“Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have.” -Norman Vincent Peale
The other morning I was standing in the kitchen procrastinating out loud about going out for my run. It was drizzling outside, I was tired, etc., etc., excuses, excuses. My husband very kindly said to me: “you’ll feel better if you go”. All it took was that gentle little nudge from one of the most important positive influencers in my life, and I had a great workout, and I felt great after.
That was my Choice Point. I was standing at a crossroads, and I was waiting for something or someone to sway me in one direction or the other.
We all have Choice Points every single day. Some are small: “Should I put butter or avocado on my toast?” And some are more significant: “Should I go back to school? Should I switch careers?”
"Will is a different beast than should. It is, at best, the direct response to our experience of being centered. Awareness is our in-breath, taking in our world. Will is our out-breath, acting upon and in our world. It is not wish, want, hope, try, maybe, should, kinda, soon, have to. It is the act that moves us from purpose and meaning through deliberation into choice and action. And right in the middle, between purpose and action is the Choice Point. There is always a fraction of a second, or a minute or days and years, when we are poised at the edge of a decision."
- Dorothy Firman, Ed.D., Psychology Today
What hit me that morning while I was out for my run, is how important it is to be a positive influence on others, as well as how important it is to surround yourself with positive people who bring out the best in you.
Inspire someone to do something healthy for themselves. Workout with a buddy. Start a family Fitbit challenge. Start a friends or family healthy recipe challenge (who can make something healthy, but taste the best?!). The list could go on and on!
This is a great link with tons of free exercise videos for ALL different levels. Everything from a ten minute arm video, to a 30 minute pool exercise video. Perfect to pull up on a computer at home, or to take with you on vacation!
And I will gladly start out the healthy but tasty recipe challenge. Read on for some great summer recipes!
White Bean Hummus
This is such a great staple to have in your collection. Switch up the herbs to whatever you have on hand.
Roasted Cauliflower and Farro Salad with Avocado
Perfect for lunch or dinner, and great served warm or cold.
Veggie Collard Wrap
This is a great low-carb option, and it’s beautiful! Fill these with whatever you like (hummus, chicken salad, etc.). This website has a great step-by-step walk through of wrapping with collards.
Thai Chicken Salad
Delicious! To reduce sodium, eliminate the fish sauce. I mixed in quinoa and topped with avocado to make a complete dinner. Would even be good stuffed in a taco. Everything’s good in a taco!
Shrimp Tacos with Mango Slaw
Speaking of taco’s…I made these last weekend and they were a huge hit. The tacos and the slaw were so easy to make, and perfectly refreshing on a summer night.
Flourless Chocolate Chip Chickpea Blondies with Sea Salt
And one more bean dessert to share. Trust me, these are delicious. They come out a little like fudge. Try them.
HELLO spring weather!! It’s amazing what a little warm weather and sunshine does for the soul. If we get any more cold weather, I’ll fully take the blame, seeing that I just finished putting all of my winter gear and cold weather clothes in the attic…
Spring cleaning isn’t only for cleaning your house though, it’s a good opportunity to clean out the kitchen cupboards and refrigerator, and revamp your exercise routine. Goodbye treadmill and skis, hello outdoor walks, runs, bike rides, swims and more!
To help you get started in the exercise department, these are some great programs to experiment with:
Try this Pool workout, great for building muscle and improving cardiovascular health…and you’ll stay cool too!
Get ready to bare your arms with this Arm workout for beginners.
For all over strength training, this 30 Minute strength training with beginner modifications,
Or this one geared towards men: Beginner workout program from Men's Fitness.
Not into exercise videos? Take a walk on your lunch break. Shoot some basketball hoops with your kids. Go for a hike with your friend. Plan a date on the tennis courts. Or join me for the Run Like a Mother 5k on Mother's day.
The sky is the limit!
Exercise should be FUN! Finding what makes you happy is the key to long-term success.
And of course there is MEDITATION. If you are looking for some inspiration, check out Unplug, A Simple Guide to Meditation for Busy Skeptics and Modern Soul Seekers by Suze Yalof Schwartz.
She offers the perfect balance of humor and realistic tips and techniques. I especially love her “Starbucks Meditation”:
"Try this the next time you’re in the coffee line: As you’re waiting to order, focus on your feet. Put all your attention on how they connect to the ground. Slowly take a step with your right foot. Land with your heel, then roll onto the ball of your foot. Slowly take a step with your left foot the same way. Notice how your weight shifts and your body and knees propel you forward. When you order, look into the eyes of your barista and smile. She’s going to smile back- that’s a connection! Then, after you pay, walk mindfully to the waiting area. While you wait, stand and connect with your breath. DON’T REACH FOR YOUR PHONE. Bring yourself back to the present, letting other thoughts go. When your drink is ready, pause and really feel the heat or chill of it in your hands. Breathe in the scent. Sip it, savoring the taste.
That’s it! You meditated!!"
On another note…We all know how important it is to stay hydrated. Especially once you start increasing exercise, but it’s not quite so hot yet that you might not realize you’re dehydrated… But are you getting bored with plain old water? Before you reach for that sugar filled beverage, try infusing your water with one of these combinations by Miranda Hammer at The Crunchy Radish. Fill a pitcher and leave it in your fridge or on your counter for easy grab-and-go (it will look pretty too!!):
Tiki Sunrise: Grapefruit, lemon and rosemary
Berry Splash: Blueberries and basil
Gingerade: Lemon, lime and ginger
Spa Tonic: Lavender and lemon
Green Goodness: Cucumber, mint and lime
And then of course there’s the clean eating! Some new favorite recipes to add to your collection:
Baked Blueberry Oatmeal Cups, from Call me PMC (Gluten free)
These have become a favorite grab-and-go breakfast, or healthy afternoon snack. There is absolutely no guilt. And they couldn’t be easier to make!
Moroccan Vegetable Ragout, from Fine Cooking
A new dinner favorite in my house. Easy to make, and delicious. I serve it over whole wheat couscous with shaved almonds.
Summer Vegetable Skillet Quinoa, from Making Thyme for Health (Vegan, Gluten free)
You know I love my quinoa bowls! These never get old. Play around with the ingredients and use whatever fresh produce you have on hand.
Mushroom Barley Lentil Soup, from Hummusapien (Vegan)
I know it’s getting warm, but this soup is so delicious you won’t mind eating soup on a warm day. Perfect for lunch or a light dinner with a salad. AND it’s a breeze to make. It can be made either in a crock-pot or on the stove top.
Black Bean Brownies, from Chocolate Covered Katie (Vegan, Gluten free)
YES, you read that right. There are beans in these brownies…and you would never know! I was a complete skeptic at first. I first heard about this idea a year ago, and it took one of our members bringing in some of her fresh baked brownies for me to try them. I’m HOOKED, and I’ve hooked my whole family! Trust me, give them a try. I omit the sugar and use ½ cup maple syrup, and I used old-fashioned rolled oats. They come out AMAZING every time.
And, well, this is just to end on a funny note!
“Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” – Jim Ryun, Olympic track star
Happy New Year!
The beginning of the year is a great opportunity to change gears and reset the focus on living your best and healthiest self. Whatever happened in the past is in the past. Going forward, no regrets. We really do learn from our mistakes. Look at the past as lessons learned that enable us to move forward in a positive direction. Life is too short.
Love yourself enough to make healthy decisions
So where do you start?? The key to long-term success is creating healthy habits that last you a lifetime. The hard part is establishing those habits. Figure out what MOTIVATES you. Is it to look better in your clothes? Improve your blood work? Is it to be able to keep up with your kids or grand kids? To be a good role model for your family? Walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded? Improve joint pain? Improve sleep apnea and sleep a full night? Or simply just feel better?
Set long-term and short-term GOALS, and make a PLAN to help you reach those goals. Set SMART goals, which are:
Examples of short-term goals would be:
Examples of long-term goals would be:
Although I’m not a fan of cleanses, this 3-Day Detox is one of the best I have seen. It is not only healthy, but realistic and not too complicated. It also shares some great tips on planning ahead. Well worth the read. The recipes are easy, quick and healthy, and they all can be modified for diet restrictions.
Sign up for an exercise class with a friend so you’ll be held accountable.
Log into My Fitness Pal to track your food and exercise to learn exactly what and how much you are consuming, and how much you are burning.
Buy (or rent from the library) an exercise DVD to do at home. This is my new favorite Pilates DVD. It is broken up into 5 ten minute segments. So, no matter how much time you have, you can create a workout to fit into your schedule.
“If you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food.”
And of course, some new favorite recipes. Bon Appetit!
Sweet Potato Cauliflower Rice Buddha Bowls, from The Roasted Root (Vegan, Gluten free)
Delicious. To save time and energy, I just throw the cauliflower in the food processor. Much easier and quicker.
One Pan Salmon, from Buzzfeed (Gluten free option)
Please be sure to watch the video that goes along with this. Great inspiration for quick and easy dinners!!
Weekday Meal-Prep Chicken Burrito Bowls, from Tasty (Gluten free)
LOVE the idea of this. But I would use glass containers to safely re-heat in the microwave.
Chana Saag, from The Roasted Root (Vegan, Gluten free)
SO good! No white rice, of course ;)
Brown rice, quinoa, cauliflower rice, etc. would all be delicious!
SO, ask yourself…What’s your motivation??
Wishing you peace, love and good health in the New Year!!
And in the blink of an eye the holidays are upon us. Where does the time go? I really love this time of year- but it can definitely get a little hectic and overwhelming! Shopping for gifts, attending social events, planning your holiday menu, fitting in exercise, fitting in sleep, the list goes on and on…HELP!
What they say is true: exercise truly is a great way to reduce stress and improve sleep...but how to squeeze it in???
LOL. Wouldn’t it be nice if it was this easy?!
A girl can dream…
But for the majority of the world, it’s not that easy. So a little effort is usually required…
Some tips for the winter:
And I know we all hate to do it, but tracking your food really helps. With all the social events and unhealthy eating that is unavoidable (and of course delicious), it helps to stay on track. These are my two favorite websites to track my calories and exercise: My Fitness Pal and Lose It.
They both have free apps that you can use on your phone. Try it out for one day. You’re probably not eating as bad as you think!!
But let’s be realistic, socializing and enjoying food and drink with family and friends is a very real and important part of life. As long as it’s not every day ;)
I saw this on the Today Show the other day, and I think Joy Bauer shares some great tips, including advice for a one-day detox after a day of overindulging. Definitely worth the read. In short, DON’T stress, wake up the following morning and go for a walk, and hit the RESET button ;) You’re only human.
And who doesn’t love fresh baked goods? This is a great chart to look at if you’re trying to cut back on animal fats.
(I also like to use unsweetened applesauce or mashed banana to replace butter or oil in baking)
Onto the food! Some new favorite recipes. Enjoy…
Creamy Tomato Soup, from Oh She Glows (Vegan, Gluten free)
My family’s new favorite soup. We would eat it every night if we could. DELICIOUS.
5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup, from Making Thyme for Health (Vegan, Gluten free)
Not only is this delicious, but it might be the easiest soup I’ve ever made. Perfect for a busy weeknight dinner or a quick and easy lunch.
Baked Salmon Cakes, from Skinnytaste (Gluten free if using GF breadcrumbs)
Perfect for a holiday appetizer! Or make them larger and serve over a salad for dinner.
Bean and Corn Enchiladas, from Forks Over Knives (Vegan)
These are a definite staple in our house. I usually make a double batch of the sauce and freeze half for a quick meal on another night (but I use a little less chili powder than it calls for…A lot less, lol). And change up the vegetables to whatever you have on hand.
Healthy Pumpkin Bread, from Making Thyme for Health (Gluten free)
SO good! And completely easy to make. Perfect for the holidays. The only changes I made were: I swapped oat flour for rice flour, and I used less maple syrup to keep it healthier. And unless it’s for a social event, skip the icing ;)
Bon Appetit and Happy Holidays!!!
This was passed on to me by a friend. I love the message and wanted to share. Enjoy :-)
What I wish I knew when I was in my 2O's
Written by Jane Wyker for Self Love Beauty
Now 80 years old, I decided to write a letter to myself to explore “What I wish I knew when I was in my 20’s.” I hope it will encourage you to look within and take exquisite care of yourself.
Fortunately I have excellent health and vitality, able to do whatever I please. I have recently published my first book, a memoir titled ‘Soul Selfish: The Awakening of a ‘Good Girl.’ In writing my book I recounted the decades and stages of my life, the lessons I learned, and what was most important to me. When I finished, I paused to think about what my life would have been had I begun my inner journey earlier. I actually started it when I was 34 and it continues to this day.
First of all, never look back with remorse. Every step has brought you to where you are today. The only point of power is NOW! If you choose to look back, do it to release your pain, to free yourself, and for younger women whom you might inspire.
When I was in my 20’s
I wish I knew that I play the leading role in my life.
I wish I knew that life is an inside out process and that everything I create and feel starts with what I believe.
I wish I knew that my first and most important relationship is with myself. That if I loved myself, acknowledged myself and appreciated myself more, I would attract people who respond and return that love, people who would encourage me to dream and to fulfill my dreams.
I wish I knew that I had a soul connected to a benevolent Universe that supports me and guides me, and to listen for it deeply and daily.
I wish I knew that my spirituality and love for myself would fill me, and that I don’t need to look to others to validate my worth.
I wish I knew more that I was beautiful, inside and out.
I wish I knew that I was safe and that I know how to keep myself safe.
I wish I knew that my emotions are a real and powerful guidance system that tells me from minute to minute what I like and don’t, who is being kind and supportive to me and who isn’t, what I enjoy, in which environments I flourish, what abilities and talents are natural to me — who and what to move towards and to move away from.
I wish I knew that when my desires source in my soul, they are important for me to respect, as important as others’ desires. They are intended to be good for all, for the soul does not separate people — unlike ego desires which commonly source in competition, acquisitiveness, aggression and revenge.
I wish I knew that I am able to take care of myself, and that my relationships are there to give and receive love, support, beauty, expansion and pleasure, enriching the lives we share.
I wish I knew the power of my sensuality and sexuality — that they ignite my life force.
I wish I knew that it is OK to put my needs, desires and feelings first some of the time, to stand more for myself.
I wish I knew to give more respect to my wisdom and talents.
I wish I knew about unconditional love — that I might aim to see goodness in, or have compassion for others regardless of their behavior
I wish I knew how to comfortably ask for help and support.
I wish I knew more about the value of fun.
I wish I knew to play more, dance more, sing more, laugh more, trust myself more, make love more and rest more.
I wish I knew that my love of beauty and the wonder of nature connect me to my soul.
I wish I knew that forgiveness is freedom.
I wish I knew how good it feels to choose gratitude.
I wish I knew more about the lives of great creators, their passions and the qualities that supported them to make awesome contributions.
I wish I knew how precious each day is.
I wish I remembered that love is the most important thing in life.
Dear Jane, relax and allow these thoughts to grow in you each day.