Don’t Worry, All is Well

As part of my desire this year to get serious about my health, and just to live a happier life in general, I have been reading a lot of wellness books. I have a few books that I deem as “Holy Grail” books that have just been a wealth of knowledge and I am so glad that I found them. I do plan on discussing those at some point, I’m just working on reading through some research and finishing one of the books before I write about them. (I guess the urge to do research never really goes away if it was something you loved. It’s one of things I enjoyed most about college.)

In looking into certain topics I’ve been interested in I have found several authors and books that I have mentally filed away to read “at some point.” One of those authors is Louise Hay. She was one of the pioneers of the self-help movement and her first book came out in 1976. If you’ve ever ventured into self-help or wellness you’ve probably heard her name or someone that learned something from her. She also heads Hay House which publishes some of the leading authors in self-help, alternative medicine, and other categories.

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I was intrigued by her newest book, written with Mona Lisa Schulz titled, All is Well. It takes the idea of utilizing your body’s intuition, affirmation, medicine, and understanding the emotional centers of the body to heal yourself. The book has each emotional center split up by chapters and along with details about what areas of the body are affected by each emotional center it utilizes case studies of people showing how everything is tied together with your body.

The nice thing about this book is that it isn’t designed to be read cover to cover. It starts with a “Self-Assessment Quiz” to see what areas you should focus on. Using the answers from the quiz you can then turn to the corresponding areas and just read that section.

This book is a good introduction if you are coming from the mindset of modern medicine is the only way to cure what ails me rather than someone who already uses a few alternative medicine practices in their life. For me, I regularly use herbal medicine for colds and such and have use an acupuncturist in the past, and found this book lacking in some areas. But it is truly set up to give a complete newcomer a view into a new way to achieve whole body health.

If you are someone who has never thought of using anything other than the advice of your doctor I’d recommend this book just to get a new perspective on how to heal your mind and body. But if you are, like me, someone who has already spent some time dabbling in alternative health and know a fair bit this book might lack some of the in depth information you would be looking for.

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars because it does do a wonderful job of setting the stage to use affirmations to change some of the negative mindsets you have that contribute to certain health problems.

How do you guys feel about things such as affirmations in general? Do you enjoy reading alternative health books or do they not interest you in the slightest? Let me know if you think you have a book I just have to read!

 

 

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from Hay House Publishing for this review. The opinion in this review is unbiased and reflects my honest judgment of the product.

Shot of Joy 4

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- Having one of my friends visit for the weekend. It’s hard having my friends spread out among several different states, but I am very lucky to have such great friends visit me when they can. I’m sure they aren’t just doing it for the VooDoo Doughnuts.

- Sticking to the chore chart I created. I hate cleaning. My style of cleaning is letting the apartment get to the point where Vahid scolds me for living like a teenage boy then spending too many hours getting it clean just to repeat the process. During a talk about who should be responsible for cleaning what I created a chore chart. It divides the work up among five days (Monday-Friday) and each day has a chore. For example on Monday I clean the living room. It’s great because nothing feels overwhelming and the place stays clean, like all the time. Now sometimes we do skip a week here and there and things get a little messier than usual, but overall it’s been wonderful not having to stress about keeping things clean.
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- Getting a paid day off. I came to work and the carpet installation was a much bigger job than everyone anticipated so after about an hour I was told to just head home and enjoy the day. I’ll take it! I got to spend the day catching up on some cleaning and other projects I’d been putting off.

- sweet potato fries, best thing in life – sweet mint tea – the hot July days – Supernatural, I recently started this show from the beginning and I love it just as much as the first time – consistently losing weight for the first time in a long time – becoming friends with one of Vahid’s good friends – weekly lunch dates with Vahid – the fresh fruit at the Farmer’s Markets – being able to go to a Famer’s Market every day if I wanted – that t-shirts, tank tops, and shorts are work appropriate – the beautiful summer weather, always
What are some things you all are enjoying or are thankful for?

It’s Just a Habit

Remember last week, I talked about how changing this one area, my habits around food, had a cascading effect in my life? That’s what researchers call a “keystone habit.” I read about this in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. It’s amazing book if you want to know about habits and how they drive most everything in life.

 photo habits.jpg The book highlights so many things from how habits can create a dysfunctional work environment, to the point of deadly accidents, to how they were integral to the Civil Rights movement started in the 1950s. It was a fascinating read and really sheds a light on how habits essentially create your life.

This book helped me realize how changing a keystone habit, like my eating, effected many other areas of my life. This book also gives you the framework to change your habits. You identify the routine you’ve developed, the cue that causes the routine that elicits the reward that keeps you repeating the habit. For example with my snacking, boredom was the cue that caused me to reach for the snack and a happy and busy feeling was the reward that kept me snacking. Learning that routine helped me break the habit and look for other ways to fulfill myself that doesn’t include a handful of cookies.

If you want to learn more about habits in general or want to work on improving some of the automatic behaviors that you feel are sabotaging your health, your happiness, or your life in general I highly recommend this book to help learn about your behaviors.

Now over to you. Have you worked on changing some negative habits? Do you know if you have habits that need changing or, like me, could they be so automatic you read this thinking you had no habits to change? Or just tell me about something you are making some progress in, in your life, whether it’s a new schedule you’ve started, a weight loss regime, or some new food you’ve been trying out.

Sweet, Sweet Tea

I didn’t grow up in the south. Sweet tea was not a beverage I grew up drinking. The closest thing we got was a sun tea. I didn’t like tea much growing up. It was kind of bitter and bland and I did not want a lemon squeezed into it.

Now I love tea. I drink everything from a basic breakfast black to a fruity herbal tea. I have favorites of course, teas that I always go back to like my Hot Cinnamon Spice tea from a local tea shop. But on a hot summer day it’s hard to be a nice cold glass of sweet tea.

I can’t take credit for this recipe as I was not the one who came up with it. Vahid came up with this and it’s a fridge staple at our house. I love this tea. I love this tea even more because it doesn’t use sugar. Wait, how can a tea be called a “sweet tea” if it doesn’t use sugar to, you know, make it sweet?

It started as a way to come up with an iced tea that made use of all the mint that grows at Vahid’s mom’s house. Vahid and I love mint, Vahid might love it a bit more than me. So when we would visit his mom we could clip a bunch and take it home. Vahid started making teas and then started making iced teas with it. In an effort to cut down our (okay my) sugar consumption he experimented adding ground stevia* to the tea to make a sweet tea that satisfied my sweet tooth and didn’t have the detrimental effect sugar has on the body.

It was such a success that it’s the only iced tea we make and one of the few things we drink besides water. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s ridiculously easy to make.

Summer is better with sweet tea!

Sweet Mint Tea

Ingredients:

  • ½ bunch of mint leaves
  • a small amount of stevia (I prefer ground stevia leaf but other forms of stevia can work if that’s what you already have)
  • water

Directions:

  1. Pull the leaves from the stem and place in a pot of water on the stove
  2. Add as much as stevia as desired to make it sweet. Start small as stevia is an incredibly powerful sweetener. If making a big jug maybe as much as ¼ teaspoon. Maybe. I say err on the side of caution and start with a few pinches and go from there.
  3. Boil the leaves and stevia for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Strain and taste. If you think you still need to sweeten add some more stevia at this time
  5. Chill to room temperature and then place in fridge to get cold
  6. Pour some over ice and enjoy in the sunshine!

And that’s it. Enjoy some guilt free sweet tea this summer!

*I buy ground stevia leaf from Mountain Rose Herbs. It’s just dried stevia that has been ground into a powder. It’s still green and hasn’t been treated in any way to make it more “sugar” like. I try to stay as natural as I can and avoid stevia that has been chemically treated to resemble sugar.

Snack On This

I’ve recently been reading a book about habits, why we have habits, how we develop habits, and what are habits that we might not know are habits. It’s been pretty eye opening.

I’m working on changing some negative habits I’ve had for a long time and some that I have recently developed. At the moment the biggest habits I’m working on are related to food.

It’s no secret that I’m an emotional eater. I have said as much before. I’ve used food as a way to avoid dealing with problems. Why think about not being employed when there’s donuts and cake and a new treat shop opened up around the corner! Portland makes it hard sometimes because there are so many good treat spots to go to. Besides emotional eating I am a grazer. I realize that I’m constantly snacking or looking for snacks and it got to the point that I wasn’t even hungry and I was still eating. I do a lot of it out of boredom.

On the first of the month Vahid and I started a new diet to get my constant snacking and other issues under control. We both needed to get a bit healthier and the summer time (for me at least) is a much easier time to change my eating habits. We started a new way of eating July 1st and it’s been a week and I can already notice a difference. I’ll elaborate more about this..diet..(although I hesitate to call it a diet because it’s more of a body reset but that sounds weird without a lot of background information) when I have spent some more time with it.

But now that I am eating very certain things and there is no option for eating whatever I want I notice I spend a lot of time thinking about food. Now that my constant snacking behavior was taken away I spend a lot of my day (work and at home) thinking about what I’m doing. My train of thought often goes: I should look and see what’s in my feedly. I wonder what I have to eat in the fridge. No it’s not time to eat yet. I should just look in the fridge. I should work on my blog for a while. Maybe the cabinet needs to be cleaned out and there’s probably chips in there. No I have my reminders of when I can eat. No snacking.

It was a rude awakening to say the least to realize how much of my life was spent thinking about food and getting snacks. It’s been a hard adjustment to work on not always snacking but it’s honestly for the best and I wasn’t doing my body any favors by packing on weight and ignoring the health problems that arose as a result. But it’s been good to force myself to refocus my attention to other things.

It’s been great to remove that running dialogue to knowing exactly what I’m eating and around when I’m eating it. I’ve been able to be so much more productive. I’ve read more in this week than I have in a long time. I have spent much more time being productive and accomplishing a lot of my ever running “to-do” list. It’s crazy to think that this one, rather simple, change has changed how much time I have in general and how I spend my time.

Yes I started this diet change to lose the extra weight I packed on (and fit into my clothes that are just sadly sitting in my closet) but I’ve realized that I’m doing this to change so much more than my weight. I’ve already started changing other habits. This one change has created a cascade effect that has started to change other parts of life that I didn’t know where connected. For example, not spending so much on snack food I was able to put triple what I usually do in savings. Not worrying about what’s for dinner or wondering who’s going to cook (okay that’s a lie, it’s me wondering what Vahid is making for dinner) has allowed me to focus on my other projects I just keep saying some day about. It’s startling how much is already changing because I’ve been changing just one area of my life.
I’m excited to see how this all comes together. Sometimes I don’t have the best follow through but I feel that this is honestly the most effortless diet change I’ve had. I spent a week fretting about how I was going to handle it and when we decided that it was starting on this day and now it’s been a week and I don’t worry about not getting to eat my treat food. I think about it every once in a while but for the most part I don’t even think about eating other than going oh it’s time for lunch better have my meal. I never thought I’d get my sugar addiction under control. It’s not completely under control but it’s getting there and that is a great thing.

How about you, friends? Do you believe changing one habit can create a cascade effect? Have you seen this happen? Are you working on any self-improvement things and want to share? Or are you just flat out enjoying your summer?