Resolve Well: Body

matthew-1AH! It’s the first day of the year!!! Have you joined the gym, yet? Have you lost those ten pounds?! Too soon? Well, you’re not working hard enough, yet.

Haha, just kidding. Remember this year that your resolutions take time. Your body doesn’t magically change and get rid of all that pie you ate at Christmas or all that wine you drank last night.

This year, we don’t just want to make the same ‘ole New Year’s Resolutions. We want to resolve well. We want lifestyle changes to start now and perfect for the rest of our lives, adding to them, revising and editing every New Year because we get this amazing opportunity for a fresh start. We want holistic change – body, mind, and soul.

As I’ve already told you, I have a plan. It took me a couple of weeks to develop, but right now I feel like I’m on top of this year. Today, I’ll share with you my “Resolve Well: Body” plan. I hope it’s pretty simple because both you and me tend to over-complicate life.

My motto for 2017 is “Be well”. I will repeat it as often as I need to. So, everything I do, I want to connect to that. So, under the BODY category of wellness, I have three goals:

Three Goals for Body Wellness

 

1)      Eat well.

 

Eating well is a very, very difficult thing for most of us, I would venture to say. It’s a complex task these days because we have so many options – and the easiest option is not the healthiest. I want to make my “food resolutions” to be simple. So, for me, to eat well means…

 

  • Eat often. 4-5x a day, depending on how late I wake up 😉
  • Focus on getting lots of protein, vegetables, and healthy fats.
  • Make healthy snacks to have in my bag when I get hungry!

 

2)      Do well.

 

Being active is almost as hard as eating well. If you’re like me, it’s soooooo hard to exercise! And when I can exercise, I just want to do something else (anything else, really). I reckon we have a very bad view of exercise (probably comes from middle school athletics). Exercise doesn’t have to be jogging or lifting weights. Though, if you enjoy that, then great! A couple of weeks ago, my husband said I could join a gym because he remembered I enjoyed it last I joined one. I chose one that has lots of classes – like yoga and pilates – because I like the classes. But more importantly, the gym I chose has a HOT POOL! And hot pools are way up there with my favourite things – like sloths and coffee. So when I go to the gym, I can listen to my favourite music or a book on tape to keep my mind away from how boring the treadmill is… and then I can wash off and go relax in the sauna or the spa.

 

Both my husband and I enjoy nature. So camping and hiking gets me outdoors and gets me quality time with my husband (contributing to mind wellness at the same time!). We also just got a kayak for Christmas! Talk about an arm workout! Being out on the sea or in the harbor is therapy on a different level (contributing to spirit wellness!). What?! I can multitask with wellness?! That’s awesome!!!

 

  • Gym 3-4x/week.
  • Be outside (hike, kayak, picnic).
  • Hydrate with activity.

 

3)      Clean well.

 

Confession. I hate showers. I don’t remember a time that I enjoyed them. Mom would wake me up and tell me I’d feel better if I showered. No. It’s soooo much work! You have to shampoo and rinse and condition and rinse and shave your legs and armpits with shaving cream and then use soap and then rinse out the conditioner hoping the knots in your hair come untangled and then you have to get out and be ineffably cold until your hair dries, which is a longer process with curly hair because it has to air dry after putting gel or mousse or both in it. I have to actually psych myself up to shower and that takes energy. Energy is a commodity. There have been times in the past five years that I haven’t been able to shower because I couldn’t get out of bed. If you have or know someone who has CFS/ME, you’ll know what I’m talking about. There have been other times when I had to choose between getting out of the house and showering because I had to decide which output of energy was most important that day.

 

Because this is my year of wellness, I want to dream big. And if I’m going to dream big, I need to set goals. Here they are:

 

  • Take all my medicine every day.
  • Use great products – like Arbonne, Origins, or New Zealand Eco products.
  • Keep my gut healthy so that my body will be follow suit.

I’ve signed up to be an Arbonne Independent Consultant, so I have a whole range of Nutrition, Skincare, Makeup, and Toiletries at my fingertips. I’m using these products for all of January, but most of what I’ve purchased will last me all year.

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Whelp, there ya have it. I’ll leave you with a list of resources here to help you along with your “well” journey.

My Arbonne Page – www.ashleyruthstirling.arbonne.com

A Little Sanctuary Pinterest Board – Adrenal Fatigue/CFS

Arbonne & Wellness: Why I Do Arbonne Post

30 of Health Living & Beyond PDF – Arbonne International

 

Love, Sugar, & Lifestyle

loveIt has been a whole month since we have cut out sugar! I really appreciate you guys doing this with me – it helps so much when it’s more than just yourself!

Every time I have tried to get off sugar, I’m reminded of how much it is a part of our lifestyle. We make desserts to cheer people up. Sometimes, we feel like dinner is not complete without something sweet to really finish it off well.

It’s amazing how much we encourage each other to eat – to eat a LOT and also to eat a lot of sugar. I think it’s because we really care about one another and sometimes making food is a way of showing that love. Because people love sugar and we love people, we make them cakes, brownies, and cookies as a visual gift of that love.

I will never, ever say that making a pie to tell someone you love them is wrong. Never. Because I grew up in that love, and now I identify that when people feed me, they love me.  I identify being fed with being loved and I like that. And there is nothing like my Mimi’s giant cookies or my Grandma’s rice krispie treats. I still believe – will always believe – that they heal all wounds in a way that an apple just can’t.

So I can’t justify telling you to never eat sugar when it is given to you as a gift. I cannot hold myself to that, nor should I.

But, I do know that when I eat sugar, I go overboard. So I, personally, have to be careful. Too much love can be unhealthy, right? Well, you know what I mean. When I was little, there was a couple in our church that I loved dearly. They made these cookies that, again, I identified with love. So I’ve made them a couple of times here for people, but I made HUGE batches of them. And I ate sooooo many Thompson cookies that I got a little sick. One cookie may have been okay… maybe two or three. But I need to accept love/cookies in doses, in a healthy way. Balance.

And so I offer to you this proposition at the end of “No Sugar September”. Live a lifestyle where sugar does not consume you – where you do not binge on sugar. If someone gives you a huge batch of sweet treats, eat a piece and be grateful, then share with others. If you make a huge batch of sweet treats, eat a piece and enjoy it, then share it with others. Don’t be limited to giving sweet treats. Share fruit from your garden – love does not only come from sugar. Love is found in all sorts of places! This I also learned from my family.

do-not-live-a-life-where-sugar-reigns-food-is-not-to-be-our-focus-instead-live-a-lifestyleI’ve learned healthy love as I’ve grown up because I’ve been very, very lucky with the family I have – from grandparents to aunts and uncles to cousins to parents, and even great aunts and uncles and second/third cousins. Love means telling stories and praying for one another at least three times a day, whenever you sit down to eat. Love is often centered around the dining table. Love is being fed and feeding others. But love is also spending time with others. Love has nothing to do with sugar, really, and everything to do with people.

Do not live a life where sugar reigns. Food is not to be our focus. Instead, live a lifestyle of love, loving others – everyone – loving yourself, and being loved by others.

Binge Eating Disorder (BED)

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We talked about binging and its connection to loneliness during our Loneliness Series here two months ago. But, I feel like this is, not unlike the others, an often misunderstood section of eating disorders. The pain and self-hatred that goes with anorexia and bulimia is just as strong as this one, but the physical outlook of it to others is different. Those who struggled with Binge Eating Disorder (BED) really hurt.

So, BED. What is it? Basically, Binge Eating Disorder, more common than anorexia and bulimia combined, is an eating disorder where the individual feels like they have no control over their eating. They have episodes of binging followed by guilt and embarrassment. Like bulimics, those with BED sometimes hide what they eat. They feel out of control, with no hope of breaking their binging cycle. It’s not just over-eating. It’s a neurobiological disorder (www1.bingeeatingdisorder.com), and needs to be addressed.

Here are some symptoms that will help us understand a bit more:

 

–          Binging at least once a week for a period of three months or more

–          Can occur in those who have a normal weight and those who are over-weight, including obese

–          Feeling loss of self-control over eating during a binge

–          Feeling loss of self-control over the amount of food you eat during a binge

–          When binge eating, you are eating very fast, eating beyond fullness, and/or eating a lot even if you’re not hungry

–          Feeling distress/guilt after binging

–          Eating alone as an attempt to hide how much you are eating

–          Eating more than most people would under the same circumstances

–          Don’t usually resort to over-exercising or purging

anorexia-2Many people with BED got there for a reason, and with many, there is something in their body or brain function that impairs food intake regulation and increases cravings. There’s still a lot of research to be done to find out the exact cause of this eating disorder, and as I’ve said before, it has only been recognized as a distinct eating disorder for three years. But, the recognition of this particular disorder means that hope and healing are more available now than ever before.

I’m willing to bet that for someone reading this post today, you can relate to some of these symptoms. Maybe all of them. My heart goes out to you. Binge eating is an emotionally painful cycle and for those with BED, that is even more true.

This Friday, I’m going to post on “Disordered Eating and Binging Struggles”, which I hope will give you hope and encouragement. But if you feel like you need help, I want to give you some suggestions for now:

What to Do NOW if You Think You May Have Binge Eating Disorder

 

1)      Talk to someone. Make sure it is someone who will not make you feel bad – who will be understanding.  Hopefully that can be your parent, a spouse, a friend. You may want to start out calling a helpline. Google one and make the call. Externalize so that you don’t have to carry the burden alone.

 

2)      Start a conversation with your doctor/nurse. They are there to help you and they should understand that BED is a legitimate eating disorder.

 

3)      Begin the journey of replacing food with something else enjoyable – something that won’t make you feel guilty. Start with an “Anti-Binge” list. I use mine often, and now I can even recognize when I need to read or journal without thinking about the pain I’m trying to destroy.

 

4)      Try to forgive yourself. You are not a bad person just because you binge. Hold on to that truth.

As with all the eating disorders, you are not alone. It’s estimated that almost 3 million Americans struggle with Binge Eating disorder right now. You may feel alone, you may even feel like you are in the darkest depths of loneliness, but you are not. And that is something to always, always remember.

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References

www1.bingeeatingdisorder.com/

The Auckland Food Show 2016

My best friend Ellen and I went when I was in New Zealand last year to the most wonderful place of all – a place filled with coffee and snacks and meals and all foods, sweet and savoury, hot and cold, mild and spicy.

That place – that glorious, beautiful place – was called the Auckland Food Show.

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Now, I don’t put many things on my calendar. I am known to be slightly clueless by those that know me best. But this one has been on both of our calendars for a full year. You pay $28 NZD to get in, but once inside, there is more food than you could dream up – even in your most wildly hungry imagination!

I woke up earlier than usual and drove to Ellen’sOne of the beauties of the Food Show is that many of the stalls give you a free bag with your purchase (cute, cotton bags), and before long, we were sticking our brochures and goodies in the mandatory Proper’s Hand-Cooked Crisps bags – filled with the likes of Kumara Crisps, Cider Vinegar & Sea Salt Crisps, Smoked Paprika Crisps, and Parsnip Crisps. Mmmm. I love that they give you a free bag and a free chip clip when you buy at their stall. house. After traffic and finding a parking place, we walked in to the ASB Showgrounds by One Tree Hill, dazed and confused.

We NEEDED coffee.

coffexpspsOur fingers fumbled futilely through the pages of the Food Show Showguide, scouring from back to front to middle and sideways – all in the hopes of finding the word “coffee” jump out at us and direct us toward our only hope. What is food without being properly equipped to face the day, after all?

Luckily, between our four caffeine-deprived crossing eyes, we found the C’s on the Exhibitor Listings pages. And there was coffee. Coffex Coffee. We walked briskly through Hall 1, then Hall 2, past all of Hall 3, and we finally found the stand in the 4th and final hall. It was glorious. I’m sure that when Columbus caught sight of the New World, he felt the same way.

We worked backwards with our coffees in hand, eating and drinking nearly anything and everything set before us on stalls – and I took every brochure I could get my hands on. Ellen had to hold my coffee a few times as my hands got full and fuller.

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One of the beauties of the Food Show is that many of the stalls give you a free bag with your purchase (cute, cotton bags), and before long, we were sticking our brochures and goodies in the mandatory Proper’s Hand-Cooked Crisps bags – filled with the likes of Kumara Crisps, Cider Vinegar & Sea Salt Crisps, Smoked Paprika Crisps, and Parsnip Crisps. Mmmm. I love that they give you a free bag and a free chip clip when you buy at their stall.

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Most of the day was a blur (after all, we passed over 250 food stalls!), but I do have some favourites that I can remember distinctly. And so I give you my Top 10 Auckland Food Show Stalls of 2016, counting down to #1, plus some of our other favourites!

Number 10 – Little Island Coconut Creamery

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Coconut is ethereal to me – like something the angels make in Heaven’s Kitchen while Gordon Ramsay is in Hell’s Kitchen. It’s so nutty and creamy and yummy. So, obviously, this was the stall I was most looking forward to.

We both had the coffee coconut milk, as well as the hot chocolate they made with their coconut milk. Although, the coffee coconut milk was quite as good as I thought it would be, it was still very good. The hot chocolate, however, was smooth and beautiful. Ellen is not always a fan of coconut and she loved it, so obviously, it had to make the top 10.

I would drink Little Island’s Coconut Hot Chocolate any day.

Number 9 – Fresh As

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This stall was one of my favourites last year as well! They do these gourmet-looking desserts in little clear goblets for hundreds of people shoving in, while other stalls are far less impressive in presentation. It’s magnificent. Their products are, primarily, freeze-dried fruit, so today we enjoyed a yogurt topped with plum slices and two mandarin pieces. Last year, I remember having a raspberry powder in my dessert. I love the tart-ness in the berry products, and the mandarins tasted like candy to me. We did note that you need something creamy with them because you’re missing out on the juiciness of the fruit. They are also offering some spices as well that I didn’t notice last time.

The stall is beautifully decorated with colourful recipe cards hung up along the middle. Well done, Fresh As! You make me feel like a goddess.

Number 8 – Goodbuzz Beverage Co

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I don’t know about you, but I do love a good kombucha. If you don’t know what it is, it’s a non-alcoholic, fermented drink filled to the brim with probiotics (good bacterias).

The people at this booth were fun, energetic, and obviously passionate about their product – and for good reason. This was different from other kombucha (booch, as they called it) – not quite so tart and sour, maybe? I like it. I like it a lot.

I like even more that they had a Cold Brew Coffee Kombucha. Ellen liked even even more that they had Feijoa Booch. I also tried Jade Dew Booch, which was once just green tea. All fantastic. To top it all off, their graphics and marketing is off the charts as well. Sucked me in like an oyster.

Number 7 – Forty Thieves

We were soooo full by the time we got to the Forty Thieves stall in the “Made of Auckland” section in hall 3, but I am so glad we stopped for a couple samples! Ellen tried the Sunflower Cashew Spread with Chia Seeds while I marveled over the delectable taste of Cacao Hazelnut spread with toasted coconut. No refined sugar – just sweetened with honey. It’s like Nutella, but tastes even better to me. And it won’t make me sick! I will definitely be getting this in the future!

Number 6 – Hogarth Craft Chocolate

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Like just about every other girl in the entire universe, Ellen and I love chocolate. Thus, we were delighted to find so many chocolate stalls this year at the Food Show! Of all of them (and there were some yummmmmm chocolates), this was our favourite.

The Gianduia Dark Hazelnut Chocolate made me swoon the most. But I definitely swooned at every chocolate the Hogarth booth put into my eager hands.

Number 5 – Angel Food Dairy-Free Products

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For about a year now, I have really had to go lactose-free – which means very sad things for me. No Stoffer’s lasagna, no Pizza Hut, no freakin’ cheese enchiladas. Life is hard. What’s a girl like me to do?

Uh… go to the Food Show!!!

Angel Food has dairy-free alternatives for people like me, and they are all delicious – not like some of that junk that tries really hard to be an alternative (think SPAM for steak). They have both smoky and regular parmesan alternative (which is what I purchased today), a mozzarella alternative (which is served at Hell’s Pizza now), and a cheesey sauce. The people at this stand are so very nice and helpful. We’re so glad they figured out how to help us continue our love for Italian food.

WP_20160729_17_27_03_Pro__highrespsNumber 4 – Living Goodness Sauer Kraut

It’s quite hard to go wrong with sauer kraut (well, in my opinion, anyway – I crave it daily!). But I was extra excited about the six kraut products sold by Living Goodness. If I heard correctly, I think he said that they just started six months ago. They’re best seller in Sum Kum Kimchi, which was only a little bit spicy for me – which means anyone else can handle it. My favourite was the Super Superkraut with a mix of cabbage, kale, and seaweed. They have krauts (all with cabbage) with various mixes of beetroot, red cabbage, celeriac, carrots, juniper, caraway, and dill.

 

 

Number 3 – Coyo (Coconut Yogurt Alternative) www.coyo.com

Three on my list is Coyo, which is dairy-free, refined sugar-free yogurt and ice cream. I had the chocolate coconut yogurt alternative. It was so very creamy and delicious. THEN, I walked a bit further and saw that they had ICE CREAM! We had the pina colada flavor, which was epic. But, they also have tamarind & sticky date, acai & blueberry, mango & lime, raw chocolate, vanilla & nutmeg, as well as a natural flavor. I am looking forward to enjoying these products many, many times in my future in New Zealand.

Number 2- Pure Coco

Not only were the products here impressive, fairly traded, top quality, and delicious, but the people at the booth were some of my favourites at the entire Food Show. They were so knowledgeable and so passionate about the product and the work they do with a chief in Fiji villages. They poured Raw Cacao Nibs into my hands and it felt like it was my birthday. Then I got to try their Coconut Cacao Nibs – a combination of the raw and their Organic Coconut Nectar Syrup, I believe. Their primary product in their EVCPCO (organic extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil). They also have skin care, as well as coconut flour and coconut sugar (which Mark & I love). So excited about buying from Pure Coco in the future!

Number 1 – Crawlers

Oh. My. Goodness. I can not believe that this was my favourite stall of the day. Can you guess what it is by the name – Crawlers?

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These guys (Dan & Matt) decided to forego an education and, instead, have set up an amazing company focused on creepy-crawlies. Insects. Yes, bugs. At the booth today, particularly crickets.

I’m just going to take this excerpt from their website, www.crawlers.co.nz, and stick it here for your daily dose of bug information:

“Edible insects have higher protein levels than beef, more iron than kale, and comparable levels of B1 and B2 found in Spirulina.” Other surprising information on their site includes the fact that crickets contain 1.6x more calcium than milk. And can you believe that cricket flour has 10 times more B12 than salmon! What??!!?

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To say we were impressed and excited about this booth would be an understatement. We loved it so much that we brought cricket food home – Pistachio Chocolate Chip Cookies made with cricket flour (dairy and gluten free!) and cricket bliss balls. They have quite a cool line of candles and framed insects on their website as well.

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There were many, many amazing stalls today at 2016 Auckland Food Show. The SpiceBoyz Telza sauce was another of my favourites, and I love Soul Organics Cold-Pressed Juices (especially the carrot/apple/ginger/lime/turmeric one). The mild garlic seed mix from Something To Crow About was really impressive, and I definitely want that in my pantry at all times from now on. St. Andrew’s Limes is something I’ll be looking out for as well. And the people at the True Honey Co. were stellar. Super excited to try their Manuka! And it’s always exciting to see Trade Aid & Loving Earth. They are both some of our all-time favourite brands.

All in all, it was an amazing day with my best friend. And we all know that there is nothing that people bond over quite like food.