Monthly Archives: June 2015

Why you Need an Accountability Partner

 

Accountability Partner

When you’re on the path to becoming healthier, there are always going to be obstacles that will trip you up. Perhaps your office is always stocked with tasty treats, or you’re super busy chasing kids around and you don’t have time to work out, or you’re tight on money.

Buying healthy foods may seem too pricey and too time consuming to make it work. A trip to McDonalds or Burger king is surely the easier route to take! These obstacles are the exact reason why you need an accountability partner.

What Does an Accountability Partner Look like?

Accountability partners can motivate and support, but how much motivation or support is given depends on the person as everyone has different needs. Some people need a motivator who is going to pep them up when they are feeling down and others need someone to kick them in the butt and get them out of bed for a morning run.

It is true that there are some days when we need to be pushed, and some days when we need to feel the support and told that it is okay to eat that brownie. A true accountability partner will be able to determine the best approach to take to keep us moving down the correct path.

The biggest misconception about accountability partners is that they are just there to judge you when you mess up. This could not be further from the truth! A true partner will be there when you mess up and encourage you to get back in the game. If you were planning on being perfect on your road to a healthier lifestyle you wouldn’t need to be held accountable anyway! (more…)

Fiber Focus Friday: Breathtaking Blueberries

Featured today on Fiber Focus Friday is the blueberry. This fruit is a classic staple of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and desserts! The blueberry can be found in an assortment of different recipes with all kinds of different uses.

Its versatility is only the beginning though, as the blueberry is one of the healthiest foods you can add to your diet. There is no reason why you shouldn’t find a way to invoke the power of the blueberry and add it to your arsenal of go to foods.

In this post you will learn all about the blueberry, and questions such as where do blueberries come from, and how much fiber is in a blueberry will be answered. Also included is a brief guide to growing blueberries (with links), a list of health benefits you can receive by eating blueberries, and other fun facts about blueberries.

As always, please comment with any questions or suggestions for future foods to be featured on Fiber Focus Friday! (more…)

7 Outrageously Easy Ways to Reduce Stress In Your Life

7 outrageously easy ways to reduceStress is a bitter enemy. It can creep up on us when we least expect it and brings with it multiple consequences for our health and well-being. Doing what you can to reduce your stress now will pay dividends now as well as later on. The good news is that reducing stress is possible and you can start to put some of these 7 tips to work right away.

This article is going to discuss stress in general, the health consequences of a stressful life, and different solutions for fighting back and reducing stress. Please comment at the end of this post with some of the ways that you have been able to fight back and beat stress.

Why Stress is Killing You

Stress can cause many illnesses, and make you feel generally pretty terrible. The following is the list of possible consequences you might face if you are unable to appropriately manage and reduce your stress:

  • Increased risk of cancer and lung disease. reduce stress to save your life
  • Suicide can occur if stress leads to an overwhelming bout of depression.
  • Children who are exposed to stress are more likely to develop a mental illness, providing that there is family history of mental illness in the family.
  • Stress decreases our ability to regulate our emotions, which can affect our relationships, our jobs, and more!
  • Excessive teeth grinding due to stress can lead to teeth and jaw problems.
  • Heart disease and stroke can be caused by high stress levels.
  • Weight gain and eventually obesity due to the potential of eating a lot more when we are stressed. Take the classic ice cream binge for example!
  • Stress can actually cause you to age faster.
  • Weakened immune system which can lead to many other illnesses and issues with your health.

For ways to combat the rising tide of stress related illnesses we must take action using the following suggestions below! (more…)

What is Working for Me Right Now

Best weight loss system things that are working for me now“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.”
― Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Life is hard. It comes with a lot of obstacles, distractions, and is full of temptations. The hardest part is trying to navigate life and come up with ways to beat these challenges, and not let life beat you down.

My wife Miranda and I have been on a long journey to determine the best way for us to leap over the obstacles, avoid the distractions, and resist temptations. We have come quite a long way in this journey to figure this out and have learned that the best weight loss system is one in which frequent small changes are made to your lifestyle.

We have quite a few systems in place in order to keep us accountable. Some of the following ideas are still in the early phases, and others have been in place for years.

The most important thing to remember here is that you need to have some sort of plan or goal in your life. I guarantee you that if you are not moving forward in a positive direction then you are inevitable creeping backwards.

Start making a change for yourself today and don’t delay! Choose one of the systems described below or make up your own, but start taking ownership of your life. Start striding in the right direction and make some of the necessary Small Changes to get back on track! (more…)

Fiber Focus Friday: Sweet Potatoes, Nature’s Succulent Spud

Featured today on Fiber Focus Friday is the incredibly nourishing, wonderfully nutritious, sweet potato.  Sweet potatoes are an awesome high fiber food and are an excellent addition to a high fiber diet. Just like previous posts we will be focusing on the types of sweet potatoes, fiber content, health benefits, where sweet potatoes come from, and even some fun facts about sweet potatoes!

As always, please comment with any questions or suggestions for future foods to be featured!

The Sweet Potato Quick Fact Card

sweet potato health benefits are amazing

Fiber Content of Sweet Potatoes

The fiber content of a sweet potato is about 4 grams any way you slice it. If you decide to cut it up and measure it by a cup it will be 4 grams, and if you eat a medium sized spud it will be about 4 grams. As with apples, be sure to eat the skin to reap the most health benefits, as much of the fiber in a sweet potato exists in its outer covering. (more…)

The Cultural Dangers of Obesity Acceptance

Obesity AcceptanceThe idea for this article spawned from a discussion I had with my wife Miranda, her sister Justine, and her boyfriend Cam during our awesome trip to South Carolina. Please note that my intention is to spawn more discussion and to see what you as the reader thinks about this subject, not to force my opinion on anyone. Please comment below when you finish reading!

Initial Thoughts on this Subject

I write this article with the hope that my words will not offend. I am not in the business of judging you for the way that you choose to live, or for the circumstances that have existed in your life. I live in my own world filled with my own experiences and I accept that you do as well. My beliefs might not be your beliefs, and my values might not be your values, and that is okay!

I have always lived with the frame of mind that being open to others is the best way to be a true friend, and the ONLY way to truly listen to other people. If I am judging people with my own belief system and holding them accountable for something that they don’t believe in, how can that person ever truly trust me and respect me?

The answer is that they cannot. Respect is built upon accepting the other person for who they are and recognizing that we are all different and we each are entitled to our own thoughts and opinions.

I recognize that I can no more thrust my belief in God upon people than I can shove an apple in their face and tell them to eat! We all are in charge of making our own choices and, if we are honest with ourselves, our own mistakes.

All of this being said, it is important to seek truth and discussion with other people and to be willing to grow. My aim in this post is to talk about the danger of accepting obesity in our society while still remembering that people are people, and that everyone is indeed unique and that is okay!

I am going to first discuss the health problems associated with obesity, then I will delve into the reasons why it is so dangerous to begin to accept obesity in our society. I will conclude with hope for change and for ways that we can trend in the right direction, both personally and culturally. (more…)

Getting to Know Our “Gut” Chakra

The following post is a guest contribution from Kirstie Ganobsik at www.enlightenmentforschmucks.com.

Gut Chakra

DOES our digestive tract have a spirit? Many who have experienced irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or other problems with their gut would probably shout a resounding “Yes”. We might be tempted to paint this imp as an evil grim reaper type character who maniacally wields twin staffs of Gas and Bloat. Yet there is another, more accurate depiction of the energy surrounding our gut: in metaphysical terms, it is our power center, the place where we learn how to grow and properly direct our influence in this world.

This gut “spirit” is more commonly known as The Third Chakra, or the Solar Plexus Chakra. A chakra is simply a collection of energy surrounding specific areas of the body. Just like our stomach has a different function from our eyes, so too does each chakra have its own function. The Solar Plexus Chakra is not only associated with learning the proper uses of power, but also with issues of self-esteem and honing our intuition.

On the color spectrum, the energy of the Solar Plexus Chakra radiates a bright, beautiful yellow color when it is clear of any blockages. Yet, if access to it is clogged, so too are the gifts associated with that part of the body. That is one reason why it is so important to keep our digestive organs fed with the proper nutrition.

Jordan Ring’s article, Happy Gut, Happy Schmuck – The Relationship Between Gut Health and Mental Health, is an excellent source of using proper nutrition to aid in keeping the energy of the digestive track high. Below are some additional ways to help clear out our Solar Plexus Chakra of lower energies in order to promote both bodily and spiritual health.

1) WORK ON REPLACING NEGATIVE THOUGHTS REGARDING YOUR LIFE GOALS WITH POSITIVE ONES

Be as specific as you can here. If you’re unsure of your goals, simply focus on one dream of yours, no matter how far-fetched it may seem right now. In your mind, treat this dream as if it’s a given that you’ll get it. For example, I walked around saying to myself ‘I’m a New York Times bestselling author’ long before I ever made any of my writing public.

When we focus on what we really desire at our core, we’re able to bring to the surface of our consciousness any blocks to those desires. Once these blocks are exposed, they can be worked through one at a time. This clears out any fears we have about our ability to succeed.

2) MEDITATE ON A SELF-AFFIRMING THOUGHT

This is an extension of on the first strategy, but it takes it to a deeper level. Having the courage to work through the blocks to self-empowerment is immensely challenging, perhaps the biggest challenge in life. Taking time to shut off our thoughts each day helps increase focus and reduce anxiety so that this process becomes more manageable. This in turn better enables us to put our attention on the positive.

Start by finding a quiet place. Next, choose an intention for your meditation. For Solar Plexus Chakra clearing, try picking one that highlights how strong you are. An example of this would be “I am a powerful being of Light and Love.”

Next, take a few slow, deep breaths and turn off your thoughts. If they start to run amok, refocus back on your intention by saying it to yourself. There’s no specific length of time to do this for. Even going for 5 minutes will help with clearing the energy around you so you can start to feel more empowered.

As Ringo Starr of Beatles fame once said: “At the end of the day, I can end up just totally wacky because I’ve made mountains out of molehills. With meditation, I can keep them molehills.”

3) FORGIVE THOSE WHO SEEM TO HAVE HURT YOUR ABILITY TO FULFILL YOUR DREAMS

A lack of forgiveness of others is the equivalent of giving them power over us. This is because resentments of others drains away energy from our own goals. Putting the nix on these resentments in favor of letting go immediately increases self-esteem by allowing us to focus energy on ourselves and our dreams.

Forgiveness is no easy task, especially if we perceive that the person has tried to thwart our dreams. Yet it is arguably the greatest channel to high self-worth. This is because it allows us room to make lemonade out of lemons – to turn our greatest defeats into our biggest successes.

For help with some practical forgiveness strategies, the approaches outlined in 4 Fast Forgiveness Tactics provide insights on letting go of hurt by giving our goals priority over our pain.

4) EXERCISE OUT IN NATURE

Why nature? Because everything is itself, and doesn’t try to be something else. This makes nature very powerful. Walking or partaking in other outdoor activities allows some of that powerful energy to rub off on us.

To clear the Solar Plexus Chakra, it’s especially helpful to go to those outdoor places that make you feel strong again. This can be a certain park, a body of water, or anywhere that best helps you remember the Divinity inside you. For me, I love walking along the historic route of Old Worthington, with plaques detailing the settling of the city. Stepping in the footsteps of the founders and reading about the forging of the town inspires me to remember my own powers to create.

The great thing about exercising in nature is that it can actually double as a meditation practice if time is in short supply. Just focus on a self-affirming thought while you’re out enjoying some fresh air, and breathe in deeply the aromas that surround you.

5) BE PATIENT WITH YOURSELF

We live in a world where seeing is believing, and so clearing an invisible chakra that you may have doubts even exists is going to be challenging. It’s OK to be skeptical, but I’d recommend sticking with it for 21 days straight. Studies have shown that this is how long it takes to make anything a habit. If you do this, you’re going to start to feel more energetic, especially in relation to taking action on your dreams.

You’ll also start to experience more intuitive nudges about what specific steps you can take right now to feel on track to living your life purpose. This is because, as mentioned, the Solar Plexus Chakra guides our intuition – hence the term “gut instinct.”

And remember, just like cleaning your house, you can’t clear your gut chakra just once, but need to do so consistently in order to keep it free of clutter. Clearing our chakras gives us greater access to the Divine, whether we define that as a Higher Power or our own Higher Self. This helps tremendously with managing both our health AND our life goals.

Writer’s Note: While clearing the Solar Plexus Chakra is important to good digestive health and becoming more empowered, it’s helpful to make sure all your chakras are clear. A great source for information on this topic is Doreen Virtue’s book Chakra Clearing. Another is Caroline Myss’ book Anatomy of the Spirit: The Seven Stages of Power and Healing.

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Kirstie Ganobsik launched the new self-help blog ENLIGHTENMENT FOR SCHMUCKS in the spring of 2015. She is an aspiring author busy working on her first book entitled Stumbling Towards Enlightenment. She is also an auntie to seven nieces and nephews, a Mom to two fur babies, and a lover of all things coffee. She aims to one day use the proceeds from her writing career to open Purpose Schools to assist more people in fulfilling their Soul’s goals here on earth.

Fiber Focus Fridays: The Astonishing Almond

Featured today on Fiber Focus Friday is the astonishing and incredible almond! Almonds are an amazing food and a staple to any weight loss oriented fiber-focused diet. This post is going to focus on the types of almonds, fiber content, almond health benefits, the history of almonds, and it will even discuss some fun facts about almonds!

As always, please comment with any questions or suggestions for future foods to be featured!

The Almond Quick Fact Card

Almond Health Benefits

 

Types of Almonds

Almonds come in several different varieties that you can choose from to obtain the amazing benefits of eating almonds. The different types of almonds are listed below:

  • Roasted and Salted- In the Fiber Guardian’s humble opinion this is the best and most enjoyable way to enjoy almonds and still reap their excellent health benefits. You can find a bag of these in most grocery stores, and wonderful makes an excellent version!
  • Raw Almonds- Basic almonds that pack all the of the punch that nature offers.
  • Almond Flour- This is a great substitute for normal flour and is packed with the original goodness of almonds that includes being high in fiber, protein and antioxidants.
  • Chocolate-covered almonds- These almonds are still really good for you because you are still eating the entirety of the nut, but don’t go overboard with consumption here because chocolate is high in sugar!
  • Flavored almonds such as blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry made by Blue Diamond. Habanero BBQ is a crazy flavor, as well as Wasabi and Soy Sauce! These flavors might taste good like the chocolate covered almonds, but again be careful not to over do it!

(more…)

Why is Water Important? Drink Up Now or Risk Everything!

Why is water important?Research suggests that over 75% of Americans are going about their daily lives in a state of dehydration. This is most notoriously caused by the fact that water consumption has been replaced by soda, coffee, and other sugary beverages.

It is a common misconception to think that since coffee and soda are liquids then by their very nature they assist in rehydrating your body and keeping your body up to date with its water needs. In actuality the body needs to use extra water to break these fluids down and thus your body ends up losing water in the process!

For more on the soda and coffee dehydration factor see the 8 Common Myths About Dehydration page on Care2.com. (more…)

Take a Week (or Two!): The Health Benefits of Vacation

The health benefits of vacation“A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.” -Earl Wilson

 

I just got back from spending a week in South Carolina with my wife, her sister, and her sister’s boyfriend. We went to Hilton Head Island and we had a blast. Our days were spent on the beach, by the pool, eating at fancy restaurants, and playing board games. It was an awesome and relaxing week and it felt amazing. I still currently feel really good which is kind of crazy since it was a 14 hour drive to get back home!

Part of me is sad to be back home in PA with the chance of work on Monday at 100%, but the other part of me is ready to get back to the grind and back to reaching for my goals. I have been refreshed by time away from work, and I am ready to yet again tackle the challenges “normal” life is going to throw my way.

Sitting in an office having people throw papers at you is nothing compared to laying out on the beach, but I have reaped the health benefits of taking vacation in full and I have been recharged. How long I might stay recharged is another question entirely, but I know that taking vacation and days off from time to time is absolutely necessary to maintain productivity.

Is it time for your to seriously consider taking a vacation? What are the health benefits of taking a vacation? Do you really need one? the answer is a resounding YES, but keep reading! (more…)