There is nothing that brings me quite as much joy as food. Maybe that sounds a little far-fetched (and believe me, I kind of hope it is!) considering that I have an incredible family, amazing boyfriend, and a wonderful batch of friends. I do value these people more than I do food (obviously), but one of my favorite things to do is to taste foreign flavors, or try radical new combinations of different zesty notes of flavors. As I sit here inside of Teaism in Washington, DC, munching on red bean-filled mochi covered in sesame seeds, and snuggling up to my warm and comforting vegan anise hot chocolate, I can't help but smile. Food is such an amazing experience. Many people commend it because it brings people and different cultures together, but as much as I agree and love experiencing the art of food with others, it's a beautiful experience just on its own as well. As I am "studying" at this gorgeous tea hut, the plate in front of me brings me an incredible amount of comfort. It sounds a bit like an unhealthy relationship with food, perhaps grown out of my mom cheering me up with pastries when I was upset as a kid, but I know it's not negative at all. I don't need food right now. I need it when I'm stressed out or mentally unhealthy, sure, but right now in this very moment... I lust after a feeling of creativity experienced by my senses...a new sensation.
If you ever make it to Teaism by the way, their bento boxes are fabulous. No one makes rice like Teaism. And obviously they have a phenomenal tea selection as well.
For the past few weeks I have been educating myself on nutrition and other aspects of health by watching a lot of documentaries. "Food Inc.," "Food Matters," "Forks Over Knives," and "Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead" were all educational, and more importantly, inspiring movies. I was instantly motivated to change my daily habits after watching which made me wish that everyone in the world could have access to watching these movies. I have been raving about each of these to my friends and family, hoping they will pick up a copy so they too can experience the same bliss I did. And it wasn't a momentarily bliss, but I can truly say that these films have changed my life.
Now by the same creators as "Food Matters" comes aptly named "Hungry for Change." Today was its online debut, already rocking the nutrition and health world. The film is FREE online for the next 10 days, so don't miss this! You'll have to purchase the film in order to watch it once these days are over.
I watched the documentary today and am incredibly moved. A lot of the information presented in the film is already known to most health geeks, but I picked up so much new info as well. I kept on writing down wonderful quotes to reflect back on later because I never want this inspiration I feel in this very moment to fade away. The film covered many aspects of the US food industry, sugar addictions, obesity, stress, fitness, sleep deprivation, visualization, and even self-love. It did a fantastic job of really covering all of the aspects of health, from social interactions to healthy diets. From biochemical reactions in your body to ingredient labels to amounts of sugar in your children's food to laugh, "Hungry for Change" provided a surprisingly simple recipe for health. The documentary included numerous health experts including David Wolfe to Kris Carr (two of my favorites!) with moving stories about their own health journeys.
It's already nearing the dissolution of February, meaning the "new year" is almost a sixth of the way over. Statistics say that 64% of people in America make it through 1 month of their New Year's resolutions, and 46% through 6 months. I decided to take out my phone and check my "New Year's Resolutions" note to see how well I've done so far!
I am one of the 67% that make three or more resolutions...and I definitely make more! I wouldn't say that I'm generally a New Year's resolutions "type," but I am a goal-making/list-writing type! January 1st was a wonderful excuse to go crazy with these two habits.
Cardio 5x a week: I think I've almost kept up with this goal. I generally make it to the gym at least 4 times a week, or 2-3 times when my studies get a bit too hectic. I think I've done pretty okay!
Yoga 3x a week: I can almost say for certain that I've kept up with this one, probably because this is the goal I was most excited for! Yoga is never a chore for me, so most weeks I practice 4-5 times a week.
Max 1 coffee per day: Hmm...out of the 57 days that have passed this year, I've probably broken this 4-6 times. I totally have excuses though! As a college student, sometimes I need just one more to get me through an essay. Plus I was in Brooklyn with my roomie last weekend, so we obviously had to get our share of lattes. They were incredible! I'll post about those soon!
Limit sugar intake: I got my dad's sweet tooth. My body always craves sugar during times of stress, which I endure a lot of during test weeks. I find that yoga and exercise limit this, but most helpful of all is simply keeping sugar out of my dorm room. No more dark chocolate in my room! I used to always say I'll have a bar in my room to nibble on, but it's always gone before I know it.
Min 1 salad a day: I haven't had any trouble with this goal! My college cafeteria has fantastic local salads everyday, so I eat them for lunch, and often for dinner too!
Use gratitude journal daily: I didn't start my gratitude journal until this week actually, mostly because I kept forgetting to look out for one! I found a super cute handmade journal from Tibet at the GreenFlea Market in Manhattan last weekend. It was only $3 and smells like incense. So perfect! Although it has only been a short time, I would consider this one of my most impactful resolutions so far - this practice has opened my eyes and is changing my thinking (which in turn is changing my actions!)
Sleep 8-10 hours nightly: I really really try, but this doesn't always work out. I succeeded at the beginning of the school semester when classes weren't keeping me busy yet, but between school work, working out, and spending time with friends, sleep starts losing its priority placement.
Looking back at my resolutions is giving me a wonderful opportunity to reflect on my highs and lows throughout 2012 so far. I will be making a vision board (inspired by the wonderful Kerrie Martin, www.kerriemartin.com) this week so that I can remind myself of my goals, because sometimes all it takes to accomplish your dreams is to remind yourself of them! You should take a look at your own resolutions, and if you didn't make any this year, make some now! If you're not sure how to make a goal you will accomplish, check out the tips below:
Make your goals specific and trackable! Rather than using "to be healthier" as a goal, try something like "to eat more servings of vegetables and go to the gym 6 times a week!" You may even want to set exact deadlines so it's easier to keep track.
Write everything down. Write down your goal, and even jot down some of your progress every evening before you go to sleep.
Remind yourself. Post sticky notes around your home, or look at your list of resolutions every morning to remind yourself of your goals.
Surround yourself with supportive friends. Let them know how important these goals are for you so they can help you stay strong!
Stay positive! Instead of focusing on what you do wrong, focus on what can be even better! Rather than saying "I will not eat anything unhealthy," say "I will eat more healthy food."
It's never too late to make a healthy change!
"All wrong-doing arises because of mind. If mind is transformed can wrong-doing remain?" -The Buddha
Today marked the first official day of the crazy sexy diet! My roomie and I are taking on the challenge. No gluten, no meat or dairy, nothing too processed, no coffee. No coffee?! Hmm, maybe I'm not so sure about this...
We started the day off right with some green juice: cucumber, kale, ginger, apples, lemon. So addicting! For lunch we made salads with tons of mixed greens, black beans, roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, raisins, sunflower seeds... The list goes on. For dinner we basically had the same thing as for lunch, by this time wrapped in gluten-free pitas with some hummus! Yum!
While all of our friends were eating chips and dip during the Super Bowl, we decided to make our own Larabars! Success!!! They were so easy to make and tasted fantastic! Here's the recipe we used:
1/2 cup cashews 1/2 cup dates 2 T cacao 1 pinch of salt
We put all of the ingredients in my not-so-powerful blender for several minutes, shaped the stuff into little bars, and then stuck 'em in the fridge! Super easy. Even in a college dorm room.
I finally got my Breville juicer in the mail yesterday! I have been waiting to get one for nearly a year now, and finally bought it after watching "Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead" last weekend. It was a very inspiring documentary and although I'm not planning a 60 day juice fast anytime soon, I am happy I can now include green juices in my diet! I made a test run yesterday with carrots and apples. Delicious. For dinner I made the Joe Cross green juice out of kale, cucumber, ginger, apples, and lemon (I left out the kale), which was surprisingly tasty! This morning I made fresh orange juice, which I haven't tasted in a while. It's almost bizarre how different fresh OJ tastes from the store-bought kind...
If you've ever considered getting a juicer, do it for your health. It is a quick and easy way to make delicious and healthy snacks (or meals!). It doesn't take long to clean and most of the parts of my juicer are dishwasher safe! This doesn't mean much to a college kid without a real kitchen, but I can imagine it's a real time-saver.
A few weeks ago when I returned home to Texas, my lover and I took a little trip down to White Rock Lake. The water was almost flat with only a slight breeze dancing over the blanket of water to create little ripples in the fabric. We held hands, ran after an ice cream truck like little kids, and watched the sunset, and now I find myself on the other side of the country, daydreaming of the calm, dying to get away from the calamity of this city, Washington, DC.
Why is it sometimes so hard to completely surrender our minds, our bodies, and our souls to nature? Going back to the Earth should feel natural, primal, and easy. I am promising myself to let go of everything material, and to find truth in what Mother Nature meant for us to have.
Emancipate yourself from mental slavery. -Bob Marley