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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It's never her fault.

This morning, my son waved goodbye to me as he left for day care (our families rotate watching him).  It was the sweetest thing – he waved and said “bye, see you.” My heart melted, as it always does around him. Before leaving, I was getting him ready, and I couldn’t help but notice how tall he was getting.  Not even two years old and he’s almost three feet tall! They definitely grow VERY fast, literally and figuratively.  That got me thinking… what do I want my son to learn from me? What kind of person do I envision him becoming? Parents are their children’s first teachers. I firmly and wholeheartedly believe that. Although I can go on and on about all that I want to teach my son, I came across one post recently on Facebook that spoke to me. It was about rape.  

“Victims never cause rape, rapists do. Being out late doesn’t cause rape, rapists do. Short skirts don’t cause rape, rapists do. Flirting doesn’t cause rape, rapists do.  Walking home alone doesn’t cause rape, rapists do. Drinking too much doesn’t cause rape, rapists do.” 

We have become a society where rape is almost always the fault of the woman.  She was asking for it. She shouldn’t have worn that outfit. She should have known better than to be out that late.  All things many of us have heard.  Shame on you if you have fallen into that societal pitfall of blaming women for the heinous actions committed by… rapists.  We must change our mindset to stop blaming the victim for what happened to her.  It isn’t her fault. Ever. 

That will be an important lesson I teach my child as date and acquaintance rape in college youth is higher than it ever once was, mostly being committed by male students toward female students.  According to the Center for Women and Families (CWF): “Date Rape occurs when there is forced or coerced sex within a dating relationship. With Acquaintance Rape the act is committed by someone known to the victim. Nearly 2/3 of all victims between the ages of 18 and 29 report that they had a prior relationship with their attacker.”

I am raising a boy to be a man; therefore this will be an important topic of discussion.  I find it incredibly disheartening that “every two minutes, a woman in the U.S. is sexually assaulted” (U.S. Department of Justice's National Crime Victimization Survey) or that 60% of rapes/sexual assaults are not reported to the police (U.S. Department of Justice) or that 73% of sexual assaults were committed by a non-stranger (U.S. Department of Justice).  Society and the backward mentality of some has forced women into feeling as if rape was somehow their fault and therefore many live with that shame for the rest of their lives.  

We need to break that cycle.  It starts at home – by teaching our sons and daughters that rape is always the fault of the rapists, to advocate for strong young women and respectful strong young men.  We need to teach our children the basic instinct of human dignity.  Humanity cannot be a lost in a world full of hate, brutality and rape happening every two minutes.
This will be just one of the many life lessons I plan on teaching my son. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chicken Curry Recipe

I often get asked about my yummy chicken curry recipe and I've shared it on Facebook but not on my blog. So here ya go! Just remember this is for a traditional Fijian/Indian curry, not chicken tikka which is commonly found in American-Indian restaurants. The difference is primarily the masala. If you want to make chicken tikka, you can follow the same recipe but buy the specialized masala for chicken tikka (any any Indian grocery store).

Here you go:

Chicken Curry, Fiji Style
by Nazia Ali-Prasad

*Serves approximately 4 people


• 4-5 lbs chicken – can be a combination of (drum sticks, thighs, breasts or 1 whole chicken)
• 3 tbsp cooking oil
• 1 large onion
• 2 tbsp minced garlic
• 1 tbsp minced ginger
• 3 tbsp spice (masala)
• 1 tsp Haldi (Turmeric – yellow powder)
• 1 tsp Chili Powder
• 2 tsp full mixed seeds (jeera, methi and sarso). You can buy these at any Indian grocery store
• 2 small cinnamon sticks, 3 cloves and 4 cardamom. (I personally don't use cinnamon when I cook Indian food)
• 2 – 3 potatoes (peeled) and cut in cubes
• 2 – tomatoes washed and cut in cubes.
• 1 bunch cilantro (washed and chopped)


Skin, remove fat and cut chicken in cubes - wash thoroughly and drain.
Use a decent size pot (nonstick preferably) and heat oil.
Put in mixed seeds (jeera, methi & sarso) and add chopped/sliced onion.
Brown onion and add cinnamon stick, cloves and cardamom.
Next, add in Haldi (yellow powder) and Masala Spice (brown powder).
When adding spices turn heat to low; Add minced garlic and ginger and stir with onion and spices.
Add in the washed and drained chicken and mix well.
Add salt to taste (about 2 tsp full) and 1 tsp chili powder.
Cover and cook in medium to high heat for 15 mins.
Chicken needs to be half cooked before adding in cubed (large) potatoes and cut tomatoes.
Cook in medium heat for another 10 – 15 mins.
Check potatoes to see if they are cooked.
You can add water (1 -2 cups) to avoid a dry curry (if you want it saucy).
When the curry juice/sauce is boiling for a couple of minutes – taste to check salt.
Add chopped cilantro as a garnish and enjoy.

Eat with steamed rice (preferably Jasmine or Basmati rice), naan or roti.

NOTE: Add additional chili powder and/or real chili peppers if you prefer extra spicy food, like me. Also, cinnamon is NOT an ingredient I use when cooking chicken curry, although traditional recipes do call for it. A lot of my cooking includes added ingredients or a dash extra of this here or that there... you can adjust/add more or less of any ingredient based on your taste preference.


Monday, February 25, 2013


I came home early today. I decided to not pick up my son early though. Instead, I went home and took a moment to myself. I went to the bathroom. Alone. With the door closed (and locked). No one was in there but me. As a mom, that's pretty rare. I sat outside, on my porch bench, and listened to the birds chirp and fly by. I heard neighborhood dogs bark, cars passing, and the breeze blowing. I could feel the chill from the crisp air circulating near the creek and onto my face.

Something was missing.

I couldn't see that beautiful smile, or hear that intoxicating laugh. My son was missing. I didn't pick him up early today. Instead I took a moment to myself. I had to practically force myself to do so, because every part of me wanted to be with Elijah.

Since Elijah was born, on May 23, 2011, I have not spent one night away from him. I think the longest I've been away from him is 10-12 hours, accounting a full work day and maybe running errands afterwards. He is constantly on my mind. Some may say I'm slightly obsessed. I can't say either way. I do know this; he's my son, he's young and he needs me and I personally (again, its my own personal stance) feel its really appropriate to leave him at such a young age. That's not to knock mothers who have left their children overnight at a young age. We're all different and we all have to do what works for us. Leaving him, at this age, doesn't work for me. So I try to make every point to be with him. I spend quality time with him, daily. I know how important it is for his growth and development. I also know being loved and loving others is an innate human instinct, and it feels good. So I love him openly, freely and unforgivably. He is a huge part of my entire universe.

I give kudos to moms all over the world, that love their children and give them unconditional love. Some of us work full time jobs and juggle a home life. We cook, we clean, we fold laundry, we give bathes, we read bedtime stories, we dance and play, all to enrich our child's life. Some don't work, and are able to stay home always with their children. Which technically is an unpaid full-time job. Both incredibly worthy of praise. I enjoy working. I can't say that I don't wonder what it is like to be a stay at home mom. Because I do. And for some time I wanted badly to stay at home. But for the best interest of my family, I work to provide for their well-being. My husband and I live in a duel income household. It's the way it is. We work hard for everything we have. I also enjoy empowering communities, locally, statewide and nationally. I enjoy the work I get paid to do.

I am incredibly grateful. I have so much to be grateful for and I feel humble.

I'm humbled to have a home to come home early to. I'm humbled that I have a beautiful family. My son whom is the bright sunshine in all my days. My husband who I am meeting all over again after 14 years together. Parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, and amazing friends, I'm grateful for them all.

I'm going to finish taking my moment. And then I'm going to get back to living a happy, healthy life.

I hope you all have an amazing day!

Survival: It Takes a lot of HEART

As I focus on eating lean, clean and green and getting into the best shape of my life, I've been researching various nutrition, health and fitness articles.  I came across a very interesting read titled Survival: It Takes a lot of Heart.  It was a short read on how being fit can be the key to our survival, especially under a natural disaster or attack of some sort. I never thought of it that way, but the author is 100% right.  Being healthy & fit is crucial in your day to day life, but when a natural disaster strikes or you are fighting for your life, it becomes a means to one's survival.

I thought I would share the article here.

This summer, my husband and I are planning on finishing our emergency kits in the unforeseen situation of a natural disaster or some sort of attack.  We have several items on our to-do list to get our kit put together. 

After reading this article, I want to make sure our health and fitness levels are at the top of that list. 

Zohra Nabijan, my nani

Most people have heard me talk about my nani, Zohra Nabijan.  She was an amazing woman.  Nani was a woman beyond her years in a time where women didn’t have the opportunities they do now.  Add that she was living in a third-world country (Fiji), and the opportunities dwindle even more so.  My nani was a very strong woman; a social activist, an activist for the poor, President and CEO of the Jannana League – a league of Muslim women helping their community, primarily those impoverished.  She was also an English teacher once.  She, along with my Nana, were greatly educated and loved to travel. 

She passed away in 2011.  I was heartbroken.  I was here in America and she was in New Zealand. I couldn’t be there for her and wanted so dearly to be. I have a lot of anger around the circumstances leading up to her death – anger that I know one day I will have to deal with – including people I will have to deal with.  But until then, I try to focus on the amazing woman nani was.  I feel like I have taken after her in many ways.  I get my strength from her.  The Nabijan legacy lives through her in me, as an Ali. 

In recent days, my Muni Aunty – mom’s youngest sister – came to America with my uncle to visit.  She gave my mom a few pieces of jewelry she knew my nani wanted her to have.  One included an old pearl and gold ring; a pair of earrings, another was her gold wedding band and lastly, a second wedding band that had sapphires on it.  Sapphires happen to also be my birth stone.  I instantly was drawn to the jewelry.  Not because of its sparkle – because it didn’t have much sparkle.  It was old and vintage and told a story. 

My mom let me wear the gold band with sapphires on it - I proudly wear it thinking of who my nani was – she was a woman beyond her years.  Her purpose in life was about more than the material possessions she could purchase, or living beyond her means. She was humble. 

Although I know I will never be quite as great as her, I strive to try to be great, in my own way.

Progress Check - Happy Monday!

Boot camp was on Sunday.  Avin worked his buns off. I could have worked out harder.  I was feeling a little slow to start.  I still worked out pretty hard, but not as hard as I could have.  Last week was a battle. I worked out 5 days (even though my goal was 6 days) but I didn’t eat as well as I could have.  Sunday’s weigh in was a testament to that.  I didn’t lose any weight.  I maintained.  No one is to blame but me, as I could have eaten cleaner than I did.  I did lose 1% body fat though and gained 2% muscle mass. That’s great news!

So instead of being down on myself, I’m focusing my efforts on this week.  My goal is to lose 2-3 lbs this week.  I am going to give my workout routine extra effort this week – pledging to keep up the cardio (trying to stick to 6 days a week of 60 mins cardio) PLUS 4 days of toning, interchanging between toning exercises at home and toning at the gym. I have to always remind myself that I have to work around my son and husband’s schedule.  So some days, I will be doing my toning exercises at home and some days at the gym.  I bought a yoga mat over the weekend (I have no idea where my old one is, but since I haven’t used it in years, it could very well be in some garbage dump somewhere).  I’m excited to use it.  I am going to take PiYo at 24 hour fitness on Wednesday nights.  It is a Pilates and Yoga class mixed into one.  That’ll be new for me! I used to do Pilates a long time ago and noticed great results with that.  I realized a month or so ago that I needed to incorporate some yoga into my life also.  So I figured why not try PiYo! I’m also going back to Bodypump (a weight lifting class) which I haven’t taken in over a month.  Instead of taking it on Sunday mornings like I used to, I will be taking it Saturday mornings – Sunday mornings have been replaced with weekly boot camp. 

I’m feeling great this morning after a hard core calorie burning session! I burned 840 calories doing cardio for 60 minutes on my treadmill.  I tried to stick to a 3.2 speed and a 10.0 incline.  This works best for me!  I also made a delish post-workout breakfast shake (recipe below).

No matter what your goals are this week – get up, get moving, and make things happen!

Hubby and I at boot camp on Sunday, February 24th. Tire Flips!
Here is my workout schedule for the week!

Monday: A.M. = 60 minutes cardio (treadmill). P.M. = toning (abs and arms)
Tuesday: A.M. = 60 minutes cardio (treadmill). P.M. = toning (legs)
Wednesday: A.M. = 60 minutes cardio (treadmill). P.M. = toning - PiYo (Pilates/Yoga)
Thursday: A.M. = Rest Day
Friday: A.M. = 60 minutes cardio (treadmill). P.M. = toning (abs and arms)
Saturday: A.M. = 60 minutes cardio (treadmill). A.M. = toning – Bodypump (weight lifting)
Sunday: A.M. = Boot Camp

Post-Workout Breakfast Shake
I tweaked my recipe this morning. This time I included the following:
·         1 cup almond milk
·         1 scoop protein powder (this one is Max Muscle in Chocolate)
·         2 tsps. organic powdered peanut butter
·         ½ banana
·         5-10 blueberries
·         1 tsp. NF Greek Yogurt
Blend and enjoy! YUM!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

New healthy eating finds

My new healthy eating finds (thanks to friends, trainer and my own research). Im eating these foods bc they are good for me and also taste great! I'm eating them almost daily.

1. NF Greek yogurt (daily) - mixed with blueberries and blackberries, this is a great snack, meal and/or dessert. I was eating this years ago and then gave it up. Technically it's not a new find as it is a newly "refound" find :)

2. Ezekiel bread - I had always heard about it but it looked like a loaf of bricks to me. Flourless bread? Weird. Turns out, it's pretty damn good. And I actually really like it :)

3. Powdered Peanut Butter - woah! Yup, you read that correctly, powdered PB! It is all natural, full of good stuff and 85% less fat and calories! score! PB2 is a great brand but they were all out so I tried setting different.

Healthy eating...yum!

In an effort to change our lifestyle (we are not dieting), my hubby and I have really stepped up our healthy eating. This morning, after an hour of hardcore cardio, burning 834 calories, I whipped a delish and healthy breakfast burrito.

It includes a whole wheat tortilla, one scrambled egg, a few slices of bell pepper, a couple mushrooms, some greens, 1/2 an avocado, a teaspoon of salsa (a great substitute for dressings), a scoop of non-fat Greek yogurt (instead of sour cream), and a lil sea salt and ground pepper. Delish!!!!

Try it .. A great alternate (and treat) to my work-week bowl of steel oats. :)

Friday, February 22, 2013

National Margarita Day

Today is National Margarita Day! 

I love margaritas! 
Especially on a warm summer day. 
Okay, so it's not quite summer yet, but I'm still planning on enjoying a couple margies after work. 

Hope everyone is having a fabulous Friday! 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Revved up!

After falling off the radar for 2 weeks (being sick, then son was sick, then I was sick again), I'm back! This time with more support. My husband and I met with a friend who is a personal trainer. He created our health profiles looking at where we were and where we should be. His special tools were VERY detailed (showed us our body fat, visceral fat, body mass, how heavy we were on our bones, how old our body thought we were based on our weight and more). Lets just say it was VERY enlightening. Even with losing 20 lbs on my own, I realized I have a long way to go and really need to step it up. He then set us up on a nutrition and supplement plan (no diet pills). The supplements are natural and good for you. We are super excited!

I'm starting fresh on MyFitnessPal (calorie counter app). I reset my weight and I'm starting over. Kendrick, our trainer and friend, will be following my progress on MyFitnessPal and periodically checking what I'm eating. I'm supposed to eat between 1400-1600 calories a day (I picked 1500 to make it easy). I'll be working out 4-6 days a week, shooting for 4 only on busy weeks and 5-6 days on a regular week. I'll be going to bootcamp every Sunday, schedule permitting. I'm revved up and ready to drop the weight and get into the best shape of my life!

Thanks for reading!