Wednesday, November 4, 2015

2 things very close to my heart!!

Hello there my beautiful friend!

I am going to share two topics that are very close to my heart.  Each one plays a very important role in my own life and I want to help you to understand why.  With the weather getting cooler, the leaves falling off trees, and mother nature preparing for her winter coat of snow, it is still very important to be outside.
Disclaimer:  this topic and resource was originally posted on Nutrition Stripped.  I found her post inspiring, so I read the article she posted about and am posting my own responses here.  Check out her original post to find out more.

Link to original article

From my own experience, getting outside on a daily basis helps me to keep my sleep rhythm in check, breathe some fresh air, and unwind from the oh-so-hectic days that fill this season.  Feeling the chilled air on my skin and forcing my body to acclimate also helps me to feel content no matter the temperature.

I've actually done a little unofficial experiment with my husband.  He really does not like the cold (to put it in a nice way...)  So, one day, I challenged him.  I asked him to leave the heat off in the car (unless it was needed to un-fog the windows), wear a lighter jacket, and just deal with the cold.  It may sound harsh and it can feel torturous at first, but after a few days of this, he noticed a difference!  He no longer felt as cold when he got out of his car to walk into work or home.  He could handle the wind tunnel by our condo better.  He even bought snow shoes for us to go hiking this winter!!!  That one was from left-field...I really did not see that one coming!!
 Now, in the article linked above, several studies were discussed.  Each one had found a health benefit ranging from reducing symptoms of ADHD to diabetes and helping substance addicts.  The one thing that all the studies had in common, though was the fact that people were going out into nature to play.  It makes so much sense to me that simply being in nature and enjoying the vastness of life can induce a sense of awe and happiness.  Read the article yourself, then take a walk in a local park.  Stop to look at the trees and the birds, feel the wind on your face and the sun on your back, breathe in the air, notice how you feel when you are surrounded by nature.  Breathe deep.  Try this on several occasions; maybe take your exercise or meditation outside (even if it is cold!).  Notice how you feel compared to when you do those same activities inside.  Then, leave a comment on this post to let me know your thoughts.

The second thing I wanted to share with you is a Chai Tea Recipe!!!  I love sipping this tea in the evening or while on nature walks.  All the earthy spices make me feel even more connected to Earth.  Make it ahead of time and bring it with on you nature outing!!

Chai tea recipe (serves 1 or 2):
2 tsp (or 2 bags) plain black tea
1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 cup water
1-2 T sugar or maple syrup
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp whole cloves
1 pod star anise
½ tsp cardamom
If you do not have all of these spices and do not feel like investing in them, feel free to just use cinnamon and cloves, or use pumpkin pie spice!  The more variety of spices you have, the better the result.
  1. Place the almond milk and water in a small sauce pan and turn the heat on low.
  2. Add the sugar or maple syrup, stirring until dissolved.
  3. Add the spices and bring the mixture up to a light simmer.
  4. Once small bubbles have formed around the edge of the pan, add the tea and turn off the heat.  Let the tea brew for 3-5 minutes.
  5. Strain the tea and spices, pour into a thermos and you are ready to take on the world!
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