Plan Simple with Mia Moran
Practicing Awareness with Robin Sandomirsky

Practicing Awareness with Robin Sandomirsky

June 12, 2019

I’m not interested in the sort of practices that serves as an escape from life or my humanity. I want to deepen into connection with my life and my humanity.  
– Robin Sandomirsky

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Robin Sandomirsky, who I find guru-esque, and she’s taught me to be present. I’ve learned so many tools from her and as we tap into our OM, I think she can help us in so many ways.

We start out talking about what a spiritual practice even means … or if that’s the best way to say it. Robin likes the term awareness practice or simply being. Because both of these things can feel hard when you are a busy being a mom and working or running a business, we dig a little deeper into that this looks like. Robin finds ways to invite ourselves to land fully in our body and in the “now.” One of her tools is her Souls of the Feet meditation (free on her website) that we have linked up below.

This is one of many awareness shifting practices. Practices are something we protect, something we aim to do regularly. A daily practice can be life changing but, but it is also a commitment and can feel daunting. Anything between a minute and an hour a day could be a daily practice, and you can always start small and build.

We talk about:

  • Getting out of our thoughts and how that can transform a day (or even your life)
  • The difference between ceremony, practice, and glimpse
  • Looking at practice as building a new skill
  • How so much tension we’re experiencing is our not being okay with what’s going on, and learning to put down judgment and simply acknowledging how you feel
  • Recognizing the story we tell ourselves in challenging situations (Robin shares a professional and a personal story about that)
  • Getting a teacher to teach you tools, give you resources, and help you develop a practice

BIO

Robin Sandomirsky’s mission is clear: to discover the most awake and compassionate expression of herself, and to support any other living beings who are interested in doing the same. She is a guide, collaborator, teacher and guru whose spiritual and intuitive and practical and magical work allows her to directly access the inner workings of her clients, in a way that gives them true inner peace and freedom, is life altering for those who get to work with her. She works 1 on 1 and with groups. She is also a single mom to a 13-year-old son and almost 11-year-old daughter.

LINKS

 

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • UNHOOK FROM THOUGHT. One of the practices Robin suggests is unhooking from thought and dropping your awareness into your feet. Get the free download from her site and try this practice. This practice just takes a few minutes. Try it, then repeat throughout your day.

  • PRACTICE DEEP BELLY BREATH.  Pause and gently fill your low belly and then empty it fully and completely. Focus on that area of the body dropping your awareness down there. Take a few deep belly breaths, allowing yourself to focus on the breath and sensation in the body. Repeat throughout the day.

  • USE YOUR SENSES TO HELP YOU UNHOOK FROM THOUGHT. Taking a minute to unhook from thought is a way to shift something in your day. You could use smell or another sense. Spray yourself with an aura mist, choose an essential oil for your diffuser, let a small square of infused chocolate melt in your mouth. Let this shift a moment in your day and see what comes of it.
Summer Work

Summer Work

June 5, 2019

The FLOW process exists because I needed to prove to myself that I could work while also eating well, making lifestyle choices that feel free, and having time for me.

This balance is perhaps hardest for me in the summer — well, until I acknowledged what a big transition it is from the school year to the summer, and realized that I can feel any way I please if I train my brain to feel that way.

It starts with a word.

My seasonal “flow” is always an important guide in my life, but I especially feel its significance in the summer with work. I have had summers where I wanted to feel ease and my work bucket was overflowing with challenging work. I have had summers where I wanted to feel productive and all my projects were on hold until the fall. (Luckily I had the sense to write a book that summer!)

I am super clear in summer what I want to feel like and the best way for my work to support that. My word for this season is reliable. My creative juices have been flowing. The next cohort of FLOW365 is ready to get going in late summer. The next version of the FLOW planner needs some love, attention and creativity, so it is ready to hit the market in September. It all feels so exciting… until I remember that there are 3 kids home all summer and trips that are already planned.

So this is what I do.

I am super clear about what I want to do workwise this summer, and what can wait until late August. I make choices in May instead of as I go in July. (If you are listening now, it’s not too late. Make the choices now that will guide the rest of your summer.) I do this by dividing a paper in two and writing — one half is summer work and the other is fall work. I draw arrows, cross things out, and let myself go until I know I have a plan. Sometimes I rewrite nicely. This summer there is work that really wants to make its way in the world, so I have built in lots of work hours. I tell everyone in my life in advance what to expect and what not to expect of me.

I batch more than usual. I find the summer is way more about chunks of time vs. consistent daily tasks. This means it makes way more sense to create all social media posts one day and spend the next day creating 5 podcasts, so the next two days I can spend at the beach with my kids. It is really hard for my brain to start and stop creativity, so I try to test that as little as possible.

I practice presence. When I am working, I want to be 100% looking for my amazing clients in the eye (on Zoom), not being asked to watch my daughter do her new and improved cartwheel. When I am with my kids, I want to be able to watch that cartwheel with every cell in my body and ignore the notifications coming from my phone. This is in part being clear with my family and knowing when I need to leave the house to work somewhere else so I am not distracted by kids. This is also in part leaving my phone on the charger or putting my computer in its case and fully engaging in the grass and energy of the kids running through it — knowing that there is work time scheduled in the not too distant future because it is on the calendar.

I figure out two work retreats. I very much practice presence. I am far from perfect. Because I know this about myself, I have created a ritual that has my back. I schedule two weeks where all of my kids are out of the house, and I have the whole day and night to get done what I need to get done. Sometimes this means all the kids go off with my husband. Sometimes I divide them up between grandparents. Last year one went away to camp. It is a puzzle, but it is so important for my sanity and staying in business!

I bring my journal everywhere. I shared two extremes to share my focus on practicing presence, but there are many in-between moments. I take the kids to the beach and my husband takes them all on a walk. I take the kids and friends for a swim at the pool, and they are hanging with their friends. In both scenarios, I may indulge in the swim or the walk, but I always have a journal or sketchbook in case inspiration hits. (My kids do too. Every summer I buy everyone a fresh summer notebook.)  This ensures that I am trusting my own creativity, they are trusting theirs, and we capture important ideas. This work always informs and helps the transition to more work in the fall.

How are you going to make work work for you this summer?

  • Grab a piece of paper and start jotting down what is for summer and what is for fall. Don’t worry about being messy or crossing things out and moving things around. Play with it until it feels good to you.
  • Think about what your days look like? Are they the same as during the rest of the year? Do you work longer or more intense days to have more days off? Do you work for different hours?
  • Set a boundary around work time. How will you be present when you are at work? How will you be present when you are “off”?
  • Schedule a work retreat for yourself.

Get the previous episodes:

Summer OM

Summer OM

June 5, 2019

Summer is definitely a time that we can forget to take care of ourselves and our spirit. I give some super practical tips and a planning sheets in the  Summer Lifestyle Episode and some food strategies that can definitely support a spiritual practice in the Summer Food episode, but we get to go deeper here.

First off, let me redefine what I mean by Om here.

The website doyouyoga.com explains Om really well:

“There are many different translations, uses and regards of the word Om, but in “simple” terms (HA!) it is the basic sound of the world, used to contain all other sounds. The sound of God, of the universe, etc. It’s a Sanskrit vibration or mantra made up of three different sounds (aa, au, and ma) that is used often at the beginning and/or end of yoga classes to not only join students with teachers, but also to connect us deeper with the entire universe.

While it’s believed to be the sound of creation, many like to think of it as the sound of silence. I know, crazy right? But I’m not talking about the kind of silence you might experience in an empty house or down a quiet street. I’m referring to that silent sort of vibration you may experience when you’re completely still. So, when we chant OM by ourselves or with others, we’re in a way tuning into that silence, that vibration inside of us to resonate with the silence and vibration of the universe.

It really is quite a beautiful thing, if you think about it, opening your mouth to make one simple sound, just to be reminded that you’re an integral part of existence right here, right now.”

I very much experienced this sense of quiet every time I go to my yoga class where we start and finish each class with OM, and over the years I have been able to bring that quality to other parts of my day.

Another observation is that I hear the “perfectness” of the sound much better at the end of class than the beginning once my body and mind have calmed down.

And this is why this category is such an integral part of the FLOW process… because I really need the calm to make good choices about food, parenting, my home, my marriage, and my work.

So let’s consider OM and summer.

I don’t know about you, but summer can feel “full” before it even starts.

My friend Amy gave me her spreadsheet template that goes through summer week by week, weekend by weekend, and person by person. When I filled it in and looked at it, I felt so good that I know who is doing what when, but it is easy to get too focused on what we are “doing.”

The first thing I do to support the idea of OM in the summer is going through the calendar and put in all of the downtimes. For us, this means weeks of no camp, a weekend in nature camping, and the days where we unplug. It is not the road trip to New Orleans, the week with my parents, or even my biz retreat week (more on that in the next episode). Those weeks all promise to be fun and summery, but they are not all about restoration. Be bored. Creativity, connection with ourselves, deep calm are all fostered by true boredom for ourselves and our kids.

The second thing I do is brainstorm all the ways that OM can enter my daily life, even when we are on an adventure. What creates that deep sense of OM – and how can you work it into your day? For me, it usually means building my morning routine around OM-centered activities. This summer I am working on a 30-minute daily meditation practice, working with oracle cards (a very new practice), a daily walk, my morning pages, and reviewing my food for the day. If I do these 5 things, the day can have many twists and turns, and I can still keep my cool. My morning routine actually gets easier for me in the summer. My kids sleep a little later. My husband has a little more flexibility to help out in the mornings. I hop out of bed with less grogginess. That said, it is so easy to forget or fall out of my usual patterns when traveling, so I try to set myself up for success. This can look like setting an alarm or getting a cute travel pouch to hold my morning routine stuff, or asking for my family to support me.

I use to travel and the open-ended days of summer to learn and grow in my OM practices. Summer is a great time to experiment with new yoga classes or exercise teachers. It is a great time to read about new (to me) methodologies, practices, or enjoy memoirs of others’ spiritual journeys. It is a great time to experiment with our own practices, so I keep a journal of the things I learn and play an implementation game — what new practice I weave into my life this week?

I use the fact that I see a lot more of my kids in the summer season to share practices with them. We know that kids learn by example. What if you are the example of calm and ease? What if that calm and ease become contagious? I will never forget the summer that my now 15 year old found meditation. I think he was 13. It changed so much for him so fast. I give him 100% of the credit for finding it, but I can’t help but acknowledge that seeing his mama sitting criss-cross applesauce on the living room floor with her eyes closed some mornings, and him noticing those days had less nagging or yelling,  had something to do with it.

We unplug and connect with nature. The amazing computer that we carry around in our pockets has so many good qualities — it is filled with relaxing meditations, it has the answer to any question, it never lets me be lost in a new city — but it is a really easy way to buffer and indulge and miss the natural rhythm of the world around me. I mentioned a very purposeful tech-free camping trip we do. I try to work outside in the yard when I can. And I visit a beach and leave my phone in that car or go on walks and listen to the birds. I find technology can get me going at a rhythm that is not mine. Connecting to nature connects me to my higher self, my inner knowing, my OM. Summer is a great time to experiment with taking time off from tech.

Go add some OM time to your calendar, whether it’s days when you don’t have anything planned, an hour every morning to move at a slower pace or practice your morning ritual, downtime after lunch every day … whatever you need. And make a list of OM practices that you want to be part of your summer.

Get the previous episodes:

 

Summer Lifestyle

Summer Lifestyle

May 31, 2019

Make sure to listen to all four episodes in the Summer series — Food, Lifestyle, Om, and Work. These four episodes are a series that I created as an “extra” as we transfer from the school year to summer. If you feel a bit overwhelmed by the busyness that can be summer, you aren’t alone and this episode is for you.

Summer has way more transitions than in the school year: a different camp every week (or maybe no childcare at all), but you still have all the same responsibilities you had when the kids were in school. That can make it hard to have the “easy” summer you might dream about, the one of beaches and vacations and laid back fun.

When I started planning my summer, thing changed. By planning I don’t mean overscheduling, but it does mean thinking through what you want out of the season, what needs to happen, and how it can happen. Since I started my summer planning, I have crafted summers that are a refreshing combo of dedicated work time and full on kids time. Mixed in with some me time and some date moments. I no longer dread summer, and I hope after a little planning you won’t either!

The planning sheets, which I highly recommend downloading, look so simple that you may forget to do them, but I can tell you from personal experience that they can completely change the feeling of the summer.

You can do this work even if you have your whole summer planned out. This is really about filling in the little details so you make time for the things that matter – on rainy days and sunny ones.

These are four things I’ve done to make a huge difference in my summer.

We set summer goals.

  • We sit down as a family and map out some of the things we want to do together and individually over the summer. As always, I look for balance (that’s why I created the worksheet that balances rainy day things with sunny day things, individual things with family things, social events with quieter time.)
  • The list lives on the fridge. If I am working, and my kids can visit the list and see that one of their goals is to make a book and can escape to do that. If we wake up and we thought it was going to be a beach day, but it is raining, we already have many possibilities to choose from.
  • We also include rituals that we want to implement, like allowance, pickling, and canning, which are easier to become habit when we are relaxed. And come September we are relaxed, satisfied, and have fresh jam for the winter.

I let go of too much scheduling. This may sound the opposite of planning, but not being overscheduled is a key to our summer. My kids are older now, but even when they were all camp age, I often chose a babysitter over camp. Why?

  • Not having to get us all out of the house in the morning buys me all kinds of freedom. I get to go to yoga or on a run at 6:00am because I don’t have to be back to pack lunches and have everyone out the door by 7:30.
  • It allows me to work a few very full days and have a whole day at the beach at least once during the week.
  • Most importantly, it lets my kids just decompress and be kids after a full year of learning and a stricter schedule. I feel like they get time to actually integrate what they learn! When we do schedule things, we make sure there is downtime on either side!

I make extra time for food. There are so many ways we can foster healthy family eating in the summer:

  • There are farmers markets everywhere, so I can easily shop local and eat in season, and the kids can pick out produce and meet farmers. We can also visit farms to pick our own berries or tomatoes.
  • I can cook with the kids in a more relaxed manner. And we enjoy family dinners that don’t always come together as easily during the school year, because the days are longer and bedtime can be more relaxed.
  • We make healthy smoothies and popsicles, and lots of pudding. I feel like there are more meals in the summer (though there aren’t!), but on the flip side, that gives us more opportunities to eat well!

I make time for friends. There is something that happens during the school year where I see enough people at school, at birthday parties, and for work, and I crave alone time. But the summer months can be kind of isolating! So as part of our intentions, we make a list of dinners we want to have and friends we want to see – both as a family and individually. Sometimes summer events happen by default: work events, family reunions, the place you have visited since childhood. But what would happen if mixed in with those social events you made time for the friends who are in your position and lift you up?

These four things are part of a summer plan, and the planning sheets create the framework for you to take the action you need to take to be personally responsible for what you really want out of this season. They do the same for your kids. And then they help the whole family really understand and accept in advance what it means to be part of a group — your family.

I talk through how to do the sheets on the episode. Listen to the episode.

Download the sheets.

And have a blast making your summer feel amazing!

Get the previous episode: Summer & Food

Summer Food and Wellness

Summer Food and Wellness

May 30, 2019

What do you want from this summer? Summer, like the winter holidays, comes with a lot of baggage around what it should look like. I have had summers where I wanted to honor a big work project. I have had other summers where I wanted to be home as much as possible and still others when I just wanted to travel with the kids and see as many old friends as possible. Whatever the summer looks like, the change of season is a great time to re-evaluation and plan.

What is your core desire this summer? Your food, lifestyle, om and work goals need to reflect that core desire.

Food, Lifestyle, Om (spirituality and self care), and Work add up to FLOW, and I am going to spend four episodes walking you through the FLOW planning process for you and your family this summer.

Start every season by figuring out how you want to feel and what that looks like to you.

This season I have decided I want to feel reliable, which means something slightly different in each quadrant of my life. For food and wellness, being reliable means asking, “How can I use this season to move my Food Goals forward?” It means looking at the goal I have set for myself for my 90-day goal and where food fits into my 10 year plan. (You can still get all the prompts to create your 10 year plan on Instagram!)

My 90-day Food goal is a weight loss goal for the first time in 9 years. My long-term food and wellness vision is around eating really high vibration food that keeps my energy even and gets created with ease. So here are the different things I am planning for now, so that my summer supports my goals.

Farm to table

I want to eat as local as I can. I want all of us to experiment with new veggies. I will never forget the summer of Kohlrabi. I got this bulb that I had no idea what to do with and now it is the main component of one of my favorite salads.

I use this time to look at our calendar and figure out if it makes sense to do a farm share or visit the farmers market. This year I am doing a farm share. Last year I did farmer’s markets. No matter what you choose, the thing we need to do now it get dates in the calendar. Farmers markets, your share pick up dates. Other things you might consider is looking up farmers markets where you are vacationing or places where you can pick your own. Berries, peaches and tomatoes are items I love getting lots of to freeze.

High raw

With my weight goal, I have decided to return to my habit of high raw for the summer. Tune into episodes with Marie Claire and Eva Rawposa for the benefits and tips. Summer is just such a good time to do this! For me high raw is about creating new smoothies, innovative salads, yummy dips, getting fancy with the dehydrator (which does not heat up a kitchen like the stove).

This month, I am doing a decluttering project. How does that relate to food? Books are happening next week, and I will make a special section for books that have a raw food focus to use for menu planning.

Cook with kids

Or let them learn. So last summer I got this lesson from my then 14 year old son, who broke his foot mid May and totally changed his summer plans. We all wallowed for awhile in how many books could he read and if all our media policies would go to hell because 3 months of crutches is a LONG time! In the end, he taught himself to cook. He wanted to figure out how to make the perfect omelette, what sandwiches the French enjoy, and how to make the best oats. Not all his choices fell into my way of eating, but he definitely learned a skill.

For little ones, summer gives us the opportunity to involve them more. They can wash lettuce, cut a cucumber, shake the jar of dressing, maybe even measure what goes in the jar. Popsicles and ice cream are so fun to make, and I can make them in a way that I want to eat, which means there is none of the sugar like the ones I get at the store. We will get some of those recipes up on the Instagram and the website.

 

5 Food and Wellness Tips to Plan Your Summer

My summer is centered around feeling reliable. You’ll have your own goals and feel for the summer, but whatever direction you are going, these four tips will help you find your food FLOW.

 

Know your why

Remember to start by figuring out how you want to feel and what that looks like to you. Your core goals and how you want to feel guide the rest of your plan

 

Plan your meals (and snacks)

Although summer caters to a healthy lifestyle, it also brings more gatherings, barbeques and ice cream. Somewhere along the line, many of us equated the fun with the food or the drink, but I can tell you this is not true. But willpower at every turn is not fun either, which is why a meal plan is my favorite tool and the cornerstone of everything I teach and coach on.

I love the practice of meal planning for the whole family on Sundays, but if there is ever a time of year I don’t do that, it can be summer. Even if my planning slides over the summer, I do always plan what I will eat for a whole trip, and I always choose a day in advance.

This can be specific or vague. I am heading off on vacation now in a different time zone. In my notebook, I have written a plan that supports the idea that I am not sure what I will have access to. It outlines the hours that I want to eat, tells me how much coffee I want to have, that I don’t want to have alcohol. For the meals, I write down things like fruit for breakfast, even though I am not sure what will be the freshest, and a salad with protein, even though I am not sure what the protein will be. As I get more and more info, I can fill in the details, but I have a very clear framework. When I am home, I write every meal out, including snacks.

This season, I have a weight loss goal, so I am also practicing planning my meals first and then planning the family around that. Seems simple, but I know I am not the only mom who wants to cook what my kids will eat, even if it is not what I want.

Remember that meal planning is not about restriction. It actually gives you a lot more freedom. Knowing what to eat saves so much brain space. We think about what we are going to eat and then beat ourselves up when we eat the cake, or or kids go bonkers from too much sugar, or we forget to bring a treat for our allergic kid. Food is really hard in the present moment, but much easier with a plan.

 

Create an exercise rhythm

The summer season is different. If you are used to going to a gym or a yoga studio, your body might be asking for something else. The hours also change from school to camp to vacation, and you nned to think what that mean in terms of when you move your body. Start thinking through a rhythm and get it into your calendar.

Don’t sacrifice what you want in the name of vacation

Research stores, restaurants and markets when you travel. Find places where you can get the foods that make you feel good and fit your plan and goals.

 

Make food in advance for short trips or plane rides. Bring bars or buy fruits and veggies. Pack your blender for smoothies on the road. Take a no excuses approach to what you want.

Make food part of your summer plan.

This may seem redundant, but I really want you to start thinking about how food can actually feed (or not feed) your dreams.

I have a worksheet for you tomorrow for the lifestyle part that will include these questions, but you can certainly start to think about how to make food part of your family’s summer rhythm.

  • Are there restaurants you have always wanted to try? When will you go?
  • Are there recipes or techniques you have always wanted to try but have never found the time?
  • Are grill nights or picnics part of your rhythm? Do you need any tools or knowledge to make that happen?

I’ll be back tomorrow to talk about the lifestyle part of your FLOW summer plan.

Motherhood and Money with Sandra Grahame

Motherhood and Money with Sandra Grahame

May 29, 2019

Before you set any financial goal or any goal in your life ... really understand and have a clear picture of what you want your life to look like
– Sandra Grahame

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Sandra Grahame about balancing business and mothering in the summer alongside the bigger topic of women with money. I personally have been working with Sandra because I’m really focused on upgrading my money situation this year.

Summer is fast approaching, so we are diving right into getting into summer mode for your business and with your kids. We talked about getting ahead of things and how different summers can feel different energetically and how to lean into the energy of the season. That means planning ahead. If you want to take your foot off the gas in the summer, you need to ramp up earlier in the year. If you want to be launching in the fall, you need to do some prep work over the summer.

Sandra helps people upgrade their money experience. It started for her with talking with a friend, reading all the books she could, and starting a “club” to deal with debt and other money issues. She points out that it wasn’t just about debt, but about the rich life she and her friends wanted to be living … and the payoff when far beyond paying off debt.

We talk about:

  • Setting a clear picture of what you want your life to look like before you set a goal
  • Putting money where your heart and dreams are instead of spending impulsively
  • Thinking aloud with your kids about your thoughts about spending
  • Developing “spending awareness” (it’s not about knowing where every dollar goes)
  • The importance of an abundance mindset and what an abundant mindset means (it’s not 1000 lattes) in business and life
  • Starting a money group
  • Looking at summer as an incredibly rich opportunity to kind of have those slow summer days and give yourself some time to plan and think about upgrading how you deal with money, how you look at your business or exploring what that might look like
  • Being intentional about time in the summer

After being invited on Oprah and co-authoring two books to share her own success story, Sandra has made it her mission to help others discover how inspiring and amazing it is to make your wildest goals happen. She is a mom, wife, entrepreneur, and 100% believes we can all bring our richest goals to life.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • CREATE A VISION. Before you set a goal, create a vision for the life you want to lead. I often create a ten-year vision. Sondra does a three-year and one-year vision. Either way, take some time to get quiet and really picture the life you want. It doesn’t have to make sense or seem possible. You don’t have to know how to get there, but getting really clear on what you want helps you start setting goals and making small changes that get you there.

  • THINK ALOUD ABOUT SPENDING. Talking through your thought process when you are thinking about spending can help you and your kids be more aware of money, spending, and goals. For example, acknowledge something that appeals to you or that you feel pulled to buy. Talk about why you want it, why you need it or not, how it affects your goals.

  • GAIN SPENDING AWARENESS. Go through your bank account and see where you are spending money. Ask questions like: Does this give me joy? Is there a return on investment for business expenses? Does this move me toward my goal? Is it appropriate given what I’ve said is important to me? You can do this by yourself or get a friend who wants to work on money to do it with you.

The Pelvic Floor with Kathy Kates

The Pelvic Floor with Kathy Kates

May 22, 2019

I want to create a movement #PelvicFloorAwareness. – Kathy Kates

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m so excited to have Kathy Kates here. Kathy is an experienced Family Nurse Practitioner with a specialty in helping patients to alleviate pelvic pain and we’re going to talk about something I think doesn’t get talked about enough: pelvic floor health.

Kathy is the first to acknowledge that this is an area most women don’t know enough about. After surgery and chemotherapy to treat breast cancer, Kathy was in surgical menopause … and a lot of pain. She thought that because she is a nurse practitioner who takes care of women that she should be able to figure it out. It took her own nurse practitioner to tell her that she needed pelvic floor therapy.

Sometimes things we think are just normal … aren’t. Like leaking urine during or after pregnancy. Kathy recommends preventative care and thinks women should see a pelvic floor specialist before pregnancy as well as during and after. One of her key messages – get rid of the shame and get aware of your pelvic floor.

We talk about:

  • Baby spinning (she explains what it is) to promote balance in the pelvis
  • Avoiding painful sex in the post-partum period or during menopause
  • Incontinence and prolapse
  • The effect of posture (the position of your screens affect more than you think)
  • Making sure your abdominal muscles, glutes, hamstrings and quads are strong and doing their job so you aren’t adding pressure to your pelvic muscles
  • What an internal exam to help with the pelvic floor is like
  • Engaging your diaphragm when you breathe and being still

BIO

Kathy Kates is a bilingual Family Nurse Practitioner at a Boston area community health center and a specialist in pelvic health. In addition, she is a speaker and teacher on the topic of pelvic health. Kathy is the mom to a 12-year-old. Prior to her medical training, Kathy was a professional musician, playing locally with the Boston Pops and also traveling the world. Together these career paths have fostered a lifelong curiosity about the body from a biomechanical perspective. Her passion lies in educating others on how they can function optimally in order to live their healthiest lives. Kathy offers a unique perspective, not only as a medical provider but also as a patient who has experienced pelvic pain after treatment for breast cancer.

LINKS

 

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • MOISTURIZE AND LUBE UP. Get into a moisturizing routine for your vulva, labia, and vagina. Pair that with plenty of lube for sex. Kathy makes some recommendations here.

  • ADJUST YOUR SCREENS. Kathy says that alignment of the spine makes a big difference and one thing we can do to help toward that end is keeping screens at eye level. Try making some adjustments and see how it feels.

  • MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH A PELVIC FLOOR SPECIALIST. We talked about many specific times when you may most need a pelvic floor specialist—pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, post-partum, pre-menopause or menopause—but it pays to be proactive. Get an exam and talk about any issues (no shame) you are having and to see what you can do to improve your pelvic floor health.

Plant-based Energy with Marie Claire

Plant-based Energy with Marie Claire

May 15, 2019

It’s about seducing. It’s not about forcing. You can’t force anyone to eat healthily but, you can seduce people and you can because you are the walking example of what it can do to you. – Marie Claire

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Marie Claire, an energy coach for experts, author, speaker, and certified raw food coach about raw food and reigniting our energy.

We talk about three main problems that lead to disease: toxicity, undernourishment through overeating, and trauma. Marie Claire believes that every problem holds a solution, so by finding the main problem in disease, we can find a solution. When you are toxic, you need to detox. When you dehydrated, you need to hydrate. When you have experienced trauma, you have to process the trauma.

When you start eating a plant-based diet, you cut out a lot of toxins and additives that are made to get you hooked on foods. You start infusing your body with intact vitamin, minerals, and enzymes. It’s incredibly effective in a short time. Maybe going plant-based or eating healthy every day feels impossible. Marie Claire’s clients often say that too … but change is possible. We dive into that.

We also talk about:

  • The challenges of eating out and ingredients to watch out for
  • How to eat healthy when with family or friends
  • Boosting your immune system before travel and other travel tips
  • Digestive enzymes to optimize digestion
  • How it is easier to stay miserable than to change and how to deal with the mindset

BIO

Marie Claire, an energy coach for experts, authors, and speakers. She’s a certified raw food coach who started her own business after 50. (You wouldn’t know to look at her that she’s 61.) After getting diagnosed with 6 different diseases, being paralyzed and in pain, she was treated and sent home, still feeling terrible, and told to take an antidepressant. That’s when she discovered raw food. After 10 days of going raw, she was surprised to notice she had no pain. Three months later, the diagnosis of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome were wiped away. She felt like she was given a fresh start and began her business Ravishing Raw. She later rebranded as Energy for Experts and helps busy professionals and women entrepreneurs make changes that lead to increased energy and health.

LINKS

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • START THE DAY WITH A GREEN SMOOTHIE. For seven days, replace your first-morning coffee with a green smoothie. You may be resistant, but commit to it and notice how it feels.

  • SET UP SYSTEMS. Your system could be to make a batch of green smoothies for the week or to set up four days worth of salad on Sunday. The system saves you time (it’s quicker to batch prep than to prep each day). It takes away the excuse, “I don’t have time” when it comes to making breakfast or lunch. And it means you don’t have to decide each and every time to make a healthy choice. You set yourself up for success.

  • BRING A HEALTHY TREAT. If you are going to a party or dinner, bring something that you know you can eat and enjoy … a fabulous salad with homemade dressing, a raw dessert, beet tip with cucumbers … check out the Plan Simple Meals recipes for ideas. Bring enough to share and get over the mindset that you are “different” by eating the way that makes you feel fabulous.

 

Planning with Purpose

Planning with Purpose

April 22, 2019

“I want you to dream big because dreams make plans different than your average to-do list (and you are not average!)” - Mia

There was a long time where I really loved the idea “live today like there is no tomorrow.” I wasn’t a planner and I wanted to be more “fun.” But, the truth is I never did anything that daring or even extremely fun.

In my 20s and early 30s, I ate bad food and racked up some debt. I never paced myself. It was my last day, so why not?

When I turned 40, I started to consider this idea in more depth. I had changed my food in my 30s, and I wanted to see how I could apply that mindset to my work and money in my 40s.

I have the privilege of having a grandmother who is 101, and who I can still chat on the phone with and have great talks with. As she was approaching 100, I wondered, “How would I live differently if I knew I had that much time? What would I do differently today if I knew I wasn’t even halfway through my life? Why would I live today like my last day, if I could live today in a way that got me to 100?!”

Trying to imagine what your life will be like at 100, may not be useful (or easy to imagine), but looking ahead 10 years is doable and important. It sets you up to plan your todays in ways that make sense now and move you toward the life you want.

This is what I had done when I changed my food... just not on purpose.

This is why I always do an exercise with clients where we paint the picture of what life looks like in 10 years – before planning for meals this week, creating a 21-day checklist, or utilizing any of our many tools.

It is this specific practice that helped me lose 85 pounds 9 years ago, gave me the courage to write my book and go on the road for a year with 3 kids, and has me hydrating as I write this post.

Let’s paint a picture of your life in 10 years.

I want you to dream big because dreams make plans different than your average to-do list (and you are not average!)

At the end of this exercise, you’ll have a vision of the life you want, the one that sets you up to plan today that you love. When you plan days with this exercise as your foundation, you get more done, spend more quality time with those you love, eat well (and healthy), and just take better care of yourself.

You can do this … even if you have a busy weekend planned, even if your kids are on break next week. This is all about big dreams and doable chunks.

Step 1: Mark your Calendar

We crave space to think and dream and then we wonder why we cannot find it.

Block off 15 minutes on your calendar with “space” or “dream” for the next 5 days, or you can block off an afternoon to do this all at once.

This will be your time to answer the 10-year vision questions.

Literally block off the time on your calendar, because it’s so easy to think you’ll find 15 minutes when the day comes … end then you’re rolling into bed, exhausted, without having done it. Make space for what matters (here, time to dream) and hold that time for yourself.

Experiment with what feels great. You could:

  • wake up 15 minutes earlier
  • set a time for 15 minutes before you start your work day
  • sit for 15 extra minutes at lunch
  • write while your kids draw
  • spend the afternoon at your favorite coffee shop

Feeling at all guilty about taking some time for yourself? I did and then I realized the importance, not only for me but for my kids. Free time, thinking time is the biggest thing missing from all our calendars. Making space for thinking and dreaming is a great thing to model for your kids, so don’t stress if they need to be around. It is a good practice in boundaries. “Mama is sitting for 15 minutes to do my thing…” When they see you being creative and dreamy and not sucked into a phone, you have modeled something fabulous!

Prompt #1: How will you feel in 10 years?

List 5–10 adjectives that really explain it. Strong, abundant, energetic, loving ... what words will fit you? Phrases are OK too — like a role model for women, at peace in my body, in service to others.

 

Don’t skip this prompt because of its simplicity.

 

A 10-minute walk or meditation can be a great way to kick off this prompt.

 

Prompt #2: Your dream home

Think about where you will be living in 10 years. Where do you want to be? Use this prompt to get at the details:

  • Describe where you live in detail. It may be the same house, or may not be.
  • What color are the walls?
  • What rooms do you have?
  • Is it modern or classic?
  • What is the view?
  • What does it smell like?
  • Describe how you use your home.

If you are hoping to move in the next 10 years, now is the time to picture where you will be. If you love your home, but dream of changes, let that come to the surface. If you think not much will change in your home in 10 years, describe what you have and how you use it.

 

Prompt #3: Your ideal day in 10 years

Picture your average or a typical day in your life 10 years from now.

Think about:

  • How you move through an average day from getting up to going to bed
  • What you do
  • Who you see
  • Whether you are working … where? For how long?
  • What you are eating
  • The kinds of choices you are making
  • Who is supporting you and how

Take a minute to picture your day and see how you feel. Then pick up your pen and start writing about it.

Prompt #4: Put it into action

Today, look back over what you wrote during prompts 1-3.

What one word or part really resonates with you from each one? Maybe from prompt 1’s adjectives, it is energy. Maybe from the image of your home, it is how it smells. Maybe in the ordinary day, it is the fact that someone else is doing your wash.

Think about how you could bring that into your next 90 days. Do a quick brainstorm. Write down all your ideas without judging them. Many times there are steps or actions that we can right now that will move us toward where we want to — or even get us there.

Maybe you need to get more sleep or change how you eat to get more energy. One step you could do this week is to start your day with a green smoothie. Maybe you imagined someone else doing your laundry … and you can delegate now or teach your kids to do laundry.

Here are two examples from my own life.

When I did this, one of my words was energy and when I described my home and ideal day, there were crisp white sheets involved. That day, in real life, I had been putting off changing sheets and we were not on the white rotation. So I simply went upstairs and put the white sheets on my bed. It took 10 minutes.

Here is the lesson for me. My bed does not yet have the view of water I described in my 10-year vision, but I can do my current version of those white crispy sheets pretty easily. And here is the real impact. Before I changed the sheet, I had this looming thought of, when am I going to change my sheets. The thoughts took longer than the task. And after doing it, and really letting the feeling of those sheets give me a glimpse of my future self, I felt like everything is possible.

When I first did this exercise, I wrote about my future kitchen in great detail. The counters were clean and clear, and my eyes always landed on a beautiful bowl of fruit. For years now, whenever I feel overwhelmed, I clear the counters of stuff, wash them well, and create a bouquet of fruit. My kids even know how much I love the clean counter part and often pitch in...

I love knowing how our work together turns into action! Come share your aha’s over on Instagram.

Clean Beauty with Becky Kuhlman

Clean Beauty with Becky Kuhlman

April 10, 2019

Women need to ... know that they’re beautiful without all of that makeup. – Becky Kuhlman

On this episode of the Plan Simple Meals Podcast, I’m really excited to talk with Becky Kuhlman, a Beautycounter consultant, about safe skincare and beauty products. From what not to use to safe sunscreen, we talk about keeping yourself safe and healthy. It’s not just what you put in your body, but what you put on it.

Becky started with sunscreen. When she was living in India with her kids, she recognized the need for sunscreen but knew even then that most sunscreens weren’t safe. In this pre-Beautycounter world, she used a product called Blue Lizard to protect herself and her kids from the sun – and the ingredients in sunscreen.

She talks about the Never List she got from Beautycounter and how it changed what she buys. (We’ve linked the list up below for you.) She mentions specific ingredients you should watch out for and what they can do to our bodies.

We talk about:

  • Using mineral based sunscreens, which are safer for you and the environment
  • Starting with the things that you leave on your skin like lotions and sunscreen
  • Using coconut oil and olive oil in your skin care regimen
  • The importance of reading ingredients and recognizing the number of chemicals in US products—it’s not enough to rely on labels like “natural”
  • The challenge and necessity of cleaning up you deodorant
  • Embracing our wrinkles and natural beauty
  • Her work with Beautycounter, doing something with a purpose, and weaving work throughout your day

BIO

Becky Kuhlman is a Beautycounter consultant and mom to two teenage girls. She’s passionate about educating people and advocating for cleaner products.  

LINKS

Specific Products or Posts Referenced

Doable Changes from this episode:

  • CHECK OUT THE NEVER LIST. Grab a copy of the Never List (linked above). Then start checking the labels of products you already have. Set aside those with ingredients on the Never List. Read the label of every product you buy. You can start making changes to what you buy or simply start by getting aware how many dangerous chemicals you are putting on your skin.
  • MAKE A PLAN TO CLEAN UP YOUR PRODUCTS. Start with the things that stay on your skin and go from there. Put dates in your calendar, giving yourself time to purge and get what you need. Remember, it does not all have to be expensive. For a simple swap out that doesn’t involve buying new products, try using olive or coconut oil on your skin. Becky even talks about mixing in some sugar and possibly flower extracts to make a simple body scrub.
  • TAKE YOUR SHOES OFF. There are a lot of ways we are exposed to toxins. Try taking your shoes off when you come in the door to reduce what you track into and through your house.