01 May 2013

Losing Track of Time

Oh, hello May. Where do you come from?

I don't know about the rest of you, but time has not been on my side lately. We are getting ready to move soon and everything that comes with that is exhausting me physically and mentally. So my apologies on being a bit MIA lately. Unfortunately, I will likely be posting infrequently until things get back to normal(ish) in late June.

But enough of the pity party. Let's talk about time to put things in perspective. This is as much (if not more) for me as it is for anyone reading.

Uncommon Goods. I love this site. They've got some awesome gifts for hard to buy for family and friends.

5 minutes: Go through your closet and pick out 5 things that don't fit well, aren't flattering or that you just don't wear anymore. Put them in a bag to donate and give to a charity of your choice. Or, go through your pantry and pull out cans of food that you are not going to use and donate them to your local food bank or other charity. Just make sure the food you donate it not expired.

10 minutes (or more): Decide how long you want to be outside and just start walking. When you get to the half point of your time period, turn around and head back.

10 minutes: This requires a little bit of planning, but make guacamole. Chop up some red onion (or white or shallots), cilantro, jalapeno and tomato, if you like. Mix it up with some mashed ripe avocado, lime juice and salt and enjoy with tortilla chips or, better yet, carrot, pepper or celery sticks. Avocado has some great nutrients in it and is super yummy! Nothing like veggies dipped in a dip made with more veggies :)

15 minutes: Choose an area that needs a little bit of tidying up, set a timer for 15 minutes and do what you can to declutter it within that time. When the time goes off, you're done. If there's more to do, do 15 more minutes tomorrow.

20 minutes: Do a yoga "workout" from my favorite yoga dvd or one you own. I highly suggest one by Rodney Yee. I seriously love him. His voice is so soothing and his instructions are thorough without being too much. I rarely do yoga at home (the dogs and kids tend to get in the way of the "centering" and "relaxing" part), but every time I pull out this workout dvd, I feel awesome and vow to do it more often, even though I don't...I should work on that.

20 minutes: Take a power nap. Just make sure to get up in 20 minutes (maybe 30 at the most). I always have to set a very loud, annoying alarm. Napping for longer periods of time is generally not as helpful and will mess up your wake/sleep cycle.

Clearly, there is actually time to do things even though it certainly doesn't feel like to me. There are lots of things I want to write about here so I hope that I can find the time to sit down and get my thoughts on paper, er, the blog. I would be totally happy to let someone else write a few "guest posts" in my temporary absense if anyone has some good ideas for topics that would be appropriate. Send me an email using the link on the right side.

P.S. In the 3 months since ran with the crazy idea of starting a blog, this site has more than 1000 views now, from 5 different countries. Wow! That's really exciting to me and I'm so thrilled to have readers :D

18 April 2013


In light of all of the tragedies this week in the US and all the tragedies that go largely unnoticed around the world, I wanted to put out in the universe and the world wide web a little positive energy and message of LOVE. If there is one thing that the world will always need more of, it's LOVE, followed closely by ACCEPTANCE and FORGIVENESS.

Love your kids and tell them every day
Love your parent(s) and tell them regularly
Love your grandparent(s) and great-grandparent(s) if you're lucky to have them around
Love your siblings, best friends, and people you are fortunate to have in your life that genuinely care about you
Love your spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend or committed partner
Love yourself and be willing to forgive yourself
Love your neighbors, people you don't know, people you just met and plain old strangers
Love those people who rub you the wrong way (better yet, pray for them)
Love the folks who try to cut you off in traffic. You have no idea what they're going through and why they are in a hurry.
Love people in other countries who have so much bigger issues than you do even though you'll never meet in person
Love those people you are still holding a grudge against from 5, 10, 20 years ago and forgive them
Love those who have different beliefs than you, that speak a different language than you, that look different than you do, that have more kids or less kids than you do or that belong a religion you know nothing about

I have always loved this quote, credited to Mother Teresa, and written on a wall in her children's home in Calcutta. 

"People are often unreasonable, irrational, and self-centered.
Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives.
Be kind anyway.
If you are successful, you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies.
Succeed anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you.
Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight.
Create anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten.
Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough.
Give your best anyway.
In the final analysis, it is between you and God.
It was never between you and them anyway."

If one person can take this to heart today and it inspires them to do something nice for someone else without expecting anything in return or to forgive one person, I would consider this post a success. 

And one more really inspirational quote to send you on your way today by the incredibly wise Martin Luther King Jr.
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that."
I have no connection to the website this came from, I just really liked the image. And I do love you, just the way you are.

16 April 2013

A little more, a little less: Round 2

Much to my surprise and delight, my post talking about doing just a little more or a little less has been viewed often. So often, in fact, that it's looked at almost daily by someone around the world and overall has twice as many views and my next most frequented post!

First of all, I'm amazed that people actually look at the little blog site I've got going here! Thank you for stopping by, seeing what I have to say and making me feel like I know what I'm talking about :) Please feel free to leave a comment at any time or email me using the link on the right side.

Second, I love that this is the most popular post because it really encompasses what this blog is all about. The whole idea of Healthy Living for Real Life is that "being healthy" needs to assimilated into your lifestyle and your habits to be sustainable and that, even though its hard, it's totally worth it (and delicious to boot!). Crash diets don't work long term because you're subjecting yourself to unrealistic and unsustainable conditions. When you educate yourself and learn to start making better, conscious decisions, you really move along on your journey to healthy living. The popularity of one this post further justifies that this thinking has real merit (and that I'm not totally crazy, despite my husband's claims ;) ) and that other people out there are trying to make these small choices every day in their lives, just like I am.

So here are some more ideas for you. Remember, every little thing counts, good or bad. Try to increase your "good"s and decrease your "bad"s a little each day and your new healthy habits will fall into place.

A little more...
  • If you live within a mile from whatever store you're going to and the weather is nice, consider walking or biking there instead of driving. It'll be good for you and good for the environment and you won't have to worry about finding a parking spot. Plus, you'll build up some muscles lugging your purchases home.
  • Try a new vegetable. My sister, who avoided most all vegetables growing up, has declared each of the last few years as the "year of the ____" to force herself to at least be open to trying veggies more often. I think last year was asparagus. This year is the mushroom. A lot of times, childhood associations keep us from eating things that we think we don't like, or that we decided not to like as a child. Try them again and you might be surprised how much you like it now that your palate has changed and matured. This warmer weather is the perfect time to throw some veggies on the grill!
  • Read a book or watch a documentary to educate yourself about healthy living or personal growth. I have Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto, and Bittersweet: Thoughts on Change, Grace, and Learning the Hard Way on my to-read book list, as recommended by some of my favorite bloggers and their viewers.
  • Choose to words carefully. Choose to say "I don't [action you want to avoid]" rather than "I can't [action you want to avoid]". This simple change in syntax turns that thing you want to avoid into a choice rather than a limitation and you're more likely to stick with it! This article has the methods behind the study on this and it's fascinating!
  • Find someone with similar goals and join forces! Or, ask a friend/family member/priest/co-worker/anyone to hold you accountable. You could email/text them daily or weekly with what you have done and not done, ask them to check in with you regularly or even make some sort of penalty if you don't follow through what you've set up to do, like pay $50 every time you miss a workout! This article is really long but has some good points on realizing that willpower is a finite resource and how to help yourself use it better.
A little less...
  • Give yourself permission to stop worrying about things you can't change. By releasing your worries and anxieties, you make room in your life to think about things that really matter and put your energy into them instead.
  • Don't be afraid to say "no" if you are feeling overwhelmed by everything you have committed too. You're better off giving your full time and energy to a few things you really care about rather than a small amount of yourself to many different things. 
  • Use the off button. If you're like me and can't seem to find even 10 minutes of the ever elusive "free time", try to turn off those electronics that are your go to time wasters, like facebook, pinterest, video games, angry bird, etc. Try keeping them powered down and see if you find you actually have more time than you thought you did. The added bonus of not using electronic devices near bedtime is that your body will be more likely to drift off to sleep sooner. The light and stimulation from the electronics disrupts this normal process.
And lastly, in keeping with the adorable animal theme of the original post :)


13 April 2013


I was cleaning up around the house tonight and came across the card my sister sent me for my birthday. It's gorgeous and I wanted to share it with you. I hope you find it as uplifting as I did then, and did again tonight when I reread it.

In the power of wishes, hopes, and hugs.
That small things can be mighty,
And big ideas can be reality.
That anything is possible.
And most of all,
Believe in yourself.
I know I do.

This flower has nothing in particular to do with the card I got, but isn't it beautiful! Source

11 April 2013

On moderation

It might sound a little cliche, but one of my life mottos is "everything in moderation, including moderation".

The opposite of moderation. Source

People tend to go to the extreme when it comes to diet and exercise, as if small changes are insignificant. They aren't! And removing certain foods or food groups isn't necessarily healthy or good for you. Yes, we (Americans) eat too much salt. No, we shouldn't remove salt from everything we cook. I made bread one time and forgot to put the little bit of salt in it (1/2 teaspoon I think) and the bread tasted totally bland. Salt is a flavor enhancer and, used appropriately and in moderation, is not bad for you. Unfortunately, when you are not the one preparing your own food, it is very difficult to moderate things like salt and sugar.

Speaking of sugar...I love reading food blogs when I can, but some of the comments just drive me crazy!

     Got a few minutes? The parody comments on this recipe are hilarious!

Health issues aside, some commenters ask questions about substitutions (especially in place of white sugar) as if the recipe creator had not thought twice about what ingredients they were putting into that recipe. If the food blogger is anything like the ones I read, please respect their opinion and expertise that the amount is the best for that recipe (after various trials and experimenting). Second, white sugar, like salt, is not something that has to be avoided completely. Sure, most people eat way too much of it so there is good reason to scale back, but my opinion is, if you're going to eat dessert, eat dessert. If you are going to treat yourself to something sweet or "unhealthy", then do it in moderation and savor it. I generally don't buy low-fat or sugar-free or reduced-whatever food because the full version is going to taste better so I am likely to eat less of it, and it is also likely to have more of it's health benefits fully intact. The general rule is, the more processed something is, the less nutrition it maintains.

When things are made low-fat or reduced-sugar, a lot of times fillers are added in their place that are significantly worse for you that the original fat or sugar. I encourage you to do some research into the sugar and fat alternatives that food producers use these days to make these low- or reduced-fat/sugar/sodium products. You may be surprised at what you find. This page has some good points about why low-fat food can be bad for you and this one sheds light in to some foods that contain salt that you might not think of. Some things, like salad dressings, are actually easy to make yourself with ingredients you probably.

So what's my advice? Eat healthy, seasonal, local, flavorful food and you'll find you don't need as much of the other stuff anyway (salt, sugar, etc). Eventually, you might find that your tolerance for it has actually lowered. For example, I used to drink Code Red Mountain Dew and Venti Raspberry Mochas all the time back in high school and now, since I hardly ever drink soda, even Sprite is too sweet for me. This isn't to say I don't eat sweets, because I do every day, but I limit my intake and control how much sugar is in them by making most of them myself and being very particular about what I buy when I do purchase them. Eat whatever you want in moderation, choose healthy whole foods when you can, and really allow yourself to savor what you are eating.

And just a few other people's thoughts on the matter :)

Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity. – Voltaire

 It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato. – Lewis Grizzard

Did you ever stop to taste a carrot? Not just eat it, but taste it? You can’t taste the beauty and energy of the earth in a Twinkie. – Astrid Alauda
One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating. – Luciano Pavarotti