Since the beginning of the fitness industry we have seen ads and media pushing "Thin makes you pretty." "Thin makes you healthy and desirable!" Toxic words that bevel deep into the subconscious, continually screaming at you that you are not good enough.
Diet culture has created a very toxic mindset with it. Telling us that we are nothing if we eat too much, eat the wrong foods, and if we do not fit a size 20" waist. While we know it's a toxic lifestyle, we continue to allow it to infiltrate our daily lives. What happens when we allow this to happen? Let's take a look!
Firstly, what is diet culture? Diet culture refers to a particular mindset that values thinness, appearance & shape above overall health and wellness.
1. Negative self talk/fat talk ensues. This is a very dangerous side effect. This one in particular leads to many mindset changes that lead to physical changes. This can lead to:
- Body dysmorphia: this is when you look in the mirror and see something completely different that what is actually showing. I still see the overweight and unhealthy 20-something year old looking back in the mirror at me some days. I have to remind myself with progress pictures how far I have actually come in my health over my looks and that where I am is a much better place than where I was.
- Eating disorders: negative self talk definitely leads us into eating disorders. Our subconscious bringing to the the forefront of our minds that if we eat that we will be worthless, unworthy, and fat. That this food and that food are bad and we need to eliminate them to achieve our goal of thinness. Anorexia, bulimia, and even binge eating at times. All three of these disorders mess up the balance of homeostasis in the body and in the hormones. Without proper nutrients our body begins to break down. Not just muscle, our organs begin to stop working properly, we can no longer digest properly, mood is out of balance due to hormone influxes and your sleep will suffer as well due to hormone influx.
- Feelings of unworthiness: when we feel this way, depression is more than likely to follow. Telling ourselves we are not worthy of love, life, the promotion or anything else radiantly positive in life due to our looks is self torture. It is self sabotage for the things we truly desire in life. This will cause stress hormones to rise and radical damage to follow in the organs, mind and hormones as well. Affecting more than just our thoughts, but again how our body operates and functions overall.
- Fat talk: this is exactly how it sounds. Individuals speaking about themselves as if they were overweight. "My thighs are too big" "I need to lose 5 pounds" "This milkshake has too many calories in it". These also lead to eating disorders.
2. Caloric restrictions. This is a HUGE one I talk about with my clients often. There is no such thing as good or bad food. Diet culture teaches us that there is. "You can't have that ice cream! It will make you fat!" Well I ask, what is that ice cream made from? Coconut milk or cows milk? It is not that there are bad foods or good foods for us, there are simply ingredients that either work with our bodies or against them. This is a toxic mindset created from diet culture. Caloric restrictions lead to eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia. Most prevalent in teens, including boys.
3. Photo editing to fit the criteria. This is huge one since the birth of social media. Before we just airbrushed and photoshopped ourselves through Photoshop. Now we swipe and see a filter that makes us as perfect skinned as the porcelain doll your grandma gave you as a kid that still creeping you out in the back of your closet. We filter and eventually this is how we perceive ourselves in the mirror one day without the filter which creates a whirlpool of mental issues, low self-esteem and bodily self harm like eating disorders. Photo editing is fun and all, but let's save it for the pictures that look like you're fighting a really big dragon, eh? In 2019 a studied showed that 90% of Americans aged 18-29 used social media daily and that of those 50% regularly used social media editing tools. 50% were men and 70% were women.
How do we stop diet culture talk? This is simple to understand, difficult to implement as it is so engrained into our society now.
So there are many ways we can overcome diet culture speak and lifestyle choices. Most of them are being more mindfully aware of what we are choosing in those moments.
It's just about that time of year again when everything cools down, rain shows itself and the sun disappears along with our happy rays. The winter months can bring on some serious SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) symptoms and if you're like me you need all the help you can get during those gloomier days to stay a bright and cheery soul!
I became a trainer and nutritionist nearly ten years ago and along with way I have found a few ways to help combat the blues during gloomy days and cold winter months. Here are a few things you can do to help you stay and feel happier this winter.
1. KEEP MOVING! That's right! Exercise is on the menu my dear! Movement is not only medicine, it also helps our bodies and hormones stay balanced on a daily basis. Feeling anxious? That's your body telling you to release some of that energy. Grab your sweats, good shoes and hit the weights. You will thank yourself later.
2. EAT GOOD AND WHOLESOME FOOD. Now this is definitely a tougher one for most of us as the winter months bring the holidays and wanting to cuddle up with a cup of cocoa and a good movie or book. Not that there isn't a time and a place for that, however keeping your body in a healthy place during these months not only keeps that summer bod you worked so hard for but allows your body to absorb all the right nutrients and stay hormonally balanced as well. I tend to also eat with the seasons. In the winter months we consume more veggies such as asparagus, Brussels sprouts, and different varieties of squashes and potatoes. I also still love to consume a smoothie when the fruit falls out of season and into high high prices.
3. SUPPLEMENT WHERE YOUR NUTRITION IS LACKING. Supplements are great for filling in the gaps and can really help in keeping our overall health at optimal levels. If you live in an area where you cannot get great and fresh foods, this is where supplements can help us. During the days we don't receive as much sunlight (or working inside) taking extra vitamin D can help supplement what you may be missing out on. This is where a multivitamin can be unnecessary. Sometimes going with individual vitamins and minerals is more beneficial for balance.
4. TAKE EXTRA VITAMIN B AND D. Yes both! B vitamins are great for more than just energy, they also help our bodies stay hydrated, boost our mood and metabolism along with strengthen the immune system. Vitamin D is actually a hormone and is necessary any day you wake up breathing. It assists in hormone production and balance, mood, sleep, and immune. Most Americans do not intake enough vitamin D, using a supplement such as Carlsons or Natures Way can really benefit in getting the vitamins we need to keep our body healthy all year around. Higher vitamin D levels in healthy individuals were also found to assist in warding off sickness, including COVID.
5. DON'T GET COMPLACENT. I know it feels really good to just sit down and cuddle up under a blanket during these colder days, however this is where we get too comfortable. Make sure you keep moving. This is not the same type of moving as I mentioned above. This is a great time to find hobbies that keep you busy and keep your mind engaged.
6. AVOID PROCESSED SUGAR. This is a huge one! Especially as we enter the holiday season. It is so tempting to eat it all in one sitting, and there's a very large reason for that. Sugar shuts down the frontal lobe where we process a lot of speech, thought and even movement. When sugar takes over it causes massive amounts of inflammation, especially in the brain. This is why we feel cranky and lethargic after eating something very sugary. I always suggest to my clients to consume with moderation. It is not a bad thing to eat the cookies, pies and enjoy a Hot Toddy. It's overconsumption that leads us to results that we wake up looking in the mirror disliking the next day.
7. TAKE COLD SHOWERS! Whoa! Hold on Kaie, what do you mean? Take a cold shower in winter? Yes! The cold water not only strengthens your immune system but also your nervous system. Which means you can handle the cold better ANNDDD the stresses of the day. Cold showers are amazing! I usually begin with a normal temperature shower and 2-5 minutes before I end my shower I finish out with standing in the cold water for as long as I can handle. This is actually the Wim Hof method. It's highly effective over time.
So here are my best tips to keeping yourself smiling and feeling a bit more upbeat this winter. You don't have to spend the next few months curled up and feeling miserable because its cold out. Grab a friend, hit the gym and enjoy a nice hot meal when you're finished.
Stay warm and happy this year!
It's been a long day, time to go home and kick back. Maybe put your feet up, eat a little, and relax in front of the tv or video games. However, let's explore something real quick.
You've just spent, we will say on average, 9 hours sitting or standing at your job all day long. Hardly moving your body, the muscles become stiff and rigid from lack of blood flow. Joints begin to ache, then your head, then your feet or knees.
It is very counterintuitive to add even more stagnant movement into the day. The body is designed to move, to build, to transport and to carry. If it's continually in the same positions day in and day out we end up building movement patterns that come with major risk of injury.
Here are things you can do before sitting down in front of the tv to binge your favorite show! Get your blood flowing first and give your hormones some room to run.
1. Let it out & write! Work is an often stressful event for many of us. Allowing yourself time to decompress and let your thoughts from the day flow onto the page. This allows you to say whatever you want without consequence, however also allows you mind to let go of the things that maybe didn't go the way you expected. Being able to express yourself in some form will help to relieve some stress from the day.
2. Get moving! Exercise may feel like the last thing you want to do after being at work all day. However, exercise not only builds strength, functionality, and keeps joints protected; we also get more balanced hormones, which in turn can lead to better mood, sleep, and cognitive functioning. Get your blood flowing before sitting back down.
3. Read a book rather than turn on the tv. You have more than likely been staring at a screen all day at work, give you eyes a break from that blue light and your brain a break as well. The blue light causes some major implications with the frontal cortex. Give yourself a little time and let your mind calm down and eyes relax from that light.
4. Talk a hike/walk. You've probably been inside for your work day, let yourself out and enjoy the sunshine. Replenish your vitamin D and your mood. Recharge your soul and your body. This is also a great way to help relieve some stress and get a nice tan in the summer time.
5. Spend time on a hobby. Just because we are finished working doesn't mean we can't get home and sit down to indulge in our favorite hobby or activity that doesn't involve a screen.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on some better after work routines. De-stressing comes in many forms outside of the screen. It's a great idea to contribute to your health and wellness routines by incorporating some of these elements into your daily life.
Lowering stress lowers and brings hormones back to a level homeostasis basis. This wards off sickness, inflammation, excessive fat gain, mood swings, lack of sleep, lagging cognitive functioning and even digestive issues.
Next time you get home and kick off those shoes, I hope you pick up a pen and paper or book instead of reaching for the remote. Healthy begins with the smallest of steps and changes. They lead to great results over time.
In 2020 we were hit pretty hard with COVID and a quarantine to last nearly a year now. Here we are in 2021 and the country, especially Texas, is dealing with some crazy weather. If you are in Texas, then you know what's going on. If you aren't from Texas you may know how to handle what is going on. If you aren't from Texas and have never experienced a winter snow storm before, your anxiety may be through the roof at the moment.
I spent the majority of my childhood and late teen years growing up in Oregon and Idaho. Both places reach temperatures well below freezing and into the negatives. We had to learn how to live with the snow for up to six months of the year, the upside is that those states are set up to handle that temperature drop. Texas and its residence are not. Let me share with you how I learned to handle the anxiety and boredom that comes with freezing temperatures.
**If you are unaware of how Texas works, its power system is not connected the way the rest of the country's system is. Texas is separate and decides to do everything differently than everyone else.They also had this exact situation happen in the 80's and weren't prepared then. They learned nothing from that experience, so let us now be the ones to take initiative on how to handle any situation that comes up like this again.**
1. My dad taught me to always be prepared no matter what. If the situation never happens, at least you had what you needed to survive it. My partner and I will grab a little extra food at the store, a little extra toiletries and supplies. We do not over-buy and stockpile. This is a way to prepare for any situation. This could have helped many who lost power to still have foods they could eat cold or even cook on their gas stove top for a short period of time to gain some sustenance. Over-buying and panicking only causes MORE issues for the rest of us. Things restock and most situations/circumstances are not forever, only temporary.
2. There is plenty to do that does not require technology or the internet! I grew up in a house where we were only allowed 1 hour of television, a movie or 1 hour of video games per day. The only time our computers were on was if we had school work to do. In the early '00s that wasn't even heard of yet. Here are some fun things we did even when the power was out.
I grew up in a very loving and supportive home, any time one of us had anxiety we were there to hold, help, and guide them through it. When this happens my mum would hug me, tell me everything was going to be okay, then ask me how I was feeling and what she could do to help. That last step is very crucial. If you don't ask the anxious party how they are and what you can do to help, you may worsen their anxiety as they came to you seeking help and solace.
Any time my partner has an anxiety attack or emotional trigger, I hug him, we lie down on the bed and breathe together while he tells me what he is feeling or going through. Just that act of listening to someone or being heard can relieve much stress and anxiety from our nerves.
This is not the answer some want, however, meditation is a fantastic way to calm the nerves, return hormones to their proper levels and over time you will be able to handle stressful and anxious situations much easier. It takes practice and patience for this to occur, be patient and kind to yourself through this process. Meditation also allows us to compartmentalize easier over time as well. Being able to dissect a situation while it is still happening and keeping your wits about you is highly beneficial and healthier on the body, mind, soul, and nervous system.
When the power does come back on, don't overload by turning everything on and the heat up. It's always a good idea to keep the heater down around 68 anyways. Your body can become ill if you are going from extreme cold to hot too often. We keep our house around 68 and have extra blankets and clothing to keep us warmer if need be. My dad always said "You can always put more clothing on, you cannot always take it off. Well, you can, but some of your company may not like it!" Each time the power returns we:
When it comes to needing to leave anywhere, we simply stay put. Honestly your gym time can wait. Do an at-home HiiT bodyweight workout instead if you really must workout. It is better to hold off however, to conserve energy and food in these circumstances. A LISS day is also acceptable for keeping yourself moving, or even just simple stretching and foam rolling. Giving your body a break is not always a bad idea, your muscle will not atrophy overnight or even within a few days. Risking your life and others just to lift some weights, just don't! Plus, in 2021 it's pretty likely that your neighbors have some gym equipment or an actual garage gym. Make friends and have a lifting party!
I remember the only time we ever went anywhere on days like this as a child was if we truly needed to go to the store or it was time for church. (Yes, I grew up going to church in a very religious state.) My dad emphasized how much more dangerous ice was than hydroplaning on rain water. Unfortunately Texas is not set up to handle snow, salting their roads, and for their citizens to be driving anywhere unimportant, like the gym.
So next time Mother Nature makes a crazy call to your doorstep, I hope these tips and tricks can help you make it through!
It's 2021 and a new year, that generally means new goals and resolutions to hit. However this year I noticed something different on the rise as of late, that is Holism. As a Holistic Lifestyle Trainer seeing this "trending" is actually of high concern! Many do not understand what holistic health or holistic lifestyle means. Let's explore!
Now there are two definitions for holistic (these are straight from google):
1. Philosophy: Characterized by comprehension of the parts of something as intimately interconnected and explicable only by reference to the whole.
2. Medicine: Characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors, rather than just the symptoms of the disease.
With that being said, how does this relate to working with a holistic trainer? When you work with a holistic trainer such as myself we take into account every aspect of your life. What is stressing you out? How do you cope and de-stress? How is your sleep? How is your mental health? How is your nutrition and eating habits? How are your daily thoughts? Do you meditate? There are SO many more questions that come into play here I won't go over.
When we are stressed, sick or lethargic we cannot just blame our job or lack of sleep. Often times the real issue is buried deep inside and has something to do with a subject stuck in the subconscious. This little thought that lingers could be leaving you stressed, sleeping terribly and leaving you unmotivated without even know why. Addressing this could fix your sleep, lower your stress and bring back some of that motivation you had before.
Being holistic means that you are also being mindful and taking into account things that surround you as well as those around you. Being mindful allows you to keep yourself less stressed, we become more aware and also use less resources this way. This is part of holism.
Holism should also be included in our plans to save the planet. By looking at the bigger picture we can see more of what needs to be done in order to create a positive outcome. If we are only looking at fragments are parts we are missing a lot of useful information. This is the same through your health, wellness and fitness. If you are only focusing on growing the glutes, the rest of your legs and body will suffer. They stay weak and can cause further injury from not being worked in the proper manner.
Being holistic in fitness allows me to really hone in on client issues and deviations and to help me understand my client much better. This gives me more of an opportunity to give a routine that is much more personalized to the individual and their goals. Taking into account their home life, work life, hobbies, wants, desires, needs and stresses allows for a better lifestyle plan to be written out. This creates ease for the client.
Over my nine years of being a trainer this has been the most effective style of training my clients. They reach goals with ease and feel better about their accomplishments. By focusing on the whole they also create a better chance at a better lifestyle and self-care routine that will last them long beyond the end of training with me.
My goal as a trainer was not only to guide my clients to their goals but to also help them create a lifestyle that would have a positive impact on their daily lives and those around them. Positivity is contagious, that is the heart and soul of our business here. We take everything into account when treating a problem to come up with a positive solution that will stick.
Here are a few ways you can live more holistically today!
1. Meditate. Yes, I said it! Not all meditation is sitting cross-legged and silent. Meditation is about connecting with yourself and working through the issues, problems, and irritations that pop into our lives and stick in our minds. It's about being in the moment and lowering stress.
2. Exercise. Yeah, I said that too. Exercise is incredibly important. Any time I had an injury or my low back was aching it was because I did not exercise the area enough or properly. This is highly important to keeping your body going. It carries you day and in and day out and houses muscle. It is meant to be moved, if it wasn't we would all be blobs rolling around all the time.
3. Journal. Never underestimate the power of a great journaling session. Now many guys are going to read this and scoff thinking " I don't need that "GIRLY" shit." This is not girly shit just as yoga and dance are not girly shit. Journaling can help you get thoughts out of your mind and onto paper where you can read them. Analyze them. Find solutions easier than keeping them bottled inside. Sometimes we just need to vent and that's what a great Brain Dump journaling session is for!
4. Practice more self love. Now this one is very tough as we do not teach it at a young age in this country (I'm not sure about others). Self love and good fitness are highly underrated here. When you love yourself it shows to others. They feel that good energy and they want to feel good too. Loving yourself allows you a more relaxed day. You move about with more confidence which can allow you to achieve more and be more productive throughout your day. We must learn patience with ourselves as well. This is part of self love.
Now that you have a better understanding of what Holism is, I hope that you can take a few of these wonderful ways and incorporate them into your life today!
8 Tips to Catch Better Zzzz's
Sleep is something that almost everybody loves, including our own body! It is also something of a troublesome burden to many of us as well. I often am asked how I can wake at 3 am daily and go to bed by no later than 8:30 in the evening. That is quite the day, and I do begin working at 3:30am with household chores, meal prepping, etc and off to my actual day job. When I arrive home I do more chores and work that can be done at home. This equates to a lot of work and makes many wonder how I get to sleep. I do nap for starters. I find time to be able to lie down for 45-60 minutes about 2-3x per week. I only do this when I am feeling incredibly exhausted or had a restless nights sleep the night before. While my sleep is great most nights, just like anyone else I still have restless nights that leave me feeling groggy in the morning and wanting to stay in bed.
As we all know, sleep is imperative for recovery, focus, and energy the following day. Nobody wants to wake up groggy and hating life, their body, or the way they feel. Here are some tips to set you up for a successful nights sleep and following morning.
1. Know your chronotype. If you aren't sure what a chronotype even is, this is your DNA telling you if you are a morning person or a night owl. Ever see someone get up and be full of energy first thing in the morning, no caffeine and spritely as the sun? (*coughs* ME) This morning energy upon waking is an indicator of what time you should be rising from your slumbers. If you aren't sure of what your chronotype might be, take a look here to take a quiz and find out more about how your body cycles it's circadian rhythm. I am a Lion.
(Image below from sleepadvisor.org)
2. Limit your screen time & light exposure. This one is pretty tough for most of us nowadays. Our phones are often right by our side if not right in front of our eyes. The blue light from screens causes the frontal lobe to stop producing hormones such as melatonin. Without melatonin we have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep. Blue light can make you feel more alert, awake and energized. "Photo receptors in the eye, which link to the areas of the brain that control alertness, are most sensitive to blue light. Therefore, when blue light hits them, the receptors set off activity in those brain regions, making you more energized," says Shadab A. Rahman, Ph.D. By limiting our blue light and regular light exposure we allow the mind time to calm and begin producing the hormone melatonin again. We begin this process in our home around 3-4 hours before we go to bed.
3. Light therapy. This has been a really great one for us since we moved into our new home. We have red and green lights everywhere! We use them to help calm the mind and body. Red lights help our bodies produce more melatonin and is recommended to be in about 30 minutes before bed. (We turn ours on about 5pm and are in bed around 7:30-8pm) Red light therapy also increases your performance for the next day by aiding in a restful nights sleep from production of the hormone melatonin. You cannot sit in a red light and stare at a blue light from your computer, phone, or tv screen. It will not be affective. They counter each other, one brings you alertness and the other brings you sleep.
4.Find regularity. This seems to be a tough one for many individuals. Often times I hear from friends, family and clients that they sleep in on their weekends to catch up on sleep. I'm about to burst your bubble so be prepared; There is no such thing as catching up on your sleep. (The podcast from Found My Fitness with Dr. Matthew Walker explains this further) Having a set schedule for your sleep can aide in a better nights sleep. Finding regularity means that you're in bed and going to bed at the same time every night and awaking at the same time every morning. Often times we lie down and reach for our phones. There is that blue light causing massive activity in the brain and blocking that melatonin production. Put it down and actually close your eyes. You will fall asleep!
5. Stop eating crap. This can be a tough one for a lot of individuals as well. I hear everything from " I can't afford to eat healthy it's expensive!" to "I don't like to cook, it is so much easier to order in." It doesn't matter what "healthy" restaurant your food comes from, the best is from the store to your home and into your frying pan. Where you can control the amount of sodium, fats, sugars, and other preservatives and chemicals put into foods to keep them "fresh". The lack of vitamins and minerals combined with preservatives will cause inflammation and an imbalance in the hormones. Eating wholesome and healthy foods for your body and goals will help you catch some better and more restful zzzz's.
6. No alcohol. Nowwwwww I know what you're thinking, "Kaie! How dare you! That is NOT my problem!" Wellllllllllllllll it very well could be a huge contributing factor. First and foremost alcohol is poison, sugar mixed with poison. One drop will stay in your bloodstream for roughly 2 hours. Sugar, as most of us know, causes inflammation and issues with the function of our frontal lobe much like alcohol. Alcohol also causes hormone imbalances and vitamin and mineral deficiencies and an inability to absorb and utilize vitamins and minerals. Alcohol is also a depressant, in other words it's a downer and it will make you sad. It interferes with the communication from the neurotransmitting receptors that line your stomach to your brain. A disruption in, not only the hormone production of the brain, but also the guts. If you must drink in the evenings, do it many hours before your regularly scheduled sleep time.
7. Meditate. Many individuals respond to this with a big, fat "HELL NO! I CAN'T SIT IN SILENCE THAT LONG!" Meditation is not about sitting in silence. It is about quieting the mind and body. It is about calming the self and reconnecting. On the scientific side it quite literally helps your hormones balance out to a proper homeostasis baseline. Letting go of the days mishaps, anxieties, fears, and worries can also help us sleep. Reminding us that tomorrow is a new day, with new and better opportunities. I often write down specific affirmations to help my subconscious know we are allowed to sleep well and sleep deeply.
Here are a few examples:
"I give myself permission to sleep deeply."
"I let go of all tense thoughts."
"I did my best today and that is good enough."
"I did all that I can physically do today, that is enough."
8. Exercise regularly. Here is another tough one. Most of us find exercise tedious and a nuisance, this is largely because it is not a focus of the American culture and is not emphasized toward an overall healthy lifestyle. Exercise is another activity that can help us balance hormones and keep us at an even keel homeostasis. Nobody is asking you to step in the gym and go HAM for hours, we simply ask that you do at least 20-30 minutes of vigorous exercise daily. This will help you sleep better, eat better, manage life better all around.
Now that you have a few great tips and tricks to help you sleep, I hope you can begin to change a few things around and get the restful sleep you deserve.
Ways to Stay Green
Hello Warriors of the World! Many of you have asked me frequently over the last few years, "What are some ways you stay green and help the Earth?" Well today I wanted to take a few moments to go over some of the ways that my significant other and I stay green and help save our planet!
For starters, we all know that driving a car is incredibly terrible and has a huge impact on our air quality. Now, with COVID this has become a bit easier, however we don't drive everywhere! What I mean is, we carpool, we stay home and don't go anywhere at least two days per week, we get curbside and delivery for groceries and packages. When I lived where there was a train or metro system, I would travel this way instead of driving. While Austin has it's own Metro-rail.... it's nothing compared to San Francisco or New York.
Another great action we take is in our grocery shopping, and I'm not talking about reusable bags. I am talking about how often we go! We both eat a very plant-based diet and that means we keep LOTS of FRESH fruits and veggies around! I hear all too often, "Oh mine always go bad! How do you keep them fresh so long?" The answer is we DONT! We eat it in time! However....
1. Buying organic makes a difference. The taste and how long it will last.
2. Are you storing them properly? You can check here!
3. How much are you getting and for what time frame of use?
4. If you don't use it, you lose it! This applies to more than just learning a new language warriors! This most definitely applies to our foods!
When we shop, we shop once per week-ish, my significant other does curbside once a week and I hit up Whole Foods and Sprouts in a days run, we buy enough to last us up to 2.5 weeks before we completely run out. We have tested this before. So whatever your excuse, it's really that you just don't want to eat it. Stop buying it and creating more waste. If anything, compost it!
Shower, self care, and beauty products..... ladies... I love you, why do you use SO many things to shower with? I see so many choices of body wash, shampoos, conditioners, etc in peoples bathrooms when I cleaned houses for a side hustle. I am astounded you feel you need so many, and so many that are full of chemicals! We use bar soaps that support local businesses in Texas. Organic hair care and facial care. I have shampoo and conditioner, one each. One scent. One brand. Two bottles.... Not five. I have three items for my face because I personally only need three. A cleanser, moisturizer and toner. Outside of this I have two bottles of facial peels that I use once per week and I have had them for nearly 8 months now. Three products for my hair and no brush. Yeah, I let it be natural. What I use merely controls the frizz and allows my waves and curls to hold all day, however I don't use it every day either. I use it only on my off days when I know my hair isn't going up all day for demonstrations. This brings me to one of my favorite ways to be green.
Mindfulness. Ahhh yes, I said it! Mindfulness. My partner had asked me one day if I could change one thing what would it be? I quickly answered with mindfulness. Being mindful can open up many doorways to being green. When we are mindful we start to think outside the box, we start to think/wonder/see how our actions begin to affect and shape the environment around us.
Reduce, REUSE, recycle. I know we have all heard this before. Reuse, we reuse a lot of things! Bags for storage and jars are the favorite for us. There are many things you can do with them. We reuse parchment paper if nothing juicy, sticky or slimy was baked on/in it. Instead of buying tonnes of bottles of water, we use reusable bottles. There are many things to reuse!
During the day time, we reduce our carbon footprint by keeping lights off and blinds open to allow sunlight in. We also have a lot of plants around our home that require light, this helps to remind us to keep the lights off. In the evening we use low-lit colored lights of red or green. We have them in several rooms of the house and they are turned on toward the evening time to help us wind down.
So there are many ways that we can be more green, even if you're not out volunteering to clean up the beaches or streets in your area. There are many things we can do at home.
Do you love to buy salsas, Culina yogurt, and other products in a jar? What are you doing with your jars when you're finished with the product inside? Do you simply throw them in the trash can? Wash them out first? Recycle them? How about upcycle them?
More recently my significant other and I have started to bring in more "green" elements and ways to sustain ourselves into our lifestyle. We discovered one day that we buy a lot of products that come in a glass jar often. So to remedy the fact that we were wasting glass all the time, and let's face it recycling in the country.... is not recycling, we decided to get creative with them.
CULINA POTS & JARS
Culina is a fairly new company that produces coconut based yogurt. Originally they came in an adorable little flower/planter pot. Recently the company has switched to a small glass jar with a twistable lid. These jars are AMAZING for:
2.small items like gummy candies
3.seeds & nuts
5.activated chia seeds
6.take smaller snacks on the go
So don't throw them out! Upcycle them! You can even decorate them as they come bare without a label glued to the whole jar.
PASTA SAUCE JARS
Okay, we all remember the GIGANTIC Prego jars... well they haven't gone away. We find these jar sizes now come in the salsa that we love to get from Whole Foods. We also love to have a Mango Gummy Bear now and then, since they come in the bulk section and they come a pound at a time we use this jar to store our gummies. This keeps our gummies nice and fresh. We also use the jars to store:
7.broth for ramen
9.asparagus in water
10.citrus peels for making into plant food
Don't toss these jars either! Upcycle them! Decorate them and make them yours, fit them to the theme of your kitchen or house.
TOPOCICO & WATER BOTTLES
We love to have a Topo a few nights a week, however that is a lot of glass to be "recycled", what do you do? Get yourself a glass cutter and (11) enjoy some new glasses to drink from! And that (12)bottle cap can be turned into some bottle cap art! Any kind of glass bottle can be cut and turned into a drinking glass, who knows you could have a new side hustle! You may even try turning them into a vase for a plant or a fish( make sure that fish has room to grow!)
Whatever you may be drinking or eating from, don't just toss it in the trash can, UPCYCLE IT! Help reduce your footprint and find a good use for that jar or bottle.
Mindful or Mind...Full?
What is mindfulness?
Looking it up by definition, mindfulness is "the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something." So, it's a mental state wherein you are aware, but how is it achieved and what does it mean for your day to day life?
This mental state is achieved by focusing one's thoughts and feelings on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations. This can be used as a self-therapeutic technique.
Maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts though can seem trying at times. Especially as mindfulness so intimately involves acceptance of the thoughts and feelings that you are allowing to occupy so much of your conscious mind. Meaning that we have to pay attention to our thoughts and feelings without judging them—without believing, for instance, that there’s a “right” or “wrong” way to think or feel in a given moment. When we practice mindfulness, our thoughts tune into what we’re sensing in the present moment rather than rehashing the past or imagining the future.
A recent study lent this perspective on the topic, saying "though it has its roots in Buddhist meditation, a secular practice of mindfulness has entered the American mainstream in recent years, in part through the work of Jon Kabat-Zinn and his Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program, which he launched at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in 1979. Since that time, thousands of studies have documented the physical and mental health benefits of mindfulness in general and MBSR in particular, inspiring countless programs to adapt the MBSR model for schools, prisons, hospitals, veterans centers, and beyond." (1)
A Few Things to Know About Mindfulness:
1) Mindfulness is not obscure or exotic. It’s familiar to us because it’s what we already do, how we already are. It takes many shapes and goes by many names.
2) Mindfulness is not a special added thing we do. We already have the capacity to be present, and it doesn’t require us to change who we are. But we can cultivate these innate qualities with simple practices that are scientifically demonstrated to benefit ourselves, our loved ones, our friends and neighbors, the people we work with, and the institutions and organizations we take part in
3) You don’t need to change. Solutions that ask us to change who we are or become something we’re not have failed us over and over again. Mindfulness recognizes and cultivates the best of who we are as human beings.
4) Mindfulness has the potential to become a transformative social phenomenon.
Anyone can do it. Mindfulness practice cultivates universal human qualities and does not require anyone to change their beliefs. Everyone can benefit and it’s easy to learn. It’s a way of living. Mindfulness is more than just a practice. It brings awareness and caring into everything we do—and it cuts down needless stress. Even a little makes our lives better. It’s evidence-based. We don’t have to take mindfulness on faith. Both science and experience demonstrate its positive benefits for our health, happiness, work, and relationships. It sparks innovation. As we deal with our world’s increasing complexity and uncertainty, mindfulness can lead us to effective, resilient, low-cost responses to seemingly intransigent problems. (2)
So, to simplify, mindfulness is best thought of as a balancing a healthy self consciousness with a strong sense of the world around you.
-from the Mayo Clinic.
-from Pocket Mindfulness.
Color by Mood
What's your favorite color? Why is it your favorite color? What color is your car? Why did you want that color? There could be more of a reason than "I don't know, I just do," or "it's pretty." Colors, much like music, affect our mood! Kinda cool right?
Right, But Why?
Color is a pretty powerful tool. Often times we can use it to manipulate mood, soothe our stress, help us study for an exam, liven a charades party in the living room, or even spark sudden hunger. Color therapy was once a thing of ancient times, dating all the way back to the Egyptians who studied it and used it for curing an array of ailments. (1)
In more modern times, while still a topic of study and of science, the thought of color and its influence on mood or any other aspect of oneself has somewhat fallen into the realm of hokey gimmicks. The most notable is the mood ring, the result of binding thermochromic liquid crystals to quartz stones. The mood ring changes colors based upon the temperature and blood pressure of the wearer and has been around since 1975. (2) This, combined with the pop psychology of the basic mood/color correspondance used to teach children how best to describe their developing emotions has many ignoring the very legitimate effect color has on them.
Consider the color palettes for the clothes or home decor you chose from depending on the season. Throughout the year, as the light dims and the temperature drops, you may find that the colors people adorn themselves with migrate through the spectrum. In the spring, you may notice a lot of bright pastels and popping sharp colors, often desribed as "loud." Why? Becuase it mirrors the vibrancy of spring, the re-birth of the plant and animal life-cycle and the increace in visial vibrancy of the world around us as we begin to receive more light. (3) Summer may not necessarily bring much of a visual change, but come autumn and winter, you may notice deeper anad richer colors as well as the use of more patterns. You'll see these same changes again exhibited in home decor, or at least, in advertisments for home decor. (4)
Those are some outward expression of how color influences and is influenced by mood and other external environmental factors. But this post is focused on mood, so, what has science to say of the matter?
Well, Here is Some Research:
If you want proof that something works, perhaps look to see what folks in marketing do. We all know the adage "sex sells," but so too does color it seems. Red for instance, is known to be a color associated with excitement and aggression and which draws attention. Hence, branding with red is known to induce or at least heighten a desire to consume; to buy, in other words. Whereas subdued colors such as black and silver are seen as more "elite" and therefore might be better suited to an informed decision on a luxury item. (5)
Meanwhile, one study sought to directly assess the relationship between color and psychological function. (6) Several interesting points worth summarizing include -
- certain shades of green seem to stimulate appetite in a majority of subjects.
- red was largely seen as an "alert" color, which made subjects more cautious, focused, and determined when given a task.
- beige and grey were seen as emotionally neutral colors, evoking little or no emotional change or response.
- blue, colloquially known as the "color of communication," was largely seen as calming or otherwise soothing. It was only in subjects already displaying a lower sense of joy or emotional drive that blue was seen as somehow "sad."
- likewise, yellow was commonly seen as a joyous color.
Another study, focusing on college students, found that yellow is "thought of as joyful, outgoing, open, and friendly." (7) This is not necessarily surprising as yellow, which mimics the color of sunlight, produces a kind of placebo effect wherein one may feel a boost in mood owing to a percieved increase in vitamin D. As stated in the article, "yellow ribbons have been used as a sign of hope and optimism since the nineteenth century."
Ok, So What Does This All Mean?
It means that you can make an informed decision on how you choose to adorn your environment. It means achieving a mode of peace and harmony within and around yourself by using color to help influnece your mood in a positive manner. It also means that you can help others, whether by dressing in colors you know they may like or offering them a space in which the colors may bring them calm or invigoration. You can seek additonal knowledge to further you understanding of this and other topics, and thus, live wholly.
Written & Edited by our fantastic editor: Mr. Victor Z. Glenn
Research Conducted by Miss Kaie & Victor Z Glenn
Photos: Miss Kaie & EG Prophoto
Note from the Team.
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