“When we are deeply present, we have better relationships. We listen better. We speak with more skill. Actions are done with more skill. Mistakes are avoided. The quality of work is higher. At the end of the day, there are fewer regrets and more things to be proud of.”
Three habits I’m loving for the New Year
Happy New Year! I hope that you are feeling clarity and motivation to up level your life. Goals are only useful if they are tied to new habits. When we tie actions to our wishes/goals, we create the desired change. After reading a slew of books on change/habit creation there is no doubt that understanding our hidden decision drivers and skillfully stacking our habits is key to making permanent change.
Here are three changes I am making and the practical strategies I am using to make them stick:
1. Making fresh green juice in the morning.
Fresh celery juice (and sometimes cucumber, ginger, and lemon are added) replenishes and optimizes my system to an alkaline ph. It leaves me feeling bright and ultra nourished. By providing an abundance of minerals and enzymes, it helps my body remove cellular wastes and optimizes digestion and assimilation. It is pro-aging well (a better term than anti-aging!)—keeping grey hair at bay, reversing/preventing inflammation, and getting a fantastic start on the day’s nutrient density.
Practical step: Setting up my juicer at night and washing, chopping, prepping all my veggies in a large spinner (stored in the fridge) the night before. Then in the morning, it’s easy to just run the veggies through the juicer! At the moment, I do my Spiritual practices, my workout, and then my green juice as my morning trifecta for wellness. It feels great to start my day this way.
2. Eating 2 meals per day: brunch and a late lunch.
The average American eats 16 hrs each day! This wrecks blood sugar regulation, increases systemic inflammation, depresses immunity, and contributes to weight imbalances. As we enter midlife, the need for calories shifts and it is to our advantage to adjust our intake (increasing longevity by decades + improving our health and beauty along the way). Eating in a shorter window of time ( 4-8 hr feeding window) is better for our health on every level.
While Intermittent Fasting/Time Restricted Eating is quite popular, I find 2 aspects of its popular application problematic: drinking coffee all morning (depleting for the kidneys/adrenals which has cumulative + long term negative effect) and shifting the eating window to the middle and end of the day (when the metabolism slows).
The evidence suggests that eating between 10-3 is the most congruent time for assimilating value from our food. The benefits are many: healing the digestive tract, attaining/maintaining a flat tummy (the result of balance blood sugar and optimized digestion/elimination), effortlessly attaining your healthiest weight, increased immunity, balanced hormones, balanced blood sugar, freedom from compulsive eating, clearer skin, stimulating the body’s production of Human Growth Hormone and collagen during the fasting window, increased autophogy (cellular recycling), better sleep, and preventing Alzheimers (the brain can clean plaque out at night if the digestive system isn’t diverting the blood flow needed).
It makes more sense to eat when you need/use the calories…in the active hours! Our digestive juices are most abundant and therefore effective in the midday. It’s important to know that our metabolism slows by up to 30% in the evening.
Taking all of this into consideration, I prefer to start the day with green juice around 9am, then eat a moderate brunch around 10/10:30am. Chia seed pudding and berries is a current favorite. I also have a low glycemic protein smoothie or some avocado toast. On Sunday it’s gluten free homemade waffles-my favorite! I love breakfast foods and missed them when I started my eating window midday. I don’t count calories. Instead, I eat a balance of protein, fat, fiber, and greens in a meal–chewing well and eating until satisfied (not stuffed).
My second meal happens around 2:30pm. Currently, I am loving roasted garnet yams, sautéed chard, a little black rice, fresh sprouts, and lots of EVOO and pink salt to top it off. I aim for 3-5 colors and a mix of protein, fat, and a variety of greens at this meal. Afterwards, I enjoy a cup of earl grey tea mixed with almond milk and froth it in the blender with Laird Hamilton’s Superfood Creamer—a wonderful creamy sweet dessert tea! I love feeling nourished by this meal and it has plenty of time to digest before bed.
I eat a (light) dinner 2 or 3 times a week when it’s a favorite menu or date night. I prepare dinner for my family around 5:30/6 and sit with them. I might have tea or a small portion of salad or soup. Being together for family meals is important to me and our family culture prioritizes nightly time to converse about the day and interesting ideas.
Practical planning: Monday and Thursday I make chia seed pudding so it’s ready for the mornings. Twice a week I pre-bake yams, grill salmon, and prepare black rice for the midday meal. An extra bonus: re-heated yams are healthier since they provide resistant starch/fuel for the “good” gut bugs. Having a lunch menu rotation of 3 variations I enjoy creates a balance between variety and simplicity. I decide ahead of time which dinners I will eat in the week, so its not a daily question. I am flexible with this…if my body needs more or less I respond accordingly.
3. Single Tasking
“To do two things at once is to do neither” -Publilius Syrus
Doing one thing at a time allows the highest quality experience and results. It may feel like we are being more productive to switch and juggle. And I will admit that it can feel exhilarating: “I feel so fast, capable, and efficient!”. But the quality of experience is reduced—time speeds up, our attention is divided, rapid switching in the brain produces mental fatigue and lower quality results. When we are deeply present, we have better relationships. We listen better. We speak with more skill. Actions are done with more skill. Mistakes are avoided. The quality of work is higher. At the end of the day, there are fewer regrets and more things to be proud of. People need to be honest that much work has to be redone simply because it was done with half of their focus. “Do it well and do it once” is a better habit to develop.
Practical planning: Making a list of the days tasks and editing it down by 20%. You can always add a task or two if things go faster, but having the time allotted (with a little grace period added in for the inevitable demands or delights that present themselves for attention) is key.
I invite you to try one or more of these in your life and experience the tremendous benefits.
Cheering You On,