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Suzanne’s Blog

Monday
Nov142016

Radical Post-Election Self-Care for the Heart, Mind and Body

Some of us may still be in a dark place after the election. I know I have found it difficult to regain my footing, and take in the shift in the matrix.

Here’s a 3 Step Sequence I’ve been practicing from Martha Beck ” to meet despair, depression, agony, overwhelming anger, fear and anxiety. 

1) Allow yourself to feel whatever is present. Do you feel like the breath has been kicked out of you? Just really scared, horrified, or angry; it makes perfect sense. (Don’t try to turn your frown upside down.)

2) Focus your attention on Love and Compassion for the part of you that is feeling badly. You might use this Buddhist prayer:

“May you be happy, may you be well, may you be free from suffering.”  

This is NOT the same as shutting down your feelings. 

You might set your awareness on an image like Kwan Yin, the Goddess of Mercy and Compassion, or on a place of worship where you felt deep peace and support. 

Love the one who is in agony. Do this as often as possible throughout your day, even draw or paint the image.  This begins to reset neural bathways in your brain.

3) Be kind to your body. Stop with all the words. Eat some delicious soup, grab a warm blanket, go back to bed, take a walk. What kindness can you give your body today?

Repeat these steps as needed.

Monday
Oct102016

What's the Best Exercise? The Kind You'll Actually Do.

I find it’s a pleasure to take long walks at the end of the day in the fall, breathing the crisp, cool air, and letting go of the day as I stroll along the lake near my house.  

It’s a great time to pause, take in the changes in the foliage, and appreciate all the beauty around me.

These days, that’s the exercise I LOVE, and because of that, I’m more likely to fit it into my busy day.  

It doesn’t matter how beneficial an exercise is, if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t do it over the long haul. 

We all “know” how important regular exercise is for our minds and body, but here are some reminders about how exercise benefits us from the CDC:  

  • Control Your Weight.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Cardiovascular Disease.
  • Reduce your risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome.
  • Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers.
  • Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles.
  • Improve Your Mental Health and Mood.
  • Increase your chances of living longer

Most often, we have an “execution” problem with exercise: work, family, REALLY important things get in the way.  For many of us, fitting in any exercise feels like too big of a stretch.  The CDC say 80% of Americans don’t get the reccommended amount of physical exercise. 

What’s the best exercise for you?  Studies show it’s the one you’ll actually DO.  That means something you enjoy enough to fit into your day. 

Today start SMALL; you don’t need an hour, or even 30 minutes, to get the benefits of regular exercise: a 5 or 10 minute walk, or a simple strech break at your desk will do.  Make it as enjoyable as possible, breathe deeply, and take your time.  Small amounts of exercise, like this, done regularly, can begin to create big shifts over your lifetime.

Friday
Oct072016

Seasonal Baking: Quinoa Apple Cake


This cake, from Homemade Winter by Yvette Van Boven, is a fall and winter favorite at our house, and makes a great, fast, hearty breakfast.  It’s substantial, the whole grain support of quinoa on a cold morning feels good.  It never lasts too long around our house.    

Quinoa is known as a “modern superfood” and is high in protein, as well as being a complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index

Remember to soak quinoa overnight, or for a few hours before cooking.  

Preheat the Oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)

Boil 1 Cup (175g) Quinoa in water for 10 min. until tender and drain throughly.

Mix Quinoa with:

1 cup self rising flour

2 apples in chunks

3/4 cup packed brown sugar

3/4 cup (125g) raisins

7 tablespoons (100g) melted butter

1 tsp. EACH of cinnamon, ground ginger, freshly grated nutmeg, and a pinch of salt

Pour the mixture into a greased loaf pan (you can line the bottom with parchment paper—Yvette does.)

Bake for about 50 min. and check—if it seems too gooey when inserting a knife, bake longer.  I usually end up having this in for 75min.

Thursday
Oct062016

The 2 Best Tips for Deep Refreshing Sleep


 

 

Deeply refreshing sleep is one of the most helpful and enjoyable things we can do for our health.  Think of how GREAT you feel after a night of deep sleep:  
—Rejuvenated
—Energized
—Calm
—Ready to face the day


Recently, the New York Times reported that the N.F.L. is not only tracking the weight and the muscle mass of it’s players, it’s tracking their sleep.  Sleep may even have helped the Seattle Seahawks win the SuperBowl!  

“I’ve always had a belief that sleep is one of the main ways your body recovers,” said Sam Ramsden, the Seahawks’ director of player health and performance. “Some of the best players on the team are the best sleepers.”

THE BAD NEWS:
Without good quality sleep we are more likely to gain weight, and to suffer from chronic diseases like diabetes, hypertension, depression, even cancer.  

Without sleep we aren’t as efficient or clear thinking, our health suffers, and we are more prone to accidents.   Life just isn’t fun without sleep—we’re not as happy or productive.  

Try these 2 easy steps that begin to help you sleep a whole lot better:  

 

1) Make a Plan.  Relaxing Evenings that lead to deep sleep don’t just happen in our 21st Century World. 
Decide on a low-tech way you’d love to chill out after dinner. Here are some ideas, choose one or two: take a hot bath, give yourself a foot message with essential oils, read a novel, relax with some restorative yoga, or cuddle with your sweetie.

2) Start early, to have the lights out by 10pm, start winding down at 8:30pm, to be asleep by 11pm, start relaxing at 9:30.  View this daily “down-time” in the evening as a delicious and enjoyable way to leave the activity of the day behind.  
Try low-tech relaxation one or two nights a week, to begin with. You might find, that over time, you are sleeping more deeply on these nights, and feel much more refreshed in the morning.  You may eventually decide to add more relaxing evenings in to your week.

 
Treating yourself to better sleep a few times a week helps you and your health, but it also benefits all those around you: your family, and your co-workers.  Plus, you’ll be looking rested and well, and that makes the world a more beautiful place. 

 

Monday
Oct032016

Easy, Delicious, Seasonal Food: My Favorite Fall Cooking Tip!

Delicious, healthy food should be easy and simple to prepare, so we can enjoy it at our table.  Fall brings us an abundance of squash, a vegetable that’s so delicious, versatile, and with so many health benefits, you’ll want to include it often at meals.  

My Favorite Fall Cooking Tip: Don’t Struggle with Cutting Squash Open, Just Bake Them Whole.

Set oven to 350 degrees. Put squash into the oven whole.  For small squash an hour should be fine, for larger ones, an hour and a half might be needed.  When they are done, just cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and serve with butter, salt and pepper.

 PS: Why is squash so good for you?  Some varieties contain a truly impressive amount of vitamin A, 475%, maybe more than any other vegetable.  Vitamin A helps our vision, skin, and creates healthy mucous membranes.  

A cup of squash gives you 42% of your daily vitamin C.  You’ll also find potassium and manganese, amounts of vitamins E, B, B6 (pyridoxine), thiamin, niacin, folate, calcium and magnesium, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pantothenic acid.

PS Many thanks to Ayurvedic Expert Anne Dellenbaugh, for this tip.

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