Archive for January, 2014

January 24, 2014

Travel Tip #7 – Ship it!

 

Planning a trip, want to make sure you have your favorite gluten-free snacks on hand, but don’t want to pay for extra baggage – ship it!

Shipping Box

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you probably already know that for me to feel my best, I have to eat at very regular intervals. In order to make sure I have something gluten-free available on the road, I have to prepare in advance.

I’m planning a more lengthy trip than usual and I just don’t want to deal with the hassle of calling every health food store in the area in advance to see if they carry my favorite snacks. I certainly don’t want to carry a week’s worth of food and have to wrestle heavy bags through the airport and into my rental car.

I tried talking myself into the idea that I can always eat the salty, oily peanuts available at every convenience store, but I’d really rather have raw almonds. More gas stations now have bananas or apples available, but it’s never guaranteed. And, of course, I’ll be meeting up with some other folks on totally different schedules. The required timing of a 10-mile trip to the grocery store may prove to be inconvenient either for them or for me.

So, I’m going to do the easy thing. When I do my regular shopping, I’m going to grab an extra bag of raw almonds, some gluten-free pretzels, some dates or golden raisins, and ingredients for orange chocolate or carrot muffins. I may also grab some protein bars.

At home, I’ll make the muffins and package everything in small, easy to carry containers that I can grab and throw in a backpack each morning while I’m traveling. Of course, I’ll carry some of these on the plane for immediate consumption, but I’m going to pack the bulk of these snacks in a box and ship them in advance to arrive just before I do.

While I’m at it, I’ll probably ship some extras shoes so that I’m prepared for all the possibilities that may arise.

Whew! I don’t know about you, but I always feel better when I have a plan in place that makes my life seem easier. From now on, when destination resources are in doubt, I think I’ll just ship it!

January 18, 2014

Can Really Big Buts Keep Us From Thriving?

Yes, the title of this post includes Big Buts and that’s not a typo. Why would I write about Big Buts, Butts, Butz or any other word that sounds the same? Well, I talk to a lot of people and a lot of the people I talk to seem to be controlled by Buts. After hours of listening, I’ve concluded that it’s very common for Really Big Buts to keep us from thriving.

Huh? Well, I know one person who says she wants her 25-year-old daughter to move out of the house and she’s given her a date by which to vacate, BUT that date has come/gone/morphed into a later date that’s come/gone. Why? Because she wants her to move out, BUT not enough to enforce a boundary, establish and enforce a consequence, ignore protests, and/or change the locks.

I have listened to a man who is behind on all his bills and feeling enormous amounts of anxiety rant, rave, yell, and whine that something has to change or he will crack, BUT he won’t consider selling his high end car with it’s $750 per month payment.

There’s the man who says he cannot stand the industry in which he currently works, BUT who will not consider taking a lesser title or small salary cut in order to transition to an industry with which he’s not familiar.

Then there’s my neighbor who at age 49 already has a pacemaker and defibrillator installed in his chest. He says he wants to work out regularly to get in shape, BUT he consistently skips more days per week than he participates.

So what’s the deal with all these Buts? From the outside looking in, it seems clear that the behavior of each of these folks guarantees that they will not get what they say they want. If you’ll listen, they can tell you exactly why they’re doing what they’re doing.

Here’s I’ve heard them say: “I don’t think my daughter can make it on her own without my help.” “If I buy a cheaper used car, I’ll end up spending more in maintenance than I’m spending on my car payment.” “I have a Masters degree and 20 years experience. I should be in management.” “It might rain tomorrow, so I don’t think I’ll meet you to walk.”

Once they’ve made these initial statements, I’ve listened for hours as they elaborate at length with details supporting their initial statement: “She has anxiety. What kind of mother would I be if I force her to move out?” “I already downgraded once. This car costs less than the one I had.” “I didn’t work my butt off for the last 20 years to have to have a peon job.” “I know you’ll probably want to go to the gym if I don’t walk, so I don’t want to wait until tomorrow to decide.”

And so it goes on, and on, and on, and on.

We all have blind spots that keep us from seeing how our behavior contributes to what we describe as our problems. Believe me, I’ve had some Big Buts in my time. So what have I learned about removing the blind spots so that we can get the outcome we desire?

First, we have to summon a tiny bit of courage. In order to make the most progress in the least amount of time, we must be willing to be brutally honest with ourselves. When we notice that there seems to be an area in our lives that we repeatedly SAY we want to change, but which stays the same over a long period of time, it is time to ask ourselves some tough questions.

The first question we must ask is, do we REALLY want what we say we want? If we determine that we do, then we must ask what we believe we will have to give up in order to get it. If we’re not willing to give up whatever it is we think we’ll have to give up to get what we want, then it is time to own that decision, change our rhetoric, and stop struggling. That’s one way to rid yourself of a Big But.

If we determine that we want what we say we want, and we believe that we are willing to give up, for instance, being too proud to temporarily take a lesser job, then we may have just solved our own problem by recognizing that our pride has been holding us back. Another Big But was just eliminated.

When we determine that we want what we say we want, BUT over and over our decisions lead us to a place where we can see no other option than one that keeps us stuck, we are dealing with a Really Big But. A Really Big But usually means that the process of getting what we want stands in direct opposition to the coping mechanisms we developed at a time in our lives when we believed we had no power but to figure out how to cope with the situation in which we lived.

Without consciously recognizing it, we behave as though getting what we want means giving up our power or our ability to deal with life. Our emotional survival feels threatened. Subconsciously, we sense that getting what we say we want will require us to go back and heal the wounds to which our coping is attached so rather than follow a path of change, we immediately dismiss new options in favor of relying on our long-ingrained coping patterns.

So when I have a Really Bit But, how do I get rid of it? Exercise, of course. I like to play a game I’ll call – But, I’m Curious. Here’s how it works:

A few years ago, I decided I wanted a better work/life balance. I understood that I needed to find a way to really get away from work – including the work that was always going on in my head, BUT I also had lots of very real deadlines, financial pressure, and a drive to excel. I tried to get some down time in the evenings, but whenever I was in my office or my house, I seemed to be constantly running a To Do list through my head. I was struggling to turn off the running mental list even on the weekends. I’d been trying and failing for months while complaining to 20 of my closest friends about needing a break. Finally, I started decided to replace my long-standing But with a new one.

Here’s the next question I asked myself – I see that I can’t seem to get out of work mode when I’m at home, BUT I’m curious what would happen if I spent a weekend somewhere else?

Hmmm. I had gotten my attention in a different way. Well, maybe I should give it a try and see. I did some research on inexpensive cabins at nearby state parks and decided I would spend one weekend per month away from home. It wasn’t much and at first I had trouble being still when I was away, but ultimately my work habits changed in a very real way.

Using curiosity to get me started makes change sound like an adventure. Besides, I’m just asking myself a question because I’m curious. Any answer to that question is okay. Anything I learn about myself in the process of answering it is good information to have. That feels like a very safe and easy way to be honest with myself. If I learn that my first plan still leaves me stuck, I just get curious about something else and see where that leads.

Another thing happens when I play But, I’m Curious. I learn more about my relationships because when I shift, everyone around me is forced to shift.

But, I’m Curious can lead you into the areas you need to heal, but as long as you stay curious throughout the process you will find the healing path that works best for you one step at a time. Imagine feeling free from having to cope. Imagine having the confidence that you can handle anything that comes along. Imagine believing that you are only limited by the choices you make. You CAN find a way to fix what needs fixing, BUT you have to really want it!

 

 

 

 

 

January 10, 2014

Gluten-Free Basics. A Review.

The term gluten-free has appeared in the news so often over the past year that it’s easy to assume everyone knows exactly what it means. Of course, that’s a silly assumption. I remember that I read the term bitcoin in the news 3 times last week, but I don’t know anything about the newfangled currency. So rather than make assumptions, let’s do a quick review of the gluten-free basics.

Gluten-free simply means contains no gluten. If you choose to eat only foods that contain no gluten, then you are living a gluten-free lifestyle. As of August 2014, foods labeled gluten-free* will not contain more than 20ppm gluten. That means they will be free of any derivatives of wheat, rye, barley, malt, or triticale. Sounds simple enough, right?

So what is gluten anyway? Gluten is a protein that’s sticky. It gives dough the elasticity that lets it hold together while it rises and takes on a chewy texture. This protein also causes an autoimmune response in those who are sensitive or intolerant ultimately leading to a host of serious health problems. Luckily, these health problems can quickly diminish when you embrace a gluten-free lifestyle.

If you have been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, gluten sensitivity, or gluten intolerance, you will only reach optimum health if you eliminate ALL gluten from your lifestyle FOREVER. Once you begin a diet devoid of gluten, you may feel better immediately or it may take up to a year before you can tell a real difference. During that first year, you may feel better for a while and then slightly worse, and then better again. This is often a normal part of the healing process.

When preparing to change to a gluten-free lifestyle, it can be helpful to focus on the foods you CAN eat. When prepared at home, you can eat all meat, poultry, fish, seafood, dairy, fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds, herbs, and spices. This includes potatoes and corn. You can also eat some grains including rice, sorghum, quinoa, buckwheat, and oats that have been certified to be free from cross-contamination.

If you lived in your grandmother’s day, the switch to this lifestyle would be so minor you would hardly notice. Yes, you’d have to thicken gravy with cornstarch, leave the flour out of the cornbread, and lay off the rolls, but most of your diet would be the same as the rest of the family.

The reason gluten-free sounds like such a big change now is our increase in dependence on cheap, prepackaged, convenience and fast foods. Packaged foods are designed to be resilient to being transported long distances. They are also formulated to maintain consistent texture, appearance, and taste after sitting on store shelves for months or years. Sticky, gluey substances like gluten and gums help achieve consistent texture.

Eliminating the majority of prepackaged food from your diet will give you a head start in improving your health, but you can now find plenty of gluten-free substitutes on the shelves of local grocery stores when you need to grab something in a hurry. You don’t even have to choose items that are labeled gluten-free. Once you learn how to read labels, you’ll discover many more choices in the regular store aisles.

Want to get started today? It’s as easy as leaving behind wheat, rye, barley, malt, and triticale. Don’t eat traditional bread, rolls, biscuits, pasta, pizza crust, cake, piecrust, breaded meat or vegetables. Avoid sauces, soups, and salad dressings thickened with flour or food starch other than corn. Eliminate malted vinegars (unmalted are fine), malted milk balls, and malts. Switch to gluten-free beer. Distilled grain alcohol is usually gluten-free. Ask for a gluten-free menu at your favorite chain restaurant. You’ll be surprised how many have one readily available. Use the internet to find fast-food nutrition information.

You don’t have to learn any more than you want to learn, cook any more than you want to cook, or stop enjoying favorite family recipes. Anyone who tells you this will be a difficult change for you to make doesn’t realize how incredible you are. Shame on them for selling you short. I believe you can do what it takes to feel your best! It’s easy to get started today.

Web Launch

January 5, 2014

Happy New Year? It’s all in the choices we make!

Happy New Year to all of you! Every year as the calendar rolls to a larger number, we get a new beginning. Reset to zero or pass go and collect $200 – which choice will you make?

It’s easy to just continue around, around, and around the board buying property and transportation, paying taxes, and avoiding jail as much as possible. In fact, isn’t that the choice most of us make – the monotony of Monopoly?

Why do I say that? Well, if we were really choosing to reset to zero and begin differently, wouldn’t all those New Year’s Resolutions soon be our new reality? Instead, most of eventually leave behind the illusion of even making resolutions and just keep trudging the same direction.

Does this mean that we’re destined to continue round and round and round, never quite able to let go of our unproductive or unhealthy habits in order to make the space for new, healthy ones?

OF COURSE WE ARE NOT DESTINED TO CONTINUE ANYTHING! IF WE CONTINUE ROUND AND ROUND, IT IS A CHOICE.

Sorry if I sound irritable. I started the new year with the flu. Yep, it started at 6:36 am on New Year’s Day. I’m still dragging. In this bit of half-medicated limbo, I’ve been pondering what to hold onto, what to let go, what shift will bring me the very best today each and every day of 2014. What choices can I make that will encourage me to thrive?

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Light bulbI’ve decided to hold onto incandescent light bulbs. I’m happy to turn them off and use natural light to reduce my carbon footprint, but I find florescent light unpleasant.

 

 

Lap PoolI also plan to hold onto a regular swimming routine. While I’m not too keen on the idea of going to the pool when it’s 20º outside, I love the way I feel when I’m in the water.

 

 

BlackberriesI’ll keep eating raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries as often as possible.

 

 

clock

I’ll continue to eat at regular times because I feel best when I do this.

 

 

 

TrampolineI intend to add more planned play time beginning with a trampoline park birthday party.

 

 

 

I also intend to continue to say no when it feels important to say no.

I recognize that this list isn’t done, but I don’t feel bad. I’ll add to it when I’m ready. And it doesn’t have to be in the next week or two. There’s no deadline for creating positive intentions, finding inspiration, feeling content in the moment. It’s never too late to make another positive choice. That’s almost enough to make me forget the flu.

How about you? Want to share how you’re feeling about your choices for 2014?