June 27, 2012

Simple Tips for Better Sleep

Just the basics here. Nothing complicated.

Also consider these ideas:

1) set and stick to a regular time. 10pm. 10:45pm. Whatever it is, make it consistent.

2) don't drink a lot of water after 8pm so you don't have to wake up to pee at 2am.

3) journal before you hit the hay. Get down any frustrating or stressful thoughts so they don't stay in your brain and have you tossing and turning all night.

4) make a list of the top 3 things you're grateful for before sleeping. Friends. Your wardrobe. Good food that you made that day. Fall to sleep counting your blessings.

Cheers to better sleep!

Simple Shrimp and Pineapple-Coconut Black Rice Salad

Admittedly, I made this MORE complicated than it needed to be when I bought shrimp that needed to be cleaned, deveined and deshelled (is that a real word?). Which adds to the point of the post: make it simple.

This is tasty, simple and delicious. Only whole foods as ingredients. Win. Win. Win.

Oh! and I need your help. I'm hosting a contest to improve this recipe! 

Keep reading...

Simple Shrimp and Pineapple-Coconut Black Rice Salad

2 cups black (often called Forbidden) rice
1 cup canned, frozen or fresh diced pineapple
1/2 cup chopped green onions
1 cup each red and yellow peppers, diced
1 can coconut milk
fresh cilantro to taste


2 lbs shrimp (veined or deveined, depends on how much work you want to put in)

2 Tbs unrefined toasted sesame oil

2 big handfuls of fresh spinach leaves

Soak the rice for 6-8 hours in water in a large pot--it decreases cooking time by about half. When you're ready to cook the rice, strain it from the water you soaked it in and refill the pot with 3 cups of fresh water. Set to boil on the stove over med-high heat. Once the water is boiling, reduce heat to simmer until the rice is done.

While the rice is cooking, prepare the peppers, scallions and pineapple and add to a large bowl. Strain the pineapple but save the juice to add in later. Put to the side.

Heat a skillet or pan over low-med heat. Add the oil carefully and let it warm. Increase hit to medium add the shrimp and cook for a couple minutes on each side. Remove shrimp from the pan and add the spinach. Allow it to wilt and remove from the pan.

Combine the black rice to the other ingredients in the bowl. Add coconut milk and pineapple juice to taste.

Place rice, shrimp and sauteed spinach on a plate and garnish with cilantro. Enjoy!!

Here's where you come in: when I made this, while it was delicious, it felt FLAT. Like something important was missing. My challenge to you is to make this dish and add in what you think is missing and TELL ME ABOUT IT* so I can make it better next time. See the contest details below.

*Send a photo of your recipe and ingredients to dillan@savoryourexistence.com to win a free copy of Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. Entries must be received by noon of July 15th, 2012.

June 25, 2012

The Power of A Question

Last week, my friend called me. We hadn't spoken in a while, and we are both very busy people--that's probably why we hadn't spoken in so long. He had some incredible news to share, and I did, too.

This is the norm for us. We attack life HEAD-ON, so we usually have something incredible and profound to share with each other. 

This friend usually takes a back seat and gives me space to share first. On this day, I gave him that first spot. He began speaking very quickly, sharing the tremendously good news that he and his super rad wife are expecting their first BABY! This is a big deal--because they are coming back from a miscarriage last year. Send them your light and your love.

So he's talking really fast and sharing this good news and we have a great chat about it. Then he says, "and I'm also feeling like I'm going a little crazy." I got it. Without even hearing more, I got it. He expanded upon his recent schedule and how busy and full his life was, how his "life plate" was overflowing, and had been for a really long time. He was desperately trying to solve this math problem of the time he had available and the tasks/obligations he had taken on.

It basically looked like this:

  not enough time + too many obligations + several big life changes coming = overwhelm 

He shared more. I listened. He shared more. I listened more. After about 20 minutes, he paused and said, "so---yeah. I don't really know what to do." As he spoke, I had all these ideas and suggestions floating around my head.

As a health coach, a teacher and general smartypants, I am never at a loss for an idea or solution to propose. But I knew that what my friend needed most was to hear himself speak. And solve this one, himself.

I said, "what I've noticed over the past twenty minutes is that, as you spoke, the pace of your speech slowed down, and..."

he cut me off, "and I'm breathing..."

I said, "yep. You're breathing."

He knows. We've been friends a long time, and he has absorbed a lot of what I'm learning and sharing with folks as a health coach these past few years. He's picked up on the skill of noticing, reflecting and troubleshooting for a solution to make an improvement in some aspect of his life.

While it's tempting to give advice or recommendations when I notice someone struggling, I knew the most powerful way to support him was to ask a question: "so, what can you learn from this observation?"

He said, "I need to slow down more, take more deep breaths---and that means I have to be doing less every day. I need to take on less projects, and make space to enjoy what's coming up for me--not rush through it."

Amen. Amen.

I noticed myself struggling to solve for X recently in several aspects of my life.

Am I making good decisions? 
Am I spending my time and money wisely? 
Am I good partner? 
When is the right time to use male pronouns? 
What does it mean to be "male"? 
Am I cooking enough food at home or spending too much money on eating out?

It's so tempting to reach out and ask someone, anyone, for the "right answer". We are conditioned as kids to believe we don't possess that right answer inside. We are taught boundaries and limits. We are fed other peoples' truths or projections. We are rarely encouraged to seek the answer within.

As we age, it's important to ask someone to listen---and it's even more ideal when someone can ask us questions, so we can find and articulate the truth within us. 

It's the only "right answer".

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