5 Easy Ways To Add Zen To Your Day

Do you find yourself hearing others talk about meditating and Zen and would like some for yourself, but are already wishing you had enough time to get everything done on your to do list? Wish no more! As a lifestyle coach, my goal is to take the overwhelm out of your life by sharing five easy ways to add a little Zen to your day that don’t require hours of sitting cross-legged on the floor chanting “om”.

5 Easy Ways to Add Zen To Your Day

What is Zen?

The traditional meaning of Zen is meditation which most people identify with the sitting on a meditation pillow with incense and candles burning, for long periods of time. While this is a great practice to have, most of us can’t imagine sitting still at all, let alone for an hour. The good news? My definition of Zen is doing something we love not requiring a lot of brain power enabling our mind to slow down and have a little break, even if it’s just for five minutes. You say that’s great Mary, but what doesn’t create a lot of brain power???

Why It’s Important to Have Zen In Your Day

In this world we live in today, our brain/mind is in constant stimulation mode. If we have downtime, we have these little computers in our pockets that keep us connected. While in some situations it’s great to see your friends and family on social media, we are also inundated with negative news as we scroll through our feed. We are overworked, running kids to all over for their commitments; we eat on the fly, all while not really taking a moment to slow down our bodies and our minds. Adding a little Zen is like a little slice of heaven on Earth. It gives us a chance to stop the constant barrage of information clogging our brains. To combat this barrage, here are five easy tips to create Zen in your day, even if you’re not into meditation.

Set Your Alarm for a Half Hour Earlier

Set your alarm for a few minutes early to enjoy some quiet Zen time.

I know, I know…you are already dog tired, but trust me on this one. If you get out of bed and hit the ground running each day, give yourself a little quiet time before the rest of the house gets up. Set your coffee pot timer to have the coffee done before you get up and savor a cup while reading a book, doing a crossword puzzle or anything you like to do. I urge you to NOT turn on your phone and scroll through social media or emails. How you start your day sets the tone for the day and starting off with this little Zen may just make your day a little less stressed. If a half hour seems too daunting, try 15 minutes first. Again, give yourself just a few minutes in the morning to mentally prepare for the day.

Go For a Walk or Run

I know what you’re thinking; you don’t have time for a two mile walk. Guess what? You don’t have to go for two miles! Take 15 minutes on your lunch break, lace up a pair of tennis shoes and go, especially in the summer. Living in interior Alaska the sunshine and warm weather are fleeting and spending 8+ hours inside an office is more than enough reason to get some fresh air and move! No matter where you live, most of us are nature-deprived and sit most of the day.

Take your best friend for a quick walk stopping to enjoy nature along the way.

You don’t have to power walk to get the most out of this time, quite the opposite, make this a stroll to stretch your legs, breathe in the fresh air and soak up the sunshine. Better yet, bring along your best four-legged friend and stop and enjoy the scenery along the way. Remember, we are creating a little Zen, and slowing down and moving our bodies at the same time are the perfect Yin/Yang. When you get back to your desk, you will be refreshed, renewed and ready to take on the day!

Start An Art Practice

You’re not an artist…who says? A year ago, I attended a women’s workshop where mandala drawing was part of the event. The artist, who hand-draws incredibly balanced mandalas, shared how to create the Zen-like drawings. As she guided us through making a few creations of our own, I found something I loved to do! While mine are not even close to being balanced, it’s OK! It is MY art and I found a way to create a little Zen when I need to slow down my brain. Every once in a while I grab a marker and paper and begin with a little dot on the center of the page adding scribbles and scrolls, top and bottom, side to side. Sometimes I have a finished product in a short time, others, I start a design and finish it a few days or weeks later. Mandalas not your thing? That’s OK, doodle! Doodling is a great way to slow down our brain and letting it express itself through the pen and paper. Not into doodling? Go to your local store and pick up a coloring book. I was at Barnes and Noble this week and there are so many adult books to choose from. However, sometimes it’s fun to pick up a kids coloring book. You can be Zen and Aging Youthful at the same time! Way to multi-task!

Start a New Hobby

You know that thing you’ve always wanted to do, go do it! Learn how to play the piano or guitar to get lost in the music…do something with your hands. In the early 2000’s, thanks to HGTV and a five minute segment “Trash To Treasure” in the old Design on a Dime show, I found a love for making something old new again.

My current "trash to treasure" Zen project.

There is something Zen about taking someone’s trash, giving it a fresh coat of paint (or not) and giving it new life again. I’ve taken old doors and made them into coffee or end tables, gave an old dresser a fresh coat of paint and updated hardware, and more. Most of my creations are back at my cabin in Minnesota, but I recently picked up the practice again. The garage at our rental isn’t heated, so I have to do my Zenning in the summer months. I’m currently working on this end table. It’s taking more coats of paint than I planned, but that means the Universe is telling me I need more Zen!

Plant a Garden For More Zen

One of my favorite ways to Zen; garden!

What could be more Zen than working in nature??? Ever since I was a kid, I loved playing in the dirt and as an adult it led me to creating in the dirt. Our current yard situation isn’t the best for creating rock gardens like the ones I had at my cabin, but I can container garden! Much like turning trash into treasure, there is something about turning a plain piece of earth into a beautiful bountiful garden. Whether it’s a flower/perennial garden or a vegetable garden, both are Zen. I have a tomato and basil plant on my deck, along with a couple of Viola/pansy hanging baskets to fill my need to play in the dirt and not require too much attention. As mentioned earlier, we are living in a nature-deprived society and what a better way to get in some nature time than digging IN it!

Tending to a vegetable garden is the ultimate Zen!

 

There you have it, five easy ways to add a little Zen to your day. These are just five of my favorites, there are literally thousands of other options, check out my post 50 Easy Ways To Nourish Your Soul if you are needing inspiration. My advice, find something YOU love that allows your brain to slow down and just “be”. We are human BEings not human DOings, so BEcome a little more human. I love hearing from you! Comment below or on our Facebook or Instagram pages with your favorite way to create a little Zen in your day to share with our readers so they may find something to help them slow down in this crazy busy world we live.

You Are So Much More Than A Number!

Numbers Are Just That, Numbers

Age Is Just a Number...get younger as you get older!

Where in your life are you letting a number define what you do? Is it your age, the number on the scale or _________ (fill in the blank). In the photo above I was almost two years OLDER in the second photo!!! See, these numbers mean NOTHING other than a measurement of SOMETHING. It is not WHO or WHAT you are. Check out this week’s vlog where I share four of the most common “numbers” most of us let define us, then come back and comment below with where you are no longer going to let a number decide or determine the decisions you make.

 

Luis Camacho – His Aging Youthful Secrets

Every day I meet and read about people defying their age and doing some amazing things people decades younger would have a hard time to match. When Mark and I lived in Florida, one of the favorite people we met, albeit briefly, was Luis Camacho. At a time when many people his age are sitting in rocking chairs doing crossword puzzles, Luis was opening a boxing gym.

At the young age of 77 Luis Camacho was opening a boxing gym

As a former Golden Gloves Boxer himself, Mark came with me when I went to the Grand Opening as a Chamber Ambassador. When we met Luis, we immediately fell in love with his infectious smile and charming personality. We were impressed when we saw him in the ring, holding the mitts for a couple of young boxers putting on an exhibition.  When one of his pro fighters stepped in the ring with him we were in awe! Luis was as light on his feet as the boxer he was training and taking the knockout hits with his hands like it was nothing!

Underneath that serious coaches face, is one of the kindest, hardest-working 80 year olds I know!

After the exhibition was done, we hung around afterward and knew we just had to meet him. We both just about fell on the floor when we found out Luis was 77 years old! Um yeah, 77! When I came up with the idea of the “Six Questions” others who are aging youthful, Luis was the first person I wanted to feature! While Luis is pretty succinct in his answers, I believe you can get a feel for his awesome, positive personality through his answers and that winning smile in his photos!

Luis Camacho still training boxers at 80!

Name: Luis Camacho
Age: 79 (His 80th birthday is in July!).
Location: Ocala, Florida

Were you always active?

I ran the mile in high school and Cross Country in the Air Force.

Did/do you still participate in sports?

Still training boxers at Camacho Boxing Gym

Luis in his early days...this coach had more hair back then, but he's just as fit today

Do you watch what you eat and do you supplement?

I take my daily vitamins, drink home made herb tea and eat balanced meals.

What are your favorite activities?

Dancing salsa, sleeping 8 hours and chasing young ladies keeps me in shape (hahaha) and drinking a lot of water from my well.

Luis Camacho, Dancing Salsa and chasing young ladies keeps him young!

What is YOUR secret to staying young?

I run 1-3 miles, depending on the day and the weather, but I prefer running on the beach!  Gardening is one of my favorite ways to stay fit! I do most everyday, cutting trees, digging ditches, transplanting, etc.

Gardening is one of the things that keep Luis Camacho young!

What do you say to people who tell you you’re too old to do something?

Ha ha I laugh and tell them “just try to do what I do and I will buy you lunch…if you can’t, you owe me lunch.”

Luis Camacho...just keep punching

If I followed Luis around for a week, I’d be buying a week’s worth of lunches. Just keep punching Luis!

Guilt-Free Waffles From The Aging Youthful Kitchen

I’m not joking…guilt-free waffles are here!! For months I had been seeing all these amazing pictures on my social media feed about protein waffles, but didn’t have a waffle-maker. Eventually the constant drooling on my phone got the better better of me so I headed to Wally World in search of an inexpensive one in case it wasn’t something I liked.

With the first recipe I tried, I was impressed with how the waffle turned out looks-wise, the taste,  another story. It was dry and kinda chewy and I was pretty happy I had only spent less than $20 on the waffle iron. However, my second try at making them, I tweaked my awesome Banana Walnut protein pancakes and it was a massive success! They are seriously SO good I don’t need butter or syrup! (But IF I do, I measure…1 tbsp. of grass-fed butter and 1 tsp. of local syrup.

Guilt free waffles are here!

I love this simple recipe:

2 eggs

1/4 c. Dry Whole Organic Oats

1/2 Scoop Vanilla IsaLean Protein Powder

1 tsp. Organic Cinnamon

1 tsp. Homemade Vanilla extract

1/2 Medium (1/3 large) banana, sliced

2 tbsp. Finely chopped walnuts

Directions: Heat up a Belgian waffle iron to medium-high. Place all ingredients EXCEPT walnuts in a blender or magic bullet and blend for about a minute until oats are finely chopped and banana is blended. When iron is hot, melt  tbsp. Of coconut oil on bottom and slowly pour mixture on iron, starting from the outside working your way in. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts before closing. Let cook approximately 3 minutes until waffle easily slides off the iron. Move to plate, let cool a little and enjoy!

 

The only thing different between this and my pancake recipe is added protein powder, and the banana are in the batter. I like this recipe better as the waffle iron takes out the awkward pancake flipping factor as well as the waffle tastes better reheated a day or two later!

Next time you break out the waffle iron, give these bad boys a try. You may never say “Let Go My EGGO” ever again!

The Benefits Of Celery Juicing – My Four Week Journey

The Benefits of Celery Juicing – My Results So Far

In my last post  “The Benefits of Celery Juicing – My Story”, I shared the background story of losing my thyroid and subsequent 20 years of not being medically treated properly and how competing in a fitness competition with a prep coach who only cared about getting paid. This combination put my body into a downward spiral for the last five years where my body quit responding to my thyroid meds, extreme bloating after eating, inflammation and adrenal fatigue. The 20 year journey has been one of highs and lows, and I shared a few bullet points to help you understand how much my health has changed in the last six months.  In Part 1 I shared how a posting about the benefits of celery juicing on Facebook by an inspiring friend, Kristi Youngdahl, changed my life.

After Kristi’s posting, I did a little more online research about celery juice and what it can do for the body and a couple of weeks later I ordered a cold-press juicer from Amazon that fit in my budget to get me started. I chose this VonShef slow masticating juicer from Amazon as I had read slow that masticating juicers keep more nutrients intact as it’s a “cold” process and centrifugal juicers get hot and some nutrient loss happens. While I don’t think it’s a huge deal since I drink it immediately after juicing, if I am going to drink celery juice, I am going to make sure I got as many nutrients as possible, ya know?? Now that I’ve been consistently juicing for six months, I’m looking to upgrade to a larger machine where I can just wash the stalks and put in the juicer. Currently I have to wash and chop into small pieces which translates into lots of time chopping when we go through around 10 bunches a week for Mark and I to each have 16 oz. of fresh juice a day.

The VonShef slow masticating juicer I currently own for celery juicing

Celery Juicing – What I Noticed In Four Weeks

Within the first two weeks of juicing I noticed a couple of things: First, I wasn’t bloating as much or at all when I ate, which was a sign that my stomach might be breaking down the foods I was eating better. The second thing I noticed was the day I put on a normally tight fitting sweatshirt and the arms were loose for the first time! That was a sign of retained water from inflammation leaving my body. And lastly, I had started to break out, a sign of toxins leaving my body.

In those first couple of weeks, I worked myself up to 8 oz. of juice, thinking that’s all I needed and after the first few weeks, hadn’t seen too much more in physical changes. However, I know when it comes to natural remedies, change isn’t going to happen overnight, it’s consistency over time that yields results.

Life-Changing Book

When I read the book The Medical Medium in early March, author Anthony William recommends 16 oz. every morning on an empty stomach. Once again I thought to myself “yuck” but with the changes I had seen in the first few weeks, I had to give it a try. Holy moley Batman…with one week, I noticed even more change in how I felt after I ate and I also could SEE changes when I looked in the mirror. The biggest “holy $h!t moment was three weeks after upping to 16 oz. a day when I sent my check-in photos to my lifestyle/competition prep coach, Amy. The day I took those photos, I felt bloated as I had been a “bad girl” the night before and had ice cream. I begrudgingly took the photos and thought to myself, it is was it is, and was FLOORED when I attached the side shot photo to the email. I did like a quadruple-take as I couldn’t believe what I was seeing…my “bloated” stomach this week, was flatter than my not-bloated stomach from two weeks before!

The benefits of celery juicing - my changes

While I still have a long way to go in my journey, I am amazed at how far I have come in the last six weeks. I’ve had more positive body changes, both physically and visually, than I’ve had in the last 20 years combined, sans contest prep “dieting down”.  I know people will say it has to do with my diet and exercise plan, but since January, I have been back to working out and eating “on plan” most of the time,  I hadn’t seen much change until I upped from  8 to 16 oz. Just today I “came out” to my coach that after I started upping my juice, I also upped my fruit intake, beyond what is on my custom food plan. In the book, Mr. William shares how our society has made us afraid of fruit because it causes diabetes and a host of other diseases. In truth, we are depriving our bodies of healthy-cell building nutrients!

I have a my next thyroid and it’s collateral lab work in June and for the first time in a long time, I am excited to see my results. Stay tuned, I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, whether you have thyroid, hormone, auto-immune issues or not, I would recommend reading one or all three of Anthony William’s books.

The Medical Medium: The Secrets Behind Chronic and Mystery Illnesses.
Medical Medium Life-Changing Foods: Save Yourself and the Ones You Love with the Hidden Healing Powers of Fruits and Vegetables.
Medical Medium Thyroid Healing: The Truth Behind Hashimoto’s, Graves’, Insomnia, Hypothyroidism, Thyroid Nodules and Esptein-Barr. (This will be released later this year).

We go through about 10 bunches of celery a week to have 16 oz. of fresh pressed celery juice for both Mark and me each day.

While you may not think celery juicing is for you, I would urge you to at least learn more about how foods are medicine and if we give our body the nutrients it needs, most of us would need less chemical medicine and be healthier in the process.

We would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or share on our Facebook page what you would like to read more about. Next up on the blog is a new incredible protein waffle recipe and a story from The Aging Youthful Dude!