Planes, Trains, and Acai Bowls

We’ve had a whirlwind of travel over the past month (full disclosure whirlwind = two trips, but for this homebody that’s pretty decent….).  First we went north and T was delighted to take two planes, a bus, and a rental car to visit family.  Next we went south by car to a beautiful beach where more family met us (and which we hope Hurricane Florence decides to take mercy on).

Staying healthy on the road can be tough.  I am a big fan of coming back from travel feeling better than when I left.  Though there are some very valid arguments for ditching routines all together during this time, with a little creativity it can be possible to maintain a sense of equilibrium.  Who knows, you might even create some new healthy habits along the way.

The following are my top tips for feeling robust on the road:

-Embrace the Change in Routine: Rolling with the punches is not only good for the brain, it is great for the body.  Walk or run on some new terrain.  Climb umpteen stairs to view a touristy attraction.  Boogie board like you own the ocean (just try not to land on your head like I did…..).

-Bring Some Gear: Simple equipment like yoga mats and exercise bands pack easily and can inspire some much needed movement after sitting in a teeny tiny seat.

-Hydrate, Hyrate, Hydrate: If there was a traveling MVP, the reusable water bottle would be it.  Considering that most airports now have filtered filling stations, it’s a wonderful way to save money, time, and the planet.

-Stay Somewhere with a Kitchen: Thanks to the popularity of companies like Air B and B, finding a place to stay with a workable kitchen has become much easier.  Not having to rely on restaurants for every meal is not only healthier, but also cheaper.

-Don’t Forget to Breathe:  Travel with family can be hectic.  Even if the agenda is tight, carving out some personal time for quiet contemplation can mean the difference between surviving your travels and actually enjoying them.  For ideas on simple ways to incorporate a mindfulness practice into your day check out my Mindfulness Monday series.

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Green smoothie break for a tired traveling T…..

Gaining Wholeness with Exercise

You may not be surprised to hear that, in my work as a personal trainer, clients want me to help them lose weight.  And it’s tricky.  Personally, I’ve seen weight obsession suck the joy out of movement for way too many people (present company included!).  Focusing on losing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.  Focusing on gaining is where it’s at.

Instead of focusing on what they can lose with exercise, I encourage my clients to focus on what they can gain.  Movement is more than simply a means to an end.  It can be a form of self expression.  It can allow us to see the world from a new perspective.  It can bring clarity to the mind.  It can bring peace to the soul.

It’s possible that exercise can assist in weight loss if that is a goal.  Letting it be low on a list of priorities is far more effective (and pleasant!) than creating an obsession around it.  Connecting in a positive way with one’s body is just one of the many possible items that might grace the top of the list.

The following are a few super reasons to move that bod that have nothing to do with losing and everything to do with gaining:

Gain Happiness:  Exercise changes the brain in very positive ways, making it less prone to stress and anxiety and more receptive to positive states.  The increase in sensitivity to hormones such as serotonin and norepinephrine, combined with an increase in endorphin production, is a veritable recipe for mood elevation.

Gain Strength: Weak bones and muscles lead to increased injury and impaired locomotion.  Performing weight-bearing exercise strengthens both and supports the freedom to move about the world in a more comfortable way.

Gain Energy:  Along with proper nutrition and rest, exercise has a major impact on overall energy.  Major benefits have been shown in not only healthy individuals, but also those with chronic progressive illness like multiple sclerosis and chronic fatigue syndrome.

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My little serotonin junky, happy and sweaty sliding at the park…..

To Be Continued….

There’s a new little rat in town….off performing auntly duties, be back Friday 8/31 with some new content!

Photo credit: https://www.boredpanda.com/rats-teddy-bears-ellen-van-deelen-jessica-florence/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=organic&utm_campaign=organic

The Plus Side of Preparing Your Own Plants

It took me a long time to become part of a CSA.  I tend to be controlling choosy about what enters my our kitchen.  Though the idea of supporting local farmers has always been appealing, the idea of receiving a random weekly grab bag was less so.  After years of living in a locavore city (made semi-famous in Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma), I finally bit the bullet.

The folks in the Blue Zones have various habits that, when combined, create health and longevity.  One of these is eating mostly plants.  Another is preparing their own locally grown food.  It’s hard to say which is more health promoting: the veggies themselves, the quality of the produce, or the care taken to prepare them.  If I had to venture a guess,  it’s probably all of the above.

I thought about this concept as I stared down my first crate of CSA veggies.  Though cooking is something I tend to do daily, I am a creature of habit.  Since I hate wasting food and making messes, I tend to stick to family favorites and opt for ease of preparation.  However, eating a wide variety of veggies is great for the gut.  When it comes to matters of the belly, leaving our comfort zone can lead to a more comfortable life.

According to yogic philosophy, preparing one’s own food is immensely healing to both the body and soul.  Of course, getting stressed out over said preparation can negate said benefits.  The following are a few tips to enjoy some local flavor with ease:

-Google, Don’t Guess: When in doubt, check it out.  It may take a minute, but figuring out exactly how to cut and/or cook an unfamiliar veggie is both safer (chef’s knifes are sharp!) and more enjoyable.

Peel and Chop: Though some mindfulness gurus may disagree, I find listening to a podcast while doing this makes it infinitely more pleasurable.  Place a large bowl for scraps right on the counter to save trips the the garbage can or compost bin.

-Cook and Cool: For those veggies that don’t work so well raw, stick to low fuss methods of preparation.  Steamed or baked veggies served cold are a nice addition to a salad, and can easily be reheated when you’re in the mood for a hot meal.

-Pack and Label: Storing veggies in see-through containers that are clearly labeled makes them easy to find (unless you have a husband with severe refrigerator blindness….I’m looking at you J…).

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T Veg
Glad your are picking up some veggies T, are they local?