Every year at this time people make resolutions. We have heard them all….blah blah blah. I was hesitant to post this about how this year would be different because on the surface it may seem like they are just like all the ones we have always heard. YET…I am going to go into depth on how and why I chose the changes I wanted to make this year. (for a soundtrack to this post hit play and enjoy a song by Gasoline Heart called That Girl)
First up is the least important one. This year I will NOT dye my hair. If you know me personally you will think to yourself….” YEAH RIGHT!” That is because I am a bit of a hair color fanatic. I am known for the constant color changes. Sadly that all backfired on me in 2015……I lost inches off my hair due to damages from over bleaching and way too many chemicals. See for yourself…
The first photo was taken before the “ombre horror story.” Sure, hair is just hair, and most people would be like “whats the big deal?” Wellll….I worked so hard on getting that hair that long and it still pains me that because of over processing, all that hard work went down the drain. SO…that is why this year I decided to not put any chemicals on my hair and see what happens. I have a few stray grays so it will be fun to see the outcome. Plus….my natural shade of brown hair is actually quite lovely. Who knew?!
Next up is my body. Yes, I will be doing the workout thing everyone claims that they will do. I am committed to finish the Kayla Itsines workout. If you don’t know about her workout it is a pretty instesnse at home workout that last 12 weeks. I have always gotten to week 5 and something stops me. (Holidays….and what not.) Her workout isn’t easy. It’s not what your momma would do in the 80’s with the stepper with the head band and leotard! Kayla is no joke! SO this year, I WILL finish those 12 weeks….GOD help me. If you are asking why I would put myself through this and not just go to the gym and do regular stuff like everyone else, this is why……….
HOW did this happen?!?!? I know exactly how this happened. It’s mixture of lots and lots of alcohol at night and french fries galore! The holidays took a toll on me. And not to mention that last year was an emotional roller coaster which led to even more drinking. What used to be yummy glass or two of wine a night turned into almost an entire bottle a night mixed with some type of whiskey. NO BUENO. I began to feel sluggish, which of course put a dent in my workout regimen. Slowly my jeans stopped fitting and that is where I am now. This year I really want to watch my alcohol intake and make sure that I am fueling my body with goodness. I am 34.5 years old so this is especially no joke at my age if I want a health future for myself and my family. I also have a goal to wear this adorable dress I bought in Altlanta over 2 years ago.
The zipper broke and I never got it fixed. A couple weeks ago the zipper was replaced…but of course it didn’t fit at all. So I am giving myself till March to wear this again. It’s one of my favorite dresses and it makes me crazy that it won’t fit because I made unhealthy choices.
The next change I am about the mention goes hand and hand with the pervious, but I want to elaborate on it a little more. I have been vegetarian for 20 years. A few months ago I decided to go Vegan. (a person who does not eat or use animal products.) I have since then had deviled eggs twice, but believe me those eggs were extremely researched that they came from a reputable local farm that is ACTUALLY cruelty free…..and not just saying they are like most farms do. But I think this year I will make the plunge into 100% vegan. From the research I have read and the images I have seen, I can’t justify NOT being vegan. This is not a “you should be vegan” rant. I will never ever tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t eat, but I very much encourage those to really research what you are putting into your body.
Here are some facts that I have found while doing researched that really helped persuade me: ( to name a few…. HA! But seriously check this out)
All of the following nutritional benefits come from a vegan diet full of foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, beans, and soy products.
- Reduced saturated fats. Dairy products and meats contain a large amount of saturated fats. By reducing the amount of saturated fats from your diet, you’ll improve your health tremendously, especially when it comes to cardiovascular health.
- Carbohydrates. Carbohydrates provide energy for your body. When you don’t have enough carbohydrates, your body will burn muscle tissue.
- Fiber. A diet high in fiber (as vegan eating usually is) leads to healthier bowel movements. High fiber diets help fight against colon cancer.
- Magnesium. Aiding in the absorption of calcium, magnesium is an often overlooked vitamin in importance to a healthy diet. Nuts, seeds, and dark leafy greens are an excellent source of magnesium.
- Potassium. Potassium balances water and acidity in your body and stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins. Diets high in potassium have shown to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
- Folate. This B vitamin is an important part of a healthy diet. Folate helps with cell repair, generating red and white blood cells, and metabolizing amino acids.
- Antioxidants. For protection against cell damage, antioxidants are one of the best ways to help your body. Many researchers also believe that antioxidants help protect your body against forming some types of cancer.
- Vitamin C. Besides boosting your immune system, Vitamin C also helps keep your gums healthy and helps your bruises heal faster. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant.
- Vitamin E. This powerful vitamin has benefits for your heart, skin, eyes, brain, and may even help prevent Alzheimer’s Disease. A diet high in grains, nuts, and dark leafy greens is full of Vitamin E.
- Phytochemicals. Plant-based foods provide phytochemicals, which help to prevent and heal the body from cancer, boost protective enzymes, and work with antioxidants in the body.
- Protein. That protein is good for your body is no surprise. It may be a surprise to learn that most Americans eat too much protein and in forms such as red meat that are not healthy ways of getting protein. Beans, nuts, peas, lentils, and soy products are all great ways to get the right amount of protein in a vegan diet.
Eating a healthy vegan diet has shown to prevent a number of diseases. Find out from the list below what you could potentially avoid just by switching to a healthy, balanced vegan way of eating.
- Cardiovascular disease. Eating nuts and whole grains, while eliminating dairy products and meat, will improve your cardiovascular health. A British study indicates that a vegan diet reduces the risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Vegan diets go far in preventing heart attack and stroke.
- Cholesterol. Eliminating any food that comes from an animal and you will eliminate all dietary cholesterol from your diet. Your heart will thank you for that.
- Blood pressure. A diet rich in whole grains is beneficial to your health in many ways, including lowering high blood pressure.
- Type 2 diabetes. Not only is a vegan diet a weapon against Type 2 diabetes, it is also “easier to follow than the standard diet recommended by the American Diabetic Association.”
- Prostate cancer. A major study showed that men in the early stages of prostate cancer who switched to a vegan diet either stopped the progress of the cancer or may have even reversed the illness.
- Colon cancer. Eating a diet consisting of whole grains, along with fresh fruits and vegetables, can greatly reduce your chances of colon cancer.
- Breast cancer. Countries where women eat very little meat and animal products have a much lower rate of breast cancer than do the women in countries that consume more animal products.
- Macular degeneration. Diets with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens, carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potatoes, can help prevent the onset of age-related macular degeneration.
- Cataracts. Much the same way macular degeneration is headed off by a vegan diet, cataracts are also thought to be prevented through the intake of the same fruits and vegetables. Produce high in antioxidants are also believed to help prevent cataracts.
- Arthritis. Eliminating dairy consumption has long been connected with alleviating arthritis symptoms, but a new study indicates that a combination of gluten-free and vegan diet is very promising for improving the health of those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis.
- Osteoporosis. Bone health depends on a balance of neither too much or too little protein, adequate calcium intake, high potassium, and low sodium. With a healthy vegan diet, all four of these points set a perfect scenario for preventing osteoporosis.
In addition to good nutrition and disease prevention, eating vegan also provides many physical benefits. Find out how a vegan diet makes your body stronger, more attractive, and more energetic.
- Body Mass Index. Several population studies show that a diet without meat leads to lower BMIs–usually an indicator of a healthy weight and lack of fat on the body.
- Weight loss. A healthy weight loss is a typical result of a smart vegan diet. Eating vegan eliminates most of the unhealthy foods that tend to cause weight issues.
- Energy. When following a healthy vegan diet, you will find your energy is much higher!!
- Healthy skin. The nuts and vitamins A and E from vegetables play a big role in healthy skin, so vegans will usually have good skin health. Many people who switch to a vegan diet will notice a remarkable reduction in blemishes as well.
- Longer life. Several studies indicate that those following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle live an average of three to six years longer than those who do not.
- Body odor. Eliminating dairy and red meat from the diet significantly reduces body odor. Going vegan means smelling better.
- Bad breath. Vegans frequently experience a reduction in bad breath. Imagine waking up in the morning and not having morning breath.
- Hair. Many who follow vegan diets report that their hair becomes stronger, has more body, and looks healthier.
- Nails. Healthy vegan diets are also responsible for much stronger, healthier nails. Nail health is said to be an indicator of overall health.
- PMS. When switching to a vegan diet, many women tell how PMS symptoms become much less intense or disappear altogether. The elimination of dairy is thought to help with those suffering with PMS.
- Migraines. Migraine suffers who go on vegan diets frequently discover relief from their migraines.
- Allergies. Reduction in dairy, meat, and eggs is often tied to alleviation of allergy symptoms. Many vegans report much fewer runny noses and congestion problems.
Too Much in the American Diet
The typical American diet not only consists of too much food, it also relies on too much of unnecessary food products or toxins. The following list explains how a vegan diet can eliminate these problems.
- Animal proteins. The average American eats twice as much protein as necessary for a healthy diet and much of that is from red meat. Getting protein from beans and grains is much healthier and reduces the risk for osteoporosis (see above).
- Cow’s milk dairy. The human body is not designed to digest cow milk and cow milk dairy products, yet the idea of milk being healthy is pushed through advertising. As many as 75% of people in the world may be lactose intolerant and many people suffer from undiagnosed milk allergies or sensitivities. By eliminating cow’s milk from your diet, you are improving your overall health.
- Eggs. Many nutritionists believe that the number of eggs in the American diet is too high. While sometimes disputed, it has been shown that eggs can raise cholesterol levels.
- Mercury. Most of the fish and shellfish consumed has mercury in it. While some fish have less than others, it is almost impossible not to be putting mercury in your body when you eat fish.
- Sugar. Most people have heard that Americans consume way too much sugar. Relying on other sweeteners that are not synthetic, processed, or derived from animal products is a healthier way to eat. Many vegans do not eat processed sugar due to the fact that most of the cane sugar is refined through activated charcoal, most of which comes from animal bones.
In addition to the health benefits above, following a vegan lifestyle and diet also provides these benefits as well. From helping the environment to avoiding serious bacterial infections, learn other benefits to eating the vegan way below.
- Animals. Many people begin a vegan diet out of concern for animals. Whether opposed to the conditions of animals intended for food or eating animals in general, going vegan will help your conscience rest easily.
- Environment. Growing plants takes much fewer resources than growing animals. By eating vegan, you can help reduce the toll on the environment.
- E. coli. E. coli comes from eating contaminated red meat and is the leading cause of bloody diarrhea. Young children, those with compromised immune systems, and elderly people can become extremely ill or die from E. coli. Eating vegan means completely avoiding the risk of E. coli infection.
- Salmonella. Another gastrointestinal illness from animal products, salmonella food poisoning is closely related to E. coli. The most frequent way people contract salmonella food poisoning is through contact with raw eggs or raw chicken meat from chickens infected with salmonella. Again, going vegan means eliminating this risk altogether.
- Mad cow disease. It’s safe to say that most people would want to avoid contracting a fatal, non-treatable disease. One way to ensure you don’t get Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease is by not eating animals infected with mad cow disease. While the incidence of mad cow disease is not reportedly so high in North America, it does exist.
- Global food supply. Feeding grain to animals meant as food sources reduces the amount of food that is available to underdeveloped nations. Many people will go hungry while that same food they could be eating is given to animals raised for slaughter. Eating vegan ensures that you have removed yourself from the participation of this imbalance.
- Hormone consumption. Eating animals that have been given hormones to speed growth (a common practice in the meat industry) means those hormones go into your body. Not only can this disrupt the natural balance of your hormones, but some of the hormones given to animals have shown to cause tumor growth in humans.
- Antibiotics. Antibiotics are frequently given to feed animals, which can lead to bacterial resistance. Many of the antibiotics used to treat human infections are also used in feed animals.
You can also find out more about taking the VEGAN lifestyle change at this great site called Positive Health Wellness– HERE!
Of course all of these are important factors. #40 is what originally persuaded me go full VEGAN. I am not going to go into detail about the treatment of these animals, but trust me you can research it for yourself if you are interested. It makes my heart hurt to think about it. So that is another change I will make this year.
(side notes: IF and ONLY if I choose to eat any eggs/cheese/chocolate…etc it MUST be from a reputable farm. My husband and I have found a few great ones in the LA area that are legit. But honestly I don’t really see myself going out of my way to eat these things. It doesn’t hurt that my husband and two of my closest friends are allergic to dairy so it’s not something I am even around much. I am aware that there is so much more to learn about veganism but I am excited to be more conscience. And if you are someone who eats anything coming from animals, please just make sure that it’s as close to natural as possible and from a great and caring company.) Nothing wrong with health and happiness no matter what ya eat!
This last change is the most important. If you know me you will know that I deal with a bit of anxiety issues. The thing is, I have never really stressed the full weight of how it effects my life. What I am about to talk about is something that I am taking a BRAVE step in confessing. (only my husband knows the full weight of this in my life. It’s almost too hard to talk about in real life with him, so I don’t bring it up with anyone) It’s hard enough to hear quite often…..”Oh, Christie, you overreact too much.” or “You just need to relax, it’s not that big of deal.” (and so many other cliche answers to me talking about what stresses I have.)
I was inspired by Jenny Lawson to write about this. She wrote a book called Furiously Happy.
When I reading this book I felt like I was listening to someone else talk to me about ME. I felt a big connection with her. Even more of a connection when she once mentioned visiting Lost Maples, which in Texas. To be more specific Bandera County. Which is where I was raised! Right then and there I thought to myself…yep…this gal is my book writing kindred spirit. What I am about to talk about, is very similar to what Jenny deals with in her life. The way she talks about makes me feel brave enough to talk about it with you.
Ok…so here it goes. If you see that I am feeling anxious, please know that you are seeing about 20% of what I am actually feeling. I work extremely hard to be as “normal” as possible. Sure everyone gets mega stressed at times. Anxiety can actually be a good thing so keep you from a harmful situation. It’s the body’s way of saying to get the heck out of this mess! I, however feel as if I am worrying about something at all hours of the day: Here are a few examples of my DAILY struggles)
- “Did I lock the door/turn off flat iron?”
- “Is Zooey Beans (my dog) walking ok? (she had back surgery a couple years ago and I am always watching her leg movements in fear that she is in pain)”
- “Why did he/she delete me from Instagram?” (I have deleted the app that shows me this information)
- “Why does my friend seem distant? Is he/she mad at me?”
- “Do people think I am a spazzoid?”
The list goes on and on and on. Now, what I am going to say next may be frightening, but please hear me out. I am NOT saying this to get attention. I struggle with “self harm.” This is something I have been struggling with for about 10 years. I don’t know why just yet. I am currently searching for a therapist to help me out with this awful mess. Please understand that self harm and suicidal thoughts are different. I in NO WAY want to die. I just feel such extreme feelings sometimes that I harm myself to mask that pain. It’s weird how it actually seems to help. I know that makes no sense, but it does. This isn’t something I do daily. Please know that. It is not as common as some others may experience, but the fact that it happens at all scares me. I am a scratcher. I will scratch at myself so hard in places that aren’t visible to the world. I mention this because I wanted to let anyone else out there who is struggling with self harm to understand that they are not alone. I also wanted my friends and family to understand this part of my life. It makes me so sad, but talking about this makes me feel like I am human. I know that I am not alone. I know that my closest friends and my family love me and have my back and this part of my life does not define me and I am on a journey to understand and heal this mess. I also don’t want you to think I am always unhappy. I am generally a pretty happy gal! Anyone who knows me knows this to be true. I have a great life, wonderful and loving husband, a beautiful family and the bestest pals anyone could ever ask for. Sometimes dark thoughts just overtake me. Earlier I mentioned an amazing book by Jenny Lawson. There was a part in her book that stood out to me and brought me to tears. I want to share that with you.
“I can’t tell myself why I am this way. I just know that it’s how I’m made….and maybe one day someone will crack open this head of mine and find out whats wrong in there….and also what is right. Because it’s both. Without the dark there isn’t light. Without the pain there is no relief. And I remind myself that I am lucky to be able to feel such great sorrow, and also such great happiness. I can grab on to each moment of joy and live in those moments because I have seen the bright contrast from dark to light and back again. I am privileged to be able to recognize the sound of laughter is a blessing and a song, and to realize that the bright hours spend with family and friends are extraordinary treasures to be saved, because those are the same moments are a medicine, a balm. Those moments are a promise that life is worth fighting for, and that promise is what pulls me through when depression (or anxiety) distorts reality and tries to convince me otherwise. “
I want to end this post by promising to you and my loved ones that this year I will focus on being a healthier happier version of myself. I will never be perfect, obviously. BUT I will end this year so much better than I began it. I am over letting this effect my life, my body and even my marriage. Life is worth living and I am so excited to see what journeys I get to go on. Cheers to 2016! I will continue to post about my journey with these four areas of my life and so much more. This blog is going to be more than interviews. I will continue to interview amazing folks, but I am going to take advantage of this outlet of mine to share real life moments. Don’t worry, it won’t be so “bummer-like” all the time. Pinky swear.
(ps…the folks at To Write Love On Her Arms have some great resources if needed)
In the words of Frank Turner…..”broken people can get better if they really want to.” And all of us are broken in some sort of way. It’s just humanity. That doesn’t mean we cant overcome it and have a beautiful and adventurous life!
Thank you so those who have always supported my blog and WELCOME to those who are new!
Lots of love!