It's said that the way you spend your first day of the New Year sets the tone for the year ahead. Apparently. Well if shuffling around in a cozy pair of slippers and indulging in a very large bowl of oatmeal and extra large coffee is any indication of the year ahead, then I'm perfectly content. Although it was quite the lazy day, I felt nourished, warm and centered. Appreciative of the small victories in my life that offset the big question marks as I face this transitional phase.
While the greeting of each new year encourages us to resolve to fill our lives with healthier lifestyle habits, we must keep in mind that every single day presents us with the opportunity to start new should we choose to take it, whether it's the middle of February or the week just ahead of the New Year. It just so happens that with a new calendar year, we're more inclined to set our intentions and decide what we want to let go of, rekindle and/or bring into our lives to create an environment that makes us happier and more fulfilled. I was destined for laziness on January 1st, and it felt good. Really good. It allowed for plenty of time to rest, recover, reflect, nourish & renew. There was an abundance of hopeful, positive energy bottled up inside despite the lack of external energy and movement. My intent is to unleash it in this "new" year ahead and I hope that you do, too.
So with that, I did a bit of exploring on the ways in which I, and we, should continue to nourish & renew this year, from the inside out. From wholesome pantry staples to simple organization techniques and self-care, it's time to be more mindful in the decisions that you make for yourself which can also greatly affect those around you.
Start with a better pantry.
Now that holiday leftovers have had their fair share of consumption, you can feel good about parting ways with them and making plenty of room in your pantry to restock with nutrient-dense ingredients. This will ensure that they're always within arms reach, helping you to make better eating decisions while finding ways to get creative with ingredients currently on hand. Here are a few pantry essentials borrowed from the lovely Amy Chaplin. (You can download a PDF version of her full list here).
- Short grain brown rice (high in B vitamins; purifies the blood & expels toxins)
- Rolled oats (regulates weight, helps to reduce cholesterol, restores the nervous system)
- Quinoa (complete protein, high in iron and calcium)
- Forbidden black rice (high antioxidant content and contains anti-inflammatory properties)
- Chickpeas (iron rich…hello hummus!)
- Black beans (healing for the kidneys)
- Lentils (high in protein, beneficial for the heart)
- Tempeh (high in protein and omega-3 fatty acids)
Nuts & Seeds
- Pumpkin seeds (good source of omega-3 fatty acids)
- Hemp seeds (rich source of protein)
- Flax seeds (highest plant source of omega-3 fatty acids)
- Chia seeds (endurance food & high in omega-3 fatty acids)
- Almonds (only nut that alkalizes the blood)
- Turmeric (anti-inflammatory & strengthens immunity)
- Cayenne pepper (promotes healthy circulation; detoxifying & anti-inflammatory)
- Cinnamon (anti-inflammatory; increases digestibility of carbohydrates)
With these ingredients, you'll be able to create recipes that provide you with warmth & nourishment. Take a cue from a few recent finds & favorites:
Wind down and nourish yourself in the evenings with this warm golden turmeric milk that's rich in antioxidants and can lead to a more glowing complexion by morning, as the anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric can help to tame and ward off acne flare-ups.
You know that I couldn't go without posting a recipe for a nice, warming bowl of oatmeal. I'm really drawn to Oh She Glow's power oatmeal because it's complete comfort food and only takes about five minutes to prep in the morning, thanks to the bulk of the "work" being taken care of the night before.
Stocking your pantry with wholesome ingredients is just one way to nourish yourself, however you must also create a wholesome environment around you in order to reap the full benefits and feel a sense of renewal on a daily basis. How so?
Sleep. Getting an ample amount of shut eye is the best way to heal your body and mind, allowing you to wake up with better clarity to carry you through your day. Create nightly rituals and a sleeping environment that encourages relaxation, which in turn will make it much easier for you to wind down at night. Catch some tips here.
Organization. Leave your apartment or home in a way that's inviting to come home to. Make your bed as soon as you wake up. Constantly purge what's unnecessary so that it doesn't build up and create a daunting "spring cleaning" task. When your spaces are well organized, you'll feel a less sense of chaos and be able to focus on the more important matters at hand.
Movement. Unroll your yoga mat. Go for a walk. Whatever it is that you enjoy doing to increase your heart rate, get up and do it. It will build internal heart and release endorphins which will contribute to a feeling of renewal. A mini reset. And let's not forget precious time between the sheets because that counts, too. Just being honest!
Love. Show it, give it, receive it. Your heart is the most important instrument that your body has. You have to love yourself, in all your beauty and all your flaws. Because if you don't, then who will? You are always going to be a work in progress, just like everyone else. Look out for you and all else will eventually fall into place.
And find out what being well means to you and make your best attempt to stick to it. Here's a little inspiration that you can borrow.
Lastly, make sure that you give your skin more love and attention this year. Below, you'll find some products & DIY recipes that I've stumbled across to help you do just that.
Gone are the days of slathering harmful ingredients on your skin. Let those shy pores open up with natural nourishment so that you can face the harsh winter winds with purity, a brighter complexion and deeper hydration.
Marble & Milkweed's Jasmine Green Tea Masque contains pure green clay, matcha green tea and jasmine which combined, creates one balancing facial ritual.
Marble & Milkweed's Limited Edition Winter Facial Tonic refreshes and tones with potent, yet gentle ingredients that are suitable for all skin types. Spritz it on first thing in the morning, after cleansing your face or at any time throughout the day for an uplifting and rejuvenating effect.
Nutrition Stripped's Honey Avocado Face Mask is quick and easy to make on your own with only a handful of pantry essentials. It's the perfect excuse to use that too-ripe avocado and feed your skin with hydration, resulting in smooth, radiant skin.
Belle Gibson's Ayurvedic Face Polish helps to reduce any redness that you may have while remineralizing the skin and removing toxic build up. Follow this simple recipe below:
- 2 teaspoons full fat yogurt
- ½ teaspoon raw honey
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
Pucker up! Smooth away those cracked and chapped lips with exfoliating lip scrubs and then protect them with earthy, hydrating balms. You'll feel all the more better about smiling and showing off those pearly whites.
Marble & Milkweed's Simple Cardamom Lip Balm contains organic coconut, sesame oils and local beeswax with a touch of shea butter and essential ginger oil to create a natural spa-like experience for your lips.
Fig + Yarrow's Basil Cardamom Lip Balm is deeply moisturizing and full of protective oils, butters and waxes and carries a scent that is sure to keep you feeling delicious.
Nutrition Stripped's Coconut Sugar Lip Scrub only requires a small handful of ingredients: coconut oil, coconut sugar and honey. The best part is that all ingredients are edible, in case you want to give it a little taste while exfoliating.
Frank Body's Coffee Scrub targets your most vulnerable spots like cellulite, stretch marks, eczema, acne and so on while moisturizing, toning and improving circulation. Wake up or wind down smelling very delicious and feeling very smooth.
Fig + Yarrow's Cardamom Coffee Scrub is another invigorating coffee blend with notes of vanilla bean, black pepper, chocolate and of course, cardamom. They use the finest Peruvian & Indonesian coffee beans that help to exfoliate and firm while providing a generous antioxidant boost for your skin.
If you want to tackle that coffee scrub on your own, opt for this Citrus Coffee Body Scrub which is infused with essential oils of lemon and orange to make you feel as though you're somewhere a bit more tropical during these harsh winter months. Come spring/summer, your skin will already be ahead of the game and anxious for beach time.
This Spirulina Salt Scrub revitalizes and renews your skin with essential minerals that remove dry and dead skin cells. It'll also help stimulate blood flow to banish any puffiness and swelling that you've accumulated from toxic habits. All you'll need is right below and luckily, the leftover coconut oil and spirulina can be tossed into any smoothie for added nutritional benefits.
- 1 cup sea salt flakes (or Epsom salts)
- 2 tablespoons spirulina powder
- ½ cup melted coconut oil
And so voila! Hopefully this provides you with plenty of essentials and inspiration to help you nourish & renew this year. Because it sure is going to be a good one.
Just know that all the decisions that you make in all the days and years ahead should be mindful decisions, not ones that make you feel deprived. Tune into yourself and find a balance that works for you. So have some cake, just not every day. Allow yourself to be lazy every now and then because your body will thank you for the quality downtime. But then get up and move the next day. Cut back on negative thoughts and fill your mind with positive affirmations. Do as much talking as you do listening. Be vulnerable. Experience pain so that you can feel joy in a more intense way. Invest in quality products and foods because it's an investment in your long term health. Spend less on what you don't truly need, but treat yourself when you feel deserving of it.
Here's to a nourishing & renewing 2015. To all the good that's coming your way.
Be very well.