I recently did a cleanse—but not a juice cleanse or other body-focused detox. A different kind of cleanse… a clutter cleanse! I was challenged to find an area in my home and clean it up. My spice cabinet had been haunting me for some time, so I decided I’d organize that. I used a selection of mason jars to accommodate my nutritional yeast, sunflower seeds, Brazil nuts and more. I gained so much more from this exercise than I dreamt I would. I felt calm and clear-headed, and every time I opened my spice cabinet, I felt inspired to do more. So, I did just that!
Cluttered and clogged
In recent years, we have learned more about clutter and the negative effects an overloaded environment can have on us, but still, we seek more. A bigger house. Another car. An awesome wardrobe. Twenty-eight pair of shoes. When is it enough?
Our “stuff” does so much more than take up physical space—our brains are actually wired to become dissatisfied the more stuff we have. Stuff stresses us out.
All this stress talk is making me stressed
Clearing away the clutter that may be adding to our stress level can make a big, positive impact on our health. In fact, humans are limited to the amount of information we can process, and many of us experience overload in a cluttered space. Our stress then can lead to coping behaviors that actually worsen it or backfire, like smoking, impulse shopping or overeating. So, what’s a solution here? De-clutter!
Clearing the clutter from our homes and workspaces brings mental clarity, inspiration, and more physical and emotional space. We all have stress… that’s a given. Managing our stress level and keeping it in check so that our productivity and happiness do not suffer is the key.
The junk drawer test
The tricky part is that different levels of clutter affect each of us differently. What may be very comfortable for one person may feel terribly cluttered to another. One way you can know how sensitive you are to clutter is to open your junk drawer (or maybe the fact that you even have a junk drawer is test enough 😉).
What do you notice when you do this? Do you shut it quickly so you don’t have to look at it? Do you notice that it’s messy and plan to come back to it at some point to organize it? These are very different responses.
What I noticed after organizing my spice cabinet is that I wanted to look at it repeatedly. I found myself drawn to it, and I opened the cabinet every time I walked by it! I even opened it and showed everyone who came over to visit. I felt a sense of calm looking at the labeled jars all ready for use.
What can you do now to begin “de-cluttering” your life? The best thing is to just start. Do a walk-through. Evaluate your home or your workspace and take a close look. What do you feel as you look around? Do you feel content and happy? Or are you feeling on edge, kind of like you drank one cup of coffee too many? Feeling like you would benefit from clearing some of your clutter?
5 Things You Can Do Right Now to Reduce Clutter
Make a plan and write it down. Having a plan of attack, or a goal for each day or each week, is key to moving forward. Your goal may look something like this: I will spend 15 minutes each day when I get home from work decluttering my bedroom closet. It answers what, when and for how long. With a clear plan, you’re more likely to actually follow through!
Let it GO! If you notice you have duplicates, donate one to a local agency. Do you have old makeup in your bathroom that is almost gone but you stopped using it? Let it go. Over time, these little things will add up and clear some space for the things you truly love.
Create a clutter-free zone. This could be your kitchen table, your nightstand, or your spice cupboard. Make it a place that you look at frequently. You will get a sense of peace looking at your clutter-free zone and it may inspire you to create another one…
Make a pact! When you purchase a clothing item, you must remove a clothing item. Or if your clothing is out of control, remove two or more items for each new one added.
Notice your environment! Become aware of areas around you that create an uneasy feeling. This is an excellent way to free up some bandwidth in your mind! Our external world is a reflection of our internal world. Clearing out our external world will create an internal shift that may bring us peace and better health.
Some of the benefits of reducing clutter include:
So, what are you waiting for? Lose some stress, gain a little clarity, and go de-clutter!
Beans for Breakfast?
Beans, beans…the magical fruit…the more you eat, the more you toot. Some of us are reluctant to eat beans for this reason. If this is you, read on. Beans are a lot more nutritious than you may know. Beans are the foundation of the healthiest diets in the world. Beans and legumes are linked to longer lives. They are naturally low in fat, high in fiber and are rich in protein and complex carbohydrates that give us the energy we need. Plant-based doctors recommend eating a cup to a cup and a half of beans/legumes every day. Research shows us that the best approach is to eat beans with every meal. This may seem odd but there are ways to incorporate beans into all our meals when we discard stereotypes about what each meal might look like. It's easier than you think.
Buy beans…whether dry, canned or frozen doesn't matter. Put them into your pantry and you are more likely to eat more of them. If buying canned, choose the ones without added substances. Frozen legumes are awesome…sweet peas are so good and good for you. Dry beans are the most economical. You must plan ahead to use these but an overnight soak or preparing them in a pressure cooker provides an abundance at a low price. Beans can be frozen in serving sizes to grab anytime, as well.
Add beans to soups, salads…any dish, really! You can even roast chickpeas for a tasty snack. Beans add flavor, texture and satiety to salads. Salads become a more nutritious meal when beans are added.
Beans are crowd pleasers! Think beans and rice or a hearty stew or chili. Beans add a creamy texture and significant nutrition to your dishes with little fat but lots of the good stuff…fiber and protein.
Think outside the box…the cereal box, that is. Beans for breakfast? Why not? Spreading some oil-free hummus on your sprouted bread toast in the morning is a delicious way to eat beans for breakfast. Add some thin slices of avocado to step up the game. You can add beans to your smoothie without even tasting them. Just a couple tablespoons for a creamy texture adds nutrients, too. Balance the beans with veggies and a small amount of fruit and you have a fabulous breakfast to sip. Or, how about a breakfast burrito made with black beans, rice and your favorite salsa? Wrap this in a corn tortilla and this fills you up and starts your day right.
Beans can even be used for dessert! Black bean brownies are super tasty. These can be a dessert or even a breakfast with a piece of fruit. There are hundreds of healthy dessert recipes that include beans online. Choose your favorites and save them.
Adding beans to your daily food intake is cheap, easy, and tasty. The bonus is lower cholesterol, better blood sugar control and a healthy gut microbiome. Our good gut bacteria love beans! If you are just starting out with beans, I recommend going slow while introducing beans to your body. Start with just a couple tablespoons a day and build your way up. Your gut may need to develop the appropriate enzymes to manage beans without the side effect of bloating and gas. As your body adapts, you may find that you love the way you feel. Beans give us energy and are comfort food…the best comfort food.
Mouth-Breathing Can Harm Your Health
When we breathe, we bring oxygen into our lungs. But did you know that there are big differences in the way we breathe? Nasal and mouth breathing result in different consequences and different oxygen absorption levels. The supply of oxygen that we bring into our lungs, along with sugars from the food we eat, give our cells the energy they require to function. Carbon dioxide, the byproduct of the energy conversion in our cells, is then transported back to the cells for exhalation. This all happens without a lot of thought. It is one of the automatic systems in our bodies that keep us running. We have learned, however, to not breathe so effectively. Many factors have contributed to this and there is room for improvement for many of us.
Some of the most prevalent factors in our increased respiratory (breathing) rates are air pollution, exposure to cigarette smoke and airborne diseases. When we have a stuffy nose, we may need to take breath in through our mouths but breathing this way regularly can result in problems.
Our noses do more than take in air. Nasal breathing releases nitric oxide, which widens blood vessels and allows more oxygen to reach our body tissues. Nasal breathing filters and moistens the air as it enters the body, along with promoting relaxation by engaging the parasympathetic nervous system. Breathing though our mouths not only eliminates the benefits we get from nasal breathing, but it dehydrates the body quicker and can lead to dental issues. Ever notice that when you have a cold and are mouth breathing in your sleep how parched your mouth is when you wake up? This can become a chronic problem for those who mouth breath routinely.
James Nestor, journalist and best-selling author of Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, tells us that to know ‘normal’ breathing is to watch an infant breathing. Another way is to watch your dog breathing as the pup sleeps. They have healthy diaphragmatic motion that many of us have discarded for less effective breathing methods. Diaphragmatic breathing (also known as belly breathing) involves deeply inhaling into the stomach area like you're inflating a balloon and allowing the breath to travel into the upper chest. Breath teachers often tell us to set one hand on our belly and one hand on our chest to feel the breath filling our torso. This type of breathing alerts the body to rest and digest as opposed to the fight or flight response that many of us live in. When we breathe shallowly and only fill our chests, we give are telling our nervous system that we are in danger. Being present and paying attention to our breath can help us begin to create an updated habit of more belly breathing. It's a good thing.
Mouth breathers are prone to:
nasal congestion burping
watery, itchy eyes flatulence
runny nose hiccups
allergies acid reflux
poor palate development crooked teeth
dry cough bad breath
and so much more! even ADHD
Good reason to take a look at your own breathing pattern. Awareness is the first step to creating something new. Once you decide how much mouth breathing you are doing, notice when you are doing it and close your mouth. Consciously breath through your nose as long as you can. When you notice yourself returning to mouth breathing, correct it again. This, done with repetition is the beginning of better breathing, feeling better and better health! Interested in learning more? There are plenty of videos on YouTube with demonstrations of diaphragmatic (belly) breathing, box breathing, alternate nostril breathing and more. Check it out. Bottom line is…close your mouth :)
You don't actually breathe through both nostrils at the same time.
According to research published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, humans inhale and exhale through one nostril at a time!
Recipe of the Week
Homemade Vegan Baked Beans
These savory vegan baked beans are the perfect blend of sweet and smoky flavors. They make the perfect side dish and are great for taking to barbecues. Serves 6.
3 15 oz cans great Northern beans (or 4.5-5 cups cooked)
1/2 cup diced onion
1/3 cup relish
¼ cup brown sugar or maple syrup
1 6 oz can tomato paste
2 tablespoons black strap molasses
⅓ cup ketchup
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1-2 teaspoon sea salt
Begin by preheating the oven to 375°F. While it’s heating up, dice up your onion.
If you are using canned beans, pour them into a colander and run water over them to rinse off.
Place the beans, diced onion, relish, and sweetener in a 9″x13″ casserole dish.These can also be made in a crockpot if desired. Set to the side while you make the sauce.
A great thing about this recipe is that it can even be made in a slow cooker. Simply set the temperature tolow and let them cook while you work or play for about 4-5 hours.
In a medium-size bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients–molasses, ketchup, water, tomato paste, liquid smoke, and apple cider vinegar.
Pour wet mixture over beans mixture that is in the casserole dish and stir until thoroughly mixed.
Bake in the oven at 375°F for one hour. For the slow cook method, place in crockpot and cook on low for 4-5 hours.
Recipe adapted from eatplant-based.com
Salt, Sugar & Oil
The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly
This DVD created by Dr. Michael Klaper in 2013 contains all the information you need to know about these substances that are heavy in the Standard American Diet and may be causing some of the health concerns that are so prevalent in our world today.
Catch my Health Tip Tuesday video on Facebook on Tuesdays to hear my book review!
“It's the food, people. It's always been the food.”
--Dr. Michael Klaper
The content in this newsletter is intended for educational/informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your health care professional.