Feel Good

What Do You Need To Let Go Of In Order To Sleep?

What Do You Need To Let Go Of In Order To Sleep?

As humans today, we are constantly consuming.  We over consume food, information, light, and some even say, oxygen.  Our society drives consumption, even naming us “consumers.” It’s no wonder we’re all buzzing around in over-drive and unable to slow down.

Balance is the key to wellness and therefore, if we’re constantly consuming, then we must balance what we consume with letting go.

Indulge In Warming Foods

Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.
— Hippocrates

2018 Winter Survival Self Care Challenge 3

Are you feeling cold, sluggish, and slow?  I have great news - it’s not you, it’s winter. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, winter is a yin season, meaning it is cool, dark, and damp.  It is also a naturally slower time meant for turning inward and storing energy.  Our bodies are programmed to have less energy to exert so as to conserve it for the warmer, drier season and to want to spend more time at home and indoors.

You can let yourself off the hook for feeling the way you do.  That of course doesn’t necessarily mean life slows down to accommodate this natural rhythm, unfortunately. So, how can we energize ourselves naturally?  By eating in harmony with the yin season. Foods that naturally grow during this season, that are slow cooked and warming help get our blood circulating and counteract the cold, wet and sluggish feelings. Keeping our body in balance and our blood circulating this way is important for our immune system, hormone balance, and fertility.  

This week I challenge you to try some new warming foods and notice how you feel before and after consuming them.  Do they seem to help?  Give you energy?  Lift your mood?

Here are some warming foods, flavors and recipes to try over the next couple of weeks:

EAT

  • Winter squashes

  • Root vegetables (carrots, yams, beets, kohlrabi, parsnips, onion, ginger)

  • Winter greens (chard, kale, collards)

  • Apples

  • Pears

  • Citrus fruit

  • Animal proteins

  • Whole slow grains (quinoa, amaranth, millet, brown rice)

  • Nuts and seeds

  • Beans

  • Mushrooms

  • Turmeric

  • Cinnamon

  • Cardamom

HOW

  • Soups, stews and broths

  • Roasted vegetables and meats

  • Quinoa and rice bowls

  • Tea, hot water with lemon, steamed almond milk

RECIPES

BREAKFAST

Sweet Potato Apple Breakfast Bake from 40 Aprons

Breakfast Egg Muffins that are perfect for on the go! 

WINTER DETOX ORANGE GINGER TURMERIC SMOOTHIE from The Endless Meal

HEALTHY PEAR GINGER CHIA SMOOTHIE from Yay! For Food

LUNCHES AND DINNERS

Slow Cooker Quinoa Vegetable Soup from Eating Bird Food

One Pan Sweet Potato Broccoli Chicken Bake from The Real Food Dieticians

Slow-Cooker Beef Stew from Lexis Clean Kitchen

Paleo Meatloaf from The Lean Green Bean

LIQUID GOODNESS

Look for this smooth Ginger Tea at your local grocery store.

Warm Spiced Almond Milk from Simple Green Smoothies

 

Three down, three to go!!  We are halfway through the Winter Survival Wellness Challenge - how have you been doing with implementing more self care into your lifestyle? Have you noticed any changes in your mood or mindset? Any challenges? 

Share in the comments below!

Three Secrets To Maintaining A Morning Routine

Mornings are undeniably the most challenging time of the day for many.  There is inevitably the inner battle that begins when the alarm goes off - why ever leave that warm, comfortable, safe place called bed?  Yet, studies have proven that the most productive, centered, and successful people are early to rise and make the most of this time by implementing some self-care, both mentally and physically.  

Having a morning routine can help establish your mindset for the day by grounding and centering you so you are ready for whatever the day brings. It can also help tremendously in beating the morning blues - those days you wake up feeling melancholy, which can be especially common when recovering a pregnancy loss or when you’re battling fertility issues.

The secrets to maintaining a morning routine are:

  1. Make the decision to implement and stick to a morning routine that works for you. Commit.

  2. Keep it simple.

  3. Above all else - Eliminate Thinking.

Finding a series of activities that meet your needs and doing them on autopilot daily is the best way to ensure that you will stick to the routine and get the most out of it.  

First, decide how you want to feel during and after your morning routine.  Do you need to ease into your day in a comforting and nourishing way? Or do you jump out of bed with energy, ready to go?  The idea is to start you off in the best way possible so you are armed and ready for whatever the day brings.

When I created my morning routine, my primary goal was to fit in a daily meditation practice.  My secondary goal was to incorporate a warm lemon water ritual to support my digestion, balance my pH, and give me a daily vitamin C boost.  

Years ago, after much trial and error, I established that I need to get my exercise done in the morning. Power yoga is my ideal form of regular physical activity. I had a loose routine - wake up, drink water, put on clothes, go to class. Shower, dress, commute.  Not bad, but rushed and lacking a couple of things I knew deep down I needed.

When I made the decision to implement a morning routine that involved as little thinking as possible,, I broke it down to six activities I felt would meet my personal needs.

After the alarm, just about every morning goes like this:

  1. Hydrate:  I drink the glass of water I put at my bedside each night.  Our bodies dehydrate overnight and it’s important to get hydration in right way.

  2. Make my bed: Because I feel calmer when things are visually in their place and it gets my body moving around.

  3. Warm water with lemon: I go downstairs, heat up water + a few shakes of turmeric on the stove, and squeeze half of a lemon into a mug. (I add the turmeric because it is an incredible anti-inflammatory tool as well as an immune booster.)

  4. Smoothie: While I wait for the water to heat, I make my husband and I a smoothie.  This involves me sleepily throwing a combination of handfuls of leafy greens, frozen fruit, and almond milk in a blender, pushing the “liquify” button, and pouring the result into travel cups that go in the refrigerator for us to grab & go on our way. Sometimes they are great.  Sometimes they taste weird.  Either way, they are mood boosting coffee alternatives and are a great way to get in servings of vegetables and fruit on the go for fiber and nutrients.  Fruit is also easiest to digest on an empty stomach.

  5. Meditate: My lemon water and I go back upstairs and I do a 5 - 10 minute meditation, usually using one of the many guided meditation apps available, such as Insight Timer, Calm, Simple Habit, Headspace, or the website Fragrantheart.com.

  6. Move: Go to a yoga or barre class or practice yoga at home.

This may seem like a lot but the first five activities require only 25 or so minutes more added to my morning.  I do not think much as I do any of it, in fact, I couldn’t if I wanted to because my brain doesn’t start working until about an hour and a half after I wake up.

Sleep is critical but 25 minutes of snoozing the alarm has never resulted in the calmness I feel when I stick to the routine.

The few things I do the night before are:

  • Occasionally think about the smoothie I want to make or look up recipes to get ideas.

  • Always, always, bring that glass of water to bed with me so I can hydrate upon waking up.

  • Sign up for the yoga or barre class to commit myself to going.

What would you like to start treating yourself to in the morning, before the world needs you?  

How can you implement it in a simple way that requires little to no thinking at all?

Is It Summer Or Fall? It Doesn't Matter If The Food Is Good!

Is It Summer Or Fall?  It Doesn't Matter If The Food Is Good!

Early fall is an especially fun time to take advantage of whole foods that are available locally because there is an abundance of fruits and vegetables produced by the warm summer months available now.

The website Local Harvest is great resource for finding your local farms that offer farm stands, CSA programs, and pick your own produce, as well as searching for restaurants sourcing ingredients locally and more. Use the search tools at the top of the page, either by using the drop-down menu or typing in what you’re looking for, and entering your location to see what is available to you!

Now it’s time to explore peppers and raspberries in part 3 of our local and seasonal food series. These are two hydrating and satisfying foods appropriate for the unseasonably warm weather this week.  

‘Tis the season for… Green Beans? Hell Yes!

‘Tis the season for… Green Beans? Hell Yes!

Have you ever noticed how you crave and enjoy certain types of food depending on what season it is?  For example, you may have been enjoying salads, fruit, grilled chicken and fish quite a bit recently as the weather is warm and we’re drawn to the sun outdoors.  But in a few short weeks pumpkin mania will take over, the temperature outdoors will cool and you’ll be searching for a warm apple crisp and soup.  If I tried to serve you hot beef stew on a 90 degree day in July, you not only wouldn’t want it but would be left feeling sweaty, heavy and slow (gross!).  These tendencies are more than seasonal fun - they’re also the work of your body telling you what it needs to stay balanced - a concept called food energetics.