Just Veggies January

2015 is off to a pretty good start. My good eating habits had slowly slipped away during the holidays so I decided to make January a meatless month. I always feel so much better when I don’t eat any meat, poultry, or fish. My energy levels are higher and my digestion feels easier. The tricky part is finding new things to eat so I don’t get bored. Luckily, I received the Wellness Mama Cookbook for Christmas which has given me a few ideas, along with all kinds of recipes from Pinterest.

One dish that I am loving is roasted sweet potatoes and apples with cinnamon which I adapted from the cookbook. It’s really versatile. I threw in some scrambled eggs for a comforting breakfast dish. Another day I added muesli and Greek yogurt. Throwing in some feta cheese or meat would be great, too.

SweetPotatoApple

On the snack front, I’ve been obsessed with pommegranate arils. They are great by the handful or mixed with Greek yogurt as well.

Snack

 

On the exercise front, I froze my yoga membership for the month of December because I knew I would be way too busy to go regularly enough to justify the cost. I still had some Groupon classes left over for a nearby fitness studio so I returned to Zumba and tried out Piloxing and PiYo. I used to love TaeBo and Piloxing is similar, so it was great! I enjoyed PiYo, too, but it went a little too fast for my taste. There is a lot of potential for injury, in my opinion, so I think I’ll stick to my Vinyasa and Pilates classes for that.

On the accountability front, some members of my essential oils team are hosting a health and wellness challenge for January and February. I joined and will be using some of the Young Living products aimed specifically at metabolism support. I plan to post more about them after I use them for a bit. My order arrives on Wednesday and I’m super excited to try it out!

And, finally, I found a new workout buddy in my neighborhood. I’m a member of a council at work and so is she. We met at our most recent meeting, discovered we live in the same neighborhood and decided to take some classes together. This morning we tried out Burn the Barre for the first time and loved it. We’ve already agreed to go again next Sunday! This may just be a New York City thing, but it’s tough to get people to venture out of Manhattan and into the other boroughs to hang out. I’m excited to have a potential new friend in the neighborhood.

I hope your 2015 is off to a happy and healthy start!

Changing Focus

Hello friends,

Sorry I’ve been gone so long! A lot has changed over the past few months and I’ve decided to shift the focus of this blog to match what’s been going on in my life. My weight loss and health goals haven’t changed, but they are not the only things I’ve been focused on lately. I realized that I have so much trouble posting here because there are so many other things I want to be writing about and sharing with you!

I’ve started a new journey that is truly focused on self-care and healing physically and emotionally. I’m currently growing my essential oils business as an independent distributor for Young Living. I’m completing a Second Degree Reiki training this month. And my love for yoga and meditation hasn’t waned one bit. I hope that all of this will grow into a new path where I can teach people how to care for themselves and easily support their own health and wellness.

My goal is to share many of the things I learn along the way with you. I also want to share the “curves and swerves” of life with you on a regular basis. There will probably still be posts about weight loss and goals, but I hope that these other topics will make this a more interesting and fun place to visit.

Happy November, everyone! Expect to be hearing from me more often!

Zumba, Non-Scale Victories (NSVs), and other Fun Stuff

It’s super busy around here these days! I’ve got lots on the agenda, but wanted to come here and jot down a few things I’ve been proud of lately.

  • My new Zumba class is going well. So far I’ve only been able to make it on Saturdays, but it’s been a lot of fun and really kicks my butt! (See my Twitter feed for a post-class picture from Saturday). They are also affiliated with a spinning studio. I’m thinking I’ll give that a try one of these days as well.
  • R and I always sit in the front of our Pilates classes. On Sunday, we were the only two in the front and our teacher basically stood behind us to check on the rest of class as if she didn’t have to worry about our form! She even used us to demonstrate a few of the exercises.  I’ve definitely seen a huge difference in my core strength, so it was nice to have that progress more or less confirmed. On a side-note: I was secretly relieved that she wasn’t watching us so much, because my hamstrings and glutes were so sore from Zumba that I could barely do the bridge exercises! Phew.
  • Sunday afternoon I baked up some delicious chocolate peppermint cookies, using real peppermint oil, as a practice batch for a Great Big Oil Gathering that my friend and I are hosting on Friday. They turned out really well. The part to be proud of, though, was the part where I managed to not eat any batter and only have one cookie (one!). The best part was that I wasn’t even craving them or thinking about them once they were put away. I brought them in to work today and my office-mates have dutifully devoured them.
  • My “skinny” jeans refuse to stay around my waist and are too big in the thighs.
  • I’ve found a new allergy remedy using my oils! A drop each of lemon, peppermint, and lavender oil in a spoonful of honey gave me allergy relief for hours. It was pretty incredible. How nice to not have to deal with that hazy, tired feeling I get from my regular allergy medicine.

Pain Relief Through Essential Oils

R and I have been experimenting with my new essential oils kit. I love that he is getting into all of this as much as I am!

I mentioned earlier that I like to use peppermint for pain relief and indigestion/bloating issues. It’s definitely still my go-to oil. I like to apply a drop or two neat (no dilution) directly to any sore areas, such as my hip flexors or lower back. For digestive issues, I apply a drop or two in a clockwise motion around my belly button. It definitely warms up on my skin, but I like the way it feels.

Peppermint

R, on the other hand, prefers PanAway(R) diluted with jojoba oil. We tried it neat first, but he didn’t like the heat so we cooled it down with some jojoba. He also has arthritis in his knees from an injury a few years ago. He wanted to try other oils, so we did some research and found a recommendation for frankincense. That one we apply neat directly to his knees. It’s only been a few days, but he has noticed a significant difference.

I also discovered that lavender can work to relieve cramps. I just put a few drops on my lower back and abdomen. About 15 minutes later, they were gone!

I’m so amazed by how effective these little oils are. I can’t wait to see what else we discover!

On the Path to Natural Living

For the past year or so I’ve been gingerly walking the path towards switching from chemical-laden, potentially harmful products, to products with more natural ingredients. I began by making a lot of my own cleaning products by following some recipes that I found on the IHeart Cleaning blog here. For the most part, they work really well and I’m happy knowing I’m doing something that is good for me, my husband, and the environment. Of course, there are still some situations that call for a little bleaching action so I keep a traditional cleaner on hand as well.

Gradually I started looking into natural remedies and herbal supplements. White willow bark capsules replaced Advil, Tom’s of Maine toothpaste replaced Crest, Crystal stick body deodorant replaced other brands, etc.

I’ve also become more aware of how much waste we create and tweaked things where I could. I use microfiber cloths for cleaning instead of paper towels. I use a Diva Cup instead of other feminine hygiene products (probably TMI, but I thought it’s worth sharing!), and we recycle products that wouldn’t otherwise be recycled through a great program called Terracyle. Right now we are only participating in the Dairy Tub Brigade and the Personal Care and Beauty Brigade, but we’ll probably join a few more in the next few months.

My latest, and most exciting discovery (to me, anyway), has been essential oils. R and I recently bought a diffuser and some oils to help with my sleeping issues and his sinus problems. It seemed to help a bit and we really loved the relaxing light and the way our bedroom smelled. A few weeks later a friend of mine invited me to her office to check out an essential oils kit that she had ordered through another friend. To my delight she also had a diffuser and the oil she was diffusing smelled amazing. She showed me the various oils in her kit. Told me a little bit about what each could be used for and invited me to join a FB chat to learn more about it all.

Well, I quickly became smitten, but was not sure that purchasing a whole kit (and signing up as a wholesale member) was for me, so I signed up as a retail customer and bought  a bottle of peppermint and a sample pack of Thieves(R). The peppermint quickly became my new go-to remedy for everything from sore muscles to indigestion and bloating. I diffused the Thieves(R) and added it to my next batch of cleaning supplies because it had anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral properties. Plus it smells delicious.

Soon enough I was hooked and decided to switch to wholesale and buy the premium starter kit. It contains a home diffuser, 10 essential oils (singles and blends), an additional oil blend that you can turn into a roll on, sample packs, and other fun goodies.

PremiumStarterKit

I’ve since been sharing samples and my experience with all my friends and a few have become as hooked as I am. The best part about it is that you do not have to make any sales, sign-up any new members, etc. in order to benefit from the wholesale prices. All you have to do is purchase a starter kit (they range in price, but the premium starter kit is the best value if you can swing it) and then buy $50 worth of products each year. That will not be difficult, let me tell you! The quality of these oils is amazing: organic, chemical and synthetic free, therapeutic grade oils. So far I’ve diffused them to help with stress and sleep; made an anti-aging facial moisturizer with frankincense and lavender; made lavender lemonade; add lemon and peppermint to my water, and used peppermint and PanAway(R) for aching muscles. Even R has been impressed with them and agrees that this is a great investment for our health.

As I learn more about uses for the oils, being a part of this great company, etc. I’ll post about my experiences for anyone else who might be interested. In the meantime, let me know if you have any questions!