Super Genes: A book review

(Disclaimer: Thank you to Blogging for Books for sending me this book for review.)

I am embarrassed to admit that this is my first Deepak book – where have I been, right? I ordered this book last year and although it sat there waiting for me to read it – for whatever reason I felt like I wasn’t ready. Then in a crazy flurry of excitement I pulled it out and read it in 2 days – which is fast for me.

It was a case of true synchronicity as Deepak Chopra goes into beautiful detail about some of the very things I have been studying lately at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition.

The book is split into 3 parts, Part One: The Science of Transformation, Part Two: Lifestyle Choices for Radical Well-Being, and Part Three: Guiding Your Own Evolution. While I was in the thick of Part One, I found myself wanting to rush ahead to get on to “the good stuff” because I am a very feeling person, not as big on diving deep into the science. That being said, I was thankful for the thorough opening because it gave a strong foundation for what was to come. My only slight issue with Part One was the references to animal testing – a lot of lab rat experiments that I find troubling.

Part Two is where I really became invested. I knew I wanted to heal my microbiome, but how? The advice that Chopra gives is good and probably aligns with what other wellness professionals have told you. Not at all surprising, but still a good reminder. The entire section can be summed up with the two rules he shares. “First, find out what’s good for you and what’s bad. Second, do what’s good for you while avoiding what’s bad.” So clear and simple yet powerful. I think the highlight for me was in the Diet section where he outlines an anti-inflammatory diet, which I have been wanting to for some time now.

The final part really focuses on Mindfulness, which I have enjoyed studying throughout my Masters work. He told me everything I was hoping to hear. The book really emphasizes the Mind-Body Connection and makes the reader feel empowered to take control and heal themselves from the inside out. This book made genetics feel a lot less like a “death sentence” and more like a starting point for every individuals wellness journey.

At the very least, this book gives anyone a great starting point for creating a healthier and happier life for themselves. I will be keeping this on my shelf as a resource for future clients.

I hope you enjoyed this review.

love & light,

Lena

Dairy-Free Pumpkin Pie Smoothie

This time of year is so truly magical, isn’t it? I not only love the colors and smells of the season, but the flavors this time of year are so cozy and wonderful.

I’ve been craving those autumn and winter spices lately and wanted to find a healthy way to satisfy my sweet tooth. This recipe was modified through one shared by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, when I first found it, it sounded amazing but I know that my stomach really struggles with milk so I needed to find a way to create something similar without the dairy.

This is my favorite dessert right now! It totally tastes like a drinkable pumpkin pie and there is no guilt involved. For the past few months I have been trying to eat healthier and as I have cut more processed sugar out of my diet I have noticed a big difference. I thought I would notice the change by feeling more fit – which is true, but more importantly I have felt more positive on an emotional level.

This recipe will make either 2 small snack smoothies or 1 meal size smoothie.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 almond milk yogurt alternative
  • 3/4 coconut milk (vanilla or original)
  • a little honey if you use unsweetened milk
  • 1 banana (frozen)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp nutmeg
  • dash of ground cloves

Directions

  1. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Pour into glass container (or metal, or ceramic, or anything not plastic) and enjoy!

This is an easy way to enjoy dessert without feeling guilty! Or, if you are in need of a little pick-me-up midweek for breakfast, forget the sugary cereal or breakfast bar and make yourself this smoothie! It makes every day a good day, if I do say so myself!

What are your favorite dessert and breakfast smoothies?

love & light,

Lena

10 Reasons to Join a Crop Share

This past summer my husband and I decided to join a crop share through one of the local farms here in West Michigan! Our interest was sparked when a couple of our neighbors told us they were members of this particular crop share during a game night. We are so fortunate to have such like-minded friends living in our neighborhood – they’ve introduced us to so many community resources that we love!

Here are 10 wonderful reasons we’ve found for joining a local crop share…

  1. Supporting local business and agriculture. We all know how important it is for our local business owners and economy to support them!
  2. Eat local and seasonal. Eating local has so many benefits, many of them listed in this post!
  3. Connecting with local community. It is a wonderful thing to become closer with individuals in your community. Plus, if those people are also members of your crop share, you most likely have similar values.
  4. Building a positive relationship with your food and where it comes from. In todays busy world we are used to eating fast and rushing to the next thing on our “to-do” list. Eating local fresh produce allows you to not only to appreciate the way your food tastes, but where it came from, and all of the love and labor that when into harvesting it!
  5. Fresher produce. When your fruits and vegetables come from a local farm, you get them sooner because they don’t need to be shipped. Because of this the produce tastes fresher, better, and can be more nutrient rich.
  6. Less pollution caused by shipping produce thousands of miles.
  7. Produce is picked at its peak for ultimate health benefits and flavor since it doesn’t need be sent long distances.
  8. Enjoy your food again. Knowing exactly where your food comes from and how it was grown makes eating a much more enjoyable event.
  9. Safer food. When you decide which farm to buy your produce from, you have the ability to be fully informed on the chemicals and methods used to produce your food.
  10. Encourages a plant-based diet. We still eat meat occasionally (once or twice a week) but I can’t believe how much better I feel when I am eating a plant-based diet. With our crop share, we get lots of fresh fruits and vegetables to inspire our mostly-plant meals! Note: If you simply cannot stand life without meat, choose a farm that offers a Meat Crop Share option! 

What about you? Have you tried a crop share? What about buying your fresh produce locally? What surprising benefits have you experienced by making this easy change?

love & light,

Lena

Hygge Your Home This Autumn

Will and I have been big fans of the “hygge” trend these past few years. If you aren’t sure what hygge is, it is a Danish philosophy about happiness and enjoying the cozy comforts in life. According to The Little Book of Hygge by Meik Wiking, the word hygge comes from a Norwegian word for “well-being” and has transformed into a cultural movement embracing comfort and coziness.

I’ve never been a big fan of the colder months here in Michigan, but after Will and I started planning hygge nights and creating a more cozy atmosphere at home,  I have learned to love this time of year a little more. Whenever I think about hygge, autumn and winter are what come to mind immediately.

If you think you could use a little more coziness at home but aren’t sure where to start, here are 10 of our favorite {affordable} ways to create more hygge at home:

  1. candles & soft lighting: candles are a quick way to create that warm cozy feeling. We like to use all natural soy candles made without artificial fragrances, and we’ve even made our own with essential oils before! tip: if you live in an apartment that doesn’t allow open flame, twinkle lights can do wonders.
  2. warm sweaters and socks: it is hard not to think about soft warm knits as fall approaches. Embrace the season and cuddle up in your softest sweater. Bonus points if you can knit them!
  3. hot drinks: it is hard to think of hygge and not think of those warm fall and winter beverages, think hot cocoa, tea, hot toddies, or our favorite, mulled wine.
  4. get outside: the more time we spend outdoors, the more we appreciate getting hygge inside afterward. Take a nice long nature walk to enjoy the colors and then come home and get cozy.
  5. play board games: boardgames are a nice way to spend and evening with family and friends without getting distracted by technology. I think Scrabble is the most hygge board game of all!
  6. cuddle with your pets: we always jokingly call our cat Amelia “hygge cat” because she is so warm and fluffy and loves to snuggle with her humans. She is the cat embodiment of hygge, we’re pretty certain.
  7. make homemade soup or stew: comfort food at its finest.
  8. pillows and blankets: get comfy on the couch, or our favorite thing to do is to build a fort out of pillows and blankets and watch some of our favorite old films.
  9. read your favorite book: we love to read Harry Potter books aloud to each other, but you could enjoy this activity solo too!
  10. baking: we just baked a homemade apple pie and it makes the whole house smell wonderful. Treat yourself to one of your favorites!

I think the thing I love most about getting hygge at home is that it encourages me to be very mindful of my surroundings and appreciate all of the wonderful comforts we have here. Take time to cultivate gratitude for the simple joy of being cozy and enjoy.

love and light,

Lena

29 intentions in my 29th year

Today is my 29th birthday! The final year of my 20s has begun and I could not be more in love with the existence I am creating for myself. I am a work in progress, and I am okay with that. I am passionate about so many things and everyday I am astonished at my own thirst for personal growth. I am so very thankful for every opportunity this life has granted me.

It seems fitting that I wrapped up an 8 week Mindfulness Meditation course today. I had tons of clarity in my reflections and it felt like the perfect way to begin a year (and lifetime) of intentional living.

My 29th year will be a year of authenticity and intention. I will be mindful in the way I live. I will be loving in my daily actions. Here is my list of 29 intention for my 29th year:

  1. Be intentional with my time and energy.
  2. Continue to cut down on plastic use.
  3. Become a full-time pescatarian.
  4. Maintain a regular mindfulness meditation practice.
  5. Attend yoga classes regularly with Will.
  6. Make quality time with family a priority.
  7. Buy less.
  8. Write more.
  9. Practice gratitude regularly.
  10. Be resilient.
  11. Pursue zero-waste and circular living.
  12. Only purchase ethically made and sourced clothing.
  13. Breathe.
  14. Walk.
  15. Stretch.
  16. Create a better system of organization at home.
  17. Designate a special spot in the house for meditation.
  18. Be more patient with my littles.
  19. Spend more time in the kitchen.
  20. Practice self-compassion.
  21. Spend more time with the people I love.
  22. Extract joy from every day.
  23. Explore more.
  24. Ask questions.
  25. Make things.
  26. Get to know me better.
  27. Dream far and wide.
  28. Show kindness and compassion everyday.
  29. Be courageous.

This is my list. It covers so much while still leaving such a great deal to seek and explore. I want my 29th year to be a year of curiosity, risk-taking, and growth. I want to spend my time diving deep and falling in love with who I am and the life I am leading.

What are your intentions for the year ahead? Have you thought about it? What would be the first thing you would put on your list?

love & light

Lena