To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear. Water surrounds the lotus flower, but does not wet its petals. – Buddha

How to Use Your Subconscious Mind to Help You Achieve Goals

3 Simple Steps to Making Your Subconsciousness Work for You

Quote About Achieving Goals with Our Subconscious Mind
The quote above, by Earl Nightingale, is a beautiful reminder of the power of our subconscious mind. Whether we fully realize it or not, our subconsciousness is one of our most powerful weapons – sometimes all we really need to do is get out of its way.

If we were to take the quote above and drain every drop of self improvement goodness from it (something we should do with all inspirational quotes), we’d realize a few things:

  1. First of all, we should make certain that we feel as strongly about our goals as we think we do.  Have you ever found yourself struggling with a particular goal or dream only to realize it isn’t even your dream? That, in fact, you’re actually trying to live up to someone else’s goal for your life? There’s a reason that doesn’t work – YOU have to feel strongly and passionately about the goal or dream. It has to be YOUR dream. YOUR vision. YOUR passion. If it’s someone else’s dream, let them work on it while you work on your own.
  2. How do you make sure the idea is “buried deep” in your subconscious mind? At the risk of grossly oversimplifying… you put it there!  Think about the goal you want to achieve and think about it often. You aren’t working some sort of mumbo jumbo – trying to bring the fulfillment to you, you are taking yourself to the fulfillment. Proactive beats inactive or reactive every single time when you’re going after goals. Goals and dreams aren’t on wheels, you can’t coax them to come to you, you have to lace up your own skates and roll to them. Frequently thinking about these objects of desire puts the wheels in motion. This particular step is why things like “vision boards” (picture collages of images that represent goals and dreams) are so popular. It’s also why so many experts recommend “picturing” yourself where you WANT to be. Both of these exercises are ways of burying the idea deep in your subconscious.
  3. When you’ve put your subconscious mind on the path to your goals, let it works its magic. You’ll find yourself with fresh ideas for making your way down this particular path.

Your subconsciousness is your own personal superhero and he/she is just waiting for you to call them to action.

The more intensely we feel about an idea or a goal the more assuredly the idea, buried deep in our subconscious, will direct us along the path to its fulfillment. – Earl Nightingale

Why The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman Should be the Next Book You Buy (Review)

Ten Reasons Why You're Going to Love this Book

The VB6 Cookbook Collage

“The food you eat can be either the safest and most powerful form of medicine or the slowest form of poison.” – Ann Wigmore

If you’re looking for fun, simple ways to eat healthier, here’s a book that’ll prove to be a dream come true for you. The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night doesn’t just provide you with delicious, easy to make recipes that won’t break the bank, it makes eating healthier fun and.. yes… tastier.

Okay. Before you accuse me of getting my Self Help Blog mixed up with my Food Blog (Get Cooking) let me assure you I’m posting a cookbook review on Self Help Daily for an excellent reason. You see, this isn’t just a cookbook. This book is actually part of a life improving program, The VB6 plan by Mark Bittman.  Anything that can improve someone’s health and life is a perfect fit for a self help and self improvement blog.

Have you ever heard the term “flexitarian?” Flexitarian refers to a relationship with food that isn’t 100 percent strictly vegan.  It’s a way of eating that is flexible, meaning more people will actually STICK with it. Mark Bittman’s VB6 program is simplistically beautiful: You simply eat vegan before 6:00 pm.  The program has helped a great number of people improve their health, lose weight, and feel better than they’d felt in years.

See? I told you this book was a perfect fit for a Self Improvement blog!

Below are the Top 10 Reasons you shouldn’t wait another day before you buy The VB6 Cookbook:

  1. Gorgeous Book. Whenever I review a book on Self Help Daily or Get Cooking, I always pay close attention to my first impression of the book. Is it well-made (meaning it’ll stand up to years of use and enjoyment)? Is it attractive? Does it look like the publishers were serious about impressing the readers or was their heart only halfway into it? The VB6 Cookbook is a real looker. The beautiful, hardback, 250+ page book is everything, visually, I’d want a book to be.
  2. Mark Bittman. Period. To say I cook a lot is a ridiculous understatement. I’m in my kitchen more often than a Priest is in church.  I’m seldom happier than I am when I’m cooking meals for my family and I LOVE trying out new recipes as much as I LOVE using and re-using favorite recipes.  Mark Bittman is the author of many of my favorite recipes. When I want to try out a new recipe for something in particular, I’ll turn to Mark Bittman’s recipes before I turn to a lot of household name celebrity chefs.  His recipes never fail, it’s as simple as that.
  3. Healthy Eating = Healthy Living. Not long ago, I spent a few days in the waiting room of a cardiology surgical center.  I was with a family member who was WAY too young to find themselves in a hospital gown in such a place. Sad thing was, as I looked around, I saw A LOT of people who were WAY too young to be where they were. Heart disease isn’t just frightening, it’s striking more and more people and it’s striking them at younger ages.  Plain and simple, it’s the American diet and something has got to be done about it.  We’re creating our own plague of Biblical proportions and if people don’t wake up and start eating healthier, they’ll find themselves in hospitals, cardiology departments, and worse.
  4. KISS.  No, not the rock group.  KISS as in Keep It Simple, Stupid.  This book – or more to the point, this program – makes it painless and incredibly simple to start eating healthier. If you don’t know why that’s important, you must have skipped number 3.
  5. Delicious Food! Even if, somehow, you didn’t associate these recipes with healthier eating, you’d still love the delicious flavors.
  6. Fun Food.  Whether you’re one of those people who live to cook (like me) or you’d rather do just about anything BUT cook, you’ll love The VB6 Cookbook.  The recipes are fun, creative, and mix things up a bit in the kitchen.  You’ll find recipes you’ll be so excited about you’ll want to try them the very day you get the book.  I actually made my first recipe (Chipotle “Mayo”) from The VB6 Cookbook within 2 hours of getting the book in the mail. That’s a new record, even for me.
  7. Your Family. While this one may somewhat tie in with number 3, it’s important enough to get it’s very own number.  The more healthy meals you’re able to feed your family, the better their health will be. Not only are you giving them wholesome, healthy food at one particular meal, you’re introducing them to a whole new relationship with food. They’ll soon realize that healthier eating is actually more flavorful than unhealthy eating.  When you get right down to it, most unhealthy food tastes pretty much the same.  Fried. Fatty. Salty.  The VB6 way of eating will introduce your loved ones to a world of wonderful flavors that’ll make them fall in love with healthier eating.  Here’s a little secret about eating healthy – you can keep this between you and me, the kids and spouses don’t have to know: Healthy eating becomes addictive.  When you get rid of the bad stuff, you’ll find yourself craving the good stuff.  Where you once said, “I need a big fat cheeseburger with a farmer’s wealth of bacon,” you’ll find yourself thinking, “I have to have a Cherry Vanilla Smoothie and Vegetable Pot Pie or maybe Schezuan Beef and Celery..” (3 of the recipes in the book).  I don’t know why – but it’s my experience that the healthier you eat, the healthier you want to eat. Sadly the same is true about unhealthy eating.
  8. Motivation and Inspiration.  The first pages of the book include Mark Bittman’s “My Story.”  The motivational intro makes you even more committed to eating right. Basically, you jump right in the boat with the author and agree to go on a healthier journey with him.  He’s one of those authors who write in a manner that makes you feel like he’s talking to you, personally.  Reading his books (and even his recipes) feels like you’re having a nice little visit with him.  This type of writing cannot be taught, it’s a gift and when he was gifted, he was gifted generously.
  9. Information and Advice Beyond the Recipes.   After the wonderful Introduction, pages 12 through 45 lay out the VB6 plan beautifully. There are charts, information, meal plans, ideas, suggestions, and more.   There are also personalized tips and ideas with each recipe in the book – including “variations” and “more ideas.”
  10. You’re the Boss of You.  While The VB6 program is best (as in you’ll see the most results) if you follow it as designed, when all’s said and done, You’re the boss of you!  If you want to approach the program strictly and eat Vegan before 6:00 on most, if not all, days – go for it!  If you want to simply add MORE vegetarian meals to your diet, then approach the cookbook in that way.  If you’re simply looking for fresh new healthy recipes to serve your family… the cookbook is still a must have.

 Some of the recipes you’ll love:

  • Chipotle “Mayo” (the first recipe I made from the book – delicious! This “mayo” is a great dip for vegetables and is excellent as a condiment for burgers or protein patties)
  • Scrambled Sweet and Hot Peppers
  • Pico De Gallo
  • Nut Butters
  • Everyday Salad Bowl
  • Blueberry Spoon Bread
  • Schezuan Beef and Celery
  • Cherry Vanilla Smoothie
  • Avocado Banana Smoothie
  • Morning Milkshake
  • Pork Chop Pan Roast
  • Raspberry Sorbet on a Stick
  • Green Toast
  • Fruit Candy
  • Frozen Tropical Truffles
  • Red Paella with Scallops
  • Beans, Shrimp, and Fennel
  • Southwestern Bean Dip with Peppers (black beans, cloves,cilantro…)
  • Red Soup
  • Creamy Tomato Soup
  • Big Batch Cooked Beans
  • Rice Pudding with Slow-Roasted Fruit
  • MANY MANY MANY more.

From the Back Cover:

Mark Bittman’s breakthrough diet plan, first introduced in the #1 New York Times bestselling VB6: Eat Vegan Before 6:00 to Lose Weight and Restore Your Health . . . for Good (click through for the hard back version of this bestseller  - a Kindle edition is also available), has been hailed as “compelling” (Publisher’s Weekly), “commonsense” (Washington Post), “sustainable” (TheKitchn.com), and a “small painless change” that can have a “huge impact” (Salon.com). Now he expands on his appealing, simple, reasonable approach to flexitarian cooking with a companion cookbook, featuring hundreds of delicious new ways to make VB6 your permanent style of eating. It’s never been easier to eat vegan before 6:00 – and deliciously all of the time.

I hope you’ll click through and take a closer look at The VB6 Cookbook: More than 350 Recipes for Healthy Vegan Meals All Day and Delicious Flexitarian Dinners at Night - I’m really excited about this particular approach to eating and I’m having a ball with the wonderful recipes.

I know you’ll love The VB6 Cookbook just as much as I do.

Note: I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. The opinions are entirely my own.

The VB6 Cookbook by Mark Bittman

Urban Halo: Chic Headband That’s Perfect for Summer

My Urban Halo

Urban Halo - Midnight Lace

This one’s for the girls (sorry guys).  I’ve fallen hard for a new headband that I thought you might like to check out.  Urban Halos are silky soft headbands that keep your hair out of your face when your face is the last place you want it to be!

Whether you’re gardening, walking, jogging, cooking (!), or simply enjoying a day on the lake, Urban Halos save the day and look uncommonly chic while doing so.

These super soft, comfortable, and great looking headbands are available in a lot of colors and styles, including one that’s pretty hot right now: Pink Camo.  Each headband is just $15, which is actually a great price given the fact that they’re exceptionally well made.  My personal favorite (and the one I was sent to check out) is called “Midnight Lace.” The colors go with anything and everything and… I dunno… I think it brings a touch of glamour to even mundane moments like frying eggs!

Cooking is actually my favorite time to use headbands. It keeps my hair back out of the way – which, let’s face it, when you’re cooking, is a very good thing.

I also love the one (pictured below) called “Street Cred.”  Really sharp.

I have to say, when I was contacted about checking these headbands out, I didn’t get my hopes up, because my luck with headbands is kind of crummy.  Normally they either give me a headache or slide down so often they drive me nuts – but Urban Halos are different from the rest.  No headaches. No sliding.  No worries.

See Urban Halo for more information. Be sure to click through the indiscreet numbers at the bottom of each page to see the MANY colors and styles.  You might want to grab several – a few for yourself and maybe even some to put back for Christmas gifts.

Urban Halo: Street Cred

 

Self Help Lesson from a White Cat

Live IN the Moment, Without Looking PAST the Moment

Cat on Pine Mountain , Kentucky

The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance; the wise grows it under his feet.  – James Openheim

 

When you first look at the picture above (and to the right –>), what’s the first thing you see? Your answer is probably the stone on the building, the tree’s trunk in the foreground, or the trees in the background. Or, you may be an artistic sort who first notices the colors of the “canvas” before the individual parts.

Then again, you may be like me – such a bona fide animal lover that the first thing you see is the gorgeous white cat.  Of course, if you didn’t see her right off the bat, that doesn’t make you any less of an animal lover. She does blend in with her surroundings after all.

Story Behind the Picture

I took this  picture a few years ago when we were in the beautiful mountains of Eastern Kentucky. We’d just arrived at Pine Mountain State Resort Park and were taking in the awe-inspiring beauty.  The mountains are always gorgeous, but in Autumn, the scenery just takes your breath away.

I was in the middle of taking a lot of pictures of the mountains and trees decked out in their Autumn best when I had the distinct feeling that I was being watched. I knew it wasn’t my husband because he was busy snapping away with his own camera.

Given the fact that I’d already seen several signs telling guests to keep an eye out for bears, the feeling of being watched was a little bit more unsettling than usual.

I happened to look “closer” than I HAD been looking and that’s when I saw the beautiful little white cat.  Given the fact that I’d been looking so FAR away I hadn’t seen her before.  For an animal lover, like me, her beautiful face trumped everything else.

Then again, I love cats as much as my next breath. I have had at least one (usually 2-4) cats all of my life. I find them to be the most amazing, intelligent, colorful, and joyous little beings God ever created.  When I come across one in public, my reaction would lead you to believe I’d just encountered Bigfoot, himself.  So the fact that I could have missed seeing this little cutie simply by looking too far in the distance left an impression on me.

When we got back home and I sat down to upload my pictures to my computer, this particular picture made me stop and think. It’s a reminder of something we’re all guilty of from time to time – some more so than others: We often get so caught up in looking “off” into the distance that we miss what’s right in front of us.  Whether our eyes are fixed firmly in the future or stubbornly in the past, we’d do well to always remind ourselves to stop and look around in the present.

Who knows what we could be missing?

Because of the effect the picture had on me, when it came time to re-design Self Help Daily, I used this picture as my palette. It reminds me to not only “see” the big picture of life, but to always stop and appreciate the small details – the ones right in front of me.

Ironically, this whole premise goes with my new favorite quote. Not only do I collect quotes, I’m utterly obsessed with them – so I often have a favorite quote “of the moment.” The quote that has been my favorite for some time now is from Thoreau, “Live in the present. Launch yourself on each wave. Find eternity in each moment.” If that isn’t a life-changer, I don’t know what is.

Write it down. Live it out.

Find Eternity in Each Moment

... find eternity in each moment. – Thoreau

Feature Article: How to Feel Better About Your Appearance and Take Better Care of Your Body

Self Confidence is a Key to Success in All Areas of Life

If you are like many people, you are struggling a lot when it comes to your appearance. You may not be taking the best care of yourself, and you know something needs to change. You may be dealing with some self-esteem issues in the looks department. That’s okay…most of us deal with this to some degree. There is a lot of stuff hitting us from the outside and within that cause these issues, and it can feel daunting to try and change. But, there is hope…here are just a few tips to increase confidence in your appearance and start taking better care of your body.

Learn to Appreciate Your Body and You’ll Take Better Care of It

The more we value something, the better we are at taking care of it and giving it the attention it deserves. Based on how many of us treat our bodies, it is clear we don’t realize their true value. We take them for granted; we focus on all the things we don’t like about them. But, if we were to wake up tomorrow not being able to breathe properly, move our legs or experience one of a million other problems that could drastically change our world, you would have a whole new perspective and appreciation for health.

Really take the time to think about all the wonderful things about your body and what it allows you to do. Ponder the amazing processes that are taking place 24/7 automatically, without any conscious input from us. When you see it in this new light, you will find it easier to make positive changes that support this amazing biological machine.

When You Look Good You Feel Good..and It’s Okay

While a certain degree of detachment from our physical appearance is a good thing, most of us do care to some degree how we look, and want to improve our physical appearance. And there is nothing wrong with that—you just don’t want to get too obsessive about it. When we look good, we feel good, so there is nothing inherently wrong with wanting to improve how we look.

If you are feeling a bit down about how you look, think about what practical measures you can do take to improve it. If you are feeling a bit self-conscious about a skin problem, start investigating various skin care options, whether it be making changes to your diet or getting professional treatments such as a peel or laser therapy.

If you are not feeling so great about your wardrobe, go out and buy some new clothes. If you have always wanted to wear a bit of make up, but have been hesitant because you have never really worn it before and worry about people commenting, who cares? Just do it. If you are a bit bored with your current hairstyle or color, make an appointment at the salon and change it up.

Again, just remember not to get too carried away with this…when we become too focused on how we look, we create a situation where we are feeling forever dissatisfied. We try to change one thing, and once that problem gets addressed, we turn our attention to our next ‘problem,’ and so on and so forth.

Focus on What You Like about Yourself

It is easy to focus on what we don’t like about ourselves, and we are our own worst critics. But, you look a lot better than you think. It is all a matter of perspective–just think about how one day you can be in a horrible mood and your life seems equally horrible, but the next day you feel better, and all is well again, without anything actually changing. If you start focusing on what you like about yourself, whether it is your juicy, plump lips, great legs or killer smile, you will see yourself in a whole new light.

Take the beauty tips you come across seriously, whether it be optimal skin care, the best make up, or how to get shinier hair. But remember that you will get the most mileage out of your improvement efforts if you can learn to feel more confident about yourself, and more comfortable in your own skin. You’ll lay a strong foundation for these other changes, and be more pleased with the results.

So, start focusing on what you do like about yourself—maybe you have awesomely plump lips, or a fab smile. The next time you look in a mirror, pay some mind to those things too instead of just your perceived flaws.

Why Do You Want to Take Better Care of Yourself

One of the reasons so many struggle to make positive changes in any area of life is a lack of clarity regarding why they want to make such changes. The ‘why’ is like an anchor that keeps us firm on the path to the results we want. Without it, we are aimless, our efforts are half-hearted, and we usually give up at some point. Why do you want to take better care of your body? Why do you want to be different?

If you can take these three tips to heart, you are well on your way to taking better care of yourself, and feeling better about yourself.

 

Allergy Sufferers Survival Kit

Everyday Health

Everyday Health proves, again and again, to be a goldmine of great health-related information. If they offered 205 newsletters, I’d subscribe to them all. A recent slideshow was especially helpful (and timely). Portable Items to Stop Allergies in Their Tracks, by Madeline Vann, MPH, includes a lot of “Allergy Hacks” that aren’t just useful, they may very well be life-saving.

I found a few ideas in the slideshow that I’d never thought of – and I’ve lived with allergies all my life. Sometimes it almost feels like I’m allergic to more things than I’m NOT allergic to!

If you suffer from allergies, you’ll want to check out this awesome list of things you need to put together for your very own Allergy Survival Kit. You’ll see a few that you probably already keep on you at all times, but I’m sure (like me) you’ll find some you hadn’t even thought of.

Like why you should take vinegar with you to the beach or the common sense of always having a change of clothing with you. Great stuff, trust me.

All the world cries, ‘Where is the man who will save us?’ Don’t look so far for this man, you have him at hand. This man–it is you, it is I, it is each one of us! How to constitute oneself a man? Nothing harder if one knows not how to will it; nothing easier if one wills it. -Alexandre Dumas.

The Benefits of Like-Mindedness

Why Birds of a Feather Really Should Flock Together (What's in it for the Birds!)

Birds of a Feather Flock Together

All for one and one for all.”  ― Alexandre DumasThe Three Musketeers

Fraternity. Community. Brethren.  Allies. Team. League. Group. Alliance.  Tribe. Flock. …

These words –  and many more – all describe the same basic premise and the same basic truth: Comfort, and even strength, are often found amongst like-minded individuals.

This isn’t groundbreaking  information, of course. Since the beginning of time, people have realized that there’s strength in numbers. They’ve also known that hanging out with people who have similar interests, goals, and situations to your own provides you with a comforting feeling of normalcy.

Ironically, as I’m typing these words, there are 6 doves on my windowsill.  (I keep birdseed and black sunflower seeds on the windowsill beside my computer desk. This, combined with bird and squirrel feeders in our yard provide me with endless little cuties to distract me throughout the day. Jury’s still out on whether that’s actually a good thing or a bad thing.)   While there are exceptions, generally speaking, doves will show up to dine together.  I’ve never had, say, a cardinal and dove show up together.

Birds of a feather, literally, flock together.  Even nature knows the strength and safety that comes from community.

As I said in a recent post about Finding Silver Linings, my body has decided that it can no longer tolerate gluten (a protein found in… well… many things) in any way what-so-ev-er. It calls the shots, so I’ve had to change my relationship with food entirely – the way I eat, cook, and even think about food is now completely different from the way I had for my entire life.  Suffice to say that “entire” encompasses a healthy number of birthday candles over the years.  And, no, I don’t want to think about the bonfire they could combine to build.

Early on in my Gluten Free world, I found a wonderful key to sanity and happiness:  Surrounding myself with others who trudging along the gluten free trail.

Moving hundreds of these people into our home seemed extreme, so I simply found other ways to build my own private little support group:

  • On Twitter and Pinterest, I searched out Gluten Free Magazines, Gluten Free Food Manufacturers,  authors, and website accounts and followed them.  Then I looked at different accounts that interacted with them and chose certain ones to follow as well.  Soon my Twitter timeline and Pinterest feed were filled with recipes, tips, encouragement, ideas, food reviews, etc.
  • I signed up for different e-newsletters from these same experts – now my inbox is also a wealth of information and inspiration.
  • There are several Gluten Free magazines I want to subscribe to and I’ve started a cool collection of Gluten Free cookbooks.

Doing all of the above had several benefits:

  1. I was able to see scads of smiling people who weren’t only living with their dietary limitations but seemed to love it.
  2. I’ve lost count of the number of great ideas I’ve come across that I would NO WAY have come up with on my own.
  3. There’s a lot to be said for feeling like you’re part of a community.
  4. It’s exhausting to always have to check products and recipes for gluten – when I see e-mails, tweets, and pins from these “safe havens,” it takes the guess work out of it and I feel almost normal. Okay, normal for me.

Naturally  “gluten free”  birds aren’t the only kind of birds available for flocking. Any area of interest, conviction, employment, aspiration, hobbies, dreams, causes, or needs you have can be supported and strengthened by finding like-minded people. Simply replace “gluten free” in the 3 examples above with your own personal subject….

  • parenting
  • cats
  • Christianity
  • dogs
  • self help
  • sales and marketing
  • adoption
  • blogging
  • writing
  • photography
  • empty nest syndrome
  • weight loss
  • vegetarianism
  • loneliness
  • leadership
  • yoga
  • pilates
  • meditation
  • paleo diet
  • wildlife preservation
  • tea reviews
  • bird watching
  • college tips
  • etc. etc. etc…

This is one of those things in life that, while it seems so obvious and  even simple,can make a big difference in your life.

Tip: “Hacks” is a GREAT search term (Google or Twitter) to use behind your area of interest – for example “college hacks,” “weight loss hacks,” “saving money hacks,” etc.