Enter the Healthy Food Lovers Den

I love both sweet and savory foods, and root vegetables are delicious and nutritious! Check out this recipe for Moroccan Roasted Carrots


In addition, here is my very own recipe; a great waistline- friendly dessert. You can use Granny Smith apples or a mix of pears and apples. Just remember that portion control is still important because even though fruit has natural sugar- and is a healthier choice- it still has a lot of calories from sugar. Check it out!

  No crust, gluten free, dairy free, pear- raisin walnut crumble. Delicious! Super easy to make, too!

Dena Dessert10 – 12 small organic pears
1 1/2 cups unsweetened coconut milk
1- 1/2 cup organic raisins
1 cup crumbled walnut pieces
2 Tbsp organic vanilla extract
Cinnamon to taste (I like a lot)
**Optional fat added for more “stick to your ribs” goodness, and satiety. Use 3Tbs of Artisana Raw Organic Coconut Butter.

Chop up pears; skin and all, into chunks.
Mix in raisins, walnuts, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Heat coconut milk on low in large skillet, cut in Coconut butter (or not) Add all other ingredients, stirring periodically. Cook for 20 min. Put on simmer. Crumble up 1/4 additional walnuts and sprinkle walnuts and cinnamon on top layer. Cover. Simmer additional 15- 20 min. OR, for a crunchy top: If desired, transfer to a baking dish, bake in oven at 325 for additional 15-20 min. instead of simmering on stove top. Enjoy!

Dena Raptis and FIT Enterprises partner with Lucy!

I am so excited to be chosen as a Lucy pro and partner. I love their clothing. It’s well made, stylish, supportive an comfortable. Stay tuned for the next FIT event complete with a LUCY showcase.



When? Now.

We are human. We struggle and fall. And if we’re lucky? We get back up and begin again.
hospital-bed_2072858bI have endured some very traumatic things in the last year and a half. My very good friend and colleague with whom I began working with on a series of DRUMS ALIVE events, died tragically last April 2014. My mother almost died last December- a very close call, but thankfully she pulled through. Another dear friend died very unexpectedly in March of this year, and my pop passed over to the other side in June. Tragedy. Sadness. I am still riding the grief train. We are never fully prepared for death are we? Couple this with additional stress of running my own business, going through extensive physical therapy for a torn rotator cuff and painful frozen shoulder, the challenges of being a single, divorced mom to an extremely busy young lady, managing a diagnosis of MS, and helping care for my mom who is 83 and in poor health… all of this can easily transition into a recipe for making bad decisions. We all have stress. It’s a part of life, right? But we all know, it’s how we choose to deal with stress, that counts the most. Many of you reading this may use stressful situations as an excuse to throw caution to the wind where making good choices are concerned. I am also guilty of this. Whether it be over eating, drinking too much alcohol, hanging with the wrong folks, or putting yourself in situations that you otherwise wouldn’t normally do, it is all the same: poor choices. There are consequences, both good and bad, that we must face as a result of our behavior. Do good, see and experience good things happening. Do bad, and watch out!
no-stressWhen my pop died, it was pretty much the icing on the cake for me; I threw up my hands and said, “Eff it!” Since I am pretty private about my personal life, no one but a handful of my very close friends knew that I was seeing someone who broke up with me, via text message, *on my birthday* – fully knowing that my pop was just put into hospice a few days before, and didn’t have much time left. Nice. (Side note: Who does that? Texting acronym: Ikr?) Clearly a very hurtful and insensitive thing, to say the least. It’s okay. While it was hurtful, they actually did me a huge favor, and looking back on it now, I am grateful that I didn’t invest even more time there, but I digress. Life will teach us much if we pay attention. So, with everything happening, I used all of this as my excuse to start eating poorly. Drinking my calories in the way of fattening lattes’ and wine. Starbucks. Have you investigated how many calories of fat , carbs, and sugar are in those expensive drinks? A little red wine is healthy but those additional calories -which are all from sugar, and turn directly to fat if taken in too much- are definitely not good for our waistline. I was no longer working out- outside of teaching my classes, I was not getting enough rest; yet I still continued to push myself to keep up with all that I needed to accomplish. As a result of my choices, I was exhausted, not as effective in my work, cranky and irritable, and I put on an extra 10-15 lbs of body fat. Too much extra weight on anyone is just plain unhealthy, and I was feeling it. It was a wake up call. I share because some of you out there may have experienced this, or are currently experiencing something similar. Real talk.
spirtual-transformation2I prayed that God would grant me peace and restore me back to the path of health and wellness again. I started to make time for me; to meditate, to pray, and to reflect on what is really important to me. I started practicing gratitude, and making self care a priority again. I am generally a very positive person, and mindful of making good choices for my health and well being, so this is actually a familiar place; a place where I knew I needed to return. So, with all that said, I decided to jump on board the transformation train. I chose to enter into a body transformation challenge. With the holidays approaching, in my mind, there is no better time. I am on a structured detox and cleanse. I am a trainer of course and will be training on my own, but also have additional trainer assistance for accountability. I have established healthy eating again, and have already taken off a little weight since I started. This is not just about looking better. It’s about a physical, spiritual, psychological, and nutritional transformation. This is about making lifestyle changes. I prayed for change, and I am now answering the call. It goes through the end of February, and I will keep those interested parties apprised of my progress. If you are interested to know what I am doing, send me a private message. Will it be difficult? Yes. But, is it worth it? Yes. Definitely yes, because I am worth it, and I am ready.
10294338_10152928908008164_5560716395439517069_nWhat about you? Are you ready? What will it take for you to make the decision to not be held captive by life’s stressful situations, and your poor choices? When will you take yourself out of harms way and be all that you were intended to be? It is a choice. We all have great opportunity to make a change if we so desire. All we need to do is pay attention.
So I asked myself this question, and now I will ask you: When? To which I hope you will reply: Now. Let us not forget that we were all given unique gifts by our Creator and we are all capable of greatness. Believe it. Scripture says: Ask and you shall receive. Seek and you shall find. Knock and the door will be opened. I knocked and the door has been opened. I made a choice to walk through. I’m still walking, one foot in front of the other. One breath at a time. What will you choose?
When? Now.