30
Aug

I Promise Not to Suffer – Hiking From Mexico to Canada

by Tiffany in Book Reviews

I-Promise-Not-To-SufferHiking is a big love of mine. As I have mentioned before it has always been a dream of mine to through hike the AT (Appalachian Trail) which runs from Georgia to Maine. It takes about six months to do and I have read about a dozen books written by hikers who have made the journey. I read these books and dream about “someday”. I want to know as much as I can about what it takes mentally and physically to do these long distance hikes. I also love reading about the adventures of others.

Despite all my reading about the AT ( and my obsession with long distance hiking) I had never once picked up a book about the infamous long distance hike on the other side of the country. It is called The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and it also takes six months to hike, running from Mexico to Canada (2,663 miles).  Last week though I made the leap and read a wonderful book about one woman’s journey on the PCT. It is called I Promise  Not to Suffer by Gail Storey. The author and her husband did the hike together after he quit his  job as a hospice doctor. Gail insisted upon joining him and their journey is touching, inspiring, and funny. The chapter that addressed the issue of sex on the trail had me smiling. I have always dreamed about my husband and I doing one of these long distance hikes and the issue of sex has never been addressed in my reading, that I recall. Does one even want to go there after hiking 20+ miles every day? Ditto for the sweat and caked dirt. Finally I have my answers, LOL. Though it has its share of serious too… exhaustion, animal encounters, grumpiness with each other, trail injuries, etc. The author also has to deal with dangerous weight loss and her mother’s prolonged illness back home.

Just before reading this book I wondered why I had never read a memoir about the PCT before, since I have read so very many about the Appalachian Trail and I think I figured it out after the first couple chapters. The thought of hiking any trail that includes a huge portion of desert…kinda freaks me out. I was raised in the Southwest (Arizona) and I spent years hiking and camping all over that beautiful state. I know desert and I know how wondrous and terrifying it is. I know how the sun beats down on you until you feel as though you are literally cooking on a skillet. I know heat exhaustion and how hard it can be to find water. I know how it can be blazing hot during the day and freezing at night, in the spring and fall. I know how prevalent and dangerous the rattlesnakes and mountain lions are. I lived on a property that had both in abundance. So yeah…I think that is why I chose to ignore the PCT because the desert part is kinda “been there, done that”!

Still this book has me longing to give it a go. I want to ford a river in the Mohave desert, see the mountains of the High Sierra, and travel through the lava fields of Oregon. Mostly I want to know if I have what it takes to get though a hike such as this. So far I have been unable to get my husband excited about the notion but I still dream of the day when he and I can attempt it together. We CrossFit together…can we hike from Mexico to Canada together?

If you love travel and adventure memoirs or you love hiking I highly reccomend this book. I know it has now spurred me to look for other books about the Pacific Crest Trail.

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

28
Aug

8 Reasons Why Less Stuff Equals More Happiness

by Tiffany in A Green Home

8 Reasons Why Less Stuff Equals More HappinessIs less really more? Actually the surprising answer is yes. At least it can be if you have the right attitude and outlook. So many people spend a great deal of time and energy trying to acquire “stuff”. They think that having more stuff somehow makes them more. They think that acquiring wealth or the things that it buys will bring them happiness and they spend most of their lives chasing that carrot when in actuality happiness is more of a choice than a destination.

My decision to stop accumulating so much stuff was based in environmental ideals. As a society we Americans use and waste way too much, more than our fair share. I decided to try and better myself by reducing the amount of waste and excess in my life. One small change lead to another, and another, and another. Soon my life was nothing at all like it had been and yet I was happier than ever. Having less brought us more happiness than tons of stuff ever did. When you have fewer items, you appreciate them more and, ultimately, those items are used more fully and add more to your life. This is the essence of the “less is more” principle.

When you have less stuff in your life, you have the potential to have more of the following:

1. Meaningful relationships – When you are not distracted by clutter and things and the latest demands being made on you, you have more time for people. Relationships are more fulfilling than inanimate objects and by choosing to live simply you find that you work harder to develop and maintain relationships.

2. Simplicity – Gadgets and toys require responsibility. First you have to trade in time (aka years of your life spent working) to be able to afford them. You also have to clean, maintain, and store all of these things – cars have to be washed and taken in for oil changes and other maintenance, electronic gadgets need to be upgraded, and toys take up space in your home. Things complicate your life.

3. Gratitude – When you can’t just throw something away and replace it with the latest, greatest thing, you develop a sense of appreciation for what you do have. You are more likely to take care of your possessions and be more selective about what you buy.

4. A clutter-free and tidy home – Your home should be your refuge, the place where you invite people or spend time alone, where you reconnect with family and relax. It can also be your workplace. If it’s messy, you may find yourself distracted and frustrated and unable to relax. Your life may resemble the chaos that it is your home.  Sound familiar? Less stuff equals more inner peace, basically, since you have fewer stressors surrounding you.

5. Contentment – It gives you a sense of relief  and great liberation to know you are not trying to keep up with anyone or spend too much money on things you don’t really need. It is great feeling to be able to step back from the materialistic world around you and think “I am not buying into that”. A good book to read to explore this further is Love Your Life, Not Theirs.

6. Closeness to nature – Having a bigger television, video games, an awesome laptop, and the latest version of the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy (even though there was nothing wrong with your old one) means you are spending large amounts of time indoors or connected to a screen. Without those distractions  you actually live life instead of watching it.

7. Better health – Stress affects our health, and stress can be greatly exacerbated by excessive stuff. Letting go of those sources of stress is good for your physical and mental health. Peace, contentment, gratitude, simplicity, and health all go hand in hand. And then there is the practical health issue – many items can be toxic to our health directly. Plastics for instance, can be cause for concern, possibly causing illness and disorders. New products and furnishings also off-gas for a time. The less plastic and new stuff in your life, the healthier you’ll be.

8. Financial security – One of the most compelling arguments against consumerism is that it promotes debt. Debt equals big time unhappiness. Think carefully about your wants and needs BEFORE you buy. You can also save money by making gifts yourself or employing other creative gift-giving ideas. The drive to have more and more – either for yourself or for giving to others – can set you up for financial difficulties and even financial ruin.

Our peace, contentment, and satisfaction with our lives can all be undermined by the pursuit and accumulation of “things”. Hopefully you will consider these eight reasons to change all that.

21
Aug

Stop losing money while you sleep!

by Tiffany in A Green Home

This infographic highlights stats from a different region of the world but it is still very interesting to see just how much money can be wasted foolishly if we aren’t vigilant about our energy usage. Leaving a wireless router or a microwave plugged in all night for instance. I don’t know anyone who microwaves in their sleep and its just plain wasteful. This graphic a great reminder to stop throwing away money while we catch some ZZZZZs. I know I have one or two of these things I need to remember to turn off nightly, how about you?

Energy Saving Infographic
Brought to you by Ovo Energy the cheaper, greener and simpler energy supplier

19
Aug

Simple and Effective Tips To Help Anyone With a Low Thyroid Lose Weight and Get Into Shape

by Guest in Health & Healing

Lose Weight ThyroidA guest post by Avelina Kongoi

We all know how difficult it can be to lose weight at the best of times but just imagine how hard it is to shed even a single pound of body fat when you’re battling hypothyroidism. The reality is that this is a condition that is affecting more and more people’s lives every single year, and it shows no signs of actually stopping.

There are almost 28 million people in America who have been told by their doctors that they have an underactive thyroid. But even more surprising than this number is the fact that there are way more people out there that are still waiting to be diagnosed and given the treatment they require to get better.

Aside from hypothyroidism, there’s another condition that’s also getting more and more common and it goes by the name of subclinical hypothyroidism. This disease doesn’t actually do anything to the individual’s thyroid but it still leaves them experiencing many of the symptoms that are common with people that usually have full blown hypothyroidism. The good news however is that if the person just improves their diet for the better then everything can be flipped around.

So what happens when the individual is suffering from hypothyroidism? Well more than likely it will leave them with a much slower metabolism which will result in them burning way less calories than normal.

Any person out there that doesn’t have thyroid glands that are working properly will find that they will struggle to lose weight. This is because the thyroid glands are responsible for creating two very important hormones known as T3 and T4. These hormones are basically what control your body’s rate of metabolism.

So any individual who doesn’t have enough of these hormones will find it a lot harder to lose weight! This is precisely why losing weight can be do damn difficult.

However those of you that are absolutely dedicated to getting results will be glad to know that you can get it done by following the tips below:

Tip 1: Get a Fully Qualified Doctor to Properly Diagnose and Then Give You Treatment

The first step you must implement is to make sure that you get a fully qualified doctor to thoroughly check you over to give you the diagnosis and treatment that you need.

How you are diagnosed will totally be dependent upon the results of the blood test that your doctor actually gives you. This simple and quick blood test will basically be measuring exactly how much T3, T4 and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) you have inside your body. Should the results come back to show that you have really high amounts of TSH but really low amounts of T4 and T3 then it’s pretty much guaranteed that you do indeed have hypothyroidism!

The American Thyroid Association states that you need to have a TSH level of about 2.5 mIU/L to be officially considered as being hypothyroid.

Those of you that do get the diagnosis that you do actually have an underactive thyroid will go on to be prescribed with some sort of synthetic T4. Most of the time you’ll be given medication that goes by the name of levothyroxine. The great thing about this medicine is that it will help to get your levels of thyroid hormone right back into the healthy range where it should be to get your metabolism fired up again.

Tip 2: Start Making Meals That Are Really Healthy and Nutritious

The best and most effective way to help yourself lose all the weight you want to lose is to make sure that you start eating healthy and nutritious meals. Not even hypothyroidism will be able to stop you from losing weight if you can do this. Every single meal that you sit down to consume should contain a healthy portion of both protein and vegetables.

You might not realize this but protein is actually very satiating. It has been shown to not only keep hunger at bay for a good number of hours but it also helps to protect your metabolism boosting muscle mass, which is very important when you are focused on trying to lose weight and get into shape.

Tip 3: Begin Consuming Tons of Foods High in Fiber and Totally Avoid Processed Junk Foods

Nothing out there is going to be more detrimental to your long term weight loss success than you eating junk foods that do nothing but cause you to gain weight! Seriously you need to do your level best to dump these foods in favor of foods that contain a good amount of fiber in them. The first benefit you’ll notice is that fiber rich foods are very good for keeping your hunger at bay.

Of course the other benefit of getting a good amount of fiber into your body is that it will help to prevent any sort of chronic constipation from occurring which is very common among people that suffer from hypothyroidism.

Tip 4: Exercise Properly

Truth be told, after diet exercise is going to be the key to you really getting the dream body you’ve always desired. So regardless of the time that you’re able to dedicate to exercise every single day, it’s going to be in your interest to make sure that you’re doing whatever you can.

The really great thing about exercise is the fact that it contributes to weight loss a lot more than just helping you burn calories in the moment. Rather it will help to build up a good amount of high quality muscle mass which is essential to getting your base metabolic rate to rise and rise.

And as we all probably know the higher an individual’s metabolism the more weight they are going to end up burning over the long term!

The only way to really overcome hypothyroidism for good and lose the weight you want to lose is by making sure that you remain consistent in your efforts and never allow hypothyroidism to stop you from getting what it is that you want.

Believe me, only you can stop yourself from getting the results that you truly desire! This means you just need to make sure that you keep a positive mind and that you keep moving towards your goals every single day! Do this and believe me soon enough you will end up in the best shape of your life.

Make sure that you head over to http://hypothyroidismdietplan.org/ where you will find all the latest and greatest on exactly what you need to get into the best health of your life, even if you happen to be suffering from an underactive thyroid!

15
Aug

Earthing Shoes – Get Touchy Feely with Mother Earth

by Tiffany in Eco Fashion

Earth Runners

Late last year I wrote about Earthing – what it is and why it is so important so learn about and implement in our daily lives. The post is rather long winded but essentially it is about reconnecting to the earth…physically. It makes the case that we are actually meant to be in close contact with the earth and that our health suffers when we don’t have that contact. We all know that kids who do not have the close contact and “touch” of their parents suffer physically and mentally. It is well documented. Well, we also need to connect with and touch our Mother Earth. The earth’s energy helps to regulate our own bodily energy. Our sleep patterns, our hormones, our health… all of it, is tied to this flow and regulation of energy. Without it, we are a flickering light bulb.

Once we decide we need to get get touchy feely with the soil we may decide to allot for ourselves some barefoot time outside each and day and I highly recommend that. Yet we probably still spend way too much time wearing insulated shoes that remove that electrical connection and that is where earthing shoes come in.

They are shoes and sandals that are actually made of conductive materials (allowing for electrical flow) and they even have copper discs embedded in the soles. So even though you are technically wearing shoes you you still have access to the earth’s energy and natural electrical current. Earth Runners is one such company making them. I got a pair several weeks back. They are minimalist and custom made to fit your foot so you get a perfect fit every time. I admit that they took a bit of getting used to. They are definitely the most “hippie” looking shoes I have owned since Birkenstocks and they are worn differently than flip flops so my feet had to get used to wearing them.

I love that I am earthing while I am wearing them though, provided I am on real ground and I don’t have to worry about dirty feet or cutting myself on glass/rocks, etc. It makes earthing in public spaces possible so I am increasing the amount of time I am “grounded”. Does it actually DO anything? I believe so. Years of computer work and a sedentary lifestyle has taken a toll on my lower back and when I get those familiar twinges of pain I know that I only need to go sit outside with my feet on the grass or take a  walk on the dirt tails of  my local park  (in my earthing shoes) and the back pain goes away. No pills, just grass and dirt. Well, that and regular exercise. I love that new shoe brands allow me to extend the amount of time I can spend “earthing”.

Other earthing shoes on the market include Pluggz which come in flip flop styles and also dressy flats and Groundels flip flops.