Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top 10 Reasons to Konmari Your Home!

A New Organization Method!

Konmari Technique to Tidying and Simplifying is ROCKING my world! My sister-in-law introduced the book/technique to me, and since then, it's been love at first sight! I am totally addicted! Did I say that the other day about the hot sauce too?

It's called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie KondoThank you, Marie Kondo, for your brilliance!

 Photo from Amy Christie who writes her blog:
This Heart of Mine

(she has a lovely post about the book/technique)

Top 10 Reasons to Konmari Your Home

#1 My feelings during and after each step are AMAZING; I feel completely wonderful, peaceful, light, energized, focused, productive, motivated, really! 

#2 I agree that the process is in fact, life-changing! It's a perfect name for her technique and her writing describes it all so beautifully. Perhaps, I will get into the process and hows in another post. As I am getting organized, I am finding new and exciting ideas and energy for my passion of nutrition and health! My mind seems clearer to do what it really wants to, what it might in an ideal world, free from too much busy-ness. (See also 10 Tips and Tricks to Simplify Your Life)

#3 My progress rubs off on others most important in my life, without me pushing. Though, I will say that I am actively teaching my children all about this technique.

#4 It's fun to get dressed in the morning, put away my laundry, pack for a trip, or decide what to wear for a special occasion. A new experience for me!

#5 I have a greater respect and care for our things. For example, I have a dress I like, but it didn't fit me just right. Each time I wore it, I would fleetingly wish it wasn't so low cut. After reading this book, I took action by asking my dear mother-in-law to sew it for me, and ta-da! Now, I wear it and feel perfectly comfortable :) Marie Kondo teaches us to repair items we love, rather than just discard, and purchase new. She gives an example of replacing a missing button on a coat you love. So it's not just about getting rid of everything.

#6 It is such a joy to give away lovely items that have already served their purpose in our home. How fun to give gifts! Note: please be careful to only give others things that you think they might really want. We don't want to add to other people's stuff.

#7 (similar to #5I feel urges to decorate and repair my home, and make it just right for our family. This isn't something about which I've ever been much concerned. It's just a quiet, new feeling, related to appreciating and caring for my home. We all love our home very much right now; still, it's fun to imagine making it just right. I realize that I can make it an even more special place for my family. I am avoiding the word "perfect", but I suppose I am aiming for "perfect FOR US". 

#8 Long lost library books that have been found! We've certainly come across other treasures, but library books definitely come to mind :)

#9 (related to #8) The enjoyment of playing games and other activities with my kids. We're freshly aware of games and activities we had forgotten about. We have space to play, and we have fun activities stored front and center, and easily accessible.

#10 I love the gratitude mindset that Marie Kondo emphasizes. We always thank God for the fun and functionality we got out of the item we might be giving away. Marie Kondo explains how each item serves a purpose. Gifts served their purpose when a loved one gave them to us. Something we purchased that was expensive or a bargain doesn't mean we need to keep it forever. We can learn lessons from each item that we pass on, and she has many lovely examples. (Goodness of Gratitude: 7 Awesome Benefits of Gratitude)

#11 An extra! Another cool thing about this method is that Marie Kondo says you only have to go through this process once. My clothing, the first category, looks 99% the way it looked when I organized it 3 months ago! I describe it like a puzzle, and I just put things back right in their space. You know the saying "a place for everything", well each item I wear now has a specific place it belongs.

#12 Last one! In the book, she gives very exact steps. In particular, I appreciate her providing an exact order of what to tidy first. I love not having to decide what to do next, instead moving on to the next category that Marie suggests without having to make that decision.

 Thanks for this lovely photo, Amy Christie of This Heart of Mine blog!
(she has a lovely post about the book/technique)

Comments: Have you tried this? Other effective methods and tips you'd like to share?

Sunday, March 6, 2016

New Nutrition Guidelines!

I have been anxiously waiting a whole year for this final document! The day after a lawsuit from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, the guidelines were finally published! Thank you, PCRM!

2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans have a few exciting changes:

1) The guidelines recommend that all Americans consume as little cholesterol as possible. Since cholesterol is only found in animal foods, this is a wonderful piece of advice for those promoting a whole foods, plant based way of eating!

2) Boys and men are warned to consume less protein. Should I repeat this? Males should eat less protein! Since men and boys get most of their protein from meat, this sounds like another impressive recommendation to eat fewer animal foods. It should be a relief as well, since this population is always especially worried that they aren't getting enough. 

3) Among the still present dairy recommendation (boo!), soy milk is listed within the category (yay!). I really owe you, my readers, an article about this. For now, I will leave you with one aspect, bone health. Among people across the world, taking into account many studies (meta analysis), the people in countries who consume the least amount of dairy, experience the fewest fractures. There are countries all in between that follow the same relationship, as dairy consumption rises, so too does bone fracture! The people in countries who consume the most dairy have the highest rates of bone fracture.

I was going to give you a visual of this, but instead I will just show you a Google image search for "milk intake and hip fracture". Notice all the lines are going up and to the right, whether the studies are looking at calcium intake, dairy intake, or animal protein, as these intakes increase, fracture rates increase. In summary, the less dairy you consume, the lower your risk of bone fracture.

Along these lines, it's a good time to share:
Trans Fat Ban in US ...this is separate from the guidelines, however, related, and super-noteworthy! The FDA decided in June 2015 that based on all the nutrition research available, trans fat is not safe for human consumption. It has therefore been taken off the Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) list, and so may not be added to processed foods. I couldn't find any new information regarding this ban which occurred in June, but I am hopeful that companies are in the process of bettering their products so that they will be safer to eat. Wahoo!

Here are is a post about trans fat. Among the myraid of reasons to avoid meat (here are two posts: 5 reasons! and Plant Based is Powerful!, it must be noted that there are actually trans fats in animal fat, so once trans fat is out of processed foods, the only way to get it completely out of your diet, is to eliminate animal foods from your diet.

Stay tuned! I will be sharing more and more with you about all that I learned at a life-changing course I attended in February 2016 (McDougall Advanced Study Weekend). I just end by sharing my impression from deep in my heart that my totally unreal experience that will inspire me forever! With time, you all will no doubt benefit as well!

Saturday, February 27, 2016

A New Product -- Beyond Chicken

When trying to switch to a plant-based diet, it helps to prepare familiar recipes. Here is something to help you do that with all your chicken recipes!

Beyond Chicken is a brand that makes meat-like products out of veggies, with a pretty friendly ingredients list, relatively small number of ingredients! So far, I've found it at Heinen's (a local grocery store), and TargetI have only tried chicken strips. The other products look promising and it's fun that the company is looking to provide a healthy option for athletes.

Beyond Meat Chicken-Free Strips

An Old Product and a New Recipe
Frank's Red Hot Sauce

I literally salivate when I think about this sauce! I'm sure there is some interesting science behind that, but anyway :) It's got an awesome ingredient list, so you can use as much as you want all day long!

Frank's Red Hot Sauce

Try this recipe:

Vegan Buffalo "Chicken" Slaw: bag of shredded cabbage (or shred your own cabbage and carrots), 2 cups cooked brown rice, 2-3 Tbsp Frank's Red Hot Sauce, 1-1.5 Tbsp Vegenaise (vegan mayo), mix together and enjoy! Tastes great at room temperature or heated! Also great with Beyond Meat chicken Strips!
Buffalo Chicken Slaw
Also try Chicken Artichoke Casserole, BBQ Chicken Pizza, and recipes coming soon: "Chicken Broccoli" Pesto Pasta, and "Chicken" Enchiladas. Really, with a chicken substitute, the possibilities are endless! Let me know how you use it!

Friday, February 12, 2016

Drink! It Does a Body a Good!

But NOT milk! Though I am not going to get into that today. A friend recently introduced me to a NEW TEA! Licorice Mint Tea! This isn't the brand I tasted, but my friend assures me the Yogi version is just as tasty.

Licorice Mint Tea, thank you Shannon! This stuff is deeeeeelicious! The coolest thing is that after each sip, my whole mouth has this lovely, cool, fresh, sweet aftertaste :) I've been through at least half the 20-pack box that I received as a gift, in only a week! It's caffeine-free so you can have as much as you like, any time of day. So even though I don't like black licorice candy, I will be seeking out more very soon!

In 2016, I have a goal of staying well hydrated for the entire year (apparently I tried it for a month in 2013, see post about that, including HYDRATION Benefits here). I as some of you might remember, hydration is a challenge for me. I am happy to report that I am still going strong, almost half way through February! Usually, changes are hardest in the first few weeks, so I think I am good to go.

Carbonated waters are another helpful tool for me. I love Klarbrunn , which I buy from Costco for maybe 24 cents per can. It's fun to have something other than water.

A few years ago I switched to almond milk in my cereal, but I still don't drink a glass of it, the way I sometimes used to have a glass of cow milk with dinner. Maybe someday almond milk will be another beverage of choice for me. It's a great option with only 30 calories per cup, plenty of calcium (shake your carton well), with no saturated fat, cholesterol, or added sugar. I also purchase this from Costco, Silk Unsweetened Vanilla.

PS- Today I will meet John McDoughall, long time curer of chronic Western diseases, and bestseller author. One of his newer and awesome books is The Starch Solution.
Coincidentally, it was his compilation of research years ago that finally convinced me that dairy is not only unnecessary, but seriously harmful to our health. But again, that's another post, for another day.
Be well everybody, and have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, February 1, 2016

How Not to Die! by Michael Greger

!!!!!!!!t.I wholeheartedly recommend this book to EVERYONE I know and care about! So of course I sharing it here is a must! I trust completely in Dr Michael Greger.

Dr Greger (Food As Medicine, and instant best seller How Not to Die) This man is an amazing advocate of human beings! According to Dr Greger, we each have a big responsibility to feed ourselves and our families the most nourishing foods that can keep us living well, well into our years, and avoid all of the troublesome, yet avoidable Western diseases, such as many cancers, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer's, arthritis, and the other many inflammatory diseases. His book was just released in December and is already being translated into many languages!

Dr Greger, author of How Not to Die's An Anatomy of How Not to Die

On Amazon.com, you can even "look inside"...there are a lot of pages that you can read through before you buy the book, but having the whole thing at home, may be the nutrition bible for health and happiness forever more! Plus, every dollar made from book and all of Dr Greger's DVDs goes to charity

Here is a random collection of posts in which I have cited or often discussed Dr Michael Greger! I am so very grateful that he has compiled this amazing book for all to learn the way to beautiful health!

COMMENTS: Please come back and share here what you enjoy most about this book! Comments on my posts help more people to see the post, and therefore, more people will see this awesome book! Though my impact on health, compared to Dr Greger, is quite small, I want to help too, as much as I can! Have a great day!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Eating Family Dinner Together = Smarter, Happier Kids, and More!

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of learning some valuable lessons from Dr Lisa Damour! Author of Entangled, to be released in February, 2016!

The lasting impressions I got from her engaging presentation about resilience were:

*SLEEP is immensely important. She says that we should protect and prioritize our children's (and surely our own) hours of sleep each night because of the lengthy list of benefits of sleep wrapped into one pill would be a billion dollar drug with only beneficial side effects. I think so too!

*Family MEALS, at least 4 nights per week, powerfully results in significantly smarter kids with a better sense of well being, regardless of the pleasantness of the meals! Grandma was right!

*Meaningful friendships are important, and this is not too surprising. The surprise to me, is that it's best to just have ONE OR TWO CLOSE FRIENDS, rather than more. The reasoning made sense; we can get pulled in too many directions, unintentionally hurt feelings when spending time with one friend, rather than another, and maintaining too many relationships expends lots of energy.

*A growth mindset, rather than a fixed one, refers to the "If I WORK HARD enough, I can do anything!" way of thinking, resulting in much more SUCCESSFUL children and adults, than those who rely on how they were born / their "talents" / their genetics. She included various comparisons of how each mindset would act/feel in various situations, such as getting a disappointing grade, striking out, asking for help from a teacher, etc.

Joan Borysenko is another fabulous resource for RESILIENCE; here is a post I wrote after taking a class from her which provides methods of increasing our resilience.

Lisa also stressed the importance of children spending time with adults, and this matches advice I have been trying to follow from Amy McCready of Positive Parenting Solutions. At my house, we call it "Mommy and Me Time". Check out my post about Positive Parenting Solutions.

Also, here's a post with some other great parenting books!

Look for more posts soon - I have so much fun and exciting stuff to share :)

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tricky Traditional Lasagna

OMGosh - this is the bomb! My 11 and 12 year-old niece and nephew LOVED this dish! These are the children of a Sicilian-born restaurant owner and chef at delicious Alessandro's. One said "I love this meat!" and the other said "This is really good! If you would have offered me tofu and lentil lasagna, I would have probably said NO".

Let's get to it!

Tricky Traditional Lasagna

The 'Meat'
1.5 c lentils
1.5 c water
tsp minced garlic
Tbsp basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 Tbsp oregano
1/2 Tbsp thyme
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)

The 'Cheese'
1-2 packages tofu (smooth and firm both work well)
2 Tbsp onion
Tbsp tahini (absolutely optional)
Tbsp nutritional yeast
Tbsp lemon juice
tsp basil
tsp oregano
tsp salt
tsp garlic

Whole wheat lasagna noodles - the last box I used was "pre-boiled" which conveniently saves a step.

1-2 jars spaghetti sauce (buy with no sugar in ingredients list)

For meat, simmer lentils in water (1:1 ratio) for 20 min. Add spices and oil and blend in food processor until it looks like ground beef (few min)!

For cheese, drain tofu, and combine with other 'cheese' ingredients in food processor, and process until smooth. Taste test and add spices as you like!

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Cover bottom of a 9X13" pan with sauce, then lasagna noodles, then 'meat', then 'cheese', and repeat until pan is full, ending with a layer of pasta covered in sauce. Bake for an hour and enjoy!

Plant-Based Traditional Lasagna
(with vegan ground meat and vegan ricotta cheese)
This recipe makes me so happy! I love making this basic, traditional meal with no meat or cheese! It's also fun that you really don't need any veggies on the side because it is made entirely of veggies! I've made the Plant-Strong Lasagna (check it out here), and it's a great veggie meal. On the other hand, Tricky Traditional Lasagna provides the familiarity of a meal you've probably eaten many times before, as you try potentially unfamiliar tofu and lentils. I hope you love it as much as we do!

COMMENTS: What vegan Italian food do you like to eat?


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