Is it a good or a bad sign that these carrot quinoa muffins were the highlight of our weekend trip to New York City? I’m going to say a very good sign. We had an amazing weekend visiting friends, attending an awesome, dance-filled wedding, walking all over lower Manhattan, eating great food, and drinking delicious coffee. Quite a lot to fit in to 72 hours. Luckily, on our first morning in town, we were able to take a relaxing morning with my friend Jess to make breakfast together.
I mentioned in last week’s newsletter that I had an interesting conversation with friends where we realized that half of us really enjoy cooking – we find it to be a meditative, relaxing process – while the other half feel that cooking is tiring, difficult, and simply not worth the time. What I realized after that conversation, though, was that I haven’t always loved cooking like I do now. Long ago, I was a slow, inefficient cook that was cooking out of need, rather than pleasure.
But as with any new skill, learning to enjoy cooking takes time. It takes a little more brain space until your muscle memory can kick in and you can relax into a flow as a you cook. Similar again to any other skill you’re learning, the important thing is to not give up before you reach the other side. Because once you do, cooking can be a refuge and a way to relax. In my opinion, cooking (and enjoying cooking) is one of the best skills to have because Americans who cook spend almost 60 minutes per day preparing food! Imagine how great it would be if you LOVED those 60 minutes instead of dreading them – it would be an extra hour of your day that is full of happiness, an extra 7 hours per week, and 364 hours per year. In a day and age where every second counts….that’s a lot of time spent doing something you enjoy.
Do you often find yourself staring at a product display, trying to find the healthy choice among 10 or 20 foods that seem exactly the same? It can be tough to figure out which product best aligns with your needs and health routine, especially since every product proudly displays why they are the best choice.
When you find yourself faced with too many product choices, but no leads on which one best aligns with your healthy habits and goals, here are some quick and easy ways to choose a healthier snack.
Welcome to Fall! I love the fact that the air in North Carolina has turned crisp and cool, and we’re no longer living in 100% humidity. But that influx of wind also signifies the return of Vata season, which is typified by dryness, fast movement, and lightness. A major change from the heavy and hot summer air.
Last week, I found myself struggling yet again to answer a seemingly simple question: should I eat dinner at home or a restaurant? Maybe it’s because we’re faced with this decision every single day that it can be so difficult to answer. Obviously, some days are easier than others, if I’m meeting people out for dinner, or I’ve been planning a meal to cook at home…simple answer, right? but it’s the in-between days, the nights after work when there are some groceries in the fridge, but not necessarily ones that lend themselves obviously to a dish, or if I do want to cut down on costs and up the healthfulness of my meals, that the decision process becomes more complex. Unfortunately, when faced with that list of factors, it is easiest to say – “I’ll just go out!” Because at least by eating out I would be cutting out the physical labor of making a meal.
Last week, I spent a few hours working at my local grocery co-op in the middle of the day. During that time, I had a range of people occupying the seats next to me. Now, I wasn’t trying to listen in on everyone’s conversations, but it became apparent very quickly that there was a theme to many of the discussions: just about everyone was focusing on work, and just about everyone was had a pretty negative story to tell.
Isn’t it funny that even though all humans have 99.99% of the same DNA, we have such different preferences, routines, and needs? Perhaps you love a relaxing, grounding yoga practice, while your friend prefers to run ultra marathons…or you can’t stand the summer, while your sister revels in the heat. Despite our similarities, everyone feels best with a different set of routines and habits.
How do you tell if a certain food or lifestyle habit is working for you? I am a scientist by training, so I love to run little experiments with myself when I’m thinking about switching up my diet or physical activity routines. I’ve previously talked about changing a lifestyle habit when I cut out my afternoon cup of coffee a few months ago, but I recently had an “a-ha” moment when I recently started to dig deeper into my relationship with peanut butter …hopefully from this you can glean insight into how to run these little experiments with yourself and what to do with the results!
Steps for test driving a new lifestyle habit:
Isn’t it true that the message you need is the one your receive?
The themes of presence and focus have been weaving their way into my daily interactions with family and friends, in my yoga and meditation practices, and in my work. After a few weeks of this…I realized that the world is trying to tell me something.
When I sat down and reflected on the lack of focus or presence, I realized that there are not large structural issues – I am truly grateful for everything I have in it. I love my relationships, my work, my yoga practice, cooking, biking….I am so glad that I am able to share my love of health and wellness with others, and that I have such a beautiful home life.
But I realized that though I am grateful for my life on a macro level, I don’t often meet each moment with gratitude.
I have not given the every day aspects of my life the care and attention they deserve. When I saw the following quote by Omar Khayyám, an Iranian mathematician and poet, I realized it was time to make another iPhone wallpaper to remind myself to focus and love the present moment. The full quote is:
Drink wine. This is life eternal.
This is all that youth will give you.
It is the season for wine, roses and drunken friends.
Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.
In particular for me, “this moment is your life” is the reminder that my life is happening right now. Even in the mundane of typing, washing dishes, or commuting to work. At the moment I am doing these tasks…that is my life. The present moment is what is real, and I can and should treat the present with greater care.
If you could use a little reminder to respect and love the present moment as it is, please download this picture and follow the directions below! It has been a beautiful reminder for me to live each moment as I want to live my life. Enjoy!
To get the iPhone wallpaper:
Simply download this picture and save the image to the camera roll on your phone. Then, open your camera roll, select the photo and choose “set as wallpaper”. Note that you’ll need to resize the photo (zoom all the way out) to make it display correctly.
I am loving this makeover for my lock screen and homescreen, and I hope you like it too!
What does “this moment is your life” mean to you? Please share below!