Turn the Page, Make the Change

December 30, 2016

As we prepare for the turning of another year, it’s time to take a look at what that new year will bring.  Yes, it’s time again for my annual New Year’s rant.

Over the past few weeks, especially since the U.S. Presidential election, I’ve been hearing a lot of pessimistic rantings of “I can’t wait for this year to be over” and “I’m looking forward to 2017, let’s not talk about 2016”.

News flash #1: Turning a calendar page will not change your life.  Expecting a new year, new president, new relationship, new ‘whatever’ to change your life is leaving the fate of your happiness to others.  If that is your choice, then you deserve what you get.  If you truly want there to be positive change in your life that will make you happy, then you need to get off your butt and make changes.

New flash #2: You don’t have to wait for a new year, new job, new ‘whatever’ to make a change.  You get to start new every minute of every day.

Now that we have that out of the way, what will you change today, right now?  Take a minute and think about what really makes you happy.  (I’m serious, put this down and sit by yourself and think.  Use a notebook to jot down your thoughts – yes, do it, you will NOT remember it all.)

OK, Step one – What do you want to change in your life?  A new job?  A new hobby?  Sleep more? Spend more time in nature?

Step two – What are you willing to stop doing in order to make room in your life for the items you named in step one?

Step three – What is the first step you will take towards the new ‘whatever’ that you want in your life?

Feeling a little overwhelmed?  Need some help with this?  Check out ‘Finding Balance, Finding Truth’ for a step by step plan to change your life.  Now stop talking about change and go out and make it happen!

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Changing Your Diet

July 9, 2016

Nope, we’re not talking about going low-fat, low-carb, or low-anything-else.  The key to a well-rounded, nutritious diet is to go ‘whole’.  Whole, unadulturated foods contain the proper balance of nutrition and enzymes to help digest and assimilate those nutrients.  You can accomplish this with whatever lifestyle you choose from raw-vegan to omnivore.  The main objective is to keep foods as close to their natural state as possible.

We’ve been told for years that fat will make you fat, so carbs and sugars (often hidden) took the place of fat in processed foods.   We’ve turned to processed low-fat foods that are supplemented with carbohydrates, sugars, and artificial flavors to enhance the texture and taste lost when the fat was removed.  Guess what?  A pound of sugar is 100% fat-free!  The problem is that when simple, refined carbohydrates enter your body, whatever isn’t burned as energy right away has to be dealt with.  The liver turns this excess glucose (from simple carbs and sugars) into fatty acids to be stored for later use.  So we’re eating less fat (from animal products or healthy oils like olive and coconut, which by the way are necessary for assimilating fat soluable vitamins and minerals) and eating more refined, processed foods and not only losing out on necessary nutrients, but we’re getting fatter and less healthy in the process.

So what do we do?  We need to eat and don’t always have time to cook a healthy meal so fast food is the only answer… or is it?  How about real fast food, like a smoothie?  Whole milk (raw if possible) or unsweetened yogurt, frozen berries (blueberries are chock full of antioxidants and other goodies), add a banana for sweetness and as a thickener and you’ve got a fast meal.  Make it a super meal by adding ground flaxseeds, chia seeds, a handful of baby spinach, wheatgrass powder, or a spoonful of coconut oil.  You can get a full serving or more of veggies in one smoothie!  The extra seeds and oils will also give it staying power so you’re hunger is satisfied longer.  Make a blender full in the morning, pour some in a travel mug and pop into the fridge at work (or a cooler bag with an ice pack) and you’ve got a healthy meal faster than any fast food restaurant can offer.

Changing your diet isn’t about focusing on what you can’t eat, but what you choose to eat.  When your refrigerator and pantry are filled with whole healthy foods like vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains, there won’t be room for the unhealthy foods.

u12268677Try one or two new items each week.  Add quinoa to your shopping list and do a search for a variety of quinoa recipes.  Try a new vegetable you don’t usually buy, like zucchini.  Add it to an omelette, throw it in a stir fry, saute it in garlic, or bake it with fish.  Add finely diced carrots, celery, and onions to your tuna salad.  Avocados can be used for just about anything, including chocolate pudding! (yup, look it up!)  Dice avocado and tomato into a bowl of quinoa with a squirt of lime juice.  Dice it into your chicken salad (for an extra boost, sprinkle some turmeric powder into that chicken salad too).

This doesn’t have to happen overnight.  In fact, it shouldn’t happen overnight.  If you clear out your pantry of everything and just stock it with new things, revolt is bound to happen.  Remember, this isn’t about what you can’t or shouldn’t have.  Just slowly add new things and the old things will slowly make their way out of your life.  Does this mean you’ll never have chocolate cake or ice cream again?  Of course not!  It just means that your body will be healthier and better able to deal with that when the occassion does arise.

Want more great food info?  Follow my other blog LifeWalkRecipes for great whole food recipes and tips and tricks for your kitchen!

Eat An Egg!

May 1, 2014

I love when I can put a message clearly into words for others to read. This one isn’t mine, it came from my friend Mary Ellen who has been creating like a mad woman lately, her latest creation is 23rd and Bird, an awesome little shop in Norwood, MA. I think she gets her point across quite nicely…

“Over the years, I have found that some of my most profound “aha” moments have come while giving advice to my children. This is especially true when the sh*t is getting real, or the sh*t’s hitting the fan or there’s just too much sh*t going on. Basically, it’s advice on how to take care of yourseIf. I often tell the girls, when they are having a meltdown, to go get in some water. Jump in a puddle, run in the rain, take a swim or a hot bath. So yesterday, before racing off to work. I decided to shower, which I really didn’t have time for. I even managed to shave a leg! (I’m planning on getting to the other one later this week.) But it was good to ask the question, “What do I need?”egg

Yesterday, I said to my son, who is equally as overscheduled, that no matter what, he should properly fuel his body with food. Decent food. So today, heeding my own advice, I ate guacamole on toast and eggs with hot sauce. I sat down and ate it…because I needed it. And now I’m writing this post, which I also do not have time for, but I felt I needed to be heard. (And you’re my friends, right?) And I know I’m not the only person who feels this way. I, personally, have never been this busy, but “busy” is not going to kick my ass.

I’m not telling you what to do, but for God’s sake, put the sh*t down and have an egg.”

Thank you Mary Ellen. I think I’m going to go make breakfast. Eggs, I believe, are in order today.

The Only Way to Go is Up

April 30, 2014

They say when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up. This seems logical, but where is “up”? We look up to the sky and down to the ground. Where is up if you are in outer space?

 

LadderToStarsWhen you consider your career, is “up the ladder” the only way to go? Or is there something more. Can taking a pay cut actually be “moving up”? That depends on what you’re moving from and what you’re moving to. For many, stepping down is a sign of failure. One might argue that staying where you aren’t happy is also a sign of failure. It’s all relative.

 

A smart businessperson will move as business dictates; supply and demand. If a trend falls out of favor, it’s time to adjust the plan. Life is dynamic. It is always changing. It’s up to us whether we recognize the changes and adjust accordingly.

 

If you are no longer happy where you are, does it make sense to stick with it because that’s what’s expected? Because that’s how you move up? Do you trade your happiness for someone else’s expectations? How about trading up by simply trading. Trade long hours and high stress for fewer hours and doing what you enjoy. It’s quality of life.

 

Quality of life is also a relative term. It is different for everyone. Your choices have to be your own. Not society’s, not your parents’, not mine. You need to decide what is right for you. Take a close look at where you are and what you are doing. Is it where you want to be? Is it even on the path of where you want to be? If the answer to the second question is no, then it might be time to start blazing a new path, or at least finding one that’s more enjoyable to walk on.

Slowing Down

August 1, 2012
Summertime is often a time where we slow things down. The kids are out of school, we take vacations, we enjoy time at the beach or mountains. There’s another type of slowing down that I am often guilty of not listening to. It’s the slowing down of life in general. Taking time to just ‘be’. Taking time to stop ‘doing’ so much. Even taking time to stop thinking (read ‘worrying’) so much.
 
Slowing down doesn’t always come easy for me. Usually, however, the Universe reminds me in no uncertain terms that it’s time to stop. Mid-June it was two days out of work with a pulled back muscle. End of June it was a sprained ankle (though I have to say, the Universe’s timing on this one was poor as it happened while I was actually relaxing on vacation!) So, another two days or so with my foot iced and elevated and literally nowhere to go. Lots of time to think.
 
Even back at work with the sore ankle, I’ve had to slow down. Taking time to consider each move, or to think a process through thoroughly just isn’t how we’re wired anymore. Remember the old saying, “measure twice, cut once.” Our goal instead is to do more in less time. Watching movies, which used to be a time to sit still for a couple of hours, can now not only be done in the car, but on a smartphone in an elevator or the grocery store!
 
Put a stop to the madness! Take some time tonight to look at the stars. Take a walk around the block and look at the neighbors’ gardens. Notice things, even if it’s just while you’re walking to or from your car. When was the last time you looked at the artwork on your own walls?
 
What have you noticed this month that has been right in front of you? This question is on TheLifeWalk Find us on Facebook FaceBook page. Share your thoughts!

Balanced Diet, A Different Perspective

July 1, 2012

Acid vs Alkaline

We often talk of a balanced diet in regards to the food pyramid, or the number of servings of fruits and vegetables we eat each day, but balance is much more than that.  Our body’s pH levels must be in balance for us to stay (or get) healthy.

The Western diet leaves most people overly acidic which leaves us open to dis-ease and chronic illness.  By making just a few changes to your daily diet, you can get your body back on track and better able to ward off these illnesses that plague our society.

While you might look at the acid-alkaline lists and think, “Wait a minute, lemons and limes are acidic!”  True, but they key is not just the acidity of the food itself, but how it reacts in the body.  Lemons and limes are actually alkalizing in the body.

I encourage you to explore this further by looking up acid-alkaline and pH balance online.  Do your own research.  There are many lists out there and some conflict slightly (whethere a food is acid or borderline, etc).  Go with yout gut (no pun intended) and change your diet as you see fit.

If you want to “see” the results of your dietary changes, you can purchase pH strips (I have found them online at iHerb.com, feel free to use the code ACU064 to save $5 off your first order).  These are strips of paper that test your saliva or urine for pH balance.

So now that you’ve done a little research, share what you’re changing in your diet this month.  This question is on TheLifeWalk Find us on Facebook FaceBook page.  Share your thoughts!

It’s Your Life…

June 1, 2012

…so why are so many other people and things controlling it? Let’s take a closer look at this question with an excerpt from Finding Balance, Finding Truth:

When was the last time you had total control over your life? Can’t remember?

Maybe it was in college – you hung out with whom you wanted, began making life’s big decisions on your own. Or maybe you spent college creating the life that your professors, school administration, and family wanted for you.

Maybe it was your teen years – you had few cares in the world. Or maybe you were living up to your coach, guidance counselor, or parents’ dreams.

How about in elementary school – you had no job, little homework, and playtime after school, but you were still told when to get up and go to bed, what to eat, and what to wear.

Infancy is probably the closest we’ve ever come to being in control, and even then we didn’t have total control. If we were hungry, someone fed us. We didn’t have to worry about where our food came from. If we made a mess, someone cleaned it up for us. We had no responsibilities, but then again, we weren’t really mobile or verbal… heck, for a long time we didn’t even know where our own hand went once it was out of sight!

Then something happened. We became more and more in charge of our lives as we got older. The more responsible we became, the more in control we should have become. What happened for most of us is that the more responsible we became for our own lives, the more we gave the control over to others to dictate our life activities. Then guess what happened? We became frustrated, bored, resentful, unhappy, uninspired. And we blame everyone except ourselves.

It’s your life. Are you doing things you enjoy with people  you like? What are you going to do about it?

Share what’s up in your life. What would you like to change?  This question is on TheLifeWalk Find us on Facebook FaceBook page.  Share your thoughts!

An Exercise in Procrastination

May 20, 2012

So here it is, ten years later.  I never thought of being a writer, no less publishing a book.  OK, so I’m not really a writer.  I  don’t weave enchanting tales that captivate audiences (much like a book triology I just read and couldn’t put down).  I write to teach.  I write about what I enjoy teaching and that’s health, wellness, and how to create a perfect life.

Really?  A perfect life?  Yup.  And your perfect life is different from that person living next door or in the office down the hall.  What I teach is how to find the “perfect you” inside you.  So, back to this writing thing.  I’m not really a writer.  I just happen to write about what I do (and what I hope you will do too).  If we all do it, I believe this world would be a much better place.  Each of us doing his own thing, being true to her own heart, and all the while respecting each others’ being and doing-ness. Um, is that a word?  “Doing-ness”?  Well, since I am a writer (of sorts), I say it is, so let’s get on with it.  So I write, and now I’ve written and published – yay me!

OK, thanks, but it wasn’t all that easy.  The content was there.  It’s been there for ten years.  It changed format a couple of times, but for some reason the book format just wasn’t forthcoming.  I had every excuse not to get it done: big life changes, little life changes, making ice cream, feeding the cat.  You know, the usual excuses.  It was truly an exercise in procrastination for me.

I don’t typically think of myself as a procrastinator, but this project just wasn’t going to happen.  But now, here it is.  All prettily packaged with a cover and dedication page.  I even spent hours on end getting it into e-book format (this is the 21st century after all) though I don’t even own one of those e-reader things.  I like my dog-eared pages and pencil notes in the margins. But I digress.

I’m not sure what finally gave me the final push.  My life has been more settled, focused, free. Maybe it was being able to just enjoy the being-ness of it all that the doing-ness finally kicked in.  Add now it’s finally done.  I’m excited.  I’m nervous.  What if nobody likes it?  What if it only gets the “pity purchases” from friends and family?  Yeah, you’re right. Who cares?  This one’s for me.  Maybe if I re-read the darn thing I’d have realized long ago that it’s all for me.

You can check out the paperback here http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/lifewalk or ebook here http://www.amazon.com/Suzanne-Arjona  It’s just a little book with a big call to action.

Time to Relax

May 1, 2012
So I’ve found myself with project after project so far this year – none of them completed yet – and little time for relaxing. Granted, the projects are by choice, and I enjoy doing them, but I tend to get wrapped up in them and forget to relax. New ideas come up and I have to force myself to set them aside until current projects are completed. But they’re all so exciting!
 
I want to do it all (and I want to do it all right now!) This has been an ongoing struggle for me all my life. So many activities so little time. Prioritizing has become a way of life. Sometimes this even means saying no to certain things. And sometimes it’s just no for now. This still doesn’t sit well with the perfectionist in me. The one who wants every idea manifested and completed and placed in a nice little box labled “accomplished”.
 
I like to accomplish things. Checking off a list or filing that last page feels good. Each little activity is a little weight off my shoulders. Yes, it’s a weight, even if it’s an activity I chose for enjoyment like reading a book or brewing a batch of beer. These activities are enjoyable while I’m doing them, but there’s still the desire to complete them so I can move on to the next one(s).
 
Patience is the key. Prioritizing. Be…here…now. These are the mantras I teach my clients. It’s time to remind myself of the same. Sometimes it takes getting into a frenzy before I’m realize I’m not walking the talk. So here I am. One major project just about finished and at least two others in the works. I am letting them go, peacefully, while I finish the first and allow myself a little down time. Then I can move forward on the next.
So, just a little reminder to be patient with yourself, with your process. Enjoy where you are now and stay excited about what’s to come!
 
What’s got you excited/antsy/on edge? Share what you’re impatient about right now. This question is on TheLifeWalk Find us on Facebook FaceBook page. Share your thoughts!

Diet vs. Diet

April 9, 2012

So are you trapped by a diet or freed by your diet?  What’s the difference you ask?  Plenty! 

The diet trap is what one follows to lose weight.  It usually means restricting certain items from the menu.  It’s designed to be a quick fix to a long-term problem.  We eliminate things we enjoy in hopes of better health.  What often happens, however, is that we either lose interest and drop the diet or we lose the weight, drop the diet, go back to old habits and the weight returns. Restricting  ourselves, either to certain types of foods or a certain number of calories, puts our nutrition out of balance and can actually increase cravings for the things you are trying to eliminate.

Your diet is what you eat on a regular basis for health and nourishment (not a short-term fix).  If your diet consists of items that are making you ill or overweight, then it’s time to start adding new things to it.  Add new things?  But I’m already overweight, you might be thinking.  Here’s the deal: begin adding new healthy foods to your daily diet and the unhealthy foods will eventually be squeezed out and your health (and weight) will turn around. 

Simple yes. Easy, not necessarily. It will take some effort on your part.  So where do you begin?  Just choose one thing at a time to add to your daily diet.  Choose a new vegetable to have a few times a week or add extra water to your daily regime.  If you’re drinking from a water bottle all day, sodas will be pushed out.  The more vegetables you add to your meals, the less room there will be for the processed, packaged foods.  If you replace 3 breakfasts each week with a smoothie packed with fruits and green superfoods, that’s 3 days without bagels, waffles, or donuts for breakfast.

The focus on the freeing diet is adding rather than restricting.  When you add vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and superfoods, your body will get the nourishment it needs and the cravings for refined carbs and sugars will go away.  When your plate is filled with these nourishing foods, there won’t be room for the processed food-like products.  If you change your thoughts from “I can’t have that” to “I can have it, but choose to have this instead” you are back in control.

When you begin eating clean, whole foods, your body will begin to work more efficiently.  Your immune system will get stronger. Your skin and hair will look and feel healthier.  Your energy levels will increase.  Keep adding new things.  Try new foods.  You won’t necessarily like all of them, but there are so many whole, healthy, natural foods that you can keep trying different ones and just keep the ones you like.

So turn your health around by adding new whole, real foods to your plate. Then add some more… and more. 

In the next article we will talk about what types of foods to add to your menu.  Don’t want to miss it?  Subscribe to this blog or ‘Like’ our FaceBook page!


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