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When You have the Balls...

Last weekend, I had a completely unexpected conversation.

I went in for a 'complimentary' PT session with a potential trainer at an uber-trendy, uber-pricey fitness club here. Now, I have been a member of this location for a year through fortuitous discount luck and for that reason, certainly don't fit with the general carefree monetary abandon of the others who use these clubs. That basically means I am always looking to seek value from the services there. And, not always getting them. Oh yes! I love the club and its amenities and the staff are friendly, but, the backend systems suck and the front end managers cannot or will not do anything about it.

Going into this session I was coming off a particularly bitter battle of miscounted inventory that was not quite resolved. I was set on shielding myself for potential suboptimal value experience. Expectedly, I was closed, unapproachable and on the defensive waiting to spar an attack at any moment from the establishment against poor (literally and figuratively) old me!

Now, I knew this trainer from casual socializing in the gym and general chats. Yet, I was bracing. I was on time for once to make sure I was not at fault. Then we began. This was one of those sessions where they get to know your goals and give you an outline of the approach etc. We started talking and realized that his particular style of training may not be the best fit for me. So, I am sitting there and wondering "Now what?" and he whams me with the first unexpected...

on the defensive waiting to spar an attack at any moment

He offered to put me in touch with another more relevant trainer and that he would take care of the service and system end, so this session would not be counted and I would still have a complimentary one.

Then, come the real story...

It began as a mild curiosity of the business end of things. I am always interested in how people and business sustain. So, I asked. He was surprisingly frank about what it takes to make a liveable wage as a trainer, the constraints and advantages of working for this club relative to others, that despite the low fraction of the high fees he sees, he still finds it a stimulative and positive environment and certainly much better than any other he has ever worked in before, atleast in NYC.

"Interesting perspective" I thought in my head. "Certainly positive but what drives this person to be so?"

Again, I asked and then tumbled an amazing story filled with so many eye-openers, for me..!!! Essentially, that conversation was the highlight of the weekend and has catalyzed something within me that I can't quite define but, is certainly spirited and driven.

What resonated for me in his conversation was "Authenticity"

Now, it isn't that what he shared was ground breaking or even new. We have all heard it before. Mostly from people who write books. They are general platitudes, much touted without actual experience or wisdom behind it. What resonated for me in the experience was it's Authenticity; of it coming from someone who lived it and could walk me through the physical and mental road map of how he adopted it.

Grit, Determination, Visualizing a Goal and the Path. These are the key. I knew this. We all know this! And, I have plenty of each in isolation. But, I just never put them together into a cohesive structure and therefore did not believe in the ability to reach a goal particularly with a moving timeline.

More so, here is what I took away... It is really about HAVING THE F'ING BALLS TO BE VULNERABLE!!!

If you have never heard this before, you must listen to this talk by Brene Brown on the subject. I had a few years ago and decided to apply it in my personal life. It only struck me now, the power of it for life success in general, in all areas, particularly anything that involves dreams!


Here is the epiphany - When we allow ourselves to be open to being hurt, banged about, really get dirty and bruised, only then will we be able to embrace the challenges and rise up to it. Only then, can we find the path to the light. Hoping things will just be easier, and we can somehow avoid the pain, is well not gonna happen! For most of us!


When it feels like you are drowning, you fight to live but to voluntarily jump into the water takes guts, strength and a strong faith in your ability to survive.

Let's do it!

It may not be a outwardly happy thought, but, actually it is really positive for strength. Rome was not built in a day and neither will any of our lives. Rome also burned many times and each was built back stronger. Someone built it. We built it (atleast people like us back then). It just needs to be done. Because no-one else is going to do it.

So, yeah. I am being all literal here. What with the topic and the recipe. These are amazing balls really. You need more of these literal ones (along with the figurative stuff above). They are all vegetarian (and seasonal), super flavorful and just so good for you and for your mind. Also, I am told it is much enjoyed by toddlers! :)

I make these with beets, carrots and sweet potato. The potato is the bind and the others are par steamed to soften but still retain texture. I love the rich red from the beets and yes, it kind of looks like regular meatballs. But, this is no bait and switch. Just bait and reel!

The sauce here is mustard and cashew concoction with lots of coriander. I have also served them in a traditional tomato based one and it is ridiculously yummy.

I am told these balls are well handled by toddlers!

Since I am mostly paleo at the moment, I find such meals very nourishing and fulfilling. I don't miss the pasta or even my favorite polenta. It is just perfect as is. If you want more protein you can always #putanegg on it!  

Oh So Veg Balls

in mustard cashew sauce

For the vegetable balls:

1 large beetroot

1 large carrot

1 large sweet potato

1 egg
1 red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced

alt. Pepper and any Herbs

For the mustard cashew sauce:

1 red onion, diced

1 clove of garlic

1/4 cup or so cashews

3 T mustard

1/4 cup cream

1 cup water

1 cup chopped parsley or cilantro

oil as needed


To make the balls, roughly chop the root vegetables and steam for 10 mins.

Remove the potato and carrot and continue steaming the beetroot for another 10 mins.

In a bowl, add the diced onion and minced garlic.

Process the sweet potato into a chunky mixture. The potato will be very soft that's ok. Add to the onion and garlic.

Separately process the beetroot to chop into fine pieces and add to the bowl

Add the egg, seasoning and herbs and mix them well.

Oil a baking tray. Make balls of the veg mix and place on tray.

Bake at 350F/180C for 25 minutes.

Meanwhile make the sauce, by sauteing the onion and garlic in oil in a skillet.

add the cashews and everything else except the cream and water and cook till the cashews are lightly browned.

Puree the mix with the water and cream into a smooth sauce.

Pour back in the skillet, bring to a boil and simmer for five minutes before serving.



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