Category Archives: Lifestyle

Healthy Mindset Challenge

Our mental perspective can make all the difference in how successful we are in life. We could all work harder and we could all use a little more self-love.

Here is the challenge: no scale, no mirror for 1 week. Identify other sources that contribute to your own perception of “image” and remove those from your life for one week. These things include Facebook, magazines, TV shows etc.

There are two elements that will replace what you are removing in your life: hard-work and self-love.

1. Hard work– give this week all you have. Use the time that you would usually use to say “I wish I was,” or “I am not” in a productive way. Listen to your body, listen to your heart and listen to your mind. Push hard in your workouts, go for a clean diet (use a food journal if need be) and make some time to set some goals. This is your week, don’t hold back!

2. Self-love– give yourself a compliment when you wake up, at lunch and after dinner. Give yourself a hug after a good workout. Post notes in your calendar or notebook to remind yourself about your strong qualities. Before you go to bed at night, think about 3 things that you are grateful for that day. Take time to give yourself love instead of being hard on yourself. This approach is way more enjoyable and productive.

At the end of the week, reflect to see what it felt like to work harder and to give yourself some love.  See what it does to your perception of other people.

Wishing you a week filled with love, health & happiness.

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Another Year of Growth

This past year has been a year of exceptional growth in my life. For the first time, I have not been bound by the walls of a classroom or a school calendar. This time last year, it was time for me to get my feet wet in “the real life.” In the past year I have gotten to know myself better than ever before. I have fully immersed myself in many aspects of life that had only been a mere thought or desire up until now. The most important lesson that I have learned is that health and happiness are integral with one another and are interwoven with many other factors.

In the middle of May, I started my journey with Institute for Integrative Nutrition, a training course for Health Consultants. The main principle in this program is that we have primary foods in life which are different to ordinary foods. Primary foods are healthy relationships, regular physical activity, a fulfilling career, a spiritual practice. It is not only about the foods that we eat. If you are not happy then your health is going to take a toll. If you are too obsessed with nutrition or fitness, it is going to distract you from other aspects in your life that are also vital to your well-being. Each person is unique when it comes to health, we all require different balances. So too with nutrition, what works for one person very likely could be unhealthy for another person.

While we are all bio-diverse (each of us has our own needs) there are some truths that apply to each and every human. Drinking water is better for you than drinking soda for example. Getting exercise is better for you than sitting on the couch playing video games. Healthy relationship with your partner, family or friends is better than abusive relationships.

There are also some truths which I am particularly interested and focused on in relation to the culture of food. Food brings people together. It helps bind communities, build friendships and sustain lives. Whether people are growing food together, cooking or eating together, they are benefiting from their actions. Safe & quality food is going to provide for a better future.

It is my goal, in my 23rd year of life, to get a deeper understanding of my balance so that I can successfully inspire others to live more fulfilled, enjoyable, positive, balanced and happy lives. In turn, I know that each person that I am able to inspire will inspire at least one or two more people.

Let’s go back to some foundations in order to find deeper meaning in the lives that we live and the connections that we make–with other people and nature–along the way.

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Perspective on Our Relationship With Food

Each of us has our own unique relationship with food. We all need food to survive. Food can also be used as a form of comfort or a social outlet. There are also many intricate layers within our relationship with food, which include behavioral aspects, physical aspects and emotional aspects. It has been said that changing a person’s eating habits is harder than changing someone’s religion. This sounds absurd yet, take a minute to think about how defensive we are about our favorite foods.

Here is some insight from the book Lost and Found, written by Geneen Roth. Geneen had a very unhealthy relationship with food and dieting for ongoing years. This particular book talks about her relationship with food and money, which have some very fascinating correlations with one-another. She shares her turning point in her relationship with food:

“….Since I was then twenty-eight and had been dieting for more than half my life–seventeen years– the only way I knew to accomplish this was to eat what I hadn’t allowed myself to eat– fattening foods that only men and thin people ate. Chunky cookies and pumpkin ice cream and four-cheese pizza. After a few weeks of vacillating between nausea and giddiness, there was a clunk, a shift in my attitude: I understood that food wasn’t good or bad and eating wasn’t about right or wrong or being loved or rejected. It was only about this body–my body– and figuring out what it needed to move, think, thrive. Removing judgements from food made eating much simpler; it’s not that my crazy eating suddenly disappeared, it’s that my perspective shifted, and my orientation was about what gave my body energy versus what drained it, decisions about cheesecake or ice cream slowly lost their fraught, hysterical quality. Eating became a way to sustain and support my body, not the way I was either trying to prove I was worthy (by denying myself) or rebelling against the internal voice that told me I wasn’t (by bingeing).” p.62

It is very admirable that Geneen is able to open up to other people through her writing in order for others to look into their own relationship with food. Just as s most relationships continuously take some effort and TLC, so does each of our relationships with food. Take some time to delve into your relationship with food. Before you open the fridge or pantry ask yourself “am I truly hungry right now or am I eating for other reasons.” If you are not hungry then find a way to distract yourself until those instincts pass. On the other hand, if you are hungry, you should prepare your food then take a moment to breathe and appreciate the food in front of you before you shovel it in to your mouth. Each bite is a connection between your food and your body. Thus, chew thoughtfully. Work on building your own healthy relationship with food one bite at a time.

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How Are We To Live? With Intention..

There are SO many different ways that one can choose to live. While there is no right way to live, I think that we can all agree that there are wrong ways to live. Just to give a few examples; murdering, stealing, lying, cheating etc.

I want to extend this concept of the “wrong way to live” a little further with respect to sustainability. As humans, we can consume what the earth provides to us endlessly without regarding how we dispose of the things we consume. We can throw everything we use into one big landfill without separating it into Trash, Recycling and Compost. Since we are busy worrying about other things in our technologically driven society, we neglect the basics of how our existence can affect the environment. When we throw everything into the trash we are “killing” the earth. Remember, we are only as healthy as our environment can provide for us. If we live in a polluted environment, more people are going to get sick.  This whole concept is directly in line with “living with intention.”

Since I moved to Berkeley, my values for sustainability have been far more than supported. I have learned a ton in the past 4 weeks about the way that I want to live for the rest of my life. The City of Berkeley makes living sustainably a priority. Each house has separate  Trash/ Recycle/ Compost bins for weekly pick up. There is also an excellent public transportation system. I guess my favorite thing about this little funky town is the amount of people who walk/bike as part of their daily commute. The city has designated “biking boulevards” which divert car traffic to different routes in order to make the roads accessible for bike commutes. There are also an indoor complimentary (sponsored by the city !!) bike parking lots located outside of all the main train stations.

So now that you have read this article, what do you do with this inspiration? Even if the city you live in isn’t as sustainably supportive as Berkeley, (which it is most likely not) there are things that you can be doing differently in your daily life.

Recycling is a great first step!

Next, try walking anywhere that is less than 1.5 miles away from you and try biking anywhere that is 3 miles or less away from you. Once you get used to an outdoor commute, you will be able to extended those distances further.

Step three is research a composting option that is viable for your living situation.

While you may not be able to directly see how living sustainably directly affects your life or the life of future generations, you can be 100% sure that there is no flaw in this type of lifestyle. Living with intention is the way to go. You are not harming anyone or the environment by living sustainably, you are simply helping the problem!

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Let’s Talk SEXY

Girls in our society are struggling to be comfortable in their own skin due to a misperception of the term SEXY. The modern day perception of SEXY is Victoria Secret models and skinny girls that are found in magazines, movies and on TV. While we sit here wanting, hoping and wishing to look like 5% of women in the world that are displayed in the media, we will never wake up looking like them.

How many girls do you know who are absolutely drop dead gorgeous and have a banging personality to match? So now we can cut the 5% down to 1% or less. Point being is that our perception of SEXY is completely out of whack now- a-days. There are girls who would do anything to simply look the way that the media portrays SEXY. Unless they add fake things to their bodies or had the ability to change their genetic code, it is impossible to obtain this fantasy look.

Let’s define a more appropriate/ realistic version of SEXY. SEXY= confident. SEXY is being comfortable in one’s own body. This can be achieved by treating your body with respect. When you feel good you radiate with energy which sends the message to people that you interact with.

If we choose to live unhealthy lifestyles in which we drink excessively, eat whatever we feel like and don’t exercise, our bodies and minds will provide a not so pleasant response in return. What seems more appealing, someone who looks at good looking people on TV and wishes that they were that way OR someone who is actively pursuing their own sexy? Each of us have our own version of SEXY, we just have to pursue it.

Some of us may not be realizing the effects of our choices yet. However, we will start to understand the effects as we get older and have children and grandchildren. In reality, we are all going to get old one day. Old and healthy is way more appealing than old and sick.  If you choose to take care of your body now, you may even find yourself the top 10% category when you are older.

This may be a very foreign way of thinking to us in Western Society but there really is no flaw in this mindset. If we choose to be naive we will look back when we are older wanting, hoping and wishing that we made better choices when we were younger.

Go ahead, pursue your own SEXY. I dare you.

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Prevention is the Key.. To a Healthy Life

When it comes to health, Western mentality is to wait until someone has been diagnosed with a disease and then to use a “bandaid” to cover up the problem. Eastern society doesn’t wait until the problem exists, rather they put forth strong efforts to prevent the disease from developing. It is 2012, and we may not have a CURE for cancer yet we do know some of the leading causes of cancer. It is 2012, and we may not have a magic pill to CURE obesity but have an understanding of what causes obesity and diabetes. So why do we wait until we have to FIGHT the cancer or struggle to lose weight? Why is the leading cause of death in the United States, heart disease, a disease that in most cases could have been prevented. Or why is the leading type of cancer, lung cancer, a preventable disease?

Instead of waiting to find a cure we should be making efforts to prevent disease. Spreading knowledge about what foods are good for you and what foods are not. Supporting each other in healthy decision making instead of egging each other on with unhealthy options is one place to start. Every choice that you make counts because you have the ability to improve your health and serve as a role model for others. Next time you meet up with a friend, ask them if they want to cook dinner together or go for a hike or walk. Supporting each other to make healthy decisions makes it easier and more enjoyable for both parties. Why wait for a cure when you can take steps to prevent getting a life threatening disease in the first place.

 

 

 

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Reflections of my experience with the Clean Program

As my first experience with detoxing is coming to a close, (day 12/14!) I have begun to reflect about the past 2 weeks. Yes it was a challenge and yes it is rewarding! The goals that I wished to accomplish prior to the detox were to reduce stomach aches, reduce skin irritation, kick my sweet tooth, become less dependent on caffeine and to increase serotonin. Even though weight loss was not one of my main ambitions for doing this detox I did lose some weight in the past 2 weeks. Many of the symptoms that were of concern prior to the detox have gotten much less intense or completely disappeared.

These past 2 weeks have reminded me some of the key tools for the basis of healthy eating. They can be simplified into 4 P’s:

Planning – Looking at your weekly calendar, picking recipes for the week, making a grocery list, grocery shop, prep to save time during the week. (#1 tool in my opinion!)

Persistence– aka. self-control and motivation. My persistence stemmed from feeling better everyday that I stuck to the cleanse.

Portion size– in general we eat too much. The Clean Program has reminded me that it is possible to still feel full without overeating.

Positive thinking– being kind to yourself, positive self talk.

The hardest part is still to come: making sure that I don’t fall back into old eating habits. It is time to set some new goals in order to continue in the right direction. Here are a few important guidelines when setting goals:

They must be measurable, realistic and challenging. For example: Instead  of setting a general goal “to reduce my caffeine consumption”, I should set this goal….”For the month of January I will consume no more than 3 coffees per week.”

Whatever your weakness is, (we all have one) you should set some boundaries to protect your health in the long term. Since my sweet tooth is my weakness I have to set some boundaries for myself. Thus, I plan to use desserts as a reward system each week. Specifically as a reward for nourishing my body with healthy food. This reward system is technically how sweets should be viewed in general. Sweets are meant to be a treat, not an everyday indulgence. (2 squares of dark chocolate >70% cocao everyday is acceptable even under these guidelines!)

I plan on doing this cleanse bi-annually as I believe it is a great way to stay in tune with one’s own health. I would strongly recommend the Clean Program. Even if you do not feel like you can do the whole cleanse, I recommend that you read the book.

The New Year would be a great time to start the detox however, it can be done at any time that suites your lifestyle.

Feel free to ask me any specific questions about this detox, I would love to share!

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