3 (simple) things you can do today to live better

Someone asked me today for 3 simple things they can do to live better starting NOW – so I thought I’d share:

  • Eat more mindfully.
    • Sit at a table and eat from a plate (no snacking in front of the fridge or while standing in the pantry)
    • Before your first bite, take a moment for gratitude and take five deep breaths to get into a parasympathetic “rest and digest” state before eating.
  • Increase your N.E.A.T. (Non Exercise Activity Thermogenesis which is basically any activity during the day that isn’t sleeping or formal exercise): Look for ways to incorporate movement and activity (note: I didn’t say to workout or go for a run) – just get moving & aim to reduce the amount of time spent sitting.
  • Listen to your body’s cues. Notice where you hold tension – I clench my jaw & make fists; you might hold your breath or your shoulders may creep up toward your ears. When you become aware of these tendencies, observe what may trigger them & note if there’s anything you can do to prevent the trigger. At a minimum, try to let go of the tension in the moment. Try a few rounds of Box Breathing- see the video below for a few minutes of guided breathwork to help de-stress and relax.

Food News & Chews follow-up

The podcast is live – and I’d love for you to check it out both via Apple Podcasts & on Spotify – and be sure to subscribe! “Not just about cooking, FNC is all about food and its place in our lives. And more than just one more recipe for cheese onion dip or leftovers after Thanksgiving, the world of food is explored as something more than that in our lives and culture. Whether related to health and wellness, safety, environmental protection, economic strength or access and affordability, food lies at the root.”

We really crammed a LOT in during our discussion, and I wanted to share some follow up information and references if something piqued your interest!

*Please note, I am not a physician and this is not medical advice – it is imperative to check with your healthcare provider before making any changes to your diet and exercise regime*

moderation vs 80/20

I am not a fan of the word moderation when it comes to making healthy diet and lifestyle choices. First, I feel like it’s such a subjective term that can allow us to justify bad habits – who’s to say how much of an indulgence is a moderate amount? Additionally, if I were to have a “moderate” amount of sugar, “moderate” amount of fast food, “moderate” amount of saturated fat, and so on, I’d pretty quickly shift away from more healthy options as a whole. I coach my clients to be more accountable in an objective way by identifying a few healthier habits at a time and aiming for an 80/20 approach. We use a tracker (DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY HERE) and check off each habit daily while allowing for occasional indulgences or ‘miss days’. If 80/20 seems daunting, try 50/50 and increase over time to a higher rate. Check out my tracker for this month – note that I also list all the different plants I consume each week – more on that topic below! (I had a lot going on the first week of the month & didn’t list them).

olive oil

THIS ARTICLE in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that “Consuming more than 7 grams (>1/2 tablespoon) of olive oil per day is associated with lower risk of cardiovascular disease mortality, cancer mortality, neurodegenerative disease mortality and respiratory disease mortality, according to a study publishing today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study found that replacing about 10 grams/day of margarine, butter, mayonnaise and dairy fat with the equivalent amount of olive oil is associated with lower risk of mortality as well

diversity of plants/american gut project

Check out the Fiber Fueled book HERE

What’s the microbiome (“gut”)? Learn more HERE

The American Gut Project HERE

indulgences

When my sweet tooth needs attention, my favorite healthier indulgence is below. It doesn’t sound super exciting, but it is delicious!

  • 2 dates – remove the pit & split open lengthwise to make a little crater
  • smear a little natural nut butter in the crater
  • top with a couple non-dairy dark chocolate chips, if deisred

… and HERE is the mug cake I make (note -this definitely is NOT a healthy, whole food and includes inflammatory oil that I typically avoid – but I count it as a rare/ occasional indulgence in my 80/20 lifestyle). Sometimes, you just want a little treat!

inflammatory oils

Industrial seed oils (including Canola, Corn, Cottonseed, Soybean, Sunflower, Safflower, Grapeseed) are thought to be highly inflammatory and raise our omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acid ratios, which may have significant consequences for our health. I avoid these and personally prefer to get my fat from whole plant foods including organic olive oil, avocados, nuts, flax and chia seeds. Ask your healthcare provider for more info, and check out THIS ARTICLE for easy to read facts about these oils.

mediterranean diet

Check out the Blue Zones HERE

The Mediterranean Diet and the Ornish Diet tied for #1 in best heart healthy diets in U.S. News – check out the rankings HERE. Read more about the Ornish lifestyle HERE ( I love his book, Un-Do It!)

Check out my thoughts on “busy-ness”in THIS POST.

carolina gold rice

I order from Anson Mills HERE and check out THIS ARTICLE about the history and benefits of Carolina Gold Rice.

WANT MORE?

Please consider subscribing to my email list at the top of the page, follow me on social media on Instagram @gretchen.farah and Facebook @goalfitmethod, and join our monthly membership community HERE where I share Food, Fitness, and Focus strategies to up-level and live your best life. As I said in the podcast, life is so short and precious, and we have each been gifted this on vessel in which to live it. Let’s take the best care of it that we can.

Food News & chews – tips and “busy-ness”

I just finished recording as a guest on the Food News and Chews radio show and podcast.  We discussed all kinds of things from the one thing I recommend everyone cut out when aiming to eat healthier, to gut health, my favorite indulgences, the 80/20 approach & more.  At the end of the discussion, we talked about the Mediterranean Diet and Lifestyle which got me thinking about our American way of life and “busy-ness” – so here are a few more thoughts about being busy vs being mindful & how we can level-up! I’ll be sure to share the podcast link once it goes live.

CLICK HERE to check out the membership site to join for $10.99/month and be a part of our community focusing on Food, Fitness and Focus strategies to live your best life!

don’t be a sitting duck!

So you get up at 5am to get in a workout? Great! But then do you go to work and sit for the rest of the day, drive home & sit some more? Bad news -” too much sitting, as a distinct concept from too little exercise — is a novel determinant of cardiovascular risk”.

“Prolonged, uninterrupted sitting detrimentally affects several biological processes related to cardiovascular risk”, and “…new evidence suggests the potential for broad cardiovascular health benefits through reducing and interrupting sitting time through practical and acceptable approaches involving ‘sitting less and moving more’.” SOURCE

Sitting for more than an hour can result in a reduction of production of the fat-burning enzyme lipase by up to 90%, which in turn reduces the rate at which glucose is metabolized and lowers levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol.

Excessive sitting can also lead to:

  • Weakened legs and glutes
  • Weight gain
  • Pain in the hips & low back
  • Stiff neck & shoulder pain
  • Potentially increased risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer. SOURCE 1; SOURCE 2
  • Increased risk of varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis

Get up & move! Experts suggest going for a walk and staying active throughout the day. Enjoy some ‘exercise snacks‘, consider a standing or convertible desk, make a habit of taking phone calls while standing or moving about your office when feasible, take the long way to the bathroom or copier – just don’t sit in one place for too long, aiming to get a few minutes of movement for every 20-minutes of sitting.

end of the year reflection & flow state

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is thirdeye-683x1024.jpg

WHAT DID YOU SAY YES TO THIS YEAR? BE HONEST WITH YOURSELF – WHAT DID YOU CHOOSE EITHER CONSCIOUSLY OR BY DEFAULT?

Which of these choices served you and which do you need to let go? Decide what you want to actively choose for yourself in 2022.

DON’T PLAY SMALL   – ALL YOU’LL DO IS HIT YOUR HEAD ON THE CEILING OVER & OVER

When you’re FULLY PRESENT, operating *IN* your body, *in the zone*; when you’ve completed something that makes you feel proud of yourself, that is when you’re in alignment or  flow.  When you’ve done something you regret, you can feel both resistance and  resentment – that’s the opposite of flow. It’s pretty obvious what’s the most productive and where the growth happens.

THINK ABOUT WHO YOU ARE – WITHOUT LABELS, WITHOUT OTHER PEOPLES’ OPINIONS IN YOUR EAR AND WHO YOU KNOW YOURSELF TO TRULY BE.

Think about what is and isn’t working for you. Tune into the times that you feel your best – and if you’ve gone off that path, just think about what you know you need to do and re-route. Set yourself up for success by taking the small, daily actions you know you need to take to get back on track to reach your goals & live in alignment with your best self. Keep that commitment to yourself. 

As you move forward, strive to be in flow in your relationship with yourself: stay in your late & do your thing – without worry or comparison. Connect with the people in your life that are important to you: spend quality time, make eye contact & listen. Ask for help from someone who’s been in shoes similar to yours. And now that you’ve reflected on yourself, help someone out who needs what you have to offer.