A mini meditation to begin your week

If you own a bell or a singing bowl, these can make excellent tools for beginning and ending your meditations. If you don't, I recommend that you download Insight Timer--start by setting the timer for just five minutes a day. This is how I built a meditation practice that I have used most days of my life for the last few years.

To start your week, here is a mini mindfulness exercise you can do: settle back in your chair and close your eyes. If you prefer, lower your gaze to the floor just in front of you. Take a deep breath in and feel the air as it moves from your nose down into your body. Envision yourself in your best health. Feel the weight of the week start to lighten as you breathe out.  Take another deep breath in and feel the air leaving your chest. Now just quietly focus on your breath. IF you need a mantra, try 'cool air in, warm air out.'

  With a deep breath in, feel your body fill with excitement and promise for the week ahead of you. Blow this breath out releasing any tension or worry. Again, breathe in deeply. When you breathe out, imagine that your breath is a strong wind carrying kindness to those you know, and those you don't.

Ring your meditation bell or wait for the bell to ding on your app. Try to listen until you can’t hear it anymore, then open your eyes. 

Have a wonderful week.

Easy, instant ways to improve your diet without going broke

Here are some ways to make your meals healthier, without making them cost more: 

Instead of white rice, try half rice, half riced-cauliflower

Instead of frying, grill, bake or broil your meat or fish

Instead of flavoring with drippings, fat, or salt, season your food with herbs, garlic, lemon or spices

Instead of noodles, try shredded cabbage or broccoli or spiralized zucchini or carrots

Try rinsing canned vegetables or beans or buy the low-sodium version

Eat half as much mashed potato and make up the rest with mashed cauliflower, turnips or parsnips  

Make all of your grains whole grains. That means the first word on the ingredients list should be ‘whole.’ Instead of white rice, brown rice. Instead of white bread, whole grain or whole wheat bread. Try whole wheat tortillas, or plain oatmeal that you can sweeten yourself with cinnamon or fresh fruit. 

Read the labels on your dressings and sauces and see how many grams of sugar there are--choose the ketchup, tomato sauce or salad dressing with the fewest grams of sugar.


Be aware of what you drink. Sometimes the biggest source of sugar in our diets is from soda, coffees, juice and energy drinks. Why drink all of your calories and carbs when you could have a little more food to eat, that you can actually chew and enjoy?

 

Instead of soda, try seltzer water with slices of fresh fruit.

 Instead of juice, try half juice and half water.

Try unsweetened tea, and eat an actual piece of fruit with more fiber and vitamins.

If you drink alcohol, skip the fruity drinks and measure your portion sizes.

Water is the best drink of all to keep you hydrated and feeling good. If it sounds boring to stop drinking sugary soda, keep in mind that once you start eating less sugar, you will crave it less and less, and you may find that your energy level stays more constant throughout the day.