Thank you for visiting! Walking the Walk is meant to be a source to assist you in your quest for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Through my own lifestyle, I hope to give you creative ideas that make adopting a healthier, more holistic lifestyle as enjoyable and easy for you as possible!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happiness Prescription

With the forthcoming New Year close at hand, this is often a time for reflection and change, commonly referred to as resolutions.  Interestingly, this is the first year that I do not have any resolutions.

No, I did not become magically perfect over night; I am happy to report that I am still human and still learning from my mistakes daily.  This year is different, however, because since May 2012 I have been following a particular prescription for happiness that is working so well that for the first time in my life, resolutions do not seem necessary.  I'm still being carried forward by the momentum of change that I successfully implemented those 8 short months ago.

Now I've got you all hooked, haven't I?  Who wouldn't want to break out of the habit of forming resolutions that will inevitably dissolve within a matter of months (sometimes weeks) and leave you feeling like a failure? Well,  I'm happy to tell you that it's quite easy to change a habit-you only have to do a new task for 21 days in a row before it naturally becomes part of your routine.  I guess the hardest part is simply making the commitment to start, so lets not delay and begin now!

The Happiness Prescription is actually a small list of more than 1 habit to change, so for the sake of ease, I will be introducing 1 thing every 21 days.  New things can be overwhelming in their simplest form, so lets start slow and take it one day at a time.

Happiness Task #1
What: At the end of each day, you will write down 3 things you are grateful for that occurred in the past 24 hours.  Everyday they must be new things and there must always be exactly 3; no more and no less.
Why: By training your brain to pick out 3 positives over the course of a day, after 21 days it will become a habit for you to automatically look for the positives in life as opposed to the negatives.  This is huge, since we live in a very negative-focused society.  Think about it, when was the last time you heard a positive story on the evening news?
How: I have a special journal I have decorated and deemed my "Gratitude Journal".  It lives on my night table and every evening at the same time, right before bed, I write down the 3 things I am grateful for from that day.  Having an official book and time period in which to perform this task makes it more likely that you will complete it.  Remember, it's only for 21 days! Anyone can do almost any task for only 21 days....

Good luck and have a grateful day!

Mad Calgary Love

I am continually amazed at how charmed my life is.  Last night, I had the incredible blessing of spending an evening with very dear, old friends of the family at their house on the lake.  They love to throw an annual Christmas party which is always a huge hit.  Not only was I surrounded by those I loved but I was also able to make new friends with some very interesting people (one of which had climbed Mount Everest!).  Taking full advantage of the very frozen lake, I brought my skates (and ear muffs, toque, scarf and wooly sweater) and *attempted* to play a game of hockey with the other party guests.  A winter evening full of laughter, fun and love is exactly what I needed after months of being homesick for my hometown.

My sister couldn't stop laughing at how ridiculously happy and bundled up I was

After the skating party, we warmed up in front of the roaring fire while a particularly talented party guest serenaded us on the grande piano.  'Hey Jude' never sounded so wonderful.

Have a toasty day!

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Bitten by the Holiday Fever

Agaricus is the homeopathic remedy that treats frostbite.  Unfortunately, I do not have any on hand, which wasn't the wisest decision I've ever made since I am back at home for Christmas and the average daily temperature is -25*C.  Brrrrrrrrrr......

Yes, I left the drizzling, mild Toronto weather on Christmas Eve to arrive in a freezing cold winter wonderland that is Calgary.  Here are some pictures from my (rather short) annual Christmas walk in Fish Creek Park, Alberta juxtaposed with pictures of my walk in High Park, Ontario that occurred just days prior.  My Christmas morning walk was magical; not a soul was to be seen and the snowflakes were drifting down ever so softly and lazily to cover the glittering world below.  

 A beautiful fall-like day in High Park, Toronto

 More High Park gorgeousness

A new friend I made in the park. I named him Cornelius.  

 And now, to Calgary and the vastness of the prairies.  

 "The quickest way to the universe is through a forest wilderness"

 The beautiful river, all sparkling with snow and ice

A stunning sunrise over the woods

Have a glorious day!

Friday, December 21, 2012

My Breakup with Veganism

If you are a particularly observant blog reader, you may have noticed that I have made a few animal product-infused posts of late.  Be assured that you are not hallucinating and that although my blog is still titled "vegangreenie", I have indeed called it quits with veganism.  Of course it was difficult to let go (we had, after all, been together for 5 whole years) but it was necessary since, although a vegan lifestyle is great for some people, it did not work for me. Allow me to explain.

Back when I was 20 years old, I got really enthusiastic about health.  I was newly discovering holistic living and I happened to be researching a diet fit for Type 2 Diabetics for a friend when I stumbled upon a website devoted to the joys of veganism.  As I read about how great an animal-free diet was for your body, the environment, your wallet and your conscience I began to want to change my habits into ones that were more animal-friendly.  After all, I grew up with animals and the idea of living in harmony with nature like the Zen Buddhist monks I admired really appealed to me.  Never one to leave off for tomorrow that which can be done today, that day I bought a ton of vegan cookbooks and began to navigate my way in veganhood while living in the seemingly meat-obsessed province of Alberta.

It was hard at first, considering I had never cooked before and I had to teach myself to cook all my meals since vegan fare in Calgary was hard to come by, but I was dedicated and I made it through.  I even backpacked around Australia and New Zealand completely vegan and I must say those first 3 years were great! I felt healthy, full of energy and so clean and light.  The first few years on a vegan diet are like a really nice detox for all your cells and I would definitely recommend anyone to give up animal products for a few months to a year to reap the benefits.  However, I should have known that sooner or later the honeymoon would be over.

It sort of started when I got accepted to CCNM.  Although vegan products were easier to come by in the enormous and progressive city of Toronto, the demands of the intense program and the added stress meant that I ended up dedicating less and less attention to my diet and it began to get quite unbalanced. What made matters worse is that not matter how many iron supplements I took, my anemia was growing worse and worse.  Although my ND was gently suggesting that I add some meat into my diet since my iron levels were verging on dangerously low, the seriousness of the situation only hit me when I held my stethoscope to my own chest and heard the unmistakable arrhythmia that was induced by my long standing anemia.  It suddenly occurred to me that in order to spare many animals, I was harming myself so from that day onwards I began eating meat.

Now, although I do eat meat now, I did not return to the Standard North American Diet filled with artificial and preserved foods.  I do not eat flour or sugar, since my body doesn't process either very well.  I realize the importance of balance and whole fresh food, so I follow these simple rules:
1. Buy organic meat and animal products as much as possible (it's cleaner for your body and it just tastes better).
2. Eat mostly fruits and vegetables, with meat being simply a meal accompaniment as opposed to the main star (you only need about 4 ounces).
3. Prepare everything as close to its natural state as possible.  This means real cheese and yogurt (ie no 'modified milk ingredients') and minimal sauces, spices etc.  I'm a huge fan of baking/roasting my food so that their true flavors are enhanced and you don't need heavy sauces etc.
4. The perfect salad dressing is real olive oil and vinegar-it's that simple.

My final notes on veganism is that it is a great temporary cleanse for your body but many people may find the diet unsustainable in the long run.  From experience, the people who are able to do well on a vegan diet for a long time are men (this is probably due to the fact that they are not losing iron stores every month like women are) and it's great to combat cardiovascular disease in this particular population.

Have a balanced, nurturing day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012