Simple Green Me

Cultural reporter for KUTV 2News and adjunct yoga/meditation professor blogs about wellness, green living, downsizing, simplifying, better travel✨and more. Offering mindfulness, meditation, goal-setting and decluttering coaching!


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What’s your dosha? An intro to Ayurveda

Ayurveda

Ayurveda, ancient yet timeless, gives you the means of attaining and maintaining your own optimal health and well-being. The benefits of Ayurvedic medicine have been proven over centuries of use, and its methodologies are as applicable today in the West as they were thousands of years ago in India.”
BanyanBotanicals.com

STEP 1 – Take this quiz to find your dominant dosha

STEP 2 – Take note of the highest number(s) on your score 

STEP 3 – See what you need to do to balance the highest-numbered dosha(s)

VATA
Healthy Vata Tablets
Ashwagandha drops
PITTA
Healthy Pitta Tablets
KAPHA
Healthy Kapha Tablets
Ashwagandha drops

ALL DOSHAS
Blood Cleanse Detox Tablets
Read more about how Ayurveda can help you take control of your health and happiness in this FREE eBook. Click here to read.
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For FRESH! DIY oil-pulling recipe


In a 2009 study, the Ayurvedic practice of oil-pulling was shown to reduce plaque and symptoms of gingivitis (source).

Historically, oil-pulling has been known to detox your mouth, revive dull skin, relieve headaches (and hangovers!), soothe cankers, improve breath, whiten teeth, tone facial muscles…OK, can I stop now? Oh, there are MORE benefits? Well, sorry, this is getting ridiculous. Let’s get you swishing with a minty-fresh version of this tried-and-true treatment.

DIY OIL-PULL SOLUTION

inspired by PaleoMama

  1. Morning or night, if it’s a flossing day – floss first – and put a 1 tsp or tblsp coconut/or sesame oil in your mouth.I always start out small and add to it as needed (cuz your spit adds to the volume)! I use fractionate/liquified oil but solid oil will melt as you swish.
  2. Open your mouth and add 2 drops of your peppermint essential oil.
  3. Swish the oil around in your mouth like mouthwash for 15-20 minutes (I do yoga or watch TV or laundry, etc). Gently push it around and through your teeth.
  4. Spit the oil out in the trash! Ayurveda believes in removing impurities, so you spit out the oil after it collects all the bacteria and gunk.
  5. Brush your teeth gently (gotta be honest; I feel so clean after this that sometimes I skip the brushing!)
  6. Ahhhhmazing!


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Visual Meditation: Moving Mandalas

Moving mandalas make wonderful meditations
Visual meditations such as moving mandalas are wonderful for those who have a hard time with closed-eye (inward) meditation. They give the eyes some stimulation while allowing your mind to quiet. Some of my students have also enjoyed the “trippy” nature of these mandalas. Watch this one if you’d like to try it – and who knows? You may start to see some interesting images as your mind gets more and more elevated to a higher plane. 

http://youtu.be/9J7qktCaUUA


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Yoga and meditation during your menstrual cycle 

 In some areas of the world, women who are on their period are shown gestures of respect. This NPR article details a tribe in Ghana who treats its menstruating women as queens, sitting them under an umbrella and lavishing them with gifts. I had a student tell me about a Native American tribe that acted similarly, allowing women reprieve from any duties whilst doting on them in their special teepee while on their “moon” (as menstruation can be considered our internal “tide” and is anecdotally linked to the lunar cycle). I certainly don’t need these gestures, but the fact that women earn generally less than men while having more expenses – like feminine products and the “tampon tax” – doesn’t make that time of the month any easier. 

Let’s also mention how low-income assistance programs SNAP and WIC don’t cover a necessity like feminine products. Most prisons don’t even provide them, forcing some inmates to use unhealthy options that make them sick. 

Then, there’s the dismissal of our emotions as “hormonal,” instead of, “women are human beings who have thoughts and emotions that are valid, even if she’s mentruating” – or pregnant, for that matter. And last but perhaps most importantly, our stigma as “unclean” or the reaction of “gross!” if our period ever comes up in society. 

While it’s Not easy to be a menstruating woman in America and much of the world, I have found a few tricks to managing the discomfort of our cycle. 

1. THINX period underwear

You know how much money we spend on feminine products during our menstruating life? This HuffPo article calculates more than $2,000! So when these revolutionary, dry-technology “period underwear” came out – at just about $30 a pair – I jumped at the chance to save money (and the hassle of buying/changing fem products and trying to save my underwear from leaks). Now, I wear my undies without discomfort, wetness or fear of leaks! It feels too good to be true, but I tested them, and they work. My two pairs get me through my whole period – just throwing them in the washer at night. 

Another reason to love this (woman-run) company, is the fact that proceeds go to give dignity to underprivileged, menstruating women across the world. Their site says the company started after a girl in a third-world country told the CEO she misses school for a week every month because leaves and old rags don’t stop her period from leaking. So, yeah, a great cause to go along with a life-changing product. I’m not even scared of my next period.

2. These Yoga Poses

Reverse plank – sometimes the fatigue and possible food cravings leave us feeling powerless. Realize your strength with a pose that engages nearly all muscles in your body, and feel the energy rush back into you! 

Fish pose – This one revitalizes your mind and reenergizes your body by increasing blood flow to your brain. Traditionally, menstruating women should avoid inversions – or poses where the head is below the heart – because they possibly reverse the flow of blood Into one’s uterus. Even though there’s little scientific evidence of that actually happening, to be on the safe side, fish pose gives you all the benefits of an inversion without bringing your hips off the ground.

Bound angle pose – release tight hips and settle into your cycle with this pose of acceptance and vulnerability.

Click here to WATCH how to do these moves as I demonstrate during my monthly segment on Fresh Living! 

3. Sacral Chakra meditation

Our uterus is associated with the Sacral Chakra – svadhisthana – which is balanced when creativity and sensuality are expressed. Do a coloring book meditation, or sit and listen to a song that moves you, or mindfully eat your favorite food. Looking at the color orange, or chanting the mantra “Vam” aloud or in your mind (sound heals – here’s proof) can help soothe any pain in the area, physical or emotional. 

The Sacral Chakra is housed in the reproductive area

The Sacral Chakra is housed in the reproductive area

When you have the support of leakproof undies, yoga moves and meditations, our periods become a time of reflection, expression and recovery. Now let’s just hope society catches up with our newfound respect for this amazing process, without which, we wouldn’t have estrogen or babies. 

If you have time, read this article on the global menstruation crisis. 


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Get ready in 15 minutes with capsule beauty kits

Capsule wardrobes are trending right now for a reason; any time you reduce quantity and focus on the QUALITY of your items, your QUALITY of life improves! When you streamline your beauty routine, no longer is your precious morning taken up by indecision, or rummaging to find what you need. Here’s my recipe for simplifying your beauty products and regimen to free up time and space in your bathroom, and your life!

looking good doesnt have to take forever!



BEAUTY
(this is for your face – do what you want in the shower😊)

-scrub (Acure Brightneing Face Scrub with green algae and argan stem cell from Target…or you can use coconut oil and sugar or coarse salt)

-gentle cleanser

-makeup remover towelettes

-moisturizer (obsessed with Bright Skin Moisturizer with SPF from Eminescence)

-eye cream 

-lip balm

-aluminum-free deodorant (if you’re still using regular deodorant, it’s time to switch. I use Thai crystal deodorant stone, which is nothing but mineral crystals..and the same stone lasted me three years. You need to be diligent and only apply it to CLEAN Pitts – yes, I wash my underarms and face in the sink every morning if I don’t shower.)

I wash my face with honey in the morning (it tones skin and is antimicrobial), and a scrub at night to get all the dirt off.  The towelettes are great if you’re too lazy to wash your face at night. I do my BB cream after morning wash (it has moisturizer in it, as well as spf and anti aging) and then my moisturizer after night wash (it’s all organic and plant-based so it nourishes my face all night). I put my eye cream on at night a few times a week and on airplane trips. I always scrub my lips when I scrub my face, and cost them with an organic balm. No crazy serums or toners; I believe when you rest, eat and move well, your skin is healthy and glowing on its own.

HAIR

-leave-in conditioner or hair oil

-Styling cream (good for scrunching or holding straight styles)

-hair spray

-straightener

-blow dryer

-comb, brush, roundbrush 

-rubber bands and Bobby pins

-headband or scarf

This is my number one advice for simplifying your hair routine: cut it!! Long hair takes forever to blow dry and style. Or if you don’t want to cut it, at least find a cut that complements your hair texture to make it easy to wear naturally (sans blow drying). For example, lots of layers for thick or curly hair; textured cuts for thin hair, etc. I can’t tell you how much time I’ve saved in my week from cutting my hair! I don’t even think about doing it anymore. If you want take it a step further, choose a low-maintenance color. I love being blonde but it’s a dye job every 4 weeks. I recently added lowlights of my natural color and I’m going on two months without an appointment! 

The hair products are pretty self-explanatory; you need a product for defrizzing (co sit-up we or oil), hold (spray or cream) and smoothing (any of the above). With styling, My rule of thumb here is choose a hairstyle for each of your three “looks:” Everyday, dirty hair, and going out.

I do my Going Out look every time I shower; i blow-dry it back, back comb and hairspray. My Everyday look coasts off of that; it’s the same. My dirty hair look is either that with more backcombing, or a headband/scarf, or a row of tiny, loose ponytails. So, no matter what the occasion or cleanliness of my hair, I always have ready-access style options. 

MAKEUP

– full coverage foundation (I use NS minerals out of Utah)

-BB cream (obsessed with Mineral Fusion brand from Whole Foods)

-eyebrow pencil 

-neutral palette  

-colored palette

– one black, one brown, and one colored eye liner 

-concealer (Mineral Fusion brand has one that covers so well)

-bronzer (I go pretty dark, as it’s for contouring)

-one neutral, one medium and one dark lipstick

They key here is consulting with a makeup artist to get your colors. I had one at Whole Foods help me pick out a BB Cream that not only gave me tone-perfect coverage, but also had anti-aging, spf, and moisturizing properties.

My makeup artist friend helped me find the right colors for my eyes, which are blue: a brown eyeliner, a dark blue eyeliner, a 3-hue neutral palette that had Sand, Gold and Brown, and a 3-hue set that had purple, grey and pink. I got a good mascara and eyebrow liner and now I know whatever I put on my eyes will accentuate them.

I use a BB cream everyday, unless I’m on TV or going out – then I use my full-coverage mineral powder. Either way, I do bronzer under my cheekbones, at the tampers and on the chin. I always line brows and usually do a dark blue liner on my eyes. I save mascara and eyeshadow for TV or going out because they’re harder to remove. 

my “everyday” look


NAILS

-clippers

-Ped-egg

If you want a low-maintenance life, do not get your nails done. Don’t even paint your own nails! That requires touch ups, fill-ins, removal…so many things that waste time and energy. The payoff of having hot nails does not compare to the freedom of never needing to worry about them. I simply make sure my nails are tidy, and my feet are buffed smooth, and I’m good to go!

— 

These tips help me get up and going, or get into bed, without any hassle or indecision. Let’s automate the mundane parts of our lives so we can focus on what really matters! If you need personal coaching on streamlining your life, visit www.simplegreenme.com for a free consultation! 


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How allowance saved my marriage


My man is an AMAZING husband; the problem is me. I know this. Every pay period, I’m uncharacteristically  frustrated and frantic when bills seem to get out of control. It doesn’t make sense; with our downsized lifestyle, and a respectable income, we shouldn’t be coming up short. This is a problem many families face; the case of the “small holes sinking the ship,” to paraphrase Mr. Hunned-dolla-bill Ben Franklin.

When I am stressed about money, I’m not a nice person. I am short with my husband, impatient with my toddler, and generally a bundle of nerves. I can’t relax. I busy myself with extra projects to cover the gaps. Toward the end of that second week before payday, I’m basically tearing my hair out. This has to stop.

I go through our checking account online and notate any recurring monthly expenditure I see; all the necessities like utilities, mortgage, babysitting cash, eating out, business expenses, gas and grocery bills. I add this up. 

I circle what should be our remaining balance. It’s an amount big enough for my husband to question my math.

“No way,” he says with eyes wide. “There’s no way we would have that much left over!”

“Yes,” I say. “But small purchase after small purchase is eating up this amount so fast, that we’re left to cover a gap till payday.”

That amount could be a vacation, an extra mortgage payment, even a new car payment (although we firmly believe a paid off car is the best cat). Both of our eyes are open. 

So my husband grabs a stack of envelopes. He labels them with all the areas where we tend to overspend: Dining out, entertainment, even groceries. We allocate cash into each one, with the idea of: when it’s gone, it’s gone. It’s a budget system. 

Here’s a few tips if you want to do this method:

1. The bills that come out every month are not budgeted into cash. Those are listed out but come out of checking

2. Break your cash budgets into weeks. So if our budget is $240 for the paycheck, I take $120 with me to the store. (BTW, after trial and error, that’s a realistic amount each week for groceries for a family of three). 

3. Budget in “fun.” We give ourselves a realistic dining out and entertainment budget. It keeps us conscious of what we spend while still allowing some “splurging.” We also give each other an allowance of $50 or so a paycheck to cover any small purchases we would like that don’t fall under a budget category. I’m saving this week’s to go toward a yoga trapeze, and he’s using his to eat out when he forgets to bring his lunch. 

4. Rethink the grocery budget. We like to eat out, so we shaved a little off the grocery budget to give us Dining Out money. We also order Blue Apron meals to supplement our grocery-made meals; it’s a delivery service of recipes and ingredients that gives us 3 meals a week. My husband have a blast prepping them and learning how to cook; and we don’t have any waste because they pre-measure and send the ingredients. Yes, it’s $60/week, but we just shave that off the grocery budget. So now, each paycheck is $240 groceries, $120 dining out, and $120 Blue Apron. It seems like a lot, but it’s keeping us from those “here and there” purchases that end up costing way more than our budgeted food amount. Plus, were eating healthy, going Out to restaurants, and don’t have waste with the groceries we do buy. 

So, how’s it going? It’s been amazing. Not only is our checking account full because we’re spending our budgeted cash, but it’s adding courtship back into our marriage.

The other day, we got cash out of Entertainment to go to a movie. I was packing my purse with snacks and he stopped me, pulled a $10 out of his allowance and said, “I’ll buy the popcorn.”
Now, instead of turning into Stressy McGee a week after payday, I joke with my husband that we need to eat McDonald’s because the Dining Out is getting low. And we have! (We only eat the cage-free egg sandwiches there, so we got their breakfast during a date.) our outlook on money has totally changed, from “spend it if we’ve got it,” to “better save up for that nice dinner” or “let’s make that last awhile longer.” I have to think that over the long term, because of how lame I get when I’m stressed about money, that this budget could have been the difference between divorce, and a happy, playful marriage.

**would you like help with a budget to fit your needs and lifestyle goals? Get 10% off a success coaching session at www.simplegreenme.com


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5 toxic phrases and what to say instead

Now that I’m on the mindfulness path, I still have plenty of negative thoughts, but, on good days, I can usually give pause before internalizing or reacting, then I can reframe the thought into one that makes ME feel better. Because whether the low-vibe thought is justified or not, it makes me feel yucky and I would rather feel peaceful and happy than be right, or protect my ego, or justify my stress and over-doing. (Remember, this is on a good day.)

Here are some phrases that I have successful re-spun to work better for me:

1.

Self-talk: I’m sick / injured / depressed / exhausted.

Affirmation: I now have the opportunity to take care of myself.

How often do we get the opportunity to specifically send healing energy to a particular part of our physical/emotional body? Also, these ailments help our productivity-driven  minds justify lying down with an ice pack, or spending all day lounging, or even just taking an Epsom salt bath. Emotional sickness might justify a visit to the therapist where we can finally resolve that childhood issue or relationship riddle. From someone who has dealt with all the aforementioned, this affirmation has made a huge positive impact in my daily life.

2. 

Self-talk: I deserve ______.

Affirmation: I am worthy of ______.

In a society where the fewer the calories, the better, it seems very progressive to say something like “I deserve this ice cream today.” It insinuates self-care. But it also almost always encourages execution, and usually, immediately. Say you are trying to give up sugar and then, on a very hot day after you’ve completed all your duties, you might say, “I deserve this” and dive right into the sugary treat. No consciousness needed! Now, if you say, “I am worthy of ice cream,” you acknowledge that you may have some if you wish, and that enjoying it wouldn’t harm your self-esteem, but you are in control and do not have to indulge because you “deserve it.” Does that make sense? This has empowered me and also drastically improved my relationship. I used to think, “I deserve someone who takes me on dates.” It made me feel entitled and did not produce positive communication. Now, I think, “I am worthy of being taken out.” Saying that allows me to give love to MYSELF, instead of depending on him for everything. Saying it that way also reminds me that I can practice self-care, and do something for myself.

3. 

Self-talk: How could he/she do that to me?!

Affirmation: I don’t know what suffering he/she is experiencing to influence their behavior/words/etc.

I used to take everything so personally. Any perceived questioning of my ego or ethics. When my husband would let household tasks or financial matter slip through the cracks. But Tibetan Buddhists say compassion is the no. 1 element to a life free of suffering, and that means empathizing with what our “attackers” are going through. And Their “stuff” is never about us, anyway. Even if it is directly attacking us or our life/work/family, it’s about them and their fears and ego and how maybe what you did makes them look bad or something. My best friend went out with her friends and flirted with a guy another friend simply thought was cute. The next day, the jealous friend sent my friend a text saying, “I had to clear your name with that guy. He thought you were just out looking for a one night stand. I told him otherwise.”

That’s a biting dig that could have had my friend questioning how people view her and perhaps incurring embarrassment or self-hate. But my friend knew that wasn’t true and simply texted: “thanks for having my back, boo.”

 It’s not easy to stop your ego from getting involved, but if you retrain your brain to give pause after an “attack” or Injustice, you’ll feel more peaceful giving them the benefit of the doubt, and not having to take on THEIR stuff.

4. 

Self-talk: I don’t have time.

Affirmation: I have no wasted minutes. 

Stephen covey said, “don’t prioritize your to-do list. Schedule your priorities.” Start to say no until you have breathing room. But also, start NOW by using the few minutes you do have to lie down, read a few pages of a book, snuggle a dog, etc. you don’t “just have 5 minutes,” you have “5 whole minutes!”

5. 

Self-talk: that’s not fair. 

Affirmation: I can use my unique voice to influence change. // or // The timing for everything is perfect.

I feel this way as a woman, and as a friend to minority groups who are the target of hatred. I get discouraged a lot. But being in a gender group that is still unequal gives me the opportunity to speak up about my unique struggle. I mean, that can only influence change eventually, right? 

On another level, we say “that’s not fair” about everything from not getting a promotion to being helped second when you were there first. So when we say something like, “the timing of everything is perfect,” it detaches you from taking it personally and allows you to see that there is a bigger picture,  thusly this event doesn’t matter so much. 

**

these small changes allow me to stop reacting to inflammatory thoughts that made me feel stressed or sad or angry or combative, and instead make my thoughts work for ME. after all, that’s the most important person in your life. 🙂 

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