It’s time to eat for pleasure

dinedwell

{Image Credit: Thyme is Honey}

Picture this: you are all alone and surrounded by your favorite foods.  Piles and piles of the foods you love the most.  The foods that call your name.  The foods that you dream about.

Do you feel calm or are you breaking out into a cold sweat?

Cold sweat?  Yeah, I thought so.  (And I’m right there with you.)

That’s because we are eating with guilt instead of eating for pleasure.  And I am OVER IT.

Eating with guilt is standing in your pantry and shoving the last piece of chocolate in your mouth, barely chewing, and swallowing as quickly as you can so you can hide the evidence…from yourself.  Eating with guilt is ending a meal by saying “I shouldn’t have eaten that.”  Eating with guilt is passing on dinner out with your friends because you won’t be able to resist the bucket of fries.

Eating with guilt is when you feel like food is running your life.  Because it is.  You obsess over the ingredients in everything you eat.  You fear eating at someone else’s house.  You feel sick after most meals.  You frequently overeat.  Or undereat.  You “save up” your calories because you know you’re going to have a big dinner.  You celebrate being “good” and beat yourself up when you’ve been “bad”.  You search for “guilt-free” recipes.  You have one or more low-fat or fat-free item in your kitchen.

Eating with guilty is nothing to feel guilty about.  Most of us do it.  In a calorie-obsessed thinner is better world it is really hard to banish the guilt.  Hard but not impossible.  Hard but critical.

Eating with pleasure isn’t about the sugar high you get from a piece of chocolate cake.  Eating for pleasure is when you use high vibe ingredients and looking at your plate just makes you smile.  It looks like this:

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Pleasurable eating is slow, deliberate, and calm.  You savor the bites and thoroughly chew your food.  You actually taste your food.  You breathe.  And look up from your plate to engage in conversation.  Eating for pleasure is loving your food so that it can love you back.  You eat until you are satisfied and then you stop.  You digest well.  You feel energized and strong after meals.  Food is awesome and you love it but it doesn’t rule your life.  Or scare you.  You can be surrounded by all of your favorite foods and not hyperventilate.  When you infuse pleasure into your eating habits you let go of calories and don’t fear fat.

It’s time to dial up the pleasure and dial down the guilt! {Tweet me!}

While I’m still a newbie at eating for pleasure I do know that it is about two things: surrender and self-love.  Eating for pleasure isn’t about the taste of your food (although it should taste delicious!) but about how you FEEL before, during, and after the food.

Know thyself

When we think food about as pleasure our minds can quickly go to the ooey, gooey, indulgences like macaroni and cheese and red velvet cake.  It’s critical that you know your body and your digestive system.  I might feel great while eating the cheesiest mac and cheese (because it tastes amazing) I know that 5 minutes after the meal I will be doubled over in pain because I can’t digest the mac or the cheese.  Does that sound pleasurable to you?  Eating for pleasure is about eating the foods that make you feel vibrant and happy.  It’s important that you honor your body and eat the things that it loves and stay away from the things that it can’t handle.

Bless your food

Woo-woo alert.  I want you to BLESS YOUR FOOD.  Taking a few seconds to silently bless your food automatically grounds you.  You feel calmer and more connected with you food.  My go-to blessing is “I love my food; my food loves me.”

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Prepare your own food

View preparing your food as a meditative experience.  Listen to music or talk with your partner and take the time to prepare delicious meals.  You’ll feel better about what you’re eating and be more invested in the meal.  You’ll also have control over what you are and are not eating.  In order to eat for pleasure you need to remove guilt and worry.  As a beginner, it’s so much easier to do that in the comfort of your own kitchen.

Don’t be afraid of food

Fear is the opposite of pleasure.  And fear has no place on your plate.  My coach once told me that if the choice was between stressing out over kale and chia or eating the junk without worry she rather I eat the junk.  Aside from food allergies or sensitivities, stress makes you sick.  If, while eating cookies, you are telling yourself that you shouldn’t be, that the cookies are going to make you sick or worse yet – fat – you are bound to feel both sick and bloated before you finish the final cookie.  Our thoughts create our reality.  If you fear food it will take you down.  So, if you are afraid of something, don’t eat it.  Seriously.  Don’t eat it until you’re no longer afraid of it because if you do the cycle of fear just gets stronger.

Redefine treat

View all of your meals and snacks as treats.  You are treating your body to a healthy and delicious meal.  Be sure to include your favorite flavors in your diet every single day.  If you simply love chocolate, don’t let that chocolate bar that you picked up last week hang out alone in the back of the pantry.  Make a point to enjoy a few squares each day and really savor the experience.  Eating for pleasure isn’t about saving the special items for the right time because it is always the right time!  I love coconut and cinnamon – they make me feel great, taste amazing, and are comforting to me.  So I make a point to add one or both to everything that I eat and the food then becomes special.

Eat mindfully

Pleasure isn’t found in scarfing down a huge plate of food, barely chewing, overeating, and still feeling unsatisfied because you didn’t taste or acknowledge your food.  Pleasure is found in the ritual.  In sitting down and looking at your food.  Taking small bites and really chewing your food.  Tasting each bite.  Coming up for air and breathing in between bites.  Enjoying a conversation over the meal.  Allowing yourself the time to slow down.

Let go of your guilt and let’s support each other in eating for pleasure.  Share your experiences in the comments below!


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It’s never about what it’s about

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{Pinterest}

Today is my 33rd birthday and it feels quite magical.  Last year I shared 32 things that I knew to be true on my birthday and this year I learned a great lesson.

33. It’s never about what it’s about.  It’s always about you. {Tweet me!}

That’s a big one so I’ll repeat it: It’s never about what it’s about.  It’s always about you.  The thing that keeps us stuck is the obsessive focus on “it” – whatever “it” is for you in the moment.  It’s our nature to place the blame outward.  It’s the cookies fault (I’m mean, they’re just too good to stop).  It’s the driver that just cut you off.  It’s your boss that is so unreasonable.  It’s your bank account because it just won’t grow.  It’s your partner’s fault for pushing your buttons.  It’s mother nature’s fault for not paying attention to that fact that you left your umbrella at home.

So, what do I mean when I say that it’s never about what it’s about?  Let’s start with what I don’t mean.  I don’t mean that you are to blame for all of your troubles and that you should turn your frustration inward.  Our ego is really good at its job – keeping us stuck and fearful.  And one of its greatest defenses is confusing us.  Making us think that we know what’s going on and keeping us in the dark in our own lives.  It’s really easy to think that your troubles have nothing to do with you and are totally out of your control.  It’s not about you so you can’t be held accountable for making it better.

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{Kris Carr on Pinterest}

Most of my life has been spent obsessing about “it” while feeling utterly victimized by it.  I surrendered control by looking outside of myself for the problem or the solution and couldn’t move forward as a result.  I wasn’t happy or healthy but that had nothing to do with me.  It was my genetics, my job, my bank account, my surroundings.  It was everything else but me.  Give me a magical health pill, lots of money, my dream job, and the ideal setting and I will rock this life.  I’ll be the happiest girl in the world.  Until I’m alone with my own body and my own mind and realize that, even though everything has changed, nothing has changed.  I’m still exactly the same Stephanie as before.

It’s about me.  My life is about me.  My place in this world is about me.  My struggles and triumphs are about me.  It’s not about “it” at all.  “It” is just a distraction.

Your purpose is about discovering and nurturing who you truly are, to know and love yourself at the deepest level and to guide yourself back home when you lose your way. -Kris Carr

This year has been all about learning this lesson over and over again.  It’s been about going deep – shining light into all of the dark corners of my life – and healing.  It’s been about taking responsibility for my own life.  And owning my voice and my light.  This year I finally got it.  The key to health and happiness is inside of me.  It’s not about the things outside of me.  The things outside of me are my lessons and opportunities for growth.  Now, in the midst of a stressful day or irrational freakout, when my instincts are to place blame I instead ask myself what I can learn from this person, this experience, this moment.  I can’t control the world around me but I can control how I react to it, approach it, and contribute to making it a brighter place.

33

{Doreen Virtue Angel Numbers 101 App}

This past year has been a pivotal year.  I’ve clarified my dreams and cultivated my confidence.  What I know to be true on my 33rd birthday is that “it” is really about me.  My opportunity to grow and learn and show up bigger and brighter in the world.  The more I live my purpose the more I will light up the world through inspiration and service.  This next year is going to be a year of action.  I feel it in my bones that things are about to change.  I’m excited to see where life takes me and what lessons I learn this year.


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A simple morning and evening routine

morning

Our routines are powerful and they can either help move us forward or stop us in our tracks.  The morning and evening are the bookends of our days.  Are you supporting your goals or working against yourself?  With our insanely long to-do lists, we typically overlook the importance of how we begin and end the day.  Feeling rushed first thing in the morning and stressed as we close our eyes bleeds into the rest of our lives.

There are amazing resources out there about creating ideal morning and evening routines.  I have very limited time, though, and as much as I would love a slow and full routine I just don’t have the spare minutes in my day.  In the past I’ve crafted elaborate and beautiful morning and evening rituals but they weren’t realistic.  I’d get amped up, follow them for a few days, and then burn out.  Instead of setting myself up to fail, I’ve reigned it in and determined my top two.  Just two simple things to do in the morning and two more at night.  I can handle two.  You can handle two.

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Start your day with:

Meditation

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again): meditation is a must do.  Starting your day with meditation is like taking a mental shower.  It washes off the dramas and to-do lists.  Morning meditation is magical.  It allows you to begin your day with peace.  It provides you with an opportunity to be alone with yourself before the hustle and bustle of your day.  Meditation infuses your life with ease.  You can design a morning meditation that works for you.  If you’re short on time set your alarm for five minutes earlier than usual.  (It’s just five little minutes.)  You can simply sit up as soon as the alarm goes off, close your eyes, and breathe deeply for a few minutes.  I love silently reciting affirmations during my morning meditation.  I have everything that I need.  I am strong.  I am radiant.  I am peace.  Choose an affirmation that you respond to and repeat it in your mind.  You’ll be surprised how often your mantra will replay in your mind throughout the day.

Warm water with lemon (or lime)

The days when I feel my best always start with warm water and lemon or lime.  Lemons and limes are alkalizing and balance your body’s pH.  They wake up your digestion, preparing your body for breakfast.  They aid in cleaning out the “junk” that has accumulated overnight and get things moving in the morning.  They work to clear your skin and brighten your complexion.  You can even put the kettle on, go meditate, and use the whistle of the kettle as the end of your meditation.  (How’s that for morning multitasking!)

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End your day with:

Gratitude list

I am committed to being grateful every single day.  I hold myself accountable by writing down 3-5 things that I am grateful for each day.  Some days the gratitude flows freely and other days it is a real struggle to get to 3.  But I always do it and I always get to at least 3 things.  Big things, small things.  Deep things, trivial things.  It doesn’t matter.  Just write down 3-5 things from that day that you are grateful for.  There is power in writing them down so I encourage you to keep a gratitude journal.  There are some great {free} apps that you can get to track your gratitude.  I love going back and reading through previous lists.  Ending your day with gratitude instead of dread for the next day or regrets from the day ending will reframe how you perceive your life.  Like attracts like and by focusing on what you are grateful for you will energetically attract more of it.

 A night-cap

I love a soothing night-cap (herbal tea) to end the day.  There is something about a hot mug of tea in your pajamas that just screams relaxation.  It officially turns off the day and signals that it’s okay to slow down and be still.  Ease into a restful state by getting comfy, turning off the phone and tv and curling up with your journal or a great book and a warm cup of herbal tea.  A great alternative to tea is warm water, Natural Calm, and a splash of pure cherry juice.  Natural Calm is a magnesium supplement that relaxes you and cherries naturally increase your melatonin.

We have the amazing chance to start fresh each morning.  It’s never too late to design a morning and evening routine that is manageable, relaxing, and supports your overall health and happiness.  Share your morning or evening routines in the comments below!

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Image credits: Image one was found on Pinterest.  Image two and three were found on Oprah.com.

I wasn’t sure if I should share this

“I don’t think you want to be on the Whole30 right now.”
“You know what?  You’re right.”

And that’s how it happened.  My food mindset shifted in an instant.  I was sitting across the table from Katie of The Wellness Wonderland having just met her in person for the first time 15 minutes prior and she got me so deeply and wasn’t shy about sharing her observation.  (Thank you, Katie!)

I had decided to complete another Whole30 because I was on the express train to Oatsville for weeks and wanted off.  But did I really want off?  I love oatmeal – like really love it.  Some people reach for macaroni and cheese or mashed potatoes when they want a comforting meal.  Me – I turn to a warm bowl of oatmeal.  Is that a crime?!

In my head it was a serious offense.  I’m paleo, after all.  And good paleo girls don’t find comfort in oats (even if they are gluten-free).  So I started my third Whole30 (which I’m supposed to be ending today).  And reflecting on it now this Whole30 was all about restriction for me.  Not establishing healthier habits or feeling my best.  It was a punishment for one too many bowls of oatmeal.  Doing the Whole30 – or anything for that matter – as a way to punish yourself is total nonsense and not how I want to live my life.

When Katie looked me in the eyes and asked me why I wanted to do the Whole30 I had nothing.  I was sitting at a fabulous macrobiotic restaurant in NYC stressing over whether or not to get brown rice and I couldn’t find the words to answer the question.  Because deep down I knew that I didn’t want it.  But I had enthusiastically agreed.  I even recruited one of my close friends and we spent days texting each other tips, tricks, and compliant recipes.  I couldn’t quit.  What would that say about me?  Wouldn’t my friend be upset with me?

So I did what any self-respecting adult would do: I let go of the Whole30 and didn’t tell anyone but Katie and Andrew.  I hid.  How ridiculous is that?!  I felt embarrassed and like an epic quitter.  That is, until I spent some time talking and thinking it through.

You see, this has absolutely nothing to do with the Whole30 (my previous Whole30s have rocked my world and left me feeling beyond fantastic) and everything to do with my lifelong need to stick a label on myself – especially where food is concerned.  It started when I was a teenager.  One night at the dinner table I pushed away my meatloaf and declared that I was a vegetarian – effective immediately.  I hid the real reason – that reason being that one of my mom’s coworkers was a vegetarian and I wanted to be just like her.  All of a sudden I felt like I belonged.  And I didn’t want to let go of that feeling.

Over the years I’ve worn all of the food labels but not a single one fit me properly.  They have all left me feeling like an outsider, a failure, and not good enough even when I’m following the rules precisely.  I’m paleo but not paleo enough.  What the hell does “paleo enough” even mean?

In the past week the universe has shown up in a massive and incredibly loud way (as it usually has to for me to get the memo).  WWRadio (my fave podcast) returned with two incredible conversations with Isabel Foxen Duke along with the launch of Isabel‘s free video series, Stop Fighting Food.  Heather Waxman’s weekly vlog was about releasing food guilt.  I randomly listened to Robyn Youkilis on WWRadio discussing how the stress and guilt around what you are or aren’t eating is so much worse than actually eating the thing that you’re not supposed to eat.  Okay, okay.  I get it.  Message received.

This experience was a call to action.  A call to turn down my food drama and turn up the pleasure and fun.   I’ve been trying so long and so hard to find myself in a label.  Instead I need to find myself within myself.  My body is super smart and knows what it needs.  And you know what, I’m also super smart and know how to be healthy.  And my version of healthy doesn’t match your version and shouldn’t.  The only label I need is Stephanie.  I have the awesome opportunity to design my own way of eating.  I don’t need a rule book or a fancy label.  I can eat to feel my best both physically and emotionally.  I can keep all of the best parts of the eating styles I’ve tried and toss the rest.  It’s liberating and scaring as hell.  If I’m just eating as and for Stephanie, where are my people?

You – you are my people and I hope you’ll pick up the same call to action that I did.  DROP. THE. LABELS.  Right now.  Let’s commit to listening to our own voices and allowing food to be both pleasurable and healthy at the same time.  Maybe in the process you’ll find a label that fits you like a glove and maybe you won’t.  But you will find your own way and your body will thank you for it.

Here’s the part of the blog where I’d love to share my 5 no-fail techniques for letting go of the labels but…

The truth is I’m just getting started.

I haven’t figured it all out yet.  All I have to offer you is my own experience as imperfectly perfect as it is and will continue to be.  Here’s what I do know so far: it’s never about what it’s about.  (It’s NEVER about the food.)  It’s always about you.  So take some time to explore you and don’t be afraid to expose those not so perfect parts because that’s where the magic lives.

Share your experience in the comments below and I’ll continue to share my journey with you here and over on Instagram.

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No Envy No Fear

This time next week I will be in NYC surrounded by 250 of my closest Spirit Junkie soul siblings while my beautiful teacher Gabby Bernstein shares with us the ins and outs of running a spiritual business.

I am beyond excited for Spirit Junkie Masterclass and have been looking forward to it since the very first time Gabby mentioned it.  In fact, I manifested my place in the class.  I was totally suffering from FOMO when I first learned about the amazing weekend training opportunity and knew that I was trying to control the situation with every fiber of my being.  If I continued with that strategy I would never get myself to NYC.  Instead, I placed one of the postcards about the class on my altar and surrendered my desire to be there.  I thanked the universe for all of the amazing opportunities I’ve had to learn from Gabby already through her books, video lectures, and amazing in-person events and acknowledged that if I was meant to be there, I would be.  I didn’t need to worry about it or try to make it happen.  And it happened.  On one of my craziest and most stressed days at work this spring I opened up my email and filled with pure joy when I saw an email confirming my spot in the masterclass.  (Thank you mom…and universe!)

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Now that the weekend is almost here I am filled with a mixture of total excitement and insane fear.

First the excitement – There is nothing like the feeling of being in a room with Gabby and filled with Spirit Junkies.  Nothing.  I light up and feel at home there.  This passage from Eat, Pray, Love beautifully describes what I experience:

Far from being freaked out by these regular-looking people singing to God, I instead felt my soul rise diaphanous in the wake of that chanting. I walked home that night feeling like the air could move through me, like I was clean linen fluttering on a clothes-line, like New York itself had become a city made of rice paper — and I was light enough to run across every rooftop. – Elizabeth Gilbert

I’m tingling with joy at the thought of connecting with so many loving people and to feel our energy vibrate and light up the world.  I can’t wait to be back in NYC, an energized city that has the amazing ability to quiet my mind and calm my soul.  I am thrilled to spend the weekend with my true soul sister, Katie Dalebout from The Wellness Wonderland.  I’m stoked to learn from Gabby in an entirely new way.  Her business is an inspiration to me everyday and I know that I am going to learn so much.  I have butterflies at the idea of starting my spiritual business.  I know that I will have the opportunity to attend the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and become a holistic health coach.  I just know it.  I don’t know how or when but I am certain that it will happen.

And here comes the fear – Every excitement is matched with a competing fear-based thought.  Am I really cut out to run my own spiritual business?  What if I never get to go to IIN?  Will people think that I’ve gone off the woo-woo deep end?  Aren’t there already so many amazing coaches out there?  Will I be out of my league in that room of powerful spiritual leaders?  I’ve only been on this path for a short time so how could I possibly inspire others?

The me two-years ago would have believed these fearful thoughts as the truth.  She would have shriveled up and just accepted that she was small and would always be small.  She would have accepted a general state of apathy and melancholy as just the way it’s going to be.  She would have been green with envy witnessing others living their passion so courageously while she was too afraid to even ask herself what she was passionate about.  My heart breaks for her but at the same time I know that she never truly existed at all.  She was just my ego keeping me – the true, loving, shiny me – on an endless tour around crazytown.

The ego has one job – to survive.  And the only way for it to survive is to keep you in darkness.  To keep you afraid, small, worried, anxious, stressed, and believing that is the only way.  My ego had me in a headlock for a solid 31 years and you can imagine that 31 years of thoughts are quite challenging to erase.  The greatest gift of my spiritual and wellness journey has been relearning that love is all there is and how to witness my fear thoughts for what they are: False Evidence Appearing Real.  But it’s times like this – when I am on the way to something amazing – that my ego tries is damnedest to get back into the driver’s seat.

I’ve been battling my ego like a full-time job since getting that amazing email confirmation for the masterclass.  Most of the time I’m able to silence it and dwell in the presence of my power.  Most of the time.  But now that I am a few short days away, my fear voice is screaming and trying to drown out the part of me that is shrieking with joy and jumping up and down in excitement.  I’m so grateful that I’m the me of today and not two years ago because I’m able to witness this showdown between love and fear and have a toolbox ready for me pull from to give love the edge.  I’ve been surrendering my fears and asking for my heart to expand and love to pour through me.  I’ve been reading my favorite Marianne Williamson passage daily as my personal battle cry.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others. – Marianne Williamson,  A Return to Love

Fear will take you down, if you let it.  The trick is to be able to see it happening and squash it by choosing loving thoughts instead.  A great tool to practice daily is to write down your fears and then flip them into love-filled declarations.

Fear: There are already so many great coaches out there – I’ll just be a tiny fish in a vast ocean.  What can I contribute?

Love: There is room for us all.  Each person brings their unique story and approach and that means that there is a coach for everyone.  And we can all support and learn from each other.

Okay, now you try.  (Don’t worry – I’ll wait.)

How much better do you feel now?  I challenge you to become the nonjudgemental witness of your fears.  Stop them in their tracks by turning fears into loving statements.  Even if you do this once a day I promise that your perspective will change!  It’s this practice that is allowing me to wash away my fears and go into next weekend feeling inspired, excited, and ready to rise up and assume my role as a leader and teacher.

I can’t wait to share what I know is going to be a life changing experience with you!


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The title of this post is my favorite Joshua Radin song, No Envy No Fear.

“Every day we try to find
Search our hearts and our minds
The place we used to call our home
Can’t be found when we’re alone

So have no envy and no fear
Have no envy and no fear”

Dinner in five

You know those nights when you’re about to order takeout (again) or have some coconut ice cream and call it dinner?  I see you shaking your head over there!  I have the perfect five-minute meal that you will love – stuffed avocado.  You can use whatever you have – leftover protein, egg, quinoa, veggies and be sitting down for a healthy and filling meal in minutes.

Stuffed Avocado

  • Avocado
  • Wild-caught tuna (use whatever you have on hand in the pantry or fridge)
  • 1/2 red pepper, chopped
  • 1 tbsp. Tessemae’s Zesty Ranch
  • Mash together the tuna, red pepper, and ranch and spoon into the avocado.
  • Serve with your choice of sides.  Tonight I had steamed rainbow chard, baby heirloom tomatoes, and dill carrots.

What are your favorite quick and healthy meals?

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4 tips to help you sleep better tonight

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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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