After a play date a few years back, a mother said to me “I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your son's response to my child saying 'I'm sorry'.” He said “I forgive you”. I teach my son forgiveness. He did not say “it's okay”. So many of us have that as our automatic response, right? Someone bumps into you and says “I'm sorry” and you, without thinking, say “it's okay”. Then, we find ourselves in this habit of automatically responding with “it's okay” after someone does us wrong. It is NOT “okay” when someone does you wrong, but we do have the choice to forgive them, to choose to let go of the anger, the resentment, the hurt. But we should never give someone permission to do us wrong. It is NOT okay.
I don't make my son to say “I'm sorry”. Those are words and without actions, they are meaningless. I teach my son to apologize. I tell him “if you don't plan to change what you have done wrong, then, don't say 'I'm sorry'; however, if you plan to change your actions, then, you need to apologize.”
“I'm sorry” is used without thinking. Have you every bumped into furniture and said “I'm sorry”? I have! And how much meaning does that carry when we are apologizing to furniture!! We get on autopilot and our words become meaningless. “Actions speak louder than words.” I use that one all the time.
How often has someone told you they were sorry only to continue the same action? That's not BEING sorry, that's SAYING your sorry. In order for an apology to have meaning it has to be followed with action. It's so hard to offer forgiveness to someone who continues with those same actions. When they are ready to change their actions, then, I can offer my forgiveness.
“The Best Apology
is Changed Behavior”
“Forgiveness is letting go
of the hope that the
past can be changed”
If the actions are still in the present, how do we forgive? I struggle with this one myself. I want to move on from the hurt, anger, and resentment, but I feel if I forgive, I give that person permission to continue their behavior. I'm kind of (re: very) stubborn and also very protective of myself and my family. So, when someone does us wrong...let's just say I don't forgive easily.
There was an interesting study done called “The Dark Side of Forgiveness: The Tendency to Forgive Predicts Continued Psychological and Physical Aggression in Marriage”. It proposed the idea that easily forgiving your partner would create an environment where your partner would more easily commit a wrongdoing knowing that there would be little to no consequences. Their findings found this to be very accurate contrary to what many studies have cited, stating that forgiving someone easily creates a better relationship. I think this can be applied to all relationships not just marriage.
Finding that study validated some of my feelings as I feel that when we forgive too easily the perpetrator will continue with those bad behaviors knowing there are no real consequences to their actions. What if we all held people accountable for their bad behavior instead of just dismissing it with “It's okay”?
“Everyone says forgiveness
is a lovely idea,
until they have
something to forgive”
-C. S. Lewis
Peace, Love, Plants,
Trying to think of what to put on your Christmas list this year?
We think it's safe to say that both of us are pretty selective when it comes to spending money. I don't know...maybe it's because we've had our fair share of breadmakers, quesadilla makers, tortilla presses, juicers, cupcake makers, soda streams, Thigh Masters and the like. All of which were especially good at one thing: taking up space and cluttering up our lives, eventually making their way to Goodwill, along with many other well-intentioned Christmas gifts and impulse buys.
In the Spirit of the season, we have come up with a list of TWELVE of our favorite things we just can't seem to live without; gifts we've given ourselves or have put on our own Christmas lists at one time or another. They are those little special somethings that enhance, bring joy, and simplify our lives in a way that allow us to live a simply nourished life.
Cue the music and your inner Julie Andrews...
12 Gifts for Giving.....Yourself
1. belif The True Cream-Moisturizing Bomb: This is my all time favorite moisturizer and I have tried A LOT!! You know I avoid parabens and hate all the extra chemicals!! This stuff uses no animal origin ingredients and promises never to include dyes or artificial fragrances. It moisturizes skin quickly without leaving any stickiness or heaviness.
2. Cuisinart Mini-Prep Plus: I really don't leave home without this little gem. Sometimes it's the only friend I've got. I love to use her for quick chopping of onion, garlic, celery, nuts and this can even blend up soups or hummus in a pinch!
3. Sushi-Rolling Kit: If you are a sushi lover or have a loved one that is obsessed...this is the perfect gift! It is so inexpensive and essential for rolling the perfect sushi roll. The paddle and knife are included which make the sushi-making task so much easier.
4. Dr. Bronner's Pure-Castile Soap: A friend of mine got me on to castile soap a few years ago. My absolute favorite is lavender and that's what you'll find in my shower. What I didn't realize is the many ways to use this organic soap! Shaving, shampooing, dental cleaning (???), hot towel massage, breath freshener...you can check it out here!
5. Silicone Spatulas: A MUST for any chef! These can withstand the heat so they are not only great for baking but also sauteing and frying. I use a silicone spatula every time I cook!! Quality silicone spatulas are important because ones of poor quality will melt or the ends will break off...trust me, I know!!
6. Fresh Balsam Candle from Bath & Body Works: I'm telling you, only the things that I love and truly cannot live without made this list. Bath & Body Works puts out Fresh Balsam candles seasonally, usually in the fall and will sell only through the holiday season. I must admit, I stock pile these candles and burn them year round.
7. Hot Cinnamon Spice tea by Harney & Sons: This is in my life EVERYDAY!! I can NOT survive without it! This is the herbal version of Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, which is decaffeinated. You can choose the black tea version, which contains caffeine. But either way it is THE.BEST.DAMN.TEA.EVER. I have had non-tea drinking friends (why are we friends?) that LOVE this tea! If you buy only one thing from this list, make it this tea!!
8. Pop Socket: My daughter hooked me up with this little beauty. At first my fingers were like...wth? But I quickly grew accustomed and now it's like I've grown another finger. And who couldn't use one of those? The pop socket sticks to the back of your phone, making for a sweet lil' kickstand for when you're binging some Netflix or You Tube.
9. Nutra Ninja: This is NOT just for smoothies, people!! I use this powerhouse almost every day. I make cream sauces, dressings, desserts and more with this sucker! What makes it so great? Clean up is a breeze!! And that's why I love it so much!
10. Cuisinart Electric Pressure Cooker: The other love in my life. If the Cuisinart mini-prep is my bff, then the pressure cooker is like...my assistant. The BEST part of having an electric pressure cooker is that you don't have to babysit the cooking process. If I had to choose one appliance to keep, this would be it. I can take it to a hotel and saute vegetables, cook potatoes or whip up a soup! Besides the convenience, electric pressure cookers cut cooking time AND energy expenditure by 70%! Wonder why I chose the Cuisinart over InstaPot? Check out this Pressure Cooker Showdown! Whichever one you choose, I think we are all still #winning and it's just a matter of preference and whether having an electric pressure cooker is really right for you.
11. Frankincense: I'm in love with essential oils. I have many varieties and I could share with you many stories of healing in our home with these natural remedies. If you can only choose one essential oil, opt for frankincense. "The healing benefits of frankincense resin has traditionally centered on disease prevention and anti-inflammatory properties, and researchers have been able to confirm that boswellic acids contain a potent ability to modify the immune system as well. Part of having a more efficient immune system is the regulation of inflammation, as well, which can have effects topically or systemically." -US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health
12. Meditation Cushion: It's all the rage. I'm actually not really sure about that. My dearest friend gifted me my first meditation cushion a few years back. It's buckwheat filled, sturdy yet comfy and is just the right height for relieving pain on pressure points such as joints, knees and ankles. It feels "proper" for practicing meditation and like a yoga mat, no matter where I find myself in the world, my very own meditation cushion helps ground me in my practice.
Please know that we are in no way being paid to market or advertise these products. These are truly our favs, though if you purchase through our links we've provided, we will make a few pennies (literally) through our Amazon affiliate. Don't worry, these few cents will only help to bring you more free access to Living Simply Nourished. LLC and will cost you nothing at all.
We started a tradition, well before over-hauling our diet to plant-based, to make Thanksgiving about our family. Our experience of Thanksgiving, in the traditional sense; big family sitting around a mountain of food, was both stressful and exhausting. About 8 years ago, we decided that Thanksgiving was a great time to take vacations and focus on us…the extra days off of work, a time to relax, an excuse to get away. We went on a few vacations where sometimes we found ourselves eating convenience store food as our holiday meal. No biggie, we were in it for the fun not the food.
Well, the days of grand vacations are over as we have upgraded to a new home and our son’s hockey schedule consumes our free time. We still make Thanksgiving about us and keep the focus on fun and not food. We take that day to celebrate our family of 3, where we don’t have to stress over family and what we need to “make”. We now take mini-vacations that are usually part of a hockey tournament. We plan the meal like any other. We are usually in a hotel for Thanksgiving so we bring food from home and give thanks to be together.
We usually host a small meal for our parents in our home before Thanksgiving. Last year, we made a 100% vegan Thanksgiving dinner and the in-laws were impressed with the meatless meal. Thanksgiving may be one of the easier meals to make vegan as most of the side dishes are some sort of fruit or vegetable. Also, you may find you can navigate an omnivore Thanksgiving table fairly easily while still eating plant-based.
If you are hosting your own Thanksgiving dinner, we have created the perfect Guide to the Holidays, which you can download here.
If you are a guest at an omnivore Thanksgiving here are some tips to help you stay stress-free and enjoy the time with your family.
For me the plant-based diet has been a journey- a never-ending one to be sure. The way I eat now is invariably different from how I ate in the beginning. Giving up animal protein left me with incredible energy; I was lighter on my toes and in my spirit. However, I stopped losing weight within a few months after eliminating dairy, the main reason I started this diet in the first place. I was met with an incredible amount of frustration at one point a couple years ago, thinking I had already given up so much and I still was not where I wanted to be.
Was it my age? Was it my genes? Was it just my body type? Was it fate???
I knew there was more work to be done before I'd give in to believing I was just getting older and getting heavier is just what happens as a result. I took a good look at the amount of oils/overt fats I was still consuming and cut them out. I began releasing unwanted body fat again (and still am, albeit slowly but surely) and my cholesterol numbers came down significantly.
Much of my resistance during that time I attribute to my mindset and perspective of "giving up" so many foods already and not seeing all that I'd be gaining by taking my diet to the next level. I know this much:
In order to have a different outcome, we need to do things differently.
It's uncomfortable. Change. Especially when we see it as deprivation. The uncomfortable-ness is how we know we are growing and changing. As Lindsay Nixon has recently said in her Shortcut to Slim podcast, Seek discomfort. Then you know you're changing; if you're feeling comfortable, then you're probably not.
Here's an updated blog post from the archive on why I gave up oils and how I make it work. There's also a little caveat on being vegan vs. plant-based. It's cathartic for me to go back to where I once was, remembering that what I have done to release unwanted body fat is what I will have to continue to do to keep it off. I hope you'll find some inspiration here, too.
Why No Oil?
I get this question A LOT. It comes right after my refusal of the French fries or the dismissal of the house salad dressing when eating out and often after I’ve been outed as eating a plant-centered or "vegan" diet: no meat, no eggs, no dairy, no oil. The confusion comes primarily because many of the more trendy oils out there are typically not derived from animals.
So what’s the problem?
Let me back up a sec. 7 years ago I began my plant-based journey first giving up meat, then eggs, then dairy. I had read about the elimination of oils in many plant-based books, scientific studies and resources. That is to say, the plant-based “diet” is stipulated by medical researchers and leading experts in the field to not include oils due to, largely, their direct correlation to heart disease and obesity epidemics.
Vegan vs. Plant-Based
By and large, this is what separates the plant-based movement from the vegan community. By definition, being vegan is to not eat or use animal products. Period. It states nothing about health. Veganism is a philosophy deeply rooted in animal rights and activism.
A plant-based diet is, by definition, a diet based on fruits, vegetables, tubers, whole grains and legumes; and it excludes or minimizes meat (including chicken and fish), dairy products and eggs, as well as highly refined or processed foods like bleach, flour, refined sugar and oil.
So it can be said that someone who is following a plant-based diet is a vegan, but it doesn’t go the other way around. Surprisingly, there is an endless list of "accidental" vegan foods, meaning foods that are not created to be or marketed as such: Oreos, Ritz Crackers, Pillsbury Crescent Rolls, Duncan Hines Creamy Homestyle Frosting, Duncan Hines cake mixes, Jello Instant Pudding Mix, Betty Crocker’s Baco’s Bacon Flavor Bits and McCormick's Bacon Bits.
(Yeah, you read that right bacon bits are vegan).
Wow. I totally got distracted by that. It seems like such good news, doesn’t it? We know this list of familiar foods is vegan, but we also know they are NOT plant-based...or healthy.
Ok. I think I beat that drum long enough.
The Problem With Oil
Here's the problem I, personally, have with oil. Oil is 100% fat, has very few nutrients and contains NO FIBER. Oil is also a huge calorie bomb. In 1 Tablespoon of olive oil, or any other vegetable oil there is roughly 120 calories and 14g fat. And we haven't really had any food yet!
Pushing Through Weight Loss Plateau
It took me 2 years to get my head around giving up the oils. The fact is that oil is in just about every item that lives on the shelves of the grocery store. Giving up oil meant I would have to eliminate even store-bought condiments like barbecue and teriyaki sauces, salad dressings, chips and crackers.
But, as far as my weight loss and cholesterol levels were going, my progress had really slowed and even stopped a short time after giving up meat and dairy. Even then my cholesterol was still over 200, just being vegan. I had lost weight early on because plant foods naturally have fewer calories and fat than the animal-derived foods of the Standard American Diet (SAD).
I had made obvious changes, but the hidden oils/fats prohibited me from continuing to create that caloric deficit needed to lose more body fat. (The only simple thing about weight loss: If there is no caloric deficit, there is no weight loss.) This is the reason that it's harder to lose those last few pounds; the closer we get to our goal weight, the harder it is to create the deficit, leaving very little room for error.
Progress Over Perfection
Full disclosure here: it’s hard to eliminate oil completely. In fact, I have found it nearly impossible to 100% eliminate 100% of the time. It's a mindset thing. Those little allowances (lies) or rewards (justifications) I give myself when I'm unprepared at a restaurant or those times when "life happens".
I fall down. I get back up.
Making it Work
The truth of the matter is that it gets tricky when you haven’t made the food yourself. You can sauté vegetables beautifully with water or vegetable broth. And applesauce, pureed pumpkin or mashed bananas make excellent substitutes for oil when baking. I have DIY recipes for the barbeque and teriyaki sauces, but, more recently I've have found oil-free brands pretty easily in our local grocery stores.
Salad dressings have been the hardest to transition from. I was once married to bleu cheese dressing. But, it’s not impossible and I’ve come to love new favorites using dates, tahini, lemon and lime juices, miso, Dijon mustard, vinegars, salsa, hummus, nut butters, avocado, Sriracha, vegan mayos and spices.
As you evolve, so will your food choices.
I know what you’re thinking. First, I made you get rid of all your stuff, then had you cancel the cable, quit your job, revoked your Sam’s Club membership and now I’m asking you to ditch the oil: the olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower oil, avocado oil, truffle oil, walnut oil...
Maybe this will help! Here’s a recipe that’s adapted from the Whole Foods No-Oil Balsamic Dressing and happens to be my husband’s favorite. I start small with the Dijon mustard, working my way up because it’s strong for me. The dates give the dressing a nice and familiar body and the quantity can be adjusted for a sweeter variation. This makes about 1 3/4 cups of salad dressing. Click the picture below for the recipe!
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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