here’s the thing…

It’s New Years Day tomorrow. 2015. And with that in mind I want a fresh start for next year.

I’ve written this post so many times in my head. There are so many ways I could say what I have to say, so many explanations, justifications and general word vomit that have built up (wow did I just use the phrase word vomit in a food blog?). But in the end I think I’m going to lay things out simply. No fuss, no frills. I hope you’ll read my words with compassion and understanding and know that these are decisions I have struggled with over the last year.

I’m sure you’ve all been able to tell that my dedication and passion for this blog has been dwindling. Posts are getting fewer and farther in between. I have to force myself to sit down and type. I have to force myself to cook. I’ve made excuses but they’ve been pretty lame. I know why, and now you all will too.

For many reasons, I have chosen to move away from a vegan diet to an omnivore one. A plant-centered omnivore one where I try and ensure all animal proteins are as ethical and healthful as possible. I started exploring vegetarian options like eggs and some dairy and now find myself delving into meat and fish territory. I still see plant-based foods as the base of my diet and have many entirely vegan days. My reasons are many, with health, both emotional and physical health, being at the forefront. I tried to maintain a vegan diet much to my health’s dismay. There were only so many days I could handle feeling awful. I won’t bore you with too many details aa there are many other bloggers who have written about their transition, including their reasons and their struggles. I won’t echo their words, but will say their transitions out of veganism resonated very deeply with me.

I still use the word “compassion” to guide my food choices, but have chosen to start having more compassion for myself. I will do the best I can in a way that still allows me to be healthy and happy.

I will continue posting vegan recipes here, because I do believe we should choose plant-based foods as often as possible for our own health and for the health of all people and the planet. Some recipes with eggs and dairy may find their way in, maybe even some meat down the road, I am not sure.

I have so much love and appreciation for all of you who choose to read this blog. THANK YOU ALL FOR READING, SUPPORTING, ENGAGING. If you choose to stop reading this blog because of what I have said today, I am sincerely sorry to see you go, but I have no hard feelings. I respect your decision as much as I respect my own to write this post. I hope you feel the same. For all of you who continue to read, thank you for staying, listening and heading into 2015 with me in a more healthful, balanced and honest way.

Love to you all xox.

Let’s have an awesome 2015.

interview on not so fast

Hello lovely foodies!

For those of you who don’t know Shira from In Pursuit of More, you are missing out. She is an unbelievably inspirational and kind person who I feel honoured to have met and developed a friendship with. She is the founder of Not So Fast, which has a very simple goal:  going with (just a little) less to give someone else a little moreAbstaining from a treat, or full out fasting to allow others access to good nutritious food. Please all go check out this fantastic organization and see what you can do to help!

Through Shira’s encouragement and coaching, I began fasting as a way to contribute to this wonderful vision. It has been one of the most rewarding things I have ever been a part of.

So when Shira asked me to answer a few questions about my experience with fasting and my relationship with food, I couldn’t say no! I would love it if you would all head over to the Not So Fast website and check my interview out and learn more about Not So Fast

Thanks and see you over there!

inspiring intentions

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While New Years is the traditional time to set goals and intentions, for some reason those never seem to stick for me. We make them and they are quickly forgotten. I'm sure many of you have experienced the over zealous crowds at the gym in January only to see things are back to normal by March. 

For me, it's the transition out of summer and into fall that really inspires change. It just seems more logical doesn't it? School starts again, work starts after summer vacation, we say goodbye to warm weather and hello to cold. Establishing good habits and intentions now seems like a great way to get ahead of the game doesn't it? You will be well on the way to positive change by the time everyone else even thinks about it in January ;)

I like to think of this as my personal new year. My time to lay intentions down for who I want to be and the direction I would like my year to take. Intentions to me don't mean specific goals like working out 3 times a week or eating more meals at home. To me they are more like principles to guide the way I think and act. If I can act in accordance with my intentions, my goals tend to fall in place and I can say i am happy with the year, no matter what else happens!

I wrote a post as a part of Suzanne at hello veggy's Inspiring Intentions Guest Post Series and I hope you'll head over to check it out!

photo credit: Ian Sane via photopin cc

the reading nook: edition #5

Happy weekend everyone!

I wanted to bring back my “Reading Nook” series. I can’t believe I haven’t done one since November! The Reading Nook is all about showing you guys books, articles, recipes and just general stuff I’ve found interesting or inspiring recently. Hopefully if you are here reading this blog (and have gotten this far into the post) you have similar tastes to me and will find them interesting too!

1. The Happiness Project 

This book was so fun to read and given my current state of mind, I found it to be incredible insightful and inspirational. It’s all about making small changes to bring about an increase in happiness for yourself and those around you. I can’t wait to start implementing some of her ideas and start my own Happiness Project.

2. A Smart Woman’s Guide to Hormones

This book is a fantastic resource for an woman, regardless of age who is struggling with hormonal imbalances. While the fact that I was reading this book got a lot of laughs from a few male friends (cue the PMS jokes!) but it’s seriously about so much more than that. I know I took a lot from it and this every woman should own a copy. Lorna Vanderhaeghe is an expert in her field (and Canadian!) and I seriously admire her and all her work.

3. Firming and Softened DIY Body Scrub from Pure Ella

This awesome DIY scrub comes from the lovely Ella at Pure Ella. Not only does it justify making a pot of coffee (;o)) but it has amazing health and beauty benefits, just in time for skirt and shorts weather!

I made it the other day and it smells AMAZING. Forget drinking coffee in the morning, this will perk you right up! I've also used it a couple times and my skin is so soft already!

4. Five Mental Habits that Steal Years from your Life from Natural News

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A great article about why we need to kick negative thinking and thoughts in the pants! We all know worrying and self-critique gets us no where, but did you know that it contributes to chronic stress which seriously reduces your life span and risk of disease and illness? Let’s all try and replace the bad with good!

5. Find Your Yoga Style Infographic from Mind Body Green

With so many yoga styles out there, it can get confusing. This is a great infographic to help you target the classes that will help achieve your own goals and suit your mood! Click the link or picture for a larger version.

Enjoy your weekends everyone! 

8 week no-sugar pre-christmas program

quick post today, more of an update on where the direction of this blog will be going for the next 8 weeks…

now, those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that i like challenges. i like putting my diet to the test and seeing what i can accomplish with it- my transition to veganism was largely a result of myself wondering if i could do it! i’ve been doing lots of stress eating lately so I want to try and curb that and i also want to clean up  my diet a bit before the christmas season. so even though i’m a few days late 'i’m going to be joining in on sarah wilson’s pre-christmas 8 week “i quit sugar” challenge.

this is actually a challenge i have done before, pre-blogging days and i found it so beneficial! i felt so much better getting of the sweet stuff, including reducing my fruit intake. my intake of vegetables and healthy fats went way up and i found new and interesting foods and snacks. i’m so excited to do it again!

if anyone would like to join me, please let me know in the comments! i would love to have someone to bounce ideas off of and let’s face it, it’s always more fun to do these things with someone! i know megan @ the detoxinista is participating, so join in, all the cool people are doing it ;)

now, i may post a few recipes coming up that have sugar in them since i have a few seasonal ones in the back-log but i will do my best to keep them to a minimum. you might even see a re-emergence of the “what i ate wednesday” style posts! after a good break from them i’m actually pretty excited to get back into it!

here’s to a fantastic 8 (well almost 7 weeks now) of delicious, healthy sugar-free eating!

creamy chickpea tomato sauce

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Do you every feel like you’re fumbling around in the darkness that is life- not really sure where you’re going or what you’re doing, but just hoping that your decisions lead you somewhere positive, new and to a place of happiness?

Since I graduated from Queen’s just over 2 years ago, my life has felt much like this. Every decision I make is laced with uncertainty. One question and decision simply leads to another. Should I travel?  Should I move across the ocean? Should I start a blog? Should I go back to school? In reality, all of these questions can be reduced down to a much more simple, or more complicated question, depending on how you look at it:

Should I test myself?

With the prospect of moving to a new city to pursue my passion looming before me, I am facing another personal test. To rise above the anxiety, fears and personal pressure and fully embrace this change.

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All of my “personal tests” up until this point have had results that were so amazing, I can hardly imagine who I would be without them. By travelling I was exposed to new cultures and traditions and got to experience just what “living in the moment” meant.. When I moved to Ireland I gained a sense of independence and assurance in myself, confidence in my abilities to be self-reliant and well as self-respect. Starting this blog has allowed me to connect with so many fantastic bloggers and readers, that I no longer feel alone in my crazy little food world.

While all of these have been stunning successes, I can’t help but be wary of this move, of going back to school and revamping my life again. With every new decision and experience comes uncertainty and risk. I only hope I can find it in me dive in without reservations, so I can meet what’s coming to learn and grow.

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Chickpea Cashew Tomato Sauce (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

Ingredients (Serves 3-4 generously)

  • 3/4 cup red onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 cup chickpeas
  • 1 28 oz. can tomatoes
  • 3 handfuls baby spinach, torn
  • 1/3 cup raw cashews, ground
  • 2 tbsp fresh basil, 2 tbsp fresh oregano
  • pinch sea salt

Instructions

In a large saucepan, saute the onion for a couple minutes in oil (I used coconut) until it is starting to become translucent. Add garlic and saute a couple minutes more. Add in the chickpeas and cook until onions are completely translucent and are beginning to brown.

Add in the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Reduce the liquid by about 1/2. Cover and turn the heat down to a low simmer and keep cooking until most of the liquid is gone. Add in the spinach and cook until wilted, then stir in the ground cashews. Stir in the fresh herbs, add salt to taste. Serve immediately on top of small chunky pasta such as fusilli or penne.

 

Don't forget to come back tomorrow for Healthy Vegan Friday!

P.S. Sorry about the poor quality pictures- the lighting when I took them was terrible so i decided to play with some editing features

 

creamy spiced strawberry coconut oatmeal

Hope isn’t knowing things will turn out all right. Hope isn’t an unshakeable belief that everything is right in the world or a worldview that is all sunshine and butterflies.

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I don’t usually write posts like this. I don’t feel like I am a good enough writer to tackle some of the more philosophical or thoughtful topics. But when the amazing Cara at Fork and Beans tagged me in this Hope Blog Relay, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to dip my toes in the water and see where my stream of thought takes me. Topic to consider: hope.

 

Life is full of twists and turns that are unexpected and unexplained. It can throw us for a loop and leave us gasping for breath. Change, especially forced change can be terrifying- it’s unanticipated and not optional. It would be so easy to get bogged down in the negative.

To me, hope is embracing change and utilizing it to bring out a positive outcome. I wouldn’t be the person I was today if life hadn’t challenged me to rise up against difficult times. Change puts you to the test! It forces you to look at yourself and find the the qualities that will help you through and then bring them to the forefront! We can sink into a glass half-empty perspective and accept what life has given us, or rise up and create goodness and light! Hope is believing in your abilities to achieve this difficult task and knowing that while life may not be exactly what you envisioned it to be, it’s still pretty great because it has made you the person you are. Which is awesome if you ask me.

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Thank you Cara for tagging me and forcing me out of my comfort zone!

Many bloggers have been tagged already but I’m very curious to hear what these ladies have to say (although of course there is no pressure here):

Ann @ An Unrefined Vegan

Nicole @ Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Lou @ fridge scrapings

Heather @ Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes

Raechel @ the rebel grrl kitchen

Sarah @ This is What I Eat

Sara @ my less serious life

Please feel free to comment below with your thoughts!

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And what better way to look at life with fresh new perspective than to start with a delicious breakfast that will nourish your tummy and soul. I was planning on posting a different recipe today, but this just seemed to fit with the topic of the day :). This coconut oatmeal was inspired by Katie’s paleo version. It is warm, comforting, and highlights the beautiful thing that is strawberries in summer.

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Not only does it taste great, but it’s full of fiber, vegan and grain-free. Hard to argue with that right?

Creamy Spiced Strawberry Coconut “Oatmeal” (Vegan, Gluten-free, Sugar-free)

Adapted from this recipe. Serves 1.

  • 1 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed 3 tbsp water, set aside to let gel
  • 1/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut flakes (for texture, can omit)
  • 1/2 tbsp coconut oil (for the heathy fats, can omit)
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/2 of a small ripe banana, sliced thin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • pinch salt
  • sweetener to taste, optional, I didn’t use
  • sliced strawberries
  • liquid sweetener such as maple syrup, agave or coconut nectar, optional

Put the coconut flour, flakes, almond milk and banana in a small saucepan and heat over medium until the banana slices melt into a creamy texture, full incorporated with the milk, stirring frequently (a few minutes).

Add in the chia gel, cinnamon, ginger, vanilla, salt and sweetener if using. and continue cooking until you get a porridge-like texture, stirring constantly. Make sure you stop while it’s still creamy- you don’t want it to get dry!

Top with sliced strawberries and drizzle maple syrup, agave or coconut nectar to serve.

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I'm submitting this recipe to Wellness Weekends!

Before I go, I'd just like to share 2 videos with you all:

This one was shared by Raechel on her blog and was just so full of good ideas I had to share it. It's about the connection between veganism and yoga. I completely relate to the idea of ahisma (non-harming) and it is the main reason I eat plant-based.

This next one is just a funny video that I found in the sidebar when I was watching the above video :) In particular I like the tummy thing she does in the beginning (called Nauli, I'm trying to learn since it's good for digestion) and the almonds. 

I feel like I want to start sharing more articles and videos I find interesting here on the blog.

What do you guys think? Would you be interested in that?

What did you think about my non-food, thoughtful musings at the beginning?

Have a lovely weekend everyone!

mango cilantro smoothie

Happy weekend dear readers!

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To be honest, as I write this I am not feeling my best. I got results from my doctor the other day and despite our best efforts, my iron levels have not improved, in fact they have gotten worse somehow and my B12 levels aren’t great either, despite taking supplements. He’s ordered a whole new panel of tests for me to get done because we’re clearly missing something. This is so frustrating especially since those silly iron supplements have been making my stomach upset for a month and a half. I have been doing everything right. I eat loads of greens, have given up coffee and take my supplements. It’s disheartening too because my doctor isn’t really asking me how I feel about anything or asking about my diet. All his messages are relayed through a nurse. To add to that he’s not able to see me again for more tests until the end of August. Until then he hasn’t given me any suggestions, I’m just supposed to sit here. I am a little lost as to what I’m supposed to be doing and feel like I’ve been hung out to dry. It’s like I’ve been slotted into a category which has a pre-determined, step-by-step process assigned to it, rather than being considered as the individual I am. We all have different lifestyles and bodies so shouldn’t approaches to health be more personalized? I know my health issues do not even come close to what many people have to deal with, but I can’t help but be a little disheartened. Have any of you experienced situations like this with your health and/or your doctor?

While my journey towards solving my energy and digestive issues has hit this hitch, I’m trying to remain positive! I’m going to continue seeking out dietary sources of iron (but I’m stopping those pills) and start taking regular digestive enzymes and probiotics. Clearly my body is having difficulty absorbing nutrients for some reason or another so I’m going to to support it best I can. I’ll also try and stay active, but honour how I’m feeling and take rest days as needed.

I’m also trying to keep optimistic and I’m hoping the power of positive thinking works wonders.

=)

Oh Barney, so wise!

Listening to this adorable song has been helping loads too :)

Ok, that little vent is now OVER! No more wallowing in self-pity, I promise.

The real purpose of today’s post is to share with you a new smoothie recipe! Inspired by this Snappy Cucumber Mango Salad by Daily Bites, it packs quite the flavour punch!

This is definitely an interesting and intriguing smoothie, one that invites you to discover new components each time you sip! The ingredients list might seem a little out there compared to other fruit smoothies but I promise it totally works.  The cilantro gives it an Indian-inspired flavour, the ginger adds a little kick and the cucumber and lime keep everything fresh!

In addition to having all sorts of crazy flavour, this is also incredibly detoxifying and will help aid digestion. Cilantro has a detox effect on the body where it binds to heavy metals like mercury and helps remove them from the body. It is also produces digestive enzymes and stimulates digestions through peristalsis (the movements and contractions of the stomach). Mango produces digestive enzymes as well and ginger is a great stomach soother.

I hope you all give this smoothie a chance! Coriander lovers only though ;)

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Mango Cilantro Smoothie (Vegan, Gluten-free, Refined Sugar-free, Raw)

This smoothie is a little sweet, a little savoury with a definite kick. Perfect for hot summer days, or even cool summer nights.

  • 1 cup frozen mango chunks
  • 1 cup cucumber (quartered and sliced)
  • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp coconut water (or more to desired consistency, could also use plain water)
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander
  • 1 tsp fresh chopped ginger
  • 1 tsp agave (might need a little more if you are using water)
  • juice of 1/2 a lime
  • pinch sea salt

Throw it all into a smoothie and blend. Serve with a cucumber slice for a cocktail feel!

I am submitting this recipe to Allergy Free Wednesday and  Wellness Weekends.

Now before I go, I owe you guys a few pictures from the Boston trip I took last month! I’m a little late on these so please forgive me!

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where the declaration of independence was read

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Pride celebrations

awesome patio set! i can imagine having a tea party here

vintage market garden party furniture :)

hand ring holder

more of the market

creepty statues on the way to Sam Adams

crazy sculptures near the Sam Adams brewery

so many trees all over boston. i think it's why my skin stayed so good there- clean air!

so many trees all over Boston! I think that’s why skin stayed so clear here. Usually when I go to a big city I get flare-ups.

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a pretty church

more Harvard

Harvard campus- so green!

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pretty flowers in the Public Gardens

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enjoying the moments- staring at the clouds

another one! So cute

Hmmmm: cute frog statue outside a playground in the Boston Common

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Beacon Hill

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His and hers bathrooms at the Thinking Cup Coffee Bar

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We loved Boston :)

And with that, I’m heading to Montreal for a couple days. See you all back here soon, and enjoy your weekends!

very inspiring, versatile and liebster!

**Thank you all for your lovely responses to my spring cleanse post! I can’t wait to start and knowing I have your support is going to help a ton.

I love the blogging/reader community! Just when I am having a blah day or I’m feeling very un-me and unsure of what I’m doing with my life, someone comes along and makes my day. Whether it be a fellow blogger stopping by to say hello, a reader trying (and liking) one of my recipes or getting one of my recipes featured in blog link-up (like here, here and here), I am always blown away by the support and positive mojo flowing around. You are all lovely human beings! And recently I was lucky enough to be bestowed with 3 awards from 4 fellow bloggers!

imageThe first award I received was the Very Inspiring Blogger Award from MyMultipersonality. She had such a lovely shout out and to think that I inspired even one person with my approach to food and cooking is so wonderful! Her blog discusses triathlon training and while I’ve never trained for an athletic event like that, the process is fascinating and who knows what it’ll inspire in me?

Award Rules:

  1. Choose 7 blogs you find inspiring to award this to.
  2. Show your thanks to the blogger that nominated you by linking back to them.
  3. Post the award on your blog and list the bloggers you are awarding it to.
  4. Share 7 facts about yourself!

Choosing the blogs for both this and the Liebster Award was sooo difficult. There are so many blogs out there that I love and read almost daily, but I tried to adhere to the specificity of what the award is for to make my selections. You all are just way too awesome, make my life difficult why don’t ya?

7 blogs I find inspirational:

  1. An Unrefined Vegan. You bake the most gorgeous breads! You don’t shy away from anything!
  2. In Pursuit of More: Shira, your philosophy of finding more in living with less is so admirable. So glad I met you! (Even if it is only an “online meet”)
  3. Tessa the Domestic Diva: amazing gluten-free baker and cook and some of her blog tips are the reason  why I can bake without gluten. She made me realized living with no gluten didn’t have to mean bricks for muffins :)
  4. Rawified: gorgeous raw foods that I can’t tear my eyes away from- I just want to make raw desserts all the time!
  5. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes: gorgeous food photography. If you could lend me tips, I would be forever thankful. Seriously…;)
  6. This Rawesome Vegan Life: same as Rawified. Amazing philosophy towards a raw diet- she has an easy-going, do as much as you can approach which is refreshing compared to those who believe 100% is the only way!
  7. Sketch-Free Vegan Eating: been following this blog from the beginning. Pure and simple recipes that are completely in sync with my tastes. Would love to create an eBook one day like Jaclyn and Jennifer!

The second award is the Liebster Blog Award from Sara at My Less Serious Life. This is an award for up-and-coming blogs and the fact that I could imagebe considered that is just so cool! Sara’s blog is an awesome fusion of fitness, fashion and healthy eating and she has such a positive, easy-going approach to life that is contagious. So thank you Sara :)

The Liebster Blog Award Rules

  1. Choose 5 up-and-coming blogs with less than 200 followers to award the Liebster to. (Note: I have no idea how to figure out how many followers blogs have myself)
  2. Show your tanks to the blogger(s) who gave you the award by linking back to them.
  3. Post the award on your blog. List the bloggers you are giving the award to with links to their sites. Leave comments on their blog so they know about the award.
  4. Share 5 random facts about yourself that people don’t know about you.

And the award goes to…..

  1. Terra not Terror: amazing tips and info for living more simply
  2. Fashion Food Fight: adorable girls, beautiful photos and delicious food
  3. My Eden Roots: simple and lovely recipes and tips on how to raise a healthy happy baby!
  4. Sensual Appeal: gorgeous photos, love reading about your journey and thoughts on healthy eating!
  5. Desayunos veganos {365} Vegan breakfasts: gorgeous photos and inspired breakfasts!

imageNow, a shout out to Rantings of an Amateur Chef who nominated me for my second Versatile Blogger award ages ago! I have already nominated people for that so I won’t do that again, but I wanted to officially thank you Pat :). You put so much faith in me as a new blogger and it really helped inspire some confidence in me.

Second, Dudette nominated me for the Versatile too! Seriously I can not tell you how wide I am smiling!! Thank you so much Dudette, I have loved getting to know you the last little while. Your feedback on my blog posts is sooo appreciated and I look forward to reading yours everyday. Your decision to take your health in your own hands is admirable!

So, the Inspiring Blog Award asks that you list 7 random things about yourself, the Liebster award asks for 5, and the Versatile asks for 7, so I’ll do 10 and call it a day? ;)

  1. I am chronically indecisive. My favourite things change constantly including my favourite colour, movie and foods. In case you are wondering my current favourite colour is green.
  2. I am very clumsy- I find ways to trip over nothing and run into still objects (like door frames)
  3. I have a major sweet tooth, but I usually find a way to satisfy that in a healthy way. My guilty pleasures are salty- Veggie dogs with mustard and French fries with malt vinegar. Whyyyy aren’t these good for you? I could eat them every day!imageimage
  4. I have naturally dark blonde hair but I think I look better with brown so I dye it (organic dyes only!)
  5. I can’t whistle. I could, then I got braces. When they came off, my ability to whistle went with them and I have never regained it!
  6. I can hold crow pose for 1 min (if I’m really focused). This may not be super impressive to many people, but I am really proud of it! image
  7. I like to sleep with my socks on, unless it gets way too warm (pretty rare occurrence for me!)
  8. I change my handwriting often because I get bored with it. Even in small ways. Most recent change: how I write the #4. From this  image to this image
  9. I really enjoy the fantasy and sci-fi genres of TV, film and books- most recent obsession- “A Song of Fire and Ice” series by George R. R. Martin and the associated HBO Game of Thrones series. I’m on the third book and I’m obsessed. image
  10. I’m allergic to dogs but I’m determined to have my own one day! My dream dog: a Husky. They are so gorgeous and love their independent streak. imageimage

I’ll be back soon with some cleanse related posts! Enjoy the rest of your weekends!

time for yourself

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a lovely Friday, and if not, at least it's the weekend :)

Today's post is going to be a little different. When I first started this blog I envisioned it to be a place where I would post on everything from recipes, to healthy living tips, to exercises I enjoy and just general thoughts. I've gone on a recipe binge though, which I love and have loved doing (I mean it means more tasty food to enjoy!) but I want to get back to other ideas and topics that are important to me as well. This will help keep things interesting and take a little pressure off of coming up with a food idea all the time.

Today I want to talk about "me time", something that I think is underrated and under appreciated in today's society. We have so many demands on our time now from work, friends, family and even our computers through blogs and social networking sites! I am definitely the kind of person who likes staying in and likes being alone, therefore you might think that I get a lot of time alone. And I do. But that's not what I mean here. I'm not talking about answering emails, reading twitter comments, watching tv or checking your phone for text messages, even if you are doing these things alone.  I think we forget that sometimes we need time to decompress- to disengage from the world around us and focus on what exactly is going on inside. Too often I find my time consumed actions such as these:

  1. window shopping on the internet for things I don't need simply because I saw an ad for it on another page or I got an email about an ongoing sale. I never stop to think about whether I need these things or whether I could be spending my time in a more constructive way than wanting things I can't have
  2. mindless TV watching. I tend to throw the TV on in the morning as background noise and fall asleep to TV at night. What this does though is closes off my mind from opportunities that could otherwise offer valuable time for self-reflection
  3. checking Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Gmail AGAIN. Am I really that important? Is anything going to happen on there that will dramatically affect me if I don't check it every 5 min?

When you are constantly engaging in these actions, you are opening yourself up to certain kinds of thoughts as well such as:

  1. I need that piece of clothing/electronic/product to feel happy
  2. I need other people and things to keep me occupied
  3. Spending time alone, not interacting, is time wasted
  4. I need people/things to experience enjoyment

Even beneficial activities such as reading and working out can simply act as distractions that cloud our thoughts. And while there is nothing wrong with them in-and-of themselves, in fact they are very beneficial and important, they are one more thing on the ever growing list that is occupying our minds and preventing us from self-reflection.

And it just doesn't give you any time to learn and appreciate what's happening with you. We forget to consider these things:

  1. How am I really feeling today?
  2. How did I feel about that conversation or that incident?
  3. What did I really enjoy doing today?
  4. What/who made me happy today?
  5. What is making me happy long term?
  6. What can I change to be happier?
  7. Do I feel balanced?
  8. Do I feel at peace with myself?
  9. Do I feel joyful?

These are important considerations that are very easy to get distracted from.

And when you take time to understand how you are really feeling you can make meaningful changes in your life for the better. You learn where to spend your time and how to engage with others in a way that is best and right for YOU.

So I am making a change in my life.  Scheduling some me time.

My 30 Minutes. 30 Minutes a Day of just me.

This is definitely going to be a challenge. What I think will work best for me is splitting that 30 min up into two 15 minute blocks each day, one in the morning and one at night. I've been brainstorming ideas of activities or things that can help self-reflection and introspection. While I do engage in some of these activities already, I am going to strive to make these a more regular part of my weeks.

  • Goal Journal: keep a journal of your goals both short and long term. Take a moment to write down in an activity you engaged in that day to help move you along. Is one of your goals to eat healthier? Maybe write down that you had a veggie-loaded dinner. Is one of goals to save money? Write down a time when you chose not to buy something that day. Looking at what you want and what you are doing to get there will keep you in tune with your goals and motivated to achieving them.
  • Gratitude Journal: This is not a new concept, but one that I really want to make part of my daily routine. Take a couple minutes to jot down a couple things you are grateful for everyday, big or small. Happy that it's sunny out? Amazed at a thoughtful act by a friend? Write it down and go back over past entries. This will help us remember what's important and serve as an important reminder when maybe it's hard to be grateful.
  • Light Stretching/Yoga: While this could be termed "exercise" light stretching and yoga is an opportunity to take time to focus on your breath and really think about how your body feels. Do you have tightness anywhere? Lacking patience to breath slowly hold a pose? Is your balance off? Or do you feel loose, energized and focused? Just take note and don't judge. This is good information to inform the rest of your day.
  • Take your coffee/tea/water outside and breathe in the fresh air.
  • Take a bath, light some candles and just revel in the calming feelings and smells.
  • Listen to music: generally I would say listen to calming music that isn't so distracting so you can take time to think, but if you are feeling energized and great and just want to move? Then blast that dance music and just focus on how good you feel!
  • Put a pen to paper. Just write or draw with no intentions or plans and see what comes out. I used to not think anything worthwhile or productive could come from this and sometimes, nothing does. But other times what I find myself doing surprises me.
  • Breathe. Sometimes I like to lie on my back, hands on my stomach and feel the rise and fall of my stomach and just get lost in it. I remember I started doing this once for 2 weeks straight and because I had been focusing so much on taking full deep breaths, my lower abs got firmer, so bonus!
  • Eat your breakfast/lunch/dinner alone, with no TV or books to distract you. Focus on what you like about the food and how you feel. Added bonus here too: noticing when your full, whether you are really enjoying the food, and whether you're eating because you're hungry or a myriad of other emotions like bored or sad
  • Take a walk. Instead of listening to music, take time to listen to your surroundings and your own thoughts. Get some fresh air into those lungs!
  • Repeat a mantra that you find inspiring, calming or centering. I am worth it. I deserve good things. I am beautiful. Find one that works for you! I think this would really help remind us that we are deserving of a rewarding life and maybe help motivate us to carry our mantra into the rest of our life.

And no matter what you do, during "My 30 Minutes"….

  • No cellphone. Turn it off if you have to.
  • No laptops, TVor social media devices. Do your writing in an actual notebook with a pen. This will remove temptation to "check your email real quick". Plus actually holding a book in your hands is really satisfying.
  • Be alone! No interruptions. If there are others around just ask that they leave you be for a few minutes.
  • Have fun! This is supposed to be enjoyable, not a chore. So if you set out to do 15 min but are ready to tear your hair out after 5, leave it be. Don't come to dread this time! Above all this is time to show some love to yourself!

I'm going to start doing this starting tomorrow and I'll do updates every so often on how it's going. No matter what comes up whether I learn or experience something significant or not, I think it will be time well spent :) I could absolutely use more time with no noise, no demands on my attention and no distraction.

Does anyone else do something like this or think they might benefit from more time truly alone?

I hope you all enjoyed this post, I really enjoyed writing it, but for some reason was a little hesitant when it actually came time to press the "publish" button. I'm sure most of my posts will still be food related but I would like to sprinkle in some other things here and there. I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Tomorrows post: lemon coconut hemp seed bites!

Update: click here for the recipe!

Have a lovely evening!