April 30th – Recap of the month, chose one you might like to incorporate permanently.

Congratulations yet again on another month of changes… we are at over 100 changes!

Below is the month in review, consider one to adopt into your life permanently:

  • 2nd – Save seeds from fruits and veggies you eat to plant in your garden.
  • 3rd – Get a glass or stainless steel bottle if you do not have already.
  • 4th – Keep your cell phone off your body.
  • 5th – Remind yourself that you are beautiful and be happy about it.
  • 6th – Plant a veggie(s) in your garden.
  • 7th – Avoid food wrapped in plastic.
  • 8th – Opt for a full dishwasher over hand washing dishes.
  • 9th – Eco-friendly laundry detergent.
  • 10th – Use enviro-friendly cleaning products.
  • 11th – Give or receive something completely unrelated to money.
  • 12th – Save spaghetti sauce or other glass jars for drinking glasses.
  • 13th – Get a “To Do” off your list.
  • 14th – Test your home for radon.
  • 15th – Plan an “Earth Day” event.
  • 16th – Commit to being a helper.
  • 17th – Ditch the coffee stirrer.
  • 18th – Use both sides of a piece of paper.
  • 19th – Watch the documentary “A Place at the Table”.
  • 20th – Find a cause that inspires you and support it.
  • 22nd – (Re-run) Eat 7-9 fruits and veggies as recommended by the FDA.
  • 23rd – (Re-run) Meditate for at least 20 minutes.
  • 24th – (Re-run) Install low-flow aerators in your kitchen bath faucets.
  • 25th – (Re-run) Practice not judging others.
  • 26th – (Re-run) Choose non-chlorie bleached paper products.
  • 27th – (Re-run) Visit a local Farmer’s Market.
  • 28th – (Re-run) Go to be early and get proper night’s sleep (7-9 hrs).

Hope you had a wonderful month of positive change.  As for my changes, our garden is starting to grow!  It is fun to watch and we cannot wait to dive in to it to eat.  The first of our seeds that we saved from fruits and veggies we ate just sprouted.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my LifeFactory glass bottle bought at reuseit.com… never going back to stainless steel!  I also love some of my newly added glass jars to our drinking glass collection.  It is still hard to stay away from plastic food packaging, but the farmer’s market makes a big difference.  The radon testing in our home is not yet determined… stay tuned.  Every time I use my enviro friendly cleaning I feel good about what I am using (even if it takes a little extra elbow grease).  “A Place at the Table” is an incredible documentary to better understand hunger in our country, and what we need to do to make things change (no small feat, but it can start with one person).  Hope you enjoyed some of the re-runs!

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Apr 28th – (Re-run) Go to bed early and get a good night’s sleep (generally 7-9 hours).

This is the last of the re-runs for now, so start your week off right with repeating one of my favorite picks, the important element of sleep.

There is a lot of information out there concerning sleep, the amount, the cycles, routines, what may or may not be optimal, the benefits and the risks, but there are a few general guidelines that are commonly agreed upon to keep it simple.

Your body will wake up once it gets the amount it needs.  You may need to adjust your bedtime to see what your optimal time is if you need to be woken up by an alarm clock at present.  For adults, the average sleep needed is 7-9 hours, but that does not account for out-of-the-ordinary circumstances such as sleep deprivation, pregnancy or illness, and other environmental factors associated to sleep quality.  It is also worth noting that it seems that many of the same problems that come with long term lack of sleep (less than 7 hours), can also come with too much sleep long term (more than 9 hours), so finding the optimal amount is beneficial.

I know that I, for one, am a completely different person with a good night’s sleep, including my relationship with others as well as my productivity and my physical, mental and emotional state… and I do not need a study to prove that to me.

Below is a general guideline from the National Sleep Foundation of sleep needed for varying ages:

How Much Sleep Do You Really Need

I also found a fun little tool if you are one who subscribes to sticking with optimal sleep cycles.  It calculates the suggested times you need to go to bed in order to wake up at a given time:  http://sleepyti.me/

Apr 27th – (Re-run) Visit a local Farmer’s Market today and buy fresh, locally grown food.

The importance of Farmer’s Markets is incredible.

You can locate the nearest Farmer’s Market to you anywhere in the US at http://www.localharvest.org/farmers-markets/.  If there are none open near you today, consider going another day this week.

If none are near you, consider petitioning to start one in your town and in the meantime, most grocery stores offer a number of locally grown foods (Whole Foods does if you do not have others).

A few great reasons to shop at your Farmer’s Mkts…

  • Local grown (freshly picked so it stays good longer)
  • Saves energy in transportation
  • Supports local farmers
  • Many small farmers use little or no pesticides
  • Food requires little or no packaging (esp if you take your own bags) – less plastic!
  • Stimulates the local economy
  • Usually fun for the kids!  (food, music, crafts, entertainment)

My new favorite Farmer’s Market is the Torrance, CA Saturday market, though I still love Mar Vista in West LA, GREAT selection of produce, quite reasonable, and I can buy my eggs, cheese, bread, snacks and meat there… and there is always something for the kids.

Apr 26th – (Re-run) Choose non-bleached, chlorine-free products (paper towels, napkins, coffee filters, facial tissue, bathroom tissue, diapers and tampons).

I have always known it is better to get non-bleached, but why it is so important?

Here is the why:  Chlorine bleach paper can contain dioxin and organochlorine residues that can be transferred to food and people in which it comes in contact.  As well, most paper products in the US are bleached with chlorine gas or chlorine derivatives, chemicals that are known to create dioxins as a by-product of the bleaching process.   If you want to learn more about dioxin, please do so.  In summation, it is one of the most toxic chemicals known to us and is associated to several health issues, including cancer and reproductive and developmental issues.

So, why expose yourself to it if you have an option to go without it?

Apr 25th – (Re-run) Practice not judging others today.

“If we learn to open our hearts, anyone, including the people who drive us crazy, can be our teacher.” ~Pema Chodron

Personally, I feel if we can let go of judgement, we open ourselves up to much insight, opportunity and growth.  TinyBuddha.com has a great article on 3 causes for judging people (and how to accept yourself).  The three causes they site are:

  1. “You wouldn’t tolerate the same behavior or characteristic in yourself.”
  2. “You display the same behavior and aren’t aware of it so you project your disowned behavior onto others and dislike it “out there”.”
  3. “You are envious and resent the feelings that come up so you find something wrong with those who have what you want and end up judging them.”

Knowing and understanding why it happens is the first step in overcoming it.  I think we can often place judgment, almost innocently as an emotional reaction, but it generally does not serve a positive purpose and revolves more around yourself than the other person.  If you can be aware of it, it can be a great opportunity for you to learn more about yourself and grow… and become more comfortable and confident in yourself, and in turn, be a positive force to others.

If you would like to read the entire Tiny Buddha article, click on the link below: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/3-causes-for-judging-people-how-to-accept-yourself/

Apr 24th – (Re-run) Install a low-flow aerator in your kitchen and bathroom faucet if you have not already done so.

This can add up to several gallons of water saved every day if you make this change just once, and it is SO much easier than you think…

At the tip of your facet, you have a piece that screws onto or into the end of it, this is the aerator.  Unscrew it and it should have it’s flow rate imprinted on the side.  A flow rate of 2.2 gpm (gallons per minute) is standard.  For low flow, go lower, such as 1.0 (or even 1.5) gpm or lower.  The below link can help you determine proper fitting (male or female and proper size): http://www.conservationwarehouse.com/faucet-aerator-faqs.html

You can find eco-friendly aerators at Home Depot, Lowes, most hardware stores, and on-line at Vine.com (my new favorite website!).

Screw your new eco-friendly aerator in, and you’re done!  Happy saving water, AND saving money.

Apr 23rd – (Re-run) Meditate for at least 20 minutes today.

Meditating is an incredible tool that is often forgotten and put last on a list of things to do as you get caught up in a day, yet it is has amazing benefits and results that if we all did it, I have no doubt, would better humankind as a whole.  It is often the means to the clarity and the answers you need – even the answers you do not realize you need to find.  The Mayo Clinic outlines some of the emotional benefits of meditation to include:

  • Gaining a new perspective on stressful situations
  • Building skills to manage your stress
  • Increasing self-awareness
  • Focusing on the present
  • Reducing negative emotions

They also outline some ways you can practice meditation on your own (be sure to be in a quiet setting, a comfortable position, relax your breathing and focus your attention):

  • Breathe deeply. This technique is good for beginners because breathing is a natural function. Focus all attention on your breathing. Concentrate on feeling and listening as you inhale and exhale through your nostrils. Breathe deeply and slowly. When your attention wanders, gently return your focus to your breathing.
  • Scan your body. When using this technique, focus attention on different parts of your body. Become aware of your body’s various sensations, whether that’s pain, tension, warmth or relaxation. Combine body scanning with breathing exercises and imagine breathing heat or relaxation into and out of different parts of your body.
  • Repeat a mantra. You can create your own mantra, whether it’s religious or secular. Examples of religious mantras include the Jesus Prayer in the Christian tradition, the holy name of God in Judaism, or the om mantra of Hinduism, Buddhism and other Eastern religions.
  • Walk and meditate. Combining a walk with meditation is an efficient and healthy way to relax. You can use this technique anywhere you’re walking — in a tranquil forest, on a city sidewalk or at the mall. When you use this method, slow down the pace of walking so that you can focus on each movement of your legs or feet. Don’t focus on a particular destination. Concentrate on your legs and feet, repeating action words in your mind such as lifting, moving and placing as you lift each foot, move your leg forward and place your foot on the ground.
  • Engage in prayer. Prayer is the best known and most widely practiced example of meditation. Spoken and written prayers are found in most faith traditions. You can pray using your own words or read prayers written by others. Check the self-help or 12-step-recovery section of your local bookstore for examples. Talk with your rabbi, priest, pastor or other spiritual leader about resources.
  • Read and reflect. Many people report that they benefit from reading poems or sacred texts, and taking a few moments to quietly reflect on their meaning. You also can listen to sacred music, spoken words or any music you find relaxing or inspiring. You may want to write your reflections in a journal or discuss them with a friend or spiritual leader.
  • Focus your love and gratitude. In this type of meditation, you focus your attention on a sacred object or being, weaving feelings of love and gratitude into your thoughts. You can also close your eyes and use your imagination or gaze at representations of the object.