I love to-do lists. They are exactly what I need to free a busy mind and ensure that I stay on track. As a freelancer, artist, and generally easily distracted person, to-do lists ensure that I don’t go to bed disappointed because I’d forgotten something.
I fell in love the 52 Lists Planner by Moorea Seal over the last year because of the way its free form layout. It lays out each day, week, and month — broken down into a monthly overview, weekly to-dos and intentions, as well as daily top 3 priorities, gratitude for each day, a way to make tomorrow 1% better, and the general space for planning each day.
Having 3 priorities each day allows me to ensure that I am never disappointed when I go to sleep. It reminds me of the three non-negotiable for my day, even if one is as simple as increasing my water intake. The gratitude section reminds me to smile each day for something. The better tomorrow portion allows anything to carry over that I didn’t get to or for something that will make me happy the next day, like more time outside or a call with a family member.
I wasn’t lying when I said I love to-do lists (which is clear when expressing my love for my planner), but what I love more is remembering words that I wrote back in June of 2021.
I was writing in my journal one early morning and these words flew out of me as if the universe was rushing to ensure that I didn’t miss them. They were the words that I’d needed then, that I still need now, and they feel like words that maybe you need too.
“Maybe, just maybe, the days when crossed out to do lists are the days that I am doing things right. Those are the days where I refuse to be burdened by expectations I’ve put on myself. Those are the days that I choose to flow with the motion and movement of the given day instead of feeling trapped inside a book of words that I’ve created. The laundry will get done, the gifts will be purchased, but what we don’t get back is the spontaneity, the creativity, the time.”
All of this to say, it’s great to make lists, but it’s also great to venture away from the list and into the day.
Cheers, friend! To living more spontaneously…
How often do you have guests over and worry that you don't have enough drinking glasses? How often do you run out of plastic bags to store your leftovers in? How often are you searching for the perfect vase for your desk?
If you're anything like me -- it's often.
Alas...I have your solution. And chances are, you already have the solution at the tip of your fingers. All you have to do is check your cabinet.
When was the last time you drank a cold glass of water with fresh squeezed lemon juice out of a tall, skinny pasta jar? If you can't remember when, it's time to do it now.
I wouldn't have ever known how much I loved drinking out of glass jars if I hadn't gotten lazy with my dishwashing and only had a pasta sauce jar at my finger tips. And let me tell you, it is a GAME. CHANGER.
It doesn't end there!
I use my jam jars to store homemade granola. I use mason jars as vases. They can be used to store pens and pencils, to properly store your bulk groceries, they can even be used in making a delicious Hibiscus iced tea.
You'll be surprised at just how often you reach for your old jars once you start looking at them in a new light. You may even save a few dollars on dishware by using your jars as new glasses.
What do you use YOUR jars for? I'd love to hear in the comments below!
TIP: To get the sticky label off, peel when dry. Rub a few drops of a citrus essential oil on any leftover residue and use a wash cloth to scrub clean. Be careful -- it can be a bit slippery.
If you’ve ever gotten a paper cut, you know what inflammation is, but did you know that asthma and allergies are also forms of inflammation? That chronic inflammation can lead to aging?
Injuries such as paper cuts generally result in what’s called acute inflammation. This is a process in which immune cells venture to the injured area to protect your body from bacteria and viruses. This type of inflammation is a good thing! It shows that our body is working properly.
Chronic inflammation, however, can last from years to an entire lifetime! Damage from chronic inflammation that begins at a cellular level causes oxidative damage which has a direct correlation to aging and in some cases, cardiovascular disease.
So what can we do about this?
We can most certainly always speak with our doctors who can run tests to check for warning signs of chronic inflammation. But something else that we can do right at home? Change. Our. Diet.
The Western culture diet has shown time and time again that there is a direct correlation between this way of eating and disease. When we look specifically at how our diet enhances inflammation, this continues to be true.
Issues such as obesity, hearth disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes, NASH, arthritis, memory loss and dementia can all be associated with inflammation of specific areas in our body.
Items in our world have been proven to cause inflammation in humans. In over 80,000 of the environmental toxins that we are immersed in each and every day, only 2% have been tested for safety in humans. While we can control this in a small amount by paying attention to our use of plastics, lotions, sunblocks, makeups, cleaning products, etc., we can control it in greater amounts by looking at what is on our plate.
Simple way to remember the good and the bad food?
Whole, nutrient dense foods are anti-inflammatory by nature.
Processed, sugary foods promote inflammation.
The food that we eat actually allows our bodies the capability of turning on and turning off both good and bad genes. Meaning, while genetics may play some role when it comes to chronic inflammation, they aren’t solely responsible. In fact, up to 90% of chronic inflammation disease stems from non-genetic triggers.
Now that we know that food can play a part in aiding with inflammation, it’s important that we note lifestyle adjustments that affect this too.
SLEEP. Ensuring that we get not only enough time sleeping, but also high quality sleep is extremely important. Reaching stage 4 sleeping is what allows our body to enter into our most restorative phase. One way to help ensure this is reducing our use of electronics in the evening as well as throughout the day. I know it may be easier said than done, but imagine how much better you’ll feel when you wake up fully recharged!
GOOD OLD WATER. Consuming proper amounts of water is something we’ve been told for a very long time, but in case you need a friendly reminder: we need water EVERY day, not just in the summer or after a workout.
CALM. Choosing to remain calm lowers our cortisol levels (the main stress hormone) which also reduces inflammation. Things such as mediation, journaling, deep breathing, mindfulness, etc. are all great ways to practice a sense of calm.
MOVEMENT. Physical exercise, such as yoga, and cardio are very important in reducing chronic inflammation. Be careful! Less than one hour of daily exercise is excellent for our bodies, but over one hour of daily exercise can actually increase inflammation.
NATURE. Last, but certainly not least, one of my favorites here: get. in. nature. Get your feet in the grass, lay your body in the sand, get your hands in the dirt, and breathe in all of the beautiful scents of nature’s perfumes. Sunshine is actually very beneficial in reducing inflammation.
What are you biggest takeaways from this? What do you want to learn more about? Let me know in the comment section below!
As a vegetarian working toward a vegan lifestyle, I am often asked questions about my nutrition. The truth is, prior to going vegetarian I wasn’t paying close attention to my nutrition and that hadn’t changed much once I made this choice over 3 years ago.
A year and a half into the pandemic, I found myself feeling lost. I’d lost live gigs, I’d lost the 2 mile walk to and from work Monday-Friday. I’d lost income. I’d lost time spent visiting family. I’d remained single. I’d started turning to alcohol more casually and less physical activity. I could feel my whole life slipping away.
I wasn’t moving my body like I’d used to. I wasn’t challenging my mind creatively. I wasn’t living in connection to my spirituality. I began going through the motions of a life unlived which to the few of you who know me, is quite the opposite of who I am. I lost myself.
And then one day, I woke up.
I won’t sit here and say there aren’t still days that I feel lost. This is an ongoing journey for me, but something inside my mind shifted this year. A consciousness for new things began to arise. I was no longer just interested in reducing my waste and minimizing my shopping habits, but for mindful consumption. I found myself questioning what news I was consuming and how often, what people I was “following” and how often I paid attention to others’ social media posts. I began looking at what food I was eating, what things I was drinking, and how often I mindlessly reach for either of those things as ways to numb my mind.
After going vegetarian, I’d gotten really used to saying “I eat beans” anytime someone asked where I got my protein. This wasn’t because I knew anything about protein, but was because I was sick of people questioning my choices. But now, now when I hear these questions, I’m learning to lean into them. Instead of finding a quick way to end the conversation, I’m opening the conversation even further. I don’t justify my choices, (as none of us ever need to) but I give more in-depth responses because I feel that this is how we, as humans, continue to grow. We don’t grow by halting conversations but rather by diving into them more fully.
So — for anyone reading and wondering “but where DO you get your protein?” this blog post is for you. It’s for you and it’s for me as a reminder of all of the different places that protein is hiding that bring us more good than harm.
NOTE: As a current student of the mindbodygreen Functional Nutrition program, what I am sharing is a result of my studies via this program and alternative resources, today’s post including research from as The China Study. With any and all of this information, please consult your doctor and/or nutritionist prior to making any adjustments to your lifestyle.
People come to vegetarianism and veganism for a variety of reasons, some of the main reasons being animal rights and environmental concerns, but health concerns are another incredible benefit to these lifestyles.
Whatever your decision for making this lifestyle change, you are bound to see positive changes in your body when approaching these lifestyles with a deeper knowledge of nutrition.
A bit about protein:
In the mid to late 1800s, scientists had found that “man” needed only 48.5 grams of protein per day, yet recommended 118 grams per day due to the cultural bias at that time. Success, after all, meant having a lot of animal protein on your dining room table.
Based on studies regarding cancer growth and animal-based protein, humans should only be getting about 10% of our energy from protein (5-6% required but varies from person to person). The average American, however, consumes 15-16% protein with our government recommending 17-21%, leading to increased risk in cancer growth.
When these same studies were performed using plant-based proteins, they did not promote cancer even at higher levels of intake.
Protein is a vital component of our bodies. Protein is constructed as long chains of hundreds of thousands of amino acids which wear out on a regular basis and need to be replaced as a result. There are approximately 8 amino acids needed for making our tissue proteins which are not created naturally within our bodies, therefore, we must find them in the food that we eat. ALL of these essential amino acids are able to be found in a variety of plants.
While there are MANY more benefits to consuming whole, plant-based diets, a few reasons to opt for plant protein over animal protein, as found in The China Study, are:
Foods such as nuts, whole grains, legumes (beans, peas, etc.), seeds, and vegetables are ALL places in which we can find protein along with other incredible vitamins and nutrients. Foods such as quinoa, hemp seeds, kale, chickpeas, and spinach are all prime examples of places to find protein without a need for animal-based products. As it turns out, there’s a whole lot of truth behind Popeye growing stronger and stronger from consuming a lot of spinach. ;)
So, next time you’re looking to add a little extra protein into your diet, I encourage you to dive a little deeper into where you’re getting your protein as well as the full range of its effects. If not for the sake of the animals and the environment, for the sake of your health.
In reading The China Study, by T. Colin Campbell, PhD, one of the most incredible things I’ve read so far is about the way that nature is intentionally drawing humans to its healing properties.
Have you ever heard of free radicals?
To spare you of the big scientific words, free radicals are essentially unstable atoms due to an unpaired electron. In humans, uncontrolled damage from free radicals are part of what speed up the aging process. They can lead to cataracts, cancer, arthritis, and many other age related ailments.
But just like humans, plants also create free radicals during the photosynthesis process. Left unchecked, this could seriously damage a plants growth, but unlike humans, plants have a process of creating a shield to prevent damage — antioxidants.
Surely, you’ve heard of antioxidants before but maybe you didn’t know too much about them. Antioxidants are found solely in plant-based products (found in animal products only if an animal has consumed and store antioxidants in their tissues). What’s even more fascinating is that antioxidants in the human body act in the same manner as they do in plants, protecting us from free radicals.
So now that we understand free radicals and antioxidants, let’s talk about the magic part.
Have you ever looked at a fruit and been in awe of the incredible striking color -- the stunning hot pink dragonfruit, the green or golden kiwi, the deep red color of a watermelon. What exactly gives these fruits their beautiful colors? Antioxidants.
“The plants make the antioxidant shields, and at the same time make them look incredibly appealing with beautiful, appetizing colors. Then we animals, in turn, are attracted to the plants and eat them and borrow their antioxidant shields for our own health. Whether you believe in God, evolution, or just coincidence, you must admit that this is a beautiful, almost spiritual, example of nature’s wisdom.” The China Study, pg. 82
Have you been captivated by plant’s magic before? I know for certain that I have. Learning about the connection between a plant's color and antioxidants makes me certain that I will continue to be captivated by plant's magic for the rest of my life.
What do they mean to you?
Are you the person who always lets the leftovers go bad before eating them or the person who looks at leftovers like meal prep, fuel for the week?
Whatever your stance, I’m here to let you in on a little secret to ensure that your leftovers don't stay hidden in your fridge, going bad before you remember they're there.
Are you ready? The secret is: CLEAR. STORAGE.
I know this may seem like a no brainer to some of you and to that I will say I wish you shared the secret with me a long time ago because this has taken me a long time to learn...and I mean a LONG time to learn.
I live with one of my sisters in Philadelphia and the two of us have very different schedules so a lot of our texts look something like this:
And just like that, the leftover beans went bad before they were eaten.
Why were there two bean containers in question? Because one of us didn't realize the other had already opened one since our storage containers aren't see through.
And then one marvelous day my sister asked, "What are your thoughts on clear storage?" and the game had changed for good.
As someone who strives to use what I have before buying new, I've collected a random assortment of containers over the years that I use for food storage. This allowed me to save on spending and avoid adding to landfill. But what this hadn't done was reduced my food waste, a lot of which came down to not knowing exactly what was in my fridge, freezer, and cabinets.
I’m not suggesting you throw away anything and everything you currently have that isn't clear. What I do suggest is when you’re in a position to invest in your kitchen, opting for clear storage is a sure way to know exactly what is in your fridge and waste less food.
In today’s world, it’s common to forget what you ate for dinner last night so putting leftovers in clear storage is an easy, quick visual reminder.
How do you ensure you don’t waste food? I’d love to know! Leave me a comment or tag me on Instagram @jamiegallagher4! I look forward to incorporating your ideas into my every day routine.
Do you eat the marshmallow or wait for two?
Have you heard of the Stanford marshmallow experiment? Perhaps you have but don’t recognize the name of the experiment.
This experiment, led by psychologist Walter Mischel, is all about delayed gratification and how early we start to learn this as humans.
Basically, young children are given the chance to have a small immediate reward (one marshmallow) or wait a bit of time and get TWO small rewards (two marshmallows).
I was talking about this study recently with my mom in comparison it to my adult life.
I’m a morning person. I always have been. But back in my weekly gig days, I was forced to become someone who stayed out late, I’m talking 2-3am late. Naturally, this took away some of my early mornings, robbing me of what is typically my favorite time of day.
When the pandemic first started, my music nights came to a pretty drastic halt -- but I've found that my early mornings are still being robbed from time to time. I think this all comes down to the Stanford marshmallow experiment.
In the evening, I know that by having another drink (ahem...or two or three...) I will be less likely to wake up early and enjoy a full, relaxing and also productive morning. In many instances I have found that the instant gratification (extra drinks) wins over the delayed gratification (my happy morning).
I’ve been actively finding new ways to remind myself to slow down and see the bigger picture and here are three of the ways I’m doing it:
Try to make note of times that you, as an adult, are a part of your own personal Stanford marshmallow experiment. Decide how many marshmallows you want. If it’s just one, good for you. But if it’s two, find a way to get them both.
P.S. If you're anything like me, all of this talk of marshmallows may leave you with a craving. Check out my favorite vegan marshmallows here!
to give, put, or send (something) back to a place or person.
We know what returns look like.
Maybe for you they look like the dreaded trip back to a mall to wait in line to say "it just didn't quite fit" to a sales associate who has heard it all before.
Maybe they look like scrambling to find a box or mailer to squeeze that item into to then try to tape it shut by acting like you are slaying a dragon, to printing a label, and finally to driving to the drop off point.
Or maybe they look like scrolling a company's website to find the return policy because you never looked before purchasing (even though you say you will every time you buy a new dress).
But what if I told you that returns don't have to look like this at all?
We often look at returns like we look at putting it our two weeks notice for a job we don't like. It's a hassle, a confrontation, a pain in the a**.
But here's the thing:
Putting your two weeks notice in for a job that you don't like isn't just quitting a job. It's telling yourself that you deserve the job you do want. It's letting the universe know that you are committed to finding a job you do like.
And making returns can feel that way too.
I know how frustrating it can be when you order something you're really excited about only to find that it doesn't remotely fit as you expected it to. But what's even more frustrating is letting that same item -- that fills you with anger because as it turns out the model on the website isn't remotely near your size or shape -- sit in your space with a negative energy attached to it.
You've likely been there. It's that feeling when you walk by it, that constant nagging reminder that you "need to return it".
It's sits in your home taking up space that could be better served with something you love or simply with nothing in that space at all. It holds your negativity instead of the holding the positivity that someone else will bring to it. The biggest problem? It's holding your MONEY.
I know you work hard for your money. And I know that when you choose to SHOP CONSCIOUSLY, chances are you're spending more of your money for higher quality pieces.
Those pieces deserved to be loved and you deserve to have a closet full of pieces that make you happy.
So next time you have a return to make, don't put it off until it's no longer an option. Make the return. Your wallet will thank you, your space will thank you, and you're letting the universe know that you are ready for the RIGHT thing, not just ANY thing.