Ted Talk Friday: Radical Self-Love

I am starting a new series: Ted Talk Fridays! I absolutely love Ted Talks, but know that sometimes there are just too many options and choosing one can feel overwhelming. I am planning to post one of my favorite Ted Talks to the blog every Friday. I hope you enjoy!

Today’s Ted Talk is “Radical Self-Love” by Gala Darling

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What do you think of radical self love? What are some steps you might take to put her ideas into action?

Podcast Round-Up

I consider myself a little too well-versed in podcasts…according to the NPR One app on my phone, I listed to over 28,000 minutes of podcasts throughout 2016. I am not sure whether I should feel proud or embarrassed…but, I do think it means that I know a good show when I hear one! In honor of the new year, I wanted to put together a list of my favorite podcasts. Most of these podcasts are available on the NPR One app, which you can download to your phone. The app is like Pandora, but for podcasts; it gets to know your preferences, gives your news updates, and makes new recommendations based on what you like. Definitely download-worthy! Whether you do or don’t want the app, these podcasts are fantastic and will keep you engaged for hours.

  1. Note to Self,The host of this NPR podcast, Manoush Zomorodi, connects technology, health, and wellbeing through this engaging series that tackles even the heaviest subject matter with a dose of humor. Topics range from “information overload” to the ethical considerations of parents posting photos of their young children on social media. A recent episode released from early January discusses New Years Resolutions and is FANTASTIC!

    New Year. Same Old You.

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2) The PulseI could listen to this podcast non-stop. If you are interested in health in any way, then I am sure you will enjoy this show. Every episode has a topic like “Rock and a Hard Place” or “Challenging Our Assumptions” and weaves together an engaging narrative that touches on numerous aspects of health, technology, and ethics.

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3) On Being, In an effort to explore my own spirituality, I started listening to this podcast and fell in love. The host, Krista Tippett, has the most soothing voice and interviews inspiring individuals across numerous sectors. Most recently, she interviewed one of my personal heroes, Congressman John Lewis.

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Just me fan-girling a bit…

 

4) RadiolabI might be slightly biased because the host, Jad Abumrad, attended my high schoool alma mater, but it is well worth a listen. I’m not sure where to begin, but if you have a curious cell in your body…you will enjoy Radiolab episodes!

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5) Hidden Brain, the description from NPR reads, “A conversation about life’s unseen patterns.” Now, this might not sounds all that interesting, but don’t let that deceive you. The podcasts generally center around psychology and questions about human behavior. One recent episode that I particularly enjoyed discussed the word “literally” and how its use has changed over time–integrating culture, linguistics, and history.

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6) Impact Theory,  I just recently started listening to this new podcast hosted by Tom Bilyeu, one of the founders behind Quest Nutrition. The podcast is unique and features some amazing guests with some great discussions on topics related to positive psychology and personal success.

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Do you like podcasts? What are some of your favorites?

Friends and Growing Up

My mom has taught me a lot about constructing a positive, healthy social world and it has allowed me to nurture positive relationships while consciously neglecting negative relationships. She once explained it perfectly in a metaphor of a rose bush. The real, true friends are the blooming flowers, but sometimes you need to prune some of them to allow the healthiest to flourish.

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The element of time investment relationships is difficult nonetheless, especially in a world with a mantra of “time is money.” Personally, I struggle to make the time to maintain and grow relationships. I always say I am “too busy,” but I’ve found the more time I make for friends, the better I feel and more productive I become. There is a book called “Never Eat Alone,” and while this book focuses on networking and business, it is a good lesson for personal wellbeing and friendships beyond the context of business. The main gist: never eat alone when you have the option to eat with a friend, acquaintance, or even stranger. Social connection matters.

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As we age, we improve our sense of self and emotional regulation; these two shifts are critical in the changes that occur within our relationships over time. We begin to know ourselves better, which means we can find friends who align with our own values and beliefs. The improved emotional regulation allows us to develop relationships despite disagreements and learn how to manage conflict. I have had conflicts with all of my closest friends, but those conflicts improve our communication and lead to a deepened mutual understanding.

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In my opinion, a true friend is someone who provides support in all the different spheres of life–a cheerleader who roots for you to succeed and find happiness. Finding those friends can be hard, but it is always worth the sting of thorns. Those are “forever friends” as I like to call them, and they truly make life worth living.

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Have you noticed changes in friendships as you’ve grown up?  What characteristics matter to you most in a friend?

 

Pancakes, Friendship, and Positive Framing

I recently got a shipment of delicious pancake mix from Silver Fern Brand. I love any excuse for a get together with friends, so I decided to coordinate a pancake-thesis writing party! I am currently a senior in college and many of my friends and I are in the midst of writing honors theses, which means we often feel stressed about the writing process and the long-term nature of our projects. Instead of dreading a day of research and writing, I proposed the idea of turning it into a fun gathering–I positively framed the situation!

 

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Now the pancakes certainly helped, but positive framing is a tool that can come in handy for anything you might be dreading or lacking motivation to do. Life is full of things we don’t want to do…taxes, homework, taking out the trash…but it’s all about the mindset we have.

My friends and I chatted, enjoyed making the pancakes together, and each ate a delicious chocolate-chip studded stack, and by that point we did not mind getting down to business to work on our papers.

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Look at that maple syrup drizzle…

I also discovered a new favorite maple syrup….Nature’s Hollow sugar free maple syrup is so good! It was a perfect topping that didn’t lead to a horrendous sugar crash. I highly recommend this over traditional maple syrup if you’re wary of your sugar intake, which we all should be–check out this article for more info.

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I think it’s safe to say our party was a major success–many pancakes eaten, many paragraphs written!


If you want some Silver Fern pancake mix, click the link to order: http://fmtc.co/3b0bc56a?sid=98.677

If you’re interested in learning more about decreasing your sugar intake and improving gut health, check out Silver Fern’s Elevated Plan: http://fmtc.co/089b5be6?sid=98.677


Next time there’s a task you’re dreading, try positive framing! What’s something you hate and how do you motivate yourself to do it?

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Facing Failure

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I’ve started to think of life as constant cycles; there are so many phases, but there are often themes and trends that happen over and over again. Failure is one of those themes. On the bright side, this provides us with so many opportunities to learn from our mistakes, grow, and make better choices. As a senior in college, I feel like I am a senior in high school again–facing failure, uncertainty, and fear.

I am proud to say that I am a different person now; I am not letting my fear of failure impact my mental health or my courage to put myself out there. I have applied for countless competitive scholarships, with a rejection from every one so far. I have failed, but more importantly, I have tried. I have put in the work, expressed myself, and learned more about who I am than I ever would have expected.

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Every essay, every terrifying interview…they have all taught me lessons. I learned to tell my story and share my purpose. Telling your story is one of the most important skills I will ever learn. Creating a coherent narrative of who I am, why I am, and where I want to go has empowered me to believe in my personal mission and has given me a sense of direction in a sea of endless choices.

While every rejection still stings with a knot in my stomach, a sigh, and watery eyes, I have reached a point when these effects are secondary to confidence and joy I’ve developed through the process. I am so glad that I have learned this lesson so early and know that every time I make myself vulnerable, I also open up to possibility for new opportunities and experiences.

If you’re curious about vulnerability, I highly recommend you check out Brené Brown’s Ted Talk, “The Power of Vulnerability”:

Letting go: fighting the perfectionist urge

According to Merriam-Webster, perfectionism is:

1. a : the doctrine that the perfection of moral character constitutes a person’s highest     good
b : the theological doctrine that a state of freedom from sin is attainable on earth

2: a disposition to regard anything short of perfection as unacceptable

This likely sounds familiar…at least if you’re anything like me! In the past few years, I have started calling myself a “recovering perfectionist,” often in jest, but it is true. Perfectionism is an ugly, unrealistic standard and is impossible to achieve. Realistically, I know I will never be the best, smartest, nicest, or prettiest person, and that is MORE than okay.

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Dr. Kristin Neff, a psychologist famous for her research on self-compassion, discusses this at length in her book on self-compassion, Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. She discusses how our movement to focus on self-esteem has supported the notion that we are all special and unique; while this sounds good in theory, it also means that we are unique and special compared to others. Everyone is told that they can be the “best,” when obviously that is statistically impossible.

So what does this mean? It means we are told we can, and should, be perfect. This is often not direct or meant to have negative effect. In fact, most parents, teachers, and peers believe that this will give a child a self-esteem boost and improve their academic performance and increase confidence. Unfortunately, this oftentimes sets an individual up to experience high pressure, even if they put that pressure upon themselves.

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There are many realms of my life where I am working to let go of my perfectionist tendencies, and instead adopt a mindset that promotes striving for excellence. One of my favorite takeaways from Dr. Neff’s research is the idea of treating yourself like you would treat a good friend. Would you ever tell your friend they were stupid for not making an A on the test? Would you tell your friend he or she looks ugly? Definitely not! So why would you ever treat yourself that way?

Recently, I did not get accepted for a program I really wanted. Was I mad at myself? Did I punish myself for not being “good enough”? No, I treated myself with compassion; I felt sad for a while, made time to see friends, ate some Halo Top ice-cream, and assured myself there are plenty of opportunities out there that would be an even better fit for me. Looking back, I am so proud of how far I have come and am proud to know and love myself, no matter how imperfect I might be. What are your thoughts on self-compassion? Are you a perfectionist?

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Easy Meal in Minutes: Huevos Rancheros

Huevos rancheros are one of the easiest quick, healthy meal options in my playbook! Eggs are a great source of protein that have less environmental impact than many other animal proteins, plus they are inexpensive. The longest part of the recipe process is waiting for the oven to preheat!

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I used fresh tomatillos, but feel free to substitute in tomatoes. The tomatillos simply add a nice subtle zesty flavor.

Ingredients:
1 can diced zesty tomatoes
4-5 tomatillos, chopped
1 large zucchini, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, chopped
2 eggs

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  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Grease a cast iron skillet with coconut oil.
  3. Pour can of diced zesty tomatoes into a separate pan on low on the stove.
  4. Add chopped zucchini, bell pepper, and tomatillos to pan and increase to medium heat.
  5. Continue cooking veggie mixture on the stove for 5-7 minutes or until veggies are slightly tender.
  6. Pour tomato-veggie mixture into greased skillet.
  7. Made two slight indents in veggies, and then crack eggs into indents (this keeps eggs in one place so they don’t spread into edges).
  8. Place the skillet in the oven for 15-20min or until eggs do not jiggle when you shake the pan–feel free to take it out a few minutes early if you like runny yolks!
  9. Enjoy!

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My dad even got a little crazy and topped his hues rancheros with some jalapeño cheddar popcorn! Do you ever try crazy toppings? What would you put on your huevos rancheros?

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Find more meatless options in the Meatless Monday Link-Up hosted by Running On Happy!

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Quick Updates, Banana Bread, and a GIVEAWAY! (10/24)

Hi! I am sorry I have been MIA–between classes and work, I’ve been a little distracted from some of my favorite things (like blogging!). If you haven’t seen on my instagram feed, I’m hosting a Detour Bar giveaway:

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If you want to enter, feel free to head over to my Instagram feed and comment with one thing you love about yourself, or you can comment on this post to enter!

In celebration of the giveaway, I decided to make some banana bread using detour bars! This is a great way to add some chocolate, while also adding a protein punch. This is such a simple recipe and is perfect for busy school-day morning.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 banana
1/2c applesauce
1.5 cups flour (I recommend a combination of coconut flour, almond flour, and garbanzo bean flour)
1tsp baking powder
1/3 cup almond butter
1 detour bar of choice, chopped into 1in pieces

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  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit .
  2. Combine banana, apple sauce, eggs, and almond better until smooth in a bowl.
  3. Add flour and baking powder to wet ingredients.
  4. Stir until just combined.
  5. Stir in chopped detour bar.
  6. Pour batter into greased, floured medium bread pan.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes or until top is golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

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Homemade BBQ Sauce and Adventures

I always love adventures…taking a wrong turn, adding in a teaspoon instead of a tablespoon, accidentally signing up for an event…usually these “mistakes” become adventures and memories. Although the memories may not always be completely positive, I find that I learn something every time and usually have some amazing friends along for the ride!

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This is part of why I love cooking; the worst that can happen is one bad dish. Definitely not a horrendous outcome, no matter how horrendous the mistake. These errors also lead to good lessons: 1) always double check if you greased your pan 2) never crack eggs into all of your ingredients (egg shells!) 3) always set the timer for the minimum cook time

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Here is a recipe for one of my experiments that magically came out well! I wander through tons of websites and blogs so this recipe has definitely been influenced from what I have seen in the past, but it was a lot of guessing and testing.

I hope you use this recipe as a base, but make it your own! Add an extra dash of hot sauce, a bit of your favorite spice–have fun with it 🙂

Ingredients:
6 tbsp apple cider vinegar (I like Bragg’s)
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp lemon juice
6 packets stevia (I use NuNaturals)
2 cups stewed, roasted tomatoes
1 tsp liquid smoke (this is a MUST, and I highly recommend it for adding a smoky flavor to any dish)
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp of your favorite hot sauce

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  1. Combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil while stirring continuously.
  2. Once it has boiled, turn off the heat and let cool.
  3. Place mixture in the fridge and use it as you would use regular BBQ sauce! Enjoy!

 

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Why a detox? (+ giveaway!)

In addition to participating in the #SparklingDetox, there is also a chance for you to win free Gerolsteiner water by entering this giveaway: bit.ly/SparklingDetox . I would love for you to join me during this detox from September 12-16! I have been looking for a opportunity reason to cut out caffeine from my diet to see how my body responds, but it has been a hard change to implement. I always joke that caffeine is my one vice in life, which is true, but I am curious how I would cope without it. In the past, I had headaches when attempting to cut back on caffeinated beverages, but I’ve definitely decreased my consumption since then.

When making changes like this, I think it is far more important to think about what you are adding to your life rather than what you are giving up. Sure, I am giving up caffeine, but I am adding a hydrating, nutrient-packed beverage! I have been on-the-go, on the road, and in the air all summer long, which has prompted me to ditch some of my usual routine. I have tried to get some form of physical activity everyday, but I have been far from consistent! With the lack of regularity in my workout schedule, my muscles have been feeling more sore than ever.

Magnesium is crucial for healthy nerve function and muscles, plus there is some evidence that is helps with fatigue and mood. In the past, I have taken magnesium pill supplements, but magnesium has increased bioavailability (i.e. the body can absorb more) when it is consumed in liquid form. On top of the health benefits, drinking mineral water is FAR more enjoyable than taking a huge magnesium pill!

My favorite way to enjoy is pouring a bottle over ice with a squeeze of lemon. I am planning to also add some fresh mint and a dash of stevia to create a faux-jito, which I tested out the other day with great success (see recipe below). How do you drink your mineral water? Do you look at it as simply a beverage, or also as a nutritional supplement of sorts?

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Faux-jito for one:
Combine one sprig of mint, 5-10 drops of stevia, 1-2 tsp lime juice, and 8oz of Gerolsteiner sparkling water in a glass and enjoy!