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Bad Luck is a by-product of Bad Habits

Bad habits are hard to break and good habits are hard to form. At least this has been my experience…

Sometimes I get so busy and so overwhelmed I forget to do certain things that help get me set up for success in any given day.

My number one problem is starting out the day with a bad attitude, but if I do certain things when I wake up to set my attitude right for the day, my day goes so much better, even when things don’t go my way, or as planned.

*A great attitude becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.

Not sure where that quote came from but I read it daily as part of my morning routine to help set my mind right for the upcoming unknown.

Back when I was drinking heavily and hating everything and everyone around me, I had a lot of bad luck.

Because I didn’t write things down in my calendar, I would miss appointments for things that would help me.

Because I constantly fought the flow of life instead of going with it, I would become increasingly, and visually, frustrated and people didn’t want to be around me.

Because I wasn’t interested in anyone but myself I didn’t have anyone to go to when things got really bad. The only place I had to go was into my own head (which I discovered later is a very dangerous place for me to be).

Things would never go my way and life got really hard.  I lost jobs. I lost friends. I lost my will to live. I was never helpful to anyone else because I was obsessed with myself. I would run out of gas and have to walk because I wouldn’t get gas when I could. It was hard to get a job because I had a bad reputation. I would eat unhealthy food that made me feel like crap.

And none of this was ever MY fault…

I knew I had to make a change or I would be miserable until I died and I didn’t want that.

I started researching ways to improve my life and how to change bad habits. Just about everything I read said to quit drinking so I did. I also read a lot about having an attitude of gratitude and began writing 6-10 things every day that I’m grateful for. This practice has helped me immeasurably. I can be grateful for my job now even when I have a bad day there. And bad days get fewer and farther between.

Here’s what I do daily to get my head screwed on right:

  1. Practice gratitude:  I make a quick list of things I’m grateful for. I try to always include a few things that I sometimes take for granted that I don’t always think about every day. For example a reliable vehicle and power, water, and gas. I also include people, like my husband who puts up with my crap, real friends, and great co-workers who push me to be better.
  2. Plan my Day:   I sit down with my calendar and go over places I need to be at what time, and tasks that need to be done. Then I figure out what order to do everything in. This includes making time to do something that puts me closer to my long-term goals, to improve myself just a little bit every day.
  3. I ask my higher power for help:  I ask for help to keep my thoughts away from self-pity and self seeking motives. I ask for insight about any problems that may arise. I ask to remember to pause if I get upset instead of reacting immediately. I ask for guidance on how I can be helpful to to others and how I can pack as much as possible into the stream of life. I ask to be helped to be kind and loving to everyone I come in contact with.
  4. End of Day:  I review my day to see what went well and what didn’t. I take a moment to enjoy the good parts, and I think about solutions to the bad parts. If I owe an apology I do it as soon as possible. I ask for my fear to be removed and for help being better the next day.

 

The mind is a powerful thing. It can make or break a person. People consumed with negativity always have a bad day, no matter how well it’s going.

I don’t hang out with negative people anymore. They brought me down. I keep them at arm’s length now. My serenity depends on it. I’ve seen a positive person have a worse day than a negative person and end their day in a much better place. Those are the people I want to be around these days.

I don’t play the victim. I look for a solution.

I don’t look for sympathy. I help someone else out instead.

I try to be the listener, not the talker.

I try to be the giver, not the taker.

I know the rewards will come soon enough. If I can achieve peace within myself, I will never have a bad day.

I try not to put things off. Why put off til tomorrow what I can do today? I try to stay ahead of the game. I enjoy my down time so much more when I’m not worried about what I have to do later.

I’m not the person who complains and tries to make everyone as miserable as I am. I’m the one who lifts morale.

I don’t believe in luck anymore. I believe everything happens for a reason. I don’t  have to know what the reason is either. I just know that when I do these certain things, my days go better and my life improves a little bit more every day.

I do this, and good things happen to me.

 

“You can’t fully commit to your personal growth if you’re still committed to your bullshit.”  ~ Neghar Fonooni

~Thanks for reading – LC

Tuna and Lentil Bowl

This bowl of goodness is packed with Omega 3’s, low fat protein, fiber, B vitamins, Iron, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium, Phytonutrients, Vitamin E, Selenium, Calcium, CoQ 10, Lutein, Zeaxanthan, Beta-corotene, Vitamin C, and much more!

 

Ingredients:

  • 3oz Seared Tuna, rare, sliced
  • 1/4 cup lentils, cooked in veggie broth
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp shallots, minced
  • pinch of aleppo pepper (or chili flakes)
  • 1/4 cup tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1/4 cup asparagus, blanched or grilled, cut on a bias in 1/4″ pieces
  • 1/2 tsp each: rosemary, thyme, parsley
  • 1 small handful spinach
  • Sliced scallion for garnish, squeeze of lemon, lemon zest

Method:

  • Cook the lentils, (preferably in homemade veggie broth!)
  • Save some of the broth and set aside
  • Get a saute pan hot with your favorite (healthy) cooking oil
  • Throw in the garlic, shallots, and aleppo, saute about 30 seconds
  • Add the tomatoes and asparagus
  • Saute a minute or 2, then
  • Add about 1/2 cup veggie broth and the miso
  • Fully incorporate the miso while bringing it to a boil
  • Add the lentils
  • Check the seasoning for salt and pepper, if needed
  • Add the herbs, toss it around
  • Throw in the spinach. As soon as it starts to wilt, pull it off the heat
  • Put it all in a bowl and top it with the seared sliced tuna
  • Garnish with scallions and lemon zest, and squeeze some lemon juice on it
  • Enjoy!

**This can be a soup too, just add more veggie broth, and maybe substitute scallops for the tuna! You could even whisk up an egg and drizzle it in while the soup is simmering.

 

Homemade Veggie Broth

There’s no real set recipe here as far as quantities go, or ingredients, but making your own veggie broth at home is easy and it lets you control the quality of ingredients as well as salt content.

Why buy it, when you can make it?

Use your veggie broth in homemade soups and sauces. I even use it instead of water to cook beans, rice, and quinoa for another layer of flavor!

Usual Ingredients:

  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Yellow onions
  • Garlic
  • Bay leaves
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Fresh thyme

Method:

  • Rough chop all the veggies and throw them in a pot
  • Add all other ingredients
  • Cover with plenty of cold water
  • Bring to a boil, then simmer for awhile
  • Strain liquid
  • Enjoy!

**Tip: Don’t include salt. You will more than likely be adding to salt to whatever dish you are using your homemade veggie broth in. No need to add it twice!

**Side note: There are many opinions on making stocks and broths. Some people peel the carrots and onions, and trim the leaves off the celery because they think it turns it bitter. Some people don’t. It is entirely up to you. There are no rules!

**I save my veggie scraps in a bag in the freezer when I cook and throw them in as well when I make broth. Also, you are not limited to the ingredients listed above. Try adding mushrooms, peppers, etc. into your broth. If you’re going for a particular color though, keep than in mind when adding your ingredients.

**This recipe freezes well. Make a big batch and portion in in smaller amounts to freeze. Then just pull some out as you need it.

Can Too Much Cardio Prevent Weight Loss?

If you’re busting your butt daily with some insane gut-busting routine you could possibly be doing more harm than good..

In western cultures like we have here in the United States, we have been taught that in order to lose weight, you have to pound the pavement running, hit the exercise bike or the treadmill, and start burning those calories! And forget about eating what you want…

At first glance, it makes sense.. Sweating and breathing heavy, working hard, and running all those miles… Surely the pounds must just be melting off, right?

This isn’t entirely true…

As with anything else, too much of one thing can end up being really bad for you.

Excessive cardio exercises are really hard on your feet, knees, and back. It’s also really hard on your heart. It can increase the risk of a heart attack by adding scar tissue and cardiac plaque.

Here are just a few of the studies done on the effects of excessive cardio:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538475/

https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0735109715075452

https://globalnews.ca/news/3810972/too-much-high-intensity-exercise-can-be-bad-for-your-heart-study-says/

It also puts your body in a state of anabolism, which means it will start to burn the most effective source of energy first, which is your muscle, not your fat. Ever notice how chronic marathon runners look stringy and unhealthily lean? That’s why. They have to pack on carbs just to keep from losing muscle mass.

So, you want your body to burn fat, not muscle. Yes, you want to take in less calories than you burn to lose weight, but you don’t have to give up your favorite foods.

==> This video explains more about the science behind using your body’s natural processes to your advantage, and lose 10-15 pounds in a short amount of time without starving yourself, or doing crazy hard workouts which you’ll be unlikely to stay committed to for long anyway.

 

Educate yourself, and invest in yourself.

You are your most important asset.

Remember, it’s all about balance.

 

Thanks for reading ~ LC

Fruits and Veggies to Avoid While Trying to Lose Weight

So, you want to lose belly fat…

While it’s true, whole fruits and veggies are good for you, some are better than others. If you’re trying to lose weight and rid yourself of some extra flab, you’ll want to avoid, or at least keep these to a minimum, and possibly only have them as an occasional indulgence. Especially this one…

  1. Tropical Fruits: This includes pineapple, papaya,mangoes, bananas, and the like. They contain more calories and sugar than other fruits. While they are certainly a better dessert alternative than a slice of key lime pie, they aren’t as effective to weight loss as berries or apples.
  2. Potatoes: The starch found in all varieties of potatoes is what really loads up the calories. Other starchy vegetables that might not be as obvious include carrots, beans, corn, squash, and green peas.
  3. Foods labeled “Fat Free”: Products containing this common statement are notorious for containing excessive amounts of processed sugar. Additionally, some fatty foods can actually help you lose weight by suppressing your appetite, which in turn can cut your daily calorie intake. Olive oil, almond butter, and Greek yogurt are all good “fatty food” choices that can also help you lose weight. To see more, check out Eat This, Not That’s article on8 Fatty Foods That Make You Skinny“.

“Best Diet Tips” also has a really great and informative article on the “Best and Worst Vegetables to Help You Lose Weight“.

In short, the lower the food is on the Glycemic Index, the better they stabilize blood sugar between meals and help to curb your appetite.

Please, become aware of what you are actually putting into your body. Your body will thank you for it.

Thanks for reading ~ LC

Fear: What it Means to Me

“If you want small changes in your life, work on your attitude. If you want big and primary changes, work on your paradigm.” – Stephen Covey

 

When I was a little girl, I had no fear. I didn’t know anything about the consequences of my actions. When I failed, I tried again. I didn’t worry what other people thought. I was like a sponge, learning every day, making discoveries, making mistakes, and learning from them.

Think about it, when you’re a child learning to walk, you’re going to fall. That failure isn’t going to scare you into giving up You just do it again. And again, and again. You don’t worry about what other people think, you just keep doing it until you learn. It’s built in. You haven’t been taught fear yet.

As we grow older, fear begins to creep in. Outside influences slowly begin to mold our personalities and behaviors, and take a major role in how we formulate our opinions. We aren’t even aware this is happening.

We learn about worry.

We learn about responsibility.

We learn about consequences.

We develop habits. Some good, some bad.

We form relationships. Some good, some bad.

If you’re reading this, you probably got to a point in your life where you realized what you’ve been doing and how you’ve been living your life doesn’t feel right anymore.

You need something to change.

That’s what happened to me.

I drank so much my brain felt like mush.

I was overweight.

I could be really mean sometimes, even to the people I  love the most.

I had no drive, no ambition. I was stuck in a daily cycle that didn’t include anything related to self-development or self-improvement, only self-loathing and self-destruction.

I surrounded myself with like-minded people, and together we dwelt in our “happy” toxic world where we all  judged other people, hated those who were successful or physically fit, and anyone else who wasn’t as miserable as us. I acted as if I didn’t care what other people thought, but deep down I really did, and I hated myself for what I had become.

I had all these dreams and grand ideas but I never took any action, never had any follow through.

Never once did I ask a successful person how they did it. I just sat back and would growl to myself, “Must be nice..” Never once did I think about what it took for that person to be where they are today or how much work they must’ve put in to get there.

Fear had completely engulfed me and I either didn’t know it, or I just didn’t accept it and ignored it.

Fear had me in its mighty grip, grasping tighter every day.

Fear of financial problems.

Fear of my health.

Fear of disappointment.

Fear of acceptance.

Fear of life.

No fear of death, though. I had truly gotten to a place where I didn’t care if I lived or died.

 

Today I don’t let fear rule any aspect of my life.

I’m working on going back to that no fear mentality I had as a small child.

I’m comfortable with my body. It’s not picture-perfect, but I’m not overweight anymore.

I love learning new concepts and sharing what I’ve learned in the hopes of helping others achieve a better quality of life.

I’m not afraid of being wrong or failing anymore. I look at failure as an asset. Something to build on.

I don’t fear my financial situation anymore. It’s still not ideal but I’ve taken steps to educate myself on budgeting and saving for retirement. I’ve shifted my focus on what I can gain later rather than instant gratification.

I quit drinking and wasting time in a bar with the people I thought were my friends. They were really just acquaintances who had the same fears as me, and we just fed off of each other. We were in the same downward spiral pulling each other further and further down.

Turns out, they don’t even miss me. No one from that part of my life ever calls me to ask where I am. They don’t care.

I’ve started forming more healthy relationships with people who have what I want out of life. People who pick each other up instead of judging and putting people down.

I’ve traded negativity for positivity.

I read every day instead of watching TV.

I exercise every day.

I research every day.

I write and brainstorm every day.

I learn every day.

I improve just a little bit every day, and since I’ve made that change, my life has improved immeasurably!

I’m not afraid to try new things, I’m not afraid of change. Change is inevitable. Now that I’ve gotten more comfortable with the concept of change, I no longer fear it.

Change for the better is a good thing, and change for the worse is a learning experience. Which is a good thing.

In order to change your life you have to change your paradigms. In order to change your paradigms, you have to change your attitude.

I’ve found that it’s much easier and more efficient to change myself than it is to change everyone and everything around me, to suit me.

To have a better life, it takes work. But it’s totally worth it!

Don’t give in to fear.

Take action! Change your inner circle of friends if you need to. Nothing is more important than your personal well being. Because without that, you can’t be helpful to anyone else.

 

Thanks for reading ~ LC

 

Synergy: More Bang for your Buck

Eating whole foods provides a better balance of nutrients than just taking vitamins. The reason is the way the nutrients work together to maximize absorption.

An example of this is the way spinach improves the heath of your eyes.

Spinach contains both lutein and zeaxanthin. These two carotenoids offer a power punch of vision protection. You can increase your macular pigment which helps protect your eyesight within a few weeks just by increasing the amount of spinach you eat.

According to the American Optometric Association both lutein and zeaxanthin working together help to maintain healthy cells in the eyes by filtering high energy blue wavelengths of light, which are harmful to the eyes.

WebMD has an interesting article that can help get you started with research on the perfect food combinations.

And here’s a really handy chart and article to help you find out which foods work best together. Try playing around with some of these. You might even come up with your new favorite recipe!

In the meantime, try this Spinach and Grapefruit salad.. (*hint: The grapefruit helps your body absorb the iron from the spinach!)

 

Spinach and Grapefruit Salad

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup baby spinach
  • 1/2 orange bell pepper
  • 6 grape tomatoes
  • A few slivers of red onion
  • 1/2 grapefruit, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 avocado
  • Small handful of walnuts
  • Drizzle of EVOO
  • Sprinkle of lemon juice
  • A few cilantro leaves
  • Sprinkle of toasted wheat germ

Method:

  • Throw everything but wheat germ in a bowl and mix well
  • Sprinkle the toasted wheat germ over top
  • Enjoy!

**If you zest the lemon before squeezing it you could sprinkle that over top too!

 

Garlic Green Beans

Recipe: Garlic Green Beans

Here’s a great, clean side dish that can accompany a variety of foods.

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 lb fresh green beans, trimmed

  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (about 1 clove)

  • 1/4 tsp aleppo (or chili flakes)

  • 1 tsp EVOO

  • 3 tsp Ghee (or clarified full fat butter)

  • ~1 lemon, zest

  • Kosher salt, fresh cracked pepper to taste

Method:

  • Blanch the green beans in boiling water with salt for 2 min

  • Drain and submerge in an ice bath to shock it and stop the cooking process

  • Heat the EVOO and Ghee in a saute pan on medium heat

  • Add the garlic and aleppo, saute until fragrant, 15-30 sec. Do not burn the garlic.

  • Add in the blanched green beans, and toss to coat evenly with the garlic and oil/butter

  • Add kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

  • Put the beans on a plate and grate some fresh lemon zest over top

  • Enjoy!