Moving on…

This post is not something I imagined myself writing here, ever. When I started this blog in September of 2014, I didn’t have big plans. I just wanted to share my passion for healthy, wholesome food in the way that I do best: through my writing. But as the months went on, Healthy Little Changes grew into something bigger, something that filled my mind with potential and my soul with a sense of purpose. I believed I had found my calling in life, and I lovingly curated this blog with a sense of fulfilling my destiny. And I have been fulfilled.

But lately, I have felt something new — a feeling of coming to an end. At first this scared me for many reasons. First, because I truly believed that spreading the message of health and happiness through whole foods was my mission, and if I were to discover that it isn’t, then what would be left? Second, because I have put so much into this blog over the past year — not just time and effort but emotional energy, and all my hopes and dreams for the future. The thought of ending it all made me feel that what I believed to be my predestined path was nothing more than a detour, a phase, a passing fancy.

With all these reasons you may wonder why I even considered putting an end to Healthy Little Changes, especially when I’ve gained so much momentum and learned so much. The truth is, I’m not ending anything. I feel called to begin anew.

You see, for the past year, I’ve not only learned to nourish my body, I’ve begun to explore what I need to nourish my soul. In much the same way my healthy eating journey began, I started down this path with a question: What can I do to give my spirit all it needs to flourish and grow? Many of the answers I knew already but I have been too proud or distracted to accept them. But so many, many more have surprised and delighted me and truly enlightened my soul.

My friends, the truth is, these past few months I’ve undergone a remarkable spiritual transformation. I have learned things that turned my world around and filled my soul with unfathomable light. I have experienced a miraculous healing of the psyche, but I didn’t stop there. I’ve built on that fresh clean start I was granted and have discovered a wide array of tools, exercises, and daily practices to keep my soul uplifted. I have learned to quiet my fears, push past the ego, and let my spirit guide me and inspire me to action. And that’s what I’m doing now.

I have been inspired to begin a new project, one that will teach others to push past the darkness and follow their own light. I feel called to use my God-given writing and speaking talents to teach women in particular how to listen to and honor their needs so that they are not only able to take care of those that depend on them, but so they may gain the strength and power to become who they were put on this earth to be.

And so I’m choosing to end my Healthy Little Changes journey so that I may fully focus on this new mission ahead. It is not with sadness that I do so, but with immense joy and anticipation. Because I have learned that when you follow your inner guidance, there is nothing to fear and everything to gain.

Thank you, dear friends, for welcoming me into your lives and allowing me to be part of your own personal journeys. I have learned much from you and it is my sincere hope that you have learned much from me. And I do hope that when my new project launches, you will join me on that journey too.

Sending you love, peace, and joy in the new year.

Lindsay

Food addiction: Is it real?

It’s 10 a.m. and you’re itching for a Diet Coke. Maybe you’re holding off, trying to make it until noon to crack open your first can. Maybe you’re on your second or third, or maybe you’re heading down to the convenience store to re-fill your 32-oz. cup you bought on the way to work this morning.

Sound familiar? You’re not alone.

I’ve written before about my love affair with soda, and even shared tips on beating the habit. But for many people, it’s not as simple as that.

Food addiction is a complicated issue. Many people doubt its existence, saving the word “addiction” for things like cigarettes and hard drugs. But the fact is, food addiction is real, just as real as any other physical addiction, and its consequences can be dire.

Lately I’ve been realizing that I may have more food hangups than I thought. I’m not jonesing for soda like I used to be, but in the past few weeks I’ve caught myself looking for a reason to get fast food. Years ago, hitting up the drive-thru on my way to work used to be a daily occurrence. Thankfully I’ve come a long way from those days, but when I realized I’ve been having the urge just as strongly, even though I haven’t been acting on it, I recognized the fact that this is more than a run-of-the-mill craving. But there’s one more thing that makes this really look like the problem it is: In contrast, even though I love chocolate, I could take it or leave it. Same with soda, potato chips, ice cream, or any other indulgent treat. But with French fries, I can’t stop thinking about them. I plan my son’s preschool drive around which fast food chain I want to go to. I calculate whether I have enough cash on hand to grab some while I’m out on my next errand so my husband won’t know I’ve hit up fast food again. And on and on.

This, my friends, is a problem.

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Thanksgiving for Body, Mind, and Soul

I did something shocking, unthinkable.

I put up our Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving.

It’s shameful, I know. The day after Thanksgiving has always been a sacred day, The Day We Deck The Halls And Put Up the Christmas Decorations. But it was out of necessity this year, as we are traveling for Thanksgiving and won’t be home until it’s nearly December. It would be shortening our celebration season, and I just wasn’t having that.

However, although I was eagerly looking forward to getting out the tree and hanging the stockings, something felt off. It was just weird, diving head-first into Christmas without Thanksgiving first. Which made me realize just how much I actually love the holiday itself, not just as a gateway to pass through before we kick off the most wonderful time of year. I fervently believe in the immense power of gratitude, in its ability to lift us out of darkness and give us the strength to walk a better path. Having a holiday that reminds us to reflect and be grateful is a blessing we too often pass over.

I’ll share more of my love of the power of gratitude at the end of this post, but fist, in honor of Thanksgiving I bring you a roundup of tips and inspiration to help you celebrate this oft-neglected holiday in full presence of body and mind.

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Recipe Roundup: It’s soup season!

Something about this time of year makes my soul feel at peace. Or, rather, some things, plural. How I love the blazing fall colors, the nip in the air, the comfort of fuzzy cardigans and infinity scarves, and the desire to turn inward in body and mind and cozy up with a blanket and a book. And of course, how could I forget my professed love of soup season?

It may seem such a silly thing to pledge your undying devotion, but there’s something about a warm bowl of soup that makes everything right with the world. It’s hearty, comforting, warming, full of flavor — any kind of flavor you can dream of. And for me, many soups are inherently full of nostalgia. Especially chicken noodle soup.

I grew up in a family that treated the day after Thanksgiving as its own holiday. It was sacred, and the routine never varied: Up came the Christmas decorations, on went the holiday music, and into the kitchen we went for leftover turkey soup. And in the days before DVDs brought the magic of children’s Christmas specials on demand, we’d turn to the newspaper to check that night’s TV schedule for the first of the season’s holiday showings.

Now, no matter what time of year, whenever I smell turkey or chicken noodle soup I am there in my parents’ home listening to Bing Crosby or Manheim Steamroller, hanging my favorite “lovebirds” ornament on the tree and wrapping the banister in tinsel, waiting for the homemade noodles and creamy broth of the evening’s turkey soup.

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Recipe: Slow Cooker Whole Wheat Bread

There’s something about homemade bread that is unreplicable. The hearty aroma is almost heady, even transformative, taking us to places and times of comfort, coziness, and love.

Liz Edmunds, known as “The Food Nanny” (and one of my mentors when I began the process of starting a blog), once told a story of how freshly-baked bread actually saved her grandmother and turned another life around. She told this true tale on an episode of her BYU-TV show “The Food Nanny,” which you can watch here (beginning at 21:15). I’ll retell the story below.

FoodNanny

Her grandmother ran the post office in a tiny rural southern Utah town, and her home was adjacent to the post office. One afternoon a scraggly-looking young man came to the office but left without conducting any business. Later that day when her grandmother was home baking bread and making chili sauce, there was a knock at the door. Out of habit she yelled, “Come in!” and in walked that same young man.

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21 Days to Total Health: Take the Challenge!

What can you accomplish in 21 days?

You could de-clutter every room in your house. You could walk from San Francisco to Seattle. You could write a novel. You could break or start a new habit.

Or, you could transform your body and your life forever.

I’m going to do just that — and I want you to do it with me.

On October 31st, the UC Davis Integrative Medicine 21 Food Day Challenge begins. It’s a three-week journey of 100% whole food, plant-based eating. The best part? Not only do you get a huge network of support, full of people like you who are trying this thing out together, but you’ll get everything you need to plan and prepare your meals for all 21 days. That includes checklists to help you meal plan and shop plus recipes, recipes, and more recipes — plus, the chance to win all your meals delivered to your door for FREE. In fact, the entire challenge is completely, entirely, 100% free. Continue reading

What your body needs this fall (besides pumpkin spice)

Has autumn weather found you yet?

If Instagram is any indication, the entire Western world is blissfully sipping on spiced apple cider while crunching through the leaves in cozy knitted cardigans and knee-high boots, basking in the still-warm-yet-crisp fall sunlight on their way to the farmer’s market or pumpkin patch or even a college football game.

It’s not just the dewy pictures of Instagram and Pinterest that are making me long for the idyllic traditions of fall. Autumn is a transitional season — a season of change, and not just for the natural world but for humans as well. Instinctively our bodies know this and prompt us to prepare for the coming cold months ahead.

Autumn-01

According to Ayurvedic tradition, fall is a time to change our daily routines and our diets to keep in harmony with the environmental changes all around us. Ayurveda is an ancient science based on elemental principles that pertain to life on earth, according to Balance & Bliss Ayurvedic Center in Tampa, Florida. “As the external environment changes during the vata (or fall) season, your internal environment can experience the same type of changes; dry leaves, dry skin; crackly leaves, crackly joints; shorter days, shorter attention span; colder days, colder extremities, windy days, windy bowels. … By observing the processes of Mother Nature, you can better understand the processes of your body, mind and spirit.”

To keep from being overcome by the negative effects of autumn, it’s important to strive for a sense of balance this time of year. This is done “by emphasizing lifestyle and food choices that are grounding, stabilizing, warming, moisturizing and softening,” according to Balance & Bliss. “You can stay calm and connected in this whirlwind season with a consistent practice that includes nourishing and protective measures.”

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8 disgusting things you’re eating on a regular basis

Do you know what really goes into your food?

It’s one thing to read food labels, but it’s quite another to understand what exactly those ingredients mean — and something else entirely to know what’s used in the process of making that food that doesn’t make it to the food label.

The Environmental Working Group is leading the charge on educating consumers about hazardous food additives, regularly publishing “The Dirty Dozen,” a list of 12 additives you should avoid and why. (You can read all about it HERE.)The dangers of such additives include hormone disruptions, developmental delays, behavioral disorders, and a host of tumors and cancers. The EWG points out that although these additives have been given the green light by the United States Food and Drug Administration, the very fact that their hazards are well-known yet allowed to be sold in our food shines a light on “some of the worst failures of the regulatory system.”

All health hazards aside, some of these additives are just plain gross. From beaver butts to bug poop, here are eight disgusting things hidden in the food you eat and the products you buy every day. Continue reading

How do you find “balance” in your life?

Do you consider yourself a balanced person? Or is it an ideal you’re constantly chasing — or one you’ve abandoned all hope of achieving?

I think the answer depends on your definition of “balanced.”

I used to think that balance was all about finding the sweet spot and staying there. I thought that if I chose my convictions carefully then I could fearlessly hold to them, never caving or yielding too far to temptation, never shirking and slacking off so as to lose my footing. Balance, I believed, was also about cultivating a zen-like aura so that no matter how fiercely the winds of chaos beat about me, I could maintain my sense of calm and persevere through the storm.

What a load of crap.

Look, I’m not saying this isn’t possible; for all I know it is and I just wasn’t the kind of person who could achieve and maintain that definition of balance. But the more I get to know the world and the people in it, the more I realize I’m not alone in rejecting it. I don’t mean giving up and thinking I can’t achieve my dreams — I mean staring this ideal in the face and saying, “This is not the life I want. I choose a different path.”

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Recipe Roundup: 2 one-pot wonders and vegan ribs (what???)

For years I hated cooking because the ratio was all wrong: Why spend an hour in the kitchen making dinner plus a half hour cleaning up afterwards when it only takes 20 minutes to eat? That’s 90 minutes of work for 20 minutes of enjoyment. (And if you’ve got picky eaters who pitch a fit at the table every freaking night, that 20 minutes is likely to be the worst 20 minutes of your entire day.)

But then along came the one-pot meal. It’s similar to slow cooking in that you throw everything in the crock pot and let ‘er rip, but it doesn’t take all day and there’s only one pot to clean. WINNING. Plus, there are so many more ingredients you can cook on the stove that you can’t in a slow cooker (but let’s be honest, the only ingredient I really care about is pasta).

I’ll be sharing many more one-pot meals as I test them out (cuz it’s SOUP SEASON, Y’ALL!!), so to round out my round up I’m throwing you a curve-ball: Vegan barbecue ribs. Oh yeah. I went there. And I highly recommend that you go there, too. Scroll down for more.

One-pot wonder tomato basil pasta

Image courtesy of ApronStringsBlog.com

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