Knowledge is Power

Hi Friends,

This February I began my grad school research sequence that will ultimately end in my thesis.  After much debate my group decided on the topic of optimism, self compassion and healing intention as a tool for personal transformation and healing.  It is a big topic but I am ready to dive into the information.  We are at the beginning stages of writing our literature review with the existing research on the matter.

Between my thesis and Integrative Nutrition classes, I am up to elbows in interesting, empowering reading.  I find myself getting really excited by notion of loving yourself enough to take really, really good care of yourself.  I know how challenging this can be, especially as a busy woman constantly receiving messages by mainstream society that do not support this. 

The more I surround myself with people and information that support this way of being, the easier it becomes to put it into play.  Each Friday I would like to share an organization or piece of writing supporting self care, compassion and wellness for women.  Nothing can beat actual experience in putting these practices into play, but knowledge (and link love!) is power!

The 100 Women Project is the first such group I would like to share with you!  This project was started by a mother and daughter team of Integrative Nutrition graduates.  They work with women to give them the tools to access their own health and happiness.  The hope that the women they work with will take what they learn and share it with their friends and family creating a ripple effect.  How great and empowering is that?!?!  By working on your own health you can positive effect the lives of those that you love. 

You can also find The 100 Women Project on Facebook.  They are hoping to have someone in each state participate in their work.  It is like have a little female health and happiness seed planted in each state :)  Once they reach this goal, they will be hosting a little spa giveaway.

(Fyi: I received no incentive from The 100 Women Project to write this post.  I just think they are that cool!)  

I hope this makes sense.  Sometimes I get so excited by all this awesome health empowerment that I don’t properly articulate myself.  What do you think?  Can we “heal” ourselves with positive intentions and self compassion?  Does taking care of yourself influence the health of those around you?

Happy Friday,

Kate

Checking in

Hi Friends,

Just wanted to let you know I am still alive!  The end of the week got super busy.  By yesterday afternoon I had little desire to do more than nap and catch up the episodes of Glee and Top Chef that I missed during the week. 

Neither Art of I felt like cooking so on a tip from Emily we order gluten free pizza from my all time favorite, local pizza place, Pizza Luce.  I just realized that throughout my entire seven years in the Minneapolis/St Paul area, I have never lived more than a mile from a Pizza Luce.  Thanks Emily!  

I am trying to gear myself for eight hours of a research seminar for school today.  So far I have been unsuccessful.  Nothing like school ALL DAY to kill the weekend party spirit ;)

Take care,

Kate

Gratitude Quickie

Hi Friends,

Today I am thankful for —

- Running outside!!!!!  and not wiping out!  I went at 8am and there were still a few slick spots on the sidewalks.

- Temps above 32 degrees.  Even if they do cause apartment flooding :(

- Having a job in which you get to take home yummy slices of dark chocolate pie for free.

- Neighbors.  During my run I saw three different people I recognized from the store or neighborhood.  I stopped at chatted with two.  How often does that happen is a city?  I loved it.

- My hot pink highlighter.  It makes reading my homework fun :)

What are you thankful for today?

I may cut down the frequency of my blogging a bit.  This semester is a busy one and requiring me to manage my time very closely.  I plan on blogging only when I have something that I really want to share with you.  Just an FYI.

Ok, onto lunch and more homework reading.

Kate

Goal vs Intentions

Hi Friends,

I am taking a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class for my masters program.  It has been interesting so far and has me meditating 6 days a week for 30 to 45 min each time.  I’ve always wanted to meditate but just never have so be required to is kind of nice :)  My brain still wanders during these meditations and more often than not, I fall asleep.  But I still like the practice of getting up early and starting my day in a quiet place.  I am curious to see if or how my meditation practice changes throughout the semester. 

Our professor share something with us in class that I found kind of interesting.  We were talking about intentionality and a classmate asked about the difference between intentions and goals. 

Goals are seen as plans for the future and the corse of action that you will take to get there.  Change is essential to fulfilling goals and there is a measurable success of failure. 

Intentions are also plans for the future but rather than requiring an action plan, they require a shift in your state of mind or values.  You align your outer actions with your inner values.  As life shifts and changes, you can change your values continue to meet your intentions.  

Kind of nice, huh?  Neither are right or wrong, just different ways of approaching things.  Which do you prefer?  I am starting to really value intentions over goals.  I like how they are more fluid and focus more on your inner self. 

As not to bore you with more hippie jabber, I give you some food pics.

My mom’s friend found this tea while on vacation.  I am not usually one for black tea but this stuff is quite good.  It has a nice minty, chocolatey, slightly spicy flavor to it.  Check out the cute little lips and mini chocolate chips!

My latest favorite morning oatmeal combination!  In the mix: 1/2 cup gluten free oats, 1 1/4 cup water, 1/2 a banana, pinch of salt, coconut extract, and 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries.  Topped with So Delicious Coconut Milk Yogurt and unsweetened coconut.  I just might turn into a coconut before the winter is over :)

Have a good day friends!

Kate

Positivity

Hi Friends,

In both my Integrative Nutrition class and my masters program the field of Positive Psychology has come up with in the last week.  I pay attention when the same topic is brought up in different arenas.  I take it as some greater power trying to get my attention.   My two bit summary in the field is that rather than focusing on tearing down the negative aspects of a person or situation, you seek to find and build the positive components.  Positive Psychologists have named six virtues and 24 traits that help people and communities thrive and do their best.  Check out these pages if you want more information about Positive Psychology.

Positive psychology states that it is possible to train yourself to think  more positively and as a result you will be a happier person.  Your thoughts shape how you experience the world.  By crowding negative thoughts with positive ones, you build the strengths and virtues that will allow you to better thrive in your daily life.

It has always been hard for me to stay positive in stressful situations but I am slowly starting to get better with practice.  Positive Psychology recommend doing an exercise called 3 Blessings.  At the end of each day you write down three good things that happened to you and why they did in an attempt to train your brain to start seeing the positive experiences.  I try to mentally note one thing that I am thankful for at the end of each day.  This helps me to recognize all the good stuff I have going on in my life. 

What do you think?  Does Positive Psychology have legs to stand on or is it more hippie jabber?  What are some methods you utilize to help you retain a positive outlook on life?

Later

Kate

Food Energetics

Hi Friends,

In my Integrative Nutrition studies, they have talked a lot about the energetics of food and how it affects you.  The theory goes that everything we consume has an energy associated with it.  This energy can be attributed to how it grows, how it has been raised, how it is cooked, the kind of environment it is cooked it and so on.  This energy is then passed on to you as eat and digest it.

A carrot, for example, is a sturdy vegetable that is rooted deeply in the earth.  Therefore it has a grounding, balancing affect on your body when you eat it.  Apples grow on trees close to the sunlight.  They take on the energy of the sun and when you eat them you feel light and energized.   Food cooked quickly in a busy restaurant kitchen has a more frantic energy.  Home cooked foods in have more clam, peaceful energy about them.  Make sense?

I thought a lot about this concept has I was cooking dinners this weekend.  What kind of energy was the food putting into my body?  And did I notice the effects?

Saturday evening I made a very yummy pork tenderloin stir fry with clementines and bok choy from a recipe I found on epicurious.com.  It was a flavorful, spicy dish that I cooked in my wok.  I loved how it tasted and could feel my body warming up from the spices.  I felt very sharp and witty on Saturday evening.  Perhaps this was due to the high heat that quickly cooked the meat and vegetables? 

On Sunday I started a vegetable curry recipe I found on myrecipes.com cooking in the crock pot before I left for work.  We enjoyed this dish too.  I didn’t notice it much of a change in myself after eating this meal.  I typically eat meals similar to this one.  My body could be well adjusted to the energy of beans and vegetables so I do not notice much of change within myself?

(Art wanted me to post a picture of the curry with mango chutney in the background.  He has his fingers crossed that the photo will be his ticket to receiving free mango chutney from the company :) )

What do you think about the energetics of food?  Do you notice different energies in your body based on what you have eaten?  I find this to be super interesting and would love to hear your observations

A photo of my haircut was requested.  It isn’t the greatest pic but I think it you can get the jist of the cut.  My directive to my stylist was “shorter with enough sass to get me through to spring.”  I am satisfied!

My classes (finally!) start this week.  It is going to a be busy semester but I am quite excite.  My brain is in need of exercise :)

Later,

Kate

Bio Individuality

Hi Friends,

My Integrative Nutrition class officially started yesterday!  I did not have to work so I went to a coffee shop and got cozy with my I-pod and laptop.  The first module was a basic introduction to the program and welcoming remarks from the founder of the school.

The biggest “ah ha!” moment I had came at the mention of bio individuality.  This concept is founded on the fact that we are all different and have different genetics, metabolisms, and anatomy.  Due these things, we are all meant to eat different diets based on what helps our specific body function at its peak.  What we eat to help us feel and function at our best will be different from the diet of our neighbor.

Isn’t that kind of an empowering thought?  I think I always knew this but hearing it said by someone regarded as an expert was pretty cool.  And I definitely believe this, especially after my experiences eating this weekend.  Maybe I just function better with a little less dairy, gluten and soy.  What are your thoughts on bio individuality?

With that I give you a recipe for breakfast quinoa.  I’ve seen others eating quinoa for breakfast but this was the first time I tried doing so.  Gotta love a gluten-free source of complete protein.  It doesn’t look so pretty but it tasted good.

I heated leftover cooked quinoa with unsweetened almond milk over medium heat.  I added cinnamon, ginger, chopped pear, and raisins.  When it was done cooking I stirred in ground flax and topped with a little scoop of almond butter.  This was a nice alternative to oats. 

Art made vegetarian chili for dinner last night with brown rice.  It was so good that I thought it deserved a pic :)

I leave you with the latest of weird search terms that lead someone to my blog: how to get love before breakfast.  Ew!  Who actually searches that?!?!

Later

Kate

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