Benefits of Rituals + Three of Mine

Let’s get to the mot important part for many of you today first: Happy Thanksgiving! We don’t celebrate it over here but I hope all of you doing it have an amazing time filled with family, food and all other kinds of wonderful Thanksgiving rituals.

Rituals.  That word makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  Not only because it’s the name of the store where I got one of my favourite scarves. Though that probably adds to it. Consider thinking out loud on Thurdays a ritual, too. Thanks to Amanda for creating that one with all its benefits.

Thinking-Out-Loud

The real reason I’m a huge fan of rituals is their ability to give me instant comfort. The moment I start one of my daily rituals the World – no matter the outside conditions – becomes a blurr and I’m at ease. Or at least in 92% of the cases. There is a lot of evidence on the importance of rituals for mental and physical health.  Just naming a few:

- They reduce stress in speaking to the creature of habit in all of us.
– once a ritual is established it allows you to run on auto-pilot and perform tasks faster

- rituals help create breaks and room to breathe because you don’t need to think

- Help turn bad habits into healthy ones.
Happiness-incuding powers: Like some of my examples below show rituals can be something you know will happen at a certain point in your day/week so you’ll be able to look forward to them when time seems to pass extra slowly [who doesn’t feel that way at work at times?!]
– The timing factor: If you’re like me and prone to running late rituals will help you get more structure into your day. After performing a rituals a few times you’ll know pretty much exactly how long it takes. Proof is that I leave the house at closely the very same time every day.

[Sources: Lifehacker, feel happiness. Marc and Angel, Lifehack, Huffington Post]

Depending on the individual ritual there are obviously even more rituals. Journaling, writing gratitude lists, praying, going for a walk during lunch break, calling a friend at a specific time every week … the list is endless as are the benefits.

Here are three of my daily rituals:

1. Morning routine: Right when I wake up I walk to the kitchen – dark at this time of the year, light a scented candle and start  my breakfast prep. Then I head back to my bedroom for a little morning stretching to wake me up. I finish this one by holding the  child pose for at least a minute.  Then dry brush,  get dressed, pretty up,  eat breakfast.

Candle

2. Car drive back home after work: This one’s funny because it’s relatively new. The moment I hop into my car for the 30-minute commute home I pop a gum. Funny because up until now I never chewed gum – and still only do while driving.  But now I do as I’ve found it keeps me awake and focussed. I usually take a second piece – why are they that small?? – after I leave the highway. That’s because the highway is pretty easy to navigate but after-work traffic in the city can be a pain in the butt and requires all of my attention. Chew gum, breathe, relax.

3. Dinner routine: With my breakfast being semi-savoury and lunches decidedly hearty I crave a sweet dinner in 99 % of the cases. Okay, and I’m lazy and   Brinner?! Cocoa banana oat bran with almond butter – and as of late coconut oil, too – is my heaven in a  bowl  pot [unless I’m eating out or with others]. If you asked my family they’d tell you the way I prepare this is a ritual in itself already. More important to calm down,  though,  is the way I eat it: a newspaper or one of my favourite magazines  on the side I’ll start by reading a few articles. The finish is a sudoku or crossword puzzle. Again, this is something I look forward to all day.

Oats

There you have it: more glimpes into my weekday life and routines. Now it’s your turn…

Happiness-inducing today: Mails from blends and joking around with colleagues.

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 Tell me some of your [daily] rituals!

How do rituals help you?

What does your night time ritual look like? Mine is a work in progress so I wouldn’t mind some inspiration.

Back on [the Pinterest] food track

It’s been a while since my last Pinterest-inspired What I ate Wednesday post – too long. For some reason I tend to put unneccessary pressure on myself to create own recipes rather than follow others‘.  Ridiculous much? Absolutely. But this is me and I never claimed to be normal.  Anyway,  as an attempt to fall into good habits I tried a few dishes by fellow bloggers. And  put my own spin on them . Don’t tell me you were surprised by that bit.

wiaw fall into good habits button

Inspired by Khushboo who created a chia pudding like no other I finally broke my snack rut. With December and all things Christmas right around the corner I [obviously] couldn’t follow her recipe but had to tweak it. Can you say Coconutty Cocoa Gingerbread Pear Chia Pudding?  It looks like mush but tastes so good – a recipe coming your way soon. I’m not a fan of regular chia pudding because while a staple in my oat bran for me the texture of the gelled seeds isn’t appealing in large amounts .  Here,  my dear favourite coconut flour is the main player with the chia seeds as a pleasant side kick.

 Gingerbread chia pudding

We’ll get a little sweeter again in a minute but first I have to proudly say I tried another dish featured in my very recent good good links. I wasn’t kidding when I said Hannah’s hash was totally up my alley.  The only problem I had when adding the recipe to my post was not having any butternut squash on hand.  Yet I couldn’t get over how delicious the dish looked. Enter zucchini aka summer “squash” jumping in.

Kale_chickpea_lentil hash

That’s a huge stretch because I never think of zucchini as a member of the squash family. But it was what I had at hand so I followed Hannah’s instructions loosely. Here are my changes : zucchini and cauliflower instead of squash,  chickpeas for the kidney beans called for, canned lentils. Also, I turned this into a casserole for my work day lunches so added tomato sauce, poured the “stew” into a baking dish and topped it with creamy polenta post-picture. What will I not casserole-ify*?

*[That should totally be a word because it’s so true for me these days. It’s cold, soup won’t cut it, so casserole-ifying it is.]

Casserole_beans

Do you feel the urge to spread the Christmas cheer with others when the temperatures drop and cozying up inside becomes a lot more appealing than setting foot outside? Just me?? Either that or I’ve just been bitten by the baking bug. After last week’s no-bake sweet action  I felt like turning on the oven for the first Christmas cookies of the season – and the first time playing my favourite Christmas tunes. These so-called Traumstücke were  a hit with everybody last year so I knew my first pick was going to be a success. Honestly,  it’s unbelievable how a recipe this simple can be so incredibly amazing.

Lebkuchen-Traumstücke

My neighbours also accepted several packages for me lately because I’m at work when the postman rings.  I’m glad they saved me the trip to the overcrowded post office on Saturday morning so cookies seemed like the perfect thank you gift. And because they – like all of my meals in this post – are vegan, too, I’m joining Vegan Wednesday, too. Whether you’re stopping by from there or WIAW these cookies should totally make it onto your baking list.

Happiness-inducing today: My first Yogi wisdom of the day becoming reality.

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Have you started baking Christmas cookies yet? Which ones?

What’s the latest recipe you pinned and tried?

Good good links #66

Some things happen even if you had no intention for them to do. Case in point? Right in time for all of our favourite holidays coming up you’ll notice a focus on posts sharing advice on how to approach them the healthy way in this week’s round-up. That’s because I was happy to find some with a truly healthy idea among the many coming under the guise of health but actually promoting restriction. Thankyouverymuch – no.

And yes, technically it’s no surprise these posts are popping up in abundance with Thanksgiving right around there corner – the surprise for me was just realising how many of them had crowded in my own post, too. I’d say that way you get a lot of advice and reassurance that enjoying the holidays without guilt is well possible – and that’s a good thing.

Obviously, there are many other great posts in the mix, too, so I hope you’ll find one, two or lots you’ll enjoy.

Happy Sunday!

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

The Expectations of Being ‘A Twenty-Something via Birds Words

We don’t need to have it all [figured out] yet. Our twenties are the time to truly get to know ourselves, make mistakes and learn from them.

Burned Out? via Long Drive Journey

 In between work, household duties, trying to keep up a social life it can all get too much. Are you feeling burned out, too?

 

 

Blogging Politics- The experiment via The Big Man’s World

Commenting shouldn’t be a game of doing favours but interaction because you genuinely feel like it.

I recently reached my Dream Weight…and why it doesn’t matter anymore via Jamie Mendell

life is no better or worse than it was 30 or 40 pounds ago“. Because our weight really doesn’t make a difference in life quality.

 


 

 

 

 Good good [advice and inspiration]

 To be free via My Food ‘n’ Fitness Diaries

The place I – and I think everybody – ultimately want to get: “Balance doesn’t include obsession about calories or workouts or fat grams or that silly number on the scale. Balance does include enjoying life to its fullest with those you love.”

10 Tips To Beat The Winter Blahs via Mind Body Green

There’s no way to change the seasons [unless moving to a another country’s in your budget] but the way we deal with it.

Why you need to Disconnect to Reconnect (tales of a social media detox) via Mindful Meals

Realisations that are very good reasons why taking a social media detox might be just what you [I] need.

 

What to Say When People Annoyingly Undermine Your Healthy Choices via Greatist

Chances are you’ve had to deal with it before, too. Some great ideas to stand in for yourself but don’t offend anybody.

 

Health

We Are Not What We Eat via Paleo Running Momma

Choosing a certain diet shouldn’t come with any ‘rules’ to follow in other areas of life [like commenting on food not ‘suitable’ in your diet]. If all else fails we can bond over cookies no matter which diet.

5 Steps to a Healthy Thanksgiving via Bagels to Broccoli

Not just for Turkey day but any holiday: great ideas on approaching this special time of the year in a relaxed way. Spoiler alert: it includes eating the mashed potatoes – are you even surprised I liked this??!

Wellness Wednesday: Breaking My Late Night Overeating Habit via Ambitious Kitchen

“Guilty” of night time eating? When there’s a habit, there are reasons for it – and ways to change them. For me, eating enough earlier in the day is key.

 

Myths About Gaining Weight via Georgia’s Trying Something New

Just because somebody gained weight does neither mean they only ate junk food and didn’t exercise nor that they’re unhappy now. Don’t assume, ask.

 

How to Bounce Back After a Food Binge via Greatist

No getting down on yourself, no restriction. It’s human.

How to count macros without being obsessive via Brittany Lesser

It’s possible to keep your macros in mind but not stress out and still enjoy life.

4 Health & Fitness Habits You Should Give Up via Mind Body Green

Because being obsessive about food and workouts really isn’t making you any healthier – quite the opposite.

 Workout comparison via the real life RD

We’re all different, lead different lives, eat and sleep differently – why should we all [be able to] workout the same way?? Don’t compare – just do you.

17 tips for getting clean after a sweaty workout—minus the shower via Well and Good

The shameless self-promotion plug-ins aside there are some ideas worth trying the next time you’re in a rush after your workout.

15 Natural Hair Remedies for Every Ailment from Dandruff to Dryness via hello natural

Split ends, frizzy or flat hair: Skipping the chemicals but still getting beautiful locks is possible.

 

Six stretches for people who sit at desks via A Cup of Jo

For all fellow office workers who just need to keep their muscles flexible.

6 Ways to Forget the Holiday Weight Guilt (Without Gaining!) via Paleo Running Momma

 Don’t weigh yourself, eat the foods you like guiltlessly and enjoy the holiday spirit. Mindset matters a lot.

 

 

How To Stop Negative Thoughts From Getting You Down (Infographic) via Mind Body Green

This is awesome!

 

 

 Good good [posts to make you smile]

18 LOL-Worthy Tops For All Your Healthy Friends via Popsugar

Or for yourself, really, because laughing is healthy, too. Pie and lattes, anybody??

 

 Good good [food]

28 Healthy Holiday Cookie Recipes via Fit Foodie Finds

Time to start baking [or practicing to bake if you’re holding off the official start until December 1st] and these are sure to make your heart and health-conscious mind sing.

Whole Wheat Berry Coffee Cake via iFoodreal

Crumbles, berries, coconut milk drizzle and healthy at that – what more could you want??

Triple Chocolate Vegan Pumpkin Cake via healthy.happy.life

This might just convince me to try pumpkin in sweet baked goods. But doesn’t adding some [triple] chocolate action make everything better?!

Double Chocolate Muffins via Katalyst Health

These should be called honey bee happy dreamy bites of chocolate heaven. To sum that up for you: honey-sweetened oat flour-based good-for-you muffins studded with chocolate chips. 

The Best Healthy Recipe Substitutes for Cooking via Fiterazzi

A few little subs can turn a not-so-nutritious recipe into a ‘better for you’ one without sacrificing taste.

From Savory to Sweet: 1 Month of 150-Calorie Vegan Snacks via Popsugar

A plethora of new snack ideas because who doesn’t like snacking?

Butternut Squash and Lentil Hash Via Clean Eating Veggie Girl

Anybody knowing me would be able to tell this is SO my kind of dish: two [always better than one!] kinds of legumes, squash, plenty of spices – perfection.

Healthy Green Bean Casserole [vegan] via Hummusapien

Not your average green bean casserole: cashew cream, whole grain bread crumbs and lots of other delicious ingredients.

Vegan Cornbread Casserole via The Pretty Bee

Another US classic I haven’t had before but it looks like the perfect dish for a cold and rainy night in.

33 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes Made With Real Food (Not Tofurkey) via Greatist

We might not celebrate Thanksgiving over here but I could see some of those on the Christmas table.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: A chat with the owner of the Asian food store where I finally [!] found edamame again.

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Why I don’t want to be famous [anymore].

For as long as I can remember I’ve admired other people. Some might call them role models but I can’t quite agree here. More on that in a minute. Some of those people for me were:

Singers for their amazing voices when I can hardly hit a few tunes right.

Models for their [seemingly] flawless appearance and traveling the world [and really, how many girls’ answer to the question of their dream job is model, too?!]

Actors for being in movies all over the world and leading exciting lives.

In short there have always been people I looked up and wished I was alike with.  However, there’s a difference between showing respect and admiration for others achievement, their talents andlives –  and making yourself small. I firmly believe that God created all of us with our unique talents and destined our ways in life. I firmly believe that God created all of us with our unique talents and destined our ways in life. None of us are scarce of talent, passions, lovable traits. Yes, you, too, are special. Just because you’re not playing concerts in sold out stadiums or jet-setting the world doesn’t mean you’re less worthy.

What I do when I’m feeling so small in this huge  world again is reminding myself that no matter how far some people have come and how famous they are: they’re human,  too. Sensible to criticism. They have the same essential needs like you: they need to eat, sleep, pee  – why, yes? They’re not looking any more graceful in certain situations, either [think: bathroom]. They don’t feel super hot and are sparkling in their heavenly bubbles all day every day, either.

And think about it that way: we’re better off than them at times. While yes, we feel the pressure to perform best at work, in school or at the gym – we’re not under the constant hawk-like attention of millions of people all over the world. Isn’t it nice to leave the gym sweaty and not give a damn about who sees you? Not having to go for a run when you’d rather lounge on the couch? To go on however many dates with whichever guys without seeing it in every tabloid the next second? Being “normal” not famous sounds pretty good now, don’t you think?

Thinking-Out-Loud

So sorry, Miranda Kerr, you might be taller than me, travel the world  and date hot guys  [what about that Tom Cruise Gossip, though?  Not cool.] but I’d rather be eating chocolate, not strut my stuff in a bikini on a catwalk with thousands of people watching and be as grumpy as I want occasionally instead of putting on a happy face every day.

For further perspective I’ll highly recommend this great post  by Irina once more. We all are made from the same material and none of us matter any more or less in the vastness that is the universe.

And now get thinking out loud, too, and tell me any thoughts you have on the topic!

 

Happiness-inducing today: Turning a task that started unsuccessful around at work and talking to my sister on the phone.

 

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Oh, crunchy crunchety!

Oh, hi, we haven’t talked about food in a while, no? I’m a fan of keeping things  [semi-]regular  [interpret that whichever way you want to …] so here goes another What I ate Wednesday. I can’t promise I’ll be able to keep up the weekly or even bi-weekly posts but I’ll just roll with the flow and sprinkle in some food posts every now and then. Because we all need to eat and at least sometimes I actually remember/ am not too lazy to get out my camera.

One more note on the title of this post – or two, actually: a) I like themes and the amount of crunchy, crispy food made this a[n almost] no-brainer and b) I’ve been crunched for time [what’s new?]. No matter how little in general, though, there’s always time for food. Good food. Let’s get talking!

wiaw fall into good habits button

Breakfast. .. is such a classic over here I can’t wow you anymore.  How about we skip to snacks right there? Good. The first one is proof I can’t resist new products all the way even if they bite a hole into my budget before I can get a bite of them. Pretzel Thins, friends.  How good are they??! They’ve only been making appearance on store shelves around here since earlier this year. Too bad these are so. very.  good … I don’t like macro talk but: why am I even surprised they are? They’re crispy. Carbs.  Salt. A winning combination.

November - 2nd swoosh 109

While we’re at carbs,  salt and winning combinations let’s add cheese – I know Meg agrees. Gah. So good. I could easily write a whole post on this dish.  Actually,  I  will because this recipe needs to find its way into my personal recipe book. For now I’ll leave it at saying it is another autumnal dish with an addictive crunchy cheesy potato topping.  Who said healthy food was boring?  I’m a smidgen proud to say it got my mum’s seal of approval – a rare happening – when I prepared it on Saturday.  Another bonus of her stopping by – aside from the fact itself: help in shredding potatoes. And by help I obviously mean she did the whole task.

Crispy potato topping

On the sweet side another classic made an appearance again to save me. Save me  because the current intern at our office brought in storebought cake on Friday. Am I sensing a competition for employee of the month?  Watch out, friend, I’m up for it ;). Only I couldn’t be bothered to turn on the oven so no-bake it was.  Amanda’s krispie rice cereal energie squares have yet to disappoint me.  I’ve made them more times than I can recount and don’t think I’ve used the same combination of cereal twice so far. Though the best part is obviously that non-optional chocolate drizzle …

Chocolate drizzle_cereal bars

In its whole beauty below.  Preparing it Saturday night/Sunday morning was dangerous because I had to break of those imperfect bits and bites. Pre-breakfast nibbles of cereal bars? Why not. Probably mention-worthy would be that I just try to keep up the volume of cereal when making these, sub peanut for almond butter [more budget-friendly and there are no almond butter jars that haven’t undergone double-dipping action around these parts …] and omitting the protein powder. If the cereal mixture appears too sticky I’ll add some quick-cooking oats. Et violà: cereal bar perfection.

Cereal bars_whole

 

Wouldn’t you want me to be your colleague?! I hope my colleagues will appreciate the huge lot of work that went into these ;) . [Edited: Demolished and my boss asked what kind of cake I’d bring tomorrow. They clearly hated these treats.]

And speaking of work that’s where I’ll likely be the moment you’re reading this so:

Happy Wednesday and see you again tomorrow for some Thinking out loud!

 

 

Happiness-inducing today:

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Are ‘employee of the month’ run-ups actually a thing? Enlighten me! And: Do you think I’d win ;) ??

What are your favourite treats to bring to work?

Pretzels, pretzel things, chips: what’s your salty snack of choice?

Good good links #65

Super Saturday – that’d be yesterday in two words. My mum took the road trip to visit me though she could only stay for the day and it was a short but awesome time. Sorry I’m not sorry for the cliché but mums are the best. Fact. And to turn Sunday into a super [reading] day for you, too – no matter what else is going on – I’m once again sharing great posts I found this week. Let me know your favourites in the comments, too.

Happy Sunday!

Good good links

 

 

Good good [food for thought]

Is a gluten-free diet healthier? via Khushboo’s Blog

Not necessarily. Think twice before ditching gluten for health reasons. 

We too are stardust via Miss Irina

 Even if physics in general aren’t your thing this puts life as a whole in perspective in a wonderful – or sad, at times – way.

What 10 pounds taught me via the real life RD

Sometimes it takes hard lessons in reality to remind us to take better care of ourselves. An inspiring story and reminder.

 20 Harsh Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s via Lifehack

Peerp pressure doesn’t end, we don’t suddenly have everything figured out and things are constantly changing.  Real life is hard but at least we’re not alone in realizing these truths.

14 Things No Young Woman Should Ever Have To Fear via Serendipity and Creativity

We stress about such a lot in life. Starting over anew more than once, not wanting children or

 Nutrition is not a religion via Blogilates

Eat the way that makes you feel happy and energized but don’t try to push it onto others. This once more underlines that your kind of balance is best.

 

 

Good good [advice and inspiration]

Inhale Trust, Exhale Fear via Better with Sprinkles

Another case of the difference a word makes: Swap wishing for knowing and trust in the universe leading you on the right path.

 

5 Ways to Love Your Body via Snack Therapy

How to become best friends with your body because a) it deserves it and b) nobody wants to be at constant war with the person they spend every day of their life with [read: themselves].

 

How My Bikini Competition Helped Me, Not Hurt Me via Brittany Lesser

Advice even non-competitors should keep in mind.

Here’s What a Photoshop-Free World Would Look Like via Who What Wear

Wouldn’t that be a wonderful word to live in?

An unexpected reason to travel via The Mindful Foodie

Yet another reason why I – and probably you, too?! – should finally turn my dreams of traveling into reality. We don’t fully appreciate what we have until we leave it behind for a while.

Staying on course via Girl meets Life

Some great tips to set yourself up for success in following your goals in life.

 

Health

The Basics | Carbohydrates, part I via Nutrition Stripped

For any fellow nutrition fact nerds. Summary: Carbs are a complex topic, our bodies’ preferred source of energy and do wonders for us.

Why I Quit The Gym via Miss Irina

If you feel obliged to go and notice physical downsides maybe the gym just isn’t the right fit for you – and that’s okay.

 

Blogging

Coming out of the blogger closet via Peanut Butter & Jenny

In case you remember this is a constant topic on my mind. If you feel like going public with you blog these tips might help you feel more comfortable with it.

 

Fitness

Hotel Room Workout via Popsugar

Four workouts you can do with the minimal equipment of a hotel room. No need to seek out a gym =more time to go out and explore!

 

Do it yourself

101 Homemade Holiday Gifts via hello natural

Keep your fingers crossed at least some of the gifts I’m giving this year will be homemade. Now to decide on just a few …

 

 

 

 

Good good [posts to make you smile]

Why dieting is hard – A Pie Chart via The Oatmeal

Yes, let’s try this again next week. Or the week after that …

This Is What Happened When A Woman Told A Chimp She Had A Miscarriage… via Quick meme

 Because we all need some heartwarming stories in these cold months. And don’t tell me you still believed animals weren’t emotionally intelligent after reading this.

 Where’s your ideal foodie vacation? via Women’s Health Mag

Meet me at the Downtown Farmers’ Market in Des Moines, Iowa.

 

 

Good good [food]

25 Fall Breakfast Recipes to Jumpstart your Day via Diary of an ExSloth

These might even inspire me to stray from my usual breakfast. Routine is good, changing it up is better – and possibly more delicious?!

Healthy Bites: 30 Protein and Energy Ball Recipes via FitFluental

Typical blogger fare: balls in all flavours for all tastes. Get rolling!

Flourless Pumpkin Almond Butter Bars with Dark Chocolate + Coconut via Ambitious Kitchen

Moist [sorry I’m not sorry], coconutty, chocolate-spiked and almond buttery – just how perfect do these look and sound?!

 

 

La Vita è Bella Pizza Power Bowl via via Blissful Basil

Who wouldn’t believe life is good once a bowl of this amazingness is put in front of them? And: Pizza [flavours] in a bowl?!

Vegan Fall Power Bowl via Spinach for Breakfast

I don’t even have any words for how perfect this looks. How exactly did this Mary Poppins heel-clicking work??

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash via In It 4 The Long Run

Stuffed vegetables are awesome. Squash is even more awesome. Awesome awesomeness?!

Zucchini Pasta with Roasted Pumpkin Sauce via Nutrition Stripped

All the flavours in the sauce sound incredible.

Vegan Corn and Wild Rice Chowder via Hummusapien

Simple ingredients, lots of vegetables and easy preparation: this has a lot of soup favourite potential just reading the recipe.

Pasta Fagioli with Cranberry Beans and Kale via Fatfree Vegan Kitchen

Pasta, beans, kale – the title says it already: this is true autumnal comfort food. And you get to eat it from a bowl = win.

Soup Ideas for Dinner [changed the original title because I didn’t agree with it] via Popsugar

Making soup for dinner [or lunch] doesn’t have to be boring with so many ideas to change it up.

 

 

Happiness-inducing today: The introduction says it all: having my mum around for the day. Much needed and appreciated after a stressful week at work.

 

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