Ted Talk Friday: Cracking the Grace Code

I used to associate the word “grace” with a specific religion, but in the past few years I have realized that this is not aways true. Grace is about gratitude, spirituality, and feelings of connection and wholeness, in my opinion, and none of these have to be religious in nature. Living with grace is about gratitude and self-compassion; Anne Barry Jolles’ does an amazing job of explaining how to use grace as a tool and way of being in the world. I hope you enjoy her talk.

 

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What do you think when you hear “grace”?

Ted Talk Friday: The #1 Public Health Issue Doctors Aren’t Talking About

I am on a Lissa Rankin kick! She has such a fresh perspective on wellbeing, and her engaging speaking style makes her so relatable. She does the perfect job of mixing scientific studies, anecdotes, and her own opinion to create a cohesive story. I have recently moved from a community-centered college and my home, where I am surrounded by family, to a totally new city on the West coast. I am consciously working to combat loneliness; I am prioritizing social events and opportunities not just for fun, but also for my health.

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Do you agree? Do you live in a community?

Mindful Monday: A First

I’ve decided to introduce a new staple to my blog–Mindful Monday! This series will be focused on living mindfully and what that means day to day. Mindfulness is a huge buzzword, but what does it really mean? There are dozens of definitions out there…

According to google,

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Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center describes mindfulness as “maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment.” The site goes on to mention the importance of acceptance of self, thoughts, and feelings.

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Merriam-Webster defines it as ” 1. the quality or state of being mindful 2. the practice of maintaining a nonjudgmental state of heightened or complete awareness of one’s thoughts, emotions, or experiences on a moment-to-moment basis; also:  such a state of awareness.”

I think mindfulness can be achieved in almost any moment, yet it is still so challenging. I find it particularly challenging in that I have a mind that does not turn off, which is something I think many of us can relate to! I am always thinking about things on my to-do list, worries, or things in the future–which is certainly far from mindfulness. While I have not started a mindfulness meditation practice, I am working to incorporate mindfulness more naturally into my life.

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I take a shower mindfully, I try to practice mindfulness in bad traffic, I cook a meal mindfully. All of these moments, however small, punctuate my day and add a moment of calm and a sense of being even just slightly more centered. I think the key lies in taking baby steps. Adding a twenty minute mindfulness meditation every morning to start is just a little too ambitious for me and where I am in my life right now, but these little moments count. For me, it is more about sustainability and quality rather than going all out–and I am okay with that.

In an effort to share my practice, and hold myself accountable, I am going to begin a weekly series focusing on mindfulness and reflections of my mindfulness practice.

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Do you practice mindfulness? What does your practice look like?

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Is Glycemic Index Useful?

“Glycemic index” is a common indicator of how a food impacts blood sugar, or how quickly blood sugar rises after consumption. High glycemic diets are linked with increased risk of type 2 diabetes, a variety of cancers, and cardiovascular disease.[1] Glycemic index helps classify carbohydrates beyond the categories of simple or complex; simple carbohydrates are sugars or highly refined grains compared to complex carbohydrates, which include unrefined grains, whole grains.[2] This has led to recent trends focused on “low glycemic” foods and sweeteners, like agave syrup or coconut sugar.

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The glycemic index (GI) is based from the glycemic impact of glucose, or simple sugar, which has a has variable GI depending on the GI reference list used. GI scores differ across different sources, but always use glucose and white bread as reference points within the index. While this variability in scores has been attributed to methodological differences in the past, it is becoming more clear that GI may be more complicated than researchers once believed.[1]

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A recent study at Tufts University found that GI can differ as much as 25% among individuals and 20% within an individual. This study found the same food can have low, moderate, and high glycemic impact, which makes it difficult to create categories that are accurate across individuals. The study used white bread, which is often villainized as a high glycemic food, yet in the study it had moderate to low impact for a number of participants. Additionally, the same foods have variable impact even within the same individual. The results suggest that glycemic index has far less value than was previously believed.[3]

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While glycemic index promotes healthy choice in theory, it is not a reliable measure. A senior author of the study suggests that individuals should choose whole foods such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables, and lean meats. Glycemic index also only observes the impact of carbohydrates in isolation, rather than looking at the effects of a whole meal; individuals eat more than carbohydrates in any given meal, which renders the isolated effects of a single carbohydrate source far less meaningful in real life situations. While advertisements may continue to tout the benefits of low GI food products, research has shown that the benefits are limited.

References: 
1: Foster-Powell, K., Holt, S. H., & Brand-Miller, J. C. (2002). International table of glycemic index and glycemic load values: 2002. The American journal of clinical nutrition76(1), 5-56.
2: Saris, W. H. M., Astrup, A., Prentice, A. M., Zunft, H. J. F., Formiguera, X., Verboeket-van de Venne, W. P. H. G., … & Vasilaras, T. H. (2000). Randomized controlled trial of changes in dietary carbohydrate/fat ratio and simple vs complex carbohydrates on body weight and blood lipids: the CARMEN study. International journal of obesity24(10), 1310.
3: Matthan, N. R., Ausman, L. M., Meng, H., Tighiouart, H., & Lichtenstein, A. H. (2016). Estimating the reliability of glycemic index values and potential sources of methodological and biological variability. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition104(4), 1004-1013.

This post was originally featured here on 03/29/17. 

Ted Talk Friday: Good Boundaries Free You

I have found that boundaries are one of the most challenging things to maintain in relationships. We are not taught them, and they are often seen as cold, unkind, or distant. I love this talk because it highlights the real benefits of boundaries and how they can improve both your own life, but also your relationships. Boundaries in work, relationships, and with ourselves are crucial and I think Sarri GilmanSarri GilmanSarri Gilman does a great job explaining that.

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How do you practice good boundaries? Where do you find boundaries the most challenging?

Ted Talk Friday: Balancing our Adams

Most of the Ted Talks I post are about fifteen minutes long, but here is a shorter talk that still packs quite the punch. David Brooks gives a great five minute talk on two types of virtues; the dichotomy he describes between Adam I and Adam II really rang true for me. I constantly catch myself caught up in my Adam I virtues–striving to get into this or that program or wanting to get a certain grade. While Adam I certainly has a role in our lives, it is important to respect and nurture the virtues of Adam II in order to live a truly rich, fulfilling life. I plan to do a more in-depth post on this in the future, but for now…here is the amazing 5 minute Ted Talk!

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Can you think of moments where one Adam takes over in your life? How do you handle those moments?

Ted Talk Friday: Grit

I think grit is what differentiates people who excel versus individuals who do well and “make it by.” Everyone I know who has achieved amazing things has an immense amount of grit. While hard work is not always everything–I don’t think that people who struggle simply aren’t trying–grit is the key to accomplishing many tasks. You’ll notice that this talk ties in very well with last week’s Ted Talk on growth mindset with Dr. Carol Dweck. Grit is so important, especially for people who don’t feel particularly gifted with one skill or “special” talent. Being smart, funny, or gifted is not everything…it’s about putting in the work.

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Do you feel like you have grit? Where did you learn it?

Ted Talk Friday: Emotional First Aid

I LOVE the idea of emotional first aid. It sounds bizarre, but this Ted Talk does a great job of explaining the importance of practicing self-care from a young age. In mental health, we often focus on treatment and solving problems once they begin. Unfortunately, this does not allow us to prevent issues. The vast differences in how we treat mental vs. physical illness is striking. If we learn how to take better care of ourselves, cope more effectively, and provide a space to discuss mental wellbeing, we can both prevent potential crises and increase mental wellbeing overall–sounds like a pretty good deal to me. I can’t wait to hear what you think of the talk!

https://embed.ted.com/talks/guy_winch_the_case_for_emotional_hygiene

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What do you think of mental first aid? Can you imagine a world where we give mental health the same priority as physical health?

Why Plant-Based?

I’ve made a greater effort to choose plant-based options over the past few months. While everyone is different, I wanted to share a few reasons why I’ve made the slight shift. I am definitely still eating plenty of animal products, but here are some of the main reasons I’m opting for more plant-based options:

  1. It’s better for the planet. Plant-based options have a smaller carbon-footprint; these foods often require less transportation and have fewer environmental side effects (decreased carbon emissions, decreased methane gas–ehem, cows). sky-earth-galaxy-universe
  2. Animals are cute (ethics). While some people think eating animals is entirely unethical, I do not personally fall into that camp. I take more issue with eating animals and byproducts of animals that have been treated poorly. Choosing cruelty-free, local, grass-fed options makes a huge difference, but often those options are more difficult to come by and are more expensive.7479512636_b19884cac6_b
  3. Nutrition. There is a ton of evidence that eating a plant-based diet has numerous positive effects on health. The China Study, one of the few large-scale, reputable nutrition studies, was conducted by Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventative Medicine. The study found individuals with a plant-based diet where most protein comes from plant sources have decreased cancer rates and lower prevalence of bone fracture, among other health benefits. If you’re curious, read more here.Nutrition-pyramid
  4. It’s not all or nothing. I think this is a huge misconception in our world of extremes. Everyone thinks that you must choose a label and stick with it, but I prefer to stay flexible, eat what I want, and eat to feel good. There is no need to be a strict vegetarian or vegan, but trying to make mindful choices and choose plant-based options a little more often can add up to big benefits.764px-Balanced_scale_of_Justice.svg_
  5. I love Nuzest protein powderThis is a simple one…I fell in love with Nuzest protein powder when I first tried it. This is a super simple pea protein with very few added ingredients and it tastes great. Look out for recipes using this powder coming to the blog soon!Screen Shot 2017-01-26 at 5.31.29 PM

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?