While there is tea, there is hope

Sodas can have some serious negative effects on your body when consumed regularly and I really want to take steps to a healthier lifestyle. So far I’m succeeding at weaning soda out of my diet and I’ll tell you why…

I treat myself to tea.

I think we all like to be treated to something special. When I would bring a soda or an energy drink to work I felt like it was a special treat to myself; a pick-me-up for the long work day. When I realized how much sugar was in these products (in addition to the caffeine) and I saw the affect this had on my health, I made the conscious decision to reduce my intake.

Now, instead of bringing sodas or energy drinks to work I brew myself my own cup of green tea every morning with a spoonful of local honey or light agave nectar. It’s healthier, cheaper and with enough caffeine (you can also get decaffeinated) to brighten your day. If it’s too hot for hot tea, brew the tea the night before, add the honey or nectar and let it chill overnight in the refrigerator. Add ice and voila! Iced green tea!

Plain tea can be a healthful, calorie-free beverage, but be careful how much cream, sugar, and flavorings you add into your cup, add too many and your once-healthful drink becomes a rich dessert. I favor natural honey because unlike processed sugar and artificial sweeteners, honey is antioxidant rich and used sparingly, can take the edge off your tea.

Studies suggest green tea has many potential benefits, including but not limited to improving mental function, weightloss, and lowering the risk of cancer, heart disease and inflammation. I’ve included a helpful infographic below that illustrates the different varieties of tea and their many benefits.

There are many varieties of tea out there, and each one is delicious and beneficial in it’s own way. I haven’t been able to try them all yet, but I’m looking forward to it!

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30 Day Yoga Challenge Results

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The 30 days in my 30 Day Yoga Challenge are up and as you can see, I did not complete the challenge completely. Bummer!

I was able to practice Yoga 26 of the 30 days and I am satisfied with that. I feel more relaxed and more limber than before, but less so than when I’ve practiced yoga in the past. I believe this may be due to cutting down on my sugar intake during these past 30 days too, and the effect that has had on my body as I detox has not been enjoyable. In fact, some of the days I didn’t practice I was feeling extreme fatigue and/or suffering from headaches.

Moving forward, I do feel confident that I’ve broken in a new habit. I fully intend to keep practicing yoga at least 3 to 4 days a week! Who’s with me!?

Yoga Challenge Update

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Alright, I am about halfway through my 30 Day Yoga Challenge and I decided to check in and let y’all know how I’m doing…

I missed a day…blargh! It was a Saturday. The day went by and before I knew it I was crawling into bed, dozing off and jolting awake when I realized I’d neglected my yoga! Part of me feels terrible, but I do realize I want to create a lasting habit out of this challenge and some days will be missed. I didn’t use it as an excuse to give up and I won’t give up!

Giving up energy drinks and sodas

Growing up, I remember when fast food was a treat we were bought every other week or so and I remember when I wasn’t allowed to drink any soda with caffeine in it, not to mention energy drinks. If I was allowed soda at all, it had to be something caffeine free.

As I grew up I was given more allowances and I was allowed to start making my own decisions. I was introduced to caffeinated soda and still maintained a healthy distance.

As an adult I’ve started an office job that is relatively stressful, but not painfully so. I started buying caffeinated sodas and eventually graduated to energy drinks to “treat” or “reward” myself during the work day, but it’s become too frequent. I can feel the negative effects of the sugar and caffeine in these drinks on my mind and body, but I still crave them anyway! As we plan on starting a family I think it’s time to find some healthier “treat”  or “reward” options and get back to my healthier habits. As of last Friday, I’ve stopped drinking sodas and energy drinks. It’s definitely rough while my body is figuring out how to cope without all the sugar and caffeine, but it’ll pass!

30 Days of Meditation

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Yesterday I posted a challenge to myself to complete 30 Days of Yoga; no excuses, no exceptions. Today i’d also like to throw some more fuel on that fire and give myself another challenge to complete 30 days of meditation.

Sometimes I think about things a little too intently and I build up a lot of pent up anxiety about a wide variety of mostly meaningless topics. I think taking the time to clear my head and focusing myself each day will do a lot of good in my life.

To get myself started, I downloaded the Stop, Breathe, and Think app on my iPhone/iPad which provides different focuses of meditation based on how you’re feeling. You can either complete their self assessment exercise and they will recommend meditations for you or you can select your own without the assessment.

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30 Day Yoga Challenge

YogaApp.pngOnce, long ago, I was in the habit of practicing yoga every day. During that time, I felt better physically and mentally than I had in a long time prior. I miss that feeling and I want it back. The problem is, I’m lazy. I start again for a few days, then get bored or make excuses and fall off track.

So here it is, I’m going to do 30 days of yoga; no breaks, no excuses.

I use an application on my iPad called Yoga Studio.

Yoga Studio provides several “classes” per competency level, lasting different lengths and focusing on different goals. Just as an example, I can take a class for beginner strength lasting 30 minutes or mix 15 minutes of beginner combination with 15 minutes of beginner flexibility, depending on my attention span and how I feel.

Individually each of these practices are powerful in their own right and each serves a particular purpose. When practiced with intention and consistency, they develop stamina, strength, energy, flexibility and inner peace. Yoga has numerous health benefits including improvements in cardiovascular, musculo–skeletal and mental health.

At the end of my 30 day challenge, I will have (hopefully) created a good habit and continue practicing yoga without the need to create a challenge like this.

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