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Challenge: Change Your Life In 10 Days

Challenge: Change Your Life In 10 Days

If you’re feeling down, overwhelmed or just in a state of disarray we have a challenge for you. Courtney Carver from Be More With Less has created the following as a way for anyone in a similar situation to begin changing their life in just ten days. Good luck: Confession: I’ve been wallowing lately. While I think there is a time and place to wallow, without a proactive stop, it can go on longer than it should and turn into something that it shouldn’t. When wallowing or worrying loses purpose, it’s time to move on.

How do I move on?

I’ve created an awesome way for all of us to move on together. If you are ready to put an end to the wallowing and worrying, I hope you’ll join me. Actually, this 10 day challenge is for anyone at anytime, but will be especially helpful during times of transition, emotional discord and uncertainty. The best part? You don’t have to wait to get started. With the exception of a quick trip to the grocery store, you have everything you need. You don’t have to escape from your life, but for 10 days, you’ll discover what adds joy, health and tranquility to your life by eliminating everything that doesn’t. Clearing out the excess will make room to experiment with some new healthy habits. While I believe that the best change is slow and steady and often happens inch by inch, a challenge is a great way to set clear boundaries and make time and space in several areas of your beautiful life. Consider this a self-imposed wake up call.

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10 Day Declutter Your World Challenge Rules

  • Start where you are. Don’t wait until you are ready or decide to start after … (insert excuse here). Just start where you are.
  • Keep it simple. Eliminate everything you can, but remember this is not a project in suffering. Adjust the rules if you need to.
  • Write about it. Commit to the challenge by leaving a comment on this post and write about your 10 day adventure. Report back with the results (the good, the bad and the incredible).
  • Create your own boundaries. This is not one plan fits all. You are unique and will benefit most by creating something for your lifestyle. Outline your challenge on paper like mine above and keep it in plain sight (I taped mine to my laptop) so you can review your commitment every day. At the end of the challenge, decide what habits you most want to incorporate into your newly decluttered world.
  • Remember that it’s only 10 days. Don’t be afraid to get extreme and a little uncomfortable. Make daily commitments that will energize you. Eliminating sugar from your diet  might sound scary, but you can do it for 10 days. (you’ve had colds and company that lasted longer and you survived)

How to Create Your Own 10 Day World Declutter Challenge

We all have different needs and are in different stages of life. That said, our worlds are all in one world and there are some universal things that we could all benefit having more or less of. For instance, imagine your life with less meat, dairy, sugar, alcohol, processed foods, Facebook, television, worry, and fatigue and then think about life with more real food, exercise, sleep, quiet moments, love and connection. Commit to one small change or go all the way in each of the following areas of your life.

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Shape Up

  • Food. Make one small change by eliminating meat or sugar or go all the way and get rid of everything but whole, vegan food. Keep things simple by identifying one meal for breakfast and 2-4 meals for lunch and dinner. You will save time, money and mental energy by enjoying the same few meals during your 10 day challenge.
  • Move. Make one small change by committing to a 10 minute walk everyday or go all the way and aim for 100 minutes of moving your body daily. A 30 minute walk + 60 minute yoga class and 10 minutes of push-ups, sit-ups and stretching = 100 minutes. Creating time may mean eliminating TV, phone and internet.
  • Sleep. Make one small change by giving your body a signal to sleep like taking a bath or drinking a cup of tea and reading for a few minutes. Go all the way by eliminating caffeine and alcohol all day and TV/Computer use after 6pm. Move all of the electronics (TV, computer, phone) out of your bedroom along with anything work related. Keep your room cool and as dark as possible to encourage peaceful sleep.

Pare Down

  • Home. Make one small change and place a box by your front door. Fill it with items to donate for 5 minutes every day or go all the way and choose a whole space to declutter over the course of 10 days or choose another decluttering project like going paperless. Commit to no shopping aside from essentials during the 10 day challenge.
  • Work. Make one small change and don’t check email until 10 am or go all the way and declutter your work space and cut/reschedule any non-essential meetings or commitments.

Tune In

  • Brain. Make one small change and commit to sitting in silence for 10 minutes a day or go all the way and start a daily meditation practice and unplug after 5pm every evening and for 24-48 consecutive hours during the challenge.
  • Heart. Fill your heart with gratitude and connection and commit to writing a letter or calling someone you love everyday for 10 days. If possible, choose someone different each day and let your 10 day world challenge brighten 10 other worlds.

If you can’t read my writing in the image above, my challenge includes: 100% vegan diet with 4 meal choices for 30 meals, no coffee or alcohol, nothing to eat or drink after 7pm with the exception of tea or water, 100 minutes of exercise a day, a commitment to go paperless and to review and eliminate work projects and commitments, meditate 5 minutes a day, write 1000 words a day, 1 thank you note a day (mailed) and a 24 hour digital sabbatical. Quick reminder: Your world is not the world. During your 10 day challenge, don’t think about fixing anything or anyone around you. It doesn’t matter if anyone is on board or supportive. Give yourself permission to just work on you so that you can offer your best self to the world. Use the 10 day challenge whenever you need a shake up or proactive stop, or try it seasonally every September, January and April as a reminder to focus on what matters most. This isn’t selfish, it’s necessary.

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How to Participate

  • Write out your challenge and post it somewhere easy to see everyday.
  • If you write about this on your blog, share it with me.
  • Use #10daydeclutter on Twitter.
  • After your 10 days, come back and comment on your experience.

Disclaimer: You are responsible for your own challenge rules and to know and work within your ability. If your life improves dramatically, please don’t blame me. If you lose weight, sleep better, feel healthier or start to understand what you want most out of life, I am not responsible.  If this challenge opens your heart and quiets your brain, please don’t hold me accountable. Challenge: Declutter Your World In 10 Days | Be More With Less

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8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

8 Things to Watch for If You’re Considering Being Vegetarian

Vegetarianism has been around for a long time, finding favor with many people, including Pythagoras clear back around 580 B.C. It’s been presented as one of the most healthy diets around, including being touted by the Egyptians to the point of abstaining from meat and animal clothing due to karmic beliefs. The vegetarian society (vegsoc.org) defines vegetarianism as:

“Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”

While it’s pretty obvious that there are multiple benefits to following a vegetarian diet, it’s always good to be informed about the cons of this dietary choice as well.

Outlined below are several things you might want to be aware of before you say good-bye to meat forever. Whether you are a current vegetarian, or contemplating making a shift, keep in mind these 8 things to keep yourself healthy.

1. You could suffer from B12 vitamin deficiency

The B vitamins are especially important for stress management, adrenal health, and brain function. Vegetarians in particularly are at risk for B12 deficiency. Vitamin B12 is attached to the protein in animal products and without enough B12 you can suffer from depression, fatigue, and an inability to concentrate.

Due to its attachment to animal proteins, B12 is the hardest for vegetarians to obtain when they don’t eat dairy or eggs in their diet. This essential little vitamin can be found in some algae and has been added to some yeast, but research doesn’t currently provide enough information to say whether or not these forms of B12 are of good quality and can provide adequate supplementation.

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The body is unable to make this vitamin, meaning it has to be taken in through food or supplementation. Essential for making red blood cells, DNA, nerves and various other function in the body, a Harvard Health Medical report in January of 2013 found symptoms of a B12 deficiency can present in sneaky ways including depression, paranoia, delusion, and loss of taste and smell.

2.  You could suffer from higher states of anxiety/depression, lower sense of well-being

According to a CBS Atlanta report, vegetarians suffered from a higher rate of anxiety and depression than their counterparts. Read the full report here. Depression and/or anxiety can be a result of many possible deficiencies including essential vitamins and amino acids you can find only in meat products, including Omega-3s from wild caught salmon.

Without the correct supplementation and proper understanding of diet, including the importance of micro and macro nutrients, depression and anxiety can become a serious problem, bringing down the overall health and well-being of vegetarians.

Even though reports on health and lifestyle show vegetarians have a lower BMI and lower consumption of alcohol and drugs, it also shows they suffer from more chronic illnesses and more visits to the doctor than their meat eating counterparts.

3. You could suffer from excess weight

When you go vegetarian it opens up a lot of food, but just because there isn’t any meat in front of you, it doesn’t mean it’s necessary healthy. Though pizza and beer technically fall under the vegetarian diet, it’s not a healthy choice for your waist line.

Just because being a vegetarian is associated with a healthier lifestyle in many cases, doesn’t mean it’s always true. Making bread and pasta your staples and not understanding where your protein sources should be coming from, can pack on body fat, which increases your chances of health issues such as diabetes and chronic inflammation.

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If the choice to go vegetarian happens on a whim without the proper understanding of food control, portion, and nutritionally dense alternatives you can find yourself reaching for vegetarian foods, which could cause serious problems down the road. Nuts are a good example, but just because something is touted as healthy, it doesn’t mean, your should eat it in excess.

Eating too many calories in fat will still cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in carbs will cause you to gain weight. Eating too many calories in protein will cause you to gain weight. See a pattern here? Not to mention you’ll miss out on important nutrients the body needs by over-eating in one area and under-eating in another. Re-read number 2.

4. You could have a higher risk of heart disease

Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables should be a goal we all strive for, but when you cut out meat, you also cut out what is known as complete protein, which you find in animal by-products. Complete means more than just the essential amino acids, it means those amino acids contain dietary sulfur. Without enough dietary sulfur, which is found almost exclusively in fish and pasture feed grass beef, the body will struggle with the biological activities of both protein and enzymes.

The effects cascade downward, effecting bones, joints, tissues, and even metabolic issues. In short, a low intake of sulfur associated with a vegetarian diet can result in high blood levels of homocysteine, which may lead to blood clots in your arteries, blood clots raise your risk of stroke and heart attack. To read the full report click here.

5. You could suffer from low cholesterol

I know, at first you’re thinking, wait, low cholesterol is a good thing. Yes, it is, when it’s LDL cholesterol, which you get from eating an unhealthy diet, but low HDL (good cholesterol) can cause serious health issues. HDL, according to the mayo clinic, is in every cell in our body and can help fend off heart disease, not enough of it though, and too much LDL can go the other way, will be building up plaque in the arteries and leading to heart disease.

Cholesterol, the good kind, is actually vitally important to the making of every steroid hormone in the body! There are six, and without cholesterol the body is unable to convert hormones, and it can cause damage in the endocrine system.

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A vegetarian without a balanced diet, meaning enough protein, enough veggies, and enough good fats, could disrupt his or her adrenals, which are directly connected to the endocrine system and the body’s ability to make and synthesize the hormones your body needs. The six major hormones in the body help do everything from metabolizing carbohydrates, to the electrolyte balance, to making sure if you’re a woman you can carry a healthy baby through pregnancy.

6. You could suffer from lower bone density and osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis, the disease where the bones get thinner, weaker, and fractures become a high risk with day to day movements. It’s often associated with the older generation, but your risk for osteoporosis increases with a lower bone density. Bone density can be directly related to diet and lifestyle, along with many other factors.

When it comes to eating a vegetarian diet it’s possible to miss getting enough of the right nutrients, causing the bones to begin to break down. If your vegetarian diet isn’t balanced and providing you with the correct nutrients and the means to absorb the correct nutrients, your body could begin to break down.

Recently, Professor Tuan Nguyen of Sydney’s Garvan Institute of Medical Research led a review of both Australian and Vietnamese research around the bone density of vegetarian versus their meat eating counterparts. Helping Professor Nguyen was Dr. Ho-Pham Thuc Lan from Pham Ngoc Thac University of Medicine in Vietnam. The review was designed to sort though years of research surrounded by discrepancies and inadequate clinical data.

At the end of the review, with vegetarianism rising to around 5% of the populace in the western continents, and with wide spread osteoporosis reports – 2 million in Australia and closer to 54 million in America – the decrease in bone density of vegetarians is a serious issue which needs to be addressed, if you’ve cut meat and animal by-products out of your life.

7. You could be at a higher risk for colorectal cancer

Cancer seems to be running rampant through America, and it’s within everyone’s best interest to do all they can to keep their body healthy and happy to prevent cancer from finding a place to grow. In most studies it’s been found vegetarians are at lower risk for cancer, but a European Oxford study with over 63 thousand men and women in the United Kingdom found the risk for colorectal cancer higher in vegetarians than in meat-eaters.

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Extra care needs to be taken when establishing a diet to ensure the body is receiving and able to up take all the important nutritional benefits and requirements from food.

8. You could end up eating more processed food

Depending on how deep you choose to go as a vegetarian, it could create the need to substitute a lot of food and recipe ingredients in your diet, but what happens when you cut out meat, eggs, and dairy and your recipe calls for meat, eggs, and/or dairy? You have to end up using a “healthy” vegetarian alternative which include stabilizers, thickeners, and various other ingredients you can’t pronounce.

Lauren from Empowered Substance puts it into a great perspective with her comparison of Earth Balance, a vegetarian approved butter replacement compared to butter. She points out the ingredients in Earth Balance consist of: Palm fruit oil, canola oil, safflower oil, flax oil, olive oil, salt, natural flavor, pea protein, sunflower lecithin, lactic acid, annatto color. Meanwhile, the ingredient list in butter, is much shorter. It’s butter.

That’s only one example. To appeal to the vegetarian lifestyle food manufacturers have found alternatives which fall under vegetarian, but aren’t necessarily healthy for you. Consider baked goods, which though vegetarian can be filled with more sugars and binders than regular baked goods with diary products. It’s the same with vegetarian items like mac and cheese, without using real cheese you may just be getting oil and thickeners, without even the smallest amount of nutritional value.

The reality is, most vegetarian substitutes contain the same junky alternatives which even meat eaters should be avoiding to remain happy and healthy.

On one final note, whichever lifestyle you choose to work with, remember anything in excess – including protein and animal by products – isn’t healthy for the body. It takes a wide spectrum of food and nutrients to keep the beautiful body you travel around in all day running in prime condition.

 

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