Wellness Wednesday #11 – Game Changers

It’s been a hot minute since I was able to write anything on the blog, let alone anything about WELLNESS. I have been keeping myself busy in other ways and not putting too much pressure on myself to be superwoman. Thus, some things I love have slid a little this semester while doing other things I love…..like teaching and being involved in my kiddos school/sports/lives.

But, today I am thinking hard about a movie I watched lately…..Game Changers.

If you haven’t seen that Netflix documentary yet you may be thinking that it’s just like all of the other ones out there about sport and nutrition and it’s going to be preachy and annoying…..well, it’s not.

While Game Changers doesn’t teach me anything that I didn’t already know, it just keeps reaffirming for me the things that I do know in my head, my heart, and my gut about my diet. Lately I feel this strong urge to stop eating meat. It’s not enjoyable to me, it doesn’t make me feel positive about my food choices, and for many years it plagued me when I traveled. I also feel detached from eating dairy. We have already replaced a lot of dairy in our house with almond/coconut/cashew alternatives. I just feel like I want to do more.

For lunch today I had a burrito bowl….a staple meal at our house. I added leftover sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving and some avocado. I was tempted to put in cheese and sour cream, but I didn’t because something in my head reminded me that I didn’t need it. I used the only chips we had that were covered in cheese, but as I added them I wished that we had some corn at home that I could have added instead. I like the salt and crunch, not the chips themselves, so I could have had something else that met that need.

The biggest hurdle to eating the way I want to eat is the people I live with. I get a lot of push-back about not having meat because it’s something that we’ve become accustomed to. But, just because you’re used to something doesn’t mean it’s good for you. Smokers know that smoking’s not good for them….abuse is not good for you, pollution is not good for you…..we know that just because we have done it that way doesn’t mean we have to keep doing it that way. Habits are hard to change.

Recently a friend of mine who had been so against my messages of less animal product consumption messaged me. Their family had gone vegan after finally looking at the scientific research that supports a plant based diet. All of a sudden they have more energy and feel better and not just physically, but better about their life and their choices and about how they’re living sustainably!

Yesterday a different friend of mine was lamenting about the same issue I face….the family push-back. I know I have done this to myself. I was the one who gave my children dairy and eggs and meat. Now I am trying to take it away. I do this for their health and their wellness and the sustainability of a lifestyle that comes with it. I just wish I had someone to back me in this process. On this issue my wellness suffers not just because of the animal products we’re consuming, but because of the lack of community and support I feel on this journey.

I don’t know if I will ever be fully vegan, but I am on a journey in that direction and would love it if you’d come along. Go plant for yourself, your planet, your family, your future, your happiness, your health, your wellness!

Breaking Up with Dairy in the Toilet Bowl of America – A Happiness Project Reset

So, it’s technically three months into this Happiness Project of mine and I’m kind of at the point of starting over. In the first month of my project I focused on getting myself well. Because the whole point of this project is to make me happy by giving me My Best Body, that included getting things right with my health. But, oh did that ever change for me in the last week?!

If you’ve read the blog at all, you know that I’m a big fan of documentaries…..I’m also a great proponent of eating what fuels you and not subscribing to restrictive eating plans. However, a shift has occurred within me that’s been coming for awhile. For a long time now I’ve felt on the verge of making a big change; something inside of me wasn’t quite yet defined, but I felt like the way I was eating was wrong for me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until I watched What The Health.

Now, before you stop reading, let me put this disclaimer out there….

I still believe that each and every person has to make their own decisions based on what they feel is the right food for them and their body (diet). This decision can be made for health reasons, ethical reasons, financial reasons, cultural reasons…whatever. And I am not a Registered Dietician, so I will NEVER tell anyone what they should and shouldn’t eat.

With that in mind, I have made a choice for myself to slowly cut out animal products. Why? Because for some time now I’ve felt that they didn’t benefit me in the way that they used to. The food didn’t make me feel as good (hence the reason I went mostly meatless on travel weekends), it didn’t taste as good, it felt like a crutch. After watching many of the disturbing and disgusting facts presented in a wide variety of food documentaries, after always being informed about the secret funding behind our food guidance systems, and after my own experiences with dietary intake, I decided that dairy and meat aren’t really for me.

So, because I didn’t make this decision in an instant and I didn’t do it for ethical reasons (although I wish I could say that I did), I am making a slow transition away from these foods. I’m just not buying more dairy as it gets used up. I’m just not buying more meat as it gets used up. I am going to allocate more of my food budget toward whole fruits and vegetables. I enjoy almond milk and am going to try making my own cashew milk. I am going to try some alternative dairy products and eat more whole grains. I am going to explore different snacks and flavors. I’m rethinking what breakfast means. I am exploring and giving myself until the end of 2017 to see how this experiment goes.

The only expectation I have at this point is to try. I want to live happy and free from disease. I want to love the body that I’m in and feel that I am taking care of it. I am resetting my Happiness Project to have My Best Body in 2017!

Have you seen the documentary?

How do you make your food choices?

What is your favorite meatless meal?

Meditation Monday #26 – Reflections on Parenting

I plan to meditate on something else as well this afternoon, but lately I’ve been reflecting on my parenting and being the parent I want to be. I have made mistakes already along the way; I think we all have and all do at some point. So, I have two choices:

  1. Keep going and flying by the seat of my pants as I have been doing lately….or
  2. Go back to what was working when things were good

I’m sure you can guess which option seems more appealing to me at the moment. This is kind of like a pro’s/con’s list when it comes to changing your yoga/fitness/lifestyle routine in any sense. What’s easiest? Usually the answer to that is to stay the course we’re currently on. What’s best? That one is a little harder to answer.

For me, what’s best is to go back and re-institute the parenting techniques that were working for me when I had the best relationship with my children. Right now there’s a lot of fear of time-out and having things taken away and of other “punishments” in our house. Fear is not the place that I want to live from and I don’t want my children to live from a place of fear either.

Some people have told me that children are not little people and I’ve wrestled with this idea a lot over the years…..what is it that they’re truly lacking that doesn’t make them as “human” as adults? When doe we develop it? And lately I’ve been watching a documentary series on Netflix called The Beginning of Life: The Series. Image result for the beginning of life the seriesIt’s six different episodes and each one breaks down a different element of the young human child (including loss of childhood due to other circumstances). In watching this series there are a wide variety of experts in the field of child development who are interviewed; including teachers in Montessori schools. My oldest son currently attends a Montessori school and he went to a Montessori preschool last year that my youngest will attend this fall. So, I started thinking about Montessori and all the other things that were being presented in this series and a light-bulb came on for me. It was an AHA! moment…..enlightenment in yoga.

At my son’s school he treats his teacher’s with respect and they do the same. He is taught how to express his emotions and thoughts verbally. He is taught to talk it out when things are not going his way. At home he is a much different person and it is a much different environment. At home, recently, respect has been demanded and consequences many. This is not how it always was and now I see more defiance in his attitude toward me. I see him physically getting upset and jumping up and down when I let the shark music take over and I refuse to listen to him. We are in a struggle for power when truly, if I were to respect him I would have the power I feel I need. He would cooperate if I would listen and show him he is heard. I used to do that…..

When my son was first learning how to speak I did not demand that it was perfect. I helped and I listened and I tried to communicate with him in many ways so as to understand what he wanted and needed. I think we forget that part of parenting once language is developed, as children become more and more self-sufficient. But, I need to remind myself of all of the ways in which his self is still developing, his brain is still developing, his happiness is still developing. At almost 6 he is not self-sufficient and he has needs for love and attention and to explore his world just as he did at 6 months. He still needs protection and patience.

So, be it wrong or right, I plan to turn back to my old way of parenting….of talking….of showing respect and patience for a journey that is nowhere near complete. It will be hard to break these habits, but anything worth doing is worth doing right. We all have our struggles in life and currently mine is understanding how to be a better parent to my children. As I meditate, I cultivate patience and understanding of who I am, how I am, what I want out of this life with them….what I want out of life for them…

If you’re looking for some good books to read on this subject, check out my post here

Meditation Monday #8: Relations

and other books by the same authors!

Have you checked in lately on your parenting?

Do you think that children are little people or not?

What is your meditation for this week?

One Day to Go – Looking Forward to 2017

The past two days I’ve been on a posting frenzy! Well, 2/2 that is. So, I thought I’d make a run for it with 3/3 today. I’m already aware of the fact that I WON’T be posting on Sunday. It’s New Year’s Day in this country and I’m having a party. You’re welcome to join us, but not really because I can only cook so much in my slow cooker. But come in spirit….take the day off from the online world and revel in your IRL friends (if people even still use that sort of speak).

So, I only have a brief post for you today about looking forward to 2017. Continue reading “One Day to Go – Looking Forward to 2017”

TOLT #19 – Drop the Commentary; Not the Cookies?

I originally had this post ready to go for yesterday’s Think Out Loud Thursday, but after the documentary I saw the other night, I’ve had a small change of heart over the tone of this post. So, I pulled it and spent the day thinking about what I really wanted to say. This is a re-write of my original post. I also changed the exclamation point at the top to a question mark to reflect my change in opinion…..so, here we go:

I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately about external negativity. Here’s what I have to say to all of it:

This is my rant for today’s

Everyone around you at this moment is experiencing a different point in their life, but all the lives around you are happening at once.  So, who are you to judge anyone at all?  I’ve been thinking a lot about this question myself. It started a few weeks ago when I was in Statesville. There were two women in my workshop who each had teenage sons. In that same weekend one woman was sending her son to the prom while another was sending hers to a funeral of a friend who’d been killed in an auto accident involving drinking. Life is so fragile and yet, we treat each other so ruthlessly at times.

There are times to celebrate and times to mourn, but is there every really a time to out right hurt another person? These kids are growing up in a society that is overloaded with social media. My own kids will be far more exposed to the pressures of cyber bullying than I ever was. It scares me to think about what kids do with cell phones and all of the privileges they are allotted these days. It also scares me to think about how many more parents think that they are involved in their kids’ lives only to find out that they’re not.

There are kids whose parents want to be their best friend and kids whose parents want to give them everything so that they’ll never feel without. In my opinion, my kids will be just fine without a cell phone until they can drive and they don’t have tablets or every toy under the sun. They have more than I had when I was growing up, but I also believe that they should work for something in their life. It has made me appreciate what I have to work for it; my education, my car, my life in general. I even had to work at having kids.

When I read the Amy Poehler book a few weeks ago she made a great statement in it: Good for her; not for me. I wonder what the world would be like if we stopped mom judging? I wonder what it would be like if we stopped food policing? Or fat shaming or thin shaming or woman/man bashing? What if we didn’t care if someone was of this religion or that? What if it didn’t matter if you were straight or gay or transgender or any combination of the above? What if we could only see in one color and it was a beautiful blue? I wonder what the world would be like if we were forced to post comments with our names and addresses and contact info up there for the world to see? I wonder how you would respond to others if you had to go back to doing it face to face instead of through email or text?

I didn’t have a fairy tale childhood. I don’t expect that my children will escape the bad in anyway. But, as adults, as bloggers, as commenters, as people in our society in general….are we setting a good example? If you excuse your kid’s behavior when it is bad you are letting them know that it’s okay to treat someone poorly and that they should expect the same in return. If you judge others you should expect to be judged yourself. There are some of us that share some “privileges” as has been noted in some of the discussion I’ve read of recent. I am one of them. I am white, somewhat thin, and middle class. I have a good education, am in a heterosexual relationship and have two children who do not have any mental or physical disabilities. We are healthy and we live in a country with many rights.

But these privileges are not something that I take for granted. I have the kind of heart that wishes the best for almost everyone. I say almost because I am human and I know that I too have judged. The other day I went back to my meditations book before I went to sleep. I read a passage that spoke to me and then I dreamed about my grandfather. He was half Greek and half Native American. His family grew up around the midwest, but mostly in Chicago. His family was poor and not welcomed in any community because they were a form of mixed race according to those around them. He had major prejudices throughout his life, but he was a kind man who wouldn’t speak ill of anyone to their face without good reason. I loved him every day that I knew him and have missed him every day since. I know he would be proud of me for who I am.

The passage said something to the effect of looking inward to our negative thoughts (toward ourselves and others), our bad habits, our preconceived notions that may not always be true, and then taking them off as we would old clothes. Boxing them up and shipping them off. In my yoga class on Thursday morning I asked my participants to do the same. At the end of class we took the negative thing we’d been holding on to and lifted it off us like an old shirt. We inhaled the fresh new air as that heaviness was pulled off and we exhaled as we tossed it aside. We were relieved of that pain that was holding us back; that unfavorable outlook on life.

I want so much to live a life where I will not police others on their choices. I want so much to live a life where I feel connected to those around us. I want so much to raise my children in that sort of emotionally and environmentally healthy world so that they too can be promoters of the good life. I want to look at everything and say: Good for you; not for me. I want also to continue to preach moderation in life and walk the path of yoga. However, there are some ways in which I feel cheated in life. I feel cheated from the ability to protect my children when others around me think that the way they live and work is okay even if it harms another.

I saw this documentary the other night and it was one of many true statements that I make often in workshop about the sad state of the place in which I live. We lie to our citizens at the expense of their health and the gains of the economy. This is the only type of food policing for which I can get behind and I am totally okay with judging the food industry on it’s lies and poor judgement!

 The full documentary is available on Netflix if you’re a subscriber. It just reinforced things that I already know and made me mad. I am now looking for a way to let go of this anger, but wonder……
Is there ever a time you think it’s okay to judge?
Here are some links to posts that inspired this one and Thank You Always to Amanda for hosting!

Take a Deep Breath and Eat The Cookie: Reflections on Privilege (Guest Post) 

The Binge Eating Diaries: Dear Food Police

Reading Comments: The Truths In Trolls

Challenging the food police

TOLT #1 – Free Quotes in Minutes

Another Thursday of word vomit or is it brain vomit since the words are not vomiting out of my head like these random thoughts are? Either way, I’d like to join a little group here and announce that my future Thursday posts will be “inspired” by Amanda and her ingenious Think Out Loud Thursday campaign. Linked here:


I was first brought to the attention of Amanda by one of my new favorite bloggers, Charlotte at Commitness to Fitness and her Think Out Loud Thursday posts. Until I decided to go ahead and try them, I wasn’t convinced it was going to stick, but now it gives me a great something to do with all of my random bits of pastel card notes that don’t fit anywhere else during the week. And keeps them from piling up too. Check them both out, they are amazing ladies and Yes, Charlotte did make a “blog guest” appearance at my last workshop. Her bit on food labels was just too perfect not to share!

In continuation of my random spew here today I thought I would enlighten you on a topic that I find to be both intriguing and ridiculous at the same time.

Health Insurance!

Insurance: Scam or Unhappy Necessity?
As this is being posted I am having my first full-on physical in about 6 years, not counting annuals and when I was pregnant both times. This is one of three “scheduled posts” I have for this week because of travel etc. So, I have no idea what the outcome of this physical will be, but I do know one thing for sure: It better not cost me one damned cent! Now, I’m neither here nor there about “Obama Care” because I don’t fully understand (and I don’t think anyone does yet) what all the good or bad to come out of this system will be. But I do know that if I pay $98.90/month for 12 months for something, then someone needs to figure out what I was paying for. I think the whole idea of insurance is ludicrous because, for someone who is not sick very often, where is my money going? Am I paying for other people to go to the doctor? If so, what is their insurance paying for? Why would we not just reduce all the costs so that when you have to go to the doctor you can afford to, but if you don’t have to go, you just keep your money and spend it on other things.

I feel like I’m paying someone’s salary who is not doing a whole lot (sorry insurance industry people). Are doctors not seeing enough people each day to be able to reasonably live on what they could charge if they charged everyone directly? Are insurance companies not just another middle man? If you’re going to mandate anything, just mandate the pricing structure so that no one gets charged out of healthy living and move on with it. It’s kind of like food to me. Do I buy insurance to make sure that the food will be there fore me when I need it or do I just pay for the food and the farmers grow it? Makes sense to me, but maybe I’m missing something here all together. Or maybe I’m a socialist or a communist or however that works. I didn’t pay attention very well in government.

Either way, I know it’s not a perfect system, but when I was previously married I had military insurance. Say what you will about the wait times etc, but when I needed shit, I got it. And it didn’t cost me a thing because I already paid for it in my taxes. I know there are some Canadians that read this and I had some friends from GB when in college. They all have enjoyed (to some extent) their government run health care. I even watched Ricki Lake’s documentary that showed how much better it is in other European countries in regards to prenatal and postpartum care with government insurance. All I’m asking is that my insurance company contacts my doctor (she’s new to me and I’m not sure if I will like her or not) and makes sure that whomever in her office is in charge of billing codes everything correctly for my $1200 physical. Thanks.

Do you have insurance or are you planning to pay the penalty instead?
Do you know how much the penalty is for not having insurance?
How often do you go to the doctor?
Do you like your doctor?
How did you find your doctor?

Would you buy into government run health care?