21-Day Soul Cleanse: Yes Please!

I am a huge fan of Rebekah Borucki of Bexlife.  Currently, I am doing her 21-Day Soul Cleanse and it is perfect timing.   I have added this to my meditation and self-care journey and I’m so thrilled about it.

The 21-Day Soul Cleanse covers many different self-care activities and each day the activity is short and easy to accomplish.  I love that the daily activities are varied and include meditations, tasks and journaling.  Since I am reading Bex’ book, listened to a podcast interview and have done many of her Youtube meditations, many of the activities were familiar to me. Even if you have not had any experience with Bexlife, the cleanse is so easy to follow.  She gives step-by-step instructions and includes links to all resources needed for the tasks and meditations.

Another part of the 21-Day Soul Cleanse is a 7-Day Soul Cleanse diet.  I personally don’t like to call an eating plan a diet because diets are temporary while changing eating habits is a permanent, lifelong way of living.  I’m not as dedicated to the eating plan as the Soul Cleanse, but there are definitely great recipes and healthy habits that you can adapt and adopt from it.

Rebekah is such an awesome practitioner and she is offering a special discount to my readers.  The full cost of the program is a great buy at $29 and she is offering it to you for $19.  You cannot beat that price for a great self-care resource.  I am not receiving any compensation for this post…I just really love and believe in this program and wanted to share it with others.

Guest Post: Health Benefits of a Plant-Based Diet

I have a guest poster this week:  Sheli from Nutritionista Abroad.  Sheli is a wife, a dog mom, a dietitian, a cook, an occasional baker, a health and fitness enthusiast, a wannabe yogi, and a new expat. She blogs about nutrition travel and is passionate about helping everyone discover how amazing it feels to nourish our bodies.

Why choose a plant-based diet?

There are many different reasons people chose to adopt a plant based lifestyle but whatever the reason, the health benefits of making this change are undeniable.  One reason many yogis choose this lifestyle is because they honor the Ahimsa Principle, one of the eight limbs of yoga. This principle is the practice of nonviolence and encourages you to do no harm. This applies to all beings of the earth, including animals.

Middle Eastern Bean Salad

There are many great documentaries available that dive into each of the reasons why someone might chose to live a plant-based lifestyle – health, environmental, and ethical. I’ll stick strictly to the health benefits. But first, I’d like to address one big issue many people cite as a reason not to follow a plant-based diet, and that is protein.

Where do you get your protein?

Many people believe that you must eat meat and animal products to meet your protein needs. This is a complete myth. In fact, an excess of protein in your diet can lead to healthy problems, such as kidney disease. Digesting meat is also very difficult on your gastrointestinal system. There are many high protein vegetarian, and even vegan foods. Many vegetarians choose to include yogurt, eggs, milk, and cheese in their diets, all of which are also good sources of protein.

Vegans have lots of great options too. Lentils, all types of beans, quinoa, rice, oatmeal, chia seeds, hemp or soy milk, edamame, spinach, nuts, peanut butter, tofu, and seitan are all excellent sources.

To calculate your protein needs, simply multiply your weight in kilograms by 0.8. For example, a 60 kg person would need 48 grams of protein per day. This requirement can easily be exceeded by including:

  • 1 cup oatmeal + 2 Tbsp peanut butter = 14 grams
  • 1 cup lentils = 18 grams
  • 1 cup quinoa + ½ cup black beans = 28 grams
    • Total protein intake = 60 grams

There are many food combinations that will allow you to reach your protein needs, the above is just one example. There are also an endless number of ways to flavor lentils and quinoa. Pinterest is a great resource for recipes but a simple Google search will provide many options as well.

Weight Loss and Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have shown that people who adopt a plant-based diet can lose more weight than those who eat a diet including meat. One study showed that weight loss occurred with the adoption of the plant-based diet alone. This means that the participants made no changes to their exercise routine and they did not count any calories or have any diet restrictions other than animal products.  A plant-based diet can also decrease your risk of developing diabetes and even reverse the disease. Plant based diets are very high in fiber, which helps to stabilize blood sugar. Fiber helps to keep you full, which means the more fiber you eat, the less calories you will consume. This lower calorie diet will lead to weight loss, which will also decrease your risk of developing diabetes, and help your body regulate blood sugar.

Heart Health and Lower Blood Pressure

Cholesterol is made in the liver, therefore only foods from an animal have cholesterol. We do not need any dietary cholesterol – our own bodies can easily make all that we need. Vegetarian diets are very low in cholesterol and vegan diets are free of cholesterol. Plant-based diets are also very low in saturated fat and salt. Studies have shown that replacing animal protein with plant protein lowers blood cholesterol, even if the amount and type of fat ingested is the same. Studies have also shown that by eliminating meat from the diet alone participants could lower their blood pressure. When meat was reintroduced to their diet, blood pressure quickly rose back to pre-study levels. By increasing the amount of fresh vegetables and fruit in the diet, this generally leads to a reduction of processed foods. This lowers the daily sodium intake, which also has a positive effect on blood pressure.

Lower Cancer Risk

Plant-based diets are full of antioxidants from the recommended amount of fresh fruits and vegetables. Colon cancer is also linked to high dietary intake of meat. Breast and prostate cancers also occur less often in those who follow a plant based diet. Research is ongoing to examine further effects of adhering to a plant-based diet on other types of cancer.

Where to Begin

If you’re not sure where to start, it can be helpful to begin by adopting a ‘flexitarian’ diet initially and work your way up to excluding more animal products as you feel comfortable. This will help prevent any feelings of being deprived of foods and help you make this a long-term lifestyle change.

You could begin by choosing a meal each day that will not contain any meat. Perhaps for the first week you’ll choose a plant-based breakfast each day. The next week, you can build on that and make both breakfast and lunch plant-based meals, and continue until you have eliminated the desired level of meat and animal products that you wish to reach.

Changing your diet can seem like a daunting task, especially in social situations. But, in most cases, it’s much easier than you might think. Most menus have vegetarian options. If you don’t see any on the menu, just ask your server. The number of vegetarians is rising rapidly so chances are you won’t be the only one wanting more plant-based options.

There’s no better time to start than now. Choose something you can start with today and build on that. You’ll begin experiencing all the benefits of a plant-based diet and you’ll never go back!

Here are some recipes from Sheli’s website…give them a look…they sound so delicious!!!

High Protein Pumpkin Granola

Lemon Almond Bread

A Sojourn of Self-Care Through Meditation

My sojourn of self-care through meditation has not been a long one so far, but I have learned so much already.  If you never think you have enough time for meditation or it’s just not for you, think again.  It is your journey and you can go anywhere you want with it.  It can be a short trek or a full-fledged expedition.  I have discovered some wonderful underpinnings, which will help you on your self-care path.

rebekah borucki

I cannot even tell you how much I love this self-care through meditation practitioner.  My first meditation post included her website, but have discovered even more about her since then.  I listened to the Let it Out podcast with Katie Dalebout.  I had already watched some of her Youtube videos so I was a bit familiar with her.  That podcast just sold me 150% because she was so honest, down-to-earth and I felt a real connection to her message.

I signed up for her blog subscription and received an email that her new book was $1.99 (Kindle edition) on Amazon.  For $1.99, who could go wrong??  So glad I spent those pennies because the book is phenomenal!!!  You Have 4 Minutes to Change Your Life (*affiliate link) is a how-to book on meditation including how to sit, hand mudras (positions), guided meditations and everything you need to know to begin your own meditation sojourn.  (The Amazon special is over, but it is definitely a book you should have in your self-care library.)

This is my favorite mantra that is included in one of her Youtube meditations.  I absolutely love the beach and the ocean so this was perfect for me.

MEDITATION cushion

I have trouble sitting criss cross because of a hip issue.  While watching Yoga with Adriene, I got the tip to sit on some blankets so that your tailbone is raised a bit.  WOW!!!  What a difference!  I then went on a search for a yoga/meditation pillow and I am so glad that I did.  Never knew how comfortable it could actually be to sit criss cross…it was a definite A-HA moment for me.

I bought this cushion (not an affiliate link) and I LOVE it.  What is especially great about it is you can unzip the outer cover for washing AND unzip the inner pouch to take out the buckwheat hulls.  This enables you to control the firmness of the cushion.  I took out quite a bit of the hulls and it is perfect for me.  If they eventually flatten out from use, I have the ones I removed to replace them.  I also use yoga blocks to support my knees in the cross-legged position and I am very comfortable and focused during my meditation.

simple habit

One of my awesome readers told me about the Simple Habit app.  I downloaded it from the App Store and I love it.  It is a little pricey, but I feel that when you find something that you really enjoy and that will get you to do whatever it offers, it is totally worth.  This app has short meditations, which are perfect for me.  The person who guides you through the meditations has a wonderful Australian accent, which I personally love, and a calming tone of voice.

As always, I’d love to hear from you with any resources that you cannot live without in terms of meditation.  I LOVE the wealth of ideas I have received from my readers…I appreciate each every one of you.

3 Natural Cleaning and Health Tips That I LOVE (and you will too!)

I try to use natural cleaning and health products whenever I possibly can. The best finds that I LOVE are beauty, health and cleaning products that incorporate natural ingredients and I don’t mind making my own.  I have tried many, many tips/tricks/hacks and some have been successful and some have been fails.   All the work has been done for you by me and I’m posting 3 tips that you will love too!!

clean fresh towels

I don’t know about you, but some of my towels and washcloths get a mildewy smell even after they are washed.  I found a great solution:  Run a load of towels and wash cloths through the washer on a normal cycle using hot water and NO DETERGENT.  Pour 1 CUP VINEGAR on top of the towels and run cycle.  After that cycle is done, pour 1/2 CUP BAKING SODA on top of the towels and run another normal cycle with hot water.  Do NOT USE DETERGENT in this cycle either.  Your towels will smell and feel brand new.  (from Delectable Bake House)

TEA TREE blemish stick

Sometimes I get blemishes on my face and I want nothing more than for them to disappear.  Well, this following recipe does just that.  I use this blemish stick and it works wonders literally overnight.  What is also great about it is it doesn’t irritate the skin like some over-the-counter products do.  Tea Tree Oil is a wonderful, multi use essential oil.

2 Tablespoons apricot oil
1 Tablespoon beeswax
8 drops tea tree essential oil

Melt the beeswax and apricot oils together in a double boiler over low heat.

Once those ingredients are melted together, remove from heat and add the essential oils.  Stir together and pour into a lip balm container.  Let cool. Put a little bit on the blemished area morning and night.  **melting the beeswax and apricot oil together can get a little messy…I bought a pan just to use for DIY projects**

dryer sheets

This is one of my absolute favorites and so easy.  Whether you know it or not, dryer sheets are very toxic.  Simple solution:  get towels or washcloths from the dollar store.  Cut them into small squares.  Pour vinegar and 8-10 drops of your favorite essential oil into a mason jar.  Put the cut up towels/washcloths into the jar and turn the jar upside down.  Let stand about an hour.  Throw a bunch of the squares into your dryer with your laundry and you will have fresh, clean smelling items right out of the dryer.  When the towels squares fray or disintegrate, I just throw them away and cut some more:)

It seems like there are more and more natural products on the market, which is a good thing.  However, some of them can be quite pricey so I hope that these easy DIY natural products will help you out.  Let me know about your favorite DIY natural products, I LOVE hearing from my readers.

 

 

3 Fabulous Meditation Resources for Beginners

Along with my current yoga journey, I have taken corresponding steps on a fabulous meditation journey.  To me, it makes sense because I feel yoga and meditation go together, hand-in-hand.  I have dabbled in meditation over the years, but never really connected with it.  Since I started my yoga journey, I feel more connected to meditation.  The following resources have elevated my journeys to another level.

Calm app

I have had this app for quite a while, but didn’t use it often.  I was listening to a meditation podcast and wanted a little variety so I took another look at the Calm app.  Since starting both of my journeys, I have felt more of a connection when I revisited this app.  I also changed my screen to the ocean, which has a corresponding crashing waves sound and it is perfect.  You can get quite a few free options in the app and there is also a subscription if you want even more of a selection.

Bexlife

I just found this website and Youtube channel and I love it.  Some voices are much more calming and focusing than others and I really like Bex’ voice. She has a very easy going meditation process.  She offers many resources on her website as well as her Youtube channel.

Truth and Dare

Allie from The Journey Junkie and her soul sister Carly have a podcast called Truth and Dare…which stands for speak your truth and dare to change.  I have really been enjoying the podcast so I signed up for the email subscription from their podcast website.  The email I received today had the link to a guided meditation.  It is only one they have so far, but I’m hoping they add more.  Nevertheless, it is a great yoga and meditation resource.


What are your go-to, must have meditation resources?  I’d love to hear from you…I’ve gotten so many great resources from my readers.  One of my readers told me about Allie’s Facebook group, which connected me to all her other great resources.  I love the wonderful bloggers and readers I have met…it’s such an uplifting community.

 

That Yoga Journey? It Continues

That yoga journey…yeah the one I’ve written about several times on my blog…well it continues!!!  Every week I have learned something new about this wonderful body and soul exercise.  I am still a beginner, but I want to share the things I have learned in hopes that it helps other beginner or advanced yogis.

journey junkie

I continue to LOVE Yoga With Adriene…it has become my go-to and I can’t wait to do it each day.  A new find is The Journey Junkie, which is another great yoga website that has helpful Youtube yoga videos.  While Yoga with Adriene is very easy going and less structured…Allie from The Journey Junkie is a little more structured and a smidge more serious.  Each yoga instructor is a bit different, but they are both awesome in their own ways:)

As is the case with YWT, I learned about TJJ from a reader’s comment on my blog.  My blog readers have become my best resource!!!  The Journey Junkie has an awesome Facebook group called Live Your Journey.  You can join the group and get great daily inspiration, support and yoga education. It is such a positive, uplifting FB community.

yoga wheel

My newest tidbit of yoga news is the yoga wheel.  I learned about this prop from Live Your Journey and TJJ.  I haven’t purchased one yet, but have been researching them online.  If you haven’t heard of a yoga wheel, which I hadn’t heard of before last week, Allie has a great post on how to use them in your yoga practice.

photo from Amazon.com

mat spray

Finally, it you have or will be purchasing a yoga mat, you’ll definitely want to keep it clean and fresh smelling.  I do most of my yoga at home, but if you go to a yoga studio, you will be placing your mat on the floor where others have put their mats.  This means dirt, germs, and probably other yuck:(  I made this mat spray and I LOVE it.  It is all natural, smells wonderful and kills germs.  Give it a try…I use it for my yoga mat and my gym bag.

I hope that you are enjoying my yoga journey series as much as I am enjoying the actual journey.  The more I learn, the more I want to discover about yoga.  Finally, keep those comments and resources coming.

**this post contains an affiliate link**

Healthy Body AND Soul

I just changed the header on my blog because I felt like my former header didn’t totally embrace my new focus on a healthy body and soul.   My blog has always been a place of happiness and support for myself and others.  I have recently started a yoga and meditation journey and wanted the blog to convey that added dimension.  So my tag line used to be “happiness, wellness, fitness, nutrition”  and now it is “all things that keep your body and soul healthy, happy, mindful and fit”.  I like the new tagline much better.

I am a bit disappointed that the text is not as bright and readable as the original graphic:(  It still conveys the message that I want to get across with the inclusion of my actual happy place…the beach.  Also, I think that the posts and information written should be the most important aspect of the blog and nice graphics are just the sprinkles and cherry on top.

As for including posts about a healthy soul,  I have been reading some great books on mindfulness and spirituality.  Organized religion is not my jam.  It hasn’t been for a very long time.  I have nothing against anyone who feels a strong bond to organized religion, it just isn’t for me. Spirituality comes in many different wrappers; it isn’t exclusively a belief and worship of God.  I believe that there is a higher power, but I think of it as a positive energy, including guardian angels.  That is my personal belief.

I have read several books by Gabby Bernstein.  I like her books because she basically says that you can call “it” whatever you believe in…God, spirit, guide, energy, etc.  No label is the RIGHT label, it’s whatever you believe.  I love that because everyone does have their own belief system and no one should be telling you that your belief is right or wrong.

Another recent read was You Are a Bad Ass  by Jen Sincero.  Another great book, which also speaks of being spiritual without putting a label on who, what or where you worship.  I grew up going to church every Sunday and always thought it was so strange when my friends did not.  Now that I am older, I have come to the realization that you don’t need to attend a service in a building on Sunday to be spiritual or to be a good person.  I feel it is much more important to be a thoughtful, caring, supportive, loving person.  Sitting in a pew doesn’t write you a ticket to heaven.

So, that is the new and improved My Happier Place blog.  I will be writing a post on the Gabby Bernstein book I am reading, Spirit Junkie, in the near future.  It takes awhile to read her books because she gives you meditations, journal writing and deep thinking exercises to do.  It is definitely worth the time and effort.

What is your go-to mindfulness, good for the soul practice??  I’d love to hear from you.

Golf – A Challenge Worth Taking

I have been on vacation in South Carolina this week.  The weather has been absolutely perfect and I love just relaxing on the beach.  My husband and son always golf, which is fine with me because then I don’t have to worry about them complaining about being bored on the beach.  This year, however, I felt like I wanted to give golf a try because I had a little FOMO (fear of missing out) going on.

My husband and son were taking a lesson so I asked my husband to sign me up too.  Why not??  As the day of the lesson came closer, I wanted to cancel it.  I thought my time would be better spent on the beach. Cancellation fees would probably apply so I bit the bullet and went to the lesson.  I am really glad that I did.  My instructor Ali was awesome; she was very supportive, down-to-Earth, and easy going.  She gave me a lot of great tips and I felt really good about myself when I left the lesson.  The Steve Dresser Golf Academy is one of the best in the Myrtle Beach area.  My husband and son also learned a lot in their advanced lessons and club fittings.

At home, I had been to the driving range a total of ONE time before my lesson.  I had taken other lessons years and years ago.  The thought of actually playing a round of golf scared me.  I didn’t think I had enough skill to get out there.  Well, I decided that there was no time like the present to give it a try.  I am in one of the most popular golf locations in the US and there are golfers of all levels getting out there every day.

 

There is a par 3 course, Tupelo Bay, which is not far from the condo we are staying in.  My husband said it was only 9 holes and I wouldn’t need to hit it very far, being that it was a par 3.  Again, I figured we’re here in one of the largest golf meccas so no time like the present to give it a try.  Since the par 3 was just “mini golf on steroids”, we decided to do the executive course, which was a par 3 and 4 course.  Nerves set in as we pulled up to the first hole, but when I saw others who hit the ball like me, I felt a lot better.  I didn’t do great, but I hit the ball and I have my first round 9 holes under my belt.  I, again, felt pretty good about myself walking off that course.

Golf is on the television all the time at my house.  I have been to PGA tournaments.  I hear my husband and son say how much you need to practice and how aggravating it can be.  So why do I want to get into this aggravating yet fulfilling hobby?  It is something we can do as a family and I can go out with friends who golf.  When I posted that I was taking a lesson on Facebook, a friend commented that she was in a beginner league at home and why don’t I join?  I told her ABSOLUTELY.  She said it was a lot of fun and a lot of laughs.  I may not improve my game, but fun and laughing are good for the soul.

So next step is getting some gear and just getting out there and doing it.  I am proud of myself because I am taking on a challenge of learning something completely new to me.  I have been writing a lot lately about my yoga journey and mindfulness, and this post may seem out of place.  However, I feel that taking on this challenge and being present in the moment of just concentrating on hitting the ball is just another way to be mindful.  Not letting every day worries and cares get in the way of my present purpose.

What is a challenge that you have taken on that has become a success for you??

My A-HA Moment: A Chain Reaction

I’ve been working on some personal issues lately.  I had some huge losses in my life as a teenager, which I am realizing now have followed me into middle adulthood.   As I work through them, I have had some realizations and A-HA moments all over the place.  I will start with a first A-HA moment that have led to a chain reaction of others.

First of all, the loss that I experienced as a teenager was the loss of my parents within a five month span.  I can remember as a child that I always worried that my parents might die and that worse case scenario actually came true.  Now I realize that I immediately go to the worse case scenario when issues arise in my life because at the one time, the worse case scenario DID come true.  So that is my starting point.

I have issues with my supervisor.  In my head, I go to the worse case scenario because of my history.  I have nothing to prove that some of the things I assume from her actions are true, but I still go THERE…to the worse case scenario.  Okay…so I understand why I go to that extreme now what do I do?  Here is where the other A-HAs have come into play.

a-ha moment #1

I bought a book several months ago The Universe Has Your Back by Gabby Bernstein (affiliate link).  I was cleaning out a shelf….putting some books on half.com and I came across that book.  Since I just finished another self-care book, I thought I’d start reading my find.  The introduction of the book talked about “freedom from fear so you can return to peace”.  Reference was made to the fact that even though we want to feel better and improve ourselves, we are stuck in our patterns of negativity because it is what we know and we don’t want to venture out into the unknown.   Truth!!!  My interpretation of this is LET IT GO.

a-ha moment #2

I have numerous podcasts that I subscribe to and have started to listen to them during my commute, which I haven’t done in months.  I subscribe to The Model Health Show with Shawn Stevenson.  There are about 60 episodes in my queue…yikes.  I decided to listen to the oldest episode in the queue from February 2016…Mind Over Medicine with Dr. Lissa Rankin.  She talks about how she was a traditional medical doctor and felt like she was drowning in the managed medical world.  Her schedule went from meeting with 25 patients a day to 40, which gave her 7-1/2 minutes with each patient.

She quit and decided to go into a more naturopathic practice where she could meet with each patient for an hour.  Dr. Rankin said she wasn’t even prescribing medicine, but just listening to patients because she had the time and they were healing!!!!  The process of her listening put the patients into a relaxation response which improved the healing process.  Another truth…having the relaxation response makes us feel better.  My interpretation of this…again…LET IT GO.

a-ha moment #3

While perusing my podcasts, I looked for a mediation podcast and found Meditation Minis with Chel Hamilton.  I LOVE this podcast.  I’ve wanted to incorporate meditation into my wellness repertoire for a long time and this was just what I needed.  I chose episode 9:  Meditation to Let Worries and Stress Drift Away.  This guided meditation talked about thinking of all your worries as a balloon that you let just drift away…truth #3.  My interpretation of this…you guessed it…LET IT GO.

So I guess I’m going to make like Elsa/Anna and LET IT GO!!!  I felt like all these messages from the universe were synchronized to point me in the right direction towards healing myself.  What are your go-to, self-healing resources??  I’d love to hear about your successes.

My Continuing Yoga Journey

I recently wrote a post on the start of my yoga journey.  It’s been a couple weeks so I wanted to give an update since I’ve taken several more steps on my journey.  I hope this inspires others who are have been hesitant to try yoga to take the first steps on their journey.

Online Resources

First of all, one of my awesome readers mentioned that she did yoga with a Youtuber named Adriene.  I love when readers leave suggestions in the comments because it is helpful to me and I like to leave comments that are helpful to others.  It’s such a great community.  I gave Yoga with Adriene a look and now I am OBSESSED!!!  I feel like she is my new best friend…lol.

She is uplifting and chill.  I love her calm voice and playful nature.  The speed is just right…I can’t say enough about her awesomeness!!!  I am a kindergarten teacher and I have my students do yoga every day in class and I have incorporated some of Adriene’s shorter classes in our day.

Yoga Props

I have the tightest hips and IT bands on Earth.  My hip issues are the cause of said tightness.  I ordered some yoga blocks (affiliate link) which help support my legs in certain poses because I don’t have as much flexibility in those poses.  They are a life saver.

Modifications

Yes, as I’ve said above, I need to modify some of the poses.  This is partly due to my hip issues and tightness AND partly because I’ve just started the yoga journey.  I know that once I become more familiar with the poses and strengthen and stretch the muscles, it will become easier.  I found some wonderful resources for modifications.

courtesy of Yoga Journal website

My FAVORITE active wear retailer Athleta has a blog where I found a great post with wonderful visuals and suggestions.   When I googled yoga modifications, I found some great images from Yoga Journal.  They were exactly what I was looking for and it was easier to find them in Google images than their actual website.  The Yoga Journal website has a plethora of information on yoga and is a great overall resource.

I will continue to update my journey here.  Most of all if you have any more suggestions or ideas, please keep them coming.  As a result of your comments, I have learned so much from my readers and love the community we have.  Thank you. Namaste.