4 tips to help you sleep better tonight

sleep

Sleep is EVERYTHING!  You can have the healthiest of diets, get your sweat on, meditate, drink green drinks, and generally live a stress-free life but if you don’t get enough sleep it doesn’t mean a thing.  (Okay, okay…so that might be a slight exaggeration but lack of sleep does cancel out a lot of the positive choices you make.)  I’ve struggled with quality sleep my entire life and am wiling to try just about any natural suggestion to get more/better sleep and these are four techniques that I’ve been using lately with success.

Magnesium and Melatonin

Magnesium and melatonin are your best friends when it comes to getting more sleep naturally.  Many people (myself included) are deficient in magnesium which can be detrimental to your overall wellness and impact your sleep quality.  Melatonin is a sleep regulating hormone.  I take a magnesium supplement, Natural Calm, nightly.  It not only helps my body and mind calm down and prepare for restful sleep but it also supports the digestive system and keeps things moving.  I drink cherry juice to naturally increase my melatonin before bed.

Sleep Tonic

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Two teaspoons Natural Calm
1/3 cup warm or room temperature water
1/4 cup Black Cherry Juice (be sure to select 100% juice without additives or sugars – I use Knudsen Just Black Cherry)

Stir Natural Calm and water and allow to fizz.  Add cherry juice and drink 30 minutes before bed.

Meditation

It’s no secret that I’m a meditation junkie.  I know that meditation has the power to transform your life and it has dramatically improved my sleep.  Bedtime sends my mind into overdrive and I rely on guided meditations and breathing exercises to help turn down the volume of my mind.

Guided Meditations

Gabrielle Bernstein’s free sleep meditation.  This is the guided meditation that started it all for me.  It’s the first guided meditation that I truly connected to and I still use it on a regular basis before bed.

If I’m feeling exceptionally wired or stressed at night I will settle in with Terri Cole’s Manifest to Sleep meditation.  This is sleep meditation GOLD!  I’m typically asleep by the end of the 10 minutes.

I’ve been incorporating Kundalini meditations that support sleep into my routine.

Shabd Kriya for Deep Sleep and Radiance (as taught by Yogi Bhajan)

Posture: Sit in any position with your spine straight and your eyes closed and focused on your nose.  (The goal is to be comfortable.)

Mudra (hand position): Place your hands in your lap with your palms up and the right hand over the left. Your thumbs are together and pointing forward (Buddha mudra).

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Breath and mantra: Inhale for 4 equal breaths, mentally reciting the mantra Sa-Ta-Na-Ma on each inhale. Hold your breath, reciting the mantra (Sa-Ta-Na-Ma) 4 times for a total of 16 beats.  You can work your way up to holding your breath for 16 beats. Exhale in 2 equal strokes reciting mentally Wahe Guru.  Continue for 3, 11, 15, 22, 31 or 62 minutes.

Left Nostril Breathing

Posture: Sit in easy pose with your spine straight and your eyes closed.

Mudra: Block your right nostril with your right thumb and the other fingers pointing toward the sky.  Your left hand is in your lap in Gyan Mudra (your thumb and pointer finger are touching).

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Gyan Mudra

Breath and mantra: Begin to breathe long and deep only through your left nostril.  Mentally recite Sat on the inhales and Nam on the exhales. Continue for three minutes.

Lay on spikes (seriously)

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I’ve been loving my Spook accupressure mat lately.  The mat is made up of 6210 accupressure stimulation points.  Yes, 6210 spikes!  It seems scary and painful but it is pure bliss.  The mat is great for relaxation, stimulation, energy, and sleep.  I lay on the mat for 30-45 minutes at bedtime and am eased into the most restful sleep.  Most of the time Andrew finds me asleep on the mat.  It’s hard to imagine being that relaxed while you lay on 6210 plastic spikes but you can feel tension releasing from your body and calm washing over you.  (Bonus: the mat has been a lifesaver when I’ve had a migraine or tension headache.)

Set the mood

You want your bedroom to be cool and dark for ideal sleep.  Turn down the temperature before getting ready for bed.  We usually set it on 67 or 68 degrees.  And you want your room to be totally dark.  Any light (even the tiniest amount) can confuse your body and mess with your sleep patterns.  They sell blackout stickers that will cover all of those annoying lights on anything you have in the bedroom.  I use a sleep mask at night because there always seems to be random light shining in through the blinds.  Be sure that your sleep mask has room for your eyes to blink comfortably.  Your sleep will be disrupted if the mask is flush against your eyelids because your eyes won’t have space to flutter.

I hope you try one (or all) of these tips and have the best sleep of your life!  Don’t forget to share your sleep tips in the comments below so that we can learn from each other.


 Spirited Well-being News

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I was recently interviewed for My Dog My Guru about my experience rescuing Scout and the impact we’ve had on each other.  I love gushing about Scout and sharing our story.

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I was the guest blogger on A Mindful Mantra and shared my mixed berry cobbler recipe (gluten, dairy, and refined sugar-free).

 

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Easy paleo pulled pork

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This is one of my favorite recipes and it’s in heavy rotation in my house.  I wanted to “paleofy” one of my favorite meals – BBQ pulled pork.  I have yet to find a paleo BBQ sauce in my grocery stores and don’t ever think to make my own sauce.  This pork has great flavor on its own and I don’t miss the sauce.

1 boneless pork shoulder or roast (I usually use a 2 1/2 pound roast)
1 sweet onion, peeled and sliced into large wedges
4-5 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon chipotle pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander

  1. Add half the sliced onions to the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Mix all of the spices together (you can adjust the measurements to taste).
  3. Dry the pork with paper towel, cut a few slits in the top to insert the garlic cloves, and rub the dry rub all over the pork.
  4. Add pork on top of the sliced onions and cover with the rest of the onion slices.
  5. Cover and cook until the pork is fork tender, usually 6 to 8 hours on high or 8 to 10 hours on low.
  6. Remove the pork from the slow cooker and shred with two forks (removing any remaining fat).

I don’t use any liquid in this recipe and the pork remains tender.  Sometimes I’ll mix in 1/2 a jar of salsa verde (be sure to check the label for sugar and other additives) to the shredded pork for a saucier version.

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Today is the fresh start that I need

truth

My voice is shaking.  What’s my truth?  Well, the truth is that I’ve been struggling – a lot – lately.  I’ve allowed stress and fear to be the loudest voices and my guiding forces over the last few months.  My ego (fear-based voice) has taken me down the rabbit hole and I’ve been residing full-time in crazytown.

I’ve tried to power through – fake it until you make it.  I’ve slapped a smile on, posted high-vibe images on social media, and gone through the motions with positive affirmations and meditation but it’s all been surface.  On the inside I’ve felt anything but high-vibe.  And it’s scary as hell to not only admit it to myself but to also share my struggles with you but I’m not living authentically if I don’t share my truth with you.

Here’s how I got here:  April and May were insane months at work and the pressure truly got to me.  I skipped yoga and meditation one day and that’s turned into months.  I haven’t been sleeping.  I stopped drinking insane amounts of water and started relying on caffeinated teas “to get me through” the stress.  Vegetables started to vanish from my plate.  Personal and financial stresses started piling up.

It really was a perfect storm of low-vibe nonsense.  And I know better.  Which in many ways has made it harder to pull myself out of it.  I have the tools and knowledge to manage stress and live a healthy life.  But I haven’t used them and that brings a huge sense of guilt and annoyance with myself.  And the tailspin continues.

This week has been my breaking point.  I’ve woken up in a funk that I just couldn’t shake every morning.  And energy is powerful stuff.  Like attracts like.  The more negative I am, the more negative my experiences are.  I feel completely hungover without any alcohol passing my lips.  I’m exhausted.  (The kind of exhaustion where it takes all of your energy to get up and shower and then you feel like you need a nap to recover.  Hello, adrenal fatigue , I don’t like you — more on this topic soon.)  I’m bloated.  Nauseous.  I have a migraine.  I’m snapping at the person (and dog) that I love.  I’m eating garbage.  My chest is tight and my stomach is in knots.  I’m beating myself up and totally future-tripping.

And it stops NOW.  In this moment.

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The great thing about life is that each morning we are presented with a fresh start and anything is possible.  In fact, each moment we have a choice.  We can see peace or fear.  And I choose peace.  I choose to be happy.  I choose to be healthy.  I choose to live in the light.

Last night I wrote in my journal that I needed a sign – a sign that I was being supported.  This morning I woke up and boom – my signs were right there.

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Clearly the universe thought that I needed my signs to be crystal clear and basically screaming at me.  Which is exactly what I needed.

My plan for packing up my belongings and saying goodbye to crazytown is to go back to basics.  Meditate, journal, yoga, self-forgiveness, water, vegetables, sleep, and repeat!  These things work.  I know they do because they’ve worked for me before.  I can sit here and wallow, allowing my ego to go to town or I can send my ego packing.  So, ego, this is your eviction notice.

Here is my plan for a Joyous July:

Prayer and meditation – As A Course in Miracles teaches, “Prayer is the medium of miracles.”  With prayer we ask and with meditation we listen.  It’s a two-way conversation and a converstation that I’ve been missing lately.  I plan to spend some quality time on my meditation pillow truly surrendering and listening.  Time in meditation changes your energy and my energy needs a total makeover.

Live in the light – I literally mean live in the light.  I’ve been spending too much time holed up inside.  I plan to go for walks, sit outside and drink my morning hot water with lemon, eat outside, and soak up as much sunshine as possible.

Get moving – A stagnant body breeds stagnant energy.  I plan to shake the low-vibes out of my body through daily movement.  I know that I can move for at least 15 minutes each day.  I have the advantage of having a dog that needs a lot of exercise.  Scout and I will be walking machines.  Sun salutations and frogs will be refreshing ways to begin my day.  And, although dancing makes me incredibly uncomfortable, I want to break into random dance parties in the house to shift the energy.

Fuel my body with insane amounts of water and whole foods – I’ve been living in candy land lately.  I went from having no refined sugar to bathing in it.  And quite honestly, I feel (and look) like death.  I need to drastically increase my water consumption especially with the heat and humidity that is the summer and too much air-conditioned, dry air.  The farmers markets are finally open and I want to flood my system with fresh, seasonal, and local fruits and vegetables.  Bring on the greens and berries!

Make gratitude my attitude – A grateful mind is a happy mind.  Being grateful for what you DO have attracts more of what you WANT to have.  And it can transform how you view your life.  My lack mentality has got to go.  I want to focus on the abundance that I do have.  I have an incredible, supporting, and loving partner, a pretty rad mom, a love-bug of a dog, and friends until the end.  And that’s some amazing stuff!

Find my money love – Money.  This is one area of my life that I have a MAJOR block and it is blocking the flow in all aspects of my life.  So it’s time to tackle this very stressful and uncomfortable topic.  I’m dusting off my unopened copy of Kate Northrup’s Money: A Love Story and plan to go deep.

Choose my words wisely – Words are power and my words lately have not supported the life I want to live.  I’ve been using every negative word in the dictionary and it’s only been calling more negativity into my life.  Gabby’s vlog this week was a great reminder about changing your energy and experiences by changing your words.

I know that changing my energy will take a moment to moment commitment.  And I am committed.  Happiness is an inside job and is simply a choice that I get to make.  Will I stumble?  Yes.  Will my ego try to drag me back to crazytown.  Of course, that’s what it does.  But the more I dwell in the power of my presence, the more that energy will become my default.  And my energy impacts that energy of everyone that I encounter.  So living in the light isn’t just about me, it’s about raising the energy of my friends and family, and in turn the world.  And that’s pretty fabulous motivation!

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Feeling my best: Halfway there

june

In January I joined my favorite autoimmune warrior, Meg McGrane, in a quest to feel my best in 2014. I abandoned resolutions and wrote a list of un-resolutions – the things that make me feel my best in an effort to do more of what I already know works for me.  It was liberating to release the pressure of traditional resolutions and I felt empowered to move forward.  How’s it going?

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I Feel Best When I:

  1. Drink a lot of water – Water has become my non-negotiable.  It may seem so simple but drinking enough water has always been a struggle for me.  Now I am sure to get all of my water in – no matter what.  Sometimes I forget to drink during the day so I’ll be gulping water before bed.  Yes, then I wake up in the middle of the night, but I know that if I skip water one day I can quickly slide back into not drinking any water.
  2. Have green smoothies for breakfast – This one is right up there with water.  The only days I’ve missed my morning green smoothie have been travel days.  One morning without my smoothie and it’s all that I can think about.  It feels fabulous to flood my system with superfoods, greens, and nutrients first thing in the morning.  And it makes me happy leaving a smoothie in the fridge for Andrew to grab on his way to work.
  3. Meditate each day – There is a lot of room for improvement here.  I started out strong and was meditating at least once a day for several months.  And then I missed one day which snowballed.  Lately I’ve been turning to meditation to pull myself out of a stressful moment but it hasn’t been a daily practice.  I know that daily meditation makes me calmer, happier, more energized, and a better version of myself.  I am committing to a daily practice because it’s just as important as water in my life!
  4. Unplug and read…an actual book – I’ve read my weight in wellness and spirituality books this year.  My focus for the rest of the year is to read more fiction.
  5. Practice radical self-forgiveness – Self-forgiveness is becoming easier and easier by the day.  And it’s powerful.  I can slowly feel my perfectionist shell breaking away.  I no longer take myself out of the game for being “bad” and allow myself to spiral into the rabbit-hole of negative self-talk.
  6. Do yoga several times a week – Yoga and meditation go hand-in-hand for me.  I started off strong and lately my mat has been collecting dust.  I allowed myself to use life as an excuse for sitting on the couch instead of moving my body.
  7. Stop grains and ‘cheats’ (you know…”just one bite”…) - Okay, it’s time to get real.  This item has been haunting me since I wrote it.  This was my “resolution” item on the list.  It was something that I know that I “should” do but that I really don’t want to do.  I know that grains are not my friend.  They make me feel bloated, heavy, itchy, and uncomfortable in my own body.  I know that without grains I feel vibrant.  I know this.  And yet, with the exception of the Whole 30 I completed earlier this year, I’ve been all grains, all the time.  Until I’m fully ready to commit to kicking the grains, it’s just not going to happen.
  8. Spend quality time with Andrew and Scout – This is a big one.  Andrew and I have been so busy at work that it’s been a challenge to find quality time together that isn’t spent doing the daily activities of life.  I am looking forward to a fun and light summer with Andrew – beach trips, lobsters, coconut ice cream, and a more relaxed pace.
  9. Take my supplements – Taking my supplements is finally just routine.  I don’t have to think about it anymore.  I eat, sleep, breathe, and take my supplements.  Setting an alarm has been the key to success here.  I recommend that you set an alarm for any new routine that you are trying to establish.
  10. Get more sleep - FINALLY!  Sleep is everything.  Even if I am doing everything else on this list, lack of sleep negates it all.  I’ve used an alarm here too.  I sent an alarm at night to signal that it’s time to wind down and get ready for bed.  I’ve been getting 8 full hours of sleep on the nights when I don’t have to go into the office.  This is a first for me.  I’m still struggling on the nights before going into the office but fortunately, that is only three nights a week.  I am going to keep plugging away until I’m sleeping the full night before going to work.
  11. Keep my home, car, and office free of clutter – Hmm.  Not so much.  I’ve been accumulating more and more clutter and it definitely makes me feel scattered.  I’m moving offices next week and I am committing to keeping my new office clutter-free.  And after this post hits your inbox I will be going upstairs to spend some QT cleaning up my closet and the piles of clean laundry I have stationed throughout the bedroom.
  12. Drink herbal tea – I’m 11 months off coffee!!!  I absolutely love herbal teas.  My favorite combination is dandelion (amazing for detoxing your liver) with mint and ginger.  This is my go-to for aiding in digestion and detoxing my body.
  13. Spend time cooking healthy meals - I think I’ve cooked more meals in the past six months than the rest of my life combined.  I have gained confidence in the kitchen and truly enjoy preparing healthy meals for me and Andrew.
  14. Limit my sugar intake (even the “good” stuff – raw honey, maple syrup, and bananas) – Sugar.  It’s everywhere in everything.  I am off refined sugar (amazing!) but still have raw honey, pure maple syrup, coconut sugar, and bananas.  And I feel good about that.  I’ve gone without any sugar several times during cleanses and Whole 30s and don’t notice any negative side effects when I reintroduce it back.  Bananas are my friend and they aren’t going anywhere.

 For the rest of the year I plan to focus on:

  1. Meditate each day
  2. Do yoga several times a week
  3. Spend quality time with Andrew and Scout
  4. Measure my success by how much fun I’m having (I just added this to the list!)

Did you make resolutions or un-resolutions this year?  How’s it going?  What goals do you have for the rest of 2014?


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Measure your life in love

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One year ago I was sitting on the couch saying for the 900th time that I wanted to start a blog but I “couldn’t” and Andrew looked at me and asked why not.  He encouraged me to grab my computer and just get started.  And my little corner of the blogosphere was born.

When the time is on you, start and the pressure will be off. -Yogi Bhajan

Andrew and Yogi Bhajan were right: as soon as I started I found my voice, confidence, and an amazing network of wellness bloggers to connect with, learn from, and share space with.  Over the year the blog has evolved as I have evolved and it’s emotional to reflect back on the journey.

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, measure a year?
How about love?
Seasons of love
(Measure your life, measure your life in love) – Seasons of Love, Rent

I’ve deepened my commitment to kindness, wellness, and trying to make the world a better place by choosing love over fear in as many moments as possible.  I’ve adopted a spiritual practice that has been life changing and I’m grateful for it each day.  The time I spend in meditation centers me, guides me, and cracks me open.

In honor of a year with you I wanted to take a look back and a peek into the future.

A year of blogs

My first post

My favorite post

My most popular post (I guess 32 is a big year?!)

Recipes: almond milk, chia pudding, smoothies, tempeh and kale salad

What my year looked like

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 A peek into the next year

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I’m excited about the direction of not only the blog but my life.  The blog is getting a little reboot and transitioning from lattes and laughs to Spirited Well-being in the coming weeks.

I look forward to sharing more healthy recipes, meditations, mantras, and my successes and challenges on the road to wellness with you.  Thank you for joining me on this journey – I’m so grateful for you!


Okay friends NOW is the time to say YES. If you’ve been sitting and waiting for that magical moment to propel you forward in your life this is IT. Robyn’s Rockstars are 24 hours away from learning how to eat the way their bodies are yearning for them to without dieting or missing out on their favorite restaurants. No more bloating, no more starting over, no more dreading beach days, no more bottomed out energy. Yes to vibrancy, fun, community, finally knowing what the heck to eat and loving the shit out of your body.

We start tomorrow and this is your official permission slip to say yes NOW.

Enrollment for The Rockstar Roadmap closes tomorrow, Wednesday, May 28th – sign up here.


 

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Homemade flavored water {no added sugar!}

How much water did you drink today?  Water is my number one healthy tip and most people aren’t drinking enough.  As a starting place, you want to drink half your weight in ounces each day.  Depending on the weather and your caffeine intake, you will probably want to drink more.

{I Can Do It 2014 Calendar}

One of the easiest ways to increase your water intake is to jazz it up!  I’ve been playing with different flavor combinations and here are my three favorites.

Add cucumber and torn mint leaves.

Add cucumber, fresh ginger, torn mint leaves, and frozen blueberries.

Add fresh mango, pineapple, and basil.

How do you jazz up your water?


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Who says getting healthy has to be all serious? Not my friend Robyn Youkilis.  Check out her free video series talking about how to eat well no matter where you are or what you’re doing.


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The dirty dozen and clean 15

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) released their 2014 dirty dozen and clean fifteen.  These lists rank the “dirtiest” and “cleanest” produce in terms of pesticide residue.  Apples continue to be the dirtiest and I strongly encourage you to only buy organic apples!  They may not look as pretty as the shiny and perfectly round conventional apples but don’t be fooled by the pretty face.

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Dirty Dozen

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Grapes
  4. Celery
  5. Peaches
  6. Spinach
  7. Sweet Bell Peppers
  8. Nectarines (imported)
  9. Cucumbers
  10. Cherry Tomatoes
  11. Snap Peas (imported)
  12. Potatoes

*Kale and Collards
* Hot Peppers

Clean Fifteen

  1. Asparagus
  2. Avocados
  3. Cabbage
  4. Cantaloupe
  5. Cauliflower
  6. Eggplant
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Kiwi
  9. Mangoes
  10. Onions
  11. Papayas
  12. Pineapples
  13. Sweet Corn
  14. Sweet Peas
  15. Sweet Potatoes

*Leafy greens and hot peppers didn’t meet the traditional criteria for the dirty dozen but they have a high risk for contamination.  AKA – buy organic!

For the complete list and more information on pesticides in produce, visit EWG.org.


Do you wish someone would take the mystery out of weight loss for you?  You’re in total luck!  Robyn Youkilis is offering her most popular teleclass on this topic for FREE tomorrow, Saturday, May 17th at 1pm EST. In this awesome workshop you’ll learn:

  • What foods to focus on and how to upgrade your favorites
  • How you can plan ahead so it isn’t so damn hard to lose weight
  • Robyn’s secret tool for finding Food Freedom (it’s simple and exactly what you need!)
  • Why you should ignore the sea of diet books and confusing nutrition information…and what you should do instead
  • How to get off the emotional eating roller coaster

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