Friday, January 31, 2014

Move Your Body With Love

I’m not going to go into why exercise is important. We all know it’s good for mind, body, and spirit. Physical activity has got great benefits that you can’t argue against. It relieves stress. It helps us sleep better. It gives us our sexy back. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

It's 7 degrees and I'm doing random exercise in the street. Just keeping things interesting.

Still it’s often a struggle to just get up and do it. Time spent exercising is time away from work (time that is super precious especially if you’re self employed), time away from the couch and Downton Abbey, and time away from cuddling with your sweetheart. I get it.

So what’s gonna get you up and moving it for at least 30 minutes a day everyday? Love. I’m not talking about loving long-term benefits like losing weight or increased energy (but yeah, you will get them). I’m talking loving your practice. You’ve gotta love the experience of the exercise practice more than you fear what missing a moment of work will cost you or more than you fear confronting your own inner dramas and feeling alone.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

7 Benefits of Blogging Your Hobby

I'm teaching an intro to blogging class Saturday at Learning Connection on Wayland Square in Providence on Saturday 12-3pm. The class is called "Blog Your Hobby" and you can still register here. I'd love to have you!

So excited about and grateful for this opportunity to guide hobbyist as they begin their journey of sharing their passions with the world.

The benefits of starting a blog based on your hobby are many. Here are just a few that I've experienced:
  • Begin flexing your "I Do What I Love" muscles. This is going to help you grow in so many areas beyond blogging and your hobby. Buffing these muscles strengthens you to pursue any other dreams so you can create a life you love.
  • Increase self-confidence. 
  • Confront and overcome fear of being judged.

Do You Know Which Foods Have The Most Pesticides?

In addition to being hazardous to our ecosystem, many pesticides pose health dangers to people. As acknowledged by U.S. and international government agencies, different pesticides have been linked to a variety of health problems, including:
  • brain and nervous system toxicity
  • cancer
  • hormone disruption
  • skin, eye, and lung irritation

Eating lots of fresh produce is always a healthy choice, especially when compared to eating a diet high in processed foods. Still, choosing organic foods is the best way to reduce exposure to toxic pesticides.

If your grocery budget is limited it's a good idea to know where to prioritize spending and where you can save if you need to. The Clean Fifteen and Dirty Dozen lists, awesome resources provided by Environmental Working Group, are great guides for doing so.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

I'm a Buddhist.

I practice Nichiren Buddhism with Soka Gakki International (SGI). At every monthly discussion meeting, we share an experience of faith. I shared mine on Saturday. I wanted to share it with you here today too.

I was first introduced to Nichiren Buddhism and SGI by a fellow student in a writing workshop. My mom had been diagnosed with lung cancer and I was feeling desperate to help her. My classmate compassionately suggested I chant and invited me to her house to show me how to do it.

We met one morning and chanted Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo side by side. I chanted that I wanted my mom to have a successful surgery and to be healthy and happy. I threw in that I wanted the owner of the shop I worked at, to hire me to organize her office. I’d just started a cleaning & organizing service and the chaos of her office had been driving me crazy for years.

When I got to work later that day, the shop ower told me she wanted to support my business and asked me to organize her office. My mom had her surgery in a couple of weeks. They removed ⅔ of her left lung and she recovered quickly. She hasn’t had any problems with her lungs since. Within a few months of her surgery, she also got treated for a thyroid condition. Her disposition switched from being negative, depressed, and anxious to positive, happy, and hopeful. I hadn’t known my mom to be this way in at least 17 years.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Meatless Monday: Raw Red Cabbage Will Make You Gorgeous

Red cabbage has some amazing health benefits. I'm impressed by how many beauty benefits it has. Red cabbage is rich in vitamin A which acts as a natural moisturizer and keeps skin soft. Raw cabbage provides good roughage for healthy poops, which is key for gorgeous skin too! Red cabbage is also abundant in vitamin E which aids in producing a glowing complexion.

In addition to being good for you, it's pretty darn cheap and stores well in the fridge. Win, win, win!

Here are three ideas for adding more raw red cabbage to your diet.

Image via PBS and Aube Giroux

Make this yummy zesty red cabbage slaw. I love the simplicity of the ingredients: red cabbage, lemon juice, olive oil, garlic, and tamari. This was a hit at a recent potluck. It's delicious with veggie kielbasa, but I've also taken to just snacking on it. It is very easy to make and days later the leftovers are just as delicious as the day you made it.

Add red cabbage to your sandwich in place of lettuce. You can shred it or just pile on a few leaves. It's good in burritos and tacos too.

Use red cabbage in place of a wrap or a tortilla. Pile your favorite raw veggies, hummus, avocado, sprouts, tofu, or whatever makes you happy onto a red cabbage leaf and roll like a burrito.

How do you enjoy raw red cabbage?

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Friday, January 24, 2014

How to Clean Copper Pots

The Winter 2013 issue of Edible Rhody features a story about Jim Hamann, a beekeeper who lovingly refurbishes vintage copper pots.

Gorgeous copper pot photo via Adam Liaw.

If you've got copper cookware that could use some TLC, try Jim's recipe for natural copper polish.
  • 1/2 c white vinegar
  • 1 TBS salt
  • 3 TBS flour, or enough to make a thin paste

Got burned food in your copper pot? Don't scrub it or you'll ruin the soft tin lining. Jim recommends removing burned food from a copper pan with hot water and a squirt of dish soap.

If you have inherited any copper pots from your granny, I suggest you heed Jim's advice. Did you know those things are superexpensive? I just saw a set of copper cookware for $1,500 on Amazon! Hot damn!

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Thursday, January 23, 2014

5 Peanut Butter Sandwiches Gone Wild!

I am so into peanut butter sandwiches right now. Here are five great PB sandwiches I've enjoyed recently. They're all healthier and more interesting than peanut butter and jelly.

Peanut Butter + Baby Spinach + Honey (about a 1/2 tsp of honey is enough for ultimate yumminess). Note: Try it closed-faced so it's easier to bite into without having spinach fly in your face.

Peanut Butter + Apples + Spinach + Cilantro + Sriracha. Think Thai food. I had this at Benefit Juice Bar & Cafe. If you ever are in Providence visiting RISD this is a great place to grab lunch. 

Peanut Butter + Cucumbers. Medium thickness slices, about as thick as your pinky nail, work best. I don't understand why this is good but it is.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Are You Really Living MLK's Dream?

Yesterday, I was thinking about Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, specifically this sentence: "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I couldn't resist wondering if I'm living MLK's dream. Do I judge others based on their character- on who they really are- instead of how they appear on the outside? Think so.

Do I judge myself on my character instead of my appearance? It's been a journey.

I used to judge myself harshly on how I looked. A a child, I had "ugly" teeth. As a pre-teen, I was "flat" and I had "bad" skin. By 16, I was suddenly curvy and not thin enough, even when I got down from 135 to 101 pounds. There were many times I used the way I looked as a reason to not spend time with friends, to not eat nourishing foods, to not pursue interests. In short, I used my appearance as a reason to not fully love myself.

And by "reason," I mean, reason. It felt totally sane and logical to tell myself something was "wrong" with me and therefor I didn't deserve to live life with the same freedom and happiness that a more attractive person should have. How crazy is that?

Friday, January 17, 2014

What Will You Say "Yes!" To?

So many nos pop up when we talk about health. No sugar. No caffeine. No dairy. No gluten. No a million other things.

I'm totally in favor of cutting out substances and habits that aren't serving us. Still, I'd love to expand the dialogue beyond no, beyond the negative.

Lately, I'm wondering what can I say yes to. What positive things am I willing to do to make my body and my spirit sparkle?

I'm saying yes to more coffee and lunch dates with girlfriends.
I'm saying yes to getting playful with my creativity.
I'm saying yes to doing everything a little more playfully.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Do You Take a Day Off for Your Period?

I'm so excited about the release of my friend Kate Hanley's book 28 Days Lighter Diet: Your Monthly Plan to Lose Weight, End PMS, and Achieve Physical and Emotional Wellness. I just bought the Kindle edition.

Watch the book trailer here.

I'm not trying to lose weight but I am trying to shake my badass PMS and have more energy. What intrigues me most about the book is that Kate, along with co-author Ellen Barrett, a fitness expert, encourage women to take a day off to rest during their periods. They say it makes women healthier in the long term.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Videos That Will Make You Never Want Sugar Again

I'm participating in health coach Persephone Brown's 3-day sugar cleanse "Kicking Sugar's Sweet Ass."

Day One was super easy. I stayed home and minded my business most of the day. I did laundry and watched nutrition videos. Easy. Also, I'd been eating ample supplies of sugar in the form of cookies, brownies, chocolate, and other treats over the holidays. It was nice to have a day off!

Today is Day Two. I have to actually go outside and interact with people. I have to write. I usually have at least some honey in my tea or a snackypoo with coffee to look forward to. Today there is nothing.

I think my inner child may have heard rumor that we won't be having Blue Bicycle Bakery's yummy treats at Coffee Exchange later today. She's upset. I'm sipping plain yerba mate for strength to deal with her tantrum.

I'm also nibbling on homemade roasted seaweed snacks. (Truth be told, they're kinda vile. Still, the salt keeps me coming back for more. Will it be enough to make me forget about sugar?)

The second part of the plan is to scare Little Livi straight with videos I watched last week as part of the health coach training program's weekly lesson. They were my motivation for cutting out casual consumption of sugar in the first place.

Sunday, January 12, 2014

#BeMOCreative Week 1 The Artist's Way Check-In

Yesterday I wrapped up Week 1 of #BeMOCreative group journey through The Artist's Way.

One challenge I had to overcome this week is my issue with "doing nothing". It's a struggle that popped up in my early adulthood. I can't blame bad parenting. I didn't grow up with a lot of structure. I had no play dates, soccer practice, or French club to put on my calendar. I didn't even have chores or deadlines. But god knows when I became an adult I fell in love with structure and rules. I have a special romance with the penalties that come with moving outside of them.

As a result, the Artist's Date was the toughest thing for me to do this week. "I'm supposed to do something just for fun?" I whined. I decided to confront my fears head on. Instead of going to a movie, gallery opening, or other artsy event, which- despite being totally valid Artist's Dates- had the structure of a time frame and the distraction of other people, I challenged myself to "do nothing."

After many days of hemming and hawing, I put my internet-faring devices in another room and parked myself on the couch and in front of the space heater. I nibbled on Inspiration Sandwich: Stories to Inspire Our Creative Freedom by SARK. I sipped on catnip tea. I must confesses at one point I got anxious of doing nothing so I nervously scarfed 3 gingersnap cookies. That didn't help. I laughed out loud at some funny dog poems. That did.

During my hour on the couch, I inked the teensiest doodle, but really my artist's date wasn't about making art. The Artist's Date is about refilling the well of creativity with inspiring sensory experiences. Taking time out to connect with the creative child that lives inside of us. I think it was a success. I felt very calm after the date. I think I needed a little break. I will surely take time out to do this again soon.

How comfortable are you doing nothing? What was your greatest challenge with Week 1 of The Artist's Way?

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Thursday, January 9, 2014

What to Do When You Crave Sugar

Here's how to karate chop sugar cravings in 5 steps.

When a craving for sweets pops up, ask yourself if you've missed a meal. If you have, eat that meal. You're hungry. If you haven't, drink 16oz (one pint) of water. Many sugar cravings are caused by thirst.

Wait 20 minutes.

Still craving sugar? Have a snack. Start with a high nutrient, low-calorie vegetable snack like raw orange or red peppers or homemade kale chips or roasted seaweed. Packaged kale chips and roasted seaweed snacks can be fine. Just be sure to read the ingredients and make sure it doesn't contain sugar. Food manufacturers are sneaky! (Annie Chun's Cracked Pepper & Herbs seaweed snacks are sugar free.)

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Charles Eisenstein - A New Story of the People- VIDEO

Watch this video featuring Charles Eisentein's TEDx talk, A New Story of the People.

Charles Eisenstein is a teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution. He is author of several books, including the recently published, The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Vegan Pumpkin & Penne Casserole Recipe

I love a good wintertime casserole! Here's how to make a simple, nourishing one with pumpkin and pasta. Though it's dairy-free, you may find this vegan casserole to be similar to baked macaroni and cheese.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Best Tips and Practices for The Artist's Way

The #BeMOCreative Artist's Way Virtual Creative Cluster with me and Melissa Danielle starts this Sunday, January 5th.

In preparation for this "spiritual path to higher creativity," we created an audio recording to share our ideas for how you can set yourself up for success with The Artist's Way. We also explain how you can connect with the community of folks in our online creative cluster.

Listen on SoundCloud.

It's not too late to sign up for this group journey through The Artist's Way. The creative cluster is free. All you need is a copy of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron. You can borrow a copy or buy one on Amazon. So far there are about 20 women participating and we'd love to have you join us. Men are welcome too! Get more info & sign up here.

What are your tips for getting through The Artist's Way?

Thanks so much for reading this blog entry! I hope it was helpful. Wanna keep nerding out about creative green living? Let's stay connected: Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Pinterest // Bloglovin' // YouTube
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Consider supporting this blog by shopping via my Amazon shop or buying my green cleaning eBook. Thanks.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

How to Drink More Water

The best and simplest thing you can resolve to do to improve your health in 2014 is to drink more water.

How much water?
If you don't drink much water now, start by drinking at least 6 cups a day, then increase your water intake from there. Men usually need 3 liters of water a day (13 cups), while women need about 2.2 liters (9 cups) each day.

Some people may need more or less water depending on their diet (people who eat lots of leafy greens and fruit may need less), the type and amount of exercise they do, certain medications, and their bio-individuality. Heat, consuming alcohol and/or sugary treats, illness, pregnancy and breastfeeding, and being at a high altitude can all require you to drink more water than you usually need.

Not thirsty?
Many of us get used to being chronically dehydrated so we don't notice that we need more water. If you don't drink enough water, you may not feel thirsty but you may: feel cranky, feel tired or fatigued, feel dizzy, crave sugary treats, get headaches, have dry skin or hair, or just not feel as amazing as you know you should by birthright!

If increasing your water intake makes you pee much more than usual, don't assume this means you're drinking too much water. It's normal to have to pee a lot when you first start hydrating your body. It won't always be this way. Eventually, your body will find balance and you won't have to go to the bathroom as often. 

Here's how I fit water into my day:
I powerchug two pints of water when I wake up, burp a lot, then finish a third pint at some point before breakfast. I begin drinking another pint or a 27 oz water bottle about 2 hours after breakfast. I don't chug that one, just sip on it throughout the day. I chug another pint when I start prepping dinner. That's at least 10 cups of water right there!

Would these handmade glasses by Woodeye Studio on Etsy inspire you to drink more water?

Tips for drinking more water:
  • Invest in two beautiful or cool pint glasses. It's so much easier to drink lots of water when you don't have to get up to refill it. Also, who doesn't love drinking from their favorite glass?
  • Invest in a water bottle so you can have water when you're way from home. I usually don't leave home with a Klean Kanteen stainless steel bottle. I don't fill it so my bag won't be heavy. I'm fine with drinking tap water for the benefit of a lighter bag. If you're not down with tap water, invest in a good water filter and carry a larger filled bottle with you.
  • Drink at least 2 pints of water when you wake up. It's a great way to start the day with a hydrated edge. You will certainly need it since you haven't had anything to drink for at least 7 hours.


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