Happy Friday the 13th bloggosphere friends. Anything spooky happening out there? Remember when this day was destined to have something bad happen… I don’t know if it’s just getting older, but the fright has left…. just another Friday in Paradise for my world. The sun came out today… and then it went behind some clouds. Those clouds tried to leave us with moisture in the form of beautiful individual works of art, but alas, they only rared their artistic heads before being blown to the other side of the mountains. The ground is moist, however, in the form of snow…. melting.
Tonight I want to talk about what makes you happy and healthy. Actually, I want to talk about what makes me happy and healthy and hopefully inspire you to think about it for yourself and your life.
I spoke with my brother this evening. I called after receiving an awesome text and picture of my oldest nephew and the piece of art that was chosen to be exhibited in the local art show. I wanted to talk to him personally and congratulate him for his honors. It’s cute, and fun to talk to 6-year olds on the phone. My nephew sounds so grown up and with it. He might have been confused as to why I was so proud, but I’m hoping deep down he was excited to talk to his (favorite and artistic) aunt and that he enjoyed being recognized individually for his accomplishment. I wish I was closer geographically so I could visit the gallery where the exhibition is.
So…. talking to my 6-year old nephew inspired a blog tonight? Not exactly. What inspired the blog was learning that my brother was cooking breakfast for dinner for the family tonight. This is one of my favorite dinners to make, especially when I’ve been working all day and just cooking for myself…. like tonight. I was still on the phone with my nephew as I pulled into the parking lot to pick up some breakfast sausage for my dinner.
As I’ve been cooking tonight a lot of emotion and a little clarity have come to me. The last year or so, especially the last 6 months in school have been spent analyzing what I’ve been doing in regards to diet (mostly) and lifestyle. There is a LOT of advice out there, trust me. If you haven’t already explored the healthy lifestyle realm of the internet be prepared to have your mind boggled by the wealth of information that is out there. I am constantly blown away by how immersed I can get on a daily basis. You can find out how to clear your skin, detox any organ, have better sex, avoid autoimmune and thyroid disorders, and the newest yoga poses for the week all by the time you get off the toilet in the morning. Really, go see for yourself…. mindbodygreen.com is one of my favorites. There’s an answer or theory for everything out there. Someone is talking about it and science seems to be able to back everything. How do we know what’s right? How do I know what will work for me? How do I know what is healing me and what is hurting me?
It’s taken me a bit…. and I still feel pretty sophomoric for saying so, but I think I understand something here. I think I get it. I have to listen to myself. ME. Not the ads, or the blog post, or the book, or the article, or the MD that backs it. We are so trained in life to seek out the answer for every single little thing. We want the cure, the solution, the answer with a click of a button, overnight shipped, literally. When did we stop listening to ourselves? I’m choosing to start paying attention. Actually, I started about a year ago, and it’s taken me this long to realize what I’m trying to do. If I come to peace with my methods, with what my body asks for, I will thrive. If I am honest with myself and true to my needs – nutritional, emotional, physical, spiritual, financial – I will find balance and health and happiness. And this whole thing isn’t exactly about enlightenment, or perfect health, or fat bank accounts or a sculpted body. It’s about the journey and how every day can be perfect when we accept the grace with which we flow through it.
So breakfast for dinner it is. I stopped at the local grocery on the way home from work (something I don’t usually do unless needing/craving something) and got some “heady” breakfast sausage while I was talking to my 6-year old nephew about his accomplishment in the art world. This stuff is great, no antibiotics, pasture raised, processed in this valley, reasonably priced and delicious. Cooking it all tonight gives me plenty for breakfast sandwiches on the way out of town tomorrow. Perfect (excuse). My brother also said he was cooking french toast for the kids tonight, so I thawed the loaf of gluten free bread in the freezer, also optimum for those road-sandwiches tomorrow. Our typical breakfast these days always includes greens of some sort, so tonight I kept true to tradition and am making a savory stuffed french toast for myself. A quick saute of garlic and onion in ghee, add some baby portabellas and some finely sliced kale, mmmmmm… this is what makes the house smell so good! Fry a local/organic egg in even more ghee…. what is this missing? Ahh, organic maple syrup and some leftover ice-box pie filling from last week…. wow, did I just create a masterpiece breakfast for dinner? Tastebuds tell me yes. What do all those blogs, education, nutrition labels tell me? Who cares….. I danced while making this food. I enjoyed thinking about my brother and his family having breakfast for dinner tonight across the country…. giggling and enjoying telling stories about their days. I acknowledged the sources of my food; where it came from, how it would nourish me in just the right ways. I enjoyed the process of cooking, pairing, timing, plating and savoring. I said “grace” and chewed my food thoroughly, appreciating the different flavors and how they played together on my palette. It’s fun to create new dishes, even when I’m cooking for myself. Therefore…. by all of the above rationale, this food is absolutely a masterpiece. It is the perfect food for ME tonight.
There are faults in my choices when I consider the “rules” of all the other diets…. incorrect pairing, too much sugar, eggs might trigger symptoms, pork, processed gluten free bread, cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk in the pie filling, I’m eating so late in the evening…. I may as well be tromping down the yellow brick road afraid of lions, tigers and bears, Oh My! If I let myself get consumed with all of the rules how in the world am I supposed to enjoy my meal? Who cares what meal I’m talking about…. they all break a “rule” somewhere. I’m going to go ahead and say that it is impossible to eat “perfectly” in this world. Ouch. So….. what am I working towards? What’s the point? Why don’t I just eat fast food and frozen dinners then? And if we are always going to break the “rules” then how can diets and small changes in lifestyle really make a difference in feeling healthy and happy? Here’s what I think – it all comes down to BELIEF. I’m not talking about the God type – go wherever you want to with that. I’m talking about belief in yourself. Belief in your body’s ability to thrive and heal when given the right space and nourishment. What does that space look like? Well…… it’s gonna be different for everyone. Surprised? Did you really think I could tell you what YOUR healthy happy space looks like? Come on…….
This is specifically my point tonight – What’s your healthy? What does this space look like for you? Don’t tell me it consists of Taco Bell, bong hits, PBR and your couch. Don’t tell me that it consists of kale for breakfast, yoga for lunch and tofu for dinner either. I won’t believe you. If the former sounds like your idea of bliss I’d invite you to take a good look at what you really want to do with your life and ponder for a moment how Judge Judy and that empty pizza box are helping you get there… Happy? Healthy? Yeah right. If the later is what you strive for, I’d invite you over for a glass of wine and chocolate cake for dinner. We can’t be so consumed by the rules that we forget to have fun! So, what’s your healthy?
A glimpse of mine, as it stands tonight, because tomorrow it could change a little….
My Healthy –
Has very little stress, and lots of stress-reducing techniques like breathing, stretching, walking, smiling, singing, giggling, saying “no”, and drinking water.
Eats whole, local, grass-fed, organic, unprocessed foods as much as possible and enjoys the taste of home-cooked food.
Doesn’t dwell on or obsess over not being able to do the above all of the time.
Enjoys quiet time in the morning, in the evening, outside, inside and whenever I can get it. Breathing in and out, finding empty space in my own mind.
Loves to Dance! Sing! Giggle! Play!
Sleeps well and at least 8 hours a night, with naps when needed.
Loves nature, fresh air and beautiful vistas.
Gets outside and moves.
Is grateful for the love and friendships that exists in my life. It’s important to be vocal about how much these relationships mean to me.
Doesn’t judge…myself or others for the choices we make day to day.
So what does your healthy look like? It’s kinda fun to write it down every now and then. It’s natural for it to change, shift, re-prioritize as our lives move along. Only recently have I included forgiveness, understanding and patience with myself into my healthy life. I’ve slowly begun to realize that by ridiculing myself for breaking the “rules” I am merely playing into my illness and unhealthy ways of life – keeping myself sick. How can I ever be healthy if I am not able to enjoy the choices I make? An occasional cocktail, sleep-in, restaurant meal, late night, Netfilx marathon (or blogging) in lieu of studying….. this is my life. How can my body possibly stay healthy if I am constantly judging myself for living the way I want to? It can’t. I won’t. Therefore I need to change the way I look at all of it. I need to embrace breakfast for dinner and dance the night away in my living room. I need to forget the “rules” that society has taught me and write my own. I would write a book, but it’s already been done. My girl, Tara Stiles hits the nail straight on the head in her book “Make Your Own Rules Diet”. It is all about listening to yourself in this life. Your body knows what is right. We need to re-tune back into ourselves for the answers to the healthy happy life we all deserve.
And with all of that said, I must get to bed for it is late (although not as late as the post date will say…. I don’t know how to fix that yet). We have a delightful weekend of visits with friends, family, and music… which means I’m bringing my boogie-shoes (or sandals, turns out it’s Spring over there!)
To your Health and Happiness!