Nov 24, 2014

Staying Healthy During Winter

I'm one of those people that ( thankfully) rarely gets sick. But when I do, I usually come down with something that knocks me out for days. When we're traveling or it's winter time, we try and make sure we're eating as healthy as possible and include as many immune boosting superfoods and spices ( which are really cheap!) as possible, as well as using essential oils such as oregano, cinnamon, and rosemary when we feel we're coming down with something. 

Health Starts In The Gut

Did you know that your gut is one of the key factors that determines how your immune system functions? Eating healthy bacteria is integral for our immune and digestive health, which is why cultures around the world have eaten fermented food ( like kimchi in Korea, Indian pickles, sauerkraut, kefir, kombucha, and many more). 

Western society has drifted away from these life giving fermented foods into highly processed and refined food products, making our gut and overall health take a toll.  

The holiday season is especially the case, where families sit down to generally large meals that take hours the body hours to digest. The best way to stay health and also enjoy a bountiful harvest feast is to eat whole foods and omitting highly processed flour and sugar from the meal. 

Yes, I know. You're thinking how the heck you can make pie without sugar, and I'm here to tell you you can totally do it! Instead of using white sugar, go for coconut sugar or maple syrup. Make sure when baking to use either a gluten free flour or whole grain flour. And for gravies and sauces, try making one from scratch ( I make mine with mushrooms and white wine) over the instant variety that can contain high fructose corn syrup and chemicals that don't aid the body.

Enjoy Herbal Teas

Having a soothing cup of herbal tea can aid your immune system and digestion. A few varieties I like to make:

  • Turmeric Latte
Heat your favorite milk of choice ( organic unsweetened almond is fantastic) and add turmeric to taste, as well as a dash of cinnamon and maybe a little clove and nutmeg. You can sweeten it with coconut sugar, honey, or maple syrup. 

  • Ginger Tea
Ginger is a mega superfood that aids circulation and digestion. Add chopped or grated ginger to a pot of water and bring to a boil. Let it simmer for a few minutes, then pour into a cub and allow it to steep. 

  • Green Tea
I am a long time green tea fanatic. Enjoy yourself a few cups everyweek, especially of sencha and matcha. Whole Foods Market has an organic decaf variety of the former, if you're looking to avoid caffeine. 

Incorporate Herbs & Spices Into Your Daily Diet 

Adding super spices such as turmeric and rosemary to your diet will help keep you and your family healthy. Turmeric has been used in ancient India in Ayurvedic medicine, and studies have shown that it heals inflammation and so much more. Rosemary aids digestion and boosts immune function, and is the perfect addition to wintery soups and stews.

Create A Natural Medicine Cabinet

Just in case you or your family do get a bout of flu or cold, I recommend having a holistic medicine cabinet. Ours happens to include colloidal silver, vitamin C, reishi, essential oils ( currently using and enjoying DoTERRA ) cayenne pepper blend, and a few other goodies. I don't spend a lot on our medicine cabinet as the oils I use when we do get sick ( such as oregano and OnGuard, also known as thieves oil) I don't use all the time so they end up lasting us for a long time and don't need to be replenished often. Same goes for the colloidal silver. 

What do you take to stay healthy during winter?

This post contains affiliate links to things I use and love!

Nov 21, 2014

Blogger's Guide To Creating An Editorial Calendar

If there is anything I have learned in 4+ years of blogging, it's that it can be easy to run out of ideas as to what to blog about

In the beginning, you feel you can make it work by sharing your daily photos and quips of what you did/read/ate etc. After a while however, the well runs dry and you feel frustrated by the lack of page views and blog posts. I went through this with every blog I've created. I feel inspired for a while, then no idea how to stay focused and am unsure as to how to proceed. 

The best thing I've done to improve my overall motivation to blog is to create an editorial calendar. 

It wasn't easy, let me just say that now. But with the training I did with Bonnie from Hobby To Hot over the last few weeks, plus the articles and other resources I had read that stated just how important an editorial calendar is to avoid blogging burnout, I realized I couldn't wing it anymore. 

Today I'm going to share exactly what I have done to create an editorial calendar made for bloggers such as your truly.

Mind Map Blog Posts

Mind mapping is a way of getting content ideas by basically drawing a circle pertaining to a topic ( let's say it's blogging) and then using prompts such as (who, what, when, where, how) to make post ideas. If our topic was blogging, and I used the prompt how I could come up with say How To Use Wordpress. This is a very basic idea of mind mapping but to sum it up this way of brainstorming is extremely helpful for creating almost unlimited post ideas.

Ideally, mind map your blog posts for about a month or two. Some people do an entire year of content though, or only a week, so do what's best for you. 

Add Your Post Titles To Your Editorial Calendar

Once you've created your posts it's time to add their publishing dates to your editorial calendar of choice ( Dayplanner, Google Cal, etc). I am currently using the latter. It's best to pick the same publishing days  so that readers can expect to see your posts on those days. I've chosen to publish weekdays (  Mon Wed Fri).

Schedule Your Posts

Writing posts ahead of time is ultimately the way to go. I'm not talking about an entire month of posts done in a weekend, only a few a week so you never fall behind. Once they are written, schedule them to be published so that you don't have to worry about them from that point onwards. Wordpress and Blogger allow you to do this with ease, and I'm sure other blogging platforms do as well.

Schedule Your Social Media 

When your post goes live, it needs to be promoted through your social media and newsletter ( if you have one) You can schedule your social media ahead of time using services like Hootesuite and Buffer. Make sure to promote your posts even after you have new content on the blog; a blog post is never too old to be promoted unless it's not relevant anymore, or seasonal.

Have you created an editorial calendar? Tell me about it in the comments below.

Nov 19, 2014

Creating A Morning Routine

Crafting a morning routine has been something I've wanted to do for years. Despite not being a morning person per say, I've always found that if I've had a good night's sleep, my mornings are the best part of the day. 

This was always the case when Kaya was a toddler. The afternoon before Billy would get home felt like an eternity, but mornings were calm. She was in a good mood, and I had more time to cook and also enjoy a nice hot cup of yerba mate ( my favorite tea). She'd then take her first nap and watch Lazy Town ( best show ever).

Kaya still loves mornings, so much so she wakes up even earlier now. Billy and I both haven't been getting proper rest mainly because we've gotten used to staying up later since my Mom was in town. I want to switch my schedule so I am up earlier and also feeling as invigorated and focused as I used to. Reading She Is Radiant was the perfect prompt for me to try and shift my habits to something healthier. 

Here are some of my tips for those of you that like me are looking to make them a sacred part of your day.

Don't aim to wake up at a time you know you won't get up at

I would love to wake up at 5AM and be waaaay ahead of the day, but you know what? It will never happen. 8AM is early for me folks. 5AM is insanely early. I think it can impede us creating a morning routine if we make goals that we know don't work well for our bodies and minds. Some of us need more rest. Some of us get up late ( raises hand!). Listen to your internal clock.

Creating A Morning Ritual

What makes you feel the most inspired in the morning? Is it those moments when you sip a steaming hot cup of joe? Meditating? Juicing? Talking with a loved one far away for a few moments on Skype? Reading a book? Journaling? Doing yoga? Prayer?

For me, I like to have a hot cup of tea after I have made Kaya breakfast and savour it for a while, then I begin making my mix between a gratitude journal and to-do list. I actually bought the infamous ( and pricey) Dayplanner that I have to blackmail my Mom to ship out to me ( it's a long story) so when I get my hands on that beautifully designed book, I am going to enjoy using it!

Spend Time In Nature

It gets hot here. Really hot. The only time day wise I enjoy going outside is early morning and early evening. I'm a night person and not a fan of humidity. Enjoying just a few minutes outside before I begin cleaning or homeschooling is precious. 

Yoga It Up

If you haven't done much yoga, give it a chance. Do a pose in the morning to see how you feel! Mornings can be the best time of day to do yoga ( so I'm told). While reading Claire's guide for radiant health I've learned that first and foremost it's about doing what's right for you instead of making it a one size fits all approach to daily life and health. Some days I feel like yoga in the morning while others not so much. See how you feel!

What is your morning routine? Let me know in the comments below!