Inspiring Real Wellness

Restoring the day. What does that look like? Real total wellness, what does that look like? It’s a journey, right? An intensely personal one, at that!

When I started this blog, I was toying around with making it a food blog for plant-based lifestyles. I follow several of those and I refer to them often. There’s always a need for good resources like that, always! And that may become a reality in the future as I grow.  But Restoring the Day is more about realizing and supporting our quest for restoring real wellness. Creating a healthy, safe space from which we can live and thrive and benefit others! Real wellness encompasses so much more than just healthy eating. 

When looking at true, real wellness we have to look at the food we eat, the environment we live in, the people we surround ourselves with, our self-talk, our spiritual health, our physical activity, emotional health… we could go on! And then of course within those categories, whatever activities we partake in to flesh this wellness thing out in real life is where we start to see results.

Actively CREATE Your Healthy Space

If you’re like me, I need consistent encouragement and inspiration to keep fighting for my wellness. Let’s face it, our environments are not aways a healthy place. We have to actively create that healthy space, and sometimes that takes some hard work and discipline. But we know it can be fun. We love it! Right? We love how we feel when we take good care of ourselves and make the better choices.

But how do we keep that momentum going the next day and the next when it’s so easy to give up and give in? (I say this in total realism!) For me, the key is staying inspired. We need to support one another, surround ourselves with encouraging people, things, and situations so that when life inevitably gets tough, we are well enough to stand up to it. Support slower healthier living that encompasses more than diet, also stepping into the mind and emotions, our environment and our relationships. I think this is total wellness.

I want to inspire all of us to bridge the gap of all these diets and wellness fads, to cut through the clutter of all of this “advice” available to us, and just remind us all to “restore the day” as best we can to peaceful, compassionate, healthy living. To bring life back to being as close to the earth as we safely can.

What did “the day” used to look like? What should it look like? Well, this is not an ideal world –  but don’t you think that in an ideal world, we would be touching the ground a little more often? We would be more active, we would eat better foods, and yes, we would be less anxious and less busy?

No one can argue that the closer we stay to nature, the healthier we would be. We live in a world where nearly everything we do is artificial. We live in apartment highrises instead of in huts on the ground; maybe we sleep on multi-thousand dollar mattresses, we work out on treadmills for heaven’s sake! We drive cars to our workplaces where we sit within four walls and communicate with one another through wired (and wireless) devices. A bit odd, when you think about it, right!? 

 

We may never truthfully know which diet or wellness modality is the absolute healthiest on the planet. And I am not in a place to suggest that one is, over another (although I’ll cheer for plants all the way!) I’ll leave that to those more educated than I am. 

But as we learn more about how we can create that safe space for wellness in our lives, we talk about practical tips and the benefits of each, let’s remember to embrace our wellness journey as our own, tune out the external noise, and create our own journey.

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Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part III}: A Simple Meal Plan

Alright, my busy friends, I thought it would be a fitting way to close out this series on “Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy” by laying out one of our family’s simple meal plans to help give you some inspiring ideas. So the following is our REAL TIME meal plan that I used for this last week, I didn’t just make it up. This worked for us – it was super simple and affordable. Enjoy! I hope you glean some ideas.

It’s very important to me to not make a huge mess every time I make a meal. Especially since I make pretty much every single meal from scratch in my tiny little kitchen. So all of the following tips take very little assembly, and most of them contain elements that I prepare ahead of time.

You’ve read in my previous posts I little tiny bit about how I prepare ahead of time, and I use a lot of no-cook recipes in my meal plans (you know we love our smoothies!) This really does keep my stress levels low, I have enough things to keep me busy during the day. And it just so happens that this low stress meal plan also does my body lots of favors and is serving our family very well! So I’m sharing it with you! Certainly not because I am an expert, but because if I were you, I’d be interested in getting some ideas, so here goes!

This is only one week’s worth of meal ideas, in real time with what’s in our kitchen right now! Next week will be a little different, of course. We eat a huge variety of produce and prepare a wide variety of foods, so this is what one of our simple weeks looks like. It’s the week before Christmas, so we need meals to be low stress, streamlined, and still perfectly nutritious.

This Week’s Meal Plan

6AM*

(*times are always approximate, we eat when we are hungry, but to help break it down for us, I list times of day)
  • img_8931 A warm glass or jar of water with fresh lemon and apple cider vinegar.

(Click Here to get a free bottle of Thrive Market Apple Cider Vinegar + 30 day trial for only $1.95 shipping! Existing members can receive a free bottle with any offer over $50.

 

8AM 

The Family can choose from Raw Soaked Oats with banana milk (A banana and water blended to a milk-like consistency. Add a vanilla protein powder if you wish, it’s so good!), a Smoothie of Fruit and Greens, or a Melon. Melons are very hydrating and should be consumed alone, not combined with other foods if you adhere to some of the principles of proper food combining – see this for a very brief explanation: Healthy Food Combining. (other weeks we have different fruits to choose from, it’s not always melons).

My omnivore husband (who is taking steps toward being more and more plant-based, of his own accord) still eats eggs occasionally, farm fresh from free range chickens.

We also take our supplements at this time, which are very simple, I take these highly absorbable forms of vegan vitamin D3 and B12. img_8952Baby, who is still regularly breastfeeding, takes an infant vitamin D and my preschooler takes a whole foods multivitamin to ensure his bases are covered.

 

10:30-11:30AM

The Smoothie. I don’t know why, but this is my favorite time to have a smoothie. I pack it with raw fresh greens or This Raw Greens Powder because it is absolutely the best, bananas, and berries or an apple… sometimes I go crazy with all the produce… Ahhh I want one right now, I don’t care what time it is. Oh! And I throw in some chia, pumpkin, or hemp seeds usually as well, or a raw vegan protein powder like this one by SunWarrior. My kids always join me for smoothie time – however, I usually don’t add the extras for the baby, I’ll pour some of the fruit and greens blend out for her before adding any nuts or protein powders. Seriously SO stress-free and takes just a couple of minute to assemble one of these bad boys.

If we are not home at this time, this is also the perfect take-along. I blend it ahead of time and bring it with me in a jar or in my hydro flask.

Fresh cut or whole fruit is also PERFECT any time in the morning. Fruit is best digested alone and in the first part of the day. (following this tip has helped me so much!) The kids ALWAYS love fresh fruit and ask for it.

These options are also incredible Post-Workout! I love a smoothie or cut fruit right after I hit the gym.

 

1:30-2:30PM

Lunch has been pretty late these days, and it’s very casual! This week we enjoyed some sandwiches on sprouted bread – we choose the Ezekiel 4:9 brand (this wouldn’t work if you have a gluten sensitivity, however, it does digest well for us. (conventional bread does not, and even some gluten free bread does not digest well for us either, considering most brands are usually still loaded with additives.) My son likes his sprouted bread with almond butter and organic fruit spread, and this week I also baked thinly sliced organic tofu to act as a “lunch meat” and loaded my sandwich up with fresh veggies and fresh guacamole (guac and hummus are my favorite easy oil-free alternatives to mayonnaises or oil-based dressings.)  I stay largely oil free at home, I’ll write about why in a later post if you’re interested, or you can message me with questions, but it has been monumental in my journey to better digestive health!

See also below where I talk about healthy snacks we had this week – sometimes we aren’t hungry for a full lunch, but will grab some of these snacks to carry us through till dinner.

5:30PM – ISH

  • Organic, non-GMO tofu was on major sale. Right. So I made something inspired by this recipe for Asian Garlic Tofu. It was delicious, and I LOADED it up with protein rich broccoli (yes, it’s protein rich!) and served it with some white rice. It was delicious, but since I’m not experienced in making recipes with tofu, it could have been better. I get my protein from greens, legumes, nuts and seeds mainly. (Note: I used to think I reacted adversely to soy – very adversely. But I don’t always – and I’m not a medical doctor so I will not share my opinions here, but let’s just say the jury is still out on soy, and I would like to continue my research on it. That being said, we may never know. To make my long story short, I’ve been incorporating some high-quality soy into our diet here and there (organic, non-GMO, no added ingredients…) and we have all handled it just swimmingly. So… yeah. More on that another time. If you have additional resources I don’t already know about, please pass them along! Fellow vegans out there – what’s your take on the big soy debacle?!)

 

  • Burrito Bowls…img_8942 I LOVE them and could eat them every single day. My beans have been pre-soaked and cooked, I just add a little cumin chili powder and Himalayan salt, thyme and fresh cilantro. We had these TWO times this week because they are so delicious and filling. We chose to serve ours over white rice. The question is – is white or brown rice is the healthier choice? We may never know. We like to eat both, this week we had white on hand.

 

  • Roasted sweet potatoes with beans and guacamole. This is the week of fresh guac! Can you tell? Ha! Seriously, though – I roast sweet potatoes whole (or a regular baked potato for those of you who aren’t sweet potato fans, like my husband…) until they are tender, split them open, and top them with black beans, greens, guacamole, fresh herbs like cilantro… I mean, YUM.

 

  • LARGE romaine salad with oil-free dressing and Ezekiel Toast and avocado slices on the side? Yes please! (for the dressing I usually mix together raw tahini, coconut aminos, and the juice of a fresh lime or lemon. I also love this raw red pepper dressing recipe by The Rawtarian, but I replace the olive oil with a fresh zucchini or other vegetables with high water content).

 

  • We did lots of vegetable soups this week! My kids love them, we all do. Especially when it’s twenty degrees below zero in Minnesota. I made some type of soup that was a little like the filling of a pot pie, it was so good! I need to make it again so I can attempt to replicate it. To make soups creamy I do not use traditional cream sauces, or just fill them in with non-dairy milk. I typically will use a base like a squash, a bean pulse, or potato puree that thickens the soup, adds flavor, and boosts up the nutrition. This week it was butternut squash and a white potato to make it taste less “squashy”. Everyone loved it!

 

All of these meals really are stress-free. They all require only using one pan, pot, or bowl, or just our plates to assemble!

Prep work included presoaking my beans and rice and boiling those until tender, then keeping them in the fridge for meal assembly during the week. Smoothies were already made into freezer packs, or I just threw fresh produce a couple scoops of the “extras” into the blender. Raw soaked oats were just that… recipe prepared and soaked overnight in the fridge, ready to in the morning.

Healthy eating can be SO simple! Healthy food helps restore our days to their full potential so we can feel our best and live our best! We need to invest in what goes into our body, no matter what. But we DO get busy, especially during the holidays, and there are so many fantastic, easy ways to streamline things and put healthy eating on autopilot when you need to!

 

Low mess, no stress snacks

This week’s snacks included…

  • apples with almond butter (or this delicious raw date caramel dip )
  • bananas
  • oranges
  • Skinny Pop popcorn
  • LaraBars (you can purchase them here, and Costco also has a slightly {better} price.
  • home brewed kombucha (incredible source of B vitamins -energy!!- and is also very satisfying between meals!)

 

Holiday Extras

This is Christmas Week! So, of course, we are throwing in a couple extra fun treats here and there in amongst all the festivities! If you follow me on Instagram or have liked my Facebook page you have seen these! (If not, links here in the sidebar and at the top of this site!!) We baked gluten free vegan cookies to take to a Christmas program and enjoyed Sunday morning brunch with vegan nog french toast… yes, it was so delightful. I put some extra holiday coconut milk nog into coffee for a mock version of an egg nog latte and … I need to stop or I will be going to make another one right now. So good. img_8930

 

 

I am NOT a doctor or dietician, but I have done my research and have drastically improved my own digestion issues, my son’s as well, and decreased my husband’s cholesterol and enhanced athletic performance, we all have great energy, great bloodwork, and have arrived at very healthy weights for our bodies. So when I share my meal plans on my blog I am sharing what works for us! I hope you glean some helpful tips and ideas and make it work for you!

Some of the links in this post are affiliates! I choose to be an affiliate for Thrive Market and I link to these products because I use these products myself and highly recommend them!

Did you get any good ideas? I hope so! What are some of your favorite go-to plant-based recipes? Do you meal plan ahead of time? Let’s chat in the comments below!

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Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy {Part II}

In part one of this series about beating the stress of healthy living I talked about how I choose to keep things as simple as possible in our home surrounding our meal times, and how I keep new recipes to a minimum, all these things reduce my stress as a mom trying to keep everyone in the house happy and healthy! You can catch up with part one here.

On a personal note, I’ve noticed my appetite decreasing lately as my daughter transitions to eating more solid meals each day and breastfeeds a little less often. Life is always changing, especially when you’re a parent! Little ones also love one kind of food one day, and the next day it’s a total no-go. Does this stress you out like it does me? I always think “great, I just bought a whole bunch of that and now you’re not interested?!” Well, that’s alright. Life is ever changing and we need to be flexible and go along with it.

Then there’s all our own emotions. I don’t know about you, but some days are tougher than others to carry on with gusto. For me, my kryptonite is when my kitchen is empty and I’m hungry. I absolutely NEED to be prepared with healthy ideas at all times. This also means keeping the kitchen absolutely free from foods that are less than optimal. No I don’t get cravings for lunch meat and cheese. Ha! But Oreos? (yes, they’re vegan.) I’m just going to ask that you don’t bring them into my house very often, alright?

Let’s talk about some of the reasons you may be getting stressed out by a healthy diet and lifestyle.

1. It’s Expensive

True, it can get expensive. And I would be lying to you if I told you that this didn’t threaten to stress me out on a regular basis as well. The truth is, I have to make do with what we have. We choose to cut costs in quite a few other areas so that we don’t have to settle for eating mac n cheese every day. We live on very little, actually. It’s a little remarkable how little we find we can live on. But we think in terms of longevity when it comes to making choices about where our money goes. At this point we don’t have a house payment, we rent for a very reasonable amount, drive inexpensive vehicles, have no monthly payments besides the basics, and most of our hobbies are relatively inexpensive. Our health would totally tank if we ate mac n cheese everyday, no matter how comforting that may sound, it comes with a great cost to your body. So let’s think longevity. You may have to make some adjustments, yes. In truth, I first started thinking about plant-based diets because I was desperately trying to find ways to cut costs in our life, yet again, and when I arrived, once again, at groceries, I did find that by not purchasing animal products, I could afford to buy more variety of foods for our health, which is awesome! So keep that in mind as well. High quality animal products can be very expensive, (I emphasize high quality, because if you’re eating animal products it’s very important to purchase high quality ones) and you can fill your diet with a wider variety of micro-nutrient dense foods when you focus on getting your nutrients from plants which is what you need to focus on if you’re looking at longevity. Even eating animal products less often, you’d notice a difference in the budget! You don’t need to include meats in your diet every single day. How do I get enough protein? The ever present question. This article by the Vegetarian Resource Group is a good resource with a list of protein rich foods.  I personally stay away from most soy products because they’re usually genetically modified and heavily sprayed with pesticides and MSG. So no thank you! But there are SO MANY other protein options out there, and we load up on them all, especially greens. (for those of you wondering, too, how we eat so many legumes, there are soaking and preparation methods that are essential to making them more digestible.) I highly recommend THIS ARTICLE! Giving up grains and legumes is a huge fad right now, and while I believe it has credibility, please read this article if you have questions on that. There are many other resources out there on this topic, this one  just lays it out briefly and clearly, I think.

That being said, getting back to grocery budgeting, when we’re in between paychecks and things get a little tight, we’ll have a few extra bowls of oatmeal (refined sugar free, sweetened with organic bananas)! Keep it simple, keep it healthy, it doesn’t have to break the bank. We eat very simply, and if we can afford it, we’ll go for a little something extra special on our days off.

I’m learning all the time, but check out my previous post on Plant-based Goodness: how I shop plant-based on less $$ for some extra tips and tricks. I will be writing another post, or series of posts on affording healthy eating in early 2017 as well! I’ve learned more since this post was published, as always, and an excited to share!

 

2. You’re Shopping More Often

Eating more produce can be an art, because you have to ripen it, enjoy it at its peak, eat all of it so you don’t waste it, and then it’s off to the store again to get more. Well this is somewhat unavoidable. But we find ways to make it work. I purchase a lot of {organic} frozen fruit, especially right now that it’s the winter months and fewer fruits are in season. And I’ll purchase more of the fresh fruits that are in season such as some melons, pomegranates, persimmons, mangoes, the ever faithful banana… And when my bananas are perfectly spotted and ripe, I peel them (peel and quarter, then freeze… easiest thing ever) and freeze them in a large container where I can take them out when I’m ready to use them. Plus, when a banana is frozen, it doesn’t taste as banana-ey. So it can be easier to flavor however I like whether it’s for banana nice cream or throwing into smoothies. Believe it or not, I do not shop more than once per week. Can you believe it!!?? That’s right, I don’t. I am learning the art of planning out my fruit ripening, and learning the life of vegetables, and I have a pretty good no-waste routine going on and I’m pretty happy with it. I do keep a raw greens powder and a raw protein powder on hand. So if I do run out of produce, we’re not left in a lurch without our greens. This has saved me some weeks when I can’t get to the store, but my greens powder is safely stored in the fridge.

3. It’s a Whole New Way of Cooking and Preparing You’re Not Used To

Don’t fret, loves! There’s this little thing called the internet that is filled with lovely souls offering their tips and tricks. Fill up with info… but not so much information you get overwhelmed. My personal favorite (besides blogs!) is you tube… I follow a couple of vegan chefs and oh my… eek, how fun. But there again, I make sure I only try a new recipe once in a while when I have the budget for it and when I have the time. And you, you have friends like me! I’m no expert but I’m working on some valuable resources I’m very excited and eager to share with you. When will they be ready? I can’t really say, but please stay tuned! I’ve got friends I follow on a regular basis, you can find a few of them in my Resources tab in the above menu. I’m adding more resource library often… I don’t list my favorite you tubers on there… I probably should. They’re some of my favorites.

If you’re on instagram, you can also Follow Me! I post usually once a day about what we’re eating, how I prepared it, or general inspiration. On the sidebar here you’ll also see a link to like Restoring The Day’s facebook page where I also share useful tips and articles and information I find particularly helpful or educational!

 

4. I ‘ll Have To Deny Myself Everything I Enjoy

Am I striking any chords with you yet? I have learned to NEVER tell myself “NO, you CAN’T have that.” Because if I ever say that to myself my strong will rises and I respond “Aw heck no! You can’t tell me what I can and can’t have!” And just out of spite, I’ll succumb to indulgence. But I’ve learned that indulgence comes at a great cost and that cost is not one I’m willing to pay. As my relationship with food continues to improve with each year, I no longer seek it out as a fix to my problems. Sure, on a really rough day, I’ll reach for the peanut butter. Straight up. And I am okay with that sometimes. I mean, peanut butter is  delicious. I’m being totally real with you. Truthfully, since transitioning to a whole foods plant based diet I have not craved sweets nearly at all. There’s some science behind this, but I’m not prepared to give you that with confidence quite yet. But my point here is, I have learned to never tell myself “no you cannot today” and instead to ask “what’s in it for me tomorrow?” and this has become habitual, and it’s very easy for me to say “no thank you” when offered things I used to always snatch up. Something about me has changed as well and my thoughts on what is truly delicious has completely changed! I thoroughly enjoy my food, folks. No joke. I have NO desire for cheap thrills. (Can I use that phrase without getting in trouble? Thank you, Sia. Ha!)

 

So let’s let loose a little bit, friends. There’s no need to stress. We are all busy, life moves at a breakneck speed, so we need to take charge of our health in a joyful way and not let it be one more thing to stress us out. That does seem a bit counterproductive, doesn’t it? Just as I quoted Sid Garza Hillman last week in Healthy Eating When You’re Just Too Busy, “No matter how healthily you’re eating, if it’s causing you stress to do so, you’re not eating healthily.” 

On a semi-daily basis you will see me break some kind of dance in my kitchen over my smoothie. My kids are picking up my total white girl moves, and I think we can all be okay with that. If you struggle with any kind of stress or anxiety, like me, one more thing to add stress to your life can seem like you’re living in a prison, it can feel like you’re limiting your freedom. But for me, my lifestyle choices provide the most freedom of any physical decision I have ever made. I can feel “me” coming back into my life. Does that make sense? Adulthood can be a reality check we aren’t ready for. At least it was for me. I lost a little bit of my zest for life. Not to get too deep on you, but there’s a deep connection between the food we eat and the condition of our soul. I think God intended it to be this way. To think that we can ingest whatever we want and carry on with life wondering why we are the way we are is ridiculous. Our food needs to be the first place we look to address issues. Without food, we cannot sustain our life for long. Food is what gives us physical life. So the quality OF OUR LIFE depends on the quality of what’s giving us that life. Eat more fruits and vegetables.

How do you stress less about healthy eating and living? How do you embrace it on a day to day basis so you can stay strong? How do you stay motivated and excited about it?

Share your inspiring words below!

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Slow & Grateful Living (part two): the one lesson I wasn’t expecting

Happy Friday Friends!

If you made goals for this week and are following through with them, let me know, I’d love to cheer you on. Those of you who have told me what your week’s goals have been, how amazing are YOU! You have inspired me beyond belief.

Throughout the week I have been eating the cleanest of clean. My eyesight is brighter, my mind is even clearer, and my energy is quite impressive, especially since sleep is rather an illusion right now with my babes in tow. My intentionality to reach for my Bible first in the morning and shut my mind down a little earlier in the evening have been beautiful aids in regaining some of my brain space and helping me better collect myself each day. All of these benefits from the week have been amazing enough to stand alone, but combining them with my interactions with others, I was reminded of my vision and was able to refocus my mind on my role in community.

This week I had a conversation with at least one person each day going through some kind of difficult situation, some of them even significant traumas. My own personal experiences flooding back. Additionally, My husband experienced a re-injury, my daughter has been teething and sleepless… my heart is heavy for many people right now. But my perspective from the week has been beautifully shaped by this Slow & Grateful Living Challenge. I’ve been seeing day after day the importance of being able to love deeply at a moments notice and what it takes to be prepared for that. Really, to be ready for anything. To be at a place, as far as it depends on me, where I am centered, in Christ, my body and mind in great health, where I am able and eager to respond to the needs of others as genuinely as possible.

I am a very goal driven person, and I’ve come to appreciate that about myself. It helps me get stuff done, and keeps me powered up and motivated. One weakness of mine however is becoming so goal focused that I can sometimes forget to look for growth opportunities moment to moment.

Through all of the conversations, all of the upsets, the daily chaos, my goals for the week kept me well centered on what was important, and I am delighted by that. But I also have realized a new level of community and my significant valuable role.

 

I am one person, insignificant to some, but to the people close to me, my family, my friends I am valued and I am needed. I need to have the emotional and physical energy to live this life with all of these people I love. I want them to experience community with me the same way I desire it with them. I want to be joyful and present, there to care for them and allowing them to care for me too.

I want to be ready to love in a moments notice. I want to be inviting and safe to be around. I want to feel my best so that I can live my best and be ready for anything.

Be open to learning whatever it is that is in front of you today. It might not be what you’re expecting!

What would it take in your life to create that space and take care of yourself and your well-being so that you can be ready to live out your unique role today? Maybe you need to create space to live more slowly and more thoughtfully. What does that look like practically for you today?

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Slow & Grateful Living (part one): Fostering Slow Living in my Kids

“Mindfulness is a certain way of paying attention that is healing, that is restorative, that is reminding you of who you actually are so that you don’t wind up getting entrained into being a human doing rather than a human being.” -Jon Kabat-Zinn

I realize that this post will be meeting everyone at a different place. Right now in my mind I am thinking of people who are going through life change, emotional traumas, exhaustion, wondering what’s next, and also others where life is alright at the moment and relatively put together. Ha! Life is crazy. We all know this. But in the midst of it all, where do are spirits rest? Are we enhancing the chaos in our lives by our reactions or by our daily habits?

I do not want my children to fall into this chaotic life of doing, rather than being. I don’t want it for myself, for any of you, and not for my children who are the future of this country and this world. I desire that my children be just that- children! That they have a childhood rich in nurturing love, joy, not too much to do, and daily living that is simple and high quality. I want them to learn that it is important to be, and to give, and to compliment, and to come alongside. And so much more. The world can be an unfriendly place, but we are the ones who can help make it friendlier.

We, who are desiring a slower life, are the forerunners in this rediscovery experience. I believe it is imperative that we reclaim our lives and our culture and restore our days on this planet by being mindful, intentional, looking to God, rediscovering who we are, and living in community with one another.

Slow living, the opposite of fast living, is a movement motivating people to be more mindful of their decisions, step away from mass production, fast food, fast cheap fashion, and get back to the basics and what is essential. Most importantly, raising awareness to the fact that our fast lifestyle is slowing killing us, and that we can reverse that if we make more mindful decisions and become aware of what is really going on. And it takes courage to open one’s eyes to see that truth.

We who are desiring a slower life are the forerunners in this rediscovery experience. I believe it is imperative that we reclaim our lives and our culture and restore our days on this planet by being mindful, intentional, looking to God, rediscovering who we are, and living in community with one another. Below are just a few thoughts I have on how we are incorporating this in our own home, in our own family.

In the way we treat each other

One of the phrases my husband and I like to use and hope to keep it up is explaining “well, this is what our family does! We’re a team!” and this reminds me to keep life simpler, and not to stress so much. That’s right, we are a team. There’s no complex formula for bringing up children that’s ever going to work unless we are a team, and we love on one another the best we know how, showing one another the nurturing love and respect we all deserve as human beings.

In the way we treat ourselves

Giving our bodies the respect they deserve. I think about that phrase so often. And there are many aspects to that, mental and spiritual health, exercise, and food. Food is more important than many people realize, it’s how we sustain our very existence, and unfortunately, in modern culture, we’ve lost touch with what food is. We just need it NOW and we need it with cheese. There is a huge movement today however of people getting back to the basics, and to that can we all say a big Huzzah!! I strive to teach my children what real food is and what is not, and as they get older, we will get into the politics of food a little bit more, and why we make the choices we do, and then they will be free to make it personal to them. They’re ALWAYS included in the making of the meal in some way. My three year old can be heart saying “wow, Mom, we should make that!” or “Mom, this is SO good.” And just over the weekend he declared “Mom, this is the best soup you’ve ever made!” (He’s emphatic, he’s definitely my son!) When he’s playing pretend, his ingredients list for his bakery always includes flax seed, fruit, and the occasional dollop of vegan cheese. Ha! It helps me live in the moment with him even when I’m hurrying to get dinner on the table, if he’s involved in the making and cleaning up. And of course, the kids are learning along the way why we eat certain foods and what they do for our bodies.

 

In the way we look beyond ourselves

This isn’t turning into a post about parenting advice, but part of living more slowly with my kids has been my learning how to play again. As a child I was a master at pretend play, and my son is the same way. But as an adult, I have already totally lost touch with how to play. But something magical happens when I do, and we both gain so much joy from it. We identify on a deeper level with one another. That is all helping to shape the adults my kids will become. I also have found the importance of including the kids in what is important to my husband and I, and what is important to other people. When I head out to the gym, for a run, or to meetup with friends, explaining to them why I do what I do and why it’s important to make space for other’s needs.

It’s my aim and hope that my children will learn more and more, as I learn myself, what it means to live in community. I want them to be among the first to offer to help, provide for a need, or lend a listening ear. I also want them to be brave and strong, and have the confidence that can automatically come alongside a lifestyle of slower living.

In closing, I do things like this Slow & Grateful Living challenge for more than just myself. I love how it changes me, yes. But I also do it to be an example, I do it for you! To be a forerunner in re-learning about what is important. I do it to show my children that life is rich, and that more successes will come when we are more in tune to paying attention. I do it to be an inspiration, even if it’s to one other person, that is worth it to me. And I love what I glean from it in the process and how it grows me.

To see or be reminded of what my goals are for this week and how to make your own, you can read my challenge introduction post here: Slow Grateful Living Challenge: 7 days of creating more space in my life for gratitude. And comment below or follow my Restoring the Day Facebook page HERE! Also follow my instagram here.

Lets check in on one another in this journey of slower living, and finding deep gratitude before we enter into this holiday season! Are you a parent? What will your children learn from you as you make decisions each day to live a little more slowly? Not a parent, that’s ok. We are all in community with one another, people around us pay more attention than we realize. Set a new precedent!

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Slow Grateful Living Challenge: 7 days of creating more space in my life for gratitude

Dear friends, I am SO very excited and eager to announce that I will personally be embarking on a challenge this next week, the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, to really prepare my heart and create more space for gratitude and joy. I am asking you to please consider joining me! I would absolutely love to have the accountability and partnership of us all doing this together! I am completely ecstatic about this, and I’m hoping some of this enthusiasm will rub off on you so that you’ll do this with me! (Pretty please!)

Here’s what you could expect from a challenge like this. I am going to start on Sunday, the first official day of the week, and I will at least carry on for seven days, if not all the way up until Thanksgiving Day. You can personally decide exactly how long you go for, and what is right for you. You can also set your OWN goals for your week! This challenge will be powered by YOUR goals and what you feel you need this week. Maybe your goal is to not engage in the consumerism around Thanksgiving time and Black Friday. That would be an amazing goal. Perhaps you want to eat clean this whole week. Perhaps you want to get in daily exercise and have been having trouble doing that- whatever your goals are, write them down, sleep on them, dream about carrying those goals out and making them happen this next week, and share them with your friends –  and with me! I seriously CANNOT WAIT to cheer you on.

I am so very passionate about slow living, creating space for joy love and gratitude even in the midst of all of our business. I love being busy, I enjoy being productive, but I want to be productive with a purpose, and be totally mindful and aware during all hours of my precious days here on this earth with those I love most. So lets do this together!

Just to give you an idea of what I am personally going to do this week, here are three totally achievable goals I’m setting for my Slow Grateful Living Challenge. I would totally have more, but sometimes I can get carried away (I’m quite passionate.)! Ha! So I’m going to stick with just three so I can make absolutely sure I achieve them all realistically.

  1. Many of you know I am vegan (for many reasons) and for this week I will be eating a totally raw food plan for 7 days. If this seems extreme to you, remember- This is MY goal. It does not have to be anywhere close to yours! It is slightly extreme. It’s not extreme for me, for me it just means going the extra mile. I cannot wait, you guys. Raw food gives me incredible clarity, and my senses are heightened and clarified, and overall it makes me feel amazing, but I don’t have plans to continue it throughout the winter, but for these seven days I absolutely cannot wait. So that’s part one of my plan for this week. That being said, please do not make this your goal unless you are totally prepared, and are aware of how to embark on this safely and healthfully. If one of your goals is food related, I will be sharing some of my recipes and what I eat in a day so you can add them into your days for some of your own awesome healthy recipe options.
  2. I will touch my Bible and my daily planner every morning before I reach for my smartphone. I’ve noticed that especially since my smartphone is my alarm clock, my access to my work, my friends and family, my bank account, and even the daily weather, that I’ve slipped into some bad habits. So here’s to changing that.
  3. Screens off and no housework 30 minutes before I close my eyes to sleep so I can read and have time to think clearly and journal about what I’m grateful for to help me sleep better and get the most out of the next day. I’m very excited about this. I’ve never been 100% successful at keeping up with this habit, but I KNOW I can keep it up for 7 days. So thrilled to share with you all how the week goes. I’m passionate and ready to go. Follow me on social media to see how I’m keeping up with my week!

Are you ready? Will you take the challenge and set some goals for yourself this week to live more intentionally, more slowly, and more gratefully as we move into this beautiful holiday season? Let’s keep in touch during this challenge, share your goals with me so I can help cheer you on as well! Let me know if you’d be willing to share your experience doing this challenge after it’s complete, and how you plan to move forward after the week is done, intentionally and thoughtfully keeping that momentum. Let’s restore the day, one day at a time this week!

Please reach out to me on social media with ANY questions you may have, or for some extra personal inspiration. Like my page for Restoring the Day on facebook here! – and follow along with me throughout the week! I’ll be posting inspiration for us all. Here’s to starting out the holidays with the right heart. Good vibes to all!

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7 Ways You Can Be Your Best Inspiration

I spent the weekend with my parents. I Love them. What a joy. During the weekend as topics on parenting inevitably surfaced, my Dad reminisced about my childhood. I was incredibly stubborn as a kid. Many kids can be, but I was totally bull-headed. I laughed because I remember. I remember demanding that the color was gray when it was clearly evident the color was actually blue. As we visited, laughed, remembered, we ended with marveling at how we all end up turning out at all! Our personalities and characters are like a mosaic, beautifully crafted and woven throughout our life, the pattern growing in complexity, but we never lose our common threads. God designed us well, for very specific purposes.

Adulthood puts a shock into all of us at some point, I would imagine. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has had moments of panic, fearing I’m losing touch with who I am. It’s scary, especially since as a child I knew exactly who I was and who I wanted to be, and no one and no thing was going to get in my way. My dreams didn’t have limits. Now thankfully, with adulthood comes a healthy dose of reality. This is quite essential and necessary, wouldn’t you agree? But do we let the harsh reality of adulthood put a damper on our souls?
Not every childhood experience is perfect. But children do have an infectiously beautiful heart, full of life and possibilities. Do you still have it in you? Of course. The real true beauty of you comes in the raw organic center of your soul. (yes, that was totally a food reference, and it totally works here.) What makes you laugh, what brings you to tears, and those radical ideas you have that maybe life isn’t so bad after all… these things are important to hold on to. What makes up your personality makes you an indispensable and integral part of the community you live in! You have intrinsic value, particularly among the people placed in your life at this very moment. As a believer in God, I also believe that our identity can be strong and beautiful when we realize why He made us and our worth in His eyes.

Here are seven practical everyday tips I use to check myself if I’m in need of a little extra inspiration, or to see my own value. You are an inspiring being inside your very self, lets uncover that.

  1. Don’t let yourself become isolated. Engage with who you love most. They are a huge reason you’re the person you are. I think it’s easy to lose our identity in our minds when we experience isolation. And we could be seeing thousands of people each day and still be isolated. Mothers can feel isolated even at home as a mother. Double check that you’re getting good interaction with people who are challenging you and spurring you on and loving you where you are at. For me, this is my friends who share my faith. We help remind each other constantly that we are loved and values in the eyes of each other and our Maker. You’re a role player in their life too,  don’t deprive them of your presence.
  2. Be playful! Remind your imagination how it used to fly! For me, this takes a little work. Even if have to work at it, I can get that old rusty imagination up and running again. For us moms this is easy because we always are being begged to play along. Go ahead! Be a goof ball.
  3. Dig up an old dream or desire to learn something new and do it! You’re capable of so much more than you give yourself credit for.
  4. Don’t take your faults too seriously. There is worth in your faults. My bull headed ways have gotten me through some tough mud.
  5. Take a look at that face in the mirror. You look great. Let this inspire you to take extra great care of yourself today. You are worth more than gold, so treat your body with the respect it deserves. Throw on some lipstick and your favorite song as you get ready for your day. Let it get you powered up on the outside, you’ll start to feel the beneficial effects.
  6. You have the power to motivate and inspire someone else the minute you get out of your own head and think bigger than you. You become that inspiration for another, and yourself.
  7. Remind yourself of what you’ve achieved and the people you’ve influenced for the better. I believe that remembering where your life has been and where it’s going is very important. This is one reason I keep a journal, especially to record life’s challenges and gratitudes.

Do you see yourself as inspiring? Are the people around you an inspiration to you? Who’s on your “team”? And are YOU on your own team, believing all the way?

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