Create your balance. Design your life.

From Busy to Delicious

From Busy to Delicious

Feb 13, 2015

I’ve been burning the candle at both ends the last couple of weeks. Apart from a bump here or there, I have been feeling generally resilient. How do I do it? I’ve come up with a multitude of recharging and recuperating strategies. The busier I am, the more I amp up the self-care. At a certain point, the ‘busy’ and the ‘self-care’ build to a crescendo, one or the other has to go. I make the choice to ease my foot of the ‘busy pedal’. I haven’t always done this. I used to give up the self-care for another item to get done, and I ended up burnt out and miserable. It took time, practice, and creativity to change that habit! Want to try? Here’s a baker’s dozen of tips to stay sane in your busy life, and recharge your engine the more it runs (and since I mentioned a baker’s dozen, here’s a photo of some cupcakes to inspire you): For every errand you squeeze into your schedule, find a way to take a twenty minute walk (such as, to the store to do the errand). Continually assess and reassess your priorities. Drop what’s just not that important. Do more of what IS important to you, and of what you like. Make sure that how you feel, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, is included in that assessment in item two. Many people talk about not multi-tasking while eating. Try not multi-tasking while preparing food. Waiting for water to boil will create more space in your day than everything else on this list combined. Take a bath. Stay up late to do it if you have to. Throw in some epsom and/or sea salt. Make real food. Don’t let a hurried schedule send you to the drive-through. You’ll end up tired and feeling yuck-o. If you don’t feel like putting in effort, do something easy, like salsa, beans, avocado and tortillas, or cereal. See a friend. Step away from the computer, and read a book (or draw, or paint, or other favorite hobby of choice), even if it’s only for ten minutes. Pleasure and ease are cumulative. Take a ten minute nap! Find somebody to hug....

Upcycling in the Kitchen

Upcycling in the Kitchen

Feb 6, 2015

Have you ever gotten home from a long day wanting healthy and delicious homemade food, with tired feet and an aching brain, and absolutely no desire to cook? I certainly have. What usually follows is either cereal or delivery. How about the next day? You hit snooze an extra time (or five): how can eat a healthy and sustaining breakfast, and make the train…much less make lunch! I too have rounded out vending machine peanut butter crackers with microwave popcorn. Well I say, “No more!” No more underfed, undernourished, short-for-time meal skipping. No more overly-sweet and overpriced food from the one place that delivers to your address. Your brain and body need real food! So I bring to you, Upcycling in the Kitchen. You’ve heard of “upcycling”, haven’t you? If not: “Upcycling is the process of converting waste materials or useless products into new materials or products of better quality or for better environmental value” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Upcycling) Although you’ll probably save some styrofoam containers, the concept of Upcycling in the Kitchen isn’t about saving the environment, but about your health, your wallet, and your time. Without further ado, here’s how it works: The key to Upcycling in the Kitchen is to have on hand a small variety of prepared food ingredients. If you’re like me, you don’t want to eat the same dish day after day after day. So instead of making a vat of one thing, prepare food simply and separately, and then reincorporate the already prepared items, into new dishes such as stir fries, fried rice, soups, salads, and even lovely entrée meals. You will need to do some cooking, or at least purchasing. Cooking prep can be minimized by buying things like pre-cut vegetables, or pre-cooked meats. Keep in mind that when someone else cooks your food you have much less say in what goes into it, and how fresh it is. Don’t overlook a salad bar as a place to find washed and cut veggies or simply cooked chicken or tofu not available at other places in the store if you just can’t deal with doing it on your own (and applaud yourself for being resourceful, while you’re at it). Consider...

Digestion, Health and Life

Digestion, Health and Life

Jan 15, 2015

A lot of work I do in my private practice involves switching mindset focus from weight change, to health change. We’ve swallowed a big fat pill from the media, and each other, that intentionally changing your weight equals healthier, wherever you are headed with that equals happiness, and many people find themselves anxious, depressed, and in a constant state of self-criticism about the numbers on the scale and the pants’ size they wear. In reality, when we have enough nutrients to meet our bodies’ needs, and underlying conditions and imbalances are appropriately resolved or managed, weight often normalizes on its own, or with less effort and intervention. When an underlying state of wellness is created, the aspects of our life that revolve around food work like a well oiled machine. I am not saying you can’t be zaftig and healthy, or thin and happy. But I am saying you can’t revolve your life and self-esteem around your size, and be happy.  It’s a rabbit hole with no end. When we take a look at the overall functioning of the body, the system that comes up as fundamental to repair for optimum health is digestion. Our digestive tract is where we break down and assimilate nutrients: nutrients that are the building blocks of our hormones, our neurotransmitters, and literally all of our physiologic processes and functioning. When I put it that way, it’s easy to see that if digestion isn’t working and those building blocks aren’t being absorbed, or they aren’t being fed into the system to begin with due to extreme dieting or inappropriate (for you) food choices, we’ve got a problem. Add to the picture that inflammation in the gut equals inflammation in the brain, and the vicious parallel and cycle of food and mood dysfunction, and it’s no wonder it’s hard to tell which end is up in the food/mood/weight/health ballgame. So maybe you’re reading this article and you’re thinking wait, could that be me? Something’s landing with you in the pit of your stomach and you’re starting to wonder, well how do I get off this roller coaster ride? Perhaps you feel unwell a lot, or maybe not but you are perennially unhappy with...

It’s New Year’s Day! …Now What?

It’s New Year’s Day! …Now What?

Jan 1, 2015

 A Guide to Walking the Middle Road. In my last article, I wrote about eschewing New Year’s Resolutions in favor of being with, and listening to, yourself in the present moment. In the last few days I’ve seen a number of email newsletters and posts on social media from people saying “forget these, my resolution this year is to make no resolutions and do more of I what I want, and less of what I don’t”. This target is exactly what being with and listening to yourself in the present moment helps you do: more of what your innermost intelligence and desire guides you towards, and less of what your innermost intelligence responds to with a big old YUCK. So either you made resolutions or you didn’t, but chances are that as the end of 2014 approached, you had some sort of emotion or idea arise about the year behind you, and the year ahead: how 2015 would be the same or different, life milestones that might or might not happen, or even the simple unfolding passage of time, which seems to be speeding up for many of us. And now it’s January first, and I’ve thrilled to be writing this article today, because we’re sitting, right now, right here, in the middle of the first day of the rest of our lives. I don’t know about you, but when I think about it that way, my thoughts seem to go in one of two directions. Direction one is, WOW, what do I want to create now, what does this year hold for me!?! The second direction is, WHOA, can I actually pull off everything I expect of myself/make all these changes, or even figure out where to begin? Keep in mind this is the reaction to 2015 of someone who chooses not to make resolutions! The forward momentum of change is still here. Common to both of these responses is a bit of a heavy burden. The burden of creating the future and making change, or choosing not to. The (possible) burdens of action, intention, and integrity. I have learned the hard way, over and over again, that a hard-driving focus (at least...

Give Yourself the Gift of Less Stress 

Give Yourself the Gift of Less Stress 

Dec 19, 2014

A busy holiday season is upon us, and New Year’s resolutions are right around the corner. It’s easy to get caught up in a frenzy of over-spending, over-eating, over-celebrating, and plain old over-doing…and when you come out the other side, there’s this idea that’s planted on our heads every year about setting some goals to be better, or to do better, in the months to come. For some, setting New Year’s resolutions are a joy: they imagine the projects they will take on, outline goals and action plans, and maybe add a vision board or inspirational planner to the mix. For others New Year’s resolutions are another chance to look at “what still needs to be done” or “what I didn’t get around to/do right/do enough of this year.” A time to measure lack rather than engage with inspiration. It can be easy to fall into some tension or letdown here, right on the heels of holiday mayhem. I’m not going to list out the pros and cons of these two strategies, or how to switch from on camp to the other. You can teach yourself more about that with some internet searches for things like “intention setting” or “mind mapping” or “bucket list”. I’m not going to suggest opting out, either (of course you can do whatever you want). I suggest, instead, making some now. Not resolutions for next year, but resolutions about here and today: about how you want to finish off 2014. Is there something you’ve been putting off? A certain way you want to spend this time? A project that you swore you’d start, or habit to break or integrate? Start now. Take one step. When stress is defined as the difference between who you are and how you behave or express, there is fundamental stress in pushing through busy holiday activity when you really want or need some peace and quiet; Likewise in spending a lot of time alone, if you are craving connection. There is stress inherent in putting off taking just one step forward with that dream project, or away from something you dislike, or leaving a mess on the floor if you desire it clean. Taking one...

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