It's been almost 4 months since the new year has begun. Resolutions have come and gone or maybe you're still working on yours...maybe you never even started. To each their own!
I love resolutions and goal setting and lists...OH MY!!
They keep me motivated, challenged... I love a good competition and the best ones are with myself! It's never too late to start a new challenge and what better one than choosing to be healthier!
Imagine yourself leaner, lighter, full of energy, possibly, medication-free...it is POSSIBLE!
It's time to start a competition with yourself... what is the only diet: proven to reverse disease, to have the leanest people, to create energy and vibrance?! Yup, you guess it, the plant-based diet and guess what? This is the time! 2017 has been declared #theyearofvegan!!
So, I'm going to help you start the competition with yourself and give you 10 reasons why this is your year to become a plant-based powerhouse!!
"The Food You Eat Can Either Be
The Most Powerful
Form of Medicine
Form of Poison"
8. Plant-Based Food is Delicious- What kind of foods do you eat regularly? Pasta? Pizza? Burgers? Fries? All of these can be made using whole food plant-based ingredients! All of the flavor comes from the herbs and spices being used which makes it so easy to make savory, delicious plant-based dishes. If you are looking for a resource, a great place to start is by signing up for our email list and we will send you 50 recipes for easy and delicious plant-based snacks!
9. Animals are Amazing- You love your dog and/or cat so much, right? They are so smart and loving, right? Pigs can learn to play video games and have far more emotional intelligence than a dog. A chicken is so smart its intelligence is comparable to a monkey's, according to scientists. There is no difference between your household pet and a farm animal...they all have superior intelligence, emotional capabilities, and the same RIGHT TO LIFE!
10. Save Money- You work hard for your money; why waste it on expensive foods that are poisoning your body! The cheapest cuts of meat are $3+ a pound. Rice, beans, lentils, and pasta are less than $1 a pound...no brainer, right?! Vegans, on average, save over $750 a year compared to meat eaters. What could you do with an additional $750?!
The time is right now! This is your year to become a healthier, happier you! I gave you 10 great reasons so no excuses. Are you ready to be healthier, happier, sexier….are you ready to save the planet, animals, money AND end world hunger?! Basically, you are a superhero in the making...are you ready for the challenge?!
As always, if you need any help in your journey email me or comment with your questions, concerns, and/or criticism...I'm ready for it all!!
Peace, Love, Plants,
I have always loved food. I’m what you might consider a “foodie”, which by Merriam-Webster's definition is a person who has an avid interest in the latest food fads. I actually had to look that up. Wikipedia defines a foodie as a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food and alcoholic beverages. A foodie seeks new food experiences as a hobby rather than simply eating out of convenience or hunger. The terms "gastronome" and "epicure" define the same thing, i.e. a person who enjoys food for pleasure. That’s me.
I enjoy layers of texture and complementary flavors on the front and back end of the bite. I love the break of the bite itself. I love the colors in a dish and unique pairings that surprise and awe when they come together in the mouth.
And when I take inventory of the people in my life, I find many of them to be foodies, as well. Not all. But most. My parents are not big eaters. They fall under the “Eat to Live” category. But my husband, though not a foodie by birth, has grown into being somewhat of a food connoisseur as his tastes have changed over time, presumably, due to living with me all these years.
Two of my closest friends enjoy food in the way that I do. When making plans together, the first question is always, “Where are we going to eat?!” One of my girlfriends can be heard making unusual noises when she’s taken that first bite of something that’s met or exceeded her expectations; there is audible moaning and her eyes sort of roll back in her head. And people start to stare. It’s sort of like the restaurant scene, you know which one, from Harry Met Sally. I enjoy sharing a dining experience with people that have a similar (or heightened!) appreciation for food. It’s a little like church.
Trying new foods and restaurants has always been priority when making our travel plans and visiting new places. Eating my way through a city is one of my favorite pastimes. Take New York City, for example. You could pick a theme, “NYC’s Best Pizza and Beer”, start in the Upper East Side, work your way through Manhattan’s most notable pizza places and pubs only to end up having dessert in Brooklyn. Then you could write a blog post about it.
So. As I’ve been catching up with all my foodie friends and relatives this week after having been in New Orleans, they’ve all asked, “How was the food?”
My reply, “Eh.”
Now let me be clear that New Orleans has the most incredible restaurants and food, famous to be sure. Words that come to mind: seafood, spicy, sausage. So, if you’re not into that sort of thing, than New Orleans cuisine may not be for you. As I was telling you last week, they are known for their rich signature dishes of Gumbo, Jambalaya, Andouille, Crawfish Étoufféé, Shrimp Creole, Muffuletta, Oysters Rockefeller and their famous Beignets. When I first visited five years ago, still eating seafood and hadn’t yet cut out the oils, the food was phenomenal! I remember being so excited to seek out the places that served the best of the best and took it on as my personal mission to do just that.
But something has changed for me over the past couple of years. And it’s not just the fact that I no longer eat seafood. New Orleans, and many places where I enjoy spending time, offers plenty of vegan or vegetarian versions of their famous food. I think that since I’ve cut out oils from my diet (and I’ve admitted I’m not perfect at this), my taste buds have changed...healed, really. The food is just too rich for me. I’m now preferring simpler meals. The real shocker is that I don’t really enjoy eating out as much as I used to. Of course, I do every now and again, but I prefer my own cooking as eating out is losing it’s appeal.
Admittedly, I’ve always wanted to be more of an “Eat to Live” person, like my parents, or to at least know what that was like. To stop halfway through a meal because I’m satisfied and simply can’t bother with finishing the rest...sort of bored with the food after it’s done its job. Or to pack PB & J sandwiches and a few apples for the road rather than to scope out and plan a day trip around stopping at a certain restaurant that’s known for their signature sandwiches piled high with coleslaw and French fries or even the tofu poboy that all the vegan foodies are raving about on PETA's website.
The thing is, I’m making the shift. I think my favorite restaurant fare in New Orleans was the clapped together dinner I ordered from the sides menu at the restaurant with no vegetarian offerings: plain baked potato, side salad, grilled asparagus and balsamic vinegar. It was delicious, simple, satiating and it was a fraction of the price of what my family was ordering, to boot.
Bottom Line: Once I became informed and stopped eating all the extra fat, sugar and salt many restaurants and food companies add to their foods to keep us coming back for more, I began to taste the food for what it really is. I had the most delicious orange yesterday. And, because I think I’ve broken my food addictions, I didn’t need to turn it into a fruit parfait to enjoy.
So why am I telling you all of this? Well, I guess to share with all my fellow foodies out there who think it might be a lost cause to lose that strong hold food has over us, who believe we are hard-wired to plan our whole day around what we are eating and where we are eating it, and for those of us who can't manage to spend time with others without having the meal taking center stage...I’m here to tell you things can and do change.
Are you an Eat to Live or Live to Eat kind of person? In the spirit of transparency, I'll admit I am straddling both sides of the fence here. I LOVE food. I love to eat. But my focus has shifted from the food to the person I’m spending precious time with, to the sights and sounds of what's going on around me and to enjoy food in a nutritious and healthy way. And breaking some of my food addictions has enabled me to at least climb that proverbial fence to enjoy life... with or without the food.
If you’re interested in learning more about why it's so difficult for us to make the right choices when it comes to our food, and if you want to find out EXACTLY what you can do to make this shift yourself, check out this brilliant 17 minute Ted talk from Douglas Lisle, Director of Research for True North Health Center and co-author of the thought provoking book, The Pleasure Trap.
I'm trying something new this week...I shared this presentation with our nutrition workshop series participants and I thought it was worth sharing with you all, too! It's about how we can rewire our brains to create lasting changes. I don't want to give too much away...so check it out and let me know your thoughts!!
Thank you so much for checking it out!!
Peace, Love, Plants,
New Orleans. The Crescent City. NOLA. The City That Care Forgot. N’awlins! If you’ve never been to New Orleans (pronounced New Or-luns rather than New Or-leans to avoid being pegged for a tourist straight away), I’m going to do my best to bring her to you. I first fell in love with this city 5 years ago when my husband surprised me with a trip to celebrate my 40th birthday. Unbeknownst to me, he had collaborated with our best friends, Scott and Wendy, to meet us there, whom we’d met years ago right after we married, living below them in our very first apartment in Columbia, SC.
It was a fast and easy friendship for us at a time when I wasn’t really looking for friends. New to motherhood, pursuing a career in interior design and figuring out marriage and adulthood all around seemed to be a full time gig. Our husbands had common interests in playing basketball and golf; we began watching Friends together every Thursday night during NBC’s Must See TV, complete with a spaghetti dinner, one of the few meals either of us young brides knew how to make at the time.
Wendy played second mother to our daughter Lucie, which was invaluable help and support with our families living so far away. In the end, we bought houses side-by-side, had babies together, even ended up in the same hospital room just months apart when our daughters were born, Amelia and Olivia, who have grown up knowing each other always and remain wonderfully close friends. We added two more little girls to the mix, Sally then Ella and even went as far as adopting our dogs, both Maltese, brother and sister, from the same breeder during the same year.
There is more common ground, but this is starting to sound weird.
It wasn’t long before jobs and circumstances took us in different directions, geographically speaking. Scott and Wendy moved back home to be near family, as did we, but our bonds of friendship have stood the test of time.
So on the birthday trip to New Orleans, 5 years ago, Scott and Wendy were waiting for us in a lounge off of the hotel lobby. It was one of two times in my life when I was truly surprised. I was so caught off guard, completely shocked at the sight of our dearest friends serendipitously standing in the same hotel, in the same fabulous city, I cried like a baby and peed my pants at the same time.
I wish I were kidding.
We all went on to have an unforgettable time and Tom and I started planning our next visit before the birthday trip was even over. So imagine our surprise and delight when we got word that after years of military service, Scott and Wendy's family were being relocated to New Orleans! We’ve had the good fortune to make the trip to visit them twice since.
New Orleans is situated between the mighty Mississippi River and Lake Ponchartrain. We all watched when on August 29, 2005, the storm surge of Hurricane Katrina caused approximately 23 breaches in drainage canal and navigational canal levees and floodwalls, flooding and ravaging 80 percent of the city and outlying parishes (Louisiana is 1 of 2 states to have parishes rather than counties) while miraculously sparing the heart of the city, The French Quarter, with all its rich history and nuances of Bourbon St, Royal St, Magazine St and the Garden District, St. Louis Cathedral, Cafe du Monde, the French Market and some of the oldest architecture in our history still standing. The aftermath of Katrina has a living presence here and it seems impossible when talking with the locals for it not to come up. To me, there seems to be ‘before Katrina’ and ‘after Katrina’ and everyone has their story.
I don’t think New Orleans is for everyone. I’d once heard her described so perfectly as ‘an elegant woman with dirty fingernails’. With many sections of the city situated below sea level, you can’t quite catch a breath of fresh air here. It’s a mixture of stale beer, urine, garbage and a little bit of marajuana mixed in. They wash and hose it away every morning, but, really, it has no place to go. And NOLA makes no apologies for this. You can love her or leave her, if she's not your cup of tea.
That’s why I love it here. There is just a shameless, unapologetic sinful pride about everything New Orleanian. The City That Care Forgot is home to its signature Hurricane drink, voodoo, jazz, poker, Creole cuisine, Mardi Gras, beignets, legendary vampires and ghosts, haunted places, drive-through daiquiris, cemeteries with above ground tombs, along with it’s share of grave robberies, po-boys, daily parades for the seemingly helluvit (weddings and funerals alike), and the sexiest American accent in the country, if you’re asking me, Harry Connick, Jr.
The city has its own authenticity and vibe. While there is plenty of Spanish and French influence here, you won’t find anything typical or reminiscent of other U.S. cities. Not much is borrowed from anywhere else. It’s all theirs, baby.
They have 4 seasons here: Shrimp, Oyster, Crawfish and Crab. At first glance you’d be hard pressed to find a plant-based option on any menu in New Orleans with restaurants offering their rich signature dishes of Gumbo, Jambalaya, Andouille, Crawfish Etouffee, Shrimp Creole, Muffuletta, and Oysters Rockefeller. But it’s not impossible. Staying with friends makes things easier by cooking meals at home, while generally eating out once a day. I’ve had great options at local restaurants such as jerk vegetable tacos, black beans and plantains, vegetarian Cajun stew, Jane Deaux braised greens tacos and in the one case when the restaurant did not offer a vegetarian option I was able to use my shop-the-sides strategy, ordering a plain baked potato, side salad and grilled asparagus.
Personally, I don’t normally seek out vegan restaurants when traveling. Not wanting to force that decision for my fellow diners, I tend to do pretty well at mainstream places and find many vegan restaurants use highly processed “fake” meats and other ingredients I only enjoy as the occasional treat. If you’re planning a trip to the Big Easy and want to check out the vegan scene, PETA has compiled a list of eateries for you here.
Shop-the-sides when the menu is lacking vegetarian or vegan options!
Finding yourself with a few days to burn here in New Orleans? Here are a few of my recommendations for taking in much of what this great city has to offer plus a few
off-the-beaten path local highlights:
Cafe du Monde: Start here in the morning at the original French Market stand for the city's famous coffee and beignets.
The French Market: Take a stroll through 6 blocks of farmers market, flea market , local food and drinks; open 7 days a week.
Royal Street: Wander through colorful art galleries and classy boutiques featuring local artists and enjoy live music in every direction.
St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square: Check out the city’s most prominent landmark, St. Louis Cathedral at Jackson Square, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. Take in a walk around the square with its local artists, fortune tellers, street performers and live music.
Pat O’Briens and Bourbon Street: Get your Hurricane here while enjoying the courtyard and ambience of NOLA’s pre-Prohibition bar and piano lounge. Bourbon Street isn't my favorite scene, but it's a worth taking a peek and sets the bar for people watching. #wow.
Voodoo Authentica: Don’t bother with the other touristy voodoo shops if you’re curious about New Orleans voodoo, or its cultural form of Afro-American religions developed by enslaved West and Central African populations in Louisiana. These people seem to be the real deal and can sort out what you think you may already know about these religious folkways and traditions.
St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square
The National WWII Museum: Formerly known as the D-Day Museum, this military history museum is located in the Central Business District of New Orleans. It’s pretty impressive and a great way to spend the morning or afternoon.
New Orleans’ Streetcar: Take a ride on the oldest continuously operating street railway system in the world. I recommend taking the longest of the lines, St. Charles Avenue, getting on in the Garden District and riding all the way through the Quarter.
The Rum House: Located on Magazine Street in the Garden District, this is a popular restaurant for great Caribbean food and tacos. Try the Jerk Vegetable tacos and their signature drink, the Painkiller, a good remedy for all the walking you'll be doing.
The Bayou Beer Garden: More of a local scene, this oddly connected property is complete with its charming lit patios, beer and wine bars and meandering pathways. Kind of a fun way to do some people watching and take in a game or two.
Taceaux Loceaux Food Truck: We first learned of New Orleans' beloved taco truck when it was featured in Anthony Bourdain's The Layover in 2013. It’s easiest to keep up with them via social media...I follow on Instagram @tlnola where they post their location. We caught up with them at Dos Jefes Uptown Cigar Bar.
Taceaux Loceaux offers several vegan options regularly.
John Laffite’s Swamp Tours: Located only twenty-five minutes from New Orleans in the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, Jean Lafitte Swamp and Airboat Tours explore Louisiana's back country along its meandering bayous abundant with wildlife and exotic plant life. Trained navigators escort you into the murky waters of Louisiana swamps where you will come face to face with the beauty and beasts of nature. We got lucky on this trip to watch a bald eagle feed her babies in a nearby nest. We saw plenty of alligators and turtles of all ages and even caught sight of a feral pig wandering around the bayou.
John Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve: FREE. Just up the road from John Lafitte’s Swamp Tours, this preserve protects significant examples of the rich natural and cultural resources of Louisiana's Mississippi River Delta region. We walked the nature trails through the Barataria Preserve seeing many local plant species and the occasional alligator.
As parents, we are constantly feeling the pressure of “Are we doing it right?” and certain we are doing it wrong! It's hard work molding those little life-suckers into functioning, well-adjusted adults! (Obviously, a lot of people have NEVER figured it out.) We continually put onto them: say please and thank you, be kind, be compassionate, be respectful, brush your teeth, go outside, work hard, do the right thing, eat your fruits and vegetables…….and then, we get a wrench thrown into our parenting when we learn about the plant-based lifestyle! GAWD! Like we don't have enough to worry about! But, if we get to the core of it, instilling the values of eating healthy...not just healthy...the optimal diet for human health, is one of the most important things we should be teaching our children! We are giving them the tools they need to lead a healthy life. Not only does it teach them the best way to be eating, but it instills in them the importance of good health, the ability of self control, compassion for our environment, respect for one's self, among other things. Teaching a plant-based diet could be one of the best tools for teaching many of the important values we try to instill in our children.
If you are starting with a toddler, I believe, you may have it a little easier than those starting later. They are getting their needs met, so, they care a little less about what's going in their bellies. As they get older, they have probably become accustomed to sweet treats, the addiction of cheese (which we were all taught was healthy!), the pressure to drink milk (indoctrinated into all of us as children), and the regular routine of meat. It gets harder to make the adjustment.
I have always spoken openly and honestly with my son; rarely giving him the “kid-version” (only when sexually or violently inappropriate). My experience it that this empowers him to make better decisions and understand the full scope of situations. They are much smarter than for which we give them credit. One of our goals, as parents, is to give our children the ability to be good decision makers. In order for them or anyone to make a good decision, we need to be well-educated on the topic. I think it is absolutely crucial to teach our children the details of the how's and why's of a plant-based lifestyle. Empower them with knowledge. Once my son learned the scariness of animal products it was much easier for him to make better choices. Skip ahead if you don't want to hear me brag...my son has amazing willpower when it comes to food! After a few years of constant stomach issues, he has learned what not to eat to make him feel good and he has no problems sticking to them! He rarely has a piece of candy and if he does it's plant-based and organic! Ok, bragging over, you may resume reading. Let's get to the tips:
I hope you can take something away from these tips even if you haven't adopted a plant-based lifestyle...yet;) This is a MOVEMENT; it's shaking up our world...for the better. It is so awesome to see the changes happening in such a short period of time. It is getting so much easier to adopt this lifestyle...grocery stores are conforming to the needs of the plant-based eaters, restaurants are learning of the growing trends, and even doctors are FINALLY succumbing to the evidence of the healing powers of plant foods! You will always have to face the nay-sayers, all around you, but take comfort in knowing you are doing the BEST thing for you and your family AND you have a whole COMMUNITY of supporters!! If you are from our area (or not!) follow “Cameron County Plant Based Support Group” on Facebook where we share tons of information and support. Also, if there's any questions or support I can help you with, please, comment below or send me an email!!
Peace, Love, Plants,
This is one of those early mornings that I’ve been called to the computer at 4am. Usually my brain starts lighting up with ideas or things I want to write about during the quiet hours. But this morning it wasn’t my mind that woke me. It was a full heart.
Lindsey, Cristy and I recently wound up the last of two plant-based workshop series we created. It’s what I’ve been working on during every waking spare second I’ve had the past 6 months. The creation process was a labor of love, I tell you. And the whole experience has left me with the realization that I’ve never done work before that makes me feel so impassioned.
I’ve been wanting to do some sort of work around plant-based nutrition for quite some time. I believe that it is the superior diet for humans and it is a powerful and scientifically proven approach to preventing and often reversing diseases that simply need not be such as heart disease, cancer, obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure.
I’ve never been out to convert anyone. I don’t believe in scare tactics or shaming people into making better food choices, (with the exception of my family). In fact, I rarely talk about it unless people ask or if someone’s had a recent diagnosis of some kind and are then ready to try anything to back out of that sitch.
I only know what the plant-based diet has done for me. It’s allowed me to finally reach a weight I haven’t seen in a decade, I’m rarely sick and on the rare occasion I do come down with something, it passes quickly, I have lots of energy and feel empowered with having certain boundaries around what I’m putting in my mouth. Beyond that, there are no monthly subscriptions or prescriptions for eating this way. No one's getting rich from pushing kale, I'm pretty sure. It’s just food. Sounds simple, but it’s difficult for many of us.
I hate to sound so cliché in saying I feel better than ever, but I mean that quite literally. I feel better than I ever have in my life. And I just want to point out that I’m turning 45 next month. And let this be good news for all you thirty-somethings out there. The 40’s have been the best years of my life. And, by my estimation, when you eat plant-based you can subtract 10 years. So there’s that.
I’ve gotten off track.
So. It seemed Lindsey, Cristy and I were some of the few people around these parts eating a plant-based diet. We live in the beautiful heart of the Pennsylvania Wilds where hunting and fishing are the mainstay for local tourism, activities and for putting food on the table. When you don’t eat the Standard American Diet, life can feel a bit isolating. Especially when you’re a live-to-eat kind of person.
During our early planning meetings, hours would slip by, the three of us talking off-subject about how we managed eating this way, we talked about troubleshooting social situations and feeding our families, or how we were using tofu or where we could find miso and nutritional yeast. The support and sharing between us was so comforting and invigorating at the same time.
Could we bring this to our community? We knew there had to be a few people out there wanting to explore healthier eating, but maybe, like us in the early stages, they were struggling with the how-to of it all. So, without droning on about it, let me just say that the workshops ended up looking nothing like what they did in the beginning.
It reminds me of when novelists say that their book had, sort of, written itself. That they were just the vessel for the story that wanted to be told. At the risk of sounding hokey, the creative process for developing these workshops felt like that to me. One idea led to the next and before we knew it Living Simply Nourished was born.
We had a total of 21 people from our small community participate in our programs. The number may sound small, but those 21 people have families. And friends. And co-workers. At our last potluck we had well over 50 people attend, filling up Lindsey’s restaurant with creative, healthy and delicious plant-based food, surprising even the most carnivorous guests. We’ve also established friendships with people from another local plant-based support group from a neighboring community, which led to creating our own local Cameron County Plant-Based Support Group. Now, put all these people together and we have quite the tribe. Everyone needs a tribe.
It feels amazing. And I’m not taking credit for it. It just feels so good to be a part of it. To be a part of the difference in making healthier food choices in our community, with our own friends and neighbors.
Let me tell you something about my hometown. When tragedy strikes, when one of ours is diagnosed with disease; no community comes together and rallies for its people like this one does. It’s a beautiful part of small town living, not to be taken for granted.
I see a similar sense of purpose and momentum with our small plant-based community, within the community. People coming together and rallying in the spirit of disease-free, healthy and optimal living. I see daughters, mothers themselves, making significant changes in the food they prepare for their children; redemption, in a way, for losing their own mothers to cancer, far too young. I witness friends and neighbors doing the same by standing up in the face of a diagnosis, refusing to accept their illness as a jail sentence, becoming empowered to take their health and their future into their own hands.
It’s moving. It’s brave. It’s courageous and contagious. And to be witness to their courage... it has some sort of power over me to do more. What more can any of us do in our own communities in the name of preventative health? Community gardens, food shares, plant-based cooking or herbal remedy classes, good old fashioned trade and barter, community sustained agriculture? Maybe you have an idea...I'd love to hear it.
Ps. On the very afternoon of writing the first draft of this blog post, I came down with what felt like the flu. That afternoon, my mother came by to fix me some tea and rub my feet, Cristy dropped off a care package of herbal remedies and teas and my neighbor kindly sent me over some delicious seitan sausage he's been experimenting with. See what I mean about this place? I'm going to miss it here.
It's easy to get lost in the maze. There is so much information out there...eat this, no this, don't eat that! Who do you believe? Where do you start? And, then, you feel so overwhelmed you just give up and say SCREW IT! I was there for a long time. I ate whatever I wanted. I was very active and I didn't put much stock in worrying about what I was eating. Side note: I just read an article about Bob Harper, you know that super fit guy from the show “Biggest Loser”?! He had a HEART ATTACK...not just any heart attack, but what they call a “widow maker”, only 6 percent of people survive!! Sooooo...Super fit, had a heart attack, what?!?! Exercise is important, but food is the MOST IMPORTANT!! It wasn't until after I had my son that I started to take notice of what we were putting into our bodies. Then, the hurricane of information swirled around me for years.
As we gain more knowledge, we become more empowered in our decision making and feel a lot less anxiety about the choices we are making. That is what I encourage you to do...do not listen to one piece of advice or methodology. Do your research...this is one of the most important things you will do in your life: the investment in your health, which takes time and money. Yes, we could get hit by a bus tomorrow, but when you are crossing in front of that bus, do you want to be vibrant and full of life or sick, stressed, and worried about your next doctor's appointment? Ok, that was a little dark and dramatic, but you get the point, right? What we should be shooting for is quality of life not quantity. Hell yeah, I want to live to be 100, but not if I'm surviving through a mountain of pills and doctor's appointments! I want to run, jump, and ride into my grave!
Where do I start?
I have lots of great resources where you can find a ton of valuable information. First, let me give you this tip...Trust in information that has been SCIENTIFICALLY PROVEN. The resources that I have get their information from tons of scientifically proven studies to back up their claims. So, when you are looking at those fad diets, look for the science behind them. Maybe they have shown that those who are on those diets will lose weight, but what are the consequences of that weight loss? For example, a lot of people have had successful weight loss on the low-carb diet, but what are the side-effects of that...Heart Disease. An example of the science can be found here and here.
My favorite and most entertaining resource is Dr. Michael Greger (#drcrush-can I hashtag in a blog post!). He reports his findings on information that can be shown through scientific studies. His website www.nutritionfacts.org is jammed packed full of videos (most are under 5 minutes!) on almost every topic you can imagine and even ones you can't! For example: “PaleoPoo: What we can Learn from Fossilized Feces” What?!
Here are some really great videos:
Animal Protein Compared to Cigarette Smoking
Eating More to Weigh Less
How Not to Die from Cancer
Is Fish Oil Just Snake Oil?
Paleo Diets May Negate the Benefits of Exercise
Who says Eggs Aren't Healthy or Safe
How Not To Die (this one is long, but so worth it!)
...and so many more!! Please check them out!
Dr. Greger also has a fantastic book, if that's your thing, called “How Not to Die”. It's broken down into sections based on the most common diseases. These sections explain how these diseases can form and then, the second part of the book explains how to eat to manage and possibly reverse these diseases. It is a must read! You can order it here!
More websites that I love:
Life Changing Documentaries:
Forks Over Knives
Hungry for Change
Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead
and many more!
One more tip on where to start: ADD TO SUBTRACT! This is the number one thing I tell everyone! I don't think there is one person who will argue with the fact that we all need to eat more fruits and vegetables. So, start there! Fill your fridge and countertops with fresh fruits and vegetables. Make them front and center so that is the first thing you see and what you reach for! Fill your plate with vegetables and crowd out the other stuff. Eventually you are going to find yourself wanting more and more fruits and vegetables. Even craving them, GASP! If there are other things you want to eliminate...STOP BUYING THEM! And then, whatever is left in your house will eventually get eaten and now you are forced to eat the healthy stuff, which by then you will be loving and want more. The brain really is an amazing thing...it will tell you to eat the healthy stuff if you listen...you have to create pathways of good decisions so that your brain will stay on those tracks and keep them running smoothly. The more you ride the tracks of healthy eating the easier it gets. Easier said than done, right?! If you don't believe me check out the testimonials of some of our workshop participants here. I'm not telling you that you have to 100% perfect, but the closer you get the healthier you will be!! And a little shameless plug for my business: if you are looking for someone to guide you in your journey to better health check out my website; I am more than happy to help you. I LOVE sharing my passion!
Peace, Love, Plants,
Anyone out there still purging their house? I’m still trucking along. In case you missed it, I am on a journey to minimalism and began to seriously purge every corner of my home January 1st of this year in an effort to eliminate half my belongings.
At the risk of sounding like a broken record every couple of weeks, I like to pass on some insight as I come across it; plus, writing about this helps me process what it is I'm doing here and enables me to continue moving forward.
Along the way, I’ve researched a few methods to this madness, with varying strategies for letting-go. The idea alone that there is more than one strategy for discarding our things is peculiar in and of itself. Discarding seemed pretty simple to me: throw away, recycle, sell, donate. But once I got started I found out quickly why people tend to stall out along the way. We are attached to our things...most of our things, on many levels. And it’s helpful to have some guidelines or rules of engagement to help us let go.
As I’ve written before, I started with the Kon-Mari Method. In a nutshell, Marie Kondo’s method is to discard and tidy by categories rather than by location in the following order: Clothing, Books & Magazines, Papers, Kimono (Miscellaneous items), and Sentimental Items. So, I’m doing that. I’ve even tackled the Papers category that had me feeling weary a couple months ago. But let me point out that Kimono is no easier and is a helluva big category!
I’ve also been following The Minimalists for guidance. Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus are The Minimalists. They have a podcast by the same name and have written several books offering insightful solutions and simple strategies for letting go of those possessions we tend to hold on to “just in case”.
Those miscellaneous objects we've been storing and carrying around for that unseen, hypothetical, far-off chance that we just might need them.
Following a weekly schedule I made at the beginning of the year to ensure I complete my mission by June, I cleaned out my linen closet this weekend. Among the necessary items belonging in a linen closet, I came across an assortment of mismatched sheets, in varying sizes, mountains of extra blankets and comforters I’d been holding onto for those impromptu sleepovers, a stack of board games, a king size mattress cover (I think that’s what it was), and a bazillion hotel shampoo and conditioner bottles I’ve held on to in the event I might need them.
I consider what the Minimalists call the 90/90 Rule. I like implementing this rule because it’s easy to remember: If you haven’t used the item is the last 90 days and you won’t use it in the next 90 days then it’s ok to get rid of it, with one exception: our just-for-when items. Those items that you WILL use maybe once a year or seasonally, such as the Christmas tree stand, skis or patio furniture.
With this in mind I discard all of those "save for a rainy day" items from my linen closet. All of them. It hurts a little. What about the monopoly game?? We had such fun playing that together with the kids at the beach during a series of legitimate rainy days. Or even the shampoo and conditioner bottles that come in handy when traveling or you've just discovered you’re completely out, saving you one more day from having to run to the store.
I'm remembering this isn’t the exact monopoly game we played at the beach. I bought it with the hope that we could recreate that memory when we got home, which I think happened...never. The truth is I don’t need to hold on to the game in order to hold on to the memory. And I think there is this lesson to be learned here. Our things are not our memories. And while I am at it in getting super real with myself, seeing it in the closet makes me feel sad that we didn’t do what we set out to do with the game.
And, in the event that we did want to play Monopoly in the future, I could consider another minimalist guideline, the 20/20 Rule. The idea that any item that was truly needed after discarding could easily be replaced for around $20 within 20 minutes from my current location. It wouldn't be the end of the world or anything if we ended up repurchasing it. But, I can't see doing that. I’m pretty sure I could just as easily borrow the game from our neighbors down the street.
How many just-in-case items are you housing? My house is full of them. Still. It's felt comfortable having all the right things on hand for myself or to lend others. Just in case. The thing is, most, if not all of these items do not bring any real value to my life. They weigh me down and stand right in the way of my vision of how I want to live my life going forward. Letting go of these items frees up my mind, the space in my home and quite honestly takes some of the weight off my shoulders.
And, this is what keeps me going.
Keeping it real. No special folding, matching baskets or pre-photo staging.
And most of the towels were in the laundry rotation.
I want to change the paradigm shift. I will no longer be a Busy Bragger conforming to the new societal norm where busyness is worn like a badge of honor. I'm as guilty as the next person..”I'm so busy, I just don't have time!” I'm changing my ways. I'm becoming a Free-Time Bragger!
Haters gonna hate, but I love my free time! I am blessed with a life where I get a choice in having to work or stay home. My husband and I made the decision when we were planning our pregnancy that one of us would stay home with our children (well, we stopped at one!). Now, before you roll your eyes, know that this was a very difficult decision. We made $19,000 the first year of my son's life! That's it...for the whole year! We made it work. And thankfully we've always made it work, through hard work, dedication, wise decisions, and my super savvy money skillz! I've had part-time jobs here and there...made some extra money, added some new skills. I would love a second income! I could work...we continually question what we want out of life and it always comes back to not changing the dynamic of our family that we have worked hard for.
You want to hear something crazy?! After WWII, economists and politicians predicted that by 1990, Americans would work 22 hours a week, six months a year, and retire before age 40! Yes, please! “While accepting the Republican Party's nomination for president in 1956, Dwight D. Eisenhower envisioned a world where, 'leisure...will be abundant, so that all can develop the life of spirit, of reflection, of religion, of the arts, of the full realization of the good things of the world.*” Doesn't that sound amazing?! Where have we gone wrong?!?! Life has gotten more expensive than they predicted and wages have fallen. But it still comes down to a choice, right? I'm choosing to accept that I will have busy days and those days come often, but I am also choosing to not allow those days to be my focus. I'm focusing on free time...leisure activities, time with my family, enjoying the things that I love.
If you're looking for another reason to not be so busy consider the fact that neuroscientists have studied the brain during super busy times versus times of idleness. They have discovered that during idle times our brains are more productive!! You know those "aha" points of brilliance in the moments you least expect—when you’re not focused on something in particular—in the middle of the night, in the shower, when you’re relaxing outside. Ahh, you know what I'm saying, right?! Who hasn't had their most brilliant ideas in the shower?!
There are the times I hear the more often than needed comment, “I could never stay home all day; I would be so bored.” I feel sad for the person who can not find things to enjoy in their FREE time. I won't go into the details of my day and the busyness of it because I am detoxing my Busy Bragger ways! Instead, let me tell you about how I get to go outside everyday! I go for long hikes and bike rides! I play games with my son. I read books...whole books...long books...for fun! I make time to do the things that bring me joy because life is short and fast. I know I will not look back on my life and wish that I would had filled my day with things I didn't want to do so that I could “stay busy”. I will look back and be so grateful and filled with joy by those memories I made in my free time. So, I'm going to put more energy into focusing on my free time. I'm going to spend a little more time bragging about my free time...please, bear with me, it's part of the detoxification process.
Peace, Love, Plants,
Jeanmare and Cristy are creators and contributors of the Living Simply Nourished Blog. Grab a cup of tea (or coffee!), find a cozy spot, scroll around, read some stories, find some inspiration, and enjoy!
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