Turning Kid-Favorite Meals into Kid-Healthy Meals

Jannine Myers

Even at the age of 12, my younger daughter is still incredibly picky, but I generally don’t let her eat foods that have no place in our home; i.e. those foods that come in packets and boxes and with ingredient lists a mile long. I do understand however, her frequent cravings for the types of comfort meals that many kids – and even adults – are drawn to. Still, we compromise with such meals and she lets me “re-create” them; in other words, I make them from scratch using the most nutrient-dense ingredients. Last night for example, I made her a healthy version of sloppy joes and received no complaints.

[Note: making these sloppy joes from scratch did cost more because I added fresh vegetables and used organic ground beef, but I’d rather contribute to my child’s health than to a slightly greater spending allowance]



  • 1 pound organic ground beef
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups no-salt-added tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Shredded cheese
  • Whole-wheat kaiser rolls


Brown the meat in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes, breaking up the meat as it cooks. Pour the drippings out of the pan and discard, and set the meat aside. Add the garlic, onion, carrot, and red pepper to the pan (with a little olive oil) and saute for 5 minutes or more, stirring occasionally. Transfer half the vegetables to a blender, and add half the tomato sauce. Pulse into a puree and pour into a jug or small bowl. Do the same with the remaining vegetables and tomato sauce. Return the meat to the pan, along with the pureed vegetable sauce, and all remaining ingredients. Bring back to a boil over medium heat, and then simmer for 5 to 10 minutes. Serve over toasted bread rolls, with a little melted cheese and a side of vegetables (I added roasted cauliflower and raw carrots).

Never Give Up!

Benjamin Moriniere

It is simple… NEVER GIVE UP.

After training thousands of people in martial arts and fitness over the years, I can tell you there is NO substitute for hard work, and coming in a close second is attendance, i.e. consistency.

A champion in life or anything is someone that falls down but never gives up, a black belt is a white belt that never quit, a winner is a person that just won’t take losing for an answer…  Consistent hard work breeds success, period.

Here is the thing though… All successful people experience some valleys in their lives, but find a way to not only overcome doldrums, but use those down and out times or feelings to fuel self-development and progress.

I have had the honor and privilege of being a champion at many different things in life from football, to track and field, martial arts and even designing buildings.

One thing is for sure. On the way towards every single one of those life-changing moments, I ran into some horrible, terrible obstacles, failed many times and definitely lost a lot.

The only way past those obstacles though, especially when you fall flat on your face, is sheer will power, faith and a lot of stubbornness; hopefully a dash of great support through friends and mentors.

In parting let me leave you with a quick story. During my time as a logistics officer with the US Army, part of my job was to ensure that we kept our forces fueled. Sometimes the source of the fuel was a “gas station” or sometimes it was a huge oil tanker in the harbor. We would hook up extremely long hoses, or run the fuel through pipelines for miles so that the fuel could reach its destination. Sure enough there were hills, valley, rivers and mountains that pipelines had to navigate.  So, every so often we prepared a pumps station. This pump station provided an extra PUSH for the fuel, especially when the fuel pipeline was traveling up an incline. Otherwise the fuel would slow down to the point where it was too heavy and the pressure was too great for the fuel to reach its destination.

Well, friends, make up in your mind that each goal is not an end point, but a pump station in a much longer journey called life. Stay consistent, push forward and when you reach a goal, it will provide you the motivation and energy to keep reaching for the next goal.

NEVER give up, NEVER give in. NEVER quit. You CAN do it!

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the worldare the ones who do.

Owner / Head Instructor / Performer / Fighter / Master Fitness Trainer (BWK)

Capoeira Academy Okinawa
Capoeira Zoador | Yudansha MMA | Ladies Kickboxing | Caveirinha BJJ Okinawa
Tel 098-936-8883 / Cell: 080-1710-9050

Trail Running 101 – Don’t Be Afraid To Give It A Go

Amanda Morgan

If you’re reading this, then there is a good chance that you’ve been thinking about trying trail running. It looks like a lot of fun, but for some reason you don’t think you can do it. It is human nature to fear the unknown but playing it safe is only going to get you so far. It’s time to bust through your comfort zone, take the first step outside of it, and leave it lying in your dust! And here’s why:

  • Trail runners know what it means to run outside of their comfort zones, and it has nothing to do with speed; instead it is the intense feeling of freedom that is experienced while running fearlessly and mindlessly over non-paved and challenging terrain. It’s for experiences such as these that we encourage you to say yes to new adventures on the trails.


  • Trail runners are often mistakenly perceived as being tough and abrasive, when in reality you would be hard pressed to find a more welcoming group of people. People who wake up at zero-dark-thirty to go run through mud and puddles can’t help but smile, and you may discover that they are just your flavor of crazy.


  • It’s human nature to feel fear, but when it comes to trail running you won’t regret giving it a go. If it’s speed that concerns you, rest assured that all paces are appropriate for the trails. Roots, hills, and mud will make you slow down naturally; even an experienced trail runner will have to slow down over certain sections of trail. Walking is okay too, and is actually a great way to introduce yourself to the trails; ultra-marathoners even use walking uphill as a strategy to prevent burnout during a race. And for ultimate peace of mind, the trail running community has an unwritten rule: “no runner left behind.” There will always be members of your group watching out for you and they will not let you get lost.


  • Don’t worry about the distance. You’ll be having too much fun talking and laughing with your new trail running friends to focus on the mileage. Or, maybe you’re feeling a little self-conscious of your body; we don’t think your size or shape determines if you are a trail runner. Things we do care about are a positive attitude, willingness to get out there and put your best foot forward. We want you to succeed.

So now that I’ve hopefully convinced you to come out and run trails with us, let’s cover a few gear requirements. Don’t think that you need to spend lots of money on trail-specific shoes; regular running shoes will work too. Long socks or pants are always a good idea on trails with tall grass or heavy vegetation, and some runners find gloves useful on trails that may require a little climbing and gripping. A hydration pack isn’t necessary over shorter distances, but as you progress in mileage you may want to consider investing in one.

Amanda's first trail run with WOOT - May 2015

Amanda’s first trail run with WOOT – May 2015

Get ready to fall in love with trail running. You’ll run through places you never expected. Use the varied terrain that trail running offers as an opportunity to explore the history, culture, and foliage of where you are in the world (imagine epic selfies). Running on trails also disconnects you from the stressors of everyday life. Shut-down, unplug and leave the headphones at home. There is no WIFI on the trails, but it promises a better connection. There’s no better feeling than the dirt under your feet, a smile on your face and sweat on your brow. The trail will connect you with your own strengths, incredible friendships (maybe you’ll meet your best running friend), and the power of nature. It frees you from your comfort zone and connects you with the amazingly strong woman that you are.

Now, imagine your life a year from now. Do you see a beautiful mountain top? Do you see yourself looking out on the horizon with a buff around your neck, a hydration vest on your back and mud-caked trail shoes on your feet? One action can change your life; so what are you waiting for? Take a leap into the unknown and be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire. You are your biggest critic, so get out of your head and stop thinking “I can’t.” Clear some space in your closet for several pairs of running shoes (the addiction is real) and start saving your pennies for a runcation (like a race on The Great Wall of China). Starting something is the first step to being good at something and you only fail when you stop trying. See you on the trails; it’s time to get dirty!

One year after her first trail run with WOOT  and Amanda is seen here at mile 3 of the Great Wall of China half marathon!!!

One year after her first trail run with WOOT and Amanda is seen here at mile 3 of the Great Wall of China half marathon!!!

Lots of Reasons To Try Molokhia Noodles

Jannine Myers

I had lunch yesterday at Green Leaf Cafe in Yomitan, and I ordered one of my favorite meals on their menu: the Molokhia Cold Noodle Salad. If you’ve never tried molokhia noodles before (or any recipe that contains molokhia leaves), here’s a very brief post for you:

Molokhia is a dark, green leaf with a slightly bitter taste. Mostly consumed in Egypt, the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern region, Africa, and also in Japan, molokhia is used in a variety of ways; it’s used to make soups, curries, salads, spices, and as the title indicates, even noodles. With more than 30 vitamins and minerals found in molokhia, it’s health benefits are significant; check out the chart below:


If you’d like to try molokhia noodles, you can buy them in small packages at Green Leaf’s store. Or, you can just do what I do and visit the cafe instead where you can order their amazing molokhia noodle salad.

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GLTR – Girls Love To Run

Jannine Myers

WOOT wrapped up another successful run-club program a couple of weeks ago. Thanks to the generous time and coaching contributions of WOOT member Alli Kimberley, some of our young aspiring runners were able to spend twelve weeks getting a taste of what it’s like to get up early on Saturday mornings and run on various types of terrain at different locations. Here’s what Alli and some of the participants and their mothers had to say about the program:

What made you decide to start GLTR (Girls Love To Run), and what was the main objective in offering this program?

Alli: I started GLTR (pronounced Glitter), because I wanted to pass on all the gifts that running has given to me; running has given me confidence in my own strength and abilities. I wanted the girls to realize they were strong and capable, and I wanted to give them something that would stay with them wherever they found themselves.


Alli in back center

How was the program structured?

Alli: GLTR ran on all different terrain: pavement, trail, and track. We started at 1 mile the first week and over the next eight weeks we increased our distance with the aim of eventually running a 5k. The last four runs were 2-3 mile runs on our favorite roads, purely for enjoyment. The last four weeks were definitely my favorite; the girls were comfortable running and they were starting to realize the joys of running without worrying about distance or speed.


What were the ages of the girls?

Alli: The youngest was 4 and the oldest was 12; most of the girls were between 7 and 9.

Did you encounter any problems?

Alli: The main problem was that myself and some of the moms sometimes had trouble making it on time to the GLTR runs, after finishing earlier-morning WOOT runs. And I may have been a bit ambitious in thinking the girls would remain motivated for 12 weeks, although they seemed to enjoy it all the way through so I guess it wasn’t really a problem.

How do you think the girls handled the weekly runs?

Alli: The girls did incredible. We had a few that seemed like they were going to struggle and hate every minute after the first run, but they all finished the 5k with smiles on their faces. I emphasized running “at your own pace.” Almost all of the moms ran with us, and were able to let their daughters run at their own pace. I tried to ensure that the runs were on trails or paths that they could not get lost, so that no one had to feel pressured to keep up.

What would you do different next time? 

Alli: Next time I might push the runs back from 9am to 9:30am, and maybe only do eight weeks. Additionally, I’d like to try and mark the courses in some way.

And a few comments from the moms and girls:

What did your daughters most enjoy most about the program, and would they do it again?

Abby (7 yrs old): It was awesome but hard. I like running against the water. I would do it again.


Abby’s Mom: I liked it being bonding time with me and my girl. She could get a taste of why I love to run.

Lauren (12 yrs old): I loved the beach run. I like that I became a better runner. I dropped three minutes off my mile time in P.E.! Yes, I would do it again.

Lauren’s Mom: I enjoyed getting out and moving with my daughter. I’ve not been the most active person, but this group motivated me to make some changes. The different locations were wonderful too!

Morgan (9 yrs old): I liked running with friends; I’d definitely do it again.

Gigi: I liked running with my mom, and with my friends, and I liked making new friends.


Gigi’s Mom: Gigi liked cheering friends on at the finish line, and she enjoyed going home and telling her dad about how far she ran. This gave her confidence and really made her feel good.

Was there anything your daughters did not like about the program?

AbbyRunning –  and it smelled like cow poop! (her mom says, “That’s a direct quote” 😂😂)😂  )

Lauren: I didn’t like that I didn’t get to sleep in on Saturdays!

Morgan: There wasn’t anything that I didn’t enjoy about the program.

Thank you so much Alli Kimberley, for sharing your love of running and instilling so many great values in the hearts and minds of all the girls who participated in GLTR; WOOT appreciates you!