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Health, Business, and That Proverbial Wagon

Idea

The reason I’m writing this particular post is because for the last week or two (it’s two), I’ve been eating a lot of really awful food. And I don’t mean that I’m eating things like cake and hotdogs and bacon. I mean that I am eating too much, too frequently, consuming too little greens, and drinking too much wine. It’s all about the excess. Winter is a hard time for me to keep my diet in check (I blame low levels of Vitamin D and almost zero willpower), and after two weeks of slowly slipping on my usual semi-strict diet, I’m definitely feeling the effects.

Combine that with the fact that I just broke my coffee grinder a couple of days ago and have no coffee here, and I’m kind of a mess. (And by “mess” I mean I’m slowly but surely entering Bitch Town, population ME.) Both coffee and cheese have crack-like effects on me—or what I imagine those effects to feel like—and since I don’t eat a lot of cheese anymore, coffee’s my crutch.

With soy or coconut cream, of course.

This whole diet thing can also be relatable to anyone out there who feels like they’re slipping in regards to their business. I find diet and business to be seamlessly connected. When I’m truly healthy, I work better. I get better assignments. I complete those assignments faster, with more enthusiasm.

Period.

Soooo….how do I get back on track? It’s actually pretty simple. Only it involves a lot of willpower, and I’m feeling pretty lazy. (Probably a side-effect of my recent crappy diet.)

STEP 1: Accept what I’ve done, and move on. This goes for anybody trying to get back on track, whether it’s quitting smoking, cutting back on drinking, altering food, stepping up their business, whatever. It’s key to understand that we are all human, we make mistakes, and then then we need to motor off in the right direction. Leave the past behind.

STEP 2: Make a plan. In my case, I made today’s meal plan for myself yesterday. I was prepared. I made sure I had all the ingredients. If you’re quitting smoking, make sure you have no cigarettes around, and have plenty of sugar-free gum to keep your hands busy. Be ready to distract yourself. If it’s your business that you’ve been lazy about, make time to get stuff done. No excuses. There will always be excuses—but time flies by. Take advantage of the time you have now.

STEP 3: Stick to the plan. This is totally different than making the plan. Sticking to it requires that willpower that I was previously talking about. Sometimes it helps to write yourself notes to slap on the fridge. (Sometimes your kids or husband make fun of you for this, but who cares?) If you need them, then use them. It doesn’t matter what others think. You know yourself best—don’t listen to naysayers or pessimistic people. Again, in relation to your business, it is YOUR business. Nobody’s going to do the grunt work necessary for stepping it up better than you.

STEP 4: Make it a habit. The longer you can stick to your plan, the better your chances for success. Create a routine. Mark successful days on the calendar. Challenge yourself. Reward yourself. You can do it; anybody can. Be your own best YOU. Make your business the best model of its kind. You’re capable—don’t let others distract you. Habit is key.

STEP 5: Acknowledge your hard work. And if you slip a little, remind yourself of step one. If you feel like you’re facing challenges that are impossible or aren’t getting the results you think you deserve (I don’t know whether I’m talking about my diet or my business at this point, but it doesn’t matter—they’re similar), keep going. Don’t stop. That next deal could be in the next cold call. That two pounds could peel off with your next run.

Just. Keep. Going.

So, day one of desperately grasping for the back of that wagon is just beginning. As I’m typing this, I’m finishing my fresh-pressed vegetable juice, eyeing up the half bottle of wine on my counter (which I think I’ll be dumping—I know it’s a little sacrilege, but sometimes you have to get drastic), and thinking about what I’ll do throughout the day to keep myself on track. If you need to change something in YOUR life, whether it’s to get back on that proverbial wagon or begin a whole brand-new routine, know that it’s totally attainable.

Shine

“What you are is what you have been. What you will be is what you do now.” Buddah

You are the only one who’s standing in your way. Get out of there! And if you need to, go replace your coffee grinder.

My Top 12 Observations of Highly Successful People

Successful People

First of all, I’ll admit that the inspiration for writing this post came from the book Hero, which I’m halfway through. When my mother-in-law gave this book to me for my birthday a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know how much I’d be taking from it, and how motivating it would be! She’s amazing at giving gifts.

Aaaaaanyway…

Because I’m currently in the throes of marketing my first book, I’ve been paying attention to both the words of wisdom and inspiration from that book (Hero; not my own), and also my husband’s podcasts. Or, to be more specific, the podcasts he listens to while he showers every morning. Once you get over how annoyingly loud they need to be in order for him to be able to hear clearly while being fully immersed in running water, you find that the content is actually pretty good.

And by “you” and mean “I.”

The podcasts are always presented by people who have achieved great success in their businesses, and since both my husband and I are in business for self (he’s a mortgage broker; I’m a freelance health and wellness writer), we both spend a lot of time trying to learn from other peoples’ failures and successes and overall experiences.

Let’s quickly define my current definition of “successful people,” in regards to business: I’m referring to those who manage to create something, and then flourish…people who not only do what they love, and what ignites fire within them, but are able to make a pretty decent living doing it. This is what I deem to be a successful business person.

Your definition might be different.

be good

This is what I have learned thus far; my top twelve observations of highly successful people:

1-      They believe in themselves. People who achieve success in their business know they have something to offer, and they don’t let other people’s opinions deter them from achieving what they know they’re capable of. They visualize themselves being successful, thereby never creating an excuse for failure. In order for others to believe in your product, you need to believe in it yourself.

2-      They’re passionate. I’m not talking about in the bedroom, though numerous studies have shown that more fulfilling sex coincides with higher career accomplishments.[1] Successful people are passionate about their product. They’re excited, and they convey that excitement to others thereby building a buzz.

3-      They have a willingness to work hard. Let’s face it: in order for your business to be preferred against someone else’s you’ve got to put in the effort. You get what you put into it, right? This handy little rule of thumb goes for almost everything: relationships, health, happiness, and…business.

4-      They dream BIG. Dreams of any size are great, but successful people aren’t afraid to dream bigger than the average Joe. Whereas most people might get deterred at the very thought of doing something scary, there are a small percentage of people who love a challenge, and possess the desire to do something that others won’t.

5-      They’re focused—and I’m talking unwavering focus. Success comes with sticking your nose to the grindstone—and leaving it there. Being dissuaded or distracted or becoming bored are not options.

6-      They set specific goals. This is an incredibly common practice for highly successful people. They know what they want, they give themselves a timeline, and they make sure they follow it to the end. Setting specific goals means that you can cross them off once they’re achieved—and this creates a powerful sense of accomplishment and fulfillment when that time arrives.

7-      They surround themselves with like-minded people. Hang with who you want to emulate. Right? If you’re in med school, hang out with doctors. If you’re patenting a product, make friends with people who have been there, done that. By surrounding yourself with people that have or have had similar dreams, you become instantly motivated and encouraged to follow through. There’s a writer’s conference that I go to every year, and I leave that function PUMPED UP. This is important.

8-      They’re open to criticism—and they can handle it. This is HUGE. Nobody and nothing is perfect, and sometimes we need to hear it. Being open to other people’s criticism means that you have an edge on your competition—you’re able to understand that not everyone thinks and feels the same way, and that knowledge can help you produce a better product or service. Which brings me to…

9-      They’re not afraid to tweak. People who do well in their endeavors aren’t afraid to edit their work for the better. Quality first, right?

10-  They love a challenge. I touched on this a bit already, but those who don’t like challenges quit pretty quickly, and determination seems to be a fairly common trait of successful people. Nobody’s handed their OWN success. They have to create it—and that can be challenging.

We Are What We Think

11-  They don’t try and BE other people—they realize that their uniqueness is what makes their ideas special and one-of-a-kind, and they use that to their advantage. The realization that you’ll never please everybody, and that there will always be haters is a big one. But it’s instrumental in your acceptance of yourself and your ideas. You don’t have to prove yourself to everyone—just be YOU.

12-  They pay attention to detail. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but details really matter. Details are what make your plan or vision or dream or product different from other people’s. It’s all in the details—and highly successful people know this.

Bonus observance? They take care of themselves. Highly successful people tend to eat better, exercise, consciously attempt to de-stress, and forgo smoking.

Maya Angelou has been quoted as saying “Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”[2]

Amen, sister.

Food Equals Fuel: what's YOUR body running on?

Food is Fuel

Think of food as fuel.

If you put the wrong kind of fuel into your vehicle, it won’t work, right? Same with your body. Processed foods, most animal products, and sugar are the wrong kinds of fuel. It’s the equivalent of adding more and more water to your gas tank until your vehicle just doesn’t run anymore. Your body won’t run properly on bad or insufficient fuel. So fuel it up right! Whole foods like whole grains, beans, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruit represent the high octane that your body needs. Without it, we just can’t perform properly. Period. Food = fuel. Think about it.

What are YOU running on?

Fragmented Foods: is low-quality food and lack of nutrition education to blame for poor digestion?

Photo from whollyfitvictoria.com

Photo from whollyfitvictoria.com

When you think of food, what immediately comes to mind? Do you think of grains, vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds, beans, and good quality meats? Or do you conjure up images of pre-packaged breakfast cereals touting ‘whole grains,’ and processed deli meat that is meant to inhabit a bleached-out bun? Most people wouldn’t admit it, but option number two is far more prevalent than the first.

Today’s “foods” are the leading contributors to the enormous influx of gastrointestinal disorders that over twenty million Canadians[1] currently suffer from. Forget meds and surgeries—could simply eating better food solve most of our gastrointestinal problems?

Dr. John McDougall is one doctor that thinks so. In his book, Dr. McDougall’s Digestive Tune-Up, he says “the food you put in your body is the single most powerful factor that determines your health and well-being.”[2] If you’ve read his book, you’ll know that he’s speaking primarily about the power good foods have on proper (or improper) digestion.

Hmmm…food for thought?

I have to admit, I have a personal vendetta against food companies that market their products as healthy, natural, and whole, only to discover them teeming with filler, additives, artificial ingredients, and preservatives; companies that go out of their way to label sugar as “organic cane sugar” or “sucrose” so that un-savvy consumers think the sugar content is lower and healthier than it actually is—and don’t even get me started on “fat-free!”

I suffered from irritable bowel syndrome for nine years before realizing I could eradicate my terrible symptoms by eating actual food instead of food-like substances—in six days. (True story—and I was a pretty healthy eater to begin with! Just not informed.) If ordinary foods have the ability to correct extraordinary digestive problems, then why aren’t we all eating the good stuff and leaving the bad foods alone (to NOT rot– haha) on the grocery store shelves?

One reason is that most of us just don’t realize that digestive issues may be related to what we eat. When talking to a doctor about your IBS or IBD or whatever chronic digestive malfunction you may be experiencing, you will almost NEVER hear that doctor ask you what you’re eating or what you’re not. Even most specialists won’t ask you those questions! Most will ask you about family history, offer you medications that have been approved for treatment (even though many of them are statistically less effective than a placebo)[3], and maybe try and book you for another appointment with different doctor who may or may not be interested in talking you into surgery. Grrr…

The second most common reason for not changing your diet when confronted with digestive problems is that food companies do such a great job of disguising crappy ingredients from the average consumer. We genuinely have no idea what we’re putting into our bodies.

(If that major company is calling this food, then its food, right? I mean, is HAS been approved by the FDA…) Etc, etc, etc.

Can we please take a step back from this mess and do our own investigative work? Once you want to, it’s easy. Being diligent about such things as reading ingredients labels (if you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it), buying organic (if it’s not organic then it’s been sprayed with chemicals), and making sure you consume plenty of whole foods (non-processed—a food with one ingredient; for example, apple, oats, grass-fed beef, almonds) will ENSURE you better digestion, and in turn, better overall health.

What’s it going to be? Confusion over your tummy’s ability to cooperate with you on a regular basis? Or will you begin to take a hard look at what you’ve been putting in your mouth? Your gut is important—create a happy, healthy environment, and you will alleviate a lot of unnecessary pain and embarrassment.

Happy Father’s Day!

References:


[2] John A. McDougall, MD. Dr. McDougall’s Digestive Tune-Up. Introduction. Book Publishing Company. 2008.

Underdog Fruits and Vegetables: How Do They Compare to Their Counterparts?

Watermelon & Cukes

Everyone is pretty solid on the fact that fruit and veggies are good for us, right? But there seems to some fruits and vegetables that receive more attention than others; namely kale, yams, brocolli, and other “superfood” or “wonderfood” elects. What about the underdogs? Iceberg lettuce, watermelon, celery, cucumbers, and potatoes to name a few? These foods tend to be overlooked as nutritional superstars, and are deemed more along the lines of empty calories and/or non-sufficient vessels for the crazy nutrients that others are touting.

Well, these underdogs pack their own nutritional punch, and I argue that they should not be overlooked. BUT…we’re going to do some comparisons. In the name of Nude Food Fridays, let’s take a trip to the produce aisle!

Iceberg Lettuce vs. Romaine Lettuce

I haven’t purchased iceberg lettuce in years. I have this opinion that it contains far less nutrients than other lettuces, and therefore, I choose lettuce varieties with higher nutritional profiles. I think. So, now I’ll know for sure.

One cup of shredded iceberg lettuce contains 1 gram of fibre and only a mere 10 calories. In terms of your daily nutritional value, it boasts 7% of your daily intake of vitamin A, and 3% of vitamin C. It contains 1 gram of protein, just like romaine. However, when it comes to romaine, this darker lettuce nearly quadruples the amount of fibre, and possesses WAY more vitamin A (82%) and C (19%).

The winner? Romaine! Ding, ding, ding, ding, ding!

Watermelon vs. Cantaloupe

In my opinion, all melons are delicious and should be given equal opportunity to get shoved into my mouth. But there must be one that is clearly better for you than the other. Maybe…

Besides being incredibly hydrating, one cup of diced watermelon boasts 17% of your daily intake of vitamin A, and 21% of your vitamin C. There is also 1 gram of protein (who knew?!) and only 46 calories. In comparison, the same amount of cantaloupe contains slightly higher calories (53), the same amount of protein, 106% (!) of your daily intake of vitamin A, and 95% of your vitamin C. Crazy! There are 12 grams of sugar in cantaloupe, compared with only 9 grams in watermelon, and both have the same amount of fibre.

So, which melon wins this nutritional comparison? I’m thinking cantaloupe…

021

Celery vs. Fennel

I’m comparing these two stalky-veggies, because they kinda look alike. They also both have great digestion-helping properties. Sound good? Soooo….celery. I always thought that celery was not very nutrient-dense. In fact, I remember being told that celery was a great diet food, because you burned more calories digesting it, than what it was composed of! Here’s the low-down on celery:

One cup of raw celery contains 16 calories, one gram of protein, and 2 grams of fibre. It also possesses 9% of your daily intake of vitamin A and 5% of your vitamin C. So, how does fennel match up? One cup of raw fennel bulb contains 27 calories, 3 grams of fibre, and 1 gram of protein. It also has only 2% of your daily intake of vitamin A, and 17% of vitamin C.

The winner here? Ummm…I call a draw!

Cucumber vs. Zucchini

Cucumber is a fave in my house. It’s super hydrating, and is the base for most of my juices. So, how does it hold up in comparison to its look-alike, zucchini?

Let’s see…one full cucumber has 45 calories, 2 grams of fibre, and 2 grams of protein. It also contains 6% of your daily intake of vitamin A, and 14% of vitamin C. A whole zucchini has 52 calories, 4 grams of fibre, and 4 grams of protein. The daily recommended intake of vitamin A and C it provides is roughly 13% and 92%!

Wow–clearly, zucchini wins this round.

Potato vs. Sweet Potato

Potatoes have kind of a rough rep lately for being too starchy and carby. But sweet potatoes are starchy and carby, too! Why do they get better press? Who’s their publicist?! Hmmm…let’s find out the truth:

One white baked potato (skin on) contains a whopping 281 calories, 6 grams of fibre, and 6 grams of protein. It also possesses 1% of your daily intake of vitamin A, 63% of your vitamin C, 3% calcium, and 11% iron. The sweet potato? The same amount of baked sweet potato (skin on) contains about 300 calories, 6 grams of fibre, and 4 grams of protein. Hmmm…potato is winning so far….except: this portion of sweet potato also possesses 1400% of your daily intake of vitamin A (!!!!!), 59% of your vitamin C, 7% calcium, and 7% iron. Aside from the insane amount of vitamin A a sweet potato possesses, the two roots are totally similar!

Interesting….but the verdict sides with the sweet potato. You just can’t ignore all that vitamin A.

So, next time you find yourself staring undecisively at two foods that look or taste relatively similar, ask yourself where the true nutritional value lies. And then buy the good stuff! Happy Nude Food Friday!

*All nutritional info taken from http://nutritiondata.self.com.

Sugar, and All Her Crazy-Ass Names

Despite what my 13-year-old will tell you, we do not need added sugar. Sugar can be harmful, and even if you think you have a Superman (or Wonderwoman) tolerance for those 5-cent, corner store candies, sooner or later, it WILL catch up with you.

Everybody knows that sugar has a bad reputation, because it is highly associated with diseases such as diabetes, candida (an overgrowth of yeast), and obesity. It is also known to completely wreak havoc with your digestive system, by throwing off the balance of good-to-bad bacteria there. As stated above, added sugar is unnecessary, and even harmful. But what about sugar-like substances? Ingredients that are injected into food in order to account for its low levels of actual sugar when advertising its product as “sugar free,” “low sugar,” or “no added sugar?” I’m talking about the following substances:

high fructose corn syrup (*blech!*), sucrose, glucose, fructose, lactose, maltose, dextrose, honey, corn syrup, invert sugar, invert sugar syrup, molasses, brown sugar, evaporated cane juice, sugar cane crystals, treacle, demerara sugar, fruit juice crystals, dehydrated fruit juice, corn sweetener, fruit juice concentrate, malt syrup, raw sugar, turbinado sugar, syrup, muscovado sugar, glucose syrup, barbados sugar, sorghum syrup, refiner’s syrup, beet sugar, carob syrup, table sugar, malt, buttered syrup, maple syrup, rice syrup, agave nectar or syrup, powdered sugar, confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup solids, d-mannose, sorbose, galactose, organic raw sugar, golden sugar, date sugar, castor sugar, golden syrup, raisin syrup, etc.

(http://blog.b-ecochic.com/2012/04/12/no-sugar-diet-day-3-of-30/)

Sheesh! These sneaky names for sugar confuse consumers. (Myself included.) Don’t be deceived!! Know ALL the names for sugar, and you will be the wiser when trying to make good food choices for you and your family.

If you must add sugar to your food, please familiarize yourself with the GI. (Glycemic Index.) Better sugars that won’t raise your blood sugar high into the sky (sending you straight to sugar-land: a world of hyperactivity and euphoria, followed by exhaustion and root canals), include stevia, brown rice syrup, and agave nectar. Give these subs a try!

Next time somebody offers you a sour key, take a pass. Your body will beam with happiness at your decision to preserve its stabilized blood sugar…