CELEBRATING THE HOLIDAYS MY TRADITIONS HAVE CHANGED, BUT MY FAITH HAS REMAINED Growing up, Christmas was a small family affair for us. My dad got a job in New York City when I was just a toddler, so he, my mom, my siblings, and I packed up and moved to Pennsylvania before we finally landed in Connecticut. Most of the holiday celebrations I remember as a little kid involved a simple gathering with my parents and siblings. We’d wake up and furiously open our stockings before sitting down to a Christmas morning breakfast. Once we finished our feast, we were finally able to open our presents. We’d spend the day together as a family, just enjoying each other’s company. California while I was a kid, it was still quite the adjustment for me. We moved near the Los Angeles area, and I remember driving through one of the neighborhoods and staring up at all the palm trees. Despite being born in the Golden State, I was brought up on pine trees and changing leaves. California was all sunshine and palms; it was quite a different experience compared to what I was used to. At least, that’s how it appeared to a 13-year-old adjusting to a post-East Coast life. We moved back to California when I was 13 years old, and despite visiting
celebrating the holiday through our religion encourages our kids to show love and compassion to others. This is a message we try to teach our kids not only around the holidays — care for other humans should be a year-round mission. My family and I are active supporters of the Orange County Rescue Mission, and we often donate to it monetarily and materially. For those who don’t know, the local organization uses Christ’s love as a motivator to help “the least, the last, and the lost of our community.” The organization provides meals, clothing, and shelter to a variety of groups in need in our area. They have veterans, antitrafficking, legal, spiritual, medical, and life skills programs among their many offerings. Learn more about the Orange County Rescue Mission at RescueMission.org . Helping the Orange County Rescue Mission serve others in the community encourages my family to live actively through Christ and our beliefs, but whichever way you plan to celebrate this holiday season and give back, I hope you do so with compassion. Happy Holidays!
From then on, our holidays got a little bigger, as we were able to spend more time with family. No big traditions really grew out of this, but I did love living near family. It’s the main reason my wife — who has lived in California her whole life — and I decided to plant our roots in this coastal state, despite musings about possibly living somewhere else. We’ve built our own community here, and we have connections with family and our church that we wouldn’t want to lose. Now that we have three kids of our own, celebrating the holidays as parents is a fun experience. Each year, we look forward to seeing their delighted faces on Christmas morning. The wish lists have gone from Legos to expensive electronics, but there’s nothing quite as pure as a kid tearing into wrapping paper on Christmas morning. However, while presents, Santa Claus, and sugar plum fairies are pleasant perks of the holiday, in our household, we hold dear to the Christian-based reason for celebration. I’m passionate about my faith, and I want to raise my children to find their passion for faith, too. My wife and I also believe that
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4 FITNESS GOAL MISTAKES TO AVOID SET THE RIGHT GOALS THIS NEW YEAR
Choosing the right goal is perhaps the most important part of achievement. Be brave and challenge yourself this year, but increase your chances of success by avoiding these four common pitfalls. 1. Getting 'Toned,' 'Buff,' or 'In Shape' Do yourself a favor and delete vague fitness terms like these from your vocabulary; they don't mean anything, and there's no way to achieve them without a concrete definition. For instance, once you understand that "toned" really means "lean and muscular," you can create a workout plan that helps you shed fat and reveal muscle. And "in shape" can have different meanings depending on your current fitness level. To you, does it mean completing a difficult WOD, losing weight, or reducing your blood pressure? Be as specific as possible when creating your goal. 2. Losing a Large Amount of Weight Losing lots of weight is fine as a long-term goal, but it will take a while. To prevent feelings of discouragement and failure, it’s best to create smaller milestones to hit along the way. Decide what you can realistically achieve during a manageable period of time — perhaps 3–6 months — and make that your first goal. While the scale is a handy tool to evaluate your progress, don’t rely on these numbers alone. Use multiple techniques, such as progress photos, measurements, and the way your clothes fit. 3. Setting Unrealistic Goals Challenging yourself is one thing; setting yourself up for failure is another. If you spent Slick roads and icy sidewalks become part of the landscape every winter, and every year the risk of falling is very real. For many people, avoiding a fall can be difficult enough without ice coating every walkable surface. Young or old, here are a few ways you can stay on your feet this month. IF THE BOOT FITS The correct footwear can save you from a nasty tumble or heart-stopping slip. Finding boots that are specifically designed to keep you steady on a slippery surface is a must. It's also a great idea to buy waterproof footwear to keep your feet warm and dry in the snow. Ice cleats can be helpful as well; they slip over your regular shoes and give you the added grip you need. If you don’t want to wear your winter boots anywhere but outside, bring an extra set of shoes with you so that you can switch once indoors. ONE STEP AT A TIME It's important to move cautiously when you’re on an icy sidewalk. Make sure to keep your feet flat while you’re walking and your hands out of your pockets, SLIPPING AND FALLING
three years putting on weight, it's not going to come off in three weeks. If you're juggling a 50-hour work week with a family and chores, you're probably kidding yourself by swearing to hit the gym every night after work for an hour. If you're a hardgainer, trying to look like Arnold will be an exercise in futility. Don't be afraid to push yourself, but set goals you stand a chance of achieving. Once you hit those successfully, set some new ones! 4. Letting Instagram Influence Your Goals Your favorite fitness Instagrammers may look like gods and goddesses online, but keep in mind that they're only showing you their best selves on their best days with the best angles and lighting. Instead of trying to be someone else, focus on yourself! Just because they're hitting PRs or rocking bikinis or eating a vegan diet doesn't mean you have to. Decide what you really care about, then choose goals that will make your life better every day — even when the camera isn't around. Don't wait until January to get started. Decide ahead of time what you want to achieve, make a plan now, and set yourself up for success!
WHEN YOU CAN’T STOP THE FALL, ROLL WITH IT
which will help you balance should you start to slip. It also helps to spread your weight out evenly by not walking with your feet close together. Try not to be distracted when you’re walking on ice — keep your eyes forward and make sure you know where you’re placing your feet. KNOWING HOW TO FALL Unfortunately, even with all the precautions in the world, falls still happen. While no one has invented a way to trip and fall gracefully, there are a few ways you can avoid a serious injury when it does happen. If you find yourself starting to fall, lean forward to help prevent a direct impact to your spine or the back of your head. Try to roll with it, or, if you’re falling backward, try to land on your bottom. Also, try not to catch your full weight with your arms or hands, as that can lead to broken arms or wrists. If you do slip and fall this winter, it’s important to address your injury. It's better to seek out medical attention than ignore the problem, which can only get worse the longer you put it off.
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HEALTHY FOOD FAUX PAS MISLEADING INGREDIENTS YOU SHOULD AVOID
DINNERTIME DECEPTION Your California roll may be hiding more than you think. Sushi is usually rolled in sugar-loaded and carbohydrate-heavy white rice. Aside from the white rice, the more intricate rolls often include toppings and condiments best savored in moderation. If you think you can avoid fried and greasy options by ordering a veggie burger, think again. These meat alternatives often contain another unhealthy dose of rice and are fried or baked in processed oils. While this information may send you into a panic about finding healthy foods, remember to stick to natural, low-additive foods, monitor your portion sizes, and create homemade alternatives to some of your favorites. You don’t have to compromise on taste to get the most nutrition out of your meals. Try cooking your favorite foods from scratch and avoid the consequences of misleading ingredients.
simply because something is labeled “organic” or “low-fat.” Next time you’re shopping for a quick snack, be mindful when grabbing trail mix, yogurt, granola, microwave popcorn, or protein bars. These items are often falsely advertised as healthy options, and while they may contain some nutrients, most people don’t adhere to the listed serving size. When you eat more than recommended, you could be offsetting the nutritional benefits. LETTUCE LIARS Yes, even salads can be misleading when it comes to dieting. Salad dressing is a yummy way to make a salad more exciting, but it should be doled out in limited quantities. Unfortunately, most prepackaged salads do not limit dressing portions. A pool of ranch dressing over lettuce will limit the benefits you’ll get from the healthy greens. Additionally, nuts, cheeses, and seeds can be healthy and tasty on your salad, but they should also be eaten in moderation.
Instagram models and fitness specialists flood social media feeds with nutrition tips and tricks, but amid the blur of muscled selfies and misguided dieting advertisements, it’s hard to determine what is actually healthy. Arm yourself with the following knowledge about tricky food ingredients, and always question diet fads blasted on social media. DEVIOUS DRINKS There’s actually no scientific evidence to suggest “performance-enhancing” drinks will make you a better athlete. If you drink sports drinks regularly, you’re actually filling your body with unnecessary sugars and additives. Furthermore, common fruit juices contain a lot of sugar, and skim or fat-free milk contains additives that eliminate the full feeling whole milk provides you. SNEAKY SNACKS Food marketing labels use the latest diet trends to twist consumers into thinking they’re making smart choices
CAULIFLOWER SOUP 30-MINUTE
TAKE A BREAK!
Inspired by Good Housekeeping
INGREDIENTS • 1 small head cauliflower (about 2 pounds), cored and sliced • 1 leek, chopped • 1 medium onion, chopped • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
• 1/2 cup heavy cream • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil • Salt and pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS 1. In a large pot over medium heat, melt butter into warm oil. Add onion and leek, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender, about 10–12 minutes. 2. Stir in garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add cauliflower, broth, and cream. Simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 15 minutes. 3. Using a blender, purée in batches until smooth. 4. Top servings with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of pepper.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE 1. CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS FAITHFULLY 2. 4 FITNESS GOAL MISTAKES TO AVOID HOW TO SLIP AND FALL THE RIGHT WAY 3. MISLEADING FOODS TO AVOID CAULIFLOWER SOUP
HOW ONE MAN SAVED HUNDREDS OF ANIMALS HURRICANE HERO TONY ALSUP
The heroic efforts of Alsup saved the lives of many animals, but it wasn’t the first time he’d rushed into danger for a good cause. He’d originally purchased the school bus, which he turned into Noah’s Ark last year, to save animals in Texas and Florida as Hurricane Harvey pounded the Gulf Coast. When he finished there, his mission shifted to helping animals in Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island. It’s said that character is defined by the way someone acts when no one is watching. Many people heard of Alsup’s bravery after the devastation of Florence, but as news stories turned to sports, politics, and business, America slowly moved on. Victims of the hurricane who lacked supplies received less national attention, but more than a month later, Alsup’s commitment to the cause was as strong as ever. Living
In the wake of destruction, it’s easy to focus on self-preservation. After all, fight-or-flight instincts are hard-wired into our brains so that we can survive dangerous situations. But while fear drives the actions of many in times of chaos, there are a few who find greater strength in compassion. Tony Alsup considered the potential devastation of Hurricane Florence as he sat comfortably in his home in Greeneville, Tennessee. Rather than sit back and watch, the truck driver by trade packed up an out-of-commission school bus he’d bought and set off to South Carolina with one goal in mind: to save as many animals as possible. Stopping by every shelter he found along the coast, Alsup rescued over 60 cats and dogs in both North and South Carolina and took them to Foley, Alabama.
out of the back of the bus for weeks, he drove pets out of the persistent flooding and convoyed shipments of desperately needed supplies to the coastal Carolina towns. You can follow Tony’s commitment on Facebook. He’s not asking for money or fame; he’s just a person with a heart to serve, using social media to promote awareness about those who desperately need our help. If you’re wondering what drives such a person, you can find it written at the bottom of every update he posts: “Love y’all, mean it.”
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