Category Archives: holidays


Gift Ideas For Dad

Fathers deserve to be showered with love every bit as much as we shower our Moms. Sadly, when it comes to the official day for Dad celebrating, Father’s Day, most of the time we’re low on ideas, having used all our creativity for Moms on their official day the month before. So, Dad usually gets a funny card and maybe a new tie. Dads are troopers.

I’m here to support you and Dads everywhere. I’ve compiled a list of my favorite gifts for Dads (and any and all of the unofficially titled dad-like people in our lives). These products all meet The Ingredient Guru guidelines and are products I either own, use regularly, and/or gift on a regular basis to others. Give him a gift that he’ll really love and shower him with the hugs and appreciation that all Dads deserve.

 

HOT SAUCE
Give Dad some heat with hot sauce made from spicy, flavorful real-food ingredients. One bottle won’t be enough, Dad really needs an ultimate hot sauce sampler pack. Start with two of my favorites, Brother Bru’s Original African Hot Pepper Sauce, Very Hot and Sky Valley by Organicville Sriracha Sauce (finally a siracha sauce without potassium sorbate and sodium bisulfite)
Shop Hot Pepper and Sriracha Sauce

 

BBQ TOOLS
If Dad is the master of the grill, he should have a top-notch set of grilling tools. This is the ultimate of grillmaster tool sets, made from heavy-duty food-grade stainless steel, strong, sturdy and dishwasher-safe – just what Dad needs to up his barbecue game this summer.
Shop BBQ Tools

 

CHEF’S KNIFE
Every Dad who knows his way around a kitchen deserves a really good chef’s knife. I love my Wüsthof.  With an 8” blade and perfectly balanced, this is my absolute favorite and I use it all the time.
Shop Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

 

HEALTHY SUNBLOCK
Is Dad an outdoor enthusiast? I love that. Everyone needs sunshine, but sunburn and overexposure to those UV-A and UV-B rays? Not so much. Get Dad the BEST sunscreen (imho)  3rd Rock Essentials Sunblock. Invented by my good friend, Dr. Guerry Grune, an outdoor enthusiast and research chemist, who wanted something better than the garbage ingredients found in the conventional sunscreens he used to have to put on his skin. Made from 100% food grade edible ingredients, no GMO’s, no parabens, no hormone disruptors, this is the best stuff ever.
Shop 3rd Rock Essentials Sunblock

 

SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD
Who doesn’t love seafood? Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics is a wonderful, nourishing gift for Dad. When giving seafood it’s important to get sustainably fished, wild caught for the best quality. My friend Randy Hartnell knows fish. Before he started Vital Choice, he spent more than 20 years fishing wild, pristine Alaskan waters for salmon, herring, and other regional species. He’s an expert, AND he’s generous – he is offering a free gift just for Father’s Day! Use the code DADGRD18 with your order and Vital Choice will tuck in their popular Organic Salmon Marinade. That’s an added $10 bonus for Dad, and you, to enjoy.
Shop Vital Choice Wild Seafood & Organics

 

BECAUSE…  BACON
Did you know that bacon is the healthiest food.? Because it’s been cured.
Eggs and Bacon walk into a bar…… and the bartender says, “Get out – we don’t serve breakfast here.”
I don’t know who became more famous, Sir Francis Bacon or his son Chris P. Bacon
Obligatory Dad jokes over….  
Socks. A regular pair of socks might fall into that ho-hum category of Dad gifting, like a tie. Luckily, these are no ordinary socks, these are bacon socks. Bacon makes anything cool, even socks. Imagine if they also smelled like bacon… that would revolutionize the sock world!
Shop Bacon Socks

 

LEATHERMAN MULTI TOOL
For a Dad who does everything why not get him the tool that does darn near everything? Collapsible, portable, extremely useful. It’s named The Wingman for good reason. Because every Dad needs a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, wire stripper, scissors, package opener, bottle and can opener, file, ruler, ready for anything and more tool.
Shop Leatherman Wingman Multitool

 

OLIVE OIL JARS AND OLIVE OILS
I fell for these gorgeous olive oil jars as soon as I saw them. Handmade by Doni Langlois, talented artist and owner of Artful Life Clay, each and every unique bottle is practical, functional, and beautiful to look at. Not something you’ll find in your local shop. If you don’t see the bottles on her webstore, she’ll help you out if you send her an email inquiry, Doni@ArtfulLifeClay.com

If you’re going to gift Dad an olive oil jar, he’ll appreciate it even more if he has delicious olive oil to fill it with. Sandy Oaks Olive Oil Orchard, 50 acres of olive trees nestled in on a 200-acre homestead south of San Antonio, makes olive oil with love and a Texas accent. Sandy’s Olive Oil is made from Arbequina olives, soft, meadowy and sweet, and Picual olives, brisk and robust, producing a blend with complex buttery flavor. The Orchard also sells olive trees if you really want to help keep Dad’s bottle full.
Shop Olive Oil Jars and Olive Oils

 

SUSTAINABLE TRAVEL UTENSILS
Is Dad always on the go? If so, he needs the right equipment for eating on the go. Eco-friendly To-Go Ware is made from lightweight, strong bamboo, so perfect for toting around. The carrying case is made from recycled plastic (to help keep plastic bottles out of landfills) and has a handy carabiner on the back so Dad can just clip and carry a fork, knife, spoon and chopsticks wherever he may roam. Perfect for Dad’s busy lifestyle and our precious planet. It’s unique combination of ecology, innovation & compassion.
Shop To-Go Ware

 

MINDFULNESS MATTERS
Dad’s need mindfulness too. Life is busy. Meditation can restore balance to the mind, to relationships, to the workplace, and to health. In just minutes a day. Packed with dozens of ways to incorporate mindfulness, great essays, inspiration pages, and worksheets, Beyond Meditation: Making Mindfulness Accessible for Everyone is an easy-to-read, easy-to-implement resource for all, even Dads.
Shop Beyond Meditation: Making Mindfulness Accessible for Everyone

 

Although we officially recognize the greatness of Dads on Father’s Day, remember that dad’s day is really every day. Show your appreciation, tell your dads you love them, and celebrate Father’s Day all the days of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through my referral link, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I use myself and would share with friends and family. Your support of these companies through my links helps me bring you free information on this site.

 

 

Gift Ideas For Mom

Mother’s Day is always special. Of course, I believe that’s because moms are special. They nurture us, feed us, and encourage us to grow into better people. They kiss boo-boos, drive away under-the-bed monsters, and generally help to make everything alright with the world.

It’s always been strange to me that we choose only one day to celebrate. That’s mostly because I think moms, well parents actually, should be celebrated every day. But we have this habit of celebrating all the moms, aunts, grandmas, heart-moms, and mom-like people in our lives in May. And they definitely deserve a little pampering.

Here’s a list of my top twelve great gifts for moms. These products all meet The Ingredient Guru guidelines and are products I either own, use regularly, and/or gift on a regular basis to others. (Hint, you will want to buy some for yourself. They’re just that good.) 

 

HERBAL TEAS and a CUTE TEAPOT
I love making my own tea blends. For delicious high-quality herbs, Mountain Rose Herbs is my number one go-to. If mom prefers a pre-blended option, they have a tasty selection of those to choose from also. And if you’re going to give mom some tea why not a beautiful teapot to go along with it? Hayneedle has a truly lovely and eclectic assortment of teapots.
Shop Mountain Rose Herbs & Hayneedle

GLASS STRAWS
Plastic is so passé. It’s chock-full of unhealthy ingredients, like BPA, and it’s really environmentally unfriendly. Re-usable glass straws are here to save the day!  Glass straws made of borosilicate are non-porous, hypoallergenic, shatter-resistant, break-resistant, and usable in cold and hot temperatures. Borosilicate? That’s Pyrex to you, me, and your grandmother’s casserole bowl. I have a set of four straws, which came with a teeny brush to keep them nice and clean. I also keep one straw with me in a travel pouch, so I have it with me when I visit my favorite green juice bar.
Shop Hummingbird Glass Straws & Organic Cotton Travel Pouch

COCONUT OIL CREATIONS
I am so in love with this stuff. It’s a really delicious and convenient way to get coconut oil, along with anti-inflammatory, immune boosting spices into your daily diet. I spoon it into tea, herbal beverages, and oatmeal. I have to keep fighting off my husband who puts it in his coffee. The flavors are deep and scrumptious, created with loads of organic spices. My current favorite flavor? Chai. Next week it may be Mocha. Really, all the flavors are so good. Mom probably needs one of each, so she can taste-test her way to finding her favorite.
Shop Coconut Oil Creations

GLASSTIC
Glasstic bottles are my favorite way to take my water along with me, everywhere. It’s a glass bottle surrounded by a tough BPA-free plastic shell. My water stays delicious, I don’t have to worry about breaking the bottle AND I help keep the earth free of throw-away plastic bottles! Great for hot or cold beverages, and there are a seemingly endless number of designs to choose from.
Shop Glasstic

MYGREENFILLS
Let’s face it when you’re a mom laundry is a way of life. You can make things easier for mom by gifting her with the last laundry bottle she will ever use. MyGreenFills’ refill program delivers eco-friendly, toxic-ingredient-free laundry wash right to mom’s front door. The refills are in powder form, so you don’t pay extra shipping for the weight of a liquid filled bottle. How smart is that? Plus, this company has an amazing mission statement and social cause. Absolutely worth standing on a soapbox and supporting.
Shop MyGreenFills

GAIAM
I really appreciate Gaiam’s (pronounced “GUY-um”) company message. They believe in nurturing, protecting and respecting the Earth and everyone and everything that exists on the planet. For now and for our future generations. They also make some of my yoga and fitness products. They have such a broad range of products good for gifts – comfy clothing, balance balls, colorful yoga mats, foam rollers, videos, even pet massagers – there’s definitely something here for every mom.
Shop Gaiam

DARK CHOCOLATE
Chocolate is a delicacy. The Mayans believed chocolate possessed healing abilities. In 1753, Swedish naturalist Carolus Linnaeus named the cacao tree: Theobroma cacao (food of the gods).  Today, dark chocolate is considered a Super Food. Loaded with nutrients and high in antioxidants, dark chocolate is good for your heart and your brain, just for starters. Also, it’s delicious. Choose minimally-processed, dark chocolate with at least 70% pure cacao, free of emulsifying agents.  Thrive Market has an incredible selection of delicious, clean, healthful dark chocolate for every palate – from fun and flavorful to dark and dreamy. Delicious.
Shop Dark Chocolate

INSTANT POT
Because I absolutely LOVE mine. I received my Instant Pot as a gift last year. As soon as I tried it I immediately added it to my Favorite Kitchen Tools List and added Instant Pot variations to my Fast, Fun Freezer Meals recipe collection. Every kitchen should have one. Every mom should have one. Check out my Pinterest Board’s ever-growing collection of Instant Pot recipes. You can practically taste the deliciousness.
Shop Instant Pot

HIMALAYAN SALT LAMP
Looking to give mom a calm refuge in the hurry and stress of everyday life? Consider a salt lamp. Not only pretty to look at, the soft, gentle glow of a salt lamp adds negative ions to the air and lends a peaceful tranquility to the room. I have several and love their welcoming glow when I return home after a long day. A salt lamp is perfect for every room of the house. Mom’s probably going to want more than one.
Shop Himalayan Salt Lamp

REAL PLANS MEAL PLANS
This online meal planner is a plan with superpowers. If mom loves to cook but struggles with menu planning (and really, who doesn’t?) this is the gift that keeps on giving. It makes menu planning a snap no matter what your dietary plan. Just remember to take her out once in a while too.
Shop Real Plans Meal Plans

SKIN FOODIE
Oh my gosh this is the Best. Stuff. Ever. I met Skin Foodie’s creator, Amy, at a conference and have been a huge raving fan of her healthy skin products ever since. Everything is food for your skin – made with ingredients from nature, and love. Ditch those over-the-counter products full of toxins! And Skin Foodie knows moms – they even have a Mom Fixes Everything Balm!
Shop Skin Foodie

TOTEM
TOTEM has fabulous gemstone jewelry – the prettiest mala necklaces, chakra bracelets, and so much more. TOTEM Sacred Jewelry and Smudge Bar designs pieces with good vibes and lots of love. It’s the place to get mom something really special.
Shop TOTEM

BONUS
I couldn’t resist making this list a baker’s dozen, so here’s one final gift idea: a copy of Gratitude: A Mindful Pause. This journal is the perfect little gift for mom to write down her everyday experiences and the many things she’s grateful for (including you!) Paired with some beautiful pens or pencils and it’s a gift that will keep on giving.
Shop Gratitude: A Mindful Pause

 

Although we’re officially celebrating now, remember that mom’s day is really every day. Show your appreciation, tell your moms you love them, and celebrate Mother’s Day every day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you click through my referral link, at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase. I only recommend products and services I use myself and would share with friends and family. Your support of these companies through my links helps me bring you free information on this site.

 

 

Favorite Kitchen Tools

 

My Favorite Kitchen Tools

 

CHEF’S KNIFE
Everyone needs a good chef’s knife. With an 8” blade and perfectly balanced, this is my favorite and I use it all the time. When I was displaced by Hurricane Harvey for a few months the one thing I missed the most was my knife.
Wüsthof Classic 8-Inch Chef’s Knife

FLEX EDGE BEATER
I love my mixer and all of the attachments that come with it. Especially this scraper mixer blade This is an amazing mixer because it makes short work of beating, mixing, and blending. I even use it to mix my meatloaf.
KitchenAid Flex Edge Beater

IMMERSION BLENDER
This is the handiest dandiest tool in my kitchen. Perfect for making mayonnaise, blending soups and sauces, making applesauce, I also use it for making a bulletproof style boosted tea.
All-Clad Stainless Steel Immersion Blender

CUISINART
My mother bought me one years ago and I remember thinking “What the heck am I going to do with it?” Now I don’t know how I’d live without it. I use it to chop everything, including making chopped salads in the summer.
Cuisinart 14-Cup Food Processor

JULIENNE BLADE
Perfect for making julienned vegetables and especially for ‘zoodling’ zucchini, butternut squash. I’ve even used it to julienne apples for a shredded apple dessert.
OXO Good Grips Julienne Peeler

BEES WAX WRAP
As I try to make my kitchen more eco-friendly I’m using less plastic wrap. But I still need to wrap things. That’s why I love these. I have them in different sizes and use them all the time.
Bee’s Wrap 3-Piece Sustainable Reusable Food Storage

VITAMIX
I’m not going to lie, I Iove my Vitamix. It gets used almost every day in my kitchen. Sure, it’s perfect for making smoothies, but it’s also great for blending NiceCream (“ice cream” made with frozen banana), homemade almond milk, coconut whipped cream, and more.
Vitamix 7500

INSTANT POT
I’ve just gotten one and I have a feeling it’s going to be my new favorite appliance. A crockpot, pressure cooker, and steamer all in one? What’s not to love about saving space in the kitchen?
Instant Pot

LE CREUSET PAN
I adore my Le Creuset pan. It’s cast iron and enameled. From eggs for breakfast to sautéing veggies for dinner, this pan practically lives on my stovetop because we use it so much.
Le Creuset Signature Iron Handle Skillet, 9-Inch

MANDOLIN SLICER
Fabulous for slicing things at any time of year it’s great for salads, frying, canning, and makes quick work of different cuts for a wide variety of foods
Mueller Austria V-Pro 5 Blade Adjustable Mandolin

SHAMELESS PLUG
If you’re giving gifts for the kitchen this holiday season why not share a copy of my book The Pantry Principle: how to read the label and understand what’s really in your food? This is a fabulous resource to help you learn more about your food, so you can make healthy choices. Available in Kindle or paperback, it’s a great stocking stuffer for any real food enthusiast.

 

 

 

 

Some links are to affiliate programs. At no additional cost to you I may receive compensation if you purchase through the link. Your support of these companies through my links helps me bring you free information on this site.

 

 

January Kitchen Cleanout

If you’re like me the thought of a new year brings hopes for shiny and new beginnings.  Part of that includes the kitchen.  After all it really is the heart of the home.  But the kitchen and pantry tend to get cluttered over time.  The disorganization and clutter happens slowly.  We become so accustomed to it that we don’t even realize how out of order things have become.  Disorganization makes it overwhelming when you’re trying to cook or meal plan. 

A fresh start

With the beginning of a new year is a great time to make a fresh start. Time to get rid of everything that’s getting in the way of your organized, healthy kitchen.  Once it’s cleaned out, you’ll find it easier to make wonderful, healthy meals to feed yourself and those you love.  I love cleaning out my kitchen and always set aside some time in the first week of the year to get things back on track.  After all of these years I’ve gotten to a point where it’s quick and super easy.  In order to help you enjoy a sparkly fresh start with your kitchen I’ve made this handout.  With just 15 items it’s a simple and easy to understand way to get your fridge, freezer, pantry, and kitchen ready to go for the year ahead.

A kitchen cleanout can seem a bit overwhelming if you’ve never done it before.  Break the task list down to make it easier on yourself.  Set your timer for 30 minutes and go down the list.  At the end of 30 minutes you’re done for today (or do another 30 minutes if you’re feeling motivated).  With just a few cleanout sessions you’ll be amazed at how organized your kitchen is.  Before you know it you’re ready for the year ahead.

 
january-kitchen-cleanout

You can get free copy of this printable here.

mindfulness, the word of the year

The Word Of The Year – Mindfulness

Over the years I’ve developed a habit of choosing a word to serve as my intention for the year.  This year the word is mindfulness.  As I go through each year I reflect frequently on my word and see if I am meeting my reasons for having chosen it.  

Choosing a word

In past years it has sometimes been a struggle to come up with a word.  There are so many to choose from! And finding just the right one that resonates is not as easy as you might think.  Usually I wind up taking the time from Christmas until somewhere after the New Year to identify a word.

This year, as I worked on my new book on meditation I kept coming back to the word and it really resonated with me. Each time I thought about it, wrote about it, saw it on my desk or my computer it caught my attention and made me stop for a moment. 

I realized that it flows well from my previous word of Focus.

The dictionary defines mindfulness as

noun
1. the state or quality of being mindful or aware of something.

2. Psychology.

  1. a technique in which one focuses one’s full attention only on the present, experiencing thoughts, feelings, and sensations but not judging them:
    The practice of mindfulness can reduce stress and physical pain.
  2. the mental state maintained by the use of this technique

 

Benefits of mindfulness

One of the things that appeals to me about choosing this word is how much it resonates with our need for self care.  When I work with clients I encourage them to be more mindful about their eating which, of course, has an impact on health. I encourage some sort of self care practice, breathing, meditation, yoga, all of which require a degree of mindfulness.

Moving forward into the new year there will be more of that.  Both for them and for me.  While I am a holistic health practitioner and I support others to achieve their wellness goals, I know I benefit from these practices as well.

The truth is that mindfulness is a very supportive piece of our overall health and wellness.  Studies have shown that it can help lower stress and reduce blood pressure. This, in turn, is good for heart health. [1]  Mindfulness can also help with nutrition, satiety, and even weight loss.  There are a number of studies about this and even a book on the subject

Savor: Mindful Eating, Mindful Life

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the year ahead I’m looking forward to deepening my own sense of mindfulness.   And I’m excited to share with others, supporting them to develop their own mindfulness practices as part of their wellness plan.

Words from past years

If you’re interested these are the words that I’ve chosen in the past.  I find it fascinating to look back at previous years, at the reasons I chose certain words and reflecting on the growth that brought to my life.

I’d like to encourage you to pick a word of your own. It’s an interesting exercise and can have some amazing results. If you want to take it one step further you can even go to OneWord365 and put it out there into the universe.

* * * * *
Resources

[1] Randomized controlled trial of mindfulness-based stress reduction for prehypertension 

 

Focus – The Word Of The Year

Screenshot 2016-01-01 13.45.04

New day, new year, new word.  Each year I pick a word of the year.  One word that I use to help me pay attention to my goals and to give me a touchpoint to refer to throughout the year.  It sounds simple but it’s harder than you think to pick just one word.  To think about the overall goals for the year ahead, to find something meaningful that resonates within me as my inspiration.

This year I’ve chosen the word focus.  Last year’s word was balance  and I certainly put a lot of thought and effort into staying mindful with that word.  I feel like I did better with the whole work-life-spirit-me-others balancing act (although there is always room for improvement).  But being in balance and being focused are two very different things.

When I chose the word focus I had not really thought about all of the different meanings.  I was concentrating on the verb, to become more focused.  I meant it to be more attentive to things and to narrow down on what’s important.  To try to winnow through some of the distractions and what I call “The Octopus.”  You’re probably familiar with it.  The Octopus is where you feel like you have everything under control, then you get distracted by other things but you fold them in to what you’re doing.  Then you start spinning another plate or two and the next thing you know you’re overwhelmed, trying to figure out how to corral everything back under control.

But it’s a noun as well, bringing something into focus and I like that idea as I begin on the path that is this delicious new  adventure of a new year.  And it turns out I also like another definition as well.  To become a central point. I see that as being your resource, your go to person for reliable information about ingredients, food, nutrition, and health.  That loops back to the first time I did the word of the year challenge and chose the word inspire (you can read about that word here).

If you’d like to pick a word of the year consider writing it down.  You can even go online to OneWord365.com and find others who are using the same word as you are.  Whatever your goals are for this new year I wish you many good things along the journey.

Be well,

Mira e-sig

 

 

PS – If you’re nerdy like me you probably want to read what the official dictionary definition is.

focus

[foh-kuh s]  
noun, plural focuses, foci
1.  a central point, as of attraction, attention, or activity:  The need to prevent a nuclear war became the focus of all diplomatic efforts.
2.  Physics. a point at which rays of light, heat, or other radiation meetafter being refracted or reflected.
3.  Optics.

  1. the focal point of a lens, on which rays converge or from which they deviate.
  2. the focal length of a lens; the distance from a focal point to acorresponding principal plane.
  3. the clear and sharply defined condition of an image.
  4. the position of a viewed object or the adjustment of an opticaldevice necessary to produce a clear image:
    in focus; out of focus.
4. Geometry. (of a conic section) a point having the property that the distances from any point on a curve to it and to a fixed line have  constant ratio for all points on the curve.
5. Geology. the point of origin of an earthquake.
6. Pathology. the primary center from which a disease develops or in which it localizes.
verb (used with object), focused, focusing or (especially British)focussed, focussing.
7. to bring to a focus or into focus; cause to converge on a perceived point:  to focus the lens of a camera.
8. to concentrate: to focus one’s thoughts; to focus troop deployment in the east.
verb (used without object), focused, focusing or (especiallyBritish) focussed, focussing.
9. to be or become focused:  My eyes have trouble focusing on distant objects.
10.  to direct one’s attention or efforts:  Students must focus in class.

Ten Tips For A Happy Healthy Holiday

Cultivate Wellness

The holiday season has arrived.  Along with the excitement and anticipation of celebrations we find ourselves surrounded by tempting food choices that we might not otherwise indulge in.  For many these foods seem to bring out self-defeating negative statements. We tell ourselves things like, “I’m cheating” or “I’m so bad” or “I’m probably going to regret this.” Instead of feeding your mind with these negative thoughts consider making a mind shift.  Focus on the company of the people you are gathered with, appreciate the setting, and feed yourself good foods and positive thoughts.

Ten Tips

To help you stay on track and feel great while celebrating the season:

1. Eat breakfast: The most important meal of the day, often we’re tempted to skip breakfast so we’ll be “really hungry” when we get to that big meal or buffet. The roller-coaster effect on your blood sugar may cause you to overeat which adds to weight gain during the holidays. Chose a breakfast that is high in fiber and protein.

2. Eat before the party: Just as you want to be metabolically stable by eating breakfast, you want to have a small snack before the party to stave off any potential hunger that might lead you to make less desirable choices. Snack on something with a little protein like a handful of raw nuts.

3. Start off raw: When arriving at the party or event start by eating a salad or raw vegetables. These foods are high in fiber and very alkaline both of which are beneficial for your body. Just go easy on the creamy, fatty dressings by choosing healthier dressings such as vinaigrette or hummus.

4. Eat slowly: Savor your food and be mindful of what you are eating. The point of the party is to spend time with friends and family; to socialize rather than to stuff yourself. Eating quickly and mindlessly can lead to overeating; savoring your food and taking your time to eat will help prevent this.

5. Avoid sabotage: Frequently at family gatherings you may be encouraged to overeat the family food-pusher asks you to have “just one more” slice of pie, serving of casserole or whatever dish they are promoting. Learning to gently refuse seconds, thirds or more will help you feel better and avoid excess.

6. Size matters: If your host has different size plates available always choose the smaller one. You are more likely to finish your plate no matter what size it is. Using a smaller plate allows you to have more control over your portion sizes.

7. Beware of buffets: When presented with a large array of choices most of us tend to try to take “just a little bit” of everything on the buffet. The problem is that by the end of the buffet line your plate is overfull and you are more likely to overindulge. Successful buffet techniques include looking at the buffet first and choosing those items you really want to eat. Make sure that at least half of your plate is salads, if available, to help cut down on the foods with fatty, rich sauces. Also try to avoid going back for seconds.

8. Don’t deprive yourself: Moderation is key. Allowing yourself to have small tastes of certain foods, especially fatty, sugary desserts can help prevent a deprivation-induced binge. If you put a whole dessert on your plate you’ll be tempted to eat it. Instead cut it in half or quarters and have just those few bites on your plate.

9. Share the wealth: In addition to party invitations many people receive gifts of highly caloric foods like chocolate, candy, cookies, alcohol and more. Sharing them with office mates and others helps remove temptation.

10. Moderate your alcohol intake: alcohol has a lot of calories and can reduce the number of calories that you burn. Alcohol can also increase your appetite, once again leading to overindulgence. To avoid this (and a potential hangover) limit the number of alcoholic drinks and alternate each one with water or sparkling water.

With a little preparation you can successfully make it through the holiday season without regret. Happy Holidays and be well.

 

Thanks to my friend Melanie Dawson who blogs at Cultivate Wellness for the graphic

Four Ways To Enjoy Your Holiday Season

Screenshot 2014-11-17 14.36.20

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some people are overwhelmed by the mere thought of the holiday season. Are you one of them?

The main problem that creates stress during the holiday season is not saying “NO” enough.

Do you like it when your calendar is so jam-packed? Did you really have fun at the Smith’s holiday party last year? Do you really need to buy presents for all your work colleagues? Do you actually want to attend every one of your families’ gatherings? Was decorating your home really that much fun for you?

This comes down to your priorities – instead of filling your calendar with obligations, decide your priorities for the season and schedule them FIRST, then allow yourself to decide how much more you really want to do.

Is this the year you decide that the season will be FUN and to let the rest go?

Here are four ways to enjoy your holiday season even more this year:

1. Prune your To-Do list: If you’re not excited about the activity when you see it on your calendar or list of things to do, consider eliminating it altogether – IT’S OK TO SAY NO!

2. Keep decorating simple: If you decide to decorate at all, consider storing away two of your “everyday” decorations and replacing them with one holiday decoration – make the holidays the focus and cut the other clutter.

3. Delegate, delegate, delegate: There are many services out there to help you finish tasks you may not have time to do yourself. Cleaning, yard work, gift-wrapping, catering – just to name a few. Ask yourself if a lower stress level is worth spending a few extra bucks – in many cases it is definitely worth it.

4. Release the desire for perfection: Take a deep breath and be ok with everything not being perfect. If you’re having a party at your home – clean the public areas and bathrooms and be ok with the bedrooms or other not-so-public areas in the house not being pristine.

 

This article was written by Clutter Coach Tracy K. Pierce. Tracy assists holistically minded and motivated people who are sick and tired of their clutter reclaim space for what matters most. She’s hosting a free de-cluttering program in January 2015. Click here to learn more and sign up.

One Word – Inspire

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It’s that time of year…the time we arbitrarily close the cycle of days that has come before and look forward to a New Year.  One filled. one hopes, with promises, joy, and many good things.  As I’ve written about before, I’m not much of a one for resolutions, I prefer goals.  Each year I do sit down and think about what I would like to accomplish for the upcoming months.  To set out a roadmap that I can at least use as a guide to moving forward.

This year, a random post by my friend Trudy Scott posed the question what would you pick as your defining word for the upcoming year.  She heard about it over at Intent.com.  I was immediately struck by how powerful this could be.  The idea of focusing in on just one word.  One defining concept and trying to achieve the goals set by that word.   After much thought, writing and crossing out, saying aloud, and defining, I’ve hit on a word.  Inspire.

The dictionary defines this as:

inspire – verb (used with object)
1.  to exert a stimulating or beneficial effect upon
2. to produce or arouse (a feeling, thought, etc)
3. to guide, influence, or impel
4. to take or draw (air, gas, etc), into the lungs; inhale
5. archaic to breathe into or upon

I find myself motivated by this one word.  I see so many permutations of how it might be used as a focal point over the next 12 months.

As a nutrition educator and real food advocate I am always seeking to help those around me.  To support them so they can make educated choices for themselves and their loved ones when it comes to their food and health.  Through my work, my writings, lectures, and connections I hope to inspire people to make those choices for health.

I frequently ‘shout out’ about a wide range of topics all related to food, nutrition, and holistic health in an effort to motivate others.  [An example is all those who are now aware (and disgusted) about the use of chicken poop as cow feed – if this bothers you please tell the FDA how you feel by signing this petition].  While it’s often upsetting information, I am very sincere in my desire to share this not as a means of upsetting people but in the hopes that they will be, indeed, inspired to make different choices and to speak out in their turn, to have an impact.

Inhaling, breathing, is a good thing.  I believe we all need to do more of that.  Especially deep breathing.  Taking a moment in time to draw air deeply into our lungs has a beneficial effect when it comes to lowering stress.  We should all do more of that, myself included.  Breathing in sharply can be a sign of surprise, of interest, an aha! moment.  I hope to find, and share, more of those moments throughout the year ahead.

But inspire is a word that I chose not only because of how I hope to use it to connect with those around me, but because of what I hope that focus can mean for me.  I want to be inspired.  I want to find that surprise, those guiding, influencing moments that I know lie ahead.  To do that means I need to be aware, open to the possibility, to the gifts that bring those moments of inspiration.  I also need to be open to the opportunity to share, to give, to be inspired.

It turns out that other people are interested in the idea of a one word focus.  You can connect with them through the OneWord365 website.  You can find a word that speaks to you, connect with others who share your word, or just set your intention for the year.  I’d love to hear your word and why you chose it, leave a comment below and share.

Wishing a healthy, happy, peaceful and joyous New Year to you all.

Be well.

Thanksgiving – Best Practice For Leftovers

Thanksgiving is just around the corner.  And after the big feast there will be leftovers.  Probably lots of leftovers.  Because, let’s face it, isn’t that how most of us prepare for the big day?  We pretend we’re feeding an army (and maybe some of us are).  Partly because we enjoy the cornucopia of favorite foods. But also because after cooking for two days it’s a great feeling to enjoy all these delicious treats again as leftovers. When we’re planning for leftovers however, we need to have a plan.

Substitutions

In order to make sure you have the healthiest leftovers possible be sure to start with the healthiest ingredients:

The leftover plan

Most of us plan out our cooking day in great detail. What needs to go into the oven when, what gets cooked in which order, when family is arriving, and how to make the feast all appear on the table at the same time. While it’s great to pay all that attention to the meal, we also need to be mindful of how to plan for after the feast. Use the infographic below to plan appropriately for food storage before you start cooking.   And have a happy, healthy holiday.


Source: PartSelect.com