6 Tips for Improving Your ‘Lines of Gratification’

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‘The Michael Jordan of Lung Surgery’ Lists
Principles that Reliably Yield Success

As we enter the year’s final quarter, Dr. Robert J. Cerfolio, a world-renowned cardiothoracic surgeon, says it’s never too early to think about self-improvement for the New Year … and this year.

“Habitual procrastination can really hurt you in the long run because waiting to take care of something that’s obviously important to you – health, money, family matters – weighs on your subconscious,” says Dr. Cerfolio, known as “the Michael Jordan of lung surgery.”

Understanding one’s personal “line of gratification” is the foundation for sticking to self-improvement goals, he says.

“There are many kinds of lines of gratification,” he says. “For some, they’re the number of zeroes in their bank statement; for others, the curves of their muscles after they leave the gym. It’s good and healthy to look back on your hard work and admire what you have accomplished before moving on to the next task.”

Dr. Cerfolio, author of “Super Performing at Work and at Home: The Athleticism of Surgery and Life,” shares tips on how to make those lines of gratification more impressive.

•  Be an early riser. The main reason operating rooms hum into action at 7 a.m. is tied to human physiology; the bodies of patients are better able to handle the stress of surgery at that time.

“People are generally better off getting work done early in the day when we’re better prepared for stress and performance,” he says. “And getting a job done early frees you up later in the day.”

•  Love what you do. Why wouldn’t you want to take ownership, responsibility and pride in what you do for a living? When you treat a job as only a means to a paycheck, you are missing the point. If your job isn’t the one you’d really love to have, don’t make it worse with a negative attitude. Instead, make it your own. Make it a point of personal integrity and principle to challenge yourself to achieve something every day. After all, 40 hours a week is a long time to stay anywhere.

•  Ask yourself: Did I really try my best? “I tried my best” is a common refrain from those who haven’t reached their goals. An honest response you can ask yourself is, “Am I sure?” This question is not about being overly critical. It’s simply about realizing that, if you had practiced or studied an extra 10 minutes each day, you would’ve been that much closer to your goals.

•  Set specific, measurable goals. Results define goals. Every individual should have clear goals that are objective and measurable. Goals such as “to be happy,” “to do well at work” or “to get along” are too nebulous. To be successful, you have to be able to define your goals by measurable results.

•  Find the high ground. In anything you do, aspire to live up to the noblest, highest aspect of your job. Certain jobs – such as police work, firefighting, teaching or working in health care – are service oriented, so it’s easier to feel good about your contributions. Look for the contributions you’re making in your job and take pride in what you’re doing to make the world a little better.

•  Be the go-to guy or girl. This takes time, practice and the confidence necessary to want the ball in a critical situation. Being the go-to guy or girl means being willing to take responsibility and risk failing. A go-to person is also willing to speak up about problems or changes necessary in a business or organization, and suggest solutions.

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About Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA

Robert J. Cerfolio, MD, MBA, is the James H. Estes Family Endowed Chair of Lung Cancer Research and Full Professor Chief of Thoracic Surgery at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He received his medical degree from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, surgical training at the Mayo Clinic and at Cornell-Sloan Kettering hospital, and has been in practice for more than 26 years. The author of “Super Performing at Work and at Home,” Cerfolio, who was a First Team Academic All-American baseball player in college, is a world-renowned chest surgeon and recognized as one of the busiest and best thoracic surgeons in the world.

Outer Spice Seasonings #Review

Disclaimer:  I was provided two bottles of Outer Spice seasonings for this review but all opinions are my own.

Since starting the Omni Drops Program (which is a life program), I have been very cautious of what is in my spices.  I love, I mean really love, using spices and herbs in my cooking.  Recently I was approached by a company called Outer Spice about trying their two spice blends.  One is Salt-Free and the other uses Himalayan Sea Salt.  What’s more important is what they both don’t contain and that is sugar.  If you look at some of your favorite spice blends, you’ll see that sugar or brown sugar is a major component.  I hate hidden sugars, especially when I am using the spices to spice up a healthy dish, like my pocket radishes. I loved the spice blend of the Outer Spice Spicy – it contains garlic, black pepper, onion, allspice, scallions, dill, nutmeg, thyme, lemon thyme, cilantro, basil, peppers, cinnamon, red pepper, caraway and cayenne pepper.  

We’ve used this on our vegetables and meat on the grill, and when roasting the vegetables in the oven.

You can order the Spices at http://www.outerspiceit.com  

IMG_1290   IMG_1287   outer spice radishes

BBQ Chicken, Pocket Radishes and Fourth of July Roundup

Our weather here in Vermont has been amazing for the past month. Gorgeous, 80 degree days with very little humidity (knocking on wood). It’s time to put our grill to full use and not dirty any pots or pans in the house. Thankfully our garden has been producing a ton of radishes and I knew I had to figure out a way to be able to utilize them on the BBQ Grill. Before our low-carb days, we used to make pocket potatoes all the time. I figured I’d give it a shot with some fresh radishes and see how they would turn out. Ahhhhmazzzing! Seriously, I love the versatility of radishes and how you can use them in so many recipes to replace other ingredients. When you cook them, they change their flavor so much. If you haven’t tried them yet, I highly recommend giving this recipe a try.

Since radishes are usually very small, utilizing aluminum foil help keep them from falling through the cracks of the grill.

Wash your radishes, trim the roots and greens and then slice them. Layer them onto a piece of aluminum foil.  Sprinkle with whatever seasoning you’d like.  I used garlic powder, seasoned sea salt and pepper.



Then take the ends of the foil and wrap up your radishes, sealing the ends so the steam doesn’t escape the packets.

IMG_1207Now, it’s grill time.  Put them on a pre-heated medium heat grill and cook for about 15 minutes.  The radishes will turn semi-translucent and will soften up like a cooked potato.

We enjoyed some BBQ Chicken along side the radishes.  I used the same blend of spices to rub on the chicken.  They cook for the same amount of time, flipping the chicken after 7-8 minutes.





Pocket Radishes


With Fourth of July just around the corner, check out these amazing recipes from my Foodelicious Friends.


Join us for the #Foodelicious July 4th Recipe Roundup!


How to Balance Motherhood with Physical Fitness

How to Balance Motherhood with Physical Fitness

Today’s moms have more on their plates than ever. From work outside of the home to keeping track of appointments, taking the children to checkups, keeping track of the budget, running errands, doing maintenance around the house and yard, and trying to find the time to spend with their partners, there isn’t much time left for physical fitness.

Keeping up with workouts not only helps moms stay healthy, but it also sets a great example for the kids. Finding balance between motherhood and physical fitness doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems.

Baby Wearing and Play

Most newborn babies want to be held or carried during their sleeping and waking hours. Moms can use a sling, wrap or another soft carrier to wear the baby. Strap on the baby and do squats, vacuum the floor, do the grocery shopping or head outdoors for a walk. The motion may help lull a fussy baby to sleep. Moms also burn a few more calories and build muscle by carrying the baby.

Make Physical Fitness a Family Endeavor

Physical fitness doesn’t have to mean one-on-one time with a trainer. The whole family can get together and do activities that burn energy while building close relationships. Moms can take the kids outside and play catch, throw a flying disk, show the kids how to shoot hoops, jump rope or roller skate.

Intensify the Exercise

Even moms who only have a few extra minutes in their days can add physical activity. Those ten minutes between turning the water on to boil for spaghetti and when the noodles are ready can be spent doing high intensity interval training. Research has found that short bursts of high intensity exercise may be just as effective as longer but less intense workouts.

Find a Gym with Perks

All moms need a break from the kids even if it’s just for a 30-minute yoga class. Lululemon founder and yogi Chip Wilson makes clothes tailored for the busy mom who doesn’t have time to change between a workout and mommy duty. If you’re constantly on the run, look for a gym that offers free childcare during classes and training sessions. The kids get to play, burn energy, and have fun while you make time for your personal fitness.

Every Step Counts

Running up and down the steps to do laundry, hunting for bargains in the supermarket and chasing toddlers around all count as exercise. Just because there’s no sweat doesn’t mean it’s not adding to fitness. Moms can walk to the bus stop, use a push mower to cut the grass and hit the stairs in lieu of the elevator at work.

Fitness benefits moms emotionally and physically. Any mom can use this time to bond with her kids and show them the benefits of lifelong health.

This has been a guest post.

Chicken and Asparagus Bake

Asparagus is awesome.  If you haven’t had a chance to try it yet, please do.  This recipe is super easy, cooks/bakes in only 30 minutes and gives you that “comfort food” feel.

chicken asparagus bake


Chicken and Asparagus Bake
Serves 1
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  1. 4oz cubed chicken
  2. Asparagus chopped
  3. ½ cup chicken broth or water
  4. 1 Melba toast or Wasa cracker crushed (optional)
  5. 1 clove garlic crushed and minced
  6. 2 tablespoons onion chopped
  7. Dash of paprika
  8. Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place chicken, asparagus, liquids, and spices and pour into small baking dish. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes or until bubbly and hot. Top with crushed Melba toast crumbs and sprinkle with paprika.
  1. Omni Drops Phase 2 Recipe. If you're making it for the whole family, just double, triple or quadruple the recipe.
My Eating Clean Journey http://www.myeatingcleanjourney.com/


Spicy Orange Chicken and Asparagus

I originally posted the Spicy Orange Chicken recipe on April 24th and last night we enjoyed it again for supper.  This time I included asparagus with it and added in a chopped jalapeno (may not be on your particular protocol for the Omni Drops).

This morning I’m on R3P2D10 (My 3rd round, phase 2, on day 10) and I’m down 11.2 pounds.  Last night I had a little slip up.  What is it about going for a ride on a beautiful summer evening that makes you crave a soft serve ice cream?  I broke down last night and enjoyed one.  It was so good.  Ice cream is my biggest weakness and it’s what I crave all the time.  I haven’t found a good substitute but would love some suggestions.  Right now the only way to not give in is to just not go for our evening ride to enjoy the sunset on the lake.

spicy orange chicken asparagus 2

spicy orange chicken asparagus


Spicy Orange Chicken and Asparagus

Round 3 and a Hamburger Stew Recipe

Last weekend my husband and I loaded for our third round on the Omni Drops Program.  I was so ready to get back on track and start losing weight again.  I completed phase 3 over a month ago but had to hold off on starting another round until after our cruise on the Carnival Splendor out of NYC.  I wanted to enjoy the cruise, especially the food, and not worry about what’s approved to eat and what isn’t.  I’m happy to report that after 10 days of indulgence, I only gained 4 pounds.  I can’t even begin to tell you how much ice cream I consumed on the cruise.  

Now that we’re home we’re back on track.  Time to start losing again.  Last week was my first week and I lost 9.2 pounds while my husband lost 11 pounds.  Omni Drops are truly a fantastic program.  Many people look at the approved food list and feel that there isn’t enough variety.  I definitely disagree with that and I hope that my blog is helping some of you out with additional options.  One of my favorite recipes is so quick to make and includes one of your fruit servings for the day – Hamburger Stew.

hamburger stew 2



Hamburger Stew
Serves 1
Phase 2 friendly for the Omni Drops Program
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  1. 4 oz ground beef (hamburg)
  2. 3 oz tomatoes, chopped (fresh or canned - no sugar added)
  3. 1 apple, peeled and chopped
  4. 1 oz spinach
  5. 2 squirts of mustard (spicy brown is okay to use also)
  6. salt, pepper and cayenne, to taste
  1. Brown the ground beef in a small pot. Add in the tomatoes, apple and mustard. Mix and simmer for 5 minutes. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted (about 1 min). Add salt, pepper and cayenne. Serve.
My Eating Clean Journey http://www.myeatingcleanjourney.com/

Water is so Important for your Overall Health

Did you know that water is so important for your overall  health?  You need it to help keep your energy level up, it’ll help flush toxins out of your body, improves your skins complexion, helps keep constipation at bay, helps relieve headaches, prevents your muscles from cramping and more important (to me) is that it help you lose weight.  Water is Awesome! I’m proud to say that I have weened myself off from soda and haven’t regularly drank it for the past 5 years.  Prior to the Omni Drops Program I used flavor enhancers that you can purchase at the grocery store.  Fortunately for me I am no longer drinking those and instead have replaced all of my water enhancers with Stur, a naturally flavored water enhancer made with Stevia.   Stur has 0 calories, 0 sugar and 7 essential vitamins, including A, D, E, B3, B5, B6 and B12.  It currently comes in 7 different flavors, Lemon, Cucumber Mint, Fruit Punch, Strawberry Watermelon, Orange Mango, Tea & Lemon and Pomegranate Cranberry.  Unfortunately they aren’t currently available at your local grocery store so you need to purchase them online.  You can get them from Swanson Vitamins (where I buy mine & you’ll get $5 off your first order with my referral link) or on Amazon.

stur 3  

My favorite are Lemon, Tea and the Cranberry Pomegranate.  Which are yours?

    Disclaimer:  I received a sample pack of Stur to help facilitate this review.  All opinions are my own.

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Nut Sauce

If you have never tried Spaghetti Squash, you don’t know what you’re missing.  It’s so versatile and you can treat it just like you would any other pasta.  It’s a great low-carb, gluten-free alternative but even if you aren’t following a special diet, give it a try.  You’ll be thanking me.  

If you need steps on how to bake one, stop by my blog post on that.

spaghetti squash noodle bowl collage

Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl with Lime Nut Sauce
Serves 4
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  1. 1 large spaghetti squash
  2. 2 cups of kale, chopped
  3. 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  4. 3 T sesame seeds
  5. 2 T basil, chopped
  6. 1 head of cauliflower, cut into florets, steamed
  7. salt and pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and place the spaghetti squash on it bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let it rest for 15 minutes, to cool. When it's cool enough to handle, cut the squash in half and remove the seeds from the inside and discard. Take a fork and scrape the "strands" from the inside of the squash. Place in a bowl. Add the kale on top of the squash so the steam can slightly wilt the kale.
  3. Toss the squash and kale together and divide evenly into four serving bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 of the cauliflower, sesame seeds, basil and shallots.
  4. Drizzle with the Lime Nut Sauce and serve.
  1. low-carb, paleo, phase 3 Omni Drops Program
My Eating Clean Journey http://www.myeatingcleanjourney.com/
peanut sauce ingredients


Lime Nut Sauce
Serves 4
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  1. 1 tsp ginger, dried (or 1/2" of fresh, peeled and minced)
  2. 2 tsp of garlic (or 2 cloves, peeled and minced)
  3. 2 tsp chili garlic sauce
  4. 2 T almond butter
  5. 1 lime, juiced
  6. 1 T apple cider vinegar
  7. 2 packets of Sweetleaf Stevia
  8. 1 1/2 T Bragg's Liquid Aminos
  9. 1 tsp sesame oil
  10. 1/2 cup olive oil
  1. Mix all of the ingredients in a blender and blend. Serve on top of the Spaghetti Squash Noodle Bowl or as a salad dressing.
My Eating Clean Journey http://www.myeatingcleanjourney.com/