100 Women Sitting at the Table

Janets Group Picture 100 Boss Women_3_2020

It was an honor to be invited to the 100 Women Sitting at the Table event this month in Fort Worth, Texas. One hundred women across the nation gathered together to break bread, get pampered, photographed, and share stories of success and failures on their journey to becoming bosses – Life as a Boss Woman.  A toast to you Marty McDonald – CEO & Founder of Boss Women Media for putting this event together and bringing women together to celebrate their accomplishments and failures.

I could not allow the month to end without telling this amazing story of women represented from diverse backgrounds, ages, and talents gathering together to discuss breaking the glass ceiling and developing self-love.  I was at awe watching the love and camaraderie between women of power and influence.  It was especially uplifting to watch all the women in their beautiful array of clothing styles and colors, beautiful big hair (one of my favorites), colorful head wraps, beaded braids, and long tresses; diversity did not get any better than this.

The American Airlines Flight Museum was the venue host and it was beautifully decorated with a red carpet photographer waiting to take your picture to welcome each woman individually.  The lunch menu was delicious and successful women ages 16 and above attended from young entrepreneurs to corporate divas.

The Keynote Conversation was led by Chief Audit Officer, Celia Edwards Karam from Capital One Bank – You are Making Impact as a Woman Sitting at the Table. She holds an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA in Economics from Harvard University.

Ms. Karam’s advice on leadership roles in today’s workspace was impactful. She talked about leaders responsibility to their employees as it pertains to ensuring access to resources and guidance needed to get the job done successfully and emotional intelligence. Leadership without emotional intelligence can void out leadership skills. “Emotional intelligence forms the juncture at which cognition and emotion meet, it facilitates our capacity for resilience, motivation, empathy, reasoning, communication, and our ability to read and navigate social situations and conflicts.”  So many of us think we are born leaders, but we are not.  We just have great cognitive skills, but leadership also takes on a roll of mentoring for the success of others, not just personal success, but the success of those we touch and influence.

Thank you ladies for showing us what 100 diverse women bring to the table!

Janet M. Brooks, President/CEO Fortitude Health & Wellness, Inc.

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Obama Care Picture_2017
I am so disgusted and saddened that the leaders of America can smile after rescinding the Affordable Care Act and put millions of Americans out on a limb of health disaster because they will not be able to afford health care. What is there to smile about? Is this about trying to wipe out President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama’s legacy as leaders, or do they really think that the Affordable Care Act is is a bad piece of legislation?
“In the first nine months of 2016, just 8.8 percent of Americans — or 28.2 million people — were uninsured. That’s a drop of 0.3 percentage points from the same period in 2015.”
“Since the Affordable Care Act’s coverage provisions began taking effect in 2010, the nation’s uninsured rate dropped by 7.2 percentage points, from 16 percent. That translates into 20.4 million fewer people who lacked health insurance in 2016 than in 2010. The data came from a survey released by the National Center for Health Statistics, a division of the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.”
This is not about Democrats or Republicans, it is about human rights in a country that is supposed to be the greatest in the industrialized world, but the top 10 industrialized nations appear to be doing a better job of taking care of their people than we great Americans.
Someone, please help me wrap my head around the hate, ignorance, and indifference. I suppose one can smile when your family has the best healthcare available at the expense of the American people.  America wake up from your somber sleep; we are moving into a nightmare.  We need to hold our representatives responsible for not keeping our best interest at the top of their voting list.
We cannot fly on the fairytale of “Make America Great Again.”   Make America great by feeding all your people with healthy food; ensure that all people have healthcare; all people have inalienable rights and have protection under the law; not just entitled people; ensure that women are paid the same salary as men who work in the same position – and this includes women of color; and value your people first over businesses.  Without human intelligence, ingenuity, and compassion – there is no great.
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Fortitude Health & Wellness Body Bistro Eating for Optimal Health

Many people tell me they eat healthfully all the time, but what does eating healthy really mean?   Healthy eating entails knowing how much protein, fat, carbohydrates, sugar, water, and sodium intake is needed on a daily basis based on one’s Basil Metabolic Rate (BMR); especially if you exercise daily, expend calories and trying to lose weight. Everyone should know their Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) to understand calories needed for body maintenance, support, and optimal health.

Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is how many calories burned at rest during the average day.  The metabolic rate is determined by how many cells are producing oxidative energy.  A low basal metabolic rate means any calories you consume above your unique basal metabolic rate are unnecessary to supporting you and will be converted into storage (fat).  Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy your body requires every day to perform its most basic function including: breathing, digesting, heart beating, muscle activity, transportation of fluids and tissue, and circulation of blood.  One should always intake the BMR amount of calories so the body does not begin to cannibalize muscle.  Since the heart, liver lungs, and other body parts are composed of muscle, consuming a daily diet below one’s BMR is detrimental to one’s health.

We need carbohydrates in our diet. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends carbohydrates make up 45 to 65 percent of total daily calories. So, if you consume 2,000 calories a day, between 900 and 1,300 calories should come from carbohydrates. That calculates between 225 and 325 grams of carbohydrates per day.

We consume simple and complex carbohydrates. The majority of carbohydrates should come from complex carbohydrates; they take longer to digest and are packed with fiber, vitamins, and minerals (vegetables, whole grain bread and pasta, oatmeal, legumes, brown rice and wheat pasta). Simple carbohydrates are composed of simple-to-digest, basic sugars with little real value for your body. They are higher in sugar and lower in fiber.  Some Fruits and vegetables are simple carbohydrates — still composed of basic sugars, although they are drastically different from other foods in this category (cookies, cakes, sodas, candy, and white rice and bread). The fiber in fruits and vegetables changes the way the body processes their sugars and slows down their digestion, making them a bit more like complex carbohydrates.

Healthy fat consumption is a must; reduce saturated fat and consume more unsaturated fat. Fat provides 9 calories per gram. For example, you would need 36 to 62 grams of fat when consuming a 1,600-calorie diet per day; 44 to 78 grams if eating a 2000-calorie diet per day, and 58 to 101 grams of fat when consuming 2,600 calories per day.

Protein is a must.  The DRI (Dietary Reference Intake) is 0.8 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight, or 0.36 grams per pound (1). This amounts to 56 grams per day for the average sedentary man and 46 grams per day for the average sedentary woman. You would add more protein if you exercise because the more you exercise, the more protein the body needs to help build muscle.

 The recommended serving of sodium is 1500 mg which amounts to 0.75 teaspoons or 3.75 grams of salt per day, while 2300 mg amounts to one teaspoon or 6 grams of salt per day. Most people today are eating much more. The average intake of sodium is about 3400 mg, most of it coming from processed foods. Try Himalayan Sea Salt to negate bad effects of regular table salt.

Himalayan Crystal Salt is far superior to traditional iodized salt.  It is millions of years old and pure, untouched by many toxins and pollutants that pervade other ocean salts.  Himalayan Crystal Salt contains the same 84 minerals and elements found in the human body.  Its salt’s unique cellular structure allows it to store vibrational energy and its minerals exist in a colloidal form, meaning they are tiny enough for our cells to easily absorb. Himalayan Sea and Crystal Salts will also help lower high blood pressure.  You can find it in most health food stores.

Sugar is the culprit of all deal breakers when it comes to eating healthy. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), to remain healthy, the maximum amount of added sugars one should consume daily is: Men–150 calories per day (36 grams or nine teaspoons); and women – 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).  I like the American Heart Association’s recommendation for sugar intake because it has stricter guidelines.

Last but not least, water intake should be constant and throughout the day, try drinking half your body weight in water ounces. If you exercise, drink alcohol, or it is hot, drink more water to stay hydrated.  The body needs protein and water to build muscle.  Muscle is more than 80 percent protein on a dry weight basis. In a living and moving body, skeletal muscle is more than 70 percent water.  Body hydration is imperative to optimal health.

So you think you practice healthy eating.  Hopefully, this information will steer you in the right direction as you plan your meals and exercise regimens to reach that optimal level of healthy living.  Remember, health is 80 percent nutrition and 20 percent exercise.



July Blog Picture_7_2016

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Body-Bistro-Tips-628x356Welcome to the Fortitude Health and Wellness Body Bistro Regimen. Here are nine simple tips that will have you glowing through summer and the rest of your life.  You will see a wonderful improvement in your skin, body, and feel great!  This regimen is a daily commitment that will yield your body rewards over your lifetime. It is my daily routine and has served me well for many years. I hope you also enjoy the benefits while you love on you!

One of the most important things to remember is the (early) hours in the morning are “magic hours.” You can accomplish much before starting the day. Oil pulling, drinking water, dry brushing, meditation/praying and squeezing in a quick workout are examples of how to start healthy and set your tone for the rest of the day. According to the Japanese, we should add one more very healthy habit, Japanese Water Therapy. The Japanese have been drinking water first thing in the morning on an empty stomach for decades because of its natural benefits. Water is a great source of life and it is a necessary element for every cell and function in our body, especially building muscle, which brings us to our 9 simple tips:

  1. Start your day with water, water, and water before you eat one piece of food. I drink 24oz of water before eating one morsel. Drinking water in the morning is simple to put into practice. The more water you consume, the better your results.

Here are some important rules to remember:

  • As soon as you wake-up in the morning, drink 1.50 liters of warm water, which is equivalent to 5-6 glasses of water, add ½ squeezed lemon
  • Do not eat or drink 1 hour prior to and after drinking the water
  • Do not consume alcoholic beverages the night before

Also try infused water – water infused with vitamins and minerals from its content, which can be fruit, cucumbers, mint, lavender, rosemary, and citrus fruit. The nutrients from the ingredients marry the water creating extra benefits. It is one of the best ways to detox your body. Infused water is refreshing and the whole family can enjoy.

  1. Dry brush your body before you step into a shower or bath; its benefits are quick and rewardingUse a body brush and start with your feet brushing upward until you have brushed your entire body up to your neck. Make it a morning ritual, just like brushing your teeth! It is important that you brush BEFORE you shower, before you wet skin, or apply lotions. You can also brush at the end of the day before bed. You will feel more relaxed and ready for sleep. You will love the results.


  • Stimulates blood and lymph flow
  • Eliminates body toxins
  • Removes dead skin cells
  • Encourages cell regeneration
  • Helps your body combat cellulite
  • Rewards you with smooth glowing skin
  • Anti-aging through cell regeneration-removes brown age spots on the body
  • Strengthens immune system
  • Stimulates nervous system, tones muscles, and tightens skin
  • Stimulates sweat/sebaceous glands (contributes to restoration of moist and supple skin)
  1. Ginger and Epsom Salt baths with drops of lavender will relax you and leave your skin feeling soft and supple. This bath after dry brushing is perfect. This bath taken before bedtime will help you sleep.
  2. Oil Pulling is used in Ayurvedic medicine. It is a wonderful detoxification procedure for oral hygiene before brushing your teeth and very simple for you to do by just swishing a tablespoon of oil (typically coconut oil) in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. As oil flows through teeth and gums, microbes are picked up as though drawn to a powerful magnet. Bacteria hiding in gum’s crevices, pores, and tubules within teeth are pulled out and held firmly in the solution.
  3. Sugar, salt, and baking soda facial scrubs exfoliate your skin. I cannot stress enough the importance of removing dead skin cells from your face and body, and ensuring you remove all make-up before bed. I exfoliate my entire body every day to remove dead skin cells because I have oily skin. Depending on your skin type, you should exfoliate accordingly. I use natural sugar every morning. Once I have cleaned my face, I use a gentle astringent, spray my face with cold rose water from the refrigerator, and add a deep penetrating moisturizer before the rose water dries. I use coconut oil on my body to condition it and then add my favorite lotion to seal in the moisture. Check out this article for some more healthy skin tips.
  4. Hair Care is important and your hair will love you for giving it tender loving care. Add hot oil treatments twice a month, use coconut, Jojoba, and olive oils. Try and stay away from perms and heat that can damage your hair. Get a great cut and go with the natural texture of your hair for easier maintenance. There is no such thing as good hair, just a diversity of textures that God saw fit to bless each one of us uniquely.
  5. Meditateallows a set time to think and compose and spend time with yourself and God. You can even do your oil pulling during this time. Think on positive things and relish in the joy that you are blessed to be able to sit and meditate. Every day you awake is a blessing, someone did not. 
  6. Clean Eating a planned diet of unprocessed, whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, wild caught fish, grass-fed lean meats will help your health from the inside out. Removing artificial ingredients, preservatives, “chemically charged foods,” sugars, saturated and trans fats, and high sodium will help drastically improve your health and help you to feel better each and every day.
  7. Exercise! Focus on strength training, as we age, strength training and aerobics are important to maintain agility and muscle.  We lose an average of 5 percent of our muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 35 if we don not exercise.  So, hit the floor each morning by putting in 20 push-ups, 50 sit-ups, planks, lunges and squats, and weight lifting.

This is how we serve it up at the Fortitude Health & Wellness, Inc. Body Bistro; these regimens will keep you looking great and add to your health on a daily basis.  You can do it!

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Today is World Health Day. The World Health Organization (WHO) deemed today the day to look at health across the globe and revisit health problems plaguing our world.  First,let’s start with the definition of health – “A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” I will go a step further and say that health is also a clean environment, access to health care, access to healthy, clean, fresh foods, and emotional stability. Without a stable environment, and access to care and healthy food to sustain us, our health status in the world is marginalized.

The United Nations General Assembly agreed to a resolution proclaiming the UN Decade of Action on Nutrition from 2016 to 2025.  The resolution aims to trigger intensified action to end hunger and eradicate malnutrition worldwide, and ensure universal access to healthier and more sustainable diets.  Diets that nourish the body, not diminish.

We want to foster environments that nurture people, not kill them.  The analysis demonstrates that 23% of global deaths (and 26% of deaths among children under five) are due to modifiable environmental factors.

Across the globe, health has become the imperative. I know we are constantly bombarded with health advice, health statistics, and health crazes, forgetting that our health is the greatest gift and commodity we have.  Once it is compromised by disease, an accident, or emotional breakdown, we have a fight on our hands to recover.

Working in the field of health and wellness allows me to work with diverse populations in the United States and other countries. I see many people take their health for granted, especially many people living in the United States where there is access to plenty of high-fat junk foods and sugar.  Living in moderation does not cross our minds. We intake unhealthy foods daily, do not exercise, smoke, and drink heavily; and our stress levels are through the roof, which keeps us on a continuum of physical and mental chaos.

This year, the World Health Organization is calling us to action to stop the rise of diabetes which is affecting world health.  The number of people living with diabetes has nearly quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, with most living in developing countries.  There is a need to prioritize prevention and treatment for diabetes, and prevention begins with healthy lifestyle habits, which starts with healthy choices.

Remember, prevention begins before diagnosing a disease.  When one goes to the doctor and participates in biometric screenings (blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose testing), one has moved into the realm of diagnosing diseases.  Prevention starts earlier with eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish, drinking plenty of water, daily exercise, and stress reduction. Prevention happens on the front end, not the back.

From the United States to Brazil to Thailand, diabetes is one of those chronic diseases that is now wreaking havoc on individuals, families, and global healthcare systems.

We must begin to operate in healthy environments to reduce chronic disease risk factors. The WHO endorses just that by promoting physical activity, healthy diets, and strengthening national capacities to help people with diabetes receive treatment they need to manage their conditions.

“If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain,” says Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General. “Even in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.”

Diabetes is a chronic, progressive, non-communicable disease (NCD) characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (blood sugar).  It occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces. It causes blindness, loss of limbs, cardiovascular disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), kidney damage (nephropathy), eye damage (retinopathy), food damage, skin conditions, and Type 2 diabetes may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

Millions of cases of diabetes are brought on because of diet driven obesity, which then drives other chronic diseases.  Living healthfully is a choice. A choice to choose feeling good and living with quality versus one of just existing.

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What’s in Your Potato Salad?

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We think of mayonnaise as a contaminate killer if not refrigerated or handled carefully. Wrong! We do not need to worry about mayonnaise; it is completely safe and does not need refrigeration.  The pH in mayonnaise is set at a point that bacteria could not survive in its environment.

What we do need to worry about is food poisoning from ONIONS and where those onions came from (in the potato salad?). It’s probably the onions, and if not onions, it’s the POTATOES.  Onions are a huge magnet for bacteria, especially uncooked onions. You should never plan to keep a portion of a sliced onion. It is not safe even if you put it in a zip-lock bag and put it in your refrigerator. It’s already contaminated enough just being cut open and out for a minute. It can become hazardous to you. When you are eating out and putting onions on that hotdog, you are asking for food poisoning on a mega level.

Onions and moist potatoes in potato salad will attract and grow bacteria faster than any commercial mayonnaise will even begin to break down. Onions, when cut and left in the open air can cause adverse stomach infections because of excess bile secretions and even food poisoning.

Remember, onions were cut and left in rooms to fight off the Black Plague in the early 1900’s because people thought they had the ability to absorb airborne bacteria. The onion would be black the next morning from absorbing bacteria.

What’s in your onion?

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Published On March 8, 2016 | By Janet M. Brooks

Girls Coffee Break Talking Chilling Concept

March is Women’s History Month and today is International Women’s Day. Let us honor and recognize amazing women in our lives and history, and their profound impact as entrepreneurs, engineers, movers and shakers, inventors, CEO’s, community activists, teachers, mothers, daughters, and friends; each contributing a special flavor to the mixture of life across the world.

I can look back and see a part of many women who contributed to my personal and professional growth. These women are strong markers in my life. I would not be who I am today if it were not for their wonderful insight, love, support, constructive criticism, and ability to stretch beyond themselves to reach others. One woman in particular taught me a valuable lesson of love and friendship when we were just children.

When I was 11 years old, I met someone who became a lifelong friend. I am blessed that God put her in my life for a lifetime. When we first met as children, I was irritated by her need to follow and imitate who I was. I told our mutual friend I did not appreciate or like her. Well, needless to say, that friend went back and told her what I said. Even at the tender age of eleven, her wisdom and humility taught me true sisterhood. Cheryl came to me and said, “You should be honored that I want to be like you, I think highly enough of you to want to be your friend and be like you.” I will never forget the humiliation I felt for being such a mean girl. She taught me as a young girl to cherish friendship and sisterhood in the most valuable way and not to take it for granted. She has been my heart friend for 50 years.

We teach each other true sisterhood and how to become kick-butt leaders and movers and shakers. It is not enough to arrive to your point destination of being at the top.  The top is just the beginning of a responsibility of your success. We as women have an indomitable spirit combined with fortitude, which drives us to success. Do not strive to just reach the top; the top is not necessarily success. Success should always include compassion to make a change for the better.

Learning to “make it happen” takes talent and guidance. We tell women you can do whatever you desire, and you can, but no one makes it to the top without a springboard from a helping hand. There is a plethora of difficult decision-making we as women face. We have learned to weigh entrepreneurship and leadership, career and children, and family and business, and are moving with a complexity that forges new ground and impacts the world. We are conquering a new terrain of heading our households, decision-making, companies, and refusing to accept the status quo.

For our new group of millennial women who are born out of the digital generation and have never known life without the Internet and multimedia content, brace yourselves! You are living in a marvelous time. The potential of technology supports your framework of learning skills that include communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. You are setting the stage for future generations of women. Harness the power of caring and the entrepreneurial aspects of business. Be a savvy risk taker and always reach back for someone as you move forward. As Gloria Steinem, a writer, lecturer, political activist, and feminist organizer says, “Imagine we are linked not ranked.” We are working together to make a change and open up opportunities for all women across the globe – not forgetting our sisters who are oppressed, enslaved, and murdered because their culture does not value women. Remember their struggle!

We can have it all, just don’t become greedy and indifferent. Do not bite off more than you can manage. Whatever you do, do it with passion, integrity, honesty, and professionalism. “When in doubt, look inward before your look outward, God will guide your steps,” great words from my mother. Do not make excuses for what you do not know, go learn it, master it, and come back and make it happen!

Please read at least one of the books below. I have enjoyed reading each one, and each one gave me a piece of advice I could use in my day-to-day life as well as my business. Great reads!

  • Loving on Me!: Lessons Learned on the Journey from MESS to MESSAGE by Katrina McGhee
  • Get Rich, Lucky Bitch: Release Your Money Blocks and Live a First Class Life by Denise Duffield-Thomas
  • Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  • Daring & Disruptive: Unleashing the Entrepreneur by Lisa Messenger
  • The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte
  • The 4-Hour Work Week-Timothy Ferriss
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Women in America experience tremendous pressure to look beautiful, stay in shape, and look as young as science will allow. Youth and beauty permeate advertising and marketing strategies to sell cars, food, and furniture; you cannot watch a commercial without a young woman selling something. In response, many older women buy into remaking themselves through Botox injections, implants, face fillers, and other physical enhancements. We get caught on the youth train, and forget that life is constant change, and reinventing begins on the inside, and moves outward.

Aging well takes talent, the talent to relish life and its beauty. Age is truly just a number. In my mind, I am still 16 preparing for my first date with my first boyfriend and feeling butterflies in my stomach, because I am crazy about the boy who finally noticed that I am alive. Life’s emotions never leave our spirit; we are grounded in the hope of a new day, new joy, or a new love to sweep us off our feet.

Sixty-one is my sixteen and I love the transition.  Even with all the changes the body takes you through, the mind is still young and full of fervor, ready to move into the next season of life God has allowed. To feel good in your own skin also takes talent. I know that I am good enough. I feel beautiful and sexy and have no mountains to climb to prove a point to anyone; I have learned to be.

If you are single in the later part of your life, consider that you are alone not lonely. Just because you do not have a mate does not mean life is over. It is wonderful if you find the right person to share the rest of your life, but if you don’t, that is okay too. You can spend time with you, and learn more about life through travel and meeting new and interesting people. Better to be alone than chained to the wrong person who diminishes your very being. I learned that lesson the hard way.

Take hold of good choices that yield great returns. Invest time and love in God, family, friends, and people. It is clear to me that life is full of promise, and we should enjoy the gift of life, because it is a gift, at any age. So be ageless, live free, and pour out your love and talents on the world; we walk the path of life once on this earth. Make it count.

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