Tag Archives: Self-Improvement

Summer’s coming – let’s get fit!

Summer is almost here and for many the panic of showing arms and legs sets in. I know I get a bit of summer fever hanging out in the garden and trying to get a little Vitamin D on my arms and legs.

Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image courtesy of Ambro/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

So here’s a bit of perspective, a visually perfect body does not automatically equal fitness and health. I repeat, a visually perfect body does not automatically equal fitness and health. There are many “thin” people who have the same lifestyle diseases as the overweight and obese – they have high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and cancer.

So while you go beat yourself up because you can’t fit into those size 2 jeans, maybe instead you should celebrate the good things that came from your annual physical that shows that you are indeed in good health and feeling well.

And if you do need to get fit, well start slow and build up. Rome wasn’t built in a day.

Finding your natural beauty

Everyone wants to have that natural beauty, the glowing skin, the great hair and the unbreakable nails. Who doesn’t want to leave the house without any foundation – maybe just a dash of gloss and a swipe of mascara… photo (3)

That’s what I do – I often get comments on my skin, I like to think that it looks pretty good for a 40-something. The funny thing is that I used to think that I couldn’t take any credit for my skin because I have great genes.

I don’t think that way anymore, yes genes have a lot to do with it but so does lifestyle. I try my darnest to get a full night’s sleep, I drink tons of water, I eat plenty of healthy fats, fruits and vegetables – no factory farmed animals for me! And I even get in exercise when I can. I’ve also started to make my own moisturizing oil that seems to feel pretty good.

That’s all well and good, we know that all helps to make nice skin wonderful but what about the glow from within? You know those people who may not have flawless skin but they have something even more beautiful about them. That’s the natural beauty that I aim for. The beauty that comes from living a life of compassion, giving, helping others and just trying to make this world a better place for those less fortunate.

This post is for all those natural beauties, please keep doing what you do. If you have a natural beauty in your life please let us know about them.

How will you celebrate Earth Day this year?

On April 22nd we will be celebrating Earth Day. This is the day when everyone goes out and cleans up a park or plants a tree and thus proclaims they love the earth… yeah whatevs!

"Eco Concept - Earth In Hands " by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Eco Concept – Earth In Hands ” by jannoon028 | via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What about the other 364 days of the year? If you really love the earth then do a little more, lord knows it needs it. Some of the easy things to do include recycling, not idling your car, walking, biking. The not so easy things include reducing your consumption to reduce waste, reusing items before getting rid of them, not replacing items that aren’t broken… you get the idea.

So now that we’ve healed the earth, how are you doing? Spring is the time for renewal, shedding layers (YES IT WILL GET WARM AGAIN) and a time for new growth. It’s also a good time to review what you have been doing with yourself for the last four months and re-evaluating. Do you need to fix your eating habits? Do you need to add more activity into your life? Do you have enough love and friendship in your life – all those little things that add up to make you that wonderful you that you are.

So while you’re helping to clean up litter on Earth Day don’t forget that there are 364 other opportunities to clean up the earth and yourself.

PS if you haven’t seen it I have launched a YouTube easy cooking series. Tell me what you think and what you want to see more of! April’s episode should be coming soon.

Love yourself & Happy Veganniversary to me!

February always brings out the lovey dovey in me. Even though we have a good foot of snow in the front yard and another coming over the weekend I can’t help to feel the love.

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This marks the 4-year anniversary of my going vegan, the 4-year birthday of this blog and the 3-year anniversary of when we adopted our beloved Luke. So with all of the crap out there I have something good to hold on to.

Surrounding yourself with great things and appreciating what you have I think begins the journey to loving yourself. We all focus that Valentine’s Day love on so many others that some of you forget to focus on the one that needs the most love –  YOU!

So go ahead and love yourself a little harder this month, and find those things that make you happy and keep you going because you will project those good vibes on to others and I promise you that the lovefests will ensue.

PS: Stay tuned for monthly recipes shows on my YouTube channel. I am excited to launch the January (yes a little late) Episode this weekend!

New Year, New You, NO! BETTER YOU!!

The new year means getting bombarded with New Year, New You messages. I know because I have sent them myself. It also signals a time when people feel free to let you know that you just can’t cut it and a “New You” armed with resolutions looks so much better…

I say the heck with all those people who want to change you. I don’t want to change you, I want you to get BETTER!! A better you wants to make positive changes and improve on what you have already accomplished. A better you has goals, SMART* goals at that, and knows that the little things complete the big picture.

I don’t want to hear about your resolutions, I want to hear about your GOALS. I’ll share some of mine to get you thinking. Keep in mind that goals are very personal and really only matter to you. So go ahead and think about what you want to improve upon for 2014.

GOALS:

  • Fitness: Continue with fitness 45 min at least 3 times a week and add 10 min of yoga for flexibility; find a regular workout time by Feb.
  • Health: In conjunction with fitness, monitor food intake to reasonable levels (I can eat like no body’s business!) Keep a food journal and track intake 5 days a week.
  • Business: Work consistently and acquire additional clients (virtual assisting & wellness coaching) before March. Becoming more visible, somehow…
  • Family: Spend as much quality time as possible with my fur babies and stay in touch with the kids.
  • Social: Try to keep the social connections even if it means a quick text to say hey how ya doin? (This one is tough because of school and work).
  • Creativity: Read books for pleasure – read at least 2 books per month. Writing a book will come next year 🙂

Your turn! Sometimes it helps putting things “out there”, makes you more accountable

*SMART: Sustainable, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic/Relevant, Timely

Fitness

Some of you may have noticed that I have started posting my fitness regimen on my social media. I usually get like this a few weeks before a birthday – you know, gotta look good… But fitness has so many more benefits than just looking good.

"Dumbbell With Water And Towel" by Naypong

“Dumbbell With Water And Towel” by Naypong

According to the Mayo Clinic there are at least 7 benefits to being physically active and they include:

Weight control
Improving health to fight disease
Improving mood
Boosting energy
Better sleep
Better sex life
Fun

Exercise also helps raise HDL, the good cholesterol and it can help strengthen your body. I’ve noticed my knees and back don’t hurt as much as they used to.

I really enjoy doing interval workouts – I use the Interval Timer free app to help me keep time (check out my review of it here). The fact that I can control the workout keeps it fresh for me since I am always switching up the exercises. Another tip: great music can make or break a good workout – make sure you have tunes that will get your butt moving.

Here’s the workout I am doing today:

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Everyone needs me time, make your workout or physical activity time non-negotiable. What do you do to keep yourself fit?

Bullet Proof Soul

Sitting here listening to Sade’s Bullet Proof Soul


and thinking to myself how much I love that song. And what that phrase means to me, although my version does not have anything to do with a spurned lover.

We all need to have a bullet proof soul. We need to have the ability to deflect the negative vibes that come off from other people, intentional or not. People have bad days, yes, bad weeks, yes and sometimes even a bad month or two, mine kind of all happened in 2010…

The energy vampires, what I like to call them as they suck the energy out of you, don’t need to make you their next victim. I don’t mean for you to cut these people out of your life entirely, sometimes you can’t. You need to deal with them in small doses or pawn them off on other people to limit your exposure to them.

For the ones you can cut off, it might seem like a mean thing to do, however if they leave you feeling more exhausted after dealing with them, well that might tell you the time to cut ties has come.

The next song on the album, Cherish the Day always reminds me of this drag queen in NYC, and that my friends is a story for another day…

Oh How I Missed You

Oh my lovelies I have missed you so much. This summer was a tad busier than I expected, not an excuse I know, but I promise to fill you in on all the fun this summer.

I took a few classes over the summer which puts me on track to graduate in May, very excited! We also fostered three dogs

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Bert

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Pip

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Jordan

and ended up keeping one of them! Meet Jordan, the newest member of our family.

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Jared & Jordan

I thought I would have an amazing garden this summer, unfortunately school and work kept me busy. Nonetheless, we got some nice tomatoes

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Tomatoes

A pumpkin! I don’t really remember planting this, it may be a kabucha that morphed into a giant, hope it tastes OK.

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Pumpkin

My peppers have done well, I didn’t think they would survive the transplantation and they took forever to bear fruit.

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Peppers

And a sunflower!

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Sunflower

I have also enjoyed eating the dandelion and the plantains that have popped up in the vegetable garden. I don’t pull them anymore, I now cut the young tender leaves and eat them as salad greens. I only wish we had some purslane growing, we used to have tons.

I started volunteering at a food pantry, everyone should do this. It gives you a different perspective on the whole feeding the hungry issue. Remember people need food all year long, not just during the holidays. If you think only lazy people and illegals need food assistance then think again. I see people that work hard but don’t make enough, people that have lost jobs and can’t find work, old pensioners and young families. There but for the grace of god… It could be any one of us out there. OK rant over.

We had our annual Maine vacation and the drive up

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Luke & Jordan

Jordan even went in the water at the little beach!

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Jordan at the beach

The boys got to spend time with the grandparents

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Dad H & Luke

In September I started the last year of my DTR program and a new job at a local hospital, the first steps in the process for my RD – yippee!

Of course I have to include a photo of my princess!

Lola

Lola

I hope all of you have had a great summer! Now on to Halloween – woo hoo!

My thoughts on the Food Industry

The development and marketing methods of the food industry have drastically changed over the last seventy-five years. The spokes that make up the wheel that is the food industry works together to keep it a billion dollar business and like any business there is pressure for growth and making the bottom line is its main goal. Unfortunately, what suffers is public health.

Source: Guardian UK

With advances in food science companies have the means to pinpoint the exact formulation at which the food product has reached maximum satiety of the general population. It would be a foolish food company that would not create foods to taste as pleasing as possible. By formulating foods this way they are intentionally created to make it easier to overeat (Moss 2013).

While on the GMO front the industry has been pouring millions of dollars to block labeling efforts, the momentum of public awareness is putting pressure on local and state governments to begin labeling initiatives. With increased consumer demand labeling will most likely be required in the next five to ten years. Maine is the most recent state to tackle GMO labeling legislation with it passing in their house. Although it is a small victory since the bill will also have to pass in their senate and a final vote in the house (Stone 2013).

The states that have instituted ag gag laws are doing so under pressure of the businesses that supply food, by prosecuting whistleblowers there will effectively be no regulation changes in animal agriculture processes. Since the animal agriculture industry is largely self-regulated they are not likely to report cases of animal abuse and improper handling that can lead to foodborne illnesses (“PBIS Non Compliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table). One of the largest recalls of beef in U.S. history was the result of an undercover investigation done by an animal welfare group (Martin 2008). The ag gag laws are specifically intended to prohibit these kinds of investigations.

Marketing to children has been an issue since the 1970s. With a government that will support the industry it has been difficult to make sufficient change. While the industry has made some improvements in marketing to children on television there is less incentive to restrict online and mobile marketing to children (Nestle 2007).

Works Cited
Martin, Andrew. “Largest Recall of Ground Beef Is Ordered.” The New York Times [New York] 18 Feb. 2008: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013.

Moss, Michael. Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us. New York, NY: Random House, 2013. Print.

Nestle, Marion. Food Politics: How the Food Industry Influences Nutrition and Health. 2007 ed. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007. Print.

“PBIS NonCompliance Reports for Plants requested in FOIA 2011B00258 for 03J01 and 04C04 1st Shift Procedures from 3/1/11 B 8/31/11”. Table. Foodandwaterwatch.org. Foodandwaterwatch.org, n.d. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://documents.foodandwaterwatch.org/doc/PBISResponseRecords.pdf&gt;.

Stone, Matthew. “Maine House overwhelmingly supports GMO labeling requirement.” Bangor Daily News 11 June 2013: n. pag. Web. 12 June 2013. <http://bangordailynews.com/2013/06/11/politics/maine-house-overwhelmingly-supports-gmo-labeling-requirement/&gt;.

Lessons I learned from my dog

As a lot of you know we really love our dog I mean really, look at this face.

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I think to myself what a life he has and realized how much I have learned from him.

1. Stand your ground: Luke is a very persistent beagle, he knows what he wants (to bark at) and won’t stop until he is sure he has had the last word.

2. Shit happens, kick some dirt over it and keep going: Life is full of crap that may or may not go your way. Accept it, deal with it and then move on.

3. Unconditional love: This is a hard one because sometimes people are hard to love. Loving unconditionally can be looked at as compassion and having compassion is a lot easier than loving the jerk down the street.

4. Resting is important: Sometimes we forget how important a good night’s sleep is, this is the time that our bodies restore and replenish.

5. Loyalty: Being loyal and being there for friends and family when they really need you is what makes life just a little better.

6. Eat like it’s the last meal you will get: OK maybe we shouldn’t eat every meal like it’s the last meal we’ll ever get but we should definitely live each day to its fullest because we really don’t know what the future holds for us.

7. Share your bed: Well, maybe lend a helping hand would be more appropriate. Sometimes we may not like it but we know when it’s right to help someone in need.

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What lessons have you learned from your pets?