I love good food and celebrations with family and friends. Which makes Thanksgiving one of my favorite holidays — it serves up both in spades!
But this Thanksgiving, I did something a little different. Rather than filling my belly with the usual feast, I decided to observe a day of fasting, which I followed up with a donation to our local food bank.
That’s right: a no-food Thanksgiving!
The holiday season is upon us, with many of our thoughts turning to food. The popular adage “you are what you eat” is literally true, according to new research that claims a person’s diet has a profound influence on their brain function and overall health.
Just as our eating style reflects and affects who we are, I believe how and where we live reflect ‘us’ even more. Our homes are intimate expressions of ourselves. Similar to the correlation between poor diet and disease, living in a toxic environment — in any sense, physical or emotional — also impacts our health in a negative way. Luckily, the opposite is also true. By creating an environment that supports our well-being, health and happiness, our bodies and minds will respond in positive ways.
The holiday season inundates us with recipes galore (as well as stress and temptations to overindulge). To balance that, choose an ingredient (or two, or three!) from my “healthy-self’ holiday recipe below, and treat yourself to a generous helping of grounding — whatever that means to you.
“This food comes from the earth and the sky. It is a gift of the entire universe and the fruit of much hard work; I vow to live a life which is worthy to receive it.” — Grace of the Bodhisattva Buddhists
At the beginning of every yoga class, while we’re sitting in sukhasana, my yoga teacher always says to “give silent gratitude for all the blessings in our lives.” And, even though I am mentally not quite “there” yet — I’m still trying to find my “sit bones” and thinking about my grocery list and how I forgot my daughter’s gym shoes and did I shut the garage door? — usually, I do it. Images of my kids’ faces and my cozy brick house flash through my mind, and if I take time to really think about it (and not about the location of my cute new flats that I hope the dog isn’t eating right now), I realize I have so much to be grateful for: my close, loving family, my friends, my health, my readers, my Dutch oven, fire-roasted Hatch green chilies, pasture butter and the fact that I am rarely hungry.
Looking to add more kick to your oatmeal, baked goods and salad toppings? Why not give these super seeds a try?
Grain-like seeds such as chia and teff have been gaining popularity in the mainstream over the past few years. And what’s not to enjoy? They are versatile, gluten-free nutrition powerhouses rich in protein and fiber, among other important nutrients.
Whether it’s a free sample at the grocery store or a new brand your best friend just recommended, discovering a fantastic new product is almost like falling in love.
That’s why it felt like Christmas in July when we unwrapped Yuzen’s July “box of Zen,” beautifully packaged and filled with products that are nourishing for the body, soul and planet.
Yuzen, a Boulder, Colo.-based company, makes it easy to find — and fall in love with — the best new eco-friendly products. It’s also an invitation to pause and take a quiet moment to enjoy some of life’s simple pleasures: a hot cup of tea, the smell of fresh flowers or a mouth-watering bite of dark chocolate.
By The FIRM Master Instructor Robyn Smarr
I love summer! If you were listening to this post rather than reading it, you would surely hear me shouting this sentence as loudly as I possibly can.
Maybe it’s because I was born in the crazy heat of August. (I have a theory that people tend to favor the season in which they were born.) Or maybe it’s because I practically lived at the pool and the beach as a child. Or maybe it’s because I can wear flip-flops every day during the warm summer months (the best “shoe” ever invented)! Regardless of the reason, I find so much joy and rejuvenation during the summer.
Here are my favorite tricks for making the most out of your S-U-M-M-E-R:
Diet. I shiver just hearing the word. Don’t you? How many have you tried? Most importantly, how many have failed you?
Food is always a part of our life experience. In my home country of Sweden, we socialize a lot around food. In the world of fitness, proper nutrition is vital for making progress and increasing energy levels. As a child, food is a necessity for growth and development, and as we get older, we become more aware of our diet’s impact on our longevity. So why then do we get lost in the middle?
by Kurt Johnsen
You’ve seen them. You may even be one of them — I know I have been. I’m talking about those folks hunkered over their food, shoveling it down as if someone were trying to take it away. Not only is it unsightly, it’s also unhealthy.
Our digestive system starts in our mouths, not in our stomachs as you may think. Special enzymes in our mouths begin to break down our food and prepare it for digestion from the moment we take a bite. But often, in our fast-paced, fast-food world, many of us — including myself — wolf down our meals and snacks like a greedy seagull, cocking our heads back and gulping down whatever is in front of us. We barely take the time to chew — much less enjoy — our food.
Last week I began a discussion about a modern epidemic, a deadly disease that one of every two Americans has, a disease that’s making us fat and sick. And 90 percent of those affected don’t even know they have it!
This disease is diabesity, the continuum of abnormal biology that ranges from mild insulin resistance to full-blown diabetes.
Whenever I visit Europe — whether to explore a few former Soviet bloc countries or to take a 2,000-mile driving trip through Italy and Switzerland’s Ticino region — I’m always struck upon “re-entry” into the U.S. by how BIG everything is here at home.
We drive big cars, especially here in Colorado, where every other vehicle seems to be an SUV. Our cars have big cup holders for our venti Frappucinos and Big Gulp sodas. We live in big houses that we furnish with stuff we buy at big-box stores. Our big refrigerators – and often an extra freezer – are crammed full of food we purchase at big supermarkets. And, alas, we ourselves are big, and getting bigger: According to the American Heart Association, more than 70 percent of American adults are overweight, and of those, nearly 38 percent are obese.
Europeans clearly do things differently from us. Yet their ‘smaller’ lives seem in many ways richer and fuller. I’ve begun to notice some of those differences that we might do well to consider. Here are five that really struck me: