Breathing During a Cold Weather Run (and a warming soup recipe!)

What’s a runner to wear during these cold months? On this cold and drizzly morning I bundled up and layered on my long sleeved shirts and threw a sweatshirt on over it all, complete with gloves and hat. The crisp air feels amazing on a run, I wasn’t about to stay inside! Let’s not let anything stop us! The cold weather can be the BEST weather to run in! If you’re a runner you probably agree with me, unless you love the heat and enjoy sweating like a river. I DO know people like this. But for me, the crispy cold is inspiring. It awakens my mind and makes me feel more aware! How about you?

Layer up! If the cold air bothers your lungs, practice taking a breath in through the nose to warm the air, hold it inside your lungs for a few seconds before letting it back out through the mouth. (This kind of breathing can also help you work through side aches and other annoyances during a run.) And as always, ALWAYS breath through your lower diaphragm and not your chest. The burning sensation you may experience when running in cold weather will probably decrease tremendously if you are breathing properly.

Tonight is Halloween night, and it’s cold and drizzly out there, folks! So I have this soup ready to go tonight when we get home from our favorite festivities. It’s warm, super flavorful, and it might just maybe help detox a little from the sugar rush. I don’t have a specific recipe here because I didn’t measure anything! But make it your own and use what you have! Do you have veggies leftover from the weekend? Soups are incredible ways to use leftovers. That’s my go-to “no waste” strategy! Also, for plant-based eating, squashes beans and peas make perfect thickeners for sauces and soup stocks. You’ll never have to use flour, oil, or dairy again to make sauces and stocks that are thick and creamy. AMAZING.

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A Challenge on Being Intentional and what to expect from this blog moving forward.

Dear Friends, it has been a fabulous week writing and publishing one post every day. I hope you heard my heart on the things I am passionate about and maybe caught the fire to continue on this journey with me! I can’t wait to keep learning, discovering, and living life well together, restoring our days to the fullest they can be.

Here’s what you can expect from Restoring the Day going forward from this week. I plan to write two posts per week, and see where that takes us! Expect to see posts on Mondays and Fridays! There’s a great place to subscribe to get email notifications when I write a new post- it’s on the top right sidebar of my site! Check it out, lets stay connected.

This week’s posts will focus on fitness and food, especially as we head into the holidays, we need to stay focused on wholesome healthful living! And I’ll also let you know how my intentionality challenge is coming along!  (I can hardly believe it!) I’m feeling quite a bit better here coming out of my back injury and I am ready to hit the gym a few extra times this week. Who’s with me? On days I’m not at the gym I’ll be working with body weight at home, and I’ll post some ideas for you!

And now for this week’s challenge: Intentional time. I like to think that I do pretty well at being intentional with the people around me. But when life gets complicated and schedules get messy, it’s easy to feel very distracted and lose my attentive listening ear. I can feel my mind wander so quickly. While having floor time with my little kiddos, even before I can say “let’s pretend…,” my mind has already wandered to thinking about work, yesterday’s conversation, or whats for dinner. So I’m challenging myself this week to make sure I’m totally aligned with what is in front of me at the moment. I’m challenging myself to turn off the distractions, give myself some grace, and just love on those around me with all that I am.

In what ways are you going to practice being intentional this week? Do you have any areas in life you know you need to be more intentional in? Let’s keep each other accountable and be each other’s support!

 

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Restoring Healthy Money Habits: just a few ways I spend less

I’m working on some amazing plant-based recipes to share with you all! Some super simple things you can throw together and be on your way, and also some delicious, warm, flavorful recipes to compliment this gorgeous fall weather we are enjoying! This week, the grocery budget has been spent, so here’s to creative meal planning! Stay tuned! I’m also running low on bananas (panic!). I’ve frozen some, so we will enjoy a couple of days of delicious banana ice cream. Can’t wait.

We had a big job change this summer, for both my husband and I, and life took a totally different turn than we ever would have expected! We still have some shell shock I think. But it’s going to be great. Still, job changes have a way of draining your emotional tank and your financial tank!

Living on little is no big change for us. It’s  just a matter of how “little” little is, for that month. And this is most of us, unfortunately! The biggest thing we all NEED to remember is that we are not alone! Not that we should all worry about how little we have and go around sharing that, but honestly, we all need to be honest and encourage one another to optimize what we have and live well enough within our means! A huge percentage of us in this world live paycheck to paycheck. We know that. And it’s important for us all to have goals as to how we will work our way out of that slowly but surely, but in the moment, what can we do to more than just survive?

There are TONS of blog posts out there about this. Trust me, I’ve looked at most of them. Many of them fabulous. Mine is nothing special or extraordinarily unique, but yet another perspective I hope you can find inspiration in, if you find yourself in this situation. Here are some fun things I did this summer to make not spending money slightly more enjoyable…

  • Surrounding myself with a couple people in the same boat as me. This was so helpful. When I get overwhelmed by our circumstances, I ask God to put someone in front of me who might be in the same position. Without fail, I’ll talk to a friend or meet someone new who is having a similar struggle. I love this! It helps get me out of my own head and focusing on what’s important – the teamwork of life! Helping one another!
  • I create challenges or goals for myself to put an optimistic spin on things. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very easy to feel down if you’re having financial troubles, especially when they carry on for some time. But one way I spunk up the process is creating zero spending weeks. How creative can I get with what I have? Some days sure it feels great to grab a latte on the go when I’m feeling less than optimal. But I don’t NEED that latte. So I make it a fun challenge to see how long I can go on what I already have.
  • Speaking of coffee, I gave it up. Now goodness gracious I’d never say that you’d have to give up coffee to live frugally. But when I eliminated my “need” for a hot cup of coffee (because if I didn’t have it I’d get a monster of headache and a slug of fatigue to the face) I was freed up from having to buy it for the home (and the non dairy creamer to go with it! $$!) And now when I have the means to grab a cup of my beloved hot beverage on the go, it’s with a friend, or for a good reason, and I can truly enjoy it.
  • I learned how to shop overstock grocery stores. Odds are, your area has some kind of resource like this. Overflow groceries from larger stores come there when they’re close to expiration but still perfectly good. Discover resources in your area! I’m there are some. Groceries can be (and should be) a large expense because we need to be mindful to eat healthy food that will nourish our body. But do what you can!
  • I used this as a time to discover my true self. This is my favorite tip! It’s true, even my decision to stop eating animal products came out of simply making conscious decisions about everything I do in life, in a goal of living better within the means we’ve been given. I do so many less things on a whim, and feel like my life is so much richer as I make conscious decisions every day to live fuller, make an impact on people, especially those closest to me, and live with freedom. A friend inspired me to go on a “no spending spree” when she told me about hers. I loved it, and felt so empowered. Give it a try! Try not wearing makeup for a while (and thus not using it up!) and I bet you’ll begin to feel more beautiful. Don’t head out to buy a new shirt when you’re having a down day. Don’t even think about it. Discover a new outfit combo in your closet you already have! Focus on your beauty on the inside instead!
  • I found a financial guru I could identify with. Some of the bigger names out there are great, but I felt like I couldn’t identify with them very well. The one I identify with has some fantastic resources on budgeting, especially for when your needs exceed your means. Lauren Greutman is my guru of choice, check our her awesome resources at her website here. My favorite quote of hers is a reminder to “stay within the fence”. She says that when referring to building your budget and knowing what ‘staying within your means’ looks like for you and your family, because that looks different from family to family.
  • Find NEW ways to be generous. My husband and I love to be generous, but we rarely feel like we can be because we are often financially limited. So we have found creative ways to be generous with our TIME! A wonderful resource that we have, and have a responsibility to use wisely, just like money.
  • The obvious –  find ways to make extra cash. If it’s possible, definitely don’t be afraid to make temporary sacrifices to achieve your goals.

I could go on and on with this list, lots of day to day living tips I put into place this summer to help us live deeper within our means! Really, I this post could be very very long. I’ve found ways to make spending less very practical and fun, and I feel like I’ve tried a million things and am finding what works. But I’m constantly getting more ideas, so I’m sure there will be plenty of more posts on this in the future, if you like them and want to see more, make sure you let me know!  For now, these are the big tips that help me power through and give me motivation to do all the other little money saving things even better.

Do you have tips for spending less and living within your means that have totally helped you and changed your life for the better? Comment below!

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Changing My Plans and Readjusting my Goals:

Write your ideal life down, if everything could be perfect… then draw a line through it. And open up your mind to the reality that something totally different and better could be about to go down. That’s what I did this summer, I decided to hold my goals and dreams with an open hand. I realized I had spent a good chunk of this season of life swimming in disappointment because some things were just not turning out as I had planned. While these feelings are valid, I realized they were robbing me of new discoveries, joys, and  from the excitement of being able to set brand new goals!

The joy of getting married, and of having children, and of just living on this earth with all these other humans, is that sometimes we have to readjust things a little bit. Life is not just about us, we are a team. Especially within the family unit. My own and everyone else’s goals somehow all get the privilege of meshing together into something greater, with more impact than mine, alone, could have

I was getting into the comparison game thinking “Why am I not farther along? Am I terrible at managing my life? Of all my goals, how many life goals have I actually reached?” Well this kind of negative self talk is totally full of lies. First of all, I’ve reached a great number of my personal goals! And then some! And my life is already way more fulfilling than I could have imagined it to be. I’m beyond blessed. But now, even more, my eyes and my heart have been flung open to bigger potential!

Who ever said that by now I’d have to have X amount of dollars in my bank account, a house with a hefty payment and new cars, oh yeah… and all the rest of life figured out? And certainly no personal flaws. (yeah right.) I think this is a false vision I had of adulthood. I also have this issue with wanting to make sure people see me as totally capable, having it altogether. But the truth is, I don’t, and I know I’m among friends here. I’d like to drop all of my illusive “goals” and where I think my life should be at by now, and open up my hands to new goals and a better future.

I LOVE thinking about this. I love the possibilities that start popping into my mind when I open myself up to dreaming again. It’s easy to start losing dreams and throwing goals to the curb when we start getting overwhelmed, stressed, overworked, or just tired of our current circumstances. But when we pour energy into our life and and hold our goals with open hands, we are going to receive great things out of it, and we are going to have an impact.

Is it time to set some new goals? Maybe life has changed for you just enough to bring you back to the drawing board and it’s time to take a new look at things with a fresh perspective! I challenge you to physically write out your ideal life and then draw a line through it, signifying that you’re ready for the next phase of life! Ready to be shaped and molded and changed for the better!

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What I Eat in a Day and Getting Enough Calories (on a whole foods plant based diet)

Alright, I’m very passionate about this topic. During my high school years I totally messed up my hormones and the health of my body with one simple mistake. I totally deprived my body of the amount of calories it needed to truly function well. I was eating very healthy foods! But not nearly enough of them.

When I got re-interested in healthy living after the birth of my son in 2013 my sister Theresa suggested that I could actually HEAL my chronic problems with my hormones with a real food diet. Even the thought of that makes me smile – when eating a real food, whole foods diet (non-processed, very healthy, mostly produce), you can either be left with some nutrient deficiencies and a major calorie deficit, or you can totally thrive! Well, having experienced both ends of the spectrum, I’m here to tell you what all the hype is about when it comes to eating good, wholesome food from the earth.

Clearly we all know that running through a fast food drive-through will give you an incredibly substantial amount of calories, but they are NOT the kind of calories your body needs to function at optimal levels. It takes a little more thought and purposeful intention to make sure you are getting enough calories in your whole foods diet on a daily basis so that you can thrive. Calories = energy. Remember that! Not enough of the right kind of calories will result in fatigue, lethargy, and moodiness, not to mention the harm it can do your body systems at large. (So will large amounts of the wrong calories, which most of us know, too!) We need to feel our best so we can BE our best!

Since 2013, my journey to discovering what life can be like living on whole foods has been incredible. Challenging, but worth it all, and it has landed me finally being able to make sense of my body (and still eager to learn more!). Making the switch to plant-based foods this summer has totally been where I really finally felt connected with my body, and I heard my body say “Alright, now you’re getting the hang of this.”

I do think that counting calories can be very beneficial to help people lose weight. I would never say it wasn’t, because so many of you have fabulous success stories. But the problem comes when you’ve counted calories and reached the perfect number for your goal, but they’ve all been the wrong calories that aren’t optimizing your body’s output. Not saying that’s you, but it’s a concern when counting calories. A couple meals of takeout will get you to a calorie goal, but be largely nutrient deficient.

Thankfully, there is a huge trend today for healthy eating. But there are so many different views and plans out there, and everyone thinks theirs is the right one, the only way to eat and be healthy. And most of them revolve around weight loss being a great result. True, being a healthy weight is extremely important. But so is the health of our mind and soul, and even the health of our earth, and how we treat our food- all of these things are affected by the choices we make regarding what we eat.

I chase around my kids all day, my husband and I are both on our feet all day for our jobs, we work out several times per week and burn 500-600 calories in a single cardio workout when we aren’t training for something. Plus, they tell me that breastfeeding burns another 500 calories or so, so bring it on! It’s very important to me that I get enough calories in my day (good calories!), if not, I’ll see my energy start to really drop mid day and my milk supply plummet.

I always start the day with a large jar of water with freshly squeezed lemon. I love this, it’s become my lovely habit to sip this since I gave up my coffee addiction. More on that later! Smoothies loaded with fruit and bananas, maybe some chia seeds or a vegan protein powder (if I feel I need the boost). I eat a good number of bananas per day because they are filling and nutritious, at about 100 calories per. I’ll make sure my hubby and I both have 5-7+ bananas in our morning or post workout smoothie. (Tip: A banana is FULLY RIPE when it is covered in brown spots. Not just a few brown spots and the tip is still green… no, LOTS of brown spots. That’s when it’s actually digestible. Most people think they can’t tolerate bananas, I was one of them, because they’re actually eating an unripe banana which is mostly dense, indigestible starch instead of easy to absorb sugars your body can readily use.)

The morning is mostly filled with fruit! Glorious beautiful fruit. (I’ll be posting in a later post on why fruit in the morning can be the best choice) At lunch and dinner it’s time to eat seasonal veggies, starches, lots of greens, and some gluten free grains. For dinner I love eating a massive salad the size of me… a massive bowl filled with greens, and whatever else I throw on top. Amazing…….

What we eat is SO simple, SO easy to prepare, and minimal cleanup. No scrubbing sticky pans. Yes! And it energizes us for our day. It’s also pretty darn affordable! See my post for how to eat plant based on a budget here. Check it out! I focus less on recipes, and more on meal assembly to save time and stress.

Looking to develop something similar to this plan in your home? It can’t and shouldn’t happen overnight, so to speak. Start with baby steps! What works for you? Maybe you eat pretty well already, but have let some processed foods slip back in. I can relate! Or maybe you need to start from scratch, what would be baby step number one? Maybe making sure you’re home at least one to two nights a week to make sure you can prepare your food at home and get the most out of your calories? It’s always healthier that way!

Connect with me on instagram to see more of what I eat and do in a day to support a healthy and active lifestyle @susan_restoringtheday

 

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Back Breaking Stress & Practical Ways to Rest

Earlier this year when my daughter was born, I was healing great, better and faster than I had experienced with my son. I felt spry and ready to hit the road running. Literally! I was ready to pull out my running shoes and whip my body back into shape. I felt like supermom. But at my six week mark, postpartum, I was having one of these “I feel like supermom” days and decided to try carrying both my fussing children at once, on an icy sidewalk… it did not end well for me. Thankfully, my children were just fine and unphased by the trauma! I, however, suffered a compression fracture from falling, all my body weight plus the weight of my two children in my arms – my arms too busy holding them in safety to even think about catching my own fall – and that was that. A spinal compression fracture. Ouch. I felt out of commission for a few weeks, but that was the thing –  I couldn’t be! I had littles to care for, and I could barely lift my infant, let alone stand to make a meal! Let me be quick to say that I have a wonderful husband who was very helpful at this time, except that he was simultaneously recovering from surgery to repair a torn ACL. We were hardly a good team at this point.

I didn’t rush to the emergency room, or anything, even though I probably should have. I did not know I had suffered a compression fracture until six months later when we finally got an x-ray taken. My advice to you would be, if something hurts in your body so badly that you’re nauseous and unable to lift more than a couple of pounds, among other symptoms…. please see your doctor. Let me just say that. But I was so intent on keeping going with life, I was certain I just had some bad bruising. Well, I was wrong. So after the initial couple weeks of heafty pain, intense nausea, I just kept going, trying to put it off. I guess I just stopped thinking about it! Crazy right? I don’t know, maybe it was still all those post birth hormones. Survival mode, mamas! I started training for my half marathon again, living life normally… again, do NOT do this if you have a broken bone. Rest is important. Get the help you need. But I’m telling you this to make a point today! Anyways, six months later, we confirmed it had been a back fracture. Wow, how glad I was it hadn’t been WORSE! I said many prayers of thanks!

Hindsight, I can laugh about it, but at the time I was an emotional mess. I didn’t know what to do and I needed to be able to function to take care of my children AND my husband. Oh why oh why did this have to happen? Why did I have to think I was amazing enough, six weeks postpartum, to carry my infant plus my nearly 40 lb son!? Don’t judge me. It’s a thing we moms do. We do ridiculous things because we love our children so much, sometimes we don’t think straight. That’s what I’m going with anyways. I was blinded by bliss when my son also requested that I carry him. What can I say!? Well, now let me tell you that since then I’ve learned to remind him that he is much too heavy for mama to carry. He has two very capable feet. I will hold his sweet little hand.

I think about this accident nearly every day still. Not only because I can still feel where it happened. Although nearly completely healed, I still need to use caution when lifting, there are some workouts I still shouldn’t do, but over all, I feel normal again.

When I think about this incident, it serves as a great learning tool for me actually. I need rest. I do believe there is a time to push through things that are very hard and difficult. Definitely. But I also believe that sometimes we don’t allow ourselves to rest, to repair. Especially if we have experienced a trauma. Maybe you feel like life doesn’t slow down, so you’d better not miss a moment! Work as hard as you can! Who knows what tomorrow will bring! Nobody has time to sit down and heal! Well, let me remind you that tomorrow has enough worries and cares of its own. (Matthew 6:34) If you’re feeling absolutely run down, burned out, in pain, or worse yet, numb to things in life… take a rest, my friend. Let your trusted friends know that you’re going to take a day or a week and lay a little lower than normal, whatever that looks like for you. Maybe you can’t take a whole week’s vacation from work. In fact, if you’re a parent, you’re lucky if you get 20 minutes to yourself! You know what I mean! But what does rest look like for you right now, today? Is it unplugging from your phone for an hour or two? Is it sitting down to meditate for an hour? Is it heading out for a run first thing in the morning, or right away after work?

Looking back, I wish I would have taken that time healing from my injury to just re-strengthen my yoga practice with workouts that were gentler on my body, instead of training for my half. When I finally realized this, I tapered down my runs to just maintaining my cardio, and started attending yoga twice a week again, my back improved immensely! (I will for sure write on the healing effects of yoga in a future post, and my personal experience! Stay tuned.) I had to learn to readjust my own expectations I had placed upon myself, and give myself some space and grace. And it has ended up turning into an incredibly sweet time for me. An experience about growing in stillness… and appreciating the pain and the recovery that follows it and how that has grown my soul.

Are you feeling like you need some rest lately? Or maybe some fresh inspiration? I feel you. Don’t forget to download my free journal page PDF from yesterday’s post! And let me know if you’d like more tips on practical ways to rest on a day to day basis, and how you’ve found your own ways to rest from life’s chaos.

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Three Ways I Balance My Days (plus free printable!)

I believe a simple balanced life begins in the heart. I can strive for everything in my life to be perfect, my home to be clean, but laundry to always be tidy and put away, my schedule to never be double booked by accident… but sometimes things just get messy. I like to call it life. And I love life! So why would I want to let myself become anxious about these little things? Because it is the matter of the heart, I believe someone in a peaceful relationship with God and themselves will experience the most clarity and peace as they go about their day to day living.

We are all so very stressed, overworked, tossed around by relationship… I find myself craving simplicity balance and routine in the midst of hectic days. But it is possible to have balance even on the craziest days. It’s possible right now! It starts in my own heart and mind. Thinking back to my last couple of posts, I need to stop letting life run me and simply experience today with a grateful, soulful heart. The chaos of life will settle down when we really hone in on what’s important.

But that being said, here are three super simple things I do that have helped a LOT. I hope you find them helpful!

  • The annual purge. A friend of mine came up with this and I have adopted the idea for myself, with fantastic results. I chronically over commit. Any other over committers out there? The annual purge is so incredibly important I can’t even express it enough. This year I did the purge at least twice. It’s where I write out all my commitments and passions, categorize them by what is most important to me, and proceed to “purge” the things that don’t quite make the cut anymore. Working out will always be a huge priority for me, even just three per week. So if my time for that is being squeezed out, I need to take a look at what I’ve over committed to, and create some more margin. That’s just one example! And most importantly, I need to create and maintain a huge margin for my family, because they’re my world.
  • Make sure the simplest things in life are aligned. What you eat and what you wear, streamline what works for you so that you don’t have to think about them as much. I created a couple of capsule wardrobes this year and got rid of all the clothing I didn’t love. One of the best things I’ve ever done to my closet! To some of you it may sound mundane, but I have so many neutral colored pieces of clothing now and I LOVE it. I can dress them up with flashy red lips and cool pumps if I want to, but I know that the clothing in my closet all matches itself. It streamlines the getting dressed process. Similarly with eating, I know which foods now my body loves and which it does not. It’s amazing how simple meal assembly is when you eat healthy whole foods, just assemble a beautiful smoothie or salad, and fast food has never been better.
  • Journaling. I don’t journal every day. I think people who do must have amazing structure to their life and I love that. I wish I were that structured. Sometimes I get to it, sometimes I don’t. But when I do, it’s amazing the clarity it brings me! Journaling for me goes hand in hand with my time with God. This is where I can be quiet enough to listen to my Father God, reflect, and see what needs to change or what can be celebrated.

I’m sure you’ve heard all of these tips before! So have I, but they’re so valuable that I think it’s worth bringing them up as reminders during this week of inspirations! And they can be so very useful in helping us feel our best.

Here’s a link to a free PDF, it’s nothing fancy, but hopefully you can use it as a template to help stir up some good thoughts for your journaling experience.

restoringthedaydailyjournalprintable

Would you like to see more free printables? I’ve thought about creating one as a guide to doing an “annual purge”, so leave me a comment below if you’d like to see more along those lines!

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Monday: you are full of possibilities

I wish that my days started and ended the way I planned. They almost never do. Can you relate? When I don’t start the day off the way I planned to it can be so easy to just continue to let the day happen to me, instead of regaining charge of it. I don’t know about you, but when I feel out of control I feel totally dismembered. If my kids are up before me and I have no time to gather my thoughts, I feel like I spend the rest of the day chasing my brain around. Sometimes that happens, and when it does, I need to calm down and regain control. Regain control of myself. Easier said than done? Maybe. But it’s totally possible. I focus on what I can control, or what I do have the ability to make happen. And those things are inside of me, not dependent on my circumstances. We do have the power to unlock incredible energy and momentum today. Our bodies and minds are capable of amazing things.

You and I can never perfectly control our environment, or our jobs, and good gracious we certainly can never control what other people do or how they live their life. If I focus on trying to control those things I’ll go crazy. But I can control my reactions. I can control how I treat myself, and how I respond to the dear souls in my life.

I went through a time in life where I felt like a slave to my emotions. This day is hard because I feel ______ (fill in the blank). Sure, good days and bad days can be a real thing, but what if they happened so much less frequently? My health journey isn’t perfect, and it’s changing as I heal, and it’s beautiful. I love it and embrace it. I am learning to enjoy my imperfections and the unpredictability of life. Filling my body with nutrient rich food, taking out food that compromises my day to day living, learning to absolutely love exercise, and take ownership of my decisions and my lifestyle, learning to honor every soul around me and the incredible gift of their presence – yes. Every day is packed with energy and potential. No matter what your circumstances. You are a powerhouse of potential for your best life yet.

I love having goals and the energy I get when I achieve them. Probably goes back to that control issue I have. (hmmm) That being said, I have set my own goals for the week. Have you? Write down your goal for the week. Something you know you can have control over. A workout goal, a character goal, a nutrition goal, whatever it is that’s speaking to you today. As a mom sometimes I have to hold my goals with an open hand. Especially when my youngest little starlight is teething and barely sleeping at night. So I set my goal as something I can control, like “Yes, I know I can get in three workouts this week. And I’ll be flexible as to when they happen!” Whether your single and can set your own schedule, or you work out your goals with a partner, set them. And make them happen.

Live today restored!

Did you set a goal for today? Leave a comment and tell me about it! Lets inspire one another!

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Living Life Restored: an introduction…

I am so excited and nervous to be writing this blog post.

Tomorrow morning I will be launching a week of posting every day on this blog, each day themed in having a healthy well being and restoring your life and your day to maximize your life’s impact. I am certainly no expert, but I’m hoping that I can be your inspiration. Even if my posts reach one person and change the way they live for a day, that is meaningful to me!

This blog is born in pursuit of today, and living it aware. I don’t know about you, but I can get lost in survival mode, just making it through the day. Maybe it was a good day, maybe it was a rough day. Well I’m saying no to that. Every single day is a beautiful, challenging, satisfying mess of a day, and I am alright with that.

I’m a big planner. Maybe you are too! I’m always looking ahead to the next big thing. If something seems hard in my right now I start to dream into the future and that can be a good thing… sometimes. Other times it can hurt me because I see what I cannot have now and I grow discontent with my today. If I’m sitting around waiting for the perfect little tomorrow, it will probably never come. This day, this perfect little day… this is my life. And I LOVE it. I don’t want it any different. I want tomorrow to be better only because what I have learned and experienced today has made ME better.

Over time my emotional and digestive health have declined. In my younger years I had an unhealthy relationship with my body and with food, and then I went through traumas that left my insides less than optimal. (Tip: YES stress has a MASSIVE effect on your physical body, in case you needed that reminder!) My journey to restoring my days has included so many wonderful things. A restored loving marriage, two gorgeous children (my little starlights!), a lifestyle of optimal nutrition and exercise, and a peaceful safe relationship with my God. My story is far from over, and I absolutely love that. I am no professional, but I hope that the day to day of my restored life can be an inspiration to you. If we feel our best it’s SO much easier to take on life’s challenges.

Each day isn’t a cartwheel landing in sweet magical cupcakes. In fact, I have never been able to do a successful cartwheel, folks. Like I said before and I’m SURE you can relate, the days are beautiful hot messes sometimes. And that’s okay. But lets inspire one another to feel our best so that we can live our best, and consequently restore our days to what they should be… incredibly meaningful, challenging, growing 24 hour periods of fabulous.

Check out my blog for posts I’ve already posted, and keep your eyes open this week for a post per day, inspiring you to feel your best so you can live your best!

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Plant-based Goodness: how I shop plant-based on less $$

This is something I will constantly be learning. Every month I learn a new tip, seasons change, stores stop carrying a product, I discover something new and exciting, whatever it may be! So stay tuned and learn with me!

There are quite a few blog posts out there about shopping on a budget. But one more plant-based perspective is always a good thing, right?

Buying and eating large amounts of produce can come with a daunting price tag. Especially if trying to keep your groceries locally sourced and organic! But there are ways to do it that make it really doable. And I live this out everyday. I can keep our family of four fed for $500 a month. That may sound like a lot, or not a lot, depending on who you are. But when I tell you that we don’t eat meat or dairy and that we buy as much locally sourced organic produce as we can, that will set the preface.

For now, here are some of my favorite tips.

  • Find your people! Your local co-op! I have finally realized the importance of having my own co-op and being a member. Every little discount adds up (learn how to stack discounts at your local foods co-op by talking to the team there!) For example, member discount + sales + case discounts (if buying in quantity) = awesome.
  • Shop the sales, but limit trips to the store. If I need to hop around a little to find the best price, I definitely will do that. But the less trips to the store we make, the less we spend. If you forgot to get it, try to do without. Taking a second trip to the store could result in buying more items you don’t need. Do without, or substitute with something new!
  • Meal planning and food prep. Some people love shopping for recipe ingredients, especially if you meal plan based off of recipes. I do meal plan, It saves me time and worry, and makes sure everyone is fed. It’s so important for me. That being said, we eat so simply, my meal plan is extremely basic. Stay tuned, I’ll write on how I meal plan on this blog very soon. Having containers of already cut fruit and vegetables for the day is essential to my family’s sanity when snack attacks occur. As is having tubs of prepared beans or grains ready to toss together for a quick meal on the go.
  • Need to eat out? Head to the grocery store. This is perhaps one of my favorite things we do. We don’t really have the budget right now for eating out as a family. But we still find ourselves crazy and on the go like most everyone. So what’s the answer? Wait till we get home. Well, that’s not always possible, lets be real. I’m hungry NOW. So to the grocery store we head! Grab a grocery bag of fruit and vegetables and enjoy on the go. Usually we can exit the store for under $20 which is less than what we’d probably spend feeding our family at a restaurant or getting takeout. Nature is smart, people. That’s real fast food.
  • Two words. Farmers Markets. Enough said! Last week I walked away with four grocery bags FULL of produce for $11. Farmers Markets are where its at, when they’re in season.
  • Hail the Costco Haul! Costco usually has decent prices on produce and good whole organic foods and household products. Love me a good Costco haul, as long as it’s in the budget. The thing with Costco is that I have to plan it out, and not be tempted by everything else in the store that’s NOT on my list that month. But we all struggle with that, right? I mean, Costco is like going to the fair. And the samples are delicious.
  • Find overstock grocery warehouse sales where you can buy boxes of produce that needs to be eaten and put to use right away. Freeze it if you have to, works great in prepping smoothie packs for the week! And you’re also cutting down on wastefulness! Yay for you!
  • Don’t obsess over it. Obsessing over food and meal planning and meal prepping can be easy to do for nutrition focused mamas. Am I right? Calm down, it doesn’t have to be perfect. Rally together as a household to make sure you all are getting what you need, and call it good.
  • EAT MORE SIMPLY. This has changed the way we think about budgeting for food. Sure I do need to browse pinterest for new recipes sometimes. It’s very fun and inspiring. But largely, when you eat to live and you enjoy the foods that are nourishing your body, you don’t need anything elaborate that takes 7 other ingredients to make that you don’t have on hand. So during the week, I keep things basic! In our home we do lots of smoothies, salads, grain green and bean bowls, keeping the spices basic but delicious, and on the weekend we can elaborate. It works for us.

I could probably talk about this topic for hours. I’m very passionate about it, and feel like its a joy to keep learning. I think fruits and vegetables should be more affordable, accessible to people with lower incomes, and I’m passionate about finding ways to do that for my family. I can’t wait to learn and share even more!

What works for you? Have any tips you are loving right now for plant based on a budget?

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