The Good and the Bad of Habits

The Good and the Bad of Habits

Habits are a tricky thing. If you follow me on Instagram you know one of my intentions for the month of May was to shed old patterns and expand my horizons. Part of that is breaking myself out of habits that have turned into ruts. A habit can start as a commitment to ourselves to set a positive pattern in our life, but over time, when the habit becomes routine, it can also stunt our ability to grow and learn.

For example, imagine you never go to the gym so you decide that four mornings out of the week you will get up an hour earlier to make it to the gym to work out. Great! You’re getting exercise, you feel great, and you’re getting stronger. This is a great habit to set! But what if six months later you’re still doing the same routine at the gym each day? Are you still challenging yourself in the same way that you were when you first went to the gym? Of course not.

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my top habit: getting in some kind of MOVEMENT each day

Habits can be a wonderful tool to help us set positive, new patterns in our lives. They can also be a great way to automate things that we should be doing daily but don’t necessarily need to dedicate new thought to (brushing our teeth, taking vitamins, etc.). So before I tell you why you should break your habits, let me tell you why you should form habits to begin with:

  1. Set yourself up for success: Good habits can help you build the life that you want and move towards your long-term goals. Habits build the foundation towards realizing a larger goal. Each bigger goal (running a half marathon) can be accomplished through setting habits to achieve smaller goals along the way (start jogging 3x a week).
  2. Healthy habits, healthy life: Getting in more movement or eating healthier isn’t always easy. Habits such as meal prepping, walking on work breaks, or getting to a yoga class each week help to create a healthier life.
  3. Streamline your life and your mind: Habits for every day activities helps eliminate excess time. If you have the same morning routine for skincare and don’t need to decide what to do each morning, you remove the decision time and free it up for fresh thought. In this way, habits can also lower stress levels because the routine reduces what you need to actively think about and act on.
  4. Get stuff done: Creating habits and routines makes it easier to check things off our to do list. A more scheduled day means less time for procrastination; each task has a specific time when it is completed each week (i.e. Saturdays are for cleaning and Sunday mornings are for grocery shopping). Blocking out time for tasks ensures they get done and is one less thing to worry about.

Habits are a tool for creating order in a busy life and an amazing way to help establish a healthy lifestyle. However, their strengths are also their weaknesses. By creating routine and removing the active thought around the action, habits can quickly stunt our growth as individuals. Automating action so we don’t have to think about it is great for efficiency, but horrible for being in the present moment. To be present is to be fully aware of each action, thought, and breath. In habits, we are able to move through action without thinking.

Habits establish routine, which can set us up in positive patterns, but once the routine is mastered, can stunt our ability to continue to challenge ourselves. By breaking out of the habit (always jogging for 30 min at the gym) and creating new patterns (trying yoga, spin, and boxing classes throughout the week), we not only challenge ourselves in new ways physically and mentally, but are forced to be more present because there isn’t a set pattern for our brain and our body to follow.

I think habits are best used as a way to start a new, positive design in our lives. But they need to be re-evaluated regularly to make sure that the habit is still serving us. When the habit starts to feel too comfortable or too easy, it is time to shake things up a bit – to either adjust the habit to create more of a challenge, or set a new habit to build upon the established one. For example, if your positive pattern is getting to a yoga class each week, once that becomes an established habit, switch it UP. Try getting to two or three classes. Try different styles of yoga. Try going with a friend. Try yoga outside. You get the idea 😉

Here are two ways I am breaking habits:

  1. One of my positive patterns is the commitment to my yoga practice, getting to yoga classes or spending time on my mat each week. But I began to realize that my body was getting comfortable in this and that I wasn’t challenging myself in the same way anymore. This month I am working in more cardio, circuits, and trying new yoga classes.
  2. I eat a plant based diet and love to meal prep to help prepare me for the week. I have a pretty good line up of all my favorite, easy recipes that help me to eat well throughout the week. While meal prepping in one habit I want to keep, I am building on this habit by also choosing one new recipe a week to try, normally on Sunday nights when I have the most time. This both helps to keep the foods I’m eating more interesting but also expands my cooking skills and my arsenal of recipes

What are some habits you have that are positive patterns in your life? What are some ways you could expand upon these habits to keep challenging yourself?

xo

Jules

Happy Belly, Healthy Gut: Why Probiotics?

Happy Belly, Healthy Gut: Why Probiotics?

let’s talk about gut health 🧐

I have a notoriously sensitive digestive system, reactive to certain foods and even more sensitive in times of stress. over the past year I have learned a lot about what foods do and don’t (dairy, gluten, heavily processed foods) work well for my system.

I’ve also learned to supplement my diet to keep my gut healthy and happy. here are a few of my go tos:

1. kimchi: a fermented cabbage, kimchi is a Korean dish made from lacto-fermentation. Kimchi is packed with enzymes, B vitamins, vitamin C, and contains probiotics. I typically eat it right of of the jar but it’s also great in a buddha bowl 🤤

2. kombucha: a fermented tea, made from a “scoby” or the mother bacteria and yeast, kombucha has active bacteria, or probiotics that absorb nutrients and support your immune system. healthade is my go to kombucha and their lemon ginger is my ride or die ☠️💛 they are brewed in super small 2.5 gal batches, only in glass jars 🌍, and are FULL of probiotics and healthy acids!

3. lemon ginger tea: I find this super soothing when my stomach is upset or to help with digestion. Lemon ginger tea is full of antioxidants, has immune boosting effects, and can even boost your metabolism! I like mine w a little raw honey 🍋 🍯

4. yoga and/or meditation: while not a food, yoga and meditation help to keep my stress levels low(er) which is key to keeping my stomach happy. even just 5-10 of meditation or breath work makes a huge difference 🧘🏼‍♀️

have you struggled with digestion? what tips and tricks have worked for you to get a happy belly?

xo

Jules

Yin Yoga

Yin Yoga

Last weekend I took a Yin Yoga Teacher Training. I have so much to write about this this training and my experience with it, but wanted to dive in on some Yin Yoga 101 first. So much of this was new knowledge to me and has provided new depth to my yoga practice, that I wanted to share it with you!

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Yin is the counterpart to a “Yang” yoga practice. Yang yoga is your more common hatha or vinyasa style, characterized by movement, change, and heat, focused on uncovering or bringing things to light. Yang is male, active, and positive in nature. Yin is slow, unmoving, cool, and focused on the hidden aspects. Yin is female, passive, and negative in nature. They are the balance to each other’s halves, in opposition to each other. Yin and Yang are in a constant, shifting relationship with each other.

Within the body, there are more Yin and more Yang organs and functions. Yin, the feminine, is associated with the inner body (organs), below the waist, the fluids of the body, and such organs as the liver, spleen and kidney. Yang, the masculine, is associated with the outer body (skin), above the waist, the qi, and such organs as the gall bladder, stomach, and bladder. Yin yoga poses stimulate pairs of Yin and Yang organs through opening of the energy meridians, allowing chi to flow.

Closely linked with Chinese medicine, Yin yoga works with the Meridian Theory. Meridians are tunnels throughout the physical body through which the body’s subtle energy, or chi, travels. There are 14 main meridians, 12 of which correspond to the Yin and Yang organs in the body. Half of these meridians end in the feet (Yin) and half in the hands (Yang). Yin postures focus on restoring healthy chi to these pathways. Chi nourishes the body, providing balance to the body and the mind. Chi can become blocked or stagnant when it is not able to flow through the tunnels in a smooth pattern. Chi can also be deficit when there is a lack of energy. Healthy chi brings strength, mobility, and balance to the body. Yin yoga, breath work, and acupuncture are all ways to help restore chi in the body.

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Meridians of the body. picture via: acupresence.co/

In her book, Insight Yoga, Sarah Powers details three tenets of yin yoga:

  1. Come into the shape of the posture to an appropriate edge. You want to move slowly and carefully into the posture, with intention and purpose, and search for the point where there is enough intensity to the pose, without being overwhelming. Remember that you are looking to encourage chi flow.
  2. Soften into the posture. Allow gravity to work its magic. While holding the postures you want to release any tension in your muscles, this allows the chi to move into the joints instead of the muscles.
  3. Hold the postures for long enough to fully nourish the meridians. 5 minutes is an average for a yin class, however this can be adjusted depending on the posture and the student. Holding a pose for this amount of time can feel uncomfortable at times – that is all part of it. Note that uncomfort is different that pain; if you feel pain in a pose, back off or exit the posture. Uncomfort is the level where it is just enough to challenge you a bit, in body and mind. Yin teaches us a willingness to experience this, to sit with it, and to observe our thoughts around it.

A yin yoga class is typically made up of a series of long hold, passive postures, taken on the mat, and held for an extended period of time. One distinction to make is the difference between a yin and a restorative class. While a restorative class is focused on relaxation, a yin class invites you to find the edge, to get a little uncomfortable.

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Yin has SO many benefits, both to our bodies and our mind. One key benefit of Yin yoga is improved joint health. Through habitual, repeated actions or postures, the connective tissue in our joints gets bound together, creating adhesions. Yin helps to break up these adhesions, releasing the fascia. The mild stress placed on the joints during a yin pose also helps to improve joint mobility. Joint health overall is improved as the connective tissues around the joint are able to gently stretch, squeeze, compress, etc. in the postures. Because we typically engage our muscles during daily actions, we are not able to get into the deeper layers. Yin yoga also offers us a change to slow down. The pace of a Yin class is slow, thoughtful, and with pause. As you hold the postures for extended periods of time, there is the space to practice patience, to be observers of our own bodies and mind – notice what thoughts arise, where does your mind go? When the pose becomes uncomfortable, when you find that edge, can you be non-reactive to those feelings? Can you find kindness towards your body? Yin is a quiet practice that gives us the space to turn inwards, to calm our minds, and to find stillness.

Lmk,

did you find this helpful?

any yin yogis out there? how has the practice influenced you?

xo

Vegan Coconut Protein Fat Balls

Vegan Coconut Protein Fat Balls

One of my resolutions for 2018 is to remove excess sugar from my diet. Sugar is added into so many packaged foods – sauces, dressing, cereals, and 98% of the PB I find in stores. I don’t buy much packaged food, but make sure the PB I buy is only peanuts and salt (no added sugar or palm oil!!) and I have made the switch to unsweetened almond milk for coffee and smoothies. Although I’ve removed a lot of the added sugars from my diet, I still have a major post dinner sweet tooth to keep in check.

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I saw these coconut fat balls on Lee From America’s instagram and knew I needed them in my life. Full of fat and protein, but low in sugar, these are the perfect post dinner snack. I would also highly recommend them in the morning with coffee, after a workout, or really whenever hunger strikes.

I  closely followed Lee’s recipe, but made a few adjustments, here’s what went into the blender:

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  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup coconut butter (if you have not tried this before, you are MISSING out!)
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup cashews (I did salted)
  • 1/2 cup almond slices
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 medjool dates (pitted)
  • 1/3 cup almond milk, plus a few extra splashes to keep things moving
  • 2 tbs ground flax seed
  • 1 scoop Xology protein

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Add all the ingredients into the //ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ac&ref=tf_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=juliachase-20&marketplace=amazon&region=US&placement=B0764BD7WV&asins=B0764BD7WV&linkId=35fcbab99ad9ff02a5866e3c37e1b697&show_border=false&link_opens_in_new_window=true&price_color=333333&title_color=0066c0&bg_color=ffffff“>blender and blend until a doughy consistency is reach. Form golf ball sized balls, lay out on a flat cookie sheet, and placed in freezer.

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That’s it! Super easy and quick recipe. Unbelievably good.

Lmk if you try them!

 

Current Crushes vol. 2

Current Crushes vol. 2

Current Crushes:

a few of my fav things I’ve been crushing on recently

hiking

Workouts: Aside from my yoga practice, I’ve been focusing on taking my workouts outside. As we move towards “winter” here in San Diego, we move into hiking season. It’s not nearly as warm as the summer and the breeze is slightly cool aka ideal hiking weather. Getting outside as much as possible has the double benefit of helping to reduce stress, while also not feeling like a workout at all. I’ve had the personal goal of trying to get more movement in each day, whether that’s a weekend hike or just a long stroll to get coffee. If I’m in a funk, feeling lazy, or need to get centered, a little dose of nature and fresh air always seems to help.

superwoman rxBooks: In the Superwoman Rx, Dr. Taz helps you identify your own “blueprint” to determine how to build a diet and fitness plan around that to optimize your health. You take a quiz to determine your Power Type: Gyspy Girl, Boss Lady, Savvy Chick, Earth Mama, or Nightingale. Each type has a plan tailored to their needs: including meditations, exercises, supplement, and general strategies. I really like that Dr. Taz pulls on her holistic health background to incorporate Chinese Medicine and ayurvedic systems of medicine in each plan. This book is an easy, fun read that gives lots of good tips to bring into your daily routine.

Podcasts: Lately I’ve been super into listening to podcasts. They make my commute to and from work go by so much faster and make the traffic slightly less aggravating. I also love listening to them when I’m at the gym or going for a walk. A few of my favorites from the past week:

  • TED Radio Hour: Manipulation – touches on just how much social media is influencing us and how memories can be swayed
  • The Skinny Confidential Him & Her with Lorna Jane Clarkson – Lorna is SUPER inspiring and gives lots of tips on living a healthy life.
  • The Balanced Blonde Soul on Fire with Kelsey Patel – I’ve heard amazing things about Kelsey from friends and this podcast did not disappoint. Jordan and Kelsey talk lots about reiki and transitional times.
  • Radically Love with Rosie Acosta featuring Ruby Fremon – Ruby shares her journey to becoming a transformational coach, including her own struggles and how she took power in her life through decisions.

Life: Turkey Day – This year I am celebrating Thanksgiving in a non-traditional, yet very traditional way? There will be no big feast with turkey and stuffing, but instead lots of hiking and exploring at ZION NATIONAL PARK (all caps= my level of excitement). I love Thanksgiving as a time to be able to gather with family and share good food. My personal favorites are stuffing and mashed potatoes. But I am beyond excited to be spending this Thanksgiving exploring more of the natural beauty of our country, which I feel like is equally as fitting for celebrations. If you have any hike recommendations for Zion, send them my way please 🙂 Angels Landing, Weeping Rock, and Observation Point are all high on my list!

experience_angelslanding.jpgThings: If you’ve known me for any length of time, you know I have a thing for phone cases and love getting new ones fairly frequently. I’ve tried to limit myself to at least 6 months between switching them up, but sometimes it’s hard to do that… like when you see the perfect COSMIC case from Sonix.

Other obsessions:

  • This faux cheese recipe from Lee from America using butternut squash.
  • This jacket from Zara that I can’t totally justify buying since “winter” in San Diego is 65 degrees.
  • This DIY terranium table that I wish I was handy enough to make.
  • This helpful guide for what to feed and not feed your pup this Thanksgiving.
  • A cute AF planner to keep you organized.