On “cheating”

Buddha-Quotes-Health-is-the-greatest-gift-contentment-the-greatest-wealth-faithfulness-the-best-relationship.I ate a cookie yesterday. A big one. I ate the whole thing. In one sitting.

I was grocery shopping and when I passed the amazing thumbprint cookies in the bakery at the Co-op and I decided I wanted a treat. It was delicious and, for the most part, worth every bite. I felt a little sluggish for the rest of the day, a typical reaction for me if I eat too much sugar. I did manage to stick to my gluten-free rule, mostly because wheat really upsets my stomach. Here is what I didn’t do: Beat myself up about falling off some proverbial wagon. Binge for the rest of the day. Run more, workout more or do anything extra to “make up for the calories.” I didn’t decide it was all over and give up on other healthy choices just because I “cheated”.

I hate that term, especially when applied to food. Cheat. Merriam-Webster defines it as follows:

: to break a rule or law usually to gain an advantage at something

: to take something from (someone) by lying or breaking a rule

: to prevent (someone) from having something that he or she deserves or was expecting to get

None of these definitions even sound good, I almost feel guilty just reading them. Guilt really just means that you innately know that whatever you are doing is wrong. In the context of food: food is fuel for our body, food should bring us energy and life, it should make us feel good after we eat it! And when the opportunity for a treat presents itself, you should be able to indulge if you want, then move on. Make the conscious decision to just enjoy a treat, versus thinking of it as a cheat. It really does kind of come down to a perspective shift. I have personally set some of my own rules. Most of the time, when I do have a treat, I prefer it to be made from real, whole-food ingredients; and often try to make it myself. These rules are the reason that a sheet cake from, say Wal-Mart, does not even appeal to me. (On the flip side, if I am at a wedding and grandma made the cake from her secret double chocolate recipe…well then I may decide I need some cake!)

I recently read Jason Seib’s book, The Paleo Coach. He makes a lot of good points in there and there were a couple on this topic that stood out to me. The first went something along these lines (with my own two-sense thrown in):

You take a bath every day, you eat every day. What you eat every day is simply called your diet. Now say you don’t shower for a day. Are you “cheating”? Do you decide that since you didn’t shower today that you are just not going to shower at all anymore? That maybe since you missed your shower on Wednesday then to heck with it this week,  “I’ll just start over again on Monday.”

10612632_557212754406163_2693953602703583206_nThe second thing he talked about was that how out of all 5 senses, taste was the only one that we (often knowingly) sacrifice our health for. If someone told you that you could never see, smell or touch a rose again because it would encourage the growth of cancer cells…I bet you would not have a hard time steering clear of the offending flower.

When you start to think about certain foods from this different perspective, it puts a whole new spin on “everything in moderation.” (Another cliche I am not fond of…) It hopefully also make you think about the addictive properties of certain foods. Think about what you would call a comfort food…I had a hell of a time letting go of macaroni and cheese, and it horrified me to think I may never eat cheesecake again. But I bet you would have a hard time finding someone who called steak or brussels sprouts their comfort food…

We all have to honor where we are at in our own journey. For many of us, this is what moving towards health is – a journey. Hopefully one that is leading you towards a more fulfilled life worth with living, versus a life you are just surviving. All I can do is offer my opinions and thoughts, and share with you the tricks I have learned along my own journey. So here I will offer you my personal rules/tips for treats or indulgences!

  • First, set rules for yourself, then honor them! It helps, and will help you say “no” to the crap-filled donuts in the office.
  • Find a plan that works for you. I like to let treats come to me. I used to try to plan for a Sunday Funday, but would often find myself going for that extra drink on Friday night or making some paleo pancakes on Saturday morning. It became easier to just kind of work with how I felt.
  • Get the treats out of your regular routine! You don’t “deserve a treat” at the end of every day because you were “really gnon-gmo-foodsood all day.” You deserve the healthiest body possible and that means filling with with the healthy stuff!
  • Change your reward system. Don’t “reward” yourself or your children with junk food that ultimately damages your health and their growing bodies. I plan to have little toys for Charlie and hopefully she will enjoy a good pedicure as much as I do!
  • Make it yourself or make sure it is made from REAL FOOD! Red dye #40, carageenan, maltodextrin, MSG, partially hydrogenated ANYTHING, canola oil and much much more are all things that have no place in the human body. Read your labels! (Here is a handy link for some GMO Free brands!)

I really hope that this helps even just one person! Please note that the things I have marked off in “parenthesis” are all things I have said to myself at one point or another and are things I have had to work really hard to stop saying/thinking. They are not good, they can be downright destructive and create a perspective set for failure. It now helps me to think of them in an extremely sarcastic tone, so those of you who know me should re-read this with my voice in your head… 🙂

~Until next time dear readers! Namaste

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100 Days of Gratitude continues…10-18

mayaangelouDay 10: So grateful today for my job. Not only do I love it, but it makes me flexible enough to work from home if I need to and to accomodate crazy babysitting hours! For anyone who is miserable in their job, I too have been there. What did I learn? It is NOT worth it, especially if your health is suffering. There IS something better out there if you are brave enough to never settle and get out and look for it!

Day 11: I am grateful for my friends today! I am also fortunate to be able to call many family members friends. I remember hearing something along the lines that people come in and out of your life for a reason. I feel like I have accumulated a very eclectic collection of friends over the years! I have someone I can call for no reason other than being bored, someone who will listen to me if I just need to vent, someone I can share nerdy nutrition ideas with, friends who keep me grounded, friends I can share my faith with and friends who will best comfort me when I need to cry. I have friends I sometimes won’t talk to for months and when we finally reconnect it was like we were never apart. I believe you should tell people how you feel about them so most of you should know who you are! And I apologize to the ones who fall into more than one of these categories…as I probably call/text you often…

Day 12: My hubby Kevin…today I am feeling grateful for you. As your week long trip to Canada draws to a close, I find myself eagerly anticipating your return. Tomorrow, I plan to hug you so long I may never let go. I don’t know how all of you single moms out there do it! Kev, I appreciate you (and the extra set of hands and feet that you bring to my life) more than I can say right now. I survived the week…barely…and am so grateful that it was a temporary situation! p.s. I am sorry the house is not clean, that I may not be clean and the dogs may need a walk…but the pets are still here, the baby is happy and kicking, well fed and (kind of) clean.

Day 13: I am grateful for so many things today, picking one was hard! I am going with yoga. I love taking and teaching yoga! Today, one of my gratitude 1friends in the class I taught asked me if I get anything out of teaching the class, since she felt like she got so much from it. The answer was yes, to a certain degree! I really feel like yoga inspires love, positive energy, presence and peace and I really can feel it radiating off of a class. While teaching is an entirely different experience that taking a class, I do feel like I get a whole different reward from it! And this morning it was a MUCH NEEDED reward! So thank you to my yoga class this morning, Namaste!

Day 14: Couch day, Netflix binge. Enough said.

Day 15: I am grateful for my garden full of veggies that are paid for and made into delicious dinners! Grateful for the knowledge I have gained about food, and super grateful for the healthy body I have gained from it. I have developed such an appreciation for food and the vibrancy good real food brings. I can’t wait to pass this onto my child!

Day 16: Amidst a stressful day, I found gratitude in spending the morning with Charlie. I am grateful for a noon workout and the fatigue in my arms that followed, as this means I did it properly! I am grateful for a husband that loves to workout, and the chance to do it together today. Things like this make me feel more connected with him! Now, at the end of my long day, I am grateful for a warm bed to sleep in. (even if only for a few hours.)

Day 17vibramsw: VIBRAMS! I love them. I don’t care how much people (my sisters) make fun of me. And nothing beats a new pair, especially my new pair…which I think are super cute…so if I have to wear shoes, it will be Vibrams. That is all. #gratitude

Day 18: I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge with Kevin yesterday and honestly, until I was nominated, I was not even sure what ALS was. After the challenge, I was compelled to look into and donate what I could to the research fund. This stuff is some scary stuff! Now I am always pretty leery of the causes I donate my money to, but it seems that ALS is something that affects a fairly small percentage of the population, and I decided that helping to find out more about something that has not gotten a lot of attention is not a bad thing at all. This has all made me reflect on how ever grateful I am for a healthy body!

 

100 Days of Gratitude…the front 9

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about expressing gratitude. It started because I was frustrated and venting about some stupid things regarding family and she ever so subtly dropped in a question about whether or not I kept a gratitude journal. This is whBuddha-Quotes-Health-is-the-greatest-gift-contentment-the-greatest-wealth-faithfulness-the-best-relationship.y I love her…it was just the reminder I needed about what is really important in life! So I decided to track 100 days of gratitude and share this with you in sets of 5-10 days. Take care of the mind, take care of the heart, take care of the body…health really is a package deal!

Day 1: Today, I have to say I am grateful for the motivation of my 5 a.m. class at work. Kettlebell circuit down, 150 burpees down. In turn, I am grateful for the capability of my body to be able to do these exercises! What a blessing it is, to be fit and healthy. One of the greatest stories my boss tells is about a patient he sees who is confined to a wheelchair and talks about how much she would love to do just one burpee. I WILL NOT WASTE  the incredible gift of a healthy body!

Day 2: Today my patience was tested while trying to manage some things with work, while also having my niece, Emma, and the baby. My first thought was that I was really grateful for coffee, without which I may not have survived my morning. But after I managed to escape to work, (I practically ran out the door) I have found myself wishing I was at home with my family. So today I grateful for the wonderful time with my niece Emma. She has taught me so much in the short time she has been here, she has made me laugh and helped me re-develop a sense of humor about certain bodily funtions. After repeated instances of “crop-dusting” you do eventually have to laugh…

Day 3: I am kind of liking the fact that I have to do this even on stressful days. Keeps my mind working towards the positive and that always feels like a step in the right direction. Today I am grateful for my little sister Mallory, who will rearrange her whole life to be there for her family and the people she loves. We can all learn a thing or two from her, and I am so looking forward to spending the aftegratitude-quotes-attitude-quotes-A-moment-of-gratitude-makes-a-difference-in-your-attitude.rnoon with her!

Day 4: A bittersweet day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece after her week long visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. Times like this really make me think about how unfair it really is for families to be so far apart. So today I am grateful for the love I have for my family, for the connection we have even though we are so far apart. I would so much rather feel the pain of saying goodbye than not know the powerful feeling of a love that makes you miss someone enough to cry when they leave.

Day 5: Today I am grateful that it is Friday. This day seems to put nearly everyone in a better mood, which in turn makes the gym members happier. The tone of the whole day is changed by the mere fact that the end of the workweek is here. A testimony to the power of mindset. I love that I can say this even though I have to work for a bit tomorrow, so I guess I am also grateful for a job I love!

Day 6: I got to spend the WHOLE DAY with my little Charlie! We went to work for a few hours, stopped at the mall, went for a walk and she watched me clean the house. 🙂 I am so grateful to be a mommy!

Day 7: Grateful for a lazy Sunday, Netflix and the ability to just shut down and enjoy snuggling my baby on the couch. Un-productivity has never felt so good!

Day 8: Hit the ground with both feet running today and have spent most of the morning yelling at the dogs and making a bijillion work phone calls. Grateful that I can do most of this work from home where can still here the chatter of my baby, where I can stop and pet my fur babies and where the coffee is already paid for.

Day 9: I have been thinking too much this morning. Specifically about, no matter how bad we think we havegratitude-quotes-1 it, or how bad our day is, there are just so many people out there who are worse off. Kids who have to go to school on an empty stomach, people in other countries who live in unsanitary conditions, people in abusive relationships, people loosing loved ones, people who will live their entire lives feeling sorry for themselves and thinking the world owes them something, people who will never know what it feels like to wake up in the morning feeling good; good about themselves or in good health…Today I am grateful for so many things! The roof over my head, the ability to forgive myself for past mistakes and to learn from them, the freezer full of food to feed my family, a happy healthy baby, a loving husband, a close-knit family, and the grace of the God it has all come from.

Until next time readers, please take care of your body, your mind and your heart!

 

R-E-S-P-E-C-T

I have recently had the pleasure of getting to spend a week with my 9 year old niece. Emma was so awesome to have around! She spent most of the time toting Charlie around, dressing her and playing with her. Her little feet running through the house, the occasional “crop dusting” followed by hysterical laughter, the extra hugs and of course a few complaints really added a wonderful element to our home. It was a sad day as I said goodbye to my sweet niece at the end of her visit. She was crying, wanting to stay longer and talking about how unfair it is that we don’t live closer. This is actually something I often think about. It really is unfair for families to be so far apart. Unfair and unnatural as far as the history of our species goes.

I can narrow this feeling down to the love/hate relationship I have with technology and its various forms. On one hand I am grateful that we FaceTime skypehave the ability to travel to and stay in touch with our loved ones from afar; we even get the visual aspect with things like Skype and FaceTime. On the other hand I also feel that it is technology that has driven us not just further apart, but further indoors as well. We sit under artificial light, plastered in front of some various screen that omits more artificial light (and Lord only knows how harmful the EMF’s really are) completely changing the way we  socialize as animals. Emma knows this innately. It was evident in her response when I attempted to cheer her up saying, “we can talk and FaceTime any time you want.” Her reply? “It’s not the same!”

And it isn’t. Yet so many of us trade real life face time, actual social interaction and human connection, for time in front of a screen. Social networking is not socialization folks and we are designed to NEED the latter! If you feel like something is missing in your life, maybe it’s time to put the phone down, turn off the TV and get your butt out the door for some time with family, friends and heaven forbid, some sunshine.

Please don’t get me wrong, I am a huge fan of technology. I just think it needs to be treated with some caution and respect. Take this blog for instance. I love that I can write my thoughts and share them with so many of you with just a few clicks. I love helping people even if it is just through introducing some new ideas. If it weren’t for technology I would not have had access to the many articles, blogs, books and podcasts which have in turn, helped me. While I really love the action of reading a book (the actual hard copy where pages have to be turned) I also appreciate how accessible things like Nooks and Kindles make books. My husband is a second grade teacher and I once heard him say, in regards to having eReaders in the classroom, that it is “such a great way to get as many books as possible into the hands of our children.” I could not have said this better.

But back to caution and respect. I truly think we need to make a point to disconnect. Almost everyone I know runs around all day with a cell phone in their pocket, a tablet in their backpack and a computer at work and at home while sitting in a building or a home with WiFi, televisions and microwaves. Myself included. (Although I apply some caution here and try to keep the direct contact with my body limited. More on this in a moment.) Technology has grown so much so FAST that it nearly impossible to tell the long term effects of being surrounded by it all day. EMF’s are real, and while I am no expert, everything I have read and heard about them lead to a few key points:

  • They are everywhere (natural and manmade).
  • They affect our bodies in different ways.
  • We do not know if they affect us in a bad or a good way.

This is a lot of unknowns. I am not comfortable with unknowns. So what do we do? Let me hear it folks, R.E.S.P.E.C.T. And by respecting respecttechnology, I just mean take the time to understand it. Put it in it’s proper place and time. Exercise caution around something that really is powerful and can have a powerful affect on our lives. For the readers who have stuck with me this far, I am going to assume you are intrigued. So I will offer you my tips for disconnecting!

  • Stay informed and educate yourself! Don’t take my word for it, utilize your technology and look into it yourself.
  • Get your phone out of your pocket. Seriously. Just keep your stuff as far away from your physical body as possible.
  • Get a wired headset (bluetooth does NOT count) or use speaker phone. I love my Apple headphones.
  • Don’t sleep with your phone in your room. At the very least, don’t put it right by your head. Ideally, give yourself one room that is free of technology. The bedroom is perfect, you don’t need it while you are sleeping and the artificial light messes with your sleep anyways. That text message and Facebook notification will still be there in the morning, I promise.
  • Turn off all technology an hour or so before bed. Find some other way to wind down! Remember books? Take a hot back, read to your kids, sit outside and watch the sun set if the weather allows…(Now I know that this can be hard, and some days not possible, especially if it is part of your job. Consider f.lux for your computer and orange glasses to cut back on the blue light that affects your sleep. Yes I am this big of a dork.)
  • Turn off your WiFi at night. You don’t need this while you are sleeping either.
  • Spend time with PEOPLE. In the flesh. Where you can touch them, see them and hear their voice all at the same time. I read something somewhere about a party where people had to leave their cellphones at the door. What a great idea! I can remember being with a large group of my friends and still pulling my phone out to check it at regular intervals. There was hardly anyone left to text me, but I was still checking. In hindsight this just seems crazy.

Thanks for sticking with me readers! As always, I welcome questions and comments. I do enjoy a good discussion!