Racing for the Cure….

Today, Komen Race for the Cure came to Ocean City, Maryland.  Despite the wind and driving rain, more than 2,000 men, women, children, babies, people of all races, shapes and sizes, ran/walked/strolled the race to help find a cure for breast cancer.  Did you know that the Eastern Shore of Maryland has some of the highest incident and mortality rates?

Myself and Suzie Taylor of Ayer’s Creek Adventures volunteered several months ago to help with operations and recruitment of sponsorships and teams.   Unfortunately, sponsorship opportunities are not very affordable for most small businesses so, in Berlin, we decided that joining forces was the way to go.  We organized sponsorship “Historic Berlin, Maryland” which included 14 local businesses, everything from coffee and thrift shops, to bakeries and hotels, restaurants, B&B’s and spa services.  This was a huge success!  Together, we supported a great cause and hosting a table in the race village allowed us to introduce our town to hundreds of people who didn’t even know that Historic Berlin, Maryland existed.

This event is personal to both Suzie and myself.  My mother, thank God, is a breast cancer survivor thanks to regular breast exams, early detection and access to great health care.  Suzie’s mother, Joann and her Aunt sadly lost their battle with this disease.  It doesn’t get more personal than that.  As a matter of fact, it seemed very personal to everyone in attendance.  If not, I can’t imagine that we wouldn’t all have rolled over this morning and hit the snooze button instead of  crawling out of bed and weathering the coastal storm that, today, decided to target the East Coast.  I know we need the rain!

I have “raced for the cure” before in D.C. and get very emotional when the “Survivors Parade of Pink” starts.  Today was no exception.  I can’t help but marvel at the courage and strength of the women and men presented and of course, those souls and their families who lost the battle before the cure was found.  Personally, I would love to know how much money is spent each year on determining the various causes of breast cancer.  When my mother was 50, she didn’t know one person with breast cancer.  I just turned 50 and I know handfuls of friends and family with this disease.  Why, exactly, are some areas experiencing higher incident and mortality rate?  I could go on and on.

Suzie’s sister Shelly and I ran together.  We were perfectly matched for our pace.  For the first leg, down the boardwalk, the wind was hitting us head on and then we rounded the corner both figuratively and literally.  There were lots of supporters along the way, standing and cheering us on.  This made me think about what this world would be like if we all had people in our lives acting as personal motivators cheering “You can do it”, “Great job”, “Way to go” .  We were passed by some who made it look easy, but there were also people behind us who scratched their way to the finish line,  everyone proud that they completed the course.

The "cutest team" award!In all it was an exceptional day!  I realize that there is often some controversy with organizations such as Komen, but if you only focus on that you’ve missed the point in my opinion.  In addition to raising money to help find a cure, races such as this one, allow for a community of people to come together as one family.  Being amongst that crowd, knowing that we all support the same cause, running/walking for or in memory of a loved one was, for me, both uplifting and spiritual.  I know that I was not the only one who felt that.  To me it reinforces the fact that we’re never alone if we care enough to reach out to one another, we need to live in this moment and spend time with the people we love.  Most importantly, I know that, like today’s race, when people come together great things are possible!

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Can my “Feed Your Sweet Tooth Diet” work?

My "Feed Your Sweet Tooth" Diet!

Feeding My Sweet Tooth

Can I feed my Sweet Tooth daily and still loose a little weight?

My sister Shelly and I own an all natural bakery in Berlin, Maryland.  There’s no denying that we love sweets and  in our business, we want you to love Sweets too.

We came by our “Sweet Tooth” naturally when our Dad  kindly passed that gene on to us.  Actually my Dad has the biggest “Sweet Tooth”of anyone I have ever met.  I still have vivid childhood memories of him dieting and performing various methods of sweet deprivation. His most favorite indulgence is ice cream.  We all still laugh when we talk about the time he was trying to loose a little weight and my mother thought that he was doing so well.  She was proud that he had “tamed his tooth” until one day she had to drive his car to work.  For what ever reason, she had to slam on her brakes and an empty container of Breyers Ice Cream rolled out from under the seat.  He was “busted”!   Reflecting on this story reminded me that my father was “fit as a fiddle” when he was the most active despite what he ate.  He played baseball and was an avid runner.  The “wheels didn’t fall off” until he had knee issues and became less active.  That’s when he began riding the “diet roller coaster”.

I try to work out regularly, but honestly I haven’t made it a priority and often don’t push myself as hard as I should when I do.  I don’t usually buy into the whole New Years resolution thing.  I try to remember that I have the opportunity to make positive changes every day, but I’m turning 50 in March and I really want to be “fit and 50”.  That in mind, I have decided to enter the 6 week “Biggest Loser” challenge at my gym which begins today with the “dreaded” weigh in.  There is an entry fee and prize money for the winner, but I am more motivated by the accountability of this whole thing, particularly now that it’s public knowledge.  I did ask both my husband and Shelly to join me, but they both declined.  I’m going to have to go it alone.

This will be an experiment of sorts.  I hope to prove to myself, once and for all, that deprivation isn’t “my” key to weight loss and fitness.   I don’t know about other tooths, but my Sweet Tooth has a mind of it’s own and it expects to be cared for.  In the past, whenever I have deprived my Sweet Tooth, my “Tooth” has retaliated and it hasn’t been pretty.  So instead of starving “it” or myself, I’m simply going to move more, make small changes like drinking more water, eating slowing and mindfully, keeping a log of my meals, activities and progress,  all while still indulging in my daily dose of sweets.

If you would like to join me on this quest, I would love to have you along.  If you have any helpful tips you would like to share, they are most welcome.  Follow my progress with weekly updates via our blog and on   the bakery’s facebook page  and see if the “Feed Your Sweet Tooth Diet” works!  It could go either way.

The Sweet Life…striking “the balance”…working it out!

No one has to tell us about diets, indulging in sweets in moderation and watching the waist line.  Our stretchy pants feel the pain of having to taste most everything that leaves the building everyday.  Plus, I’m sure that you’ve read our previous post about “you can have your cake and eat it too” so I am not going to elaborate on that subject.  So what, you ask, am I blogging about now?  Well, it’s our newest endeavor.

We want to connect our customers with our local fitness centers, personal trainers/coaches and share healthy eating tips.  You think it’s “weird” that the owners of a dessert cafe are blogging about fitness?  Let me be clear, we definitely want you to get “BAKED” at the beach, but it is as important to us that our customers are happy and most importantly healthy.  We hope you know that this is why we are committed to baking au’naturale.   We seriously believe that good health and happiness are all about striking “the balance” between the “healthy” and the “indulgent”.   Sometimes that balancing act is just down right difficult.

This  idea came to me when I saw a customer of ours at the gym.  She kindly commented on our facebook post and picture of our Monster Cream Puff asking, “Do you think I could eat half of one if I walk for 30 minutes on the treadmill”?  “Why yes”, I replied and voila the proverbial lightbulb in my head went off.  Why not  connect with the local fitness gurus and share fitness tips, “specials” and wellness strategies with our fans?  Why not ask our fans to share their success stories, tips and recipes.  I don’t know about you, but I can use all of the help that I can get!

No matter if you are a local, just visiting or vacationing at the beach, there are a plethora of fitness centers to choose from and most offer yearly, seasonal, monthly, weekly and daily rates.  Some are even open 24 hours a day.  Fitness centers are not a “one size fits all” and gyms here are no exception.  They offer different fitness philosophies, different work out schedules, classes and styles and varying approaches to reaching your fitness goals.  Most of the centers provide personal coaching, some are class oriented, some more “free weight” minded.  Some follow specific diet regimens like the Paleo Diet which one of our friends and customers recently shared a dessert recipe from.  It was so delicious, Chocolate Babies are now on our “favorites” menu.

Shelly and I come from a large family who celebrate every occasion with food and we own a bakery for gosh sakes. We are constantly striving to strike “the balance” and so we work out almost every morning together.  I personally can’t imagine the strain on our stretchy pants if we didn’t.   One of the factors that we considered when joining a gym was the convenience of the location to the bakery and our children’s school.  Let’s face it, some days are harder than others and for us convenience was a major consideration.  I’ll be honest, the struggle for me is walking through the gym door.  Once I make it past that threshold, I’m “golden” and I always feel physically and mentally better for it.

So, in addition to providing you the very best all natural desserts, breads and beverages, we’re also going to be “rooting out” fitness tips, gym specials and healthy dessert recipes for your overall wellbeing and enjoyment.  We’ll be providing more gluten free, diabetic friendly and vegan dessert options at “BAKED” and are interested in your own personal success stories, winning tips, strategies and recipes.  Visit us on facebook, share your strategies and join our quest to strike “the balance” for a happy, healthy, sweet life.

You can have your cake and eat it too!

Let me preface this post by admitting that I’ve added the inventor of “lycra” to my list of people I thank God for and that the term “muffin top”  has a new meaning for me, particularly since taste testing began in the bakery.   Still, over this past year, I was still surprised by the number of customers who came into the bakery and asked if they could just “stand and smell”.  “Why of course you can” we responded, but this begs the question…”why would you want to just smell fresh-baked deliciousness when you can actually taste it?

This form of question usually resulted in one poor soul, most often a woman, standing by while their companion ordered and indulged in something sweet.  The deprived usually commented, while looking anxious and depressed, “I really want something, but I simply can’t indulge”.  I can almost hear their internal conversation aloud; “should I, maybe just a little, don’t do it , I really want it, no you can’t have it” and so on and so on.  Why do we do this to ourselves?

I’m like a kid in the classroom right now with both arms raised in the air almost screaming…Ooh, Ooh, Ooh!  I know the answer to this.  For most of us, it has to do with deprivation in the desperate attempt to reach or maintain a certain body weight. Let’s address the “elephant in the room”, for some this has everything to do with good health, particularly if they have issues with blood sugar, but for many it is not about being healthy at all.  It is about their negative body image and their desperate attempt to “feel good in their own skin”.  This kind of deprivation usually leads to bingeing, which usually ends with guilt and this vicious cycle begins.

It’s no wonder so many of us, even beginning in the early teenager years, have poor body image.  The messages we all get from magazines, movies and television are totally skewed.

How can any of us get a handle on reality when everything we see from photos of fashion models to actors and even athletes are doctored to “perfection” with computer tricks and the ever popular chemical and surgical enhancements.  According to dosomething.org, did you know…

*Twenty years ago, models weighed 8% less than the average woman. Today, they weigh 23% less than the average woman.

*The average American woman is 5’4” tall and weighs 140 pounds. The average American model is 5’11” tall and weighs 117 pounds.

*If Barbie was a real woman, she’d have to walk on all fours due to her proportions.

*About 7% of 12th grade males have used steroids in order to become more muscular.

*If GI Joe were human, he’d have larger biceps than any bodybuilder in history.

*One out of every four college aged women has an eating disorder.

*It is estimated that 40-50% of American women are trying to lose weight at any point in time.

*Americans spend more than 40 billion dollars a year on dieting and diet-related products – that’s roughly equivalent to the amount the U.S. Federal Government spends on education each year!

*Almost half of all women smokers smoke because they see it as the best way to control their weight. Of these women, 25% will die of a disease caused by smoking.

*In 2007, there were about 11.7 million cosmetic procedures performed in the U.S. Ninety one percent of these were performed on women.

*A study found that 53% of thirteen-year-old American girls are unhappy with their bodies. This number grows to 78% by the time girls reach seventeen.

Isn’t that shocking?  I don’t have all of the answers and I am certainly not suggesting that we all binge on “sweets” with reckless abandon.   Although, that would be great for our business!  I have come to the conclusion, though, that moderation can be part of the solution.  How about we focus on setting goals of being strong, fit and healthy.  How about planning healthy, nutritious meals which can even include dessert.  We can encourage more physical activity.  Remember, diets don’t work because food deprivation causes the body to burn fuel more slowly.

Maybe we order and prepare smaller serving sizes.  For example, if you do indulge in dessert, order or prepare in single serve sizes like cupcakes.  Freeze the remainder and just take out a single serve portion to be enjoyed each day.  When you eat one, savor it as a treat.  Sit down while you eat it, focus on the flavor and texture, put your utensil down between bites.   Give yourself permission to enjoy it.  When we deprive ourselves that’s when the indulgence takes on the “super power”.

Bottom line, I believe we can encourage and remind each other to be the best that we can be.   Love yourself and others for who you and they are and remember, “beauty is only skin deep”.  Physical beauty is superficial.  A pleasing exterior is no guide to a person’s inner beauty or character.   You can “have your cake and eat and enjoy it too!