January’s Tiny Change: Do It Yourself

OHH Intro: we couldn’t be more into this month’s challenge to DIY (do it yourself!) You’ll save money, eat way healthier, spend way less time grocery shopping, and shock yourself with how good it feels (and tastes!) Read on for Kale & Chocolate’s rundown of how to become a DIY’er…

If you’re just joining us, this post is part of Kale & Chocolate’s year-long #12tinychanges challenge. Each month, we’re implementing one super small, super doable change—it really adds up over the course of a year! You can read about all the changes here. Share your progress on Instagram with the hashtag #12tinychanges for a chance to win awesome prizes!

Welcome to 2016! Most people think of January 1st as the one and only day to turn over a new leaf, but if you’ve been participating in the #12tinychanges challenge, you’ve been building healthy habits since September (go you!) And if you’re new to the challenge, welcome to the simplest, least painful habit-shifting program you’ll ever tackle, #12tinychanges challenge.

blog-images-chocolate-barkAfter the holidays, when so many of us fall off of our routines, we may be tempted to kick off the new year with some BIG promises to ourselves, but it’s really, really, really hard to stick to BIG goasl for the long haul. The population at the gym has already cut in half since January 1. Instead of being one of those, get on board this tiny change and bite off exactly what we can chew. Sound good? Let’s spend a little time in the kitchen in DIY mode making delicious items we may ordinarily buy.

Are you already asking why on earth you’d complicate your life by hand-making purchasable foods? It probably seems more convenient to just grab things off the grocery store shelf and plunk down some cash. But once you try making some of these everyday items on your own, you’ll be amazed by how easy (and delicious) it can be! Why waste precious time and energy running to the store for almond milk when you can make your own tastier version in five minutes right in your own kitchen? What about your morning smoothie? How about that $15 jar of almond butter we all know and love?

IMG_3513You might think it will be boring, time-consuming, or expensive to DIY. Guess what – it’s not! It’s actually fun, significantly cheaper, and far healthier than buying everything pre-made.

Why should you try DIY-ing something you’d normally buy?

It’s incredibly satisfying + fulfilling. Few of us have ever made our own bread, nut butters or jams. (Hello, awesome homemade PB & J!) Contemplating the processes of making these items can feel intimidating, totally understand. Until I started creating my own staples, there were so many recipes I avoided because I feared their complexity. Why should I spend time learning how to DIY something when I could just toss it into my cart and buy it instantly?

Making your own staples can actually have a ripple effect through your whole life. Confidence and capability in one area often trickle over into other areas of your life, in the kitchen and beyond. Once you’ve mastered whipping up your own almond milk or putting together mason jar salads, there’s no telling what you’ll attempt! If you think something is out of your reach or beyond your skill set, it’s extremely satisfying to finally try it, figure it out…and then work it seamlessly into your weekly routine.

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When you make it yourself, you can customize it. Have you ever bought a granola bar and thought, “Hmm, I wish this was a tad less sweet…or why does this have 20 grams of sugar and tons of chemicals in it?!” When you make your own bars or bites, you can customize them to taste exactly the way you like…without the chemicals!

Create your own trail mix exactly how you like it. Add more of the things you love while skipping the unnecessary sugar, salt, and fillers found in the packaged versions. When you DIY, you know exactly what’s going in…and you control exactly which not-so-healthy ingredients you leave out!

You can view DIY-ing through the lens of curiosity + experimentation. This tiny change is just that: tiny. You don’t have to replace every store-bought condiment or staple in your house. You don’t have to make everything you eat from scratch. You don’t have to whip up award-winning sauces or a picture perfect superfood smoothie bowl the first time you try, just take it one step at a time.

Consider how making from scratch improves the quality of the food you eat, and how much you’ll learn about your ingredients. Notice how much more you appreciate your meals when they include your homemade staples, this will lead to more mindful eating and enjoyment!

If you’re really interested in kicking up the DIY challenge a notch or two, check out my book, Whole Food Energy. It’s packed with 200 easy-to-make recipes designed specifically for busy, active people who want to stock their kitchens & pantries with healthy homemade snacks and light bites to eat on the go. It’s pretty much a DIY goldmine!

Remember to go slowly and pick one or two DIY projects a week. Once you experience a homemade latte, (best part, you don’t have to leave the house!) sweet potato fries, (better than take out!) or the best brunch around, you’ll be hooked.

Lastly, I want to give you the tools to get going. I’m giving away amazing prizes each week throughout January on Instagram. Think: signed copies of my book, superfoods from Windy City Organicsc to enhance your creations, and much more! Just tag #12tinychanges to enter and follow @kaleandchocolate and @hamptonskiley while you’re at it!

One Healthy Breakdown: No time like the present, start gathering your ingredients and get ready to dig in!

Word of the Year

What if planning for the new year felt thrilling? Exciting? Fun and invigorating? I don’t know about you, but when I was in the habit of making yearly resolutions, they most certainly did not feel like that.  Coming up with a New Year’s promises to myself was more like an exercise in shame and disappointment; it seemed to highlight all the ways my previous year hadn’t quite measured up.

Add to that the stress of planning goals and changes for the next year, and it became a recipe for disaster! At the end of 2013, I changed the way I thought about my coming year and instantly, everything felt lighter, easier, and more loving.

What did I do? I chose a word of the year. In 2015, I picked the word trust. In 2014, my word was simplify. My “word of the year” anchors my daily life. It helps me focus. It guides the work I do, the choices I make, and the way I navigate my everyday. When I feel adrift, I remember my word of the year and come back to myself & my goals for 2016.

word-of-the-year-2015-bMy word for 2016? Spaciousness. Sounds nice & relaxing, doesn’t it?

This means making space in my day for a spontaneous game of fetch with my dogs or a leisurely stroll through the farmers’ market. It means finally making space for the book I’ve always wanted to write. It means prepping food on Sunday in a non-stressful manner… and then having space to kick back and enjoy my evenings without worrying about what’s for dinner during the week.

Spaciousness1-editedIt’s resisting the desire to schedule, map out, and micro-manage every single last detail. It’s saying “no” comfortably to make room to say “YES!” It’s greeting life and opportunities with open arms.

But the word that works for me is not necessarily the word that works for you. Maybe you’d like 2016 to feel focused or connected or inspired. Or perhaps you want ease or to be more playful.

Choosing a word of the year has grounded me and changed the course of my next trip around the sun—and I want that for you, too! Here are three steps that will get you started:

1. Think about how you want your life to look and feel
In order to keep traditional resolutions, we usually end up counting calories, dollars, or social media followers. We track numbers and assess our success based on said numbers.

But when you navigate your new year with a single word as your beacon, the new year slowly shifts into something easier and sweeter. A “successful” year is a year that looks and feels the way we want it to look and feel.

Peer through the window of your Future Dream Life and really imagine the specifics. Would it look like Fridays off, getting a manicure with your best friend? Would it look like more quality time with your kids? How would you spend that time with them? What would you talk about? Would your Future Dream Life look like a night out in the city? Who would you be with? What would you be wearing?

And how do you want it to feel? Do you want to feel free? Supported? Seen? Imagine the way you want your heart and mind to feel every day and then choose a word accordingly.

2. Trust your intuition
Choosing your word of the year is a lot easier than you’d expect. You don’t necessarily have to labor over this decision; you likely don’t need to turn this over in your mind a thousand times.

Really think about the past year. What worked? What didn’t? If you’re honest with yourself, you probably already know how you’d like next year to be different. If a word immediately springs to mind and it feels right in your gut, you’ve found your word. Congratulations!

3. Now consider how you can apply this word to your whole life
“Supported”’ at home means something different than “supported” in your professional life. And “connected” to your body is different than being “connected” to your partner.

How does your word apply in the context of work? At home? Does it affect the way you move your body or the choices you make around food? Will it change the way you use technology?

When you take the time to imagine the way your word applies to all the areas of your life, you’re ready to make that word happen—everywhere.

Now it’s your turn to identify your word for the new year. Good luck!

One Healthy Breakdown: Wishing you a year filled with health, happiness, and finding just the right word!

3 Steps to Start Living Your Dream Life this Year!

Ok, I have a confession. I failed at my New Years Resolution within the first THREE hours of the new year! I only mildly, vaguely, kinda sorta committed to the idea of being a vegetarian in 2014. So in the midst of champagne celebrations on New Years Eve, I was handed a chicken sandwich, and my resolution was out the door. It all just happened so fast…Oh well, there’s always next year! Alright, so resolutions shmesolutions. Nobody likes them, especially me. They don’t work. We end up giving up all together when we feel a little depressed about failing at them so quickly. Out with the resolutions, in with the GOALS!

3 steps to start living your dream lifeWhat does actually work is setting goals! Choosing a few clear, specific, and inspiring goals will change your year…and your entire life.

1. I need to lose this extra weight from the holidays (is soooo not inspiring to me. Blah. Ick. Get it away.) What actually may work?

2. I try out three new classes every week

or

3. My boyfriend and I cook a new vegetarian meal together every Friday. (Uhh…excuse me, but those goals actually sound pretty fun!)

We are going to make 2014 the BEST year–the year YOU start living YOUR dreams and having tons of FUN, starting NOW! If that sounds like something you want, sign up for Hamptons Wellness Week! I’m going to be delving a WHOLE lot more about goal setting, bucket lists, and dreams during my New Year’s Vision and Goals workshop during Hamptons Wellness Week! I hope you’ll join me then so we can get super clear, specific, and inspired for 2014!

But, why wait! Here are three simple steps to help you elevate this year to the next level of awesome:

1. Get crystal clear on what your dream year and dream life actually looks like. You can’t expect it to fall out of the sky, because even if it did–you wouldn’t recognize it if you don’t know what it is that you want! Take some time (like we’re talking 10 minutes) to sit down and make a list. Draw a picture. Create a vision board, or use Pinterest. Do some honest soul-searching. What does your ideal life, your ideal year, really look like? By ideal, I’m talking wildest dreams. Endless possibilities. Nothing is too crazy, too bold, too risky. It’s your year to start being honest with yourself and start living like you mean it.

Where do you dream of living? What do you daydream about doing for work? Do you want to travel? Where do you want to go? How do you take care of yourself? Do you wish you could run a marathon? Do you want to feel like you belong to a community? What does that look like to you? What do you want to do for fun? What is important to you? What do you value? What have you always wanted to try? Heck…what would you do if you won a million dollars tomorrow?

2.  Once you know exactly what it is you really want, you can start setting some inspiring goals for yourself! Goals give you a target, a clear, specific spot to set your aim towards and ultimately reach. Goal-setting sets your dreams into motion and gets your creative, subconscious brain moving in the right direction, YOUR direction. Your goals are 100% authentic to you and inspire you to take action. Brian Tracy (goal setting guru) says that “people with clear, written goals accomplish far more in a shorter period of time than people without them could ever imagine. Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor.” Sounds pretty awesome, right?

3. Finally, the BIGGEST thing you need to do to make 2014 your BEST year yet is to get into action now! Your dreams, goals, and visions for your life are so beautiful and so perfect. The only way the world will ever see your greatness is if you choose greatness today. Choose to show up for yoga class. Choose to read that book, write that book, or give away that book! Choose to eat your broccoli, kale, and green beans. Choose to spend time with the people who matter most to you. Choose to sign up for that race you’ve been putting off. All it takes is one teeny tiny small action a day to bring you closer to your wildest dreams. YOU are the one that’s going to take your year to the next level. So many adventures are waiting, so many melt-your-heart moments, and so many “hell yeah, I did that!” are just beyond these initial footsteps.

Can’t wait to see YOU soon to talk more about your goals and to set you up with an action plan for the year! Sign up for Hamptons Wellness Week THIS Sunday, January 12th, at Hamptons Coffee Experience Store (749 County Rd. 39A) Wellness Week participants are invited to goal coach with me on January 16th at lululemon athletica East Hampton. It’s going to be an awesome year!

One Healthy Breakdown: Commit to choosing your dream life, and you will have it, it’s that simple.