Archive | November, 2012

Kind people are my kinda people

Today is a little different from the usual Inspiration Broadcast. Today I’m supporting Karen Salmansohn‘s mission to “stop the trend of bullying by making kindness trendy”. (She’s an awesome author who ‘merges empowering psychology/philosophy tips with edgy humor and stylish graphics’. Seriously - check her out if you haven’t heard of her!)

I believe one of the most silent yet destructive forms of bullying is the one we do to ourselves. So if self kindness is a bit of an struggle for you, or if you think it’s selfish to take care of numero uno, read on…

I used to think that being hard on myself was the only way to get anything done. I believed that while I was a kind and compassionate person to all around me, there was a different set of rules that applied to me.

I internalised the message (as so many of us do) that any act of self kindness was the ultimate hedonism. I had to take care of others, before I took care of myself – otherwise I was totally selfish.

This limited belief led to a girl who was driven by the need for others’ approval, a girl who let others dictate boundaries, a girl who was constantly dieting and “whipping herself into shape” in order to be thin, beautiful and accepted.

My life was clouded by self-doubt, panic attacks, poor relationships and an eating disorder. The irony of it all was that I couldn’t actually be kind to anyone else because I couldn’t be kind to myself.

I couldn’t show kindness to my friends because I was desperate and needy. I pushed them away because I didn’t believe I was worthy of love.

I couldn’t show kindness to my partner because he was busy taking care of me while I suffered through depression and anxiety.

I couldn’t show kindness to strangers because I was too busy comparing myself with them and judging them.

But all that changed when I realised that self kindness wasn’t selfish. Self kindness is vital to ALL kindness. I began to speak to myself as I would a friend. If I was sick, sad or suffering - I would imagine that I was speaking to a small hurt child or a dear loved one.

Slowly but surely, my inner bully began to morph into my inner bestie.

The more I practised self kindness the more I cultivated a sense of worthiness, resilience and grounded calm. I was able to love more fully, connect more deeply and bounce back from set-backs more quickly.

One of my favourite quotes is by Audre Lorde –

‘I have come to believe that caring for myself is not self indulgent. Caring for myself is an act of survival’

Releasing the idea that self kindness was akin to selfishness allowed me to gently explore the idea of nurturing myself.

Instead of undertaking punishing workouts and pushing through injuries, I was able to rest when I needed it.

Instead of being stuck on the diet-binge-self-loathing roller-coaster (the most un-fun roller-coaster ever!), I was able to heal my emotional eating issues.

Instead of unhealthy relationships defined by poor boundaries and power plays – I was able to give and accept love in a balanced way.

I’ve learned self kindness in many ways. Through mindfulness, meditation, yoga, Pilates, counselling  hypnotherapy, intuitive eating, practising gratitude and absorbing positive wisdom from books and blogs (like Karen’s).

It’s been a long and rewarding journey. But like many great feats in life – self-kindness IS a practice. It’s certainly not something I’ve mastered but I give it a red hot go each day.

How about you? Do you struggle with self kindness? Has your inner bully got the best of you? Or can you nurture yourself easily?


“Karen Salmansohn is on a mission to stop the trend of bullying and make kindness trendy. You can find out more about her mission on Karen’s Happy Kid’s page on her site Plus, you can join Karen’s Kindness mission by becoming a Kindness Rockstar Ambassador – just click here.” 


5 ways to bring calm to each moment

On Sunday night, I had the utmost pleasure of attending A Night of Stillness - a meditation group for women run by the sublime Tara Bliss + divine Susana Frioni.

These women are two incredibly insightful chicas and I highly recommend you check out their sites Such Different Skies + Deliriously Deep.

The night was filled with silent meditation,  creative journaling + vulnerable discussion - a winning combo in my eyes.

And whilst it’s easy to receive a deluge of epiphanies, joy + peace during a group meditation, I realised there are simple ways to bring that very stillness into our lives each day.

So here are my top 5 ways to bring a sense of calm to each moment…

1. Return to the breath

One of the simplest, yet most profound way to invite calm in is to take a deep breath. An exhale, a deep sigh, even a yawn is coupled with a release in tension. All melts away with the exhale. All is renewed with the inhale.

When I was in the throes of panic attacks + overwhelming anxiety - learning to breathe was literally a life saver for me. I found the greatest sense of calm when I used a longer exhale than inhale.

For example, if I inhaled for a count of 2, I would exhale for a count of 4.

Within that control of the breath, I found the sense of control + calm I needed.

2. A still body = a still mind = a still body

At the very beginning of the meditation, Susana guided us gently in for a few minutes. A profound statement (it’s a tweetable!) stayed with me throughout the silence.

“Stillness is a reflection of your presence” - click to tweet

Any time I found myself fidgeting, I realised my thoughts had become distracted from the present moment. I remembered that movement flows from distracting thoughts. A deep breath + a stillness of the body led me back to a stillness of the mind.

Later I thought “How many times a day do I bite my nails, tap my foot, play with my hair, pace around?” I realised each time I’m restless, I try to diffuse the discomfort of my thoughts through nervous energy + movement. But it brings no peace.

You can choose in any moment of anxiety or restlessness to still the body + thereby still the mind.

3. Release judgement

A judging mind is a distracted, compartmentalised, time bound, sequestered mind. It is caught up in labels, past regrets, future tripping + overwhelm. There is no room for peace.  Thoughts may hold you hostage but a return to awareness can set you free.

A still mind is a liberated mind. A still mind has thoughts, but they rise + fall away with the breath. They whistle through the mind like leaves from a tree, sweeping past without a trace. No anxiety, no attachment, no judgement.

Judging a thought or activity (ie this is boring, my back hurts, this is good, that is bad) can lead to distraction, procrastination, or avoidance. Rather than “sit in the tension” with awareness + kindness - we may try to shift our attention into something more pleasurable. For me, this often meant turning to food as a source of solace.

Even just noticing that a judgement has arisen allows awareness + peace back in.

Try proclaiming “Oh, hello judging mind” + return to the breath (see #1).

4. Use kindness

Rather than hoisting + shoving thoughts away. Rather than being critical for having anxious or distracting thoughts. Rather than piling on guilt, shame, resentment, the “I don’t wanna”, “This sucks”, “If only X were Y” ‘s + turning life into a general GAH-fest…

Gently + kindly nudge the thoughts back to the the present moment. Notice the breath once more.

Kindness calms the inner critic + allows more awareness, presence + peace to unfold. This in turn allows you to get your shit done with a minimum of fuss.

5. Pay attention

Meditation is really just focused attention. Paying attention gently to the breath allows the thoughts to pass through. Attention to a positive mantra allows all doubt to fall away.

Attention to the present moment allows peace to arise; dissolves past regrets; + halts future tripping immediately. Attention to a loved one allows true understanding + connection to occur.

Attention to a tedious task allows it to be done without procrastination or resistance. Attention to a creative task allows the subconscious mind room to expand + create while the rational, judging mind has a break.

Simply pay attention wholly to any given task + voila - instant calm.


Disclaimer - Using meditation (or any other mindful practice) doesn’t mean that every moment of every day will be filled with rainbow-pooping unicorns + giggle snorts. However, meditation does have a direct influence on your brain, your mood + your mental health. It will help you cultivate resilience in the face of adversity; strengthens positive neural pathways; plus it helps you be kinder, smarter, more patient + loving.

Nothing else on earth provides THAT much bang for buck.

Do you meditate? What’s your favourite way to go about it? Do you use music, silence, guided visualisation, mindfulness? Share (don’t be shy) in the comments below.


Recipe Remixes - My top 10 healthy food blogs

Recipe Remix (n.) - A traditional recipe that has been altered to produce a healthier version

I am beyond excited to share with you today my top ten foodie blogs that contain what I call “recipe remixes” - which go to show that pleasurable food + healthy food don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

The wonderful thing about all of these blogs is that it’s not just about food or healthy eating. These blogs are inspirational + motivational to boot. Many of the bloggers discuss ways they’ve overcome disordered eating, how they’ve changed their health for the better or how you can integrate positive thinking into your day.

So, in no particular order, and without further ado…

DAMY Health

My first foray into recipe remixes came when I stumbled across Amy’s blog. Love soaked inspiration combined with the most delectable desserts made from the most surprising ingredients had me hooked.

Still to this day my all time fave is her Healthy Chocolate Cake Batter Dip that I eat with slices of apple, or just with a spoon. Right. Out. Of. The. Bowl.


Oh She Glows

Angela began her blog to talk about recovering from an eating disorder, but it quickly grew into a way to celebrate her new found relationship with food + zest for creating healthy recipes.

She creates wonderful vegan recipes + healthy treats that even carnivores like me love. (Don’t believe me? Check out comments on her recipe posts).

Homemade vegan “rolo” knock offs anyone?


Chocolate Covered Katie

The name says it all. Katie finds a way to use chocolate in ev.ry.thing + converts decadent desserts into healthier versions - like the The Ultimate Chocolate Fudge Pie.

She is living, glowing proof that you can have your chocolate covered cake + eat it too.

Need allergy free recipes? Or flying solo + need cake for one? Katie’s got you covered there too.


Crazy Sexy Kris

After documenting her struggle with + triumph over a rare, terminal form of cancer in Crazy Sexy Cancer - Kris Carr began a wellness revolution (+ you gotta love a good revolution, right?).

She’s just released her first cookbook, Crazy Sexy Kitchen, which is blowing up the blogosphere + just went #6 on the New York Times Best Seller list.

An avid vegan + plant power crusader, Kris builds a strong community by sharing some of her incredible recipes - like her Save the Tuna Salad - and inviting her fans to do the same.


Purely Twins

Lori + Michelle are two gorgeous identical twins that run their own healthy bakery + generously share their own recipes. Plus they blog about how they’ve healed their skin + digestive problems, share workouts + are Fitfluential ambassadors.

Many of their recipes - like their Mini Triple Chocolate Cream Cake recipe - are free of common allergy ingredients so are great for people suffering with food allergies / intolerances.

They experiment with lots of different ingredients, so a trip to the health food store is in order, if you want to recreate their superfood-nutrient-packed yet delicious recipes.



If you thought that eating raw food was akin to eating rabbit food, think again. Susan Powers shows you how to create nutrient dense raw food recipes “without sacrificing the taste and presentation of traditional recipes”.

Her blog has photos that (no word of a lie) make me want to lick the screen. Seriously. Look at her Raw Chocolate Covered Nutella Macaroons + tell me you don’t want to too.


Fork + Beans

Every recipe on Fork + Beans is made without gluten, eggs, and dairy but, according to Cara “you will never taste the difference!”

After struggling miserably with digestive issues, poor eating habits + deteriorating self esteem - Cara discovered she had a host of allergies that contributed to her painful digestion + lack of energy. So she transformed herself with love + nourishing (non-allergy inducing) food.

Now Cara transforms classic recipes - like Peppermint Patties - into raw, vegan, gluten free goodness.


The Spunky Coconut

After discovering her family’s health issues disappeared after going gluten free, then dairy free, then sugar free - Kelly now creates healthy food that is so delicious, no-one in her family feels deprived. Her radical change in diet (along with other biomedical treatments)  has seen herself + her loved ones overcome coeliac disease, ADD + autism with great success.

Her Avocado + Pear Baby Food Pops clearly show why she was voted in the Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs in 2011; and how healthy eating can begin at any age. ;)


The Vedge

Shae is slowly but surely turning her health around after becoming a gluten-free vegan.

Not only does she have fabulous recipes all over her blog, but she also has an Allergy Card iPhone app to help you stay allergy free when dining out. How clever is that?!

And can you believe this creamy looking mac-and-cheese is vegan?! Nom nom nom.


The Yummy Life

The thing I think I love the most about Monica’s blog, is that she provides a bunch of different flavours in most recipes. Like her Salad in a Jar recipe - there’s 4 different ways you can make it.

And lemme tell ya, they are the bomb for pre-prepared non-soggy salads for lunches on the go. It’s a great place to start if you want to begin incorporating more healthy food into your routine without the more exotic ingredients other healthy bloggers sometimes use.
I just realised looking through this post that 60% of the recipes are some kind of chocolate based recipe. Clearly I’m biased but if you’re not a chocoholic, have a browse around these sites anyway as their recipes are more diverse than perhaps I’ve portrayed…

Have I missed someone? I’m always keen to try new recipes so share your favourite recipe remixer in the comments!