YOU READ THIS (-unlikely-), I am a total fan girl. You make me happy.

This article is uncharacteristically serious, but no less enjoyable. I related SO MUCH, because (entirely unshocking confession time) I have, in the past, felt caged by my identity as a healthy and active person. At some point I realized that I absolutely hated feeling shackled in this way, and I loosened up. What happened when I added in a treat now and again and took rest days when my body ached? My body composition changed in an agreeable way. I got a shadow of an ab, I fit into clothes that had stopped fitting. And my brain? My brain felt fucking awesome. Because I was a whole person, living a whole life.

I think it is wonderful to constantly assess how fit your brain is, as well as your body.

It’s Chub Rub Season: 10 Solutions to ward off inner thigh chafing, and I tried them all- By Lesley for XOJane

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Well friends, I am here to tell you here and now, that my thighs are prett-y big. I can squat many pounds, I can bike up huge mountains. Although I am pretty sure you don’t need big thighs to do either of those, mine have definitely grown as my fitness improves. I crush heavy leg days and I am NOT BUMMED about it. Big thighs help.

All of this is to say, my thighs like to hang out with one another. Like, get REAL REAL cozy and snuggled to the point of raw searing pain. I have tried that whole Body Glide, deoderant stick looking thing….didn’t work. I have tried vaseline and coconut oil….didn’t work. These days I use Chamois Butt’r and it works like a serious charm (!!!). This article discusses and rates many other options for us big thighed babes, and I’m all about it. Mostly, because I was SO ASHAMED when I realized it was starting to be annoying to wear shorts on hot days because I didn’t know chub rub was, like, a thing. The more people talk about this stuff, the more normalized it is, and the less other people have to feel that feeling. Into it.

Not Picture Perfect? Bounce back from a body image blow- by Beauty Redfinied

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This is a great primer on telling body shame to go kick rocks. It is lengthy, offers a considerable amount of tools/tactics, and is super positive and encouraging. Even as a body image warrior (which is apparently what I consider myself these days- I think that’s one of those healthy brags I mentioned?) I have to sometimes return to the Body Love 101 stuff. We live in a world that has taught us over and over and over again to dislike our appearance. That means we have to practice self-compassion and self-esteem just as often as that negative stuff has bombarded us.

A Letter to my friends with depression- by Jenna and the Pups

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This is a song written for Jenna’s friends with depression and I have listened to it over and over and over again since I discovered it.  Lyrics are as follows:

Dear Friends, 
Please never hesitate to ask me for anything. I will always try my best to be a good friend for you in a time of need. Please, always feel free to reach out to me anytime. I know I’m not always able to help immediately and I might not know exactly what to do when you’re having negative feelings but I promise to always be there when I can. Whatever ways I can help I will do because I love all of you. So please, again, always feel free to reach out to me anytime. 


so simple. so sincere. and now……I shed a tear. I have been on both sides of that kind of friendship.

After listening to Jenna’s song, please check out her other band +hirs+, which is the fast and thrashy version of this poppy goodness.


Have an awesome weekend!


Saturday Links #11

MY DUDES. I am writing to you from the other side. That’s right! I am no longer a high school teacher. I am now simply a health and wellness coach, which is the best thing in the world to be, if you want my opinion. I wrote a new tagline for my business today, wanna hear it? Sure you do.

“Super Strength Health is dedicated to viewing health and wellness through a feminist lens. We work to connect clients to their innate bodily wisdom in an effort to promote physical, mental, and emotional health.”

Do you like it? It’s kind of all I ever wanted to exist in the world! It feels amazing to be making it happen.

After I finished entering my final grades I sunk into an exciting nest of time in bed, meal photography, reading for pleasure, and of course, Internet browsing. It occurred to me that when I came up with the idea of sharing a short women-and-queers links round up each week, I had thought it might be a bit challenging to find things that related to what I do over here at Super Strength Health. As I surfed the Net, nested in a mountain of pillows, I happily realized that there will literally never be a shortage. This week’s links are about fat shaming and pushing back on the powers that be, Following your dreams to bring health conscious living to the masses, teens that are openly living their lives without gender identification, figuring out just what to do with your life, and women inspiring women to make visual art. Sounds like political, emotional, financial, spiritual, and communal health to me!

That is such a great example of what I aim to do with Super Strength Health. It’s not all about green vegetables and exercise plans over here (even though, yes, I will encourage both.) What it’s about is all the other stuff. The daily instances and pressures that deeply affect our food choices. I have never been so certain that the things we eat are our secondary foods. The things that nourish– our families, our friends, our communities, our partners, our lifestyles, our self-esteem, our sense of belonging– that’s the stuff that is primary. I am all about synthesizing the two- working on the primary AND the secondary food- to help people live the best lives possible. It’s good work to be doing, and for those involved, thank you for allowing me the honor.

Onto the links!

1. Dear Instagram by Meghan Tonjes

Turns out Instagram took down a picture of the bathing-suit-covered butt of Meghan Tonjes, and the suspicion is that it was because she was a fat woman, shamelessly parading her behind. I’m sorry, but really?! HOW many scantily clad photos are there on Instagram?! And HOW many women don’t hear a peep from the app in response?! Meghan’s words in this video are great! She truly challenges not only Instagram, but fat shamers in general. Thankfully, as soon as this video was posted, Instagram reversed their decision, and the booty pic lives on. It’s an excellent reminder to make some noise when you have been wronged.

2. Living The Dream by Lacy Young



My friend Lacy Young is a health coach. She sold all of her worldly possessions, bought an RV, and is traveling the country on tour to spread health and wellnesses messages all over the US. She is calling her new life “Kale on Wheels” and I am so pumped for her. This is a post all about her new chariot, and at the end there is a link to her GoFundMe campaign. I donated, and you should too.

Helping Lacys to live their dreams is the best.

3. Agender: Portraits of Young People that Identify as Neither Male or Female- Photos by Chloe Aftel, article by Jenna Garrett



This article is on Chloe Aftel’s incredibly beautiful photographic series about young people living outside of the gender binary system. I have sweet and tender spots in my heart for both teenagers and members of the queer community- indeed they are some of the most wildly beautiful, brave, and strong hearted people on the planet. These photos make me cry and they make me proud. They make me have hope and they make me fearful and protective. Please go look and read.

4. What Are You Doing?  by Ashley Neese



Ashley Neese makes me feel calm when shit hits the fan. This article is called What Are You Doing?  and when I read the title I actually got a little scared, because really, what am I doing? I quit my stable job to work for myself! I have no safety net! What if I fail!?  As I read on, Ashley wrote one of the most simple and perfect sentences that I think I have ever read. She says (and I am paraphrasing here, please read her words to find the poetry!) that one should do what they have always done. Do people come to me for advice about health, nutrition, and exercise? All the time. Am I constantly excited to read new things about nutrition? Absolutely. Do I naturally have the desire to synthesize strengthening the body and upping self-esteem? Well, yeah, I do. I guess I’ve already been a health coach for some time now. Hmm. Imagine that!

5. Margaret Kilgallen for Art 21  

I love hearing about how women inspire other women, and Margaret Kilgallen is one of my favorites.

Happy weekend to you!