Why I Keep My Trash Can Clean

Emotional garbage can fester and eventually stink up everything around it. Keeping spiritually fit and conducting a daily inventory of my actions, thoughts, and feelings every day is imperative to my overall happiness.

Much like the physical garbage can in my kitchen, my mind and body accumulate trash. Poor eating, poor thinking, and poor actions build up a kind of filmy layer of scum that is much easier to clean and sanitize than if it’s left to rot.

My daily inventory includes reflection and ideas for action. I identify the character defects in play and then look at the opposites.

Resentments, anger, jealousy, condescending thoughts and words, arrogance, hatred, fear, frustration, selfishness, hard-headedness, guilt, sarcasm, hurt pride… These are all things I need to be wary of because these are the things that run me off the rails and into a severe downward spiral if left unchecked.

What are the opposites of these?

Resentment :: Contentment, Happiness

I’ve discovered it is possible to choose joy, live in happiness, and to love and be loved.

Anger :: Calm

Deep breathing exercises and taking the time to re-center myself help with this. Anger and resentments are luxuries I can’t afford.

Jealousy:: Admiration

What can I learn from this person? What do they have I don’t? What is it about them I can emulate to improve myself ?

Condescend:: Respect

It’s important to show people respect even when I don’t like them. I can learn something from someone even if I don’t think they possess the same level of education or experience as I have. At the very least I can learn what not to do, and show them the same courtesy I would to those I actually do respect. Perhaps by setting a good example I’ll be able to be helpful to them

Arrogance :: Humility, Modesty

It helps me to remember we are all human and that mistakes will be made daily. No one is perfect, even me. First I have to learn to give myself a break. When I can forgive myself for my imperfections, it makes it easier to forgive others for theirs.

Hatred :: Love

I don’t have to like everyone, but I have to love them. My sanity and sense of well being depend on it. Hatred is a very heavy load to carry around all the time. It will wear me down in a very short time if I don’t keep it in check. It’s also a lot easier to hate than to love, which is why this is something that requires constant vigilance.

Fear :: Faith, Calmness, Confidence

I connect with my higher power on a daily basis. I ask for my fear to be removed and my attention directed to what it would have me be. I turn over my will to my higher power. When I try to force my will I become disconnected and the fear takes over. Being connected helps me stay calm knowing everything will happen the way it’s supposed to. Even if it’s not the way I think it should be, I have faith that there’s a reason for it.

Frustration :: Satisfaction

This goes hand in hand with fear. When progress is not being made the way I think it should be, I need to look at how I can be helpful instead of looking at how it should’ve gone. Criticizing something that is already done is not helpful and adds to the frustration. Having faith that things will work out in the end, even if it’s not the way I wanted it to go, helps me achieve the feeling of satisfaction.

Selfishness :: Generosity

‘Tis better to give than to receive. Getting what I want at the expense of others doesn’t make me feel good. Giving to others in need does. Generosity builds confidence, goodwill, and awareness of others. I am not in this world alone. We are all in this together. This is one of the best deodorizers for my “trash can”.

Hard-Headedness :: Realistic

I’ve learned that being right just for the sake of being right, isn’t right. It doesn’t make me feel good in the long run. It creates animosity and is generally unhelpful in every way. Its much more practical and realistic for me to collaborate and hear others thoughts and ideas.

Guilt :: Peace

What’s in the past is done. I can’t go back. I can only try my best to correct my past behavior. Only once I can forgive myself can I move forward.

Sarcasm :: Sincerity, Kindness

A first cousin of anger, sarcasm is the gateway into all the other defects. It’s a very quick way to begin the decomposition of garbage in my “trash can” and the smell, and consequences are horrendous. Before opening my mouth I try to remember to ask myself the following questions:

  1. Is it True?
  2. Is it Helpful?
  3. Is it Inspiring?
  4. Is it Necessary?
  5. Is it Kind?

This is known as the “THINK” method of speech. It has really been a game changer in my quest for self improvement.

Hurt Pride :: Let it go

As stated above, no one is perfect. The sooner I can get over myself, the sooner I can move on. Dwelling on the words and actions of others doesn’t do any good. Those are things I can’t control. Sulking leads me into that downward spiral that is very difficult to get out of. It’s better for me to laugh something off and learn from it than it is to fixate and worry.

Keeping my trash can clean every day helps me be better equipped to deal with life on life’s terms. Not mine.

Eating healthy foods and getting physical at least once a day are also important building blocks in my inner transformation.

When I put junk in my body, junk comes out of my mouth.

When I do something active every day, no matter how brief, I feel physically better and get a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This carries over into my mood.

A great mood becomes a great day, which becomes a great year, which becomes a great life.

~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.

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

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!