Do you feel shitty? Here’s how to chase shitty away and be empowered!

For most of my life, I’ve considered myself to be confident, in-charge, and a positive influence on others. I’m proud of this and love that I can help motivate other people. But lately I’ve felt a little like an impostor so I’m here to fess up. Lately I’ve felt a little shitty. Can you relate? Do you feel shitty too?

Happy, positive, successful, hard-working, energetic, and confident are all descriptors of how most of us want to feel. Isn’t it interesting, though, how these feelings ebb and flow depending on our circumstances? And isn’t it even more interesting, that feeling confident and positive often depend on how others treat us and their opinions of us? We look externally for validation. We look to others to build our confidence. And when they don’t look back, or they don’t say the right thing, we quickly retreat to that shadow person – the smaller person, the one who lacks confidence, the one with the victim mentality where everything is someone else’s fault, the ornery, grumpy person that perpetuates more of the same. It’s shitty. It feels shitty. And it’s a waste of time.

For me, there are three things in life that can either make or break a person. To be grounded, positive, and IN-CHARGE, we need to eat a healthy diet, live a healthy lifestyle, and keep our stress under control. I know what you’re thinking. You think I say the same thing over and over and over. Yes, I do. That’s right. In my courses, we work on developing good, nurturing self-care practices and to some of you, that might sound silly. It also might seem like a very deficient sort of approach to feeling less shitty, or gaining confidence, or getting yourself out of a rut.

I would argue that having ONE THING totally under control in life is enough to pull you out of your funk. Think about it like this – have ever pigged out on half a box of Fruit Loops in a fit of self-pitty, or said no to a run that you KNOW would be good for you, but because you’re in such a shitty mood that you stay on the couch and fall asleep instead? Or your stress level is so out of control that you get in a fight with your partner just because he is there. Maybe he left his dirty socks in the middle of the room and the fight that ensues ends up in a discussion about divorce rather than finding a solution to that minor problem that really has nothing to do at all with how you’re feeling?

Just sayin’……

Consider instead some positive things that you can do that help you feel empowered. I love my plant-based lifestyle. Honestly, when things get depressing and when I feel like I have no control, I like to get in my kitchen and make stuff. It doesn’t really matter what it is. I find it soothing to cut up a bunch of vegetables and make and then freeze a ton of broth, so I can make soup quickly and easy in the future. Sounds mundane, doesn’t it?  And I’m sure it doesn’t sound like a solution to feeling depressed. But it’s ONE THING I can do to take control back.

When my stress level goes up, my chest feels tight. I get a weird feeling in my head as if there is a high-pitched whistle going off somewhere deep inside my skull. Can you relate? When this happens, a few deep breaths with long, and I mean really long exhales, helps bring down the tension. I love listening to podcasts, so if it’s possible during these stressful moments, I turn on a podcast and learn something new. Learning, to me, feels very empowering. It brings me back to confident-Alison, knowledgeable-Alison, the positive me that does not scurry away quickly when adversity hits.

What empowers you? What makes you feel better? Less shitty? Do that one thing. Seriously, if you’re feeling shitty like I have lately, find your happy place, your happy activity, and let it empower you. Calvin Coolidge once said “we cannot do everything at once, but we can do something at once”. What is that something? Maybe it’s not making soup or listening to a podcast. But what is it? Find ONE THING that leads you to being more healthy whether it’s eating good food or finding solace in the kitchen, going to the gym, or sitting quietly under a tree taking long deep breaths to bring down the tension. Pick ONE THING today and write it down. Commit to it and have integrity in what you’ve chosen. That means following through with your commitment. Make the commitment small enough, incremental enough, so that you’ll be successful. This, I promise you, will lead you to feeling more empowered. You’ll have at least ONE THING under control.

I gotta go. My running shoes and phone with a good podcast in queue are sitting by the backdoor. I’m going to run and learn something new and keep my grumpy shadow at bay.

 

Healthy Living Retreat in Northern Michigan

Be a part of this peaceful, relaxing, and nourishing Northern Michigan Retreat experience ~ Aug 10/11/12. The location is Central Lake at Yoga North. Rooms are shared by two people. Each room includes two beds and a private bathroom. Retreat includes two nights lodging, 4 plant-based meals, plenty of yoga, and downtime for you to enjoy the local area. Enjoy SUP, hiking, yoga, and plant-based lifestyle workshops to learn more about the benefits of this lifestyle including hands-on cooking and demonstrations. All sessions are optional.

  • We begin on Friday evening between 5 – 7:00 p.m. with a light plant-based meal and a quieting yin yoga practice.
  • Saturday morning will include a yoga flow at dawn, hiking in the woods, and play followed by a plant-based lifestyle discussion and demonstration which will lead into a delicious plant-based brunch at 10:00.
  • Saturday afternoon is free time for you to enjoy the area. You might choose to use one of the stand-up paddle boards, swim, hike, or just chill and reflect. A mid-day yoga flow will be offered that will add a little zip to your day.
  • Saturday afternoon will also offer a discussion on self-care practices inspired by the principles of Yoga and Ayurveda. You’ll like this and won’t want to miss it.
  • Saturday evening will include another light, delicious plant-based meal made from local ingredients from the farmers market. The rest of the evening is up to you, but you might consider joining the group for reflection, story-telling, and deep-listening followed by a restorative yoga practice.
  • Sunday morning, you may choose to join in a morning yoga flow followed by brunch between 8-9:00 with the remaining time open. Check-out is noon.
  • Early bird price is $250 until June 1. After June 1, $299. We have space for 20 and several spots are already reserved so don’t wait.  Sign up below and click here to make your payment.
  • For those who wish to arrive on Thursday evening or stay Sunday evening to extend your stay in beautiful Northern Michigan, your rooms will be available for the affordable price of $25 per night.
  • .

4 easy steps to improving your quality of life: pruning!

Have you ever had a garden or hedgerow that grew so many unwieldy branches and weeds that it eventually began to kill itself off? The important new growth was choked out while the branches and weeds continued to expand, moving across the landscape like a botanical amoeba from an early sci-fi thriller? You know what I’m talking about. The new growth underneath is stunted; it can’t see the light. Eventually, because it has no connection to the world outside the tangled mess of undergrowth, it slowly begins to shed itself, one small leaf at a time, and dies.

So it is with our lives filled with meetings, traffic, noise, chaos, conflict, hype, disappointment, and fatigue. It’s a metaphor. You probably won’t die because you spend all your time in meetings and conflict, but…..maybe you will. Like the overgrown garden, it happens gradually, subtly. You see the garden every day and you don’t notice. It’s there and you appreciate the robust life you see in it; growing, blooming, full of color and life. You ignore the signs below the growth – the slow browning and low thinning of the body of your garden, the new invasive weeds that, against all odds, pop up through the thick mass and simultaneously send deep tangled roots below that constrict the nourishment that your garden desperately needs.

Think about the metaphor for a moment. How have you engineered your life? Unknowingly have you allowed the invasive weeds with deep gnarly roots to take over? Are you overcome with stress? Do you lack motivation and movement; instead you watch and curse as your midsection stretches and morphs into something you swore you’d never be? Do you walk around in a fog? Or, like me, do you cry after a long day of meetings that led nowhere.

If so, try what I recently did. In March, I attended a yoga leadership retreat in Mexico. Yes, you should do that too, but that’s not the focus of this article. In Mexico, my coach led me and a cadre of yoga health coaches through an exercise she called pruning. It’s so simple – it takes only 4 steps.

Step one: think about who you want to be. Write it down. Be specific – I mean, really specific, and write this with no judgment, assumptions, and do not allow upper-limiting beliefs to hold you back? What does that mean? It means that you can be whoever you want to be. You can have the traits and behaviors you’ve dreamed of regardless of the limits you’ve put on yourself.  Stop reading and write down who you want to be and the attributes and behaviors you want to cultivate.

Step two: make a list of the things that are holding you back? Write them down. For example, I dream of being a completely calm, steady, and organized human being who approaches most situations and people with grace, wisdom, and integrity. For those of you who are laughing, stop it. I’m trying. I’m trying really hard…now back to pruning, and back to my example. Actually, stop reading and make your list of what is holding you back.

In order for me to be this calm, steady and organized person with the attributes listed above, I needed to cut back on my commitments (because I’m overcommitted in a serious way), and stop doing stupid things that bring no value to members of this community (like Powerpoint – seriously, who needs a Powerpoint presentation).

Step three:  learn to say NO.  For me, I needed to say no to subbing a yoga class when I already promised my husband I would actually join him for a dinner for once, no to attending a weekend workshop when I really want to go to Milwaukee for grandbaby snuggles, and no to meetings with no agenda or established outcome. So stop right here and make your list of no’s that you’ll stick with.

Step four: now that you’ve made time and space in your life to become the person you dream of being, you need to start adding in the new habits that will get you to that dream. So for me, I made space during my week by dropping two of my regular yoga classes. This made me very sad in the beginning, but at the same time, I’m thrilled because now I’ll have time to attend yoga classes and begin to focus on my own practice, which in turn will help me become a better teacher. I did simple math to figure out the value of this particular pruning exercise. The two classes I’m no longer teaching equate to 5 hours a week (planning, travel time to the studio, teaching the class, and closing up the studio). 5 hours X 52 weeks a year = 260 hours per year/ 24 hour in a day = 10.8 full days. If you had 260 extra hours or 10 days to use at your discretion, how would you use those hours?

One more example before I finish up this blog post. No more meetings without an agenda or an expected outcome. This one is tough. It’s less quantitative and more qualitative. If you go to a meeting with no agenda and you have not identified a specific outcome that you need, your meeting with go long, will be unwieldy, and you’ll end up scheduling a follow-up meeting….again, and again, and again. For my colleagues reading this, you may be rolling your eyes right now. I admit to the world that I am a work-in-progress. This meeting-adjustment thing takes structure, time, and persistence. It won’t happen overnight, and the results might not be obvious or immediately appreciated. The changes for me have been subtle. I’m not driving as much, I have more time to stay focused on my list of tasks that need to be done, and I feel better as a leader for not robbing others of their valuable time.

So I’ve pruned my garden and I feel better. I cut back the branches – it wasn’t easy because they are all beautiful and full of life. In pruning the branches, though, I’ve allowed space for new growth and now I can see the invasive weeds that have been growing. I can remove the weeds, all the way down to their gnarly roots, allowing my own roots the freedom they need to pull nutrients and nourish me as a person, a mom, a wife, a grandma, a leader, and a teacher. I am doing better staying calm and being steady, and yes, I still have moments of chaos and lack of integrity in my approach, but it’s getting better with each branch that I prune and with every weed that I pull. So prune and weed your garden and let me know how you feel once your roots have the space they need to grow and nourish you.

Namaste!

 

 

 

 

Modern Living Requires A Spiritual Reset

Have you ever needed a break? I mean REALLY needed a break? I have a solution. It’s called subtraction.

In Ayurveda, one of key prescriptions to a healthy life including a healthy clear and flowing mind comes from prana or breath. Prana coordinates our senses and mind, allowing us to become aware, flexible,  adaptable, and growth-oriented. It is the subtle energy of data behind all mind-body functions and is the catalyst for manifestation and evolution.

My prescription for prana or life-force for you is this:

Think about where you are in life right now. What do you need to clear to make space for the good things? What can go? What can be subtracted from your life? Just a few simple questions to get you thinking.

Tomorrow I will send out the first Spring Detox email to get everyone prepared. If you are in the Healthy Habits course or if you’ve signed up on my website, you’re all set. But if you have not and if you want to learn more about how to subtract from your life, clear the path, and add more space for the good stuff of life, sign up here today.

We will meet via video conference April 8, 15, and 22. Week one we ease-in. Week two we dive deep. Week three we ease-out. And week four, April 29,  we will gather at RedBloom Yoga and practice Kitchen Sadhana ~ a practice of preparing and batching your kitchen to better nourish you and your family. Make your kitchen your hub.

This is the good stuff of life. Make space. Subtract. Prana!

For the Health of It, Alison

Who wants to get dirty?


OK, I admit it. I used that title so you would click on the link to find out what I mean. Thank you for clicking! Stay with me… I’ll explain.

Many years ago I became obsessed with the health and wellness field. After watching my lovely parents both die from miserable diseases, I just could not ignore the pull I was feeling towards this topic.

My sister, brother, and I were intimately involved in caring for our parents as they progressed through illness and as they passed away.  After witnessing their decline and suffering, I dedicated myself to finding ways to help educate people about all-things-health and possibilities for a better future than what they may believe they have.

Several years ago I stumbled upon a podcast that featured Dr. Robynne Chutkan who talked about the microbiome in ways that I had never considered. The microbiome is defined as “…all of the organisms that live in or on your body: all of the bacteria, viruses, fungi, protozoa, and heminths (worms, for those of us who have them), as well as all of their genes” (Chutkan, Microbiome 3).

In a nutshell, Chutkan asserts that we can re-invigorate our microbiome by living dirty, eating better, and saying no to many of the Western medical protocols in place for managing minor illness. Yep, after reading and learning about Dr. Chutkan’s work over the years, I completely agree and would also add a heaping helping of healthy habits to the mix.  You can’t fix the microbiome without fixing your thoughts, behaviors, and habits because fixing things takes a little elbow grease.

Many of you know that I am a runner. You may also know that there are many days when I teach hot yoga super early in the morning, then go for a run, and then head straight to the office. Yes, that’s right! I do not always shower after these activities. This has been going on for a long time, so don’t be shocked. When I read about Chutkan’s mantra Live Dirty, Eat Clean, I was over-the-moon excited.

If living dirty and other simple lifestyle practices are good for my health and my microbiome, then bring on the dirt. Chutkan is a brilliant, highly credentialed researcher and physician so I am not going to try to paraphrase the things that she talked about in her recent presentation at the World Government Summit but I highly recommend that you take 30 minutes out of your busy day and listen to this presentation. If you suffer from auto immune disorders, gut issues, disease, obesity, even mental health related issues, this is important for you. Wait, never mind. Chutkan’s work on living dirty, coupled with mindful behavior changes, is important for EVERYONE.

If you are reading this, then you have already taken the first step toward better health. Read and learn all you can….be your own healer. I am so happy to have you a part of this community whether you’re reading from my blog, on our private Facebook group – For the Health of It, or are receiving this because you signed up for my newsletter.  There is a ton of good information out there and I do my best to filter through the noise and pass along information that I believe to be significant and important.  Chutkan’s work is both.

For the Health of It!

 

Spring Detox – get in now 2 for 1

Detox is a time for us to slow down and hit the pause button. Strange, isn’t it, that often the only time that we do this is when we get sick and are forced to slow down. Detox is an opportunity for you to cut back on unnecessary things that rob your important time, heavy processed foods that gunk up the digestive system, and habits that no longer serve the current-you.

Take time for yourself, for the simple pleasures in life, and find gratitude for you for all the incredible things that you accomplish every day, every month, every year. Detox happens twice a year ~ in the spring and again in the fall. It helps us press the reset button to feel better in our bodies and move forward into the next season.

Slipping into detox mode is only difficult when you put up barriers. As a community, we work together to ease-fully move into detox and collectively clean up our act. Our spring detox video calls will take place on April 8, 15, and 22 with our final session taking place at RedBloom Yoga on April 29th. If you can’t make all the sessions or be at RedBloom on the 29th, no worries.  All sessions including our RedBloom session will be recorded and posted on our private Facebook  group for detox members only.

During our last session you will learn about kitchen sadhana ~ a Sanskrit term for spiritual practice. Kitchen sadhana is the process thru which you will learn to habitually prep your kitchen for easeful living so you can better care for you and your family without stress, clutter, and frustration. Make your kitchen your home…..your family hub.

You can join the spring detox now for $79 and bring along a friend for free. Give it as a gift, share it with your neighbor or family member.

Sign up now and find out how amazing your mind, body, and spirit can feel after just one month of a little self-love and radical self care.  p.s. for those in our Healthy Habits 11-Week Journey, you will receive a complimentary pass to this and our Autumn Detox.

Spring Detox

Join the Spring 4-Week Workshop Coming up in April 

You can join me in April  and set your mind, body, and spirit right as you move from Spring to Summer in the Spring Detox. Take radical self-responsibility for your own body, mind, and spirit – become your own healer.

Did you know our habits are communal? You adopt the habits of the people you spend the most time with so choose to spend time with people who have a goal to cleanse, release, clear, and start fresh.

 

SHUT YOUR MOUTH!

 

Shut Your Mouth!

Stop eating!

Shut Your Piehole!

Okay, I know….this might seem a little aggressive and not very nice. But do these statements make a point? Well, yes they do.

Dr. Joel Kahn, a highly respected, vegan cardiologist said this on the Rich Roll Podcast this week – watch it here. I’ve been following Dr. Kahn for many years and am so happy when I learn that he’s recently been interviewed so I can learn more from him. His work and research is cutting edge and it is hard to argue the merits of his whole-food, plant-based approach to medicine and healing. Yes, he still does stents and aggressive therapy to save his patients the “western” way, but he does not take an overweight, chronically sick patient suffering from lifestyle disease like obesity, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes or heart disease, apply therapy and then let them go home without counseling them on lifestyle, proper nutrition, and providing steps to reduce the probability of re-occurrence of the disease.

We are SO lucky here in Michigan because Dr. Kahn practices in Detroit. If I ever need to see a doctor because of my heart, I’ll call Joel Kahn or another healthy lifestyle advocate. Hands down. No fat, squishy doctors for me. I want to hear a doctor say “shut your mouth and stop eating”. It’s really good advice.

In fact, shut your mouth and stop eating.  Try it today. Instead of 3, 4, or 5 meals, try two. Wait to have your breakfast until 10 – and then eat a light, fresh meal, one without eggs or bacon or sugar, or bread. You can do it….be creative. Try a piece or two of fruit with an avocado and a big salad with lots of greens, sprinkled with nuts and seeds.

Then for dinner at FOUR O CLOCK (yes 4:00), have a big bowl of homemade soup – maybe split pea, bean, minestrone, again, get creative. Below is a recipe for my favorite soup. This recipe came from Colleen Patrick-Goudreau who is a vegan activist (please, no debates here…I like her for many reason – her amazing recipes and work with plant-based nutrition, high among those reasons). Here is her video on eating plants by color.

Plant-Based Red Bell Pepper Soup

Grind up 1.5 cups of cashews in blender until smooth and set aside

Prepare or take from freezer about 6 cups of veggie broth

Stir-fry 5 red bell peppers and an onion until soft. I don’t use olive oil in my stir-fry – I just use a little water, but olive oil is fine.

Slowly blend the ground cashews into the veggie broth – I do this in small batches because it makes a mess if I do too much at one time. This should make a lovely thick broth. Then in small batches, take your cashew broth and add in your red bell pepper stir fry and blend until smooth.

You can add whatever seasonings you like.  I LOVE cayenne pepper but it’s HOT when I do that.  I also like just a little salt and pepper because the red bell peppers are so flavorful.  But you can add whatever might taste good to you.  Experiment.  Heat up and enjoy. 4 ingredients and maybe 30 minutes.

Now, back to the original purpose of this blog which is me being on my saltbox about healthy living and surrounding myself with healthy people….

Last year, I caught a bad cold (thought it was the flu), so I went to see a doctor, with the hopes that I could form a relationship with a physician so I’d “have a doctor” that I could call on if need be. This woman was credentialed, thorough, and I liked her a lot. And when she got close to me to listen to my lungs, I could smell her dank breath – you know what I’m talking about….a serious smoker. So I looked at her closely and could see the other tell-tale signs – lines around her lips and yellowed fingernails from a lifetime of smoking. Thank you for your service and bye bye.  No way am I going to see a physician, even for a cold, that is a smoker. I want advice from someone who is healthy and knows and practices lifestyle habits that will lead to a lifetime of thrive. Seriously, can you imagine taking medical advice from a smoker?

Shut Your Piehole! And that, my friends, comes from the mouth of my coach, Cate. I pay this woman gobs of money to coach me and it’s worth every penny. When I see her training videos, I see a woman who could care less about doing her hair or makeup. She’s the real deal. Most of the time if her hair is soaking wet on camera, it’s because she just finished riding her mountain bike up a mountain or had been surfing. She does not dance around how to get healthy. She is direct and clear. She makes her point without flowery language and she does not worry about telling someone to shut their piehole. Some people have accused her of being crass and offensive. To them she politely says “there are many coaches out there and I know you’ll find one that is the perfect fit for you”. Thank you, Cate. When I first found this woman, I knew I needed her to coach me.  She is a brilliant entrepreneur who has taught me as much about marketing as she has about health and lifestyle. My coaching program will end this summer and I’ll gladly hand over the same gob of money next year because I love and deeply value having this guidance, support, and frankly, a person who will tell me or anyone SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE.

So, to sum it all up, and to repeat myself yet again, surround yourself with the right people. We talk about creating a tribe, and indeed, For the Health of It, is here to give you the support and offer you a community of like-minded people who are also interested in healthy lifestyle design.

So SHUT YOUR MOUTH, SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE, STOP EATING, and get involved in this community. There are plenty of opportunities to learn for free, or you can join one of our 4-week courses, or the big kahuna like Healthy Habits coming up in March. Lots of options. Reach out. Don’t go it alone.

 

“We naturally become the people we hang around…”

“If you’re feeling stuck and struggling to make the progress you want, take a look around you.  Most people adapt to whatever environment they find themselves in. They have what psychologists call an “external locus of control”, where they believe factors outside of them dictate the direction of their lives. Consequently, they don’t take responsibility for shaping the environment that will ultimately shape them.

  • Who are the people in nearest proximity to you?
  •  How did they become your peer group?
  • Was it on purpose or based on convenience?
  •  Do these people hold you to a high standard?
  • Or, do they hold you to an even lower standard than you hold yourself?”

— Benjamin Hardy (to read Hardy’s article on group support, click here)

This quote arrived in my email box last week  from my coach, Cate.  I LOVE having a coach. Yes, I’m a  coach who has a coach! Everyone needs a coach – a coach helps you transform from who and what you are at this exact moment, to the person you dream of being.  Why?  Because, in most cases, your coach is simply one or two steps ahead of you.

For those who know me, you know I will NEVER say I’m an expert or that I have all the answers. Wait! Yes I will.  I am an expert at failing. I’m an expert at being average. I’m an expert at experimentation on myself. And I’m an expert at sharing my failures, being average, and letting you know what works for me, what doesn’t, and the potholes on the path ahead of you if you choose to remain on the same path with your health and lifestyle.

As Benjamin Hardy states above, we naturally become the people we hang around.  Look at your friends and family – sometimes they are exactly who you want to be. But often our friends and family are wonderful in many ways, but from a health and wellness perspective, they are no where near who we strive to be.

Our modern world is full of unhealthy food, unhealthy habits, unhealthy people, and a lifestyle crammed full of stress, hurry, and worry, with no end to the challenges we face as we work to be healthy. That’s why I have a coach.  And that is why I am a coach. And most importantly, that is why I have created For the Health of It.  This community is a group of people all interested in the same thing – we all want radiant health and a lifestyle that will support our good health now and well into the future.

I hope you’ll consider joining the upcoming pilot of my 11-Week Healthy Habits Journey where you’ll receive the guidance you need to reach your health goals, and you’ll receive support from a community who cares as much as you do about being healthy and cultivating a healthy lifestyle. The pilot is priced significantly lower than the next round, so if you’re considering it, reach out and let’s have a conversation.   For the health of it…….Alison