by Latrice Marie Winston
The Importance of BREAKFAST
Before I began my weight loss journey I had no idea how important breakfast is.
I often would succumb to a routine of eating a big lunch and dinner, thinking that I would lose weight because I was eating less total calories. I was completely wrong and I was destroying my natural metabolism! Your metabolism is important because it determines how quickly you burn calories, the faster it runs the more calories you burn while doing absolutely nothing!
Research show that the people who are most successful at weight loss eat a healthy breakfast within one hour of waking up. They also consume three energizing and metabolism boosting ingredients that every breakfast should consist of:
1. Whole grains
2. Lean proteins
3. Fruits or vegetables
One of my favorite breakfast recipes is a Greek Yogurt Parfait. It takes only a few minutes to assemble, plus it’s delicious!
This recipe contains only 215 calories and has a good amount of protein at 14 grams.
• 1 cup of greek yogurt
•1/3 cup of fresh fruit
•1-1/2 tbsp of granola or protein cereal (I like Kashi Go Lean Crunch)
Mix fresh fruit and yogurt together then add granola or protein cereal on top! Yum.
If you have more time try this spin on traditional oatmeal!
Power Oatmeal Pancakes
Serves 4 people and makes 12 pancakes
3 pancakes are 274 calories and have 16g of protein.
•2 1/2 cups of dry rolled oats
•6 egg whites
•1 cup low fat milk
•1tbsp ground flaxseed
•1tbsp safflower oil
•1 tsp baking powder
•1 tsp vanilla
1. Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend for 20 seconds. (If no blender, stir ingredients together by hand.)
2. Spray griddle with cooking spray then heat over medium heat.
3. Pour 1/4 cup of batter on griddle. Cook until pancakes are dry and bubbly on top and sides. Turn and brown the other side.
4. Top with unsweetened applesauce or mixed fruit and then ENJOY!! (Hint stay away from the heavy syrup)
State regulators worked to keep utility rate increases in check for big factories and other large energy users this year, a move that will mean higher power prices for many other businesses and homeowners.
The move is tied to Gov. Scott Walker’s job-creation goals, according to Phil Montgomery, Public Service Commission chairman.
“Is it by design? Yes. We believe it helps in job creation,” said Montgomery, one of two Walker appointees on the three-member panel that regulates utility rates in Wisconsin. Montgomery previously was a Republican state representative from the Green Bay area.
“It’s been a goal of this governor to help every way we can in job growth and creation, and we viewed that, in the setting of the rates, that if we can come up with a fair mix for all that helps job creators, then that’s a good thing,” Montgomery said.
In rate cases finalized last month involving utilities in Milwaukee, Madison and Eau Claire, large manufacturers received smaller percentage increases than homeowners and other businesses. For example, We Energies was granted an overall electricity rate increase of 4.2% for 2013, but large companies got only a 3% boost while homeowners and small businesses got rate increases of at least 5%.
The decisions favoring big manufacturers come on top of discounts already in place for the nearly 900 largest energy users in the state – primarily big manufacturers.
Big users get discounts
Those discounts originated from a 2005 law that capped how much the largest energy users have to pay to support Wisconsin’s Focus on Energy program, which provides energy-efficiency incentives and funds for renewable energy projects.
By the end of this year, those companies across the state will have paid at least $68 million less on their electricity bills since 2010 because a “temporary” cap that was written into the 2005 law remains in place.
The discount, totaling more than $18 million this year alone, means smaller businesses are paying more to make up the difference in order to fund Focus on Energy.
The discounts and the lower rate increases are justified, a manufacturers’ group says, given that Wisconsin has higher electricity rates than surrounding states and that manufacturers are facing a brutally competitive landscape.
“After making billions in investments in new infrastructure in the last decade, Wisconsin’s electric rates have gone from some of the lowest in the country to now among the highest in the Midwest,” said Todd Stuart, executive director of the Wisconsin Industrial Energy Group. “Wisconsin is a manufacturing state and manufacturing is energy intensive. Energy costs have an impact on Wisconsin companies being competitive nationally and globally.”
But homeowners and renters shouldn’t have to bear the burden, said Charlie Higley, executive director of the Wisconsin Citizens’ Utility Board. Rates for residential customers have climbed faster during the past decade than they have for factories, he said.
“While we understand the need to ensure Wisconsin businesses remain competitive, these higher rate increases put more burden on residential customers during this tough economy,” Higley said.
A review of average electricity prices in all 50 states found that Wisconsin’s rates in 2012 were higher than the national average and second-highest among eight Midwest states, both for residential and industrial customers.
At 13 cents per kilowatt-hour, Wisconsin’s residential rates were about 12% above the national average, while industrial rates averaging 7.5 cents a kilowatt-hour were 11% above the U.S. average.
Wisconsin utilities say the investment in new power plants will pay off over time. Electricity that isn’t needed by the state’s businesses and homeowners is sold into the Midwest energy market, helping offset rate increases, they say.
PSC Commissioner Eric Callisto, who chaired the commission under Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle, broke from the Republicans on the commission in objecting to the rate treatment of large manufacturers. He said the commission was unnecessarily pushing up rates for other businesses while making moves to keep industrial rate increases low – or in some case adding discounts for large manufacturers.
Callisto last week sent a letter to leaders in the state Legislature asking that the large companies’ Focus on Energy discounts be changed.
A 2011 audit by the Legislative Audit Bureau found that some large companies that received Focus incentives paid nothing at all toward the program in their rates.
The state law that established Wisconsin’s renewable energy target and funding for energy efficiency capped manufacturers’ rates at whatever they were paying in 2005. In some cases, that means they are paying nothing toward the program, while many manufacturers pay less than they would if they had not been capped, Callisto said.
“Wisconsin commercial, industrial and lighting customers that are not large enough to meet the LEC (large energy customer) threshold are required to pick up these extra amounts, and essentially subsidize the rate break enjoyed by the state’s LECs,” Callisto wrote.
Nearly 300 customers of We Energies, the state’s largest utility, will see a “rate break” of about $14 million this year as a result, Callisto said. Statewide, the discount for large users amounts to about $18.6 million this year, according to the PSC.
When he was chairman, Callisto said, the PSC in 2008 had recommended a plan to phase out the discounts over three years, but the Legislature did not act on it.
Montgomery – whose top aide came to the PSC from Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, the state’s largest business lobby – said it was up to the Legislature to decide whether to make the change.
In a letter to lawmakers last week, Montgomery wrote that revisiting one piece of that bill doesn’t make sense without reopening all of the compromises that led to widespread and bipartisan support for the bill at the time.
“It’s a can of worms to reopen those debates,” said Stuart, a former state Senate aide who – like Montgomery – worked on the bill. “There were a lot of different compromises in that bill. To get large customers and business groups to sign off on the 10% renewable mandate, there needed to be a number of other provisions to limit their financial exposure.”
But Higley said the time has come to end the discounts, particularly at a time when industrial customers are seeing lower rate increases.
It’s great to envision success, but get the guidance to achieve it
by Antoine Moss, Black Enterprise
It’s a good chance that throughout your childhood you were encouraged to dream big. Consequently, you probably grew up envisioning a big lofty goal that you hoped to achieve someday. And many years later, your goal is still just a “big dream” to you. Well I have some good news for you and that is: Dreams do come true! But, in order for your dreams to come true, you need help. You have to seek the right guidance and create a success-support system.
In today’s world that’s highly driven by technology and social media, you have many resources right at your fingertips. The essential key is discovering exactly where to look for information and the players that will inspire you to fully live your dreams.
Two amazing trailblazers and role models that you don’t have to look too far for are Michael Baisden, host of The Michael Baisden Show, and George Fraser, author of Success Runs in Our Race: The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the Black Community.
They both worked regular jobs for many years before they began to fully tap into their passion and gifts. Despite being faced with many challenges and life altering encounters, they were determined to attain extraordinary success. These two giants are currently living their dreams and they’ve teamed up to help you live yours too!
Fraser recently appeared on Baisden’s show for an interview and shared the following tips for living your dreams:
- Strategically and systematically pursue your dreams.
- Learn how to set small goals that lead to big results.
- Eliminate fear from your mindset and vocabulary.
- Develop a powerful support team and seek guidance from them.
On Dec. 12th at 9 p.m. (EST), Fraser will hold an empowerment conference call and will be interviewing Baisden, with insights on how to live your dreams. It’s free, and you can join by calling 712-432-0075 and entering access code 271542#. This is truly an exclusive and rare career-enriching opportunity that will help you reach your dreams in 2013.
I’ll be tweeting live during the call using hashtag #LiveYourDreams. Join me, and let’s connect on social media so you can get the career guidance you need to launch your dreams!
Peter Ramsey attends ‘Rise Of The Guardians’ Premiere during The 7th Rome Film Festival on November 13, 2012 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Stefania D’Alessandro/Getty Images)
by Courtney Garcia, theGrio
In many eyes, Peter Ramsey, director of the upcoming DreamWorks film Rise of the Guardians, is a pioneer: the first African-American filmmaker to direct a major, big budget CG-animated motion picture. Yet for Ramsey, himself, the milestone feels more like a necessary progression of sorts than an executed plan.
The director, who was honored by the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) and the City of Los Angeles at a special screening of the movie on Saturday in L.A., believes the crowning achievement is due to his dedication and focus, sticking out the grind of Hollywood in order to let time open up a world of grander playing fields.
“It’s just like any other part of the industry, or any other part of the working world,” Ramsey told theGrio. “It’s just part of the evolution. Why’d it take so long to have a black president? Same kind of thing, but I think it’s one of the those things – there were a lot of people’s shoulders that I stood on…It was all based on work, and being ready when the right opportunity came along. It really wasn’t anything more special than me doing what you should do anyway, which is work as hard as you can, do as good a job as you can, and be prepared when luck knocks on the door.”
Ramsey’s work in filmmaking dates back to 1989, when he started out as a storyboard artist for the live action film, A Nightmare on Elm Street. As a kid, he grew up in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles, attending grade school in the neighborhood then heading west-side to the Palisades for an arts-driven high school. He spent two years in college at UCLA before dropping out to pursue his interests in the movie business.
In Hollywood, Ramsey continued up the art department ladder, working with top directors like Steven Spielberg, Ang Lee, John Singleton and David Fincher on some of the more notable films of the last couple decades. He served as Assistant Director on Poetic Justice and Godzilla, among others, and primarily focused his work on designing live action stories before shifting gears to animation on 2004’s Shark Tale.
With his directorial debut, Rise of the Guardians, out in theaters today, Ramsey pulls from his roots in traditional filmmaking and his keen sense of flair for the imaginative. The story follows a dedicated camaraderie between “North” a.k.a. Santa Claus (voiced by Alec Baldwin); “Bunny,” the Easter Bunny (Hugh Jackman); and “Tooth,” the Tooth Fairy (Isla Fisher) as they recruit Jack Frost (Chris Pine) to assist them in saving the world’s children from the darkness of “Pitch,” the Boogeyman (Jude Law). A sophisticated composite of sharp edits, close-up shots, theatrical lighting and 3D visuals, the film very closely resembles the feel of a live action feature, and is as funny and unique as it is charming.
Furthermore, it’s testament to Ramsey’s bold and visionary demeanor, a vivid thinker who opted to have Santa Claus step out with arms covered in tattoos of the naughty and nice.
“That was actually one of the first things I thought of,” Ramsey recalls. “We were just looking for ways to say he’s really different. He’s really kind of crazy, and not that he’s negative or dark or aggressive, but that’s he’s passionate and he will do anything to fulfill his mission.”
Similarly, Ramsey’s life advances a mission set forth by many before him. He arrives at a time when the landscape in animation has begun a transition to more accurately reflect the American cultural diaspora. In 2009, Disney released The Princess and the Frog, its first animated tale to feature an African-American princess; in 2012, the studio debuted its first Latina princess with the TV movie Sophia the First: Once Upon a Princess. Neither film was absent of criticisms; many felt these characters were thrown into the story lines with no honor or sensitivity towards their heritage. Nevertheless, it was progress.
As Ramsey sees it, animation has come along way in terms of diversity, stepping ahead of even live action when considering the entire process of filmmaking.
“It’s gotten way, way better,” he remarks. “Think about how it used to be. It’s way better than it ever was before, and it’s just going to get better because everybody recognizes that’s the world we live in now. Actually, I think DreamWorks has a pretty great record – and I’m not saying that because I work there – but I know there’s a movie now that Rihanna’s doing the voice for. So it’s got a young woman of color in the lead.”
“If I take it back to this movie and myself – me being an African-American filmmaker – [I] didn’t necessarily bring anything about that experience to this [film], but [that] a black filmmaker can make movies that anybody can enjoy,” he adds. “That we’re universal people too. I think that’s just as important as literally being represented on screen in that way.”
In fact, Ramsey finds more issue with the lack of diversity behind the camera than he does in the spotlight. While he shies away from taking too much credit for his own story, now a major leader in a company at the forefront of CG animation, he does hope to serve as a cornerstone for what’s possible.
“When you look at the whole span of it, and really, I have to gauge it from when I was a kid, it’s a completely different world,” Ramsey comments. “I mean the biggest thing is more people behind the cameras and behind the scenes. That’s really where the true struggle is in my opinion.”
Whether Ramsey will turn Rise of the Guardians into a franchise depends on the success of the film at the box office, but he expresses ambition and interest in the idea. He says he intends for children to see how to use imagination and creativity as “power against fear,” and looks towards the artistic direction of films like Star Wars, the Harry Potter series, Kung Fu Panda and Shrek as inspiration. He also brings to the table a love for the moving picture – real or computer-crafted – and hopes to eventually helm the reins of a live action flick as well.
Being what AAFCA President Gil Robertson deemed the “Obama of Animation,” his future seemingly holds bright.
“It’s funny cause when I first got the job, I kind of realized it,” Ramsey remembers. “And then the work started, and there’s no time to think about anything else. You’re just doing the work, you’re not thinking about being a pioneer or anything like that. A couple months ago, I had given an interview to a journalist and it got reprinted in a newspaper and I had given a copy to my mom and dad, you know, ‘Hey look I’m in the paper!’…And so my dad was reading it, and he came across that line – the first African American director of…[There were] tears in his eyes. I literally hadn’t thought about it all those years, and when I saw him I was like, ‘Wow, that’s right.’ And you just can’t deny what it means.”