Are you overloading your plate?

Do you over-load your plate? Do you eat when you are not hungry? Are you comfortable in your own company?

Ok, what does the last question have to do with eating and what is on your plate? I ask that you stay with me on this exploration.

One of the things that has really come to my attention, the last two weeks is how well I do ‘busy’. I do ‘this and that’ and rearly stop, slow down and just pause. Last Tuesday I arrived at my dancing class 30mins early, and as it was cold I decided to stay in the car until class. I thought this would be a great opportunity to sit in stillness. I sat there, watching the trees, breathing in and out, noticing the rambling of my thoughts. A good percentage of the time, I was wishing to pick up the phone and flick through FB. Why? Do I not like my own company? What is it about my ‘four walls’ that I am uncomfortable with? This lead to another thought….How often do we avoid looking deep at what is making us uncomfortable?

How do we do this avoidance:

  • we over eat
  • we eat when we are not hungry
  • we eat when we are bored
  • we use social media to distract us
  • we flick on the TV
  • we become ‘busy’ doing things that are not urgent at the time
  • we go shopping
  • etc……….

In a nutshell, we over-consume. Our society is geared to support our overconsumption. None of us want to feel like we are missing out, being left behind or that we are not good enough. All uncomfortable emotions.

When we experience an emotion that we find uncomfortable, we have been taught/conditioned to ‘stuff’ it down by distracting ourselves. How do we do this distraction? Any of the above plus a whole lot more. How do you distract yourself when you feel uncomfortable?

When I asked “Do you overload your plate?” Did you answer “Yes”. If you asked me, if I overloaded my plate, I would say no. I only put on my plate what I know I can eat. Yet if we expand plate to mean ‘the time I have in my day’, then the answer would be yes. I overload my day (plate) with too much. Why? I feel I ‘should’ be doing…….I run my own business, so there is SO much that I have to do. If I don’t do ‘it’, no one else will. If I dig deeper, this doing, doing, doing and not pausing was modelled by my Dad. He would only rest, when his body made him, via a migraine. He was also vocal about people he thought were lazy and therefore not ‘doing’. So in my ‘busy’, there is no way I can be classed as being lazy. This is only one aspect of my doing.

What about the second question? “Do you eat when you are not hungry?” Yes I do. I am still working on the conditioning, that I have around having to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, because it is morning, middle of the day and evening. In part this conditioning is due to society. At school and work we have designated times for lunch, and if we do not take that time to eat, we are not able to take it at another time. A sense of missing out, being left behind and not being part of the group is instilled. Let’s now expand this question to….”Do you consume (eat) when you are bored (not hungry)?” Can you sit with yourself or do you flick through social media, turn on the telly, go shopping etc? There is nothing ‘wrong/bad’ with these activities, it is more are you doing them to escape yourself.

This then leads us to the third question. “Are you comfortable with your own company?” If you are not, then my invitation to you, is to get curious about what it is about you, your company, that you are uncomfortable about. With this line of enquiry, you will learn more about yourself and then you are able to let go of those thoughts, beliefs and habits that are making you uncomfortable.

We all crave deep connections in our lives. These deep connections are created by spending quality time with family, friends, pets, those we wish to have deep connections with. In order for us to have a deep connection with ourselves, we then need to spend quality time with ourselves.

My invitation to you this week, is to experiment with one of the following:

  1. Create space in your schedule for connecting with yourself. Ideally daily, however, as often as you can, is better than not at all. Make yourself a cuppa, juice or greens smoothie and then sit quietly. If you are concerned that you will run over the allocated time, set an alarm, so you can now just be with yourself. Allow thoughts to come and go. Have a note pad and pen handy, as you may find, that in creating space in your busy day, inspiration may visit. Observe how you feel at the end of the day and at the end of the week.
  2. When putting food on your plate, observe yourself. Are you eating because you are hungry? Have you over filled your plate? Are you bored? How are you feeling? The more often you do this, you will come to realise which foods you reach for, when you feel a certain way. This is the first step in a greater understanding of your emotions and the connection they play with the food you eat. I have written two post about this What are cravings? and What message is your food telling you?

For me, I am learning, that by allowing myself space/stillness, my days don’t feel so frantic. I am also learning the art of ‘being present’ and how playing with the doing and the pause, I can achieve more with grace and ease.

Have you had any ahh’s reading this post? Which invitation are you going to do this week? I would love to hear from you and how your week went and what you learnt about yourself. Please send me an email.

In vibrant health, Vicki

 

What message is your food telling you?

Have you considered that the food you are craving or desiring can tell you something about what is going on for you? That your food has messages for you, when looked at, in context with what is happening in one/or all areas of your life?

For a long time, I didn’t think much about the food I was eating. Initially it was ‘just’ food, to fill a hole, so I could continue with more important things. Then it became ‘good’ and ‘bad’ food, depending on what my weight goal was and how well I was achieving this goal. My definition of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ changed over the years when I stopped looking at weight loss as the goal and started looking at health and vitality as my goal. This has now evolved to “What is my body trying to tell me?” when I look at what it is that I am craving or desiring.

First lets look at craving and desiring. If I asked you to tell me the foods that you crave, most likely you would tell me a list of all the ‘bad’ foods like sugar filled, fat filled, junk food or drink. However if you dug a bit deeper and started observing what you are reaching for, you might find that there are ‘good’ foods that you also crave (or desire). Not only are the messages coming from the ‘bad’ foods, they are also coming from the ‘good’ foods. I did a post on cravings which you can read here.

Let me give you a couple of examples of cravings/desired foods that I have been reaching for in the last few weeks.

Mango, Baby Spinach and Kombucha Green Smoothie. This has been my go to smoothie for the last 3 – 4 weeks. I absolutely LOVE the taste, and as mangoes are in season, it’s no surprise that I have been using fresh mangoes. But having the same smoothie every day? For me, this means there is something about the energy of this smoothie that my body wants. Energy? The vibration of the ingredients combined. A quick snap shot:

  • Baby spinach – is green and green relates to the heart chakra. So there could be something about opening and purifying the heart energy. In Chinese Medicine, green relates to the Wood element. Metaphorically the Wood element relates to having ‘roots’ to sustain growth and/or enough fuel to sustain your passion. It is also about whether you have enough structure to achieve the growth.
  • Mango is orange, and orange relates to the 2nd chakra – creativity. So there could be something about my ability to be creative. Mango is sweet, which relates to the Earth element in Chinese medicine. The Earth element is about ‘having your feet on the ground’ or being grounded and centred. Again there is an element in having enough roots to nourish growth and stability to give form to my dreams. The two meridians associated with the Earth element are Stomach and Spleen. These two meridians (and the physical organs) are about digestion, so the message could relate to my ability to digest events happening in my life.
  • Kombucha is a fermented drink and full of good bacteria. Again something to do with digestion.

When I look at all of the above and also what has been happening in my life the last 4 weeks or so, the message I take away from all this is my need to support my digestion (metaphorically) as I have been studying and learning a lot of new information. This new information has needed to be ‘digested’ so that I can assimilate it and then work with it. I will be using this new information to create (the creativity) new workshops and products for my business. For all this to be successful I need to be ‘grounded’ in the work. This means to really understand the information, not just from a head perspective but from a deep understanding/knowing perspective.

How interesting that I have been supporting my learning through a green smoothie that I have been desiring and consuming the last 4 weeks. It is only in the last few days that I actually have taken notice of the messages this drink has been giving me. I will be journalling some more, to find out if there is more information or messages to be received from this beverage.

The other food that I have been desiring is Rocket (arugula) for the last week. I have been eating this lunch and dinner each day. Very unusual for me to have the same green each meal and especially rocket due to the bitter taste. What is the message of rocket:

  • Rocket is bitter and bitter tastes belong to the Fire element of Chinese medicine. Metaphorically bitterness relates to being on the edge, over-stimulated or living on adrenaline, ready to fight or flee at any moment. It also relates to a need to stimulate the creative juices. The Fire element is about the ‘fire in the belly’, “Is there enough?”  The Heart meridian, which belongs to the Fire element, relates to your ability to communicate within your Soul. “Are you able to receive these messages and are your able to communicate your message?” It could also relate to conflict between your logical thinking, intuition, wisdom or emotional feelings. 
  • I spoke to my mentor and coach, Karen Knowler about this and she felt that the rocket was supporting me/fortifying me for a new level in my life. The bitterness is strengthening me in a way I need to, preparing me for opportunities in the future. What these opportunities are I do not know.

So looking at all of the above and what I have been feeling I need to do or bring into my life the last week, the message I am seeing is the need to ‘pause’ more each day and to connect with my Soul. ‘Being’ rather than always doing. I have had this belief that stillness/pause doesn’t achieve ‘stuff’, it is only in the doing that achievement happens. I saw stillness as a reward and not essential. It is nourishment like the food that we consume and the air that we breathe – it is essential. As I mentioned for the Green Smoothie, I have been studying/learning a lot and so there will be new opportunities that open up and new ways that I will be ‘doing’ things, so I can see how the fortifying and strengthening really fits into it.

Incredible that on a level that I am not even consciously aware of, the food I am consuming is supporting me towards me dreams and goals. All I have to do is stop, observe and then be prepared to dig a little deeper. Once I receive the messages, then act of what it is I am being told.

What are you craving or desiring? Would you like to dig a little deeper? If you would, send me an email by completing the attached form. I would love to support you on finding out what messages your food is telling you.

In vibrant health, Vicki

What does Lammas mean to you?

A month has passed in this new year and we are now in February, which marks the transition into Autumn for us in the Southern Hemisphere. This transition into Autumn, is celebrated in August, for those in the Northern Hemisphere.

Not only do we experience the turning of the seasons as Mother Earth does, we also experience every season in every aspect of our lives. A relationship ends (Winter), the birth of a child (Spring), the growth of a business (Summer), the sharing of a meal with friends and family (Autumn). My blog post discusses the different seasons, also the known as the Wheel of Life.

However unlike the seasons which have a set time (days and months), we do not know how long we will experience the ‘season’ we are currently faced with. From my own experience, I have found that looking at the metaphor of the ‘season’ and applying this to where that ‘season’ is visiting me, in my own life, I have been able to gain some wisdom from the situation. This then allows me to respond, rather than react, to the circumstances. It also reminds me during the difficult times, that this ‘season’ too shall pass.

For our ancestors and those connected to the land, the transition into Autumn marked the the first of the harvest festivals known as Lammas. Lammas comes from the Saxon name for ‘feast of bread’. It was a time when community came together to pick and sort the grain and bake the first bread of the year.  A time to celebrate the hard work that had gone before. It was also a time to be grateful for the abundance that was coming into their lives.

Most of us in the modern world, are so far removed from the natural cycles of the seasons, the crops that are grown and the trials that our ancestors had to endure. There is plenty all year round and most of us want for nothing.

How can we connect back with the cycles of Mother Earth and the wisdom she has?

We can embrace the energy of each of the seasons, as we journey through Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn and use the metaphors that each season speaks.

Lammas is about community, beginning to harvest the ‘seeds’ that you have sown, and being grateful for the abundance in our lives.

  • Are you part of a community?
  • What endeavours are you working towards with this community?
  • Is the project fruitful, bringing joy and connection?
  • Can you share with your community, your pains and heartaches, as well as your hopes and dreams?
  • Does the community ‘wrap’ itself around the individual who is experiencing pain, holding them, as they grapple with their loss? Or is the community only connected in times of abundance and joy?
  • If you are not part of a community, why not?
  • How can you create this sense of togetherness, while still being independent?
  • Have you been tending your ‘seeds’ (goals/dreams)?
  • What have you been tending, that has ripened and requires harvesting?
  • Can you see the abundance in your life?
  • What are you grateful for?

Lammas, however is the first of the harvest festivals. There are two other harvest festivals to celebrate, which means that not everything has ripened yet. 

  • Are you pushing to bring a project to fruition?
  • Are you able to allow the natural ‘unfolding’ of the situation?

For more information about the different festivals see my blog post.

I invite you to take a moment now and look at all the areas of your life:

  • Relationships
  • Business/Career
  • Spirituality
  • Social
  • Personal Development
  • Finances
  • Health

Are you experiencing the energy of Lammas in any of these areas? If so how would you answer the questions above, in relation to this area of your life? Take some time with this. I find journaling a great way to gain clarity.

Did you find the metaphors helpful? I would love to hear, so please leave a comment below.

If you would like more support with navigating through the ‘seasons’ you are experiencing, please send me an email to set up a coaching session.

In vibrant health, Vicki

‘Grab-and-Go’ Green Smoothie

Morning times can sometimes be a crazy time, so one of my favourite things to grab is a Green Smoothie. What are Green Smoothies? Read an earlier post here. This is one of my favourite as I LOVE mangoes and when it’s summer I indulge as often as I can. I have pictures of me as a young child sitting in the bat tub with my sister, each of us with a whole mango in our hands. What a greta way to keep the mess in one place and then be able to wash us off afterwards.

‘Grab-and-Go’ Green Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1 ripe mango
  • 1 cup filtered water or your favourite nut milk
  • 1 cup baby spinach

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a high speed blender, I use a Vitamix, and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into a your favourite glass and enjoy.

Note: If you are running out the door, pour this into a bottle to take with you or make it the night before and leave in the fridge, so it really does become a ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast.

I would love to hear what your favourite green smoothie is. What is your ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast? Please leave a comment below.

In vibrant health, Vicki

How to stay focused on your health goals.

Are you starting to wonder how you will stay on top of your health goals, now that the new year is in full swing?

School is back, we are back at work and the rhythm of the year starts to kick in – mornings become getting kids out of bed (if you have them), getting ready for work, the kids to school, then work itself, then the afternoons are kids activities, our own activities, homework (kids and our own), dinner, cleaning up and bed to start it all again the following day. Busyness of the day has just gone up a notch, so how do we keep motivated and on track, to achieve any health goals that we set at the beginning of the New Year?

One fabulous tool is Menu Planning. Ok it doesn’t sound sexy, however it will support you in a number of ways:

  • staying on track for your health goals
  • being more organised
  • stop the “What’s for Dinner?” questions
  • reduce or eliminate impulse purchases
  • reduce the weekly food costs
  • reduce food wastage
  • reduce takeaways, as there is “nothing in the fridge!”

So how do you menu plan?

Pick a day where you can sit down and plan the following weeks meals. Ideally this is before you go grocery shopping. Then consider the following:

  • are there any mornings that you have to be out the door earlier than normal?
  • are there any evenings with late commitments (kids or your own), which means preparing and eating dinner is going to make it very late?
  • any days with commitments over the lunch period?
  • do you have any social engagements?

 

Note any of the above onto your Menu Planner, as you will want to factor these in when planning the meals. For instance, on the mornings you have to be out the door super early, you could plan a ‘grab-and-go’ breakfast for that day like a Green Smoothie or Chia Seed Pudding, which is made the evening before. Evenings when you will be getting home late, you could plan a leftover meal from the night before or have a frozen meal that was prepared the weekend prior. Working through lunch could be, meeting the client at a cafe that will support you on your health goal choices or taking a packed lunch.

This is all about being creative, so that you can still focus on your health goals, with out giving up on them because ‘life’ is too busy and wont let you.

Now that your commitments are on the Menu Planner, fill in the Menu Planner with breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack ideas. For me I have accumulated a list of recipes that a quick, easy and tasty, which cater for more than the meal that they are being prepared for. This way I have left-overs for either lunch or dinner the following day. This also allows me to factor in my other commitments. I will also have one or two evenings where I create a meal from a new recipe I have found or one that has inspired me. This way, I am always adding to my growing book of recipes.

Prior Preparation

Another important note to add to the Menu Planner, is any prior preparation that is required. There is nothing worse than pulling all the ingredients out for dinner and realising that the nuts needed to be soaked or a sauce had to be made the day prior. On the Menu Planner, I will note any prior preparation on the day before, eg if I require Almond Milk for the Green Smoothie for Wednesday, I will note on Tuesday that I need to put the almonds onto soak. This way on Wednesday, I can make the Almond Milk and then make the Green Smoothie. If Wednesday is a ‘grab-and-go’ day, then I will note on Tuesday evenings to make both the Almond Milk and the Green Smoothie.

Once the Menu Planner is completed, I will list all the ingredients I require including the amounts. This includes the spices and herbs. I will then check the pantry to see what I already have, marking them off the list. I now have my shopping list for the week.

Like any new habit, initially menu planning can take some time, however with practice, it will become easier and the time taken to plan for your week will decrease. What I love most about menu planning, is knowing that I am focusing on my health goals and those times when I am not feeling very inspired, I know that I have the ingredients to create a yummy meal.

Here is the Menu Planner I use.

Have you tried menu planning? What has been your experience? Do you have any tips to share, that have supported you when menu planning? I would love to hear so please leave a comment.

In vibrant health, Vicki