Are You Stuck In Your Comfort Zone?

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5AM. Waking up, the open window is blowing in cold air. Breathe in. Breathe out. Get up.

Why?

To get uncomfortable. To get out of your comfort zone. You see, within your comfort zone you can convince yourself that you’re less than what you actually are. Within your comfort zone you can convince yourself that life is unfair and you can be happy about not being this or that person. You can convince yourself to be happy with what you have and that making a change is too hard.

You may even feel like you don’t have a choice of getting up. That it’s not an option. But you do. And eventually you’ll figure out: Do I make the change or am I staying within my comfort zone. Am I getting up or am I sitting there complaining about my situation without actually doing something about it. What happens if i go for the change? How will it feel like?

Uncomfortable!

Embrace the feeling of being uncomfortable. Recognize how it feels like and rise above it. The difference between staying in your warm bed and pulling away the covers to get up is – feeling uncomfortable. Are you feeling cold? Tired? Weak? Sluggish? Demotivated? Uncomfortable? GOOD! It’s working!

Constant repetition

It’s your time to start stretching. It’s your time to start pushing yourself. Pushing yourself every single day will not only make you a stronger individual, it will help you creating a consistent progress of striving forward. Let’s strive for positive habits and one of them is pushing yourself through rough patches. Pushing yourself to go beyond your limits. And the repetition of this habit is important because it trains you to be an individual that has discipline. A person that has discipline is committed to do things even though it is not what they want to do or are reluctant to do.

“(…) There are some things in life you don’t need no degree for. There are some things in life you don’t need no money for, you don’t need no support for. There are some things in life you’ll get through when you tell yourself ‘I can get through this’.” – ET

Make up your mind

I empathize with over-thinkers. I know how hard it is to quiet the mind. But sometimes it is just about making up your mind. Making up your mind that you’ll not quit, that you’ll not give up. Making up your mind that it IS possible. Eliminate negative thoughts by not believing them. Decide not to believe the voice in your head that tells you you can’t do something, that you’re too weak or that you have no possibilities. Let those thoughts go and make space for more brighter and positive things. Try to develop your own set of affirmations that you can tell yourself especially when you’re feeling low.

Growing out of your comfort zone

As long as your being uncomfortable, striving forward and putting yourself in situations that make you uncomfortable you are on you’re way to get out of your comfort zone. You’re growing out of a place and state of mind that is holding you back from becoming the person you truly want to be.

“To get something you never had you have to do something you never did.” This is what being uncomfortable and growing out of your comfort zone is all about. It gives you the chance and enables you to grow out of whatever is holding you back. It enables you to strive for things that are not even present yet.

So the next time you turn down a task because you think it is too hard, decide not to go because you’re too nervous or decide to give in, I hope you remember those words:

“I don’t know what that dream is that you have. I don’t care how disappointing it might have been as you’ve been working towards that dream. That that dream that your holding in your mind. That it’s possible. That some of you already know that it’s hard. It’s not easy. It’s hard changing your life. That in the process of working on your dreams you are going to incur a lot of disappointment. A lot of failure. A lot of pain. There are moments when you are going to doubt yourself and say ‘God why? Why did this have to happen to me?’.  For those of you that experience some hardships. Don’t give up on your dream. There are rough times that are gonna come but they have not come to stay. They have come to pass!

It’s very important for you to believe that you’re the one! “

XO, Monalisa

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Why Should I Consider Switching To A Whole-Foods And Plant-Based Diet?

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Because of my passion for nutrition I often find myself talking to people about why the standard western diet is detrimental to our health and how we can reverse the damage of excessive consumption of unhealthy and processed foods. At first, a whole-foods and plant-base diet can seem daunting, due to the flood tide of controversial information on the Internet telling people what to eat.

Switching to a whole-foods and plant-base diet is not a short term diet, it is not a quick fix for years of eating wrong and it is not meant to be a strict program that you’ll have to follow in order to be successful.

Transitioning into a whole foods and plant-based diet gives you the opportunity to:

  • get in touch with what you’re eating
  •  to change the relationship you have with food
  • be empowered, motivated and and ready to change your life in terms of mental, emotional and physical health
  • reset your body and fueling your body with foods that it deserves.
  • eat foods that won’t drag you down, slow you down or hold you back from reaching and maintaining a healthy body and mind
  • maintain a healthy weight without counting calories, following a strict diet or being forced to focus on only one type of food. No starvation, no jo-jo effect, no pills, and no weight-loss shakes, powders etc.
  • detoxify your body, ultimately helping you to a strong and lean body and clear skin
  • prevent/cure/lower risk of: diabetes, heart disease and stroke, hypertension, cancer, fatigue, nausea, eating disorders, depression etc.
  • maintain a healthy immune system
  • reduce your carbon footprint and help protecting our environment; 20 vegans can live off the same land required by one meat eater
  • live according to your personal values such as compassion and doing no harm, reducing suffering etc.
  • prolong your life and increase your life expectancy (!)

It is a lifestyle that will slowly but surely spread through not only your eating behavior but also your general behavior in terms of conscious living and finding your place in the world as a human being.

Writing for this blog, I hope to inspire you to make conscious food choices and find joy in taking active steps towards a healthy body and mind. Switching to a whole foods and plant-based diet absolutely transformed my life and I’m so happy I get to share my experience with you!

XO, Monalisa

Healthy Eating On A Budget

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The most common concern when switching to a whole foods plant-based diet is the following:

“I really want to eat better but it is so expensive and I cannot afford it.”

Sounds familiar? Then this post is for you. I’ll break down how to make good food choices while shopping on a budget so that you too can follow a whole foods and plant-based diet.

1. Setting priorities

Setting priorities is extremely important when eating on a budget. Setting priorities means that you stick to the basis of your diet even though you are tempted to do otherwise. To figure out what to cut in your diet to save expenses, start a food journal or mentally go through a week and see on what foods/drinks you spend your money on. You might come to the conclusion: No more Starbucks coffee on my way home, no more bought snacks and no more second drink when going out. Cha-ching! More money to spend wisely on proper food choices.

2. Quality over quantity

Yes, organic fruits and vegetables tend to cost more. But checking the list of the “dirty dozen” (http://www.organic.org/articles/showarticle/article-214) will ensure that you won’t ingest harsh chemicals and buy foods that truly help nourish your body so that you feel satisfied. Quality over quantity also means not being afraid of buying 3 onions and 2 tomatoes if that is what you need for a meal. You don’t always have to buy large quantities if the chances are high that most of it will go to waste.

3. Buying in bulk

Local farmer’s markets and sometimes even supermarkets offer the possibility to buy in bulk. (See blog post “Bulk up” to learn how and get all the info you need). While it is wise to carefully select some foods and buy a decent amount that you will use for sure, food staples that you eat everyday are best to buy in bulk. It will save you a significant amount of money and your kitchen is stocked up.

4. Eating clean = Eating simple

The easier the better. The best thing when eating on a budget is to create a very simplistic basis of your diet. So that when more money is available you can stock up your kitchen (with spices for example or superfoods) but in general you can rely on not tapping into unhealthy eating habits when money is short. Eating simple means also buying fresh ingredients instead of products. Rather than paying packaged foods you opt for foods that won’t come with a list of ingredients you don’t even know and give you the possibility to create your own delicious meals. Good food staples to keep in mind:

  • Tomatoes, Apples and Bananas (buy in bulk! choose ripe bananas as they are better for your health and markets/supermarkets give them away cheaper most of the times),
  • Quinoa, rice and beans (if the selection at your supermarket is still pricey try ordering large quantities online, rice: preferably brown rice)
  • Onions (onions make hearty dishes and soups and not only help regulating your blood sugar but also keep your heart healthy)
  • Garlic and ginger (there is a great variety in using both and they add great flavor to your diet)

5. Monitoring and planning ahead

We fall off of our initial plan to eat healthy most likely when we’re starving or coming home after a long day of work. Also being active during the day, not being able to eat at home makes up for many possibilities to make poor food choices and spend money on snacks, drinks and meals that could be avoided. Spending an extra hour in the kitchen on Sunday to pre-cook all your lunch meals for the week can save you not only money but also ensures that you successfully stay on your path. What I found extremely useful is also keeping foods in the fridge or freezer that can be easily combined with other/fresh ingredients for a proper and quick meal. An example could be a container of pre-cooked quinoa that you can heat up and eat with veggies or toss in your salad.

6. Check Locavori for recipes 😉

Here on Locavori you can find many recipes that are easy to re-create. Hearty dishes are excellent for cooking ahead and storing in the fridge so that you can pull out quick and delicious meals out of the fridge all week long. All recipes allow many variations so that you can always use what you have on hand.

I hope this little post helped you on your journey! If you have questions or comments please leave a comment below or join the conversation on Facebook. 🙂

XO Monalisa

Korma-Style Lentil Dhal

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I love love love the Indian cuisine. I love the spices and the colorful, super delicious dishes! Since a lot of dishes call for meat or side-dishes like yoghurt, I thought why not cook a vegan variation 🙂

“Can I finish the Paella?”

I’m thrilled that the dishes I cook at home for my family and friends are highly appreciated. The last few days, people were coming and going and nearly 10 people tried out all the dishes I either cooked that day or still had in the fridge from past cooking sessions. “It’s so creamy.. wait.. you didn’t add cream? Are you sure?” Yep. All dishes I cook at home don’t contain any dairy or meat and are just as delicious 🙂

Back to our dish. The lentil Dhal is a tasty and rich dish that I like to combine with Quinoa. It has a nice flavor to it thanks to the spices but it’s also fresh due to the coconut milk. If you don’t like the taste of coconut milk as much or coconut in general you may alter the recipe and use less as it has a strong unique taste to it. I personally love the taste and I find it combines nicely with the spices.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2.5 tsp curry
  • 1.5 tsp coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • sea salt and ground pepper to taste
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes with basil
  • 1 can of coconut milk
  • 250 g lentils
  • 1 can of garbanzo beans
  • 150 g Quinoa

DIRECTIONS:

Soak the lentils for at least 4 hours. Drain and rinse. Set aside. (You can soak the quinoa as well if you like.) In a large saucepan heat up the oil and add the onion. When the onion is translucent add curry, coriander, cumin, cayenne pepper as well as salt and pepper. Stir for about 5 minutes before adding the diced tomatoes, coconut milk and lentils. This may look super watery as of right now but I promise it will thicken up. Stir frequently and make sure the heat is distributed evenly. When some ‘water’ is left on the surface add the garbanzo beans and stir. Now you can put the quinoa in a separate pot cover with water and let it cook. When you think your lentil dhal is thick enough turn off the heat, cover the saucepan and put aside. Serve with quinoa on the side.

I hope you have fun cooking this dish! Oh, and this dish keeps perfect in the fridge for whenever you don’t have the time to cook and just want to heat up a delicious meal.

XO, Monalisa

I’M SO HUNGRY!!

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I see a lot of people wanting to follow a plant-based nutrition but somewhere along the way they feel so light-headed and/or dizzy, feel like they can’t concentrate anymore and soon this whole idea starts to look like a bad… bad bad idea. Aren’t we supposed to feel energized and powerful? After 3 weeks of feeling kind of starved and light-headed you FINALLY allow yourself to bite into your chicken-cheese-sandwich and aaahhh that feels good you feel like you’re finally EATING something. I see this happening aaall the time. What is going on here?

First of all, switching to a plant-based nutrition takes time. Adapting to every single principle all at once is not only exhausting it also won’t allow your body to get used to the changes you’re making. You can also monitor the benefits way better sticking to one principle at a time. A lot of the principles make so much sense though (“eating light to heavy”), you want to adapt them right away. Be careful and really stick to one at a time. They seem like “easy” principles but they often times turn our nutrition upside down. So to switch in a few days or even a week – please! Allow your body to get used to what you’re practicing to avoid the situation I described above.

The biggest “mistake” I see people do when switching to a plant-based diet, is replacing every meal with healthy choices but eating roughly around the same amount of it. So at the end of the day you ate everything you wanted to eat and are supposed to eat but why don’t you feel better or even worse? It is most definitely the amount of what you’re eating. A smoothie, medium sized salad, 1 banana or 2 apples are not cutting it!! The thing is, through processed and packaged foods, our sense of what has how much value nutritional and calorie wise is kind of off. So we think if this packaged  lasagna has this many calories my replacement dinner will most likely be roughly around the same amount. No no and… wait for it.. no. We really can’t compare whole foods and a plant-based nutrition to a diet that includes processed and boxed foods when it comes to calories. It’ll blow your mind how little calories you really eat by simple and clean eating. My best advice and most helpful for me was to monitor my calorie intake just for a few days or even a week to visualize how much more you have to eat to meet your daily calorie intake (=your energy!). More? Yes on a plant-base diet get used to eat more! Yippieh! You’ll notice that fruits and vegetables but also unprocessed foods are low in calories and therefore we’re able to eat a lot if it. I recently talked to a person who said: “Wow all the time I felt like I had to learn how to eat less and now I’m trying to eat significantly more”. Yes! And you choose! But, you’re right, this lifestyle is absolutely NOT about counting calories. This monitoring is only meant for you to learn about the foods you’re eating and to see what you have to eat in a day. When I first started to monitor my calorie intake I found out that I’d have to double my intake to reach my estimated “goal” in terms of calories a day. No wonder I felt light headed! Gradually adding more food to your meals will help you to feel satisfied and also will train your body to be able to eat more of it all. You might feel full fairly quick but your stomach will expand and contract, so don’t be afraid of gradually adding more to your plate. There is a reason for certain movements such as 30 bananas a day or even people who go fully raw and eat astonishing amounts of fruits and vegetables. As crazy as they sometimes sound or look especially if you’re new to it all, you’ll see that if you’re seriously getting into this and this is really what you’re eating, it seems to be more reasonable bite for bite. The core of it all however is, that it is important to talk about the amount of what you’re eating when learning about a plant-based nutrition. So we don’t have to eat 30 bananas in a day and we most definitely won’t be able to afford a weekly farmers market for our taking, BUT we can learn and keep an open mind when it comes to eating more of what is good for us. (Check out Kristina from fullyraw.com or fullyraw on Youtube!)

So how can you monitor your intake with getting all the information? Try cronometer.com. It is a free service that allows you to type in the foods you consume and it will present you with not only nutritional information about a single fruit or vegetable for example but also will present you with an overview showing you how many percent you have reached from your daily calorie intake. Your daily calorie intake will be calculated according to your height and weight. Again, this is to visualize your overall intake, not to depend and live on. You want to learn how much you have to eat to get your daily calorie intake. Eating healthy is however, not about counting calories as there really is no need for that. So after monitoring your intake you are welcome to say goodbye to such services as cronometer and live happily without.

Short recap: With a plant-based diet comes the need to eat the right amount of it to satisfy your needs. Boxed and processed foods are high in calories with little to no nutrients, whereas fruits and vegetables as well as unprocessed whole foods are low in calories and have a high nutritional value. Because you do need to meet your daily calorie intake to be able to function properly and have energy, you might find yourself eating too little of what is good for you. If you have already started switching and find yourself in the situation above try gradually adding more foods to your diet and eat more of it all. As you can see, with this whole lifestyle you’re really NOT on “a diet” and you’re not restricting yourself. It is about learning what works for you fuel your body with foods it deserves to function at its best.

Through years of eating highly processed foods and consuming dairy and/or meat, it is also possible that your body is not able to absorb all the nutrients right away. So you might start to eat well but if your colon for example is still backed up you might not get all the benefits right away. This is normal as it take time for your body to detoxify and get all bad things out of your body and also to clean out your colon. A clean colon makes a happy body! I’ll definitely talk about digestion on this blog as it is one of the most important topics to talk about when it comes to eating healthy and detoxifying your body. There are things you can do to speed up the process and detoxify efficiently such as helping your body digest the huge amounts of fiber you’re now eating and cleaning out your colon by taking a daily probiotic or digestive enzymes after heavy meals (post will follow!) or even a colonic. But first of all stick to the healthy choices you’re making and I promise you’ll see changes. It does however take willpower, often times because you might deal with detox reactions (post will folow!) along the way as toxins are leaving your body. But more of this in upcoming posts!

Puuh we cut on so many topics in this post, but I promise I’ll break it down for you in smaller packages. So in the upcoming blog posts I’ll talk about more principles, healthy habits, digestion, nutrient absorption and detox reactions.

Stay hungry! 🙂

XO Monalisa

Vegan fast food: Mono meals

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What I love most about my diet is, that it really is simple. With eating clean comes a sense of simplicity and an appreciation for foods in its natural state. Because the majority of the food I eat is raw, I spent less time cooking, frying and baking. Spending hours and hours in the kitchen preparing meals with a ton of ingredients is history. But don’t get me wrong, I love trying out new colorful recipes that call for spices and ingredients I haven’t used before. Like trying out vegan taco “meat” for example. It tasted amazing and it was HILARIOUS to fool people because it really did look exactly like taco meat.

What are mono meals?

A mono meal is a meal that consists of one ingredient. If that doesn’t sound like the easiest vegan meal you’ve ever heard! Now what foods are suitable for mono meals you might ask. The most common foods for mono meals are fruit. As I mentioned light and heavy foods in a previous post you already know that fruits are light foods and therefore digested very well and best of all – fast. So eating only one fruit at a time makes it even easier to digest as your body focuses on breaking down one type of fruit instead of a bunch of different ones. Mono meals are meant to give your body a break from tiresome digestion!

If you really set your focus on eating only one type of food you’ll find yourself looking at the food you’re eating from a different perspective. First of all you’ll automatically choose better quality foods to eat. Why? Well if you’re about to eat a whole cantaloupe or nothing but oranges for lunch, trust me, you’ll choose the most delicious and juiciest fruit there is. Good for you! Raising the quality of the food you’re eating, raises the standard of what foods you want to put in your body and ultimately raises the quality of the life you choose for yourself! But isn’t it kind of boring? To only one fruit at a time? Often times the foods we eat consist of so many ingredients we can’t even tell what exactly we’re eating right now. The highly processed and boxed foods we eat are not “just cereal” or “just bread”, a close look on the ingredient list reveals 30 ingredients, half of which we probably don’t even know. Eating “just a cracker”? Think again. Mono meals are great because they give you the possibility to fully taste your food: mouth-watering, flavor-bursting and colorful foods! The sensation of appreciation doesn’t stop there. As you eat only one type of food, you’ll find yourself concentrating on proper chewing and taking your time to eat. All of which contribute to a healthy digestion and mindfulness. You will also notice when you want to stop eating and when you’re satisfied or full. Ever ate a lot of fast food and still felt hungry afterwards? Then you probably know what it feels like to be totally out of touch with what you’re eating and simply not feeling satisfied.

Personally, I love to start my day with a green smoothie but whenever I don’t have my blender on hand (like right now as I’m enjoying myself in Spain) I eat a mono meal for breakfast. Fresh juicy peaches, watermelon and cantaloupe are so refreshing and perfect for hot summer days.

I love to learn ways to simplify my life, as it is easy to feel completely overwhelmed in the fast-paced environment we live in. Finding simplicity within my lifestyle calms me down and takes the nervousness away as well as raises the quality of my life.I hope you’re inspired to find ways to simplify your life and declutter from things that you simply don’t need.

Lots of light and sunshine from the Costa del Azahar,

XO Monalisa

Clean products you’ll love

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Being mindful about what you put in your body is as important as being mindful about what you put on your body. Often times we are lured into advertising promises, unknowingly buying harsh chemicals. While thinking we’re giving our skin a good treatment, all harmful ingredients are absorbed by our skin and end up in our blood stream.

As for my personal journey, step 1 was to eliminate harsh face washes, peelings and co. Propylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrances etc. are not only commonly cheap chemicals used by the industry, they are simply harmful and often times have a reverse effect such as irritating and drying out your skin, hair loss, allergic reactions, the list goes on and on… . Again with all those toxins ending up in your bloodstream, we really can’t justify the use of any of them. What about zits and pimples? A flawless face does not come by drying out our skin or even peeling off layers of our skin with chemicals. Letting our skin breathe and recover from years of using harmful products can often times do wonders for our skin.

What products do I use?

As everyone’s needs are different, I’ll share my personal preferences when it comes to buying skin care products. I go for certified organic products with ingredients that are plant-based and often times infused with essential oils. Here we go:

  • WELEDA: Long story short, Weleda is great! My whole family uses Weleda for over a decade and we all love it! In my purse you’ll find the Weleda Baby Calendula cream at all times, as I use it in the morning for my face and as a hand cream during the day. Great for my feet and elbows, too. They really do have a lot of product lines from skincare to hair and body. I love Weleda oils as well as they smell fantastic and nurture my skin.  http://www.weleda.com/
  • SALLY B’S SKIN YUMMIES: This handmade line of natural, all organic skincare and make up blew. me. away! I love the organic lip yummies (especially in orange vanilla), the “B pinched” cream blush and the “Get even finishing powder”. The lip yummy will leave your lips the softest they’ve ever been the cream blush is so subtle and beautiful. The powder does not clog your pores or will look unnatural as many powders do. I wholeheartedly recommend it, all products and more info here: http://www.sallybskinyummies.com/
  • CALIFORNIA BABY: I first checked out California Baby products as I was looking for a natural, toxic-free sunscreen. Since then I tried several products and I really did love them all. With a ton of products to choose from this is what I used: Super Sensitive (No Fragrance) Broad Spectrum SPF 18 Sunscreen, Aromatherapy Aloe vera cream and the tea tree and lavender shampoo and body wash. The aloe vera cream is FANTASTIC. Sunburns, rough skin or even eczema are history if you use this cream. The tea tree wash I also used for my face sometimes as it is super refreshing. http://www.californiababy.com/

As you learn more about the ingredients in your skin care products, you’ll find yourself being more careful about what you put on your skin. I often times do not use any products at all as I love coconut oil and self-made masks (post will follow!).

I hope you’re inspired to take a good look on the products you use and maybe even try some out of my favorites and see if they work out for you, too!

XO Monalisa

Living In The Present

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Wouldn’t it be great to sit somewhere in peace without thinking of the fight 2 years ago, the discussion with your friend yesterday or the grumpy bus driver 3 hours ago who drove off even though he saw you running towards the bus? Wouldn’t it be great to sit somewhere in peace without thinking the excuse you will have to give your sister in a little bit because you just ate her cookie, of the bill you have to pay at the end of this month or the explanation of what you want to do after you finish your bachelor? Imagine it. Wouldn’t that be – nice? Incredibly refreshing?

Sometimes we find ourselves living on this big timeline, where our past and future is taking up so much of our present that we forget how it feels like to live in the moment. To be worry free for just one moment. To sit somewhere consciously, appreciating our being without fears, worries, future expectations and duties. It seems so impossible and so far away that the question is: How do we get there? Or how do we get back there?

I’m a huge fan of naturopathic and homeopathic practitioners (post will follow!). That being said, the last time I visited my homeopath I talked to her about anxiety and nervousness. She laughed and said: “Monalisa, look at the world we live in. It would be scary if people would be calm and relaxed with the work they do and the environment they live in. Our society is nervous!” 2 years ago I had this one year that included over 60 hours of sitting in a plane, traveling to different countries. I was addicted to the feeling of getting somewhere new and switched places fast! The effect I saw after the year having major troubles with anxiety and nervousness. The lifestyle we force our bodies to live isn’t always what we would really need or what we are capable of doing at this point. Thankfully our bodies do warn us in form of pain or even diseases to slow down or change what we’re doing. Our body gives us the direction of what we’re capable of doing at any given moment of our lives.

How can we learn to live in the moment? Be more present in spite of hectic and stress, worries and anxiety? Being passionate about nutrition, things started to change the moment I started to fully appreciate my body for functioning the way it does, realizing and accepting the aspects I need to change in my life and to fuel my body with the food it deserves. Also transitioning into a vegan lifestyle: If you think about how an animal gets slaughtered and what fears it passes through, there is a theory that suggests that you, eating the animal, are negatively affected by the stress-induced hormone and cortisoid production within the meat that is transmitted to your body.

Meditating is a common practice that helps to direct your focus inward and your being in the present. Personally, I found the practice of meditation to be incredibly challenging but also astonishing as you get great insight of yourself. In a hectic workweek or even on vacation I like to practice breathing exercises (post will follow!) to stabilize and feel more connected to the world I live in. Another way to help you reach the stage of living in the present is by practicing mindfulness. Try sitting somewhere quiet, appreciating the things around you, noticing and recognizing everything around you. How much more do you see, hear, smell and feel?

Thus it seems so far away sometimes to reach that feeling we don’t have to drug ourselves to blend out everything or even to “bear” our lives, we don’t have to drink alcohol until we pass out to “relax”. In our fast-changing and ever busy world we need to learn how to practice living in the present. How to be consciously alive.

“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” – Buddha

Thanks for reading,

XO Monalisa

A few words on positivity and reaching your goals

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“It’s an amazing experience when you focus on the positive things in your life. Things start to change. You become happier. You see things differently. There might still be negative things there, but like an airplane flying overhead, they become the background noise of your mind.”

(source: facebook.com/be-a-good-human/)

Positive people

Positive people are sometimes viewed as “living in denial” and accused of not being realistic and so overly optimistic that they seem to have lost a sense of what is real.

But focusing on positivity is – conversely – accepting of what you cannot change. It is also about doing what you can, when you can do it with the resources you have available. Dwelling on negativity often times includes focusing on things you cannot change and sits like a heavy weight on your shoulders, holding you back from doing what you could do with your time, energy and resources.

Setting realistic steps towards your goal

One thing I do to stay positive especially when I set goals for myself that I want to reach is setting realistic goals. You decide what you want to do and then work out on how you do it. Setting realistic steps toward your goals can ultimately lift your spirits and raise the quality of your life because you are creating steps that are reachable. You can actually reach the mark you set for yourself and this alone is a win.

Focusing on one thing at a time is an advice I seem to hear everywhere but it is so helpful. Being busy all the time we often find ourselves like an internet explorer with thousands of active tabs open. Alone the thought of that much information and the desperate try to hold the overview of all tabs puts us under enormous stress. Sorting out one single step, one single activity or task at once reduces the risk of feeling overwhelmed and lifts the weight off our shoulders. Finally we are doing what we can do with the time and resources we have available. Ordering what you do first is also putting things into perspective and ultimately frees you from chaos.Yes the workload can be enormous and multitasking seems so much more appealing to get things done. But even then I personally find setting the focus straight and dividing and ordering the workload in smaller packages of what has to be done makes it much easier for me and also more enjoyable. The success moments after each stage towards my goal gives me a rush of motivation and positivity and I feel even more energized to continue.

You are in my way

A lot of times something or someone seems to hinder us to reach our goals. Some people simply seem to stand in your way. In my experience people are often unconsciously standing in your way and if you don’t speak up you’ll end up standing behind them forever not getting somewhere. They’ll stand there until they decide to leave and it might be too late to reach your goal or even stage towards your goal. What could happen if you do speak up? Maybe the person will step aside saying “I didn’t even realize I was in your way”. Even if you can see your goal people may or may not step into your way and block certain roads that does not mean that you have to accept the fact that somebody is blocking it and that you have to wait patiently until the person moves out of your way. Learning how to communicate your goals and intentions with others can often times clear the path again to your destination.

Living on someone else’s agenda

People tend to set up plans and agenda for themselves. They are practical, hold together their thoughts and make it easier to hold the overview of what has to be done. So far so good. But sometimes we seem to be so involved in someone else’s agenda we literally live after a plan that somebody set up for their own good. Not for you. It can be easy to be used and taken advantage of because you will function in roles that are beneficial for the plan of someone else and not for your own agenda. Please remember that there is a great difference between being compassionate and a helping hand and living after someone else’s agenda. Speaking up for your own wants and needs and communicating them makes your intention clear of following your own agenda. It frees you, even from the foreign ballast you voluntarily carry on your shoulders, by being a catalyzer accelerating the process of someone’s plan towards a goal. You are not – I repeat – not demolishing someone else’s happiness by putting your wants and needs first. A person who loves and respects you will accept your decisions you make in life and support you as good as he or she can.

I hope you find joy in challenges and find the energy and power within you to push through your stages towards your goal!

XO Monalisa

Bulk up!

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Carrot mania!

The other day I scored 20 kg of farm fresh carrots for 3,99 EUR in Luxembourg. What a bargain! Buying in bulk became a popular topic to talk about in the world of nutrition and there are many reasons to join the conversation and start buying in bulk.

Buying in bulk means that you as a consumer pay a lower price per unit in exchange for a much larger quantity. Sound good? There is more!

The American company BIG informs consumers and grocers about the environmental and economic benefits of bulk foods. The organization states that not only bulk foods cost on average 89% less than packaged foods but also if Americans would purchase their almonds in bulk for only one month, 6,000,000 lbs of waste would be saved from landfills.

Where do I start?

Your local farmer’s market or even your supermarket are ideal places to start. Your local farmer will be willing to give away large quantities of your desired fruits or vegetables for a fair price. In my experience, as farmers and grocers get to know you, they’ll even save you foods that you buy regularly for a reduced cost. As I eat a lot of bananas I often times score on up to 20 bananas for not even a euro as they are very ripe and not likely to be sold by the markets.

How and where do I store all this food?

Especially in summer it is inevitable that parts of your bulk foods go bad. As you buy organic produce it is perfectly normal that food goes bad quickly as they are free from chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. If you have a vegetable cooler section in your fridge take advantage of it and store as much as you can fit. Often times a dry paper sheet will help to absorb the moisture and help your foods to stay fresh longer. Nuts and seeds are easily stored in mason jars or any glass jars you can find. I often times use glass bottles as well. Old cookie jars or stainless steel container do the job as well. Some produce such as apples and oranges, I store in big open paper boxes and place them underneath the kitchen counter as it is dry and dark and usually not as hot.

Shrink the carbon footprint of your meals and save big – by buying in bulk!

XO Monalisa