On our blog we spend a lot of time talking about the things you can do to better your life. It occurred to us that it is quite possible for you to be doing all kinds of great things that are recommended but sort of killing those positive effects that would normally be seen by doing some not so great things. Even more possible is that you don’t even realize what you are doing is a no no. So, we thought we would focus on physical fitness for a few blog posts and talk about the dos and don’ts of physical health: weight loss and exercise do nots!

While we like to promote positive thinking which goes along with focusing on what-you-can-do and just expecting that the what-you-can’t-do sort of falls in place. The logic here is that it’s hard to be doing the right thing and the wrong thing at the same time, so if you are doing the right thing you must not be doing the wrong things. This is so true in so many circumstances. HOWEVER, the issue is that often in the case of things like diet and exercise people think they ARE doing the right thing- and they aren’t.

This particular post will focus on things you don’t necessarily want to do with regard to dieting.

  1. Crash Diets: There are so many people who do them, and so many products you can buy for them. Basically all you have to do is cut back on your food intake in an extreme way for a certain period of time and you lose weight. What the people that do them, and the products that promote them don’t tell you is that crash diets leave you with a very very high chance of gaining all the weight back and some. Not only that, but it doesn’t teach you anything about how to care for your body in a way that leaves you liking how you look and feel long term. It is a short term solution that doesn’t last, and it is terrible for your system to shock like that.
  2. Avoid Certain Cleanse Diets: Some people are huge proponents of doing cleanses. Others aren’t. This is something that should not be consider lightly and should be discussed with a doctor or nutritionist before taking part in. It is worth noting though, that often what people don’t know is that a cleanse will actually strip you body of “everything” and as we all know everything means the good and the bad. This isn’t a great plan as we need certain bacteria and things in our digestive track for it to work efficiently.
  3. Diet Pills: PLEASE DON’T TAKE diet pills. Unless you can verify that the diet pill is literally just a dose of vitamins and minerals that are often correlated with weight loss diet pills are not recommended. First, it is not a sustainable plan. Second, it is not a healthy to take diet bills. Third, the long term effects of certain diet pills can be very serious (including high risk of Alzheimer’s).
  4. Beware of Salads: Many people think that because they are eating salads they are eating healthy and will lose weight. This is not always the case. Portion control is still important. If you are eating huge salads you are still training your body to think it needs larger portions, when it actually doesn’t. Also, be aware of what is in your salad. Things like cranberries and honey roasted nuts are packed with sugar. Most dressings are not recommended as they are loaded with empty calories, and crackers and croutons still count as crackers and croutons even when they are atop a pile of greens.
  5. Avoid Diets with Little Variety: If you are trying out your will power by doing a diet that requires you to eat the same thing every day, you are most likely going to find yourself sneaking off to enjoy something different. ANYTHING different. In this desperate moment there is a good chance that good decision making won’t be in place and you will error on the side of something delicious. Some people are huge on food so just eating something for the sake of getting their fuel for the day is all food is. Others, the majority us I would think, eat for fuel and because they enjoy the food itself.  Try to avoid diets that don’t have much of variety to them.
  6. Avoid Diet Foods: Just because it says “low fat”, “sugar free”, or “only 120 calories” does not make it healthy. In fact many of the foods and drinks that have to market this are actually by nature awful for you. Anything that uses a sugar substitute like Equal or Splenda has an ingredient call aspartame. It is not something you want to put into your system. When you ingest things that aren’t good for you, you are messing with how well your body functions. So you might drink a 0 calorie soda but what’s in that soda might mess up how your body digests the sandwich you have at lunch. That is just a hypothetical situation to show the point. When in doubt go for these less processed (or not processed at all).
  7. Binge Eating is a No No: Binge eating functions much like a crash diet. First, its not a long term plan. Second, you will gain the weight back and some. Third, you will only torture yourself with a strict diet only to destroy all the work you have done by binging afterward.

 


There are so many ways that we can choose to conduct ourselves on a daily basis that promotes and overall healthy lifestyle. In this case we are defining healthy meaning centered/stable/balanced in our minds, body and soul. There are so many things you can do for each area, and often knowing what is best is hard to sort through. We thought it might be useful to give you some really good information sources that cover various topics within each “realm” of self health.

Mind- Online Resources Centered on Providing Tips and Information Best Practices for Managing your Thoughts: Everything we do and feel are directly fed from the thoughts we entertain. Learning to maintain and manage healthy and realistic thoughts is key to a well balances life with good relationships and a positive environment.

  1. Success ConsciousnessAwaken the wisdom and power within you
  2. Tiny BuddhaSimple wisdom for complex lives
  3. Positive Thinking Toolbox– Positive tools, fro positive results
  4. Foundation for Well Being– Quotations about the mind.

Body- Online Resources Centered on Providing Healthy Recipes: This can include anything from vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, raw and other various diet choices.

  1. Choose Veg– Vegan Recipes
  2. Vegetarian Times– The World’s Largest Collection of Vegetarian Recipes
  3. Gluten Free– Gluten Free Recipes
  4. Raw Guru– Raw Food Recipes and Resources

Body- Online Resources Centered on Providing Information about Exercise: This contains anything from tips to training for marathons/triathlons/etc to general health and well being information with regard to making sure you get enough exercise to promote a fit body.

  1. Ace– American Council on Exercise
  2. Live Strong– Let Us Be Your Person Guide To Becoming a Better Healthier You
  3. Yoga Journal– Everything Yoga
  4. Balanced Body– Everything Pilates
  5. Cross Fit– Forging Elite Fitness

Soul- Online Resources Centered on Providing Inspirational Stories and Information to Feed Your Soul: These sites are filled with fun, funny, uplifting, and inspiration content. Check these out anytime you need a good laugh, a healthy cry, or just need a big smile.

  1. Positive Thinking MusicMusic for Confidence and Success
  2. Inspirational Stories– Short Inspiration and Motivation Readings for You
  3. Aha Jokes– Funny Jokes For Kids, I Think We Can All be Kids!
  4. Chicken Soup– Buy Your Favorite Chicken Soup for The Soul Books!

Soul- Online Resources Centered on Providing Information for Shaping your Emotional Well Being: There is absolutely nothing we can do to stop life from happening but there is something we can do to manage how we feel and react to the trying times that come up in our lives. This also applies to times when things aren’t necessarily hard, but could just use a little “light” on them. Use these resources for great tips and information on finding your happy place regardless of the season you are in.

  1. 1.       Action For Happiness– Movement for Positive Social Change
  2. 2.       Compassion Pit– Emotional Well Being Blog
  3. 3.       Everyday Health– Feel Good Feel Better
  4. 4.       Healthy Soul– Taking Responsibility for Your Own Wellbeing

Have you ever wondered why it’s normal to shower every day? Or why its normal to brush your teeth in the morning and in the night? Well, its because somewhere along the way someone told us we should (and in these cases for very good reasons) and we did. We started doing it and we haven’t stopped. We haven’t stopped for two reasons: 1- There was good reason to start and continue doing it so stopping wouldn’t make any sense, and 2- Because we have always done it (or done it for so long) we don’t even stop to question if we should do it, we just do because it’s what we do. This idea is true for so many of the habits, rituals and routines that people live out every day. Some of them are healthy and add positively to their lives and others are just the opposite. In both cases it’s the routine/habit that keeps them going with it.

This post was written in hope that we could help point out how you can use habits and routines in a way that positively shapes your life.

  1. It can help you to kick habits you don’t want- Pick the things you don’t want to be doing. Define what the opposite of those are, and start pushing for habits in the opposite direction. Instead of trying to avoid bad habits its easier to start to create new ones. If the new ones are in opposition of the old ones you will naturally just stop doing the old one.
  2. Reduces effort and mental strain (in trying so hard)- Having something that has become a habit or routine is useful in keeping up on the type of lifestyle you want without a ton of mental/emotional strain trying to make sure you do it right. The key is to do it enough to create the habit, and then once its habit or routine you JUST DO IT, rather than have to think or work to do it. Using the showering example again. It’s a habit that most all of us have. If you don’t shower during the day you are well aware of a break in routine, but when you do shower, it doesn’t usually require any degree of will power. It’s just what you do.  This source discusses how routine in her daily life eliminates unnecessary strain in her job and how she handles her home life.
  3. Sculpt your life to look just as you want it look.  Picture what you wish you would do on a daily, weekly, monthly basis and start doing it. Over time when those habits are formed you will realize that your life just IS what you wanted, and you are no longer pushing for it.

The 3 items above can easily apply to all areas of life. How your routine plays into exercise, how you eat, how you treat others, how you view yourself and what you chose to believe about yourself and more.

They say it takes 14 days to create a habit. So imagine that you can work hard for 14 days to do the same thing and stick to it and possible change your life. It will only take the work of 14 days and after that you will most likely have to think to do something different. Keep in mind that there isn’t any harm in taking a break from your “healthy” habits to give yourself a treat, but the purpose of training yourself to behave one way is that that is what you want your natural response to be. This way, living the way you want to live is natural, and treating yourself is an active choice. This is how a treat becomes a treat and not a bad habit you need to quite- because its totally controlled.

 


Browsing through the internet can bring you to some pretty neat finds. The other day I was looking for birthday party ideas and I came across joyfulabode.com. There were all kinds of cool ideas on her blog but the one I really liked the most was this grain free gluten free graham cracker idea. This made me think, I wonder how many other people are sharing ideas like this on internet. So I began really digging in. There are SO many ideas for grain-free and gluten-free foods. It is truly amazing. In an attempt to share of the “amazing-ness” this blog post is a small compilation of grain free recipes and resources that share all kinds of recipes and information that will be very useful for those who want (or already are) eating grain free. Even if you don’t eat completely grain free you might really enjoy cutting back a bit on your grains and still enjoying these meals/snacks.

I have copied her recipe below but I made a substitution from sugar to agave sugar. I have also included a list of links to many useful resources for grain free recipes.

Preheat oven to 350f.

Mix together:

  • 1 3/4 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon

In a different bowl/mixer CREAM together:

  • 3/4 cup room temp butter
  • 1/8 cup agave
  • 1/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs

Then add the dry ingredients to the wet ones and combine until a dough forms.

Make dough into two balls and place each one on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. Put waxed paper on top, roll the dough out thinly, and remove the waxed paper. Cut into crackers with a pizza cutter and make little holes with a fork .

Bake 10 minutes, then remove and cool. I just lifted the whole piece of parchment off and placed it on the counter top to cool, but if you want, you can put your crackers on cooling racks.

  1. This source is sure to help you find some recipes you love. While browsing I came across cookies, sweets, snacks, bread, pizza, pastries and more. All of them grain free!
  2. This source not only has all kinds of links on their right navigation that can help you find out more about your grain and gluten free diets, but it includes recipes as well. Like this grain free tzatziki recipe.
  3. Organicthrifty.com had some really good ideas for grain free recipes too. Like this grain-free cherry chocolate chip scones recipe or this grain free waffles recipe.

I personally really enjoyed Elanaspantry.com. Check out her grain free recipes.


This post is a continuation post from the “Post 1 Starting Your Day” that we did earlier this week. Please see that post for the information on starting your day right.

The way you end your day can affect your future outlook on life. Whether it’s the way you wake up the next morning or the way you handle circumstances that carry over from one day to another will all be largely affected by how you chose you to look back on your day and how you chose to end it.

Ending a day right will look very different for everyone. This will be based on your lifestyle, your job, your schedule, whether you have kids, etc. We thought that it would be nice to at least offer up a few ideas for people to try out. Don’t expect to do all of them, and don’t expect that they will all work for you. It’s very likely that some of them will work for each person. Like most tips and tricks we share on this blog, don’t expect to just have anything magically happen.  These tips all take some degree of self discipline and motivation. Not only will you need to stick to it, but you will also need to go about it with the right attitude. We will discuss attitude more within each section of the post.

Also worth noting is that there are cases where we recommend the same thing for both starting and ending your day. In those cases we will discuss the difference in how you should go about each one. We will also break down different ideas (in some cases) for different lifestyles/personalities.

  1. Think about what went wrong with your day and how you could have handled it better. Make a goal to do it better the next day.
  2. Think about what went right with you day, make a note of gratitude for those things and acknowledge how great it is that they happened. This is very similar, if not the same thing, as making  a “gratitude list”.
  3. Yoga, Pilates or Stretching: These are recommended over high pace or high intensity exercises as those get things moving and at night you need something that will calm you more so than get you pumped up.
  4. Similarly to yoga or Pilates you might want to take a walk after dinner. This will give you some time to debrief on your day, and unwind down from the fast paced day that most of have.
  5. Be intimate. According to Oprah.com making intimacy in your relationship is actually very important and very beneficial to how we feel throughout the day. Making sure to set aside at least 5-10 minutes of intimacy time at the end of the day will likely set the stage for how we feel when we wake up  (add intimacy = better morning).
  6. De-clutter. Going through all the ideas of good ways to end your day I was surprise to find one that said “de-clutter”. I would have never thought to write this one on my own, however when I think about the logic behind it, it really does make perfect sense. If you are the type of person who likes to clean up and organize getting rid of a few things or picking a cabinet, closet, shelf, room, whatever to organize before you hit the hay will help you to feel more “complete”.  Although, be aware that if you are a really organized and tiddy person this could quickly turn into an all night organization fest. This is NOT what we are suggesting you do. Try to limit to small projects and over time you will do the whole house with what seemed like very little effort.