Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Lifestyle changes *updated*

I recently am attempting a lifestyle change. It wasn't in a 'new year, new me!' vein, but I just wanted to get healthier. I was tired all the time and growing tired of feeling tired all the time. All I wanted to do was eat sweets and snacks. My husband told me if I kept it up, I was going to become diabetic. He's probably right. A friend turned me on to Keto diet. I've been on it for a few weeks and can already start to see body changes. My energy level has gone up. I can't say how much weight I've lost as I don't have any means of weighing myself but I'm not looking for a number. I'm judging by how I feel. I've been asked by a few friends about my lifestyle change (because it's not a diet, let's be honest) so I thought I would write up some tips and give a few recipes.

What is keto? Keto or ketogenic diet is a low carb diet targeted to turn your body into a fat-burning machine. Diet Doctor has been one of my favorite resources so far. Highly recommend the site. Also Keto Dash is great too. Keto has been proven for weight loss and even recommended for diabetics. It has been known to increase mental focus, energy, lower blood sugar, help with cholesterol and blood pressure, as well as weight loss. I have a friend who says her skin has never been clearer since she went on keto!

On average, it's best to keep your carb count to under 20-30 g a day to get optimal results. Obviously the lower the better. Also be careful with protein. Moderate protein is key. Best to try to keep it around 70 g per day so avoid protein bars that can be high in sugars anyway.

Make sure you keep count! Keep track on your total carbs and net carbs. Net carbs are your total daily carb intake minus total fiber (and don't quote me, but I think sugar alcohols as well). Make sure you are measuring your servings too. Just because you can eat almonds doesn't mean you need to eat the whole can in one sitting. I use an app called MyFitnessPal

You want to keep your carbohydrates limited, coming mostly from vegetables, nuts, and dairy. Don’t eat any refined carbohydrates such as wheat (bread, pasta, cereals), starch (potatoes, beans, legumes) or fruit. The small exceptions to this are avocado, star fruit, and berries which can be consumed in moderation.
Do Not Eat
  • Grains – wheat, corn, rice, cereal, etc.
  • Sugar – honey, agave, maple syrup, etc.
  • Fruit – apples, bananas, oranges, etc.
  • Tubers – potato, yams, etc.
Do Eat
  • Meats – fish, beef, lamb, poultry, eggs, etc.
  • Leafy Greens – spinach, kale, etc.
  • Above ground vegetables – broccoli, cauliflower, etc.
  • High Fat Dairy – hard cheeses, high fat cream, butter, etc.
  • Nuts and seeds – macadamias, walnuts, sunflower seeds, etc.
  • Avocado and berries – raspberries, blackberries, and other low glycemic impact berries
  • Sweeteners – stevia, erythritol, monk fruit, and other low-carb sweeteners >
  • Other fats – coconut oil, high-fat salad dressing, saturated fats, etc.

It's actually been easy for me, mostly. I get to eat things like bacon, eggs, and cheese! Not eating so much processed foods either. Health Line is another fantastic resource that helps break down what to eat and what to avoid. There is a Facebook post that even breaks down what you can eat at several fast food places! Rule.me has been invaluable to me as well.

Giving up bread hasn't been too hard for me. Potatoes have been the hardest, but there are alternatives available. BUTTER IS YOUR FRIEND! I cook a lot with butter and coconut oil instead of vegetable oil.

Think you have to give up pizza? NOPE! There are TONS of inventive keto pizza recipes! My favorite has been fathead pizza.

Miss meatloaf? Try this. It's been my favorite meatloaf recipe I've tried. Period. And yes, that even beats my mac and cheese stuffed one.

There are tons of keto bread recipes too. I have tried a few and liked them, but my husband says it just makes him miss 'real' bread so I stopped. He does like a low carb flat bread we've found at Wal-mart that helps him feel like he's eating a 'real' sandwich and doesn't miss it as much. I'm also trying this low carb Tortilla recipe soon.

You don't have to give up caffeine! Regular coffee is actually highly recommended, just avoid adding lots of sugar and cream. Water is the best thing to drink on keto. If you find it difficult to drink water all day, try adding half of a fresh lemon or some keto-friendly fruits (raspberries are a go-to for me especially in the mornings). Be careful of diet sodas. Often the sweeteners used to make it are worse than regular sugars. Diet Doctor breaks it down very well.

I am going to try intermittent fasting. Read about that here. Click here to read about supplements that will help.

Visit my Pinterest page for tons of recipes which I update quite frequently.

Above all, HAVE FUN with it. Make bacon taco shells. Fry up broccoli in butter (it's SO good!) Make a pizza where meat is the crust. The less like a 'diet' you make it, the more likely you'll stick to it.

Please hit me up if you have any questions!

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Crash Land on Kurai

Crash Land on Kurai by S.J. Pajonas is available now!
Yumi Minamoto has the shortest fuse on the ship. She’s just whipped a bully and been confined to quarters, but she’s not staying there. A disgraced journalist trying to clear her name, her job is to document the mission to the Hikoboshi system, and she’s determined to get it right, despite all the trouble she causes. But when unknown vessels fire on their ship, and Yumi's life pod crash lands on a dying moon, she's separated from her family and friends, and her mission falls to pieces. Now she must navigate the unfamiliar and deadly terrain, deal with a society she doesn’t understand, and try to stay alive until rescue comes… if it ever does.

Crash Land on Kurai is the first book in the Hikoboshi Series, an action adventure, space opera series that explores the worlds settled by the Japanese who fled Earth a century ago. Culture, history, technology, and swords clash in a fast-paced future society on the brink of war.
Free on Kindle Unlimited! Not on Kindle Unlimited? Get it now for $2.99  here .
About the author:
Stephanie (S. J.) is a writer, knitter, amateur astrologer, Capricorn, and Japanophile. She loves foxes, owls, sushi, yoga pants, Evernote, and black tea. When she’s not writing, she’s thinking about writing or spending time outside, unless it’s winter. She hates winter. Someday she’ll own a house in both hemispheres so she can avoid the season entirely. She’s a mom to two great kids and lives with her husband and family outside NYC. They have no pets. Yet. When it comes to her work, expect the unexpected. She doesn’t write anything typical. Find her online at http://www.spajonas.com.
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Goodreads Profile: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7233209.S_J_Pajonas

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Amethyst Chronicles

Amethyst Chronicles: Winter's Kiss

Amethyst, a team of purple-eyed, genetically engineered super-soldiers and Earth's greatest weapon. Led by Ember Wilson, they destroy a weather machine created by Dr. Clayton Rudo who claimed he was going to use his device to save the planet. Amethyst was tried for treason and placed in stasis. Two years later, Dr. Rudo rebuilt his machine and froze Washington, D.C. and the west coast of the United States.

General Tom Blanchard brought Amethyst out of stasis to work with an elite Air Force team, led by Major Liam Ross. Tensions between Ember and Liam rise as they butt heads. Can they work together before Earth is completely under ice?

Book One  is available now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo.

Amethyst Chronicles: Croceus Poison

Ember lost it all when she lost Amethyst.

Now, as she recovers physically she must come to terms with her new reality. The struggle to find herself again will push those who care the most away even the men who love her.

In time, an opportunity to recreate her transformation presents itself. Will she risk herself to find what she had? Is it worth her team? Her heart?...

Book Two is now available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Kobo

Third book in the series, Amethyst Chronicles: Past Reflections, will be available in September!

Friday, June 16, 2017

I need your opinion!

Soon, I will be re-launching my Amethyst Chronicles series under Midnight Rose Publishing and will have a release date for the third installment. In the process, I have been updating the covers. Now I need your help! There seems to be a split between the current cover and the updated one so I wanted to put it to you, the reader, to decide on what the cover will be. Comment here, email me, or vote on my Twitter poll. Do you prefer:

A (the current cover):
Or B (the new one):

Or make a different suggestion! I'll have the Twitter poll open for a week but you can comment here at any time. Stay tuned for an announcement regarding the third installment Amethyst Chronicles: Past Reflections. And thank you!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Happy New Year!

I'm not one for the 'new year, new me' that I see a lot of people post online, but I do believe every day is a fresh start. Regardless of what the date is on the calendar, every time you open your eyes is a new beginning. Attitude affects everything around you so bring positivity into everything you do.

This past year was hard for me. I haven't been focusing on my books and writing as much as I should have. My health has been up and down. I'm not where I want to be in terms of job or money. Honestly though, I feel like a change is coming soon. Good things are on the horizon. My husband's hard work is going to pay off soon.

The power to affect real change is in all of us every day. Don't wait for the start of a new year to give it a shot. New Years Resolutions are all well and good, but don't forget what makes the year: You.

Every day I strive to be better and happier than the day before. It's not always feasible, but with air in my lungs and strength in my body, I will reach new heights.

5 goals I want to achieve:

1) I plan on releasing at least two books in 2017.
2) I want to be in a job that not only supports my family, but that makes me happy
3) I intend on getting the strength back in my right shoulder and lower back.
4) I want to spend more time in Charleston, SC with my dad, brother, and nieces.
5) Learn to crochet

Happy New Year, everyone! What goals are you hoping to achieve?

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rest in Peace, Carrie Fisher

When I first heard the news that Carrie Fisher had a heart attack, I was floored. I closed my eyes real tight and said a prayer for her and her family. Growing up a Star Wars fan, Princess Leia as a big part of my childhood. In a year which so many unexpected deaths, the possibility of losing Carrie hit especially hard. I didn't want the news to be true. When a report came out from Carrie's mother (the wonderful and delightful Debbie Reynolds) that she was stable and doing better, I relaxed.

And this morning on Twitter, Carrie started trending. I held my breath as I looked. Maybe it was good news! Maybe she was out of ICU.

I instantly cried at the headlines. Carrie Fisher had passed away.

She was more than just a Star Wars actor. Carrie was an icon. When my world was dominated by Miss Elizabeth and Barbie, I had Princess Leia to look up to as a strong woman in the sci-fi genre. Not a damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. She showed me I can stand up for what's right, oppose evil, lead a rebellion. Princess Leia was a bad ass.

Because of her, I wanted to become an author and create more characters like her in a genre dominated by weak and useless eye candy. Carrie herself was so un-mercilessly funny and unabashed in who she was. Her take me or leave me attitude never cease to amaze me and fill me with pride. She wouldn't consider herself a roll model, but she was. Outspoken about her own demons and mental issues, she blazed a trail to bring it to light. It was okay to talk about mental illness. Carrie beat addictions. She freely admitted to struggles with bi-polar disorder. She refused to be a punch line for late night talk show hosts. She was an author. She had influence over major Hollywood scripts.

She was loved by many.

We are down one geek goddess but she will never be forgotten. Her final word in Rogue One I will take with me. "Hope."

I am one with the Force. The Force is with me.

Rest in Peace.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Croceus poison

When I sat down to begin Amethyst Chronicles, I made several different outlines. I'm not one to do a lot of planning, but even though this was going to be a novella series, I knew there was a lot I wanted to put in it and I didn't want to forget. I designed Ember Wilson to be a strong, powerful, and sexy leader, capable of taking on impossible tasks. The first book told the story of her and her amazing team practically superheroes. She even makes a joke partway through. But every superhero as a weakness.

Enter Croceus

I did a lot of research on various substances. I wanted to find something that would seem harmless but would be deadly. My fascination in Latin words brought me to croceus. It actually means saffron. Yellow. I've seen the name combined with another as a scientific term for a flower or a butterfly. Dug a little deeper into saffron. Saffron is used for asthma, cough, whooping cough (pertussis), and to loosen phlegm (as an expectorant). It is also used for sleep problems (insomnia), cancer, “hardening of the arteries” (atherosclerosis), intestinal gas (flatulence), depression, Alzheimer’s disease, fright, shock, spitting up blood (hemoptysis), pain, heartburn, and dry skin. Sounds helpful, but what if the yellow substance could be turned into something deadly?

Ember Wilson: powerful, cunning, major badass. Nearly killed by a crushed yellow flower. Something poetic in that, don't you think?

Next time you feel life beating you down, that you can't defeat the odds, remember that. And smile.