Browsing Category

Featured

Featured Fitness Lifestyle Nutrition

Connection

There’s so much that pressures us to have it “all” – big houses, more money, top of the line clothing, having our homes look like they are straight out of magazines. It’s all there, all around us. Advertising sprinkled in our relaxing tv time, out our windows as we drive to soccer practice and work, in between our finger scrolls and magazine flips at our doctor appointments. And for awhile, it is so ingrained that we don’t even realize that it’s happening. And, most importantly, that it’s all fake. Created to make us consumers. To make us spend more money, make more money, spend more money and so on.

It seems sort of ok, and sometimes harmless to acquire stuff and to enjoy creating an image for ourselves, but what’s the actual damage being done?

I hate to say it, but my opinion is that the damage is deep. We have created a culture that values nothing. Not even each other. We actually have allowed ourselves to value the junk to the point of tearing each other apart – constantly judging and commenting and comparing. We are valuing things we were told would fill us and the reality is that they don’t.

Take it from me. During diagnosis I was confronted with a variety of things that this MS could have been – tumors, other diseases, and some with not good prognosis. I spent a week waiting for results of a test for something that had a strong likelihood of leaving me blind and paralyzed (if not dead) within 5 years. This changed me. As I sat on the floor with my two babies toddling around beside me, I remember taking in every breath as if it were my last and questioning what was left for me here. And I will tell you this, none of it included house décor, new clothes, or really the best of anything.

What I actually found in the aftermath of this waiting period (which I would claim left me in some kind of PTSD state for quite some time), was that I wanted everything in my home to be as simple as possible. Décor that only reminded me of a wonderful memory or love and health. Clothes that simply comforted me and made me feel unique. I wanted all of the stuff, all of the bull#$!& out of my life because all I wanted was the space to hold the people I loved and the immense laughter and fun that we share, and the room to go out into the world and enjoy new experiences. That’s it. My people and the world.

So when I read Johann Hari’s book Lost Connections recently, I was confirmed in my beliefs that we are caring for things that don’t matter, and becoming isolated in the mean time. We are losing connections left and right and our society/advertising is not providing the examples to help us get back to ourselves and each other. Hari states, “You need your pain. It is a message, and we must listen to the message. All these depressed and anxious people, all over the world- they are giving us a message. They are telling us something has gone wrong with the way we live. We need to stop trying to muffle or silence or pathologize that pain. Instead, we need to listen to it, and honor it.”

Our bodies are amazing. They are meant to hold us and nourish us. They want to be healthy. It is not possible, in my mind, that so many of us seem to be suffering (physically or emotionally) because our bodies are physically simply failing us. All of us? Really?

Hari’s book goes on to discuss 9 ways (and he claims there’s probably more) that we have or can lose connection in our lives. It’s an incredible book to help you look at the power you have over how you feel, and the life you are living.

One of the most eye-opening connections for me was our loss of connection to each other. I mean, I think we all realize that it’s happening with technology, but I kind of forgot about the way humans have evolved. “Now imagine if-“ Hari states, “on those savannas – you became separated from the group and were alone for a protracted period of time. It meant you were in terrible danger. You were vulnerable to predators, if you got sick nobody would be there to nurse you, and the rest of the tribe was more vulnerable without you too. You would be right to feel terrible. It was an urgent signal from your body and brain to get back to the group, any damn way you could. So every human instinct is honed not for life on your own, but for life like this, in a tribe.”

So these individual lives we’ve created – new moms/dads taking on everything because they need to meet that standard of doing it all, people working 40+ hour weeks with no time for family or love, kids racing from activity to activity with no downtime for the joys created in boredom or socializing in the neighborhood – we are alone more than ever and it is damaging our health. We need each other. We need someone to bring meals after a new arrival, and give advice on how they cared for their crying babies. And we need to know it is ok to accept other people’s offerings, it doesn’t mean we are less. We need to scale back on our material possessions so the need for money, and overly full work weeks, can go away. We need to make sure our children freely play in the dirt. No guidance, no micro-managing just open, dirty exploration. These connections help us to be our best selves and feel fulfilled. We are all supposed to be doing this together. Helping one another, laughing at mistakes and jokes, crying during sad and frustrating times and just boosting each other along during this crazy ride of life.

It’s not easy. I still continue to strive for this simpler way of living every day. But the best part is that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. So just take a look around. Take a look at connections- to the earth, to others, to service, to love. Start filling in the gaps, piece by piece, step by step, and create that meaningful life you were meant to live.

Featured Lifestyle Nutrition

Top Ten Favorite Meals & Food Realizations of 2018

Most of the time we look forward into the new year with plans and goals and hopes. Of course, I’ve thought of  a few things I’d like to try to work on (catch up on my family photos, continue working on letting go of rules and expectations I created for myself, travel with my family, etc.) but what I’ve realized too, is that I need to also reflect on the past year as well. What have I learned? How have I grown? What did I accomplish? Was I hoping to accomplish that or was it a goal I added along the way? So, in honor of reflection, I accumulated my 10 favorite meals that I cooked at home, and the important realizations about food and cooking that came along with.

 

Top Ten Favorite Meals and Food Realizations of 2018

 

Don’t Be Afraid to Serve Veggies for Breakfast

Especially if your concern for more veggies is for your kids, just remember, they don’t know any different! Adults are the ones who are accustomed to cereal, eggs, toast, pancakes – the breakfast ‘staples’. Add them in slowly if it feels weird, like with this meal – fried egg, bacon & brussel sprouts, or blend them up in a smoothie. It’s only your mind that’s keeping it from happening. Retrain your brain. It’ll thank you later.

 

 

Use Your Spices

What I have noticed in eating real food, is that my palate and taste buds have changed so much. I actually crave the natural tastes of foods. But if you’re not quite there, or just need a little change, get out those spices! Heating up that cauliflower with some cayenne, paprika, turmeric and cinnamon will keep the food interesting and taste buds satiated. Spices also come equipped with an array of health benefits – everything from added vitamins and minerals to having antibacterial properties. Can’t beat that.

 

 

Trust Yourself

Look in your fridge for ingredients. Use your intuition, former eating knowledge, and google if you must to create some kind of delicious meal. For the Ginger Carrot Soup above I had a TON of extra carrots in the fridge, and some broth in the freezer. So I heated some onions, oil and garlic (that’s always a good place to start). Then I grated some ginger, threw in some carrots, and let it simmer. I added some celery from the fridge cause it doesn’t really change the taste much, and it’s healthful. Blended it up and made my husband be the taste tester. Things have turned out first try, no problems. And things have turned out, well, pretty poorly. But that’s the moment you change your relationship with food. What is the taste I’m tasting? What is the taste I need? How do I get it? Sweeter? Saltier? Too spicy? Too bland? It might feel scary. And it might be unfortunate to eat a less than average meal, but nothing else will ever be able to teach you more about cooking at home. It kind of goes back to that saying I used in my classroom, “”Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.” – Benjamin Franklin

 

 

Just Serve Real Food

I often get caught up in thinking myself or my kids need more than just real food. It’s hard because our emotions (in combination with some heavy advertising) get in the way, urging us to eat for comfort or for escape. Instead of reaching for boxes or bags that we can eat and eat and ‘disappear’ for awhile, I try to stay conscious in what I grab, as well as keep my pantry stocked accordingly. I try and keep myself nourished and full, and then deal with the real reason that I want to ‘get away’. Geneen Roth has written a really interesting book titled Women, Food, and God that digs deep into the way we use food as an escape, and that in facing our emotions we are better able to make nourishing choices.

 

 

Meat As A Side 

This idea came about rather naturally. As we increased our vegetable intake something had to give, and we ended up eating less meat. Then while reading from Dr. Mark Hyman, he confirmed that viewing meat as a side might be beneficial to our health. There’s a mix of research out there on it’s benefits. I tend to lean toward this idea that it could have benefits but probably not in excess, so we tend to focus on the veggies first. We also noticed that less meat consumption saved us a few bucks, too. Win, win.

And, just because I like the crispy edges of the meatloaf (yum!), I put it in muffin tins. Turns out it makes it an easy way to create nice portion sizes, too!

 

 

Prepare for Events

Our family went on an epic camping adventure this past summer, and I did not want to give up on the goals we had attained throughout the years, even though it seemed much easier just to eat on the road. So we tried our best to prep and pack our food and it really was an amazing success. All we did was pre-cook our favorite skillet meals (this one is a sweet potato, onion, zucchini, greens and spicy chicken sausage mix), package, and freeze. Then reheated them over the camp burner and fire. It turns out that eating really good food, outside, over the campfire tastes amazing, and gives you the energy and stamina to make your travels that much better.

 

 

Listen to Your Body – Eat Seasonally

We often use the local farmers markets for fresh food in the summer. This year we decided to try out an organic farm-share, Featherstone Farm MN that provided seasonal veggies from spring through fall, and we couldn’t have been happier. It was so interesting to see how the food that showed up in our boxes was the exact food that we were craving. We began to feel what it’s like to eat seasonally. The share also challenged us to eat things we wouldn’t normally pick up at the grocery store, like the turnips used in the crock-pot roast pictured above. It added so much color and variety, which our bodies thrive from. Most importantly, to me, it taught my children about where our food comes from and opened the door to lots of questions and taste-testing. I highly recommend looking into a farm share near you.

 

 

 

Have Fun Meals Together

Although our meals might seem less fun to some, I think we really found that the community aspect of sharing a meal together is actually what makes a meal. We still try to have some “fun food” – taco nights, self serve sweet potato bar (pictured above), snack attack night, and even eating the rainbow. We try to just make the event of eating more important than the actual food. Weather permitting we almost always take it outside. We talk about what we are thankful for, listen to favorite songs, and even play games like Would You Rather or 20 Questions while we eat. The focus leaves the food and moves onto what’s really important about gathering together for a meal.

 

 

Make it Easy

Don’t get me wrong in any of this. Cooking takes time. Sometimes it takes SO much time. So we also have found products and ways to make delicious meals more simply. In general, eating real food does make it quite simple. Meat on the grill, roasted veggies in the oven and you can’t go wrong. Stir-fry and saute, like the one pictured above, are often made from pre-shredded packaged veggies (this one in particular is prepackaged brussel sprouts, cabbage, kale, carrots, broccoli with some bacon). It’s so much simpler to have some options to grab and go, ready in the fridge. If you have a trusted source, it’s not bad to buy the product that makes it easier.

 

 

Cooking Is A Part of Who We Are

Our society has turned cooking into this thing on our list of to-do’s that we need to just get done, and get done quick. When in actuality, cooking from home is an age old tradition. There is tremendous benefit to physical health and family emotional health when cooking and eating from home. Experimenting in the kitchen, like pictured above with my homemade beet noodle pad thai, is a part of who we are. What we eat is an indicator of our spiritual health and how we treat ourselves in every way. This year, give yourself the gift of health, connection to family and most importantly connection to you.

Featured Lifestyle

Finding the Time, Part 3: Where’s Your Love?

Sometimes this new phenomenon of self-care can feel like one more thing to do, in an already over-booked schedule. When I needed to incorporate it into my life, I found myself over and over, writing out my daily schedule. Where or how could I fit this in? Exercise, good food, sleep, meditating, reading, quiet time, baths…I mean, come on?!

What I eventually realized was that if I stopped looking at self-care as a thing, and thought of it more as a way, then it easily became a part of my schedule. I wrote out my day. I looked at each tiny part to see if there was a way that I could do it with a little more love…to see where my love was at. Here’s what happened.

 

6:00 am (These parenthesis will show you what my schedule used to say: Wake Up.) My youngest son wakes up and I snuggle him and beg him for a little more sleep. He agrees to the snuggles, but more sleep? Never! So, alas, we snuggle to our hearts’ content, which has become one of my favorite and most loving times of day, and we get up about 6:30. We play games and color and I sip on a warm herbal tea or hot lemon water in one of my favorite mugs. I collect mugs with messages; Renew, Happy, Go with the Flow, Love, etc. They all say something different and are sort of a mantra to help me start my day.

7:15 (Breakfast) The boys are both up and hungry. We feed them breakfast (something like a smoothie and waffle). Nutrient rich foods is a way I show my own body and my family, love. I’ll eat if I’m hungry or not if I’m giving my body a little space. We pack lunches and then continue playing. Is it possible to play too many games?

8:30 (Go to school) We get dressed in snow clothes and head out for a winter hike, or a little rummaging in the snow and fresh air before we leave for school. During the warmer weather we spend this time biking or hiking to school instead. This has become a tiny, but essential piece of our days. It allows us all to breathe in the fresh air, move our bodies, and separate from each other and home in a positive way, for both the kids and parents.

9:00 (Gym) School drop-off for one, and the rest of us head to the gym for a quick workout. It’s usually resistance training with a little elliptical at the end, or a yoga class.  There’s almost always some sauna time because it amps up the sweat and detoxing, and also because it’s something I just really enjoy.

10:30 (Shower/Play/Lunch) We are back home. I added in one extra minute to do some skin brushing (gets the lymph system moving and nervous system going which can leave you feeling energized) before a hot shower. I added in some essential oil lotion afterwards, just for that “I’ve just been at the spa” feeling. We eat, and we continue drawing, reading, playing outside, visiting the library, going to parks, playing with friends and all sorts of entertaining things for a four year old. During the moments that I am not needed, or individual play is occurring, I read, close my eyes and do some meditating or positive affirmations, or do some stationary exercises like planks, lunges, and leg lifts. .

On the days they both have school, I work on my health coaching, blogging, or house chores and projects – usually with a favorite chai tea latte and some good music.

4:00 (Pick up) School pick up and playing outside, even me! It’s a good time for us to be together, to let the communication of the school day sort of flow out, rather than me nagging about what happened. Play is equivalent to joy. It brings us back together after a day apart. There’s usually a lot of laughter and fun, esp when we are sledding down the back hill.

5:30 (Dinner)  A meal with the whole family, almost always a couple veggies with a meat side. Along with dinner we take turns sharing what we are feeling thankful for each day. It’s been interesting to maintain this practice over many years. It really makes you dig deep into what you truly are grateful for.

6:00 (Play time) This is kind of a down time for us – some of us play games while others draw, some of us read or if we are going to do a family movie or game night, now’s the time.

7:00 (Kids’ Bed) Baths, books, and bed. Our boys go to bed at the same time so we had them share a room. That means one of us takes book duty and the other cleans the essentials to get us back on track for the next day. I either get some snuggles, or I turn on my favorite tunes (music is so healing) and zen out while I do the dishes.

8:00 (Clean) Because we made bedtime a one parent job, we get some time together instead! My husband and I meet out in the living room for some extra work time, a show, some reading, some time to pay it forward (send cards, make a meal for a friend, etc), or just have a conversation and a glass of wine.

9:30 (Not normally existent on my schedule) If I’m feeling antsy before bed then I take a steaming bath or head to bed even earlier so I can get myself relaxed by doing a meditation or reading to calm my senses before sleep.

10:00pm (Bed) Hopefully snoozing away. Lights off, noise machine, cool room, a little lavender spray on the sheets, my favorite Wolf Farm lavender lotion on my feet, or sometimes some melatonin supplements. We’ve figured out a few things that help me stay asleep through the night.

3:00am One or both children sneak into our bed. They have become stealth night ninjas and I don’t even know it’s happening until I wake up sweating between the two warmest little boys ever created.

As you can see my work on my health is now intermixed throughout my day. We have slowed down our lives in so many ways and incorporated important pieces (music, working out, meditating, quiet time, reading, calming teas, energizing practices, etc) into our daily lives. Self-care and self-love is not only a certain chunk of time to time set aside. It is a way of living with love all day long. And I can tell you, it feels good to be loved so much.

Sometimes it’s nice to write out your schedule and see what your day is actually filled with.  You might find some down time you don’t realize you have, or you might find yourself filling your time with something you don’t actually want/need to do. It allows a glance, a look, a space to think about and initiate some change.

And to throw in a little extra love.

 

Featured Nutrition

Becoming a Wahls Warrior

There really wasn’t a lot of time where I contemplated becoming a Wahls Warrior. During diagnosis time, I did not feel comforted or settled by medication in any way. I wasn’t experiencing such intense symptoms that I needed relief. So when my sweet sister sent me the Terry Wahls TEDx talk Minding Your Mitochondria, I was really all in. (That’s us pictured above on our adventure to Australia, right before I became pregnant with my first son and this whole, crazy journey began.) I loved that it was something I could try, something I could control, while I figured out what was happening to me. It can be followed with or without medication use, so I figured it was something that would benefit my body regardless of the other decisions I came to. I brought the newfound information to my neuro’s attention who was, to say the least, rudely unaccepting of the idea. But it just resonated with me. It felt too wrong to go against that feeling I had deep in my soul. I had birthed two beautiful boys by c-section. They were only 18 months apart. I had breast-fed them both for a year after birth and had lost all plus some of my baby weight. I was giving away all of my nutrients for 4 years straight! And I had this overwhelming feeling that I just wanted to get myself to the healthiest place I could possibly be before I started injecting myself with something.

So I jumped in. I read the book and started making drastic changes. Three years and a few months later and I am relapse free and feeling great. I have been able to remain drug free, and continue to live an active life. I followed her protocol strictly to start, and have since found ways to adjust it to my lifestyle. I have increased my activity levels, worked on bettering my sleep, and dug into some emotional wounds by writing on my own and reading from great authors. I have become a Wahls Health Coach and am now working on guiding others through the protocol. It has been the greatest blessing to find Terry Wahls (thank you forever, Hannah) and I am so grateful, every day, that she has been brave enough to share her story and hope. The Wahls research team continues to study and provide evidence about her protocol. There are phenomenal testimonies and claims that following her protocol has changed the lives of people dealing with everything from being overweight to Parkinson’s to PANDAS to Multiple Sclerosis and more.

Want to get started right away?  Start adding in fruits and vegetables, at least 2 at every meal. Start noticing your gluten and dairy intake, and start to try alternatives. Both can trigger an inappropriate immune response, esp in those with chronic disease. And don’t forget to move your body every day. You’ll learn more details as you go, but you have to start somewhere.

This is your life and you deserve health. Grab a copy of The Wahls Protocol and The Wahls Protocol Cooking for Life, and get started.  And if you need support, let me know.

Featured Lifestyle

Breaking the Lies

Part of my healing these last few years has definitely been through decreasing inflammatory foods, exercising regularly and building muscle, working on getting consistent and enough sleep, meditation, and stress-reduction. But one aspect of my healing that has been really interesting, and possibly the most beneficial, has been what I call looking into my past patterns and breaking the lies.

I write down the moments of my life, starting at birth. With each one I write down the facts and just let the memories of my past come to me. The key is that I no longer judge myself for the memories. Instead, I look at them from an outside perspective and think about what really was happening or why I made certain decisions, and if there was some false belief that led me to them or came from them.

Here’s an example, I was writing down facts from high school and I remembered this tiny memory that I have of riding in the car with my two friends Carolyn and Sarah, after volleyball try-outs for sophomore year were released. I hadn’t made the team, even though I played many years before that moment. I remember how upset my friends were for me, and how I held back the tears and just looked out the window. I blew it off, and just moved on with my life. A few months after that my parents officially divorced. A lot of my choices at that time were not the greatest and were blamed on my parents’ divorce. But as I sat with this memory, and wondered why it reappeared in my thoughts so significantly, I actually started to realize that this loss of my athletic life may have had a lot to do with my choices as well.

When I looked even further back, I realized that growing up I was always the tomboy. I was rough, tough, could always hold my own, wore my hat backwards and my Air Jordans laced up. I was a competitive gymnast, then moved to a school where I played on the varsity volleyball team as an 8th grader. I dabbled in basketball and soccer and I had this athletic life that I didn’t realize was so much of my identity. When I suddenly lost that identity I unknowingly created these lies to fit. When I created the lies that I was not a good enough person to be on this team, and that those who had loved me for being this tough girl wouldn’t love me anymore, my whole self-worth shifted for the worse. And when you have started to believe a lie like this, and lived your life in accordance, than the realities of life can really set you up to confirm that you aren’t enough.

Understanding where this belief stemmed from, I am now able to tell myself that that was a lie I created. Not being on that sports team didn’t mean I wasn’t a good enough person. It didn’t mean that people who had loved me were disappointed in me. All of those people still loved me and still do. I am good. I am loved. And poof. There goes that lie that I believed and tortured myself with for so, so long. I was able to close my eyes and look at that young girl and say, “It’s ok. I’m sorry you believed that, but you don’t have to believe that anymore. You are enough.” I let her heal. I let myself heal.

I continue to look at all these moments, figure out where I created these falsehoods about who I am, and tell myself the truth. I don’t share this memory with any feelings of sadness for not making the team, or any need for pity about what this circumstance led to for me. I share this because I want to show my process of finding my judgements and for the awareness of how easily we create these little lies and false personas for ourselves. Not making the team is a pretty common circumstance. It’s not one that is necessarily going to lead to anything except finding a new team. But you have to be careful about your thoughts, and which ones you choose to believe.

It’s been an interesting process to say the least. To literally sit down and write out my life. I have learned so much, forgiven myself for so much, and established this amount of self-love that I didn’t know possible. It takes a lot of time. It’s an ongoing process, looking back. But it’s worth the work. It’s worth the effort. Because I am worth it.

Featured Nutrition

You Are The Magic

Dieting can be hard. Finding a diet you can stick with forever can be even harder. Sometimes diets focus on limiting our menus, and to be honest, that just kinda sucks. If someone tells you that you can’t eat something, then you end up wanting it pretty badly. My personal nutrition journey has opened my eyes to the idea of not following a diet and instead, to eat with health and nourishment in mind. One way to change your eating behavior without limiting food is to focus on adding in.

Colorful vegetables and fruits are a key component to proper function for our bodies. They are anti-inflammatory, full of antioxidants, vitamins and more. Start by simply adding them in. In the morning, before you eat your usual breakfast have a bowl full of color rich berries. Put some red, yellow and orange bell pepper slices and a side of guac or hummus in your lunch to eat before you have your usual lunch. Have a big salad or a vegetable soup before you have your usual dinner. Let those changes happen. Just give it time. You’ll notice how you feel, you’ll notice it curbs your hunger. Enjoy it.

Then, when you’re comfortable, take it to the next level. Have two servings of color rich foods before you eat your regular meal. And it will just get that much better. Enjoy the food and enjoy the feeling of nourishing your body. You just might notice, eventually, that the colorful foods taste good and become easier to cook. You will give your body what it is so desperately searching for, and over time your body will crave those nourishing foods. In the meantime, do your research. Learn about food and what makes it good for you. When you understand it’s function, your choices will mean more to you.

Remember that the reason we eat, the fundamental reason we need food, is to nourish our body. So nourish it. Provide for it. There’s no magic pill. You are the magic.

 

 

Featured Lifestyle

Let Yourself Be Loved

Sometimes your husband takes you to go see a favorite band in the most beautiful place, and you have the best time, and they don’t have a poster left when you get to the front of the line. And then sometimes your best friend scours the internet for months, and finally finds it, and randomly sends it to you…just when you need a little love. And now all of the time you get to be reminded of how loved you are, and how lucky you are, and how beautiful and lovely life can be.

I never shy away from using things I love to add warmth and light to my home. When I was younger I decorated just to decorate, had nice paintings and curtains that matched and stuff. Then I renovated an old farmhouse in Iowa and I treated my home more like a piece of artwork. Every little thing that we added to a wall or table had texture or meaning. And thus evolved my style. The farmhouse didn’t work out, and it made it so hard to leave because we were literally living in all the love of people and places from our lives. We carefully packed up as much as we could and have now tried to work in the same feeling into our more cabin-style Minnesota home.

The poster is obviously a meaningful memory and a reminder of my beautiful friend. The plants add texture, the candle holder shimmers in the light. The flower paintings my husband and I picked up at a market we went to while dating, which gives me those butterflies I get while holding his hand. The framed writing is one of the readings we had at our wedding, 30 people in the middle of a canyon showering us with hope and love. The family picture is pretty self-explanatory, especially since we are laughing and tickling and simply in love. So it’s one tiny wall in my home, and people have told me a few times they really like it, but what matters to me the most is that it warms my heart to sit in this little area. Surrounding myself with reminders of beauty, love, friendship, and laughter helps me remain hopeful and comforted no matter the circumstances. I come into my house and immediately feel the warmth and comfort of my past, present, and future. Dorothy said it best didn’t she? There really is no place like home.

Featured Lifestyle

The Magic of a Photo

If we are ever to enjoy this life, now is the time, not tomorrow or next year…Today should always be our most wonderful day. Thomas Dreier

 

You have to get use to the feeling that ‘a most wonderful day’ doesn’t have to mean much of anything happened. It doesn’t have to be your biggest adventure, the happiest you’ve ever felt…it just needs to be a day you are grateful for.

Especially when things are really hard in life I have found that I turn to my (iPhone) camera. It didn’t really happen on purpose at first, and they are not by any means close to professional pictures, but I just started taking them. What I realized after many months is that I was feeling really grateful. The moments I was capturing were reminding me of tiny little things that filled my heart – my little boys’ fingers, the sunset behind the snowman we built, my amazing poochisimo (aka. dog) catching a ball in mid air – the tiny little things that in really difficult times kept me striving for more.

Don’t worry about the quality, just take them. Snap things in your life, in the world, in others and see what you find…it might just tell you more about yourself than you realize.

Featured Nutrition

Ditch the Rules

Most of my life I ate whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. I was overweight for a chunk of time where life was difficult, but even when I wasn’t, the nutrients I was choosing to give my body weren’t optimal. I would occasionally try and follow a diet or program, but nothing ever really stuck.

It’s ok if you fall down and lose your spark, just make sure when you get back up you rise as the whole damn fire. ~ Colette Werden

Two years ago, my life was jolted by a diagnosis of Muscular Sclerosis. It’s a story for another time (Wanna grab some chai?). But what ended up being the major result is that I looked at the nutrients my body was lacking, and I tried to provide it. For the first year I followed the Wahls Protocol developed by Terry Wahls, MD. Only level 1 (there are 3), but very strictly level 1 and some parts of level 2. I combined this and exercise to jump-start myself into the mindset of repairing. I chose to remain medication free – which is also another story – and I focused on sleep, meditation, and stress reduction as well. Fast forward another year, and I have eased myself back in to eating some of the things restricted on her diet. I continue to strive for whole, real food and multiple vegetables, mostly greens, at every meal. I recently completed the requirement to become a Holistic Nutrition Coach from the AFPA, mostly to further my own knowledge on this whole nutrition journey.

For so long I believed that a fad diet would make me a better person, and if I could just follow their rules I would be in a better place.

So, to say the least, understanding nutrition has been a journey for me. For so long I believed that a fad diet would make me a better person, and if I could just follow their rules I would be in a better place. What I have come to understand most though, is that my diet and my nutrients are up to me and my body. Following someone else’s way of energizing themselves is stressful for me because it does not fit my life or who I am. I can learn from others, I can use their suggestions, I can try recipes, but if it is not authentic to my life, my family, my experiments in the kitchen then eventually I will “fail”. Sometimes failure can spin us into a not so great place.

When my nutrition is my own journey, I never fail…and that keeps me in a good place. So, I read and read and try to understand what it is that our bodies need to work best. I make choices and changes that resonate with me, I try and provide the same for those around me, and then I let it go.

I don’t give myself the rules of eating this or counting that, I give myself knowledge and resources. And then I trust myself 100% to believe I am worth it to make the best choices. There is definitely a time and place where following a strict set of rules is a must, and there are definitely days where I feel like I didn’t do a great job. But allowing myself to ditch the rules, allows me to forgive myself easily and try again the next day.

I feel freedom in the choice. Because really, it’s all about making today better than yesterday, right!?

 

 

Featured Lifestyle

Just a Friend

Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.
Hold on to your life,
Even if it’s easier to let go.
Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.

A Pueblo Indian Prayer

 

So pretty much how this blog came about was because, for various reasons, several people mentioned that I should have one. ‘I love your photos. I’ve never seen anyone capture the feeling of a moment like that.’ ‘Will you help me design my house?’ ‘You are so creative at teaching and playing with your kids at the same time.’ I struggled to take the idea seriously at first because I wondered – who am I to say this is the way to live your life? But after diving into reading from some people I admire, which is what I do when I need help, a few things convinced me that it might be an ok idea after all.

“Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself” – I realized I was most afraid of the idea because I was afraid to offend someone. I was worried people may disagree or not like some of the things I mention or suggest here, but the Pueblo Prayer reminded me that I belong to the world because of who I am, not because of who I try to be like. This is my road. This is how I have learned to forge ahead, face adversity, and enjoy this place. I do not have the answers. I am not saying this is how you should live your life. All I am hoping to do is share how I have lived, and often coped with mine. I don’t expect you to follow every tiny thing I post here because one, this is a mere snippet of my life and two, you have your own path to follow. My only hope is that some of the ideas or words may inspire you to feel creative or connected.

Joseph Campbell, a writer and lecturer said, “If you can see your path laid out in front of you step by step, you know it’s not your path. Your own path you make with every step you take. That’s why it’s your path.” So, I guess what I’m saying is that I realized Dandelion Prose is not ‘the way’, it is my way. From my experience of life thus far I have certainly found that creating a more simple life can bring great joy, pride and authenticity. I realize if other people are looking for that, I am more than happy to share. So, take an idea here or there, read and let your own creative mind take over, or simply stop by for a laugh or a little inspiration and know that I am just a friend doing the same thing in my own life.

Much love,

Molly

Bitnami