Good Natured Mom

We are all just walking each other home. -Ram Dass


10 Habits of an Optimist

Did you see the movie The Martian? Its a story about an astronaut who is left behind on the planet Mars and how he copes…how he attempts to survive. I connected with the main character. He was brilliant and clever… but more important to me, he was confident and optimistic. And he didn’t give up hope.

My default setting is optimism – I believe that, no matter what else is going on around me, no matter how dire the circumstances, or grim the outlook…that everything will ultimately be okay.

Because I always expect a favorable outcome, some think I’m out of touch with reality. Others think I’m naive. For me, optimism has nothing to do with either reality or my lack of experience with a situation. It has much more to do with a gut feeling… intuition. Optimism is an internal, preset in my brain that always directs my thoughts toward confidence and faith in the good. And there are a few beliefs and habits I’ve developed to maintain a healthy sense of optimism.

  1.  I believe that love always wins and good is stronger than evil. It may only occur on a micro level, but you can always find the essence of good, in any situation, if you are open to it.
  2. Along the same lines, even when bad things are happening, there is a simultaneous, counteractive force for the good. Think of a situation, like a house fire or car accident. First responders arrive to help. By standers reach out to assist.  Let’s face it, bad stuff is going to happen. It’s part of life. Having people around you to mitigate the loss or help you through it in some way…that’s a very good thing. See the essence of good in everything.
  3. Stay mindful. Stay present. Stay aware. Don’t allow worry and fear to take hold in your brain. Realize that we only exist from one moment to the next… not in the past or the future. The only life we have is happening right now. Keep the anxiety and worry at bay by keeping your focus on the here and now.
  4. Cultivate a heart full of gratitude. For me, waking up each day, putting my feet on the floor and having coffee in the coffee pot are at the top my thankfulness list. I’m grateful for my husband, parents, children, food, colleagues, meaningful work, the ability to move, a warm bed, a car that starts when I turn the key…I am blessed and I know it. I will not lose sight of that.
  5. Take care of your self, mind, body, and soul. Eat whole foods, mostly plants, which are unprocessed and nutrient dense. Move your body; stretch, bend, lift heavy objects, run, swim, dance… whatever it is, keep at it.  Pray, meditate or sit and be quiet every day. Make these part of your daily routine. You will feel better physically and your mind will respond with a better, more positive attitude.
  6. Be a giver. Think outside of yourself and reach out to someone who needs your help. Giving of yourself does as much to help mankind as it does to foster your own sense of humility and gratitude. Give freely without expecting anything in return.
  7. Smile. You’ve heard it before. Smiling rewires your brain to create positive thought patterns. Smile often and retrain your brain to be happy.
  8. Live a balanced life. Don’t give in to pressures or people (real or imagined) that throw your life out of balance. Stay healthy (see number 5) and happy  to avoid burnout. This will help you maintain an optimistic vibe.
  9. When problems arise, look for solutions. Don’t consider a problem a roadblock. Rather, consider it a speed bump. Slow down,  review your options, think creatively and figure out a new plan.
  10. Give yourself a pat on the back and rest in the knowledge of a job well done. When you’ve accomplished a task or met a goal, don’t rush right on to the next project. Take time to recognize that you’ve done a good job. You will find that your day is made up of many small successes.

These days optimism is a survival technique as much as is it a mindset. What do you think?






When is a bowl, not a bowl?

Life is funny. Or maybe I’m just really tired. But whatever. Thinking about tonight’s dinner makes me giggle.

Tonight for dinner I ate a bowl…you know, a”bowl”.  Quinoa, purple cabbage wedges glazed in balsamic vinegar, broccoli, black beans and cilantro, roasted beets, and salsa. On a plate. (lol)

Let’s just say my palate has changed.

And I’m totally fixated on @runningonveggies Instagram account. She makes these little chocolate cookies with black beans and I don’t know what else…but I’m thinking about trying them because they sound so good. (Who eats black bean cookies???) Here’s the recipe. You decide.

Plus, I’ve subscribed to Matt Frazier’s website No Meat Athlete  and now I make a green smoothie everyday for breakfast. And eat a salad for lunch. Because Matt said to. Geesh…

These are only two examples of people I follow on social media who eat clean, healthy, no junk,  plant based food.

I’m not a nutritionist, chemist, certified health professional… so I’ve really got nothing to go on when I follow these experts and decide to eat plants, plants and more plants. I don’t know how it effects my body, cells, gut biome, or head space.  I just do what they say. I’m a sheep. Baa…

Except that I feel amazing. So whatev’…I think I’ll keep it up and see if I’ll live to be 200.



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Transformation – Part 2

Every veggie in the fridge...for dinner tonight.

Every veggie in the fridge…for dinner tonight.

Yesterday I wrote about transformation…the kind that takes place through the process of parenting. I’ve been through another kind of transformation in the last two years. It started with a desire to have cleaner, healthier eating habits.

Somewhere, probably Facebook, I read about the Whole 30 Challenge. I purchased and read the book It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig. I jumped at the chance to weed out the excess sugar, processed foods and really take a hard look at what was going in my body. As a triathlete, I had become keenly aware that if I wanted to perform at my peak level, I needed to eat better.  The Whole 30 Challenge (W30) provided the opportunity to get serious about my food choices and to see if what I ate actually did make a difference in my performance. For 30 days, I followed the Hartwigs plan. No sugar or sweeteners, no grains, no dairy and no legumes. All of these foods can be associated with allergic reactions of various kinds such as inflammation and gut issues. I wanted to find out how I would feel if I eliminated these things from my diet. And I wanted to find out if my athletic performance would be affected.

Simply put, I felt great. Better than ever. My energy level increased, my aches and pins decreased. And I was confident that I was onto something good.

The problem with W30 style eating was the enormous amount of meat it included. I’m not much of a meat eater to begin with, but around the same time I reset my habits with the W30, I was also learning more about the negative effects that animal agriculture has on our health and environment. Eating meat became less appealing.

Around the same time, my youngest son came home from college and announced that he was eating plants, plants and only plants. In order to make sure he was eating a diet that included all of the essential nutrients, I set out to learn how to cook plant based meals. I found blogs dedicated to plant based recipe testing, Instagram accounts where I could look at the picture and figure out the food combinations to try myself, and podcasts, (OMG – thank you Rich Roll and Julie Piatt)… if there was a plant powered reference, I was all over it like whipped coconut milk on chocolate chia seed pudding.

I’m loving cooking with fruits and vegetables. I’m experimenting with interesting recipes that are delicious and make me feel good. Probably the biggest part of this transformation is that, now, I actually like to cook! Thanksgiving will be amazing this year with some mouth watering dishes. Recipes and pictures to follow…

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Serious Eats

Oh – how I love the ADK Cafe in Keene, NY!

I asked the waiter/chef to describe the “grains and beans” vegetarian  option on the menu. He shrugged and said, “It’s probably rice with pinto beans. Or something like that…” The description was bland,

and he brought me THIS !!

 Beans and Grains ADK cafe 10312015

Two slices of fresh baked corn bread, pinto beans with home made pesto, diced cucumber with horseradish/ dill sauce, sweet potatoes baked to perfection, green beans, grapes, cherry tomatoes, cranberries, apple slices with a dollop of jam.

Delicious, right?

Seriously good eats.

Thank you ADK Cafe… you did not disappoint!