So here I am in the Sierras, hiking my way up to a bunch of lakes. It’s hot and dry and I stop to admire the mountains every few minutes. And my phone has no signal. And I’m living my best life.
See, the whole point of taking a break from social media is not to feel deprived. You want to feel like you’re fully participating in your own life. You’re taking an amazing hike and it’s not on Instagram and that’s totally cool because memories last a lifetime. That’s exactly how I’ve felt these past 10 days.
It was both reaching for my phone a little too often and the opportunity to spend time in places where phones aren’t such a big deal that made me realise I wanted a break. It’s 11.25 and it’s not lunchtime yet and I Just. Need. Something. to pass the time, so I watch a few Instagram stories. That started happening a lot. My weekend away in Lake Tahoe (post coming soon!) made me realise I wasn’t always connecting to myself because I was so busy trying to connect with others on social media. Does that sound familiar to any of you? Continue reading “my 10-day social media detox | the why and the how”→
It’s only 19 hours, I kept telling myself. 19 hours of travelling and you’ll be in heaven. It was daunting, super exciting and completely surreal to think I would be taking this trip all by myself.
About 3 months ago, it was time for me to submit my placement preferences as part of my MSc in Health Economics. It didn’t take long for me to put Sacramento at the top of my list. The promise of sun, guacamole, and an impactful project to work on was all I needed to convince me. When my allocation was released and I read “UC Davis” next to my name, I couldn’t believe I’d be spending three whole months in sunny California. Me? Who’d never flown for more than 4 hours? Impossible.
I started planning right away and hoped to God I wouldn’t miss anything out. My visa application was particularly painful, but I don’t think anybody’s ever enjoyed applying for an immigrant or non-immigrant visa. It’s an administrative procedure that requires you to answer really obscure questions about your religious affiliations and pay large amounts of money to attend a 2 minute interview at an embassy, and maybe shed a few tears of frustration along the way, but you know what? It was worth it! My passport came back in the post a week later (because yes, they take your passport!) and I frantically finished packing up my life, sat my last ever exam at York, sold my furniture and tried to get some headspace before this huge adventure.
Last year, I did a whole30. It was interesting, to say the least, but not for me. I love a good bowl of lentil soup, and really, there’s nothing wrong with lentils. Or a grilled tofu salad. I can’t do without ’em. So, as advised by Melissa Hartig in Food Freedom Forever, I’m just doing a reset.
I’ve been on holiday and ate decently well (lots of fish and, ehm, lots of European bread which.. well, I just can’t resist!). It was totally worth it. But a lot has changed, both diet and life-wise, for me this summer.
I went to see an acupunturist. She said I should avoid salads and caffeine, and try more soups and stir-fried vegetables. Noted. I’m also consuming less waste. So however good and paleo-compliant the super fancy smoked salmon from ocado may be, I’m more inclined to see my local fishmonger for a less wasteful, less packaged and greener option (i.e. smoked mackerel, e-ve-ry time) – my diet has shrinked in variety, as a result. So stocking up on paleo ‘essentials’ like single wrapped snacks and packets of almond butter is a big no-no for me. Lastly, I’m doing a lot more yoga. My Ashtanga practice has sky-rocketed in the past few months and my diet has shifted towards a kinder approach to my body. I’m not quite vegetarian (I might get there, one day!), but I feel more balanced. I’m not constantly debating between being a macro-counting-egg-white-eating queen and being a raw-vegan-smoothie-drinking monkey. I’m just me, eating whatever I like and whatever makes me feel good.
Happy July and happy summer! It’s been a busy month, filled with some exciting changes and revelations. Read on to find out! 🙂
This is definitely easier said than done if you’re edging on compulsive shopping, which many of us do without realising. It looks good on the mannequin, or it seems useful at the time, but when you get home you realise maybe you didn’t need it after all. Or you use it once and then it gathers dust at the back of a cupboard. I’ve done a lot of work on myself to reduce my attachment to stuff, but I’ve always been frugal, so it hasn’t been excessively hard for me to be more selective in my shopping. I had run out of summer clothes to wear and so went on many more shopping trips than I would have in the past, and most of the time, I went home empty handed. It’s life-changing to walk out of a shop knowing you didn’t feel pressured by the shop assistant, having carefully thought through any purchases (‘is it useful’, ‘is it durable’, is it worth the price’, ‘will it match my style’…).
Holiday season is upon us once more! I’m super hyped becauseI have actually planned a couple of trips this year, which means my suitcase will be more than just a weekend bag for a few days spent with a friend. Or will it? Is packing a huge suitcase, 5 pairs of shoes and both a hair straightener and curling iron really necessary?
Having less is seriously cool. I’m no longer worried about stuff not matching in my wardrobe, or that pink jacket I never wear: if I’m not using it, I’m not keeping it.
But then comes your exotic trip, and you think you need the entire asos swimwear department to survive it. (Just a piece of friendly advice before we start: you don’t.) I take more long weekend trips than weeklong holidays so I’ve become accustomed to packing a small carry-on and making the most of what I bring! Here’y how you can apply underpacking to longer holidays like I am this year!
1. Think ahead
If you’re not one of those people that starts packing or thinking about packing at least 2 weeks before you leave, start now. Honestly, this is a huge help – ask yourself where you’ll be, what you’ll be doing and how often, think of what you already have and what should be replaced or bought for the occasion. I’m leaving for Italy in a couple of days for a super casual poolside reading and city exploring break. Realistically, only 3 scenarios are likely: a day out, for which I’ll need some comfortable, functional and breathable, a day at the pool, for which I’ll need swimwear and a cover up and a classier option for the evening to wear to a nice dinner. My make-up and hair routine can be adjusted accordingly by increasing the intensity rather than the amount of products used. Instead of just slapping on some mascara and eyebrows, I might spend longer on some eyeliner or contouring. And then there’s the airport days, where you should think of wearing something comfortable and layerable, for example the only thicker jacket you’re bringing in case of colder weather, and to keep yourself warm on the flight, over a t-shirt you can wear on a city day later on. Write it down, draw it out, whatever you need to do: just think!
I love the YOGABODY Yoga Talk Show podcast. Every week, I look forward to the latest episode; the range of topics covered is so broad I’m guaranteed to learn something new. A couple of weeks ago, the topic of discussion was life balance and the causes of adrenal fatigue. It’s not a sexy topic, but it’s an important one.
I’m 21 and I truly believe our generation is seeking balance, or at least trying to tip the balance in favour of their well-being as opposed to reckless enjoyment. More than ever we are seeing turmeric lattes and superfood açai bowls and cool yoga studios. Public figures are healthy cookbook authors and instagram yogis and fitness ebook writers.
And yet so often it’s an all-or-nothing affair. You’re vegan or you’re not. You’re a yogi or you’re not. You’re healthy or you’re not. And you only ARE if you take things to the next level. You a raw vegan, and practice 90 minutes every day and always drink your lemon water in the morning. I’m not sure why there is such an obsession with perfection, but let me tell you, it’s not perfection you seek. It’s balance.
Have you ever regretted eating so healthily you couldn’t eat your mother’s apple crumble? Probably.
And have you ever been so careless you regretted eating the entire brunch spread last Christmas? Probably, too.
But did you regret having that one bite of your friend’s pancake stack and ordering the smoothie bowl for yourself? Probably not.
We also mistakingly feel that balance is just a food thing. Balance is an everything thing. Because what is imbalanced in one aspect of your life may be counterbalanced by something else. Balance is something that is advised by yoga teachers, nutritionists and life coaches; not choosing one extreme over the other. It’s a way of life, not a means to an end. Balance should not inspire guilt, either. It’s not because you’re not a raw vegan you’re a bad vegan. It’s not because you haven’t done the whole30 that you’re a bad paleo. Balance for you will look nothing like balance for someone else. But balance is so abstract, don’t you think? It’s an ideal that’s hard to pinpoint, you can only feel it. There’s no common denominator or way of measuring balance on a scale.
So how do you add more yin to your yang, so to speak? Well here are 8 things you can do to bring balance, rather than an extreme of good or bad, into your life!
February has been a beautiful month. I’ve been feeling energised and replenished, rested and peaceful. I’ve tried to reduce stress as much as possible, and I’m proud to say it has improved my quality of life enormously already!
I’m not a winter-lover. I love snow and Christmas vibes, but once January comes to a close, I am ready for spring. I’m ready to see trees and flowers blossom and to wear lighter coats. And put my UGG boots away. But this year, I’m trying to embrace the seasons, and I suggest you try, too! Seasons come and go for a reason, and nature is constantly changing. It’s a cycle of death and rebirth, and we should honour it rather than let it pass us by 🙂
As always, my (slightly) obsessive nature has ensured that this past month’s favourites were very easy and obvious to put together in this post! Let me know what you’ve been loving, I’m dying to know! 😀
I don’t know if it’s because I’m channeling my inner Viking or trying to find a substitute for shaving one side of my head [eek!], but these side braids have been stuck to my head most of the month. Having short hair means you have to be relatively creative in tying it up, and I’ve said goodbye to The Topknot aka that shaggy pile of hair that is not-so-artfully tied up when I’m exercsing/working/doing the dishes to keep my front layers out of the way. Yeah. Not glamorous. These half french braids are way easier than they look, very functional and I always get complimented on them 🙂 Continue reading “february favourites”→
In a nutshell: it simply wasn’t the right time, the right solution or the right fit for me.
the reason why
So I decided to complete the Whole30 because the lovely Kate, my nutritional therapist, advised I remove dairy and gluten from my diet to regulate my digestion, and the September Whole30 was about to start, and I thought it would be a good excuse for me to combine the two. So I did, and it took a great deal out of me at the beginning. My digestion took a hard hit. It is very fragile on my regular diet (mostly vegetarian, occasional animal products, lots of grains), and I didn’t give it enough time to adjust to the changes of a paleo-style diet (lots more meat, no grains).
You may or may not know that the paleo diet includes moderate amounts of meat, fish, nuts and dairy-free animal products, as well as an abundance of vegetables. No grains, no pulses, no peanuts and no soy. You are expected to eat a moderate amount of animal and plant fat to keep you satiated. The paleo community has become renowned for recreating pancakes, cakes and tortillas employing tricks using cashews, cauliflower and avocado. Now, the Whole30 encourages the paleo part, but not the recreating part. You can read more about it here.
Happy Thursday everyone! The summer is coming to an end, and for some reason, I have been feeling so creative this month in the kitchen! I have been making and testing plenty of new things ready for the autumn, and you can expect to see a lot more food on the BARE. blog. Lots of unsweetened, pumpkin spiced things, in particular. Nom.
So it came to my attention my foodi-ness has reached a new high. I’ve tried plantain. I like seaweed. I snack on homemade sauerkraut. I know how to make cashew cheese.
Foodies are a unique breed of people. Food is at the very heart of our lives, and nothing makes us happier than tasting new foods and testing new kitchen tricks. I thought I would round up 10, pretty good indicators that you’ve become an uber foodie.
you’ve come to like food shopping more than clothes shopping
You would rather shop for a bagful of fresh and vibrant vegetables than have to try on a new dress. It’s so much more satisfying, looking at all those beautiful leaves and roots.
SWYPO, or Sex With Your Pants On, is the term used by Melissa Hartwig, creator of the Whole 30, to describe recipe recreations of our comfort foods using compliant ingredients. A commonly used example is banana + egg pancakes, which are not allowed, even though banana and eggs are compliant ingredients. Pancakes, waffles and anything that attempts to mimick the real deal is out, because it doesn’t serve you well. And I agree!
Apart from the initial temptation to make paleo bread and tortillas, leaving all the foods I can’t stop eating behind is not excessively hard. I’ve done it before and I know what to expect. It’s all about the mindset (and of course I know it’s hard. I’m just trying to make it easier. Tough love applies to yourself, too.)
SWYPO closely relates to ‘Foods With No Brakes’, the foods we start eating and can’t stop eating. Like potato chips or sweets. Or almond butter; Foods With No Brakes don’t have to be junk to make you crave more. I watched Melissa’s live Facebook Q+A on this topic today (day 3) and I realised I could fine tune my approach and improve it for the 27 days to come. I didn’t sit down to evaluate my Foods With No Brakes at the beginning, but it is worth doing now.
Carbs are a big thing for me. I love them dearly, and I’m a massive bread-lover. I have my addiction under control, but always wish I could have seconds of my rye sourdough after having a slice or two for breakfast. My attitude towards bread is not healthy, hence it is a Food With No Brakes. And so is pasta, healthy crackers and rice cakes. Even oats in the morning! I can just eat and eat and eat. Luckily, these are all out by nature (wheat! gluten!), so it won’t be as hard to resist. Two years ago, I moved from Europe to England, where bread is like sponge. That quickly put me off the bread, because I couldn’t find anything I liked. Added to this, I wanted to lose weight and cleaned up my diet. I missed the bread at the beginning, but got very good at avoiding it, and then I didn’t miss it anymore. I know I can manage my addicition, because I have in the past!