Posted in Health

Freestyle Tai Chi and 42 other things I did yesterday to promote health and happiness

I think a little background information will be helpful as you read this list. I am a real person with real kids, a real husband and a real life. Not everything I do each day is healthy.

Also, I believe health happens everywhere. I don’t think health is confined to a gym or a dinner table. I think health is the accumulation of our tiny efforts and actions throughout each day, week and year. I call this health karma.

I also believe that everyone’s health journey is different. What works for me in my life won’t necessarily work for you in your life. I do think, however, there are few things that help us all along our path to better health.

My choices are the result of many life experiences and countless hours spent pouring over health literature. I make a strong effort to lead an intentional life based on the hopes I have. This is what it looked like yesterday.

Starting at 0400:

1) Drank coffee

2) Completed 15 minutes of free style tai chi aka intentional movement (note: I don’t actually know how to do tai chi)

3) Did 10 minutes of meditation with with my Headspace app

4) Fed and held my youngest daughter

5) Studied my health coach materials

6) Started a crockpot meal- venison-yam chili

7) Hugged my husband

8) Sent good morning texts to my mom and sister

9) Made plans to have a playdate with a super awesome mom I know

10) Typed the meeting minutes for the children’s book I am working on

11) Ate oatmeal with raisins, yogurt, syrup, almond milk and walnuts

12) Ate a mandarin orange

13) Brushed and flossed my teeth

14) Made and drank chai tea with honey and cashew milk

15) Sang with my daughter

16) Washed my hands no less than 20 times

17) Played pretend camping trip with my imaginative preschooler- complete with ice skating, a princess tent, and the building and climbing of Mt. McKinley

18) Ate a handful of cashews and a slice of cheese

19) Did about 10 minutes of body weight exercises when one daughter napped and the other played in her room

20) Drank 24 oz of filtered water from a glass

21) Stood a little taller when I realized I was slouching

22) Googled EDTA in an effort to determine its safety as a food additive (an ingredient in our mayo)

23) Ate a spinach salad with grapes, olive oil and vinegar, carrots, homemade ranch and cottage cheese

24) Looked on Pinterest for some recipe ideas

25) Roasted carrots and brussel sprouts for later

26) Chose to mindfully wash our dishes

27) Sang a song to my youngest that I made up, complete with a little dance

28) Took out our recycling

29) Went for a brisk 13 minute walk pushing my daughter in a stroller

30) Started reading “How to Raise a Wild Child” By Scott D. Sampson

31) Drank Yogi ginger tea with honey

32) Periodically remembered to tighten my core while moving throughout my day

33) Ate a handful of almonds

34) Walked outside and played near a frozen pond

35) Had dinner with my family

36) Went on another walk after dinner as the sky was darkening

37) Took a shower and used my non-gmo organic shampoo and body wash

38) Read books to my girls and put them to bed

40) Put on my eye cover and laid down in bed to relax

41) Took a moment to be grateful for all that I have in my life

42) Kissed my husband goodnight

43) Fell asleep by 8:15pm

So there it is, a peek inside my typical day. Not everyday looks like this. The general theme stays the same though. I do a bunch of healthy stuff, take some time to laugh, eat as much real food as I can possibly manage, do some type of movement, spend time outside, invest in my relationships and take a moment to be grateful.

What are the tiny steps in your day that are moving you toward the healthier life you want?

As always, I would love to hear from you. Message me here and I will get back to as soon as I can.

**I hope to see our health community here grow. If you like my posts, please share them on Facebook or with friends, family or anyone you know that might be interested.

***This post is dedicated to the Gluten and Dairy free Wildcat. Thanks for the inspiration and being generally awesome at life. May you have a wonderfuly fabulous journey in life and love forever and always. ❤️

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Posted in celebration, exercise, Health, new year

New Year New Me? Not Really, but 2017 is going to be great anyway.

I have lots of aspirations for 2017. I love a good tradition. It might be the anthropologist in me. I love the ritual of making resolutions and mapping out a New Year. I revel in the newness of it all. I think of each New Year as a freshly tilled garden, full of possibilities. I build my vision around my hopes however lofty. Inevitably weeds will grow and insects will eat the leaves of my prized plants, but that juicy August tomato will be worth all of the hassle. It’s the same with my New Year goals. I experience challenges and setbacks but as the year draws to a close and I look back at all that I have accomplished I feel pretty amazing.

Ok. Let’s get back to my New Year plans. I kicked off this morning by doing a little re-tidying inspired by Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up (affiliate link) I told you about last month in my post. It’s my way to make room for all of the hopes I have for 2017. A trip or two to Goodwill always makes me feel lighter. I actually think getting rid of clutter helps me think more clearly. Perhaps I will look into the science of that someday.

The second action step I took this morning was to order materials to help prepare me for my Health Coach Certification. Yay me! I am so excited about it I can hardly stand it. I firmly believe this step will have a profound impact on my health, my family’s health and possibly your health. Maybe we should work together to help you meet your goals? Think about it. You have some time. I won’t be certified for a few months. If you are interested in hearing more about my dream or want to support me, go here.

My third step this morning was to come to you to share all of my goals. I don’t make resolutions per say. I like the word “goals” because it feels more proactive. There is some disagreement about whether publicly sharing one’s goals is the correct action, but I find that making my goals public gives me some extra incentive to follow through.

So here they are: January detox (gluten-free, sugar free and alcohol free). I wrote a while ago in The secret is out about excluding gluten from my diet and having what appeared to me to be a number of positive impacts. I am going to repeat the no-gluten experiment this month and see if I can replicate my results. I have also written about my experience with refined sugar and cutting it out in Sugar is everywhere . It’s time to try that again as well. Lastly, I am going to go alcohol free for January too. I don’t drink a ton. The picture shown above is actually of me enjoying a non-alcoholic beer (FYI: They aren’t half bad). I have noticed over the past few months that even one drink can derail my efforts to eat healthy and exercise the following day. I am not willing to make that compromise anymore. So, bye-bye beer, wine and all other booze (for January anyway). **Side note: I may have a cheat day when The Gluten and Dairy Free Wildcat Walks Down the Aisle AKA My cousin that I wrote about in My cousin Kate and the novelty of night running.

My other 2017 goals include: self-publish a children’s book (This is already in the works and it’s going to be awesome), have a regular mediation practice (5x/week 10min each time), and have a regular strength training (min 2x each week) routine.

How about you? What are your 2017 resolutions or goals?  How are you going to move closer to your health vision?

As always, I would love to hear from you. Message me here and I will get back to as soon as I can.

**I hope to see our health community here grow. If you like my posts, please share them on Facebook or with friends, family or anyone you know that might be interested.

**Please note, although the opinions I have expressed in this post are entirely my own, there are affiliate links included where noted. This means that if you choose to purchase an item through one of my links I will receive a portion of the sale.

Posted in Health

Sh*t gets real when there is real sh*t: Health and perspective as a parent

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I  have spent the better part of three years baby-proofing my small home. I do daily rounds to see if there are any potential dangerous loopholes around my ironclad system. Light sockets, check. Choke hazards, check. Valuables secured, check.

I like to allow my children to play in most areas of our home as they choose. This keeps them entertained and gives me a chance to catch up on cooking, cleaning and (occasionally) text conversations with my family and friends.

Yesterday was a day like any other. I was working in the kitchen. My girls were playing in the house. I did my usual ‘quick check’ to make sure neither had gotten into anything that might bring them bodily harm. This time, however, was a little different.

I peaked around the corner to see that my youngest had removed her diaper and subsequently spread the contents of said diaper all over herself and any visible surface in her reach. She looked up at me with her toothy grin and moved her hand to her mouth as she was preparing to taste the ‘goods’.

Let’s stop right here for a second. I assume all of the parents out there have had this type of moment (at least I hope, it makes me feel better to think I am not alone in this crazy a*s experience called parenting). You know, the one you look around and check to see if anyone is filming your reaction to the situation. The one where you say aloud (or in your head)  “Is this actually my life?”. Parenting is just crazy sometimes, crazier than I would have ever imagined.

Ok. Back to the story. So, instead of totally freaking out, I snapped into mommy-nurse mode and cleaned up that sh*t and my baby like it was my job (because it is). I scrubbed and dried every surface I could see on both my baby and my hallway. Thirty minutes later we were all going about our normal business.

You might be asking yourself at this point- “Ok Mary, what does your sh*t story have to do with health?” Well, I have been working really hard, especially over the past five weeks to notice my response to challenging situations. I am consistently engaging in an effort to be more aware of the present moment and my response to each moment. I notice how I feel and what I think in traffic jams. I allow my emotions about husband’s tendency to leave dirty tissues around the house to soak in before I address it with him. I take a deep breath or twenty when my children spread every toy they own across the house after I have just cleaned them up. This awareness has allowed me to then make a more conscious intentional choices about how I respond. Let me just tell you, it’s been awesome. I feel more relaxed and, well, happy. Now, that’s pretty darn great.

I have had a tendency in the past to place the responsibility of my emotions on other people or situations. I know, however, in doing so, I give away my power.* I forget that I am in charge of this wonderful thing called life. There is a lot of responsibility with this power but also a lot of freedom. That, my friends, is truly a beautiful thing.

So how about you? Do you notice your responses to challenging situations? What happens when you take a moment to become aware of your emotions and thought patterns? What if you took several deep breaths before taking any action?

As always, I would love to hear from you, message me here and I will get back to you as soon as I can.

-I would love to see our health community grow. If you like my posts, please share them with family, friends or anyone you know that might be interested.

-Hey faithful readers, if you haven’t heard already, I am working to become a Health Coach. I am hoping to get certified in the next few months. If you are interested in hearing more about my dream or want to support me, go here.

*Thank you, wilderness therapy for teaching me me to take responsibility and ownership over my emotions and to never give away my ‘power’.