Archive for July, 2017

The Importance of Planning Ahead of Time

If I told you that you have to get on a direct flight that will last 15.5 hours, plus two other shorter flights before and after, how would you react?

If I were you, I would no doubt freak out. And if I could, I would politely excuse myself and do everything I can to not have to be on those planes!

 

 Mangoes on tree

 

But what if that is the only way you can visit your family who you only see once a year, maybe, if you are lucky?

There is a valid reason why one would panic to think about such a torturous experience. I have lived through it enough times to tell you that there is nothing fun about it. The cramped, ever narrowing coach seat makes the long haul flights even worse regardless of the increased options of movies and entertainment in front of you (the food, as a side note, has not and will not improve).

I have a secret weapon to this insanity.

I tell my brain ahead of time that it will be okay. I will make it. I will survive. And it will all be worth it.

I plan on being uncomfortable.

Planning ahead works for everything that requires patience and discomfort, from these long flights, to getting a degree, to losing weight.

It boils down to how we manage our brain ahead of time. 

I will talk more about this in future posts as there is much to be discussed! For the time being, I will just mention that there are two very important parts of the brain that come into play during these times: the conscious and the subconscious. 

The subconscious brain is the more prevalent because it’s the part the brain that has to do with our survival. It is always ready to take charge in order to keep us alive.

If the subconscious brain feels uncomfortable (whether it’s the last 3 hours of the 15 hour flight, or if you are choosing to forego that brownie), it will react in unreasonable manners to keep us comfortable. But if we had planned ahead that we would be uncomfortable, and that it would be okay (this uses the conscious part of the brain), the likelihood of us responding (peacefully) instead of reacting negatively to the situation is so much greater.

 

Yoga cottage 

 

That’s what happened to me a few days ago while I journeyed half the way across the world to get back to Thailand to see my family: I planned ahead. I planned on what to read, what to write, what to listen to. I also planned to be really uncomfortable, and bored, and miserably achy.

As it turned out, the longest flight of all (15+ hours) went rather uneventfully. I may have even spent a moment (once it was all over) saying to myself: “Well, that was not all that bad!”

Using the brain to our advantage is a great way to use a tool that we already have.

Try it… plan on being uncomfortable for something in your near future.

It may just blow your mind!

 

 

 

Real food recipe: Arugula and Parsley Pesto

The garden is exploding right now, and I love it!

We have lots of greens growing: kale, chard, cilantro, parsley, arugula and basil. I just walk out the door to gather dinner ingredients these days which makes me super happy.

One of the things I make all the time with our greens is pesto. And it’s funny because I hardly ever make it the traditional way with basil. Sometimes I combine whatever I have together, like today. Arugula and parsley make a divine pesto combination.

 

 

My kids like their pesto over pasta (of course) while I just use it like dressing or sauce and pour it on just about anything.

Here’s the rough simple recipe (adjust as desired):

Ingredients:
  • A big bunch of fresh arugula and parsley leaves, washed and drained (about 2-3 cups)
  • Handful of nuts (we like tamari almonds, or walnuts)
  • One or two cloves of garlic (depending on how garlicky you like it)
  • A good amount of grated Parmesan Cheese (about 1/2 cup)
  • Extra virgin olive oil (2-3 tablespoons)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of one lemon
  • Water (enough to make it to the consistency you’d like)
I generally start with the nuts, cheese and garlic in the food processor, and mix that well.  Add olive oil and water so you get a consistency of a thick soup.  Add the green leaves next, then salt and pepper to taste, and squeeze in lemon juice at the end.
Taste as you go. You can tweak it with less or more of each ingredient, depending on your liking. Enjoy!