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You’re Invited to Join Kiva With a Free Loan!

kivaloansHi there! I’ve mentioned Kiva in the past. In case you missed that post, here’s what it’s all about: Kiva connects thousands of lenders all over the world to borrowers and partner institutions in developing countries. They help alleviate poverty through small loans, which help people set up new businesses. Exciting!

Kiva is once again offering a series of free trials, with sponsored $25 loans to get you started. What does that mean? Sign up with this link and you’ll get $25 to donate to any Kiva cause that you choose. When the money is paid back, it goes to the person who sponsored your loan (who has chosen to remain anonymous), but it will give you a chance to see how Kiva works for free, and you can help people around the world.

I just received a repayment on one of my loans, and I was informed that the free starter loans were available yet again.

Head over there now to give it a try. It takes less than five minutes to get started, and you can make a huge difference in someone else’s life. This is not charity: this is empowering someone to take action and change their lives by starting a new business. How exciting is that?!

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How to Quiet Inner Dialogue

Are you hiding in a fantasy world of inner dialogue?Do you have constant chatter in your mind as you go throughout your day? I’m not necessarily talking about the negative self talk that we sometimes experience: that inner voice that drags you down and tells you that you won’t be successful or that you can’t do things. No, I’m talking about all kinds of mind chatter, including daydreaming: everything that doesn’t keep you in the present moment of what’s actually happening in real life, outside your head.

I used to struggle a lot with this. There was a period of several years where I was very unhappy with my life and what I was doing. I was working crazy long hours with little rest to recharge, and my life was full of chaos and struggle. So I spent a lot of time in my head imagining a better, happier life. It kept me going until I actually made the important changes I needed to make to shift my life from a torturous hell to an amazing playground that I look forward to living each day.

I knew it wasn’t quite right, but it was my survival mechanism. And then one day I had a conversation with a couple of friends, one of whom had been in a car accident some years earlier, and had suffered some brain damage. Another friend asked her what it was like. She replied that her inner dialogue was gone: it was like her mind had been wiped clean.

“Don’t you understand?” my friend asked her. “That’s what we all want in life.” And I knew instantly that she was right. Why? Continue Reading →

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Unhappy with where you are in life? Don’t know where to go?

2013-01-18 14.09.35Sometimes life is bleak and gray like in this winter photo, and sometimes you feel like you’re living in black and white when you’d rather be living in color. Vibrant, exciting color.

Are you unhappy with where you are in your life? And yet, you have absolutely no idea where you want to be headed? I know exactly what that feels like. A few years ago, I was winding down my participation in my previous company. I knew it was time for me to leave, but I had no idea where I wanted to go.

And thus began a long journey of getting to know myself.

I ended up taking a sabbatical. I had been working crazy long hours for years, and was totally fed up with my life. I was burnt out and needed a rest. I wanted some time to myself. And during this time, my intention was to figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

I tried all kinds of things. I still couldn’t figure it out. Continue Reading →

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Who am I? An abstainer or a moderator?

whole30I wrote the other day about about my decision to do the Whole 30 challenge. I gave up grains, legumes, sugar, dairy, potatoes, and alcohol during the month of February. I did a very effective countdown detox in January to prepare myself for the Whole 30 and to avoid the detox effects.

What was my motivation behind doing the Whole 30?

There were a couple of reasons. First, I’d done a paleo-style eating plan in the past, about 13 years ago, and it helped enormously with some chronic health issues that I’ve had for a long time. I felt fantastic, though it was hugely challenging for me at the time.

Second, and more important, I honestly believe that it’s the natural human diet. I’ve been vegetarian, and I’ve been vegan. (And OMG did I get up on my vegan high horse and look down on meat eaters!) I also know that I tend to get anemic if I don’t get enough beef (read: almost daily beef), so paleo eating just makes sense to me. Check out the documentary The Perfect Human Diet if you want to learn more. Both my husband and I were absolutely fascinated with that film.

The thing is, despite the fact that I don’t think they’re healthy at all, I find junk foods like wheat, dairy, and sugar to be really addictive. And so I tend to fall back into unhealthy eating habits: I might be able to avoid milk, but cheese…that’s another story. And maybe I manage to stop eating wheat for a while, but then I allow myself some rice with the Chinese takeaway. Or I have honey instead of sugar.

And the end result is that I eat foods that I know aren’t good for me. 

A few weeks ago, I read Gretchen Rubin’s post on abstaining vs. moderating. And it all made sense to me: I’m an abstainer. I find it so much easier to completely abstain from a food or from a food group rather than to try to enjoy it in moderation. This was a huge light bulb moment for me. Huge. Did I say huge? I finally understood how I function in this aspect.

The problem is, my husband is a moderator. Of sorts.

So he totally doesn’t get what he considers to be my “extreme” eating habits. He doesn’t understand how a little cheese in my eggs on Sunday mornings is a problem. It’s just one day a week, after all! The issue is, one day a week for me leads to all kinds of other exceptions. And then the whole “moderation” plan goes out the window.

Basically, there is no moderation for me. It’s all or nothing.

That’s just me. And so the Whole 30, plus my countdown detox beforehand, has been a fantastic way of breaking old food habits. We’re nearing the end of the month, and I plan to continue for several days into March. And then…I’ll probably add red wine back into my diet, because I really don’t think there’s anything wrong with a glass a day.

But dairy, sugar, grains, legumes, and potatoes? I plan to keep them out of my diet. Will I make exceptions? Knowing what I now know about myself, I really don’t think so. Because I know that I’m an abstainer, and that it’s easiest for me to avoid junk food by avoiding it altogether.

What about you? Are you an abstainer or a moderator? Share in the comments below.


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How to detox without the nasty side effects

whole30Sometimes it helps to make big changes little by little. When I filled out my Create Your Incredible Year workbook, one of the things I made note of in the 100 Things to Do in 2013 list was to do the Whole 30 in February. I first heard about this program on Andra’s healthy food blog Love to Eat, Hate to Exercise.

I also heard about the Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead documentary from her blog, too. And it inspired me to start juicing late last fall. I was so excited about the idea of consuming massive amounts of nutritious veggies. I was going to be so healthy!

Until the detox effect hit.  Continue Reading →

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