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Wanna be happy? Here’s how

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Our thoughts and perspectives shape us. The personal stories that we create about who we are and how we got here are what make us the people we are. Happiness is the same. It is not a result of circumstances but of a mindset, a piece of our identity that must be cultivated so that it lives within us, no matter what comes our way. Everyone is on a journey to happiness, but it’s time to realize that everything we need is within us. It’s not about looking for something but tapping into what already exists within us, and stripping away the things that hold us back from true happiness. Here are some ways to do that.

1. Train your brain

Our thoughts create grooves in our brains that become the building blocks for our habits and personalities. Every thought we have creates matter and over time the thoughts that we nurture become our identity. So, to change our outer circumstances we must first change our inner circumstances by cultivating healthy thoughts, even if we don’t believe them at first.

This means having healthy self talk, being positive, assuring, loving and kind in your head in every situation. First, you must become aware of your thought patterns, and then consciously make the effort to create different thoughts. Practicing gratitude is one of the best ways we can do this, as it makes us focus on the little things that matter, like a thank you note from your boss, instead of the things that don’t, like that idiot talking way too loud in the gym.

2. Know that getting what you want doesn’t always necessarily make things better

We all have goals. Get a promotion, save more money, take a trip, find a new lover, whatever. Goals are great because they give us a clear vision of what we want so that we can create a way to get there. It’s important to remember, however, that the achievement of our goals comes with issues of their own, and that they won’t ultimately change our level of happiness. This is because as humans we look to the next big thing as soon as we get what we want. Ie you get your promotion, which involves learning a new skill that you haven’t had to work on yet. Or, you meet someone amazing you have a real connection with, and then you start wondering when they’ll tell you they love you.

We are constantly evolving, changing, growing. The only way to ensure happiness is to commit to it now, and not look to the future for it. No matter what the circumstance, to resolve to be happy so that you know that when things change, for better or for worse, you’ll still be happy.

3. Do things that are good for yourself

Call an old friend, join a sports team, ride a rollercoaster. We have these rigid ideals of what constitutes being a good human, and they usually involve lots of stress and very little self-nurturing. Being gentle on ourselves and doing something every day that makes us feel whole and happy is the best thing we can do for ourselves. It makes us more sincere human beings capable of focusing on the needs of others because we first value the needs of ourselves. Have fun, be lighthearted, and do what makes you feel good, because that’s the only way to be happy all the time.

 

 


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The Importance of Having an Alkaline System and Three Ways to Improve Your Own

— Olivia Janisch

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You may have heard the words ‘alkaline’ and ‘acidic’ used together lately and wondered what on Earth it’s got to do with you, and why these are the new buzz words in nutrition. I’d like to briefly explain what they mean and why a proper understanding of these terms is vital to your overall health, energy levels and quality of life.

Just as we have a normal temperature of 98.6 degrees F, there are other measures of homeostasis within our systems. One of the biggest measures is that of our pH level, which is the balance between alkaline and acid. Ideally, we want our pH of all bodily fluids to be 7.4, which is slightly alkaline.

By having this slightly alkaline balance within our bodies we’re able to fight off illnesses more efficiently, have higher energy levels, reduce inflammation that leads to ailments from headaches to heart disease, and create an internal environment that is easy to maintain and supports our everyday lives in a healthy and non-intrusive way.

Unfortunately, the typical American diet is extremely high in acid forming foods that cause our bodies to use excessive energy desperately trying to return to an alkaline state, and to call on stored reserves of alkaline minerals.

Not all acid forming foods are unhealthy (ie organic meat and eggs, organic unrefined oils), and you want to have a balance of 20% healthy acid forming foods and 80% alkaline forming foods for every meal. The problems arise when there is a stark imbalance in one’s diet. This imbalance occurs with over-consumption of processed foods like sugar, artificial sweeteners, processed and antibiotic-laden meats, soft drinks, dairy, tofu, refined grains and alcohol.

Common discomforts like fatigue, headaches, bloating, and poor sleep- things many people deem to be a normal part of life- can be resolved by eating more alkaline forming foods and reducing acid forming foods. While cutting out processed and excessively acidic foods is the best thing you can do, here are three small steps that will make a noticeable difference.

1. Drink hot water with organic lemon in the mornings on an empty stomach

I know what you’re thinking: aren’t lemons acidic? Lemons on their own are acidic, however in our systems they are very alkaline. After a long night’s sleep it’s important to first hydrate in the mornings. Hydrating this way cleanses your body from the day before – hot water and lemon help to detoxify your system – and activates your metabolism. It also boosts your immune system and helps with weight loss (If you’d like more info, check out this article http://ow.ly/ccyea). There’s literally no reason not to start your day off like this.

2. Eat celery before, during, and/or after meals

Celery is extremely alkaline and contains a balanced content of minerals, vitamins, and other nutrients. It helps to neutralize acid that is created by things like meat, breads and sugars, and has high water content good for hydration. You can add it to salads, soups, or sandwiches, or eat it on it’s own with almond butter or hummus. It aids in digestion and is a great source of vitamin C, reducing inflammation and discomfort after a meal.

3. Pair your foods properly

This one is probably the hardest as many common recipes combine foods that actually require different enzymes to be digested properly. When food isn’t digested properly it gets stuck in the digestive tract and putrefies, causing a toxic and acidic environment. Here is a basic breakdown of what foods do and don’t go together:

Proteins + Starches = do not mix

Proteins + vegetables = mix

Starches + vegetables = mix

Different starches = mix

Different proteins = do not mix

Fats + protein = do not mix well, pair moderately

Fats + starches = do mix

Fruits = ALWAYS eaten on an empty stomach

Fruit + raw greens = mix

For a more in depth explanation on food pairing, here is a great article: http://ow.ly/cb6B6

Combining your food the right way will reduce bloating and gas after meals, help control or more likely reduce your weight, and will increase your energy levels.

To give you an idea of a balanced day, here is a little menu.

Breakfast:

Hot water with lemon (on empty stomach)

(20%) Scrambled organic eggs (1-2)

(80%) Sautéed onions and greens, sliced avocado

Lunch

(20%) Quinoa (1/4 cup)

(80%) Sautéed carrots, peas, asparagus

Lentil soup

Dinner

(20%) Grilled salmon

(80%) Green beans with garlic

Leaks and yellow squash sautéed with oregano

When making diet changes, always remember to be gentle on yourself. If you try and change every meal or several habits at once, chances are you’ll get burned out and frustrated. Small steps are easy to incorporate into your daily routine and don’t take a toll on your lifestyle so that your good intentions are able to have long-lasting, sustainable effects. Good luck and let us know what works for you!