By Candice Kumai, Chef & Author of Clean Green Eats
As a Southern Cali girl in NYC, I have to remind myself to bask in the sun, and to enjoy every moment of sunshine, happiness, and joy that comes my way. I am empowered by sunshine.
Back in Cali, about 10 years ago, my big sis, Jenni (also an entrepreneur, who runs her own dope bike shop in London now - The London Bike Kitchen), sent me a quote that forever changed my life:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
This particular Mark Twain quote touched my heart as I pondered on exploring new territory, and I was a bit scared, unsure, and timid. Back in LA, I worked as a full time model/fit model after college to pay my way through culinary school. Many people discouraged me from pursuing food and wellness, but I had always dreamed of moving to NYC to follow all of my heart's big dreams — and look what happened, thanks sis.
Live out your dreams now, don't change who you are just to conform to the "norm" or what you think is the "norm" or "cool," just do you. Remember the nostalgic traits from home that make you unique, they molded you into who you are today. That's what is real.
Don't let anyone discourage you from making your dreams come to pass. Keep yourself empowered by the simple things that fuel you, those special traits and experiences that made you who you are today. For myself, much of my drive comes from pure sunshine, love and light. I grew up on the sunny beaches of San Diego, CA, and spending summers on the Big Island of Hawaii. And by the term "sunshine," I don't just mean sunlight (a dose of vitamin D is amazing, though!). I mean I am attracted to others who are full of light, love, and happiness. Pure sunshine, none of that fake shit. You know, those individuals who inspire and uplift others, those are the kind of individuals I grew up with, that was surf culture, yoga culture, and Cali life.
Some will discourage you along your path, they will try to convince you to do what they think is best for you due to their personal experiences, and that's not your story... Find that place in your heart that feels good, the place where you simply shine your light. When you shine your light, you allow others to shine bright with you.
I don't see much sunlight in NYC, like ever. The winter months are harsh, abrasive, they are brutal, honest, deep, and they are dark. It's easy to get trapped into the darkness when you are focused on the negatives in life. Don't allow yourself to get so beat up by the external, filter out the negatives with your positives. Find that light deep inside that empowers and fuels you, and make your dreams come to pass. Find your sunshine, and watch where it will take you… places where dreams are made.
Sunshine is what brings us health, light, life, and joy. Embrace it, soak it up, spread it all around, be grateful for it, and be empowered by the light.
Candice Kumai is a classically trained chef, healthy lifestyle expert, and best-selling author of Clean Green Eats, Clean Green Drinks, Pretty Delicious, Cook Yourself Sexy and Cook Yourself Thin. She is a regular contributor on E! News and The Dr. Oz Show, and has appeared as a regular judge on Iron Chef America and Beat Bobby Flay. She contributes to food and lifestyle publications such as Cosmopolitan, Shape, Men’s Health, Clean Eating and Prevention, and volunteers at dozens of charitable organizations. She is a Top Chef alumni, and is obsessed with avocados, coconut, and her cat, Sisi. She lives in New York City. Be sure to pick up her newest cookbook: Clean Green Eats.