3 Lessons in Saying No

When I first started my business, I would say yes to everything in hopes that one of those things would be my "big break". Do you want to collaborate on this? Sure! Do you want to speak at my function even though I won't pay you? Sure! Do you want to offer a free session? Why not! Does that sound exhausting? It was. 

When I said yes to everything, both personally and professionally, I quickly became over-committed, tired, and resentful of living to take care of everyone else. My life wasn't fulfilling so I made some painful cutbacks to get back to living my very best. When I did that, I learned three major lessons on why saying "NO" isn't scary or mean, but rather freeing and kind.

Here's what I learned and how you can apply it in your own life:

Lesson 1:
Saying NO to the small things will allow
you to say YES to the big things

If your schedule is full of things you don't really want to do but feel obligated to do, you no longer have time, money, energy, or space for big opportunities of things you actually want to do. 

In the case of budgeting, maybe you spend $10 here, $10 there on things you bought on a whim, but don't actually need, then you're suddenly not able to afford those concert tickets with friends or the trip of a lifetime. 

Do you remember how I talked about how I was searching for my "big break"? What if I filled my schedule with small commitments, mundane obligations, and "quick" favors, and then my schedule was too full to attend a conference that would have done more for my business than all of those other things combined?

When we say NO to the small things, we open up our schedule, time, and finances to saying YES to the big, fun, important, life-giving things.

Lesson 2:
Saying NO doesn't have to create conflict

I had coffee with a woman a couple months ago and told her how I often feel like I'm too much; that speaking my truth made others uncomfortable. She reminded me of something I tell myself all the time, but often forget: 

As long as I share my truth honestly and gracefully, what other people feel is not my concern.

So how do we do this? How do we say no to business opportunities, friends, family, or work obligations?  You tell them your why.

If you get invited to go out to dinner with friends but you're broke as a joke, simply say "Thanks for inviting me! It's not in the budget this week,  but..." and that "but" is important! This is where you offer a solution in place of your presence. 

"It's not in the budget this week, but I'd love to have you over for coffee next week!"
"I don't have the availability for that right now, but I'm excited for you and would love to support you by sharing your work in my e-mail newsletter!"

I recently got to practice this with a colleague who asked if I would collaborate on a project she's working on. The opportunity sounded amazing and really fun, but I needed to keep my "YES" for another area of my life that needs more focus right now. Here's what my response to her was:

"Unfortunately, I'm going to gracefully pass. I'm working on creating a new sector of my business and it's taking up SO much time and space in my brain that I don't think I could give enough attention to this particular project. I think [your idea] is SO good so I would definitely open that up to [a certain Facebook group] and get a huge library of content."

No + Why + Solution

People value honesty and kindness so combine both, say no graciously, and don't worry about what they may think of you; it's not your concern.

Lesson 3:
Say YES to things that matter

Sometimes things come up that we really do not want to do, even though we should. These are things like helping a friend move, dropping everything to be with your best friend post-heartbreak, driving your grandma to the doctor, or buying lunch for a stranger. While these things aren't the most fun, they serve others in a selfish world. 

The problem comes when we've said YES to too many other things. We then don't have room to serve others with our time, finances, or business because we've already used those resources on less-important things.

When we keep space in our schedule to mentor others, cash in our wallet to help others, and energy in our lives to help others, we have the capacity to make the world better. If we say yes to everything that comes our way, we're draining not only ourselves but also opportunities to love and serve people in ways that matter.

Let's take some action, shall we?

If you find that you need some serious growth in this area, here's a helpful practice to determine where you can cut back and make room for your best "yes".

First, write down a list of everything you are committed to, even if they're things you've committed to yourself like going to the gym or volunteering at church. Then place a star next to the top 5 most draining items. Finally, out of those five items, choose two to cut out of your life.

If you need to take time to think about it or make alternate plans for that commitment, set a time to have that done by (i.e. one week) and put it on your calendar.

When you get everything on paper, you can see an overview of where your time, energy, and resources are going. This will help you say NO so you can say YES to what matters.

I hope this has been helpful for you! This took me a solid year to get down, but I'm so thankful I did it because now my life is filled with my best yes, which is the "big break" I actually needed.

If you'd like more resources on this, I highly recommend picking up Tim Ferriss' "Tribe of Mentors" where the world's most successful business moguls share tips on how they say no. 



Grain Free Cinnamon "Nachos"

One of my favorite things to do is take an old favorite and create it in a new healthy(ier) way! These "nachos" were a staple in my college years and I loved serving them at parties (because they're SO easy!), so I was so excited when I recreated them and they tasted even better than before!

I almost feel silly sharing this recipe because it's so simple, but if you're looking for a quick treat for your kiddos or the next party you host, this is it. It's guaranteed to be a fan favorite and can be topped with a million different combinations to be the perfect dessert!

These chips take a sweet flavor, but you can use the cooking method to make heavy duty guacamole dipping chips that won't crumble like most gluten/grain free chips. Seriously, this is a win all around!


Grain Free Cinnamon Nachos

1 pack of Siete Almond Flour Tortillas
1/2 c coconut oil
1/4 c coconut sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c Enjoy Life chocolate chips
1 tsp ghee or grass-fed butter
1 c diced strawberries

In a large cast iron skillet, heat coconut oil over medium-high heat. Stack the tortillas and cut sections of 8 (like you would a pie!). When the oil is hot, place tortilla slices in a single layer and allow them to crisp for about 30 seconds. Use tongs to let oil drip off then place in a large gallon size bag. Repeat this step until all tortilla slices are cooked. Add coconut sugar and cinnamon to bag, seal, and gently shake until all chips are covered in the coconut sugar. 

In a small bowl, add chocolate chips and ghee and melt in the microwave using increments of 15 seconds until fully melted.

To serve, top chips with strawberries and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve warm. 

If you make these, tag me on Facebook or Instagram! Enjoy!





Movement: The Right Plan for You

I'm so excited for you to meet my dear friend, Taylor Bluebaugh! Taylor is a personal training here in Colorado and focuses on making fitness approachable for everyone. She does one-on-one training, as well as group training. She also has a weekly class called ASL Strong for those who are Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. I think you'll love Taylor's kind, understanding, and enthusiastic approach to fitness and really enjoy her guidance on finding a workout program that's right for you. 

I'm Taylor, certified personal trainer, and owner of Ground Zero Fit. Let me just start by saying how much I adore Cameo and Lemon and Fig. I first connected with Cameo about a week after I had moved to Denver from Kansas City.  I have immensely enjoyed our personal friendship, but let me tell you, I also love having a business partnership with LEMON & FIG. Why? Because personal trainers need nutritionists, and nutritionists need personal trainers. The depths of functional nutrition are out of my scope of practice, and the prescription of exercise regimens are out of hers. Thus, together we make a beautiful pairing!

You need both nutrition and fitness in your life as well; one is simply incomplete without the other if your goal is total health! Today I want to share more about the fitness and hopefully give you some great ideas! 


What I hear from many people is that they hate working out. My response: you just haven’t found what ‘works out’ for you! Finding a fitness style that you enjoy is key! It’s similar to when we talk about career choices and say "do what you love, love what you do.” You have to wake up and do that job every day, so we better like it or we'll be miserable. It's the same with fitness! If you wake up and dread heading to the gym then it will be a huge challenge for you to stick with your plan. In fact, that might be where you find yourself now: completely over the whole fitness thing.

So how do we figure out what we love to do, while also making sure it's something that's actually good for us? With the gobs of workout styles out there, I certainly can’t list them all here for you to pick from; it would go on forever! So let’s instead start by finding a good initial direction for you. Let’s talk about what makes up a good workout program and then look at how your preferences fit into that equation.

First, when picking a workout, you need to make sure it has these foundational elements:

● Total Body incorporation
● Both Resistance Training (working against some type of force- weights, gravity, water...etc.) and Cardio (high heart rate work)
● Some form of flexibility work

This list isn't exhaustive, but it's important to achieve all of these requirements and you could even mix and match different workout styles; yoga a couple days a week for flexibility and resistance and boxing for a few days for more resistance and cardio. You could also sum up all three things in one workout style like swimming or circuit training. In the end, just try to incorporate as many of those listed elements as possible.

Now for finding something you will enjoy!

Answer the questions of this short quiz, then check in with the answer key below:

1) What settings do you thrive in:
a) At home or in a quiet place chilling on my own
b) Hanging out with a small group of friends over some coffee and games
c) Getting hyped up with high energy at a concert or big party

2) How do you like to be challenged:
a) Make me work for it! I’ll take as long as I need to conquer the task.
b) I don’t mind a little extra effort, but I want to feel successful immediately.
 c) I need something that I can pick up quickly and feel good about from the get-go.

3) How do you best succeed:
 a) Setting goals for myself and sticking to them
b) Having someone hold me accountable to stick to my plan
c) Knowing that people are counting on me to do my part

4) You can stick with a task if:
a) It is stable and constant and I can see measurable growth
b) It is ever changing and keeps me from being bored
c) I like a little of both


1) Key Value: Who should you workout with:
a) You might enjoy a more individual workout.
Good options include swimming, individual circuit or weight training, bicycling, one-on-one personal training, home video-based training.
b) You might enjoy a partner or small group setting.
Good options include Boxing/MMA/Martial Arts, small group training (circuit class/ boot camps), small CrossFit classes, niche classes (aerial yoga, kickboxing, etc.).
c) You might enjoy a large group setting.
Good options include yoga classes, HIIT classes, recreational sports, gym offered classes (barbell, pilates, POUND), Zumba, outdoor boot camps.

2) Key Value: Your ideal learning curve
a) You might enjoy workouts that have a large learning curve, but have a big pay off in the end. Good options include yoga, technical dance, boxing/MMA/Martial Arts, aerial fitness.
b) You might enjoy workouts that challenge you throughout but include progress all along the way.
Good options include CrossFit, powerlifting/weight training, HIIT classes, barre, circuit training.
c) You might enjoy workouts that have a quick introduction and provide you an instant sense of accomplishment.
Good options include swimming, cycling/spinning, Zumba, gym offered classes (POUND, water aerobics, aerobics, step).

3) Key Value: Commitment accountability and success
a) You might enjoy working out alone and keeping a gym journal with your goals and progress. You can achieve this through a home gym or large franchise gym with individual membership)
b) You might enjoy working with a personal trainer, or having a gym buddy to hold you accountable.
c) You might enjoy joining a group class (small or large) where fellow members and the instructor will notice your presence or absence and can hold you accountable to attend. You can find this at niche gyms, small fitness studios with group training, large gym group classes or boot camps.

4) Key Value: Consistency in format
a) You might enjoy a workout that has the same basic format every time you do it but keeps you adding more and more challenges as you grow.
Good options include swimming, Cycling/Spin, Boxing, Recreational Sport.
b) You might enjoy a workout that constantly changes it up, keeps you guessing and is mentally entertaining.
Good options include Zumba, boot camps, aerobics classes, HIIT.
c) You might enjoy a workout that is changing in smaller variables but has a generally consistent format.
Good options include circuit training, CrossFit, powerlifting/weight training, pilates, yoga.

Based on your answers in light of the answer key, did you see any suggested workouts show up more than once? Maybe it’s time to give that one a try! Do one of these four values matter more to you than the rest? Try a workout based on that answer. If none of these options seem right for you, or you have tried them all and disliked them all, then please get in touch with me! I know these suggested options are not extensive and there is much more out there. I would love to work with you on finding a workout that suits you!

I hope some of my suggestions and guidance has helped! Please don’t give up on the fitness part of the health partnership. The bottom line is that when you pick a workout style that you enjoy, you are much more likely to see the results that you want because you are much more likely to stick with it so pick what suits you and go after it!

Taylor Bluebaugh, CPT
Ground Zero Fitness

You can connect with Taylor on Facebook, Instagram, or her website!



Weeknight Pho (Paleo, Whole30, Low Carb)

Have you ever tried pho before? It's a traditional Vietnamese dish of rice noodles, meat, and broth. Typically the broth is served with the thinly sliced uncooked meat and it quickly cooks right at your table. It's delicious but can often come with unsavory ingredients like gluten, soy, and MSG. It's also not super conducive of a quick weeknight meal until now.

This meal has three main components and thanks to some handy shortcuts, they come together in less than thirty minutes.

Bone broth is a slow cooked broth using bones that produce lots of collagen, amino acids, and minerals. It has a deep, rich flavor and is a powerhouse for gut healing thanks to the proline and glycine amino acids. You can make your own, or if you're like me and need to save some time, you can buy it. My absolute favorite bone broth is Bonafide Provisions because it's always well sourced, organic, and made in small batches then frozen. When shopping for bone broth, always look at the options that are frozen or refrigerated and avoid the shelf-stable bone broths. I pick up Bonafide Provisions at Natural Grocers, but many other stores carry it nationwide.

Chicken is the main protein of this pho recipe, but you could easily use thinly sliced beef as well. You can slow cook the chicken, throw it in the InstantPot, or save so much time and pick up a rotisserie chicken on your way home from work. That will cut this recipe time down by a lot making it even more simple for your weeknights. If you opt for a rotisserie chicken, grab the organic variety that's unseasoned.

Zucchini noodles are used instead of the traditional pho rice noodles. This makes it low carb, grain free, and adds an extra serving of vegetables. I spiralize my own vegetables which only takes a minute or so, but you can also buy pre-spiralized vegetables as well.


Weeknight Pho (Paleo, Whole30, Low Carb)

Serves 2
1 tsp ghee
1/4 small yellow onion, minced
2 gloves of garlic, minced
1 T fresh grated ginger
4 c chicken bone broth
2 T coconut aminos
1/2 T fish sauce
1 c shredded chicken
1 medium or large zucchini
1 baby bok choy

Optional Toppings
Green onions
Red pepper flakes

In a medium-sized pot over high heat, melt ghee then saute onion, garlic, and ginger until fragrant. Add bone broth, coconut aminos, and fish sauce and cook on high until it begins to boil then turn down and simmer. While broth is cooking, spiralize the zucchini and slice the bok choy in half length-wise. Assemble the zucchini, shredded chicken, and bok choy in two bowls then ladle the hot broth over the bowls. Top with roughly chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, or any other toppings you desire. Serve immediatly.

If you make this, tag me on Facebook or Instagram! I'd love to see it!



27 Lessons in 27 Years

I turned 27 years old this week. This still surprises me because I feel much younger but the reality is that I'm almost 30 years old now. I feel caught between being young, wild and free and feeling a bit out of place when friends are beginning families and buying homes. When I stop the comparison trap though, I realize that I am truly in the best time of my life. 

I spent this last weekend with my favorite people doing my favorite things. We drank under the city lights, had breakfast in our pajamas, ate cake with my family, sipped mimosas on a Monday morning, played in the mountains of Colorado, and reflected on the best of times and the worst of times. 


While I reflected, I realized I've learned so many lessons in my life so far and those lessons have become guiding principles in my daily life. I hope that in sharing them with you, you'll be inspired to grow, change, and pursue your greatest potential. So here you go!

27 Lessons in 27 Years

1. Speak your truth. 
Don't hide behind fear, insecurity, or shame. Say what's on your mind and be brave, even if your voice shakes.

2. Ask for what you want.
Be direct.

3. Adaptability > capability.
Be flexible, adapt to new situations, try new things.

4. “The victim mindset dilutes human potential. By not accepting personal responsibility for our circumstances, we greatly reduce the power to change them.” Dr. Steve Maraboli

5. Nothing changes if nothing changes.

6. Compliment often; speak the beauty you see in others.
If you think someone around you is kind, smart, or looks amazing: tell them.

7.  If you can't offer a solution for it, don't complain about it.
Solve the problem or shut your mouth. Complaining doesn't fix problems.

8. Never leave work for someone else that you can do yourself.

9. It is better to be worth knowing than to be well-known.

10. "Ego is about who is right. Truth is about what is right." Mike Maples Jr.

11. Done is better than perfect.
Finish that project, start that business. Ideas don't get things done, doing the action does.

12. Seek to belong, not to fit in.
“Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging, on the other hand, doesn’t require us to change who we are; it requires us to be who we are.” Brene Brown

13. Communicate expectations before they have an opportunity to go unmet.

14. Self-discipline is a form of self-love.
Keep the promises you made to yourself; follow through with those goals, habits, and dreams.

15. Courage > comfort.

16. Work to be 1% better than you were the day before.
Small growth each and every day will add up to huge change.

17. Kindness always matters.

18. The entire day doesn't have to be ruined because ten minutes went wrong. Make the other 1,430 minutes count.

19. You're allowed to question the rules.

20. Know your "why".
When you know why you're doing something, you have a solid foundation to return to when things get hard or overwhelming.

21. The best plan is one you can actually do.
Don't get caught up in huge, sweeping changes. Make a gameplan that is sustainable long term.

22. Your dreams don't have to make sense to anyone, not even you.
Do your dreams sound crazy and impossible? Great, that's the point. Go after it anyway.

23. Courage is more important than confidence.
"When you are operating out of courage, you are saying that no matter how you feel about yourself or your opportunities or the outcome, you are going to take a risk and step toward what you want." Debbie Millman

24. If your response is "I'm too busy", try saying "it's not a priority" and see how it feels.

25. Fail forward.
Let failure refine you and better you. It's simply an opportunity to grow.

26. "No." is a complete sentence.

27. Practice gratitude. 

What are some of your biggest lessons you've learned? Join the conversation by leaving a comment here or over on Facebook or Instagram.