Meredith


Good4You Plant Makeup Review

 plantmakeuppic

I’ve been on the search for safe personal care, home care, and cosmetic products for years. Ever since I read about my daughter’s baby shampoo having formaldehyde in it, I’ve made it my business to educate myself about just what exactly goes into the products we use every day and what some of those chemicals have been linked to in terms of health issues.

Earlier this year, after a company whose products I had faithfully used closed, I’ve been back on the hunt for new products, particularly cosmetics. I don’t wear much makeup, but every now and again I enjoy some color on my face. An additional challenge that I’ve found with search for cosmetics is that I’m a woman of color. Plant makeups will usually be lighter in color than the products made with synthetic dyes, and sometimes that equals to not showing up on skin that is any shade other than light. It’s been a fruitless search (see what I did there, it’s plant makeup, ha!) up until recently. Just a few months ago I discovered Good4You. It’s a small company, owned by Jes, and the ingredient lists really excited me. I bought a few things to try, then a few more….and then Jes was kind enough to throw three samples my way to add to the list of things I was planning to review for all of you.

Here are the things I bought:
1. Mascara
2. Madder Root lip and cheek stain
3. Foundation Balm (#2)
4. Foundation Powder (#2)
5. Beet and Hibiscous lip stain
6. Strawberry lip balm

Here are the things Jes sent me:
1. Rose Water cleanser
2. Turmeric balm
3. Seaweed and clay mask

Just to be clear, in the interest of full disclosure – I’m not getting anything for writing this review. I’m not an affiliate of any sort. I’ve already received the three free samples listed above, and the rest of the items I used my own cold hard cash for. So, on with the review.

My favorite product on the list is the madder root stain. At first I wasn’t using it correctly. For those of you who aren’t as familiar with plant-based makeup, it acts very different from the synthetic chemical-based stuff. I actually did know this, and yet, I still needed some practice. Jes very clearly states that you should “dig in” to get the maximum color. I thought I was digging in, but apparently I was being a bit too delicate. When I got more serious about really scooping out some of the product, you could tell the difference. It’s a nice “rust” shade on me. You can use it on my eyelids as well as cheeks and lips — wherever you want color! It’s shiny, which might not be everyone’s preference, but the reason it is that way is because of the incredible moisturizing ingredients it has. As someone who occasionally has dry spots on both skin and lips, it’s a welcome method of hydration.

My second favorite item is probably the strawberry lip balm. It leaves a light color and has a fantastic flavor from the berries. Little bits of strawberry exfoliate as well. My lips are soft and tasty — you can’t beat that.

There was nothing I disliked — just things I probably wouldn’t use as much as others, but that doesn’t necessarily have to do with how they are made. It has more to do with what kinds of products I personally use often versus rarely. Your mileage may vary since everyone uses different personal care products. Here are my thoughts on the rest of what I purchased.

The mascara — it is definitely a change from mascaras with iron oxides. But then, I no longer have interest in mascaras with iron oxides, so there is a tradeoff with that. If you pump the wand and play around with how much product you put on it, your results can be finagled with.

The foundation balm and powder — I like these two mixed together. The balm is lighter than the powder, and I was able to get just the right shade when I mixed the two together in amounts that I played around with for different results. When using the balm I had a shiny finish, and that’s okay with me. For those of you who like more of a matte, you’ll probably want to stick with the powder. The shine is due to the moisturizing oils and butters in the product, which my skin loves, so I’m okay with that. Another nice thing is that you can use these products together or separately. The balm is a great moisturizer on its own. The powder served as a nice eye shadow, and I’m actually thinking of getting the darker shade so that I could have a safe dark brown shadow!

The beet and hibiscous lip stain — This gives a different shade than the madder root, so it’s nice to have some variety. It’s not as shiny as the madder root stain, and it’s more purple. It still feels nice and moisturizing though, and again, can be used on cheeks and eyelids.

Turmeric balm — I have a hard time remembering to apply this. According to the description, it’s can be used for skin issues such as skin tags, warts, growths, and sun damage, as well as an eye shadow, highlighter, or concealer. I haven’t really had much to speak of in the way of skin issues at the moment. For those who use concealer or like a yellow shade of eye shadow, I think it would work really well. It’s very moisturizing, and turmeric has all sorts of benefits, so it’s nice to think about my skin absorbing that ingredient.

Seaweed and clay mask — I’m not a big mask person, but I actually loved the way this went on and rinsed off. At first I was thinking I smelled like sushi after applying (not necessarily a bad thing- yum!), but shortly after that I began to reminisce about the ocean, which was quite nice. I’d definitely recommend it for those who use masks. The great thing about powder masks is that they can just contain the plant ingredients and you can then mix with water, milk, yogurt, or some other carrier. I used water for mine, and it worked great. Other masks that come in squeeze tubes have to have preservatives to keep them shelf-stable, and therefore can’t really be purely plant-based.

Rose water cleanser — It has a nice, gentle foam. It made my face feel clean instead of greasy or dry. It has a lovely light scent, not overpowering at all.

So that’s my review. I am happy with the Good4You products that I’ve tried and would definitely recommend it to clients. There are so few companies out there that have products without synthetic Vitamin E (also listed as tocopherol) and other now popular preservatives such as sodium benzoate and others. I’m excited that I have found Jes! For those of you with a high bar for products that are going to go on your body, please give Good4You a look. I can’t wait to try some of her other products, including the aromatherapy oils, shampoo, conditioner….


Following Your Dreams

myrtlepoint

So that’s me, in my new pointe shoes. Pretty exciting, isn’t it? Well, maybe it isn’t as exciting for you as it is for me. You see, I have wanted to be a dancer since I can remember. Maybe since age 7. Big deal, you say? Isn’t that what many little girls want at some point, you might be thinking? Perhaps. But you could change the word “dancer”, and fill in any number of dreams that a person might have. I wasn’t supported in following this particular dream. For reasons that stemmed out of their perspectives and their love for me, the people in my life that would have been in the position to help me pursue this goal of mine were not of the mind to do so. So here I am, at my age (mid-life, a-hem), with my first pair of pointe shoes.

I share this because I think that others might be able to relate. You think you can’t do something — especially if it relates to your physical condition — and so you wipe it off the slate of possibilities. Let me tell you, I was not in the shape necessary to put these puppies on 3 months ago. No joke. In December, I received a huge gift of free unlimited dance classes for the entire month in exchange for being a part of a dance troupe that performed that month. I promptly scheduled as many of these as I could fit in and shoved all of my limiting beliefs (I’m not the right body type — too short, to stout, toes aren’t in the ideal formation, I don’t have time, I have a kid at home, I have a husband at home, I’ll have to wake up early, I’ll have to walk 5 miles round-trip to get to the studio, etc., etc., etc.) out the window. While I could still hear the racket they were making lying on the ground outside said window, I put my headphones on and drowned them out with motivation and determination. AND YOU CAN DO THIS TOO.

There is nothing special about me. Not in the general sense, that is. Yes, I am lucky that I have legs. Yes, I am lucky that I am able to move. And certainly there are others who cannot say this. However, among those of us who are fortunate enough to have so many of the privileges that we in fact have, I am not any more able to accomplish something like this than anyone else is. I worked my behind off, and surrounded myself with a supportive community of people who wanted to see me succeed. There was my awesome personal trainer who helped me — virtually, from across the country, no less — with short, manageable strength workouts, easy recipes, and just the right amount of kick-me-in-the-hiney-when-I-needed-it-ness. There was my husband, who sat down with me every single week to juggle his class schedule, his meeting schedule, our daughter’s needs, and my dance classes to figure out how to make this work. There was my daughter, who agreed to accompany me to class and busy herself quietly in the studio lobby when Daddy couldn’t stay home with her. And there were a goodly number of long-distance friends (I just moved to Berkeley, so my local friend list is a wee bit short!) who never once said, “Are you crazy? You’re too old for this!”. There were also classmates who lifted me up and helped boost my morale, teachers who helped with corrections and who were willing to stay late after class for all of my numerous questions, and other people I’m sure I’m forgetting. Were there naysayers? Sure. Some were quieter than others. But I rose above, and decided to kindly move away from those who were negative and unsupportive. And one of these people was a family member, so trust me, this wasn’t easy.

It’s taken me 25 years to finally get the nerve up to pursue this dream, but I did it, and here I am. What’s your dream? Do you need support? I’m here for that. I can help you make a plan and move forward with it. And I have a number of other support folks I can refer you to if you want even more help. Don’t let the negative thoughts stand in the way. We only get one chance with these bodies we’re currently in. Let’s use them in ways that make us happy. 🙂

<And just in case you wanted proof that those above feet are actually mine….>

gettingmybalance


Why Comparisons Are Not a Great Idea

 

compareapplesoranges

 

We’ve all been told not to compare ourselves to others, right? It started as a kid, for me. I am short. I got made fun of quite often in school for this. I have to ask for help when I need to reach something that’s high up on a shelf, or load/unload my carry-on on the plane, or turn off a tall lamp. And the list goes on. When I was young, kids would always stand next to me and say, “Oh my gosh, I’m taller than you are! I’ve never been taller than anyone before!”, then go skipping off.

This is just my example, but I’m guessing it’s one of many that we could all pool together. As we age we might engage in “organ recitals”, as my grandmother used to call them. If you’re not familiar, it’s when a group of people sit together and complain about all of their health issues. While some might just want to vent, others may take on more of a competitive feel. As in, “my health issues are better/worse/less/more than yours”!

Just last week I read this article about how weight — one factor that can affect overall health — can differ for reasons beyond what we might typically suppose. Could it be that it’s not as simple as we think?

My husband and I have always joked about how when we “split” foods, a healthy portion for me would *not* be half. When considering his size and metabolism versus mine, it seems logical that I should have a much smaller portion than he. And so I sigh when he takes 75% even while knowing it’s for the best! At the same time, I also see that he and I can eat the same exact meal, yet feel differently afterwards. For instance, I’m just now learning that wheat bloats me terribly and affects my gastrointestinal system in a completely different way than it does his. The reverse can be said for other forms of sugar that I can eat without feeling any ill-effects, while those forms cause a huge blood sugar crash in him that he can feel immediately.

Dr. Ahsan writes that differences in our bodies go beyond simple size and basic metabolism, however. The research she shares in the article points to how foods may affect everybody differently in terms of weight gain, and how it may not be as simple as “healthy” vs. “unhealthy” foods. The research she discusses also addresses the concept of low and high-GI foods, and a possibly different view than what you have heard before. It’s really fascinating stuff, and I encourage you to read the whole article.

This piece from the article sums it up nicely: “As they say, the widespread obesity and diabetes epidemics show that whatever we’re trying now to improve our relationship with food simply isn’t working. It could well be that they have hit upon the key to this – that until now we have completely misunderstood our own bodies and how food affects us.”

Given this information, perhaps we now have another — new and different? — reason to avoid comparisons when it comes to health and body type. Beyond the fact that it may cause us to have a negative attitude towards ourselves, which can have health implications of its own, it also may simply be that we’re comparing apples to oranges — so to speak.  😉


Why I Ditched My Mobile Phone

old phone

 

In Search Of: A phone like the one in the picture above. Bonus points if it’s an original that still works and not a replica made recently by a company wanting to capitalize on the whole “retro” fad.

Here we are, at the height of the technology boom, where 99% of the American population seems to assume that new inventions in anything with a battery are the best thing since sliced bread. Well, that train has left the station, and I’m still sitting on the bench. Actually, I’m not. I’ve finally gotten up and have walked away. I decided to walk to my destination instead of take the train. It’s better for me and more fun.

Okay, enough with the cute idioms. The story is pretty simple. I saw no purpose to having a mobile phone. I also have no landline at the moment. We’re about to move into a different apartment, so we figured we’d hold off on that. Last year when we traveled in Southeast Asia, we decided to cancel our phone plans and port our numbers to Google Voice. I used my computer to call friends and family while we were traveling. It worked out well, and I can continue to use that method to have conversations. All that’s needed is an Internet connection and a computer, both of which I happen to have since I’m a small business owner.

A-ha!, you say triumphantly. So you are not completely anti-technology, Meredith! Well, no. Never said I was. What I said was, I ditched my phone. Technology can be great in some instances. And I know that many people love their phones for many reasons, all of which may be completely valid for them. I never got into the computer-phone thing anyway. I stuck with my bar phone until I had to switch providers and then bought a flip phone. I figured, I have a computer at home, so why would I want another one? I’m okay without that following me around. Some folks name convenience as their reason for having a phone they can take with them. Fantastic! Live the life you were meant to live. As for me, I’ve just recently come to believe that people — in particular, those of us in wealthy countries — could possibly benefit from a little more inconvenience, for many reasons.

I am most enjoying my walks to my dance studio. It’s almost 3 miles each way. And the entire time I get to think. And look around. And just be. My daughter is most enjoying my undivided attention when we are together. My husband is enjoying having *actual conversations* with me instead of watching me multitask while he talks about his day. Oh, and I’ve taken up reading again. You know, actual paper books? They are divine.

So, in summary, I ditched the phone so I could live my life. The device seemed to be interfering with that. I’m enjoying my new (old?) life. And feeling healthier every day.


Being Your Authentic Self

dec blog photo

 

It’s late Fall here in the US. This is a time of year when many people tend to meet up with others to celebrate various cultural or religious holidays and celebrations. During this season we may be visiting family and/or friends we love, family we don’t know all that well or don’t generally enjoy spending time with, or attending social events for work/organizations that may include people we know as well as people we’ve just met.

Who are you in these situations? Do you find yourself spending time with people who know you well and love you for who you are — the real you? Or do you find yourself gritting your teeth, taking a big breath right outside the door of the event, and walking in hoping to maintain some shred of your personality by the end of the night? If you’ve ever left the house, you’ve probably been in at least one of the situations just described by the latter. But some of us find ourselves participating in more activities of that sort than we like.

Living in the world the way we do, we’re probably not going to be in situations involving conversations with others that we feel comfortable with 100% of our lives. But being afraid to be real, to share our real personality traits or reveal our real opinions, can be damaging over time. Part of looking at the whole picture of our health is to look beyond the every day choices for movement and food and think about how we are actually feeling inside. As in, our emotions. It’s very draining if we’re walking around with a smile on our faces in order to make others feel comfortable. Or if we’re hanging out with negative people even when we feel good, and then smushing (the technical term) down our happiness just so we don’t make our friends or family feel bad.

At what point do we stop the niceties and just be real? I know that when I look back at how I used to live my life, I can think of times when I’d be evasive at get-togethers when asked about parts of my life that I didn’t think people would accept. Or when I thought that if I answered their questions honestly, I’d make them uncomfortable. These days, I find myself just being me, regardless of where I am. I don’t see that it’s had a negative impact on my life over all, and quite honestly, I feel better about myself than ever before. I let go of worrying about what other people would think, or if I might make some people uncomfortable about their choices just because I didn’t live my life the same way they might live theirs.

Own yourself. You and all of the things about you, are awesome. So when someone asks what excites you, tell them. When someone asks what upsets you, tell them. If there’s something about who you are that you’ve been hiding, start by revealing that information to just one person. I know that some of you reading this might not be ready to do this. It seems too scary. That’s okay. For now, just think about how this might work and leave it at that. Some of you aren’t sure if you’re ready but might be willing to give it a try, and some of you have been ready for years and just needed a friendly push. Well, here’s your friendly push….sent with love.

Let me know how it goes.


Perspective and Health

attitudesgraphic

 

You’ve felt it before, I know you have. You’re doing just fine. Sitting somewhere, minding your own business. When out of nowhere, things change. Sometimes it’s a phone call. You pick up and the person on the other line gives you some information. Maybe you’re at work and when you hang up, you’re distracted. Other times it’s a piece of mail. You open it while making lunch for the kids. You struggle to put the paper back in the envelope and shove it into a drawer before they see your expression of exasperation or frustration or confusion. Or you’re out to dinner and you run into someone. An old friend. Or someone who used to be close with your family…the family you haven’t spoken to in years.

Things happen. Life happens. You can be moving through events and projects and relationships very smoothly, until you’re not. Transitions happen. Death, illness, moving. Promotions, transfers, layoffs. An exciting new career, a new friendship, a new family member joining the tribe. These things can be seen as good or bad. And not just depending on the situation — but also depending on one’s perspective.

“Think positive” is a well-worn phrase that really tends to rub some folks the wrong way. And I can understand that. Maybe that’s not always possible. Sometimes you need to acknowledge that things aren’t positive. But how long you linger in the muck will most certainly have an affect on your health. While I rarely claim to “know” anything definitively, this is the closest I come to knowing something. If you could go back in time to one of those earlier scenes I described, how would you feel this stress affecting your physical body? A headache? Tension in your neck? What about a racing pulse? And how would you notice it affecting your mental health? A sad feeling? A nervous feeling? Fear creeping in?

Regardless of what you believe in terms of why things happen – – luck, fate, the choices we make, the direction of a higher power — your reactions to them, both in the immediate and over the long-term, will affect your health. That doesn’t mean that you should worry about your reactions before they happen, or that there is some “perfect” way to react to every situation. Perfection is overrated. I am writing this piece because sometimes we need reminders. In a world where we’re told on a daily basis by external forces that there’s a formula to success, and that there’s a never-ending list of things we need to buy in order to be happy, we sometimes forget that it’s not true. We sometimes forget that while none of us are in control of every aspect of our lives, all of us are in control of how we think. And sometimes, that can make a world of difference in the health our bodies experience.


Nope, I don’t worry that I’m depriving my kid – – but thanks for your concern

Ah, Halloween in the United States (and probably other countries I’ve just never been in for Halloween). I’ve been hearing lots of parents talking lately about how much they absolutely hate this holiday. It’s not the pumpkin-carving, or the decorations. It’s not the haunted houses, or even the scary spiders hanging in the stores that freak their kids out (although I’ve certainly heard that once or twice from a parent). No — it’s the food issues that come up during this time of year. I’m just going to put it out there: Halloween brings up our “stuff” as it pertains to food, control, and our kids.

Every year, I am involved in conversations with concerned parents who dread having to navigate the candy/sugar/food-like substance waters with their kids. Some are happy with what they’ve devised to work for their families, but others feel like they need help. One mom on a local listserv I’m on asked for help from the community. In response, she was slammed. Shamed, made fun of, and scolded. It really angered me. The responders all told her to “get over it”, “stop being a party pooper”, and “just suck it up”. The thing is, I hear from clients who get the same sorts of support (or lack thereof) from family, friends, and community when they try to instill healthy habits into their families’ lives. THAT’S JUST NOT OK.

I’m sorry, but parents like this are NOT doing something horrible “to” their kids, and I’m tired of seeing the bullying from other parents. If you are happy with what your family does in the health department, great. If you’d like to share your experience, please feel free. If, however, you feel some reason to make someone else feel bad because you think it’s ludicrous that they might want to make a different choice, please move right along. We don’t need to hear from you, because that attitude is serving no one.

I was the only responder out of 25 responses to this parent that encouraged her to follow her gut, and that if she was really uncomfortable about the way she felt society was not supporting their family’s health values, that she could do something about it. Was this easy for me to do considering we don’t trick-or treat? Maybe. But am I responding to other people who have completely different health values from mine and telling them they’re ridiculous? No. I am not.

PLEASE — support your fellow humans should they decide to go against the mainstream way of being. You don’t have to understand it. You don’t have to agree. But it is their choice. And guess what? You may see it as, “oh their poor kids, they’ll be RUINED if they grow up to age 18 without ever having been given a bag of candy corn”. They might see it as, “The only thing I’m depriving my kid of is early diabetes”, or, “my kid is allergic to dye, so yeah, I’m depriving her of blisters in her mouth”.

Now if what I just said pissed you off, I’m sorry. But not that sorry. For those parents who feel that they will only have approximately 18 years to take care of their kids, and that at that point it will be up to their kids to do whatever they want to do for the rest of their lives, that’s a tall order. Many parents believe that they are actually helping their kids — not hurting them — by teaching them early on that they have options, and by providing them with nourishing foods, schedules, and lifestyles. These parents may also believe that they’re providing their kids with way more than a healthy household. They are also providing their kids with the knowledge that they don’t have to do what everyone else is doing, or eat what everyone else is eating, or have the same diseases that everyone else has.

So for those of you who do trick-or-treat — great! Have fun, and take a flashlight for when it gets dark. For those of you who don’t — you are NOT alone, no matter what others say. Have fun doing something else….fun movies with popcorn in the dark during trick-or-treat time is our family’s favorite past time. You can do this, and you are just as awesome of a parent as anyone else. Never doubt that.


LEAN Expectations is here!

I am so excited to announce that I am now certified to teach a fantastic course for expecting mamas. The course is called LEAN Expectations, and was designed by Dr. William Sears, a well-known pediatrician and author of over 40 books, including The Health Pregnancy Book, The Breastfeeding Book, The Attachment Parenting Book, and The Baby Book, just to name a few.

If you are in the Bay Area, please pass the word along to any women you know who are currently pregnant or perhaps are planning to become pregnant in the near future. Contact me with any questions, or if you’d like to take a class!

L.E.A.N. Expectations classes help women in any stage of pregnancy learn to make positive choices regarding lifestyle, exercise, attitude, and nutrition that will support them to have a healthy pregnancy and baby.

The three L.E.A.N. Essential workshops are –

  • Prepare RIGHT Now: Turn Your Pregnancy Into a Healthy New Beginning
  • Eat RIGHT Now: Experience Optimal Nutrition During Pregnancy and Beyond
  • Live RIGHT Now: Make a Smooth Transition from Pregnancy to Motherhood

L.E.A.N. Essentials workshops may be taken at any time during pregnancy, by women planning to become pregnant, or by those who have recently had a baby. Participants receive booklets, healthy snacks, and participate in interactive activities.

The L.E.A.N. Essentials workshops can be taken individually or as a series. Each workshop is 2 hours long.

 

 


Does Meal Planning Scare You?

If so, you are not alone! In honor of the upcoming Halloween holiday that is celebrated in the US at the end of this month, I thought I’d write my thoughts about a topic that many find scary…..Meal Planning. Boo!

All joking aside, I often talk with clients who think that meal planning is a great idea, but when it comes time to actually put a plan into place, they freeze. It feels like work, and anything that feels like work tends to get shuffled down to the bottom of the priority list, right? Hey, I get it. I’ve certainly had that thought of, “Ug, if I have to spend all day Saturday in the kitchen I’ll scream!” a time or two. But here’s the thing — every time our family gets into the groove of meal planning, we are SOOO glad that we did it.

In my experience, the planning part is just half the battle. Maybe you can make a list of meals, but when the time comes to actually make the meals, the plan gets put to the side. Therefore, when I advise folks about meal planning, I suggest that part of that process involves not just making the menu and purchasing the foods, but actually doing some of the up-front work on making the food as well. With multiple family members running in different directions, meals sometimes get overlooked. Then we are walking around through our day being hungry/grouchy/<insert other not-fun quality of having low blood sugar here>. Or how about the times when we parents make meals for our kids but then “forget” to make ourselves something in the rush to take care of everyone else’s needs? This affects everyone though, not just families. Individuals living alone might be working many hours, or have lots of irons in the fire, and before they know it, they don’t remember the last meal they had that didn’t involve speaking into the clown’s mouth.

What if you started out slowly? As in, just one cooked meal per week, which would only take about an hour of your time to make. If you make multiple servings, you can refrigerate or freeze leftovers and utilize them throughout the week. Then add on. Each week, if all is going well, then add another recipe. By the way, let me be clear by saying that by recipe, I do NOT mean a 27-ingredient-recipe-that-takes-3-hours-to-cook-and-involves-more-chopping-dicing-and methods-of-cooking-than-you’ve-even-seen-on-the-food-channel-shows kind of recipe. Nope. Not even close. Unless you really enjoy spending time in the kitchen, make it easy on yourself. There are numerous websites out there with a ton of recipes, so you can do an Internet search for the kinds of food you like (vegetarian, paleo, meat, crockpot, 3-ingredients-only, etc.). Read through the instructions and ingredients and pick out recipes that you think you can do. Also, if you subscribe to my newsletter (look over there, just to the right of this blog post, for the sign-up box! ———-> ) you receive a new recipe each month to add to your stash.

Or make it even easier and simply prepare categories of foods. For instance, pick your favorite bean (black? pinto? navy?) and make a big pot of those. Then chop fresh veggies to be used for a salad. Pre-wash some lettuce to go along. If you’re a starch-eater, make a big pot of potatoes/rice/pasta, or if you aren’t make a pot of quinoa as a meal accompaniment. Lastly, if you are a meat eater, pick a meat and cook it in advance. You can combine these categories at-will and add some seasonings to have a well-rounded meal at any point in the week.

Your challenge, if you choose to accept it, is to pick one recipe to make this week. That’s it. Then you just need to carve out the time to do it. For many people, this is a weekend. For some, it could be an evening. It doesn’t really matter when you do it, because you might be eating some of it right then, but you might not. There are no rules here — if 9 p.m., when the kids are in bed, or after your lacrosse game, or when you’ve finished dinner and are watching your favorite show is the best time for you to cook a meal, then do it then. When it’s done, store it however appropriate, then reap the benefits later in the week!

If you have any tips for readers on meal planning, including what’s worked for you in the past and what hasn’t, please comment!


Just Get Started.

Motivation. It’s a challenge for all of us at different times. I posted this article on my Whole Life Health Facebook page last week, and it got me thinking about the things that stand in our way when we are facing something that seems scary or new. In the article, it talks about the activity of yoga, and how many people think that they need a bunch of stuff to start practicing yoga. For people who aren’t even sure if they’ll enjoy yoga, this can scare them off. Who wants to invest time and money procuring a bunch of accessories, only to find that you don’t want to continue with the activity?

The article’s author encourages the reader to drop that feeling of not being able to start without investing in new stuff. She points out that there’s really nothing needed to get started out with yoga. No yoga pants, no mat….not even an expensive class is necessary. There are a variety of free videos available from either your local library or online that can walk you through a yoga class without having to pay a single dime. You can do yoga in any clothes that are comfortable. You can do yoga in a carpeted room without a mat, or you can use a towel from your bathroom if you need something underneath you.

Yoga is just one example of a physical activity that costs nothing to start. What others can you think of? One of my favorite minimalism bloggers, Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, has long held the belief that people don’t need expensive gym memberships or home gyms filled with equipment to get enough movement. He often speaks of one’s own body weight and the great outdoors as being all that’s required to support good health.

This might be a relief to you — or it might be overwhelming to realize that you now have a wide open door for movement! With nothing in our way, that can feel scary. Sometimes we use excuses as a way to keep from moving forward in life, whether it’s regarding exercise or something else. Just get started. Moving forward can only benefit you — give it a try and see!