The Fruits of Summer

   peaches

 

There are great things about summer. All the wonderful fruits that are available have got to be up there on the list. Peaches, plums, cherries, blueberries, etc. For breakfast on most days, I eat cut-up peaches, blueberries and sweet cherries. A few weeks ago, when they were in season, I added strawberries to the bowl, too. What great flavors and colors! Not only do they taste good, but they look fantastic, too!

   What I love about eating fruit in the morning is that it’s both good for you and it tastes good. Sometimes the things that are good for you, don’t always taste good. I love to start my day out like this!

  What do you eat for breakfast?

Habits

 

I was reading the Saturday edition of the “Ask Amy” column in my morning paper when I realized Amy’s response is perfect. The letter writer had gotten a bad review at work; discovered her boyfriend was dating someone else; one of her friends decided she didn’t want to be friends with her anymore; and she was turning 30. What a week! Amy’s advice? Concentrate on the one thing she could do something about – work and take steps to figure out what the problem was and change.

So, great advice and it reminded me why I’m doing what I’m doing. There are so many things in my life that can’t be changed, that I’ve found myself focusing on those. Instead, I’ve got to refocus on what I am able to change.

   Researchers have discovered (article in Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-clear/forming-new-habits_b_5104807.html) that it actually takes between 66 and 254 days for a new habit to become a new behavior in your life. Wow. I thought it would be a shorter process, but there’s no such thing as instant gratification when it comes to improving yourself. So, now I know this will be a much longer process, and I can stop worrying that it was taking so long. It hasn’t been nearly 66 days yet. Being the impatient person that I am, I can hopefully take some relief in knowing I haven’t failed.

   As they said in the article, habits are a process, not an event.

Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

 

      Transforming anything is a process. In the past, my attitude was “all, or nothing”. This did not work out well for me…in fact, it didn’t work at all. If I missed one workout, I was convinced that all was lost, so why bother. So, I didn’t bother. It was over. This time, mostly due to this blog, my attitude has had an adjustment. I missed my workout this morning. So, I didn’t automatically think, Oh No! I’m a terrible failure; this has all been for nothing. I might as well just give up! No, instead I thought, well, it’s been horribly humid and hot, I really needed my sleep. I’ll get up tomorrow. There were no recriminations, no anger, and no upset. I was very calm and reasonable. Tomorrow I will get up and just continue on my course. Maybe with age I’m gaining wisdom?? That would be nice. Something good should come with age.

      But, do I feel two steps forward, one step back? Sometimes. I’ve been on a Raw ‘til 4 diet for a few months. I’ve become Vegan, giving up my beloved chocolate. That was a hard thing. Still, I basically weigh the same. So, this time for inspiration, I’ve found Freelee the Banana Girl on YouTube. By watching her channel, I’ve come to the realization that other people miss workouts, other people eat chips, etc. when they really shouldn’t. But, the difference is, they don’t let it derail them. My attitude change has come from watching others who have already gone through this process, and after months or years, made the change. They’ve accomplished their transformations through hard work and acceptance that no one is perfect. No one works out every day, no one doesn’t slip up. Everyone slips up, but the ones who finally have achieved their change are the ones who have kept on going. So, sign me up. I want to get to that point too. After all, two steps forward and one step back still means you’ve taken one step forward!

The Necessity of Sleep

   Lately there have been a lot of scientific studies out saying that getting enough sleep is really important. They also say that all kinds of things can happen to your body if you’re sleep deprived. As someone who usually only gets between 5 and 6 hours of sleep a night, I’m a little concerned. Weight gain is one thing you can look forward to if you continue a lifestyle of not enough sleep. Not to mention brain-fog, etc. As someone who suffers from both problems, one of my new goals is to try and get more sleep. It’s really hard to go to bed earlier in the summer. For one thing, it doesn’t get dark out until around 9 or so. For another, we’re once again having an extremely hot and humid summer. So, I end up putting bedtime later and later, hoping that it will magically get cooler. To help with this problem, I’ve put a large fan on the hope-chest that sits at the end of my bed. This helps a lot, but falling asleep can be an issue, too.
Doing meditation, or at least breathing correctly can help. I try to breathe through my nose, and with my diaphragm, not only my lungs. This also helps, as it relaxes the body. But, usually my mind tends to jump all over the place. Again, meditation can help with that. I try to just breathe, and think, in, out, in, out, and only that. Of course this is a work in progress, so I think that it’ll just take time, like everything else. Another goal to work on; my list keeps growing, but hopefully, with time this will get better, too.

   If you have any tricks to getting more sleep, let me know.

Banana, Date and Mango Smoothie

On Friday I talked about my yummy breakfast smoothie. Here is the recipe:

                                                       

      Take 8 to 10 pitted dates and cut them up into fairly small pieces.

Then, peel and cut up a ripe mango into small slices.

Next, add four or more bananas.

I fill my blender up with water as far as I possibly can without it overflowing. Although, to tell the truth, my blender has been known to overflow on occasion!

You can add coconut sugar, I usually add about one teaspoon. Also, I put in some cinnamon and either Almond Extract, or Vanilla Extract to make it as tasty as possible.

Here’s one delicious smoothie!

               

 

Enjoy!

 

If you have any smoothie recipes, please share.

Fruit is Fabulous

I’ve said before that I’m a vegan. My favorite time of year, as far as fruit and veggies go is the summer! I have the world’s best breakfasts at this time of year. This morning I had a smoothie with between eight and ten dates, one mango, four bananas, water, cinnamon, coconut sugar (one teaspoon) and vanilla extract. Wow was it good. The only problem with smoothies is that you have to make frequent trips to the bathroom! So, I usually save them for when I have to go to work in the afternoon, like Fridays, or weekend mornings.

On other days, I’ll have cut up strawberries and blueberries, or plums and peaches. For a snack, I’ll usually have a banana around 10 or so. Although, now that I’m drinking so much water, I do know where the bathroom is in most places.  I’ve found that since I’ve been having fruit for breakfast, I have a lot more energy and that’s always a good thing!

 

Dancing in the Rain

   Joy is fairly easy to come by when your children are young. We used to go outside with our red boots on, jump in puddles and dance in the rain. Kids can find joy in pretty much anything and it’s so simple to get caught up in their joyful emotions. But, as an adult it’s not so easy it find it yourself.
   I’m one of those people who might be having a terrible day, but if I see a deer, or a turkey family, or even a hummingbird drinking from the feeder, my day can go from the trash can of life to absolutely fantastic in 30 seconds flat. I know that not everyone is like that. I live with some people who don’t have the ability to find joy in the simple things. Luckily it can be an acquired talent.
   Many studies I’ve seen claim that the ability to find joy or “live in joy” is important to our mental health. So, try it for yourself. The next time you’re having a bad day, look at the cloud pictures, enjoy a sunset or sunrise, or just really look at a flower. Whatever brings you joy.
   Embrace the Joy!! Remember what it was like to be a happy child, and try to find that within yourself.