I LOVE the Human Body with all of its mysteries and intricacies. New products and science are always coming down the pipe and it’s hard to know what to read, where to spend your dollars, and when to focus your energy. I thought it would be helpful to show you just FIVE things I’m loving each month. Maybe a recipe, or a book, or an exercise or stretch….. Maybe a product, or a podcast, or a restaurant or venue. I’m giving you ONE THING in each of the areas of our Four Cornerstones or Health, plus a bonus. I hope you’ll try them in your life and find a benefit for you!
At Haka, we like to say “Don’t let perfect be the enemy of good.” (Read more about being perfect here) When it comes to what people eat and what they think is healthy, it seems to often be an all or nothing approach. Sure, there is a time and place to follow a strict regimen for a period of time. But when seeking to live a generally healthier life, every better choice is great. At the Haka House, I try to never limit my kids’ food, everything in our house is open as a choice when you are hungry. This is dual purpose- I never have to fight over food and I never have to deal with tempting foods that will sideline my health. Does that mean everything in our house is perfect? Heck No!! But everything is good…. and I’m ok with that.
Here are some of our FAVORITE “good enough” snacks:
- Cheese Whisps: My number one goal is always blood sugar regulation. This is a great replacement for Goldfish crackers, without all the crap. One ingredient: Cheese
- Enjoy Life! Chocolate Chips: Who doesn’t like a little chocolate? If adding a Tbsp of Chocolate chips gets a bowl of nuts eaten or guarantees a whole milk plain yogurt gets gobbled up, I’m cool with that!
- Teddy Smooth Peanut Butter: In a perfect world, peanut butter is probably one of my lowest choices for a nut butter. One problem, though… It’s delicious! This one is the yummiest I’ve found without extra ingredients, and at a good price, too. Blended with frozen bananas for an ice cream-like treat, smothered on apples, and even by the spoonful, we keep the pantry stocked with these!
- Stretch Island Fruit Leathers: Just go ahead and get the big pack… every kid in my neighborhood asks for these at my house. They think it’s a treat, I know it’s fruit!
- Perfect Bars: These are the epitome, the numero uno, the best of the best, the lifesaver….. all the flavors are yummy! This is the cleanest “bar” I have ever found and the yummiest.
I love spending time in the woods! I like to run the trails when I am alone. With kids in tow, I take a more leisurely pace purely directed by their interests and wonderment. A fallen tree becomes a pirate ship or Olympic balance beam. A low hanging branch morphs into an opportunity to save a tiny kitten (My son) from a terrifying fall. The woods is often more comfortable than being at home- no toys, no turns, just an open playroom of nature. I’ve written about the importance of this kind of SILENCE. It’s essential for you, and for your kids. The woods lends itself to movement, too. Sometimes, it is goal oriented (to run a specific trail). Sometimes, it’s more like jump, balance, climb, carry kid, run through leaves, squat to look at bug, sprint away from terrifying attack, collapse on blanket to stare at the clouds, repeat. Both versions are awesome! There seems to be some boundary, though, at the edge of the woods and many people aren’t quite comfortable crossing the line. Here are some thoughts, tips, and tools for success:
- THIS BLOG POST has a ton of tips on the logistics of taking kids into the wild world. Be conscientious of their ability and let your personal agenda go out the window. It only takes a few miserable experiences to ruin it for everyone forever.
- My two favorite places locally are The Highland Scrubs and Loyce Harpe Park. The scrubs has a great little boardwalk with “a little house”. Sometimes, we never get past that. Loyce Harpe park has more amenities and more people unless you get comfortable enough to go deep but there are still plenty of nooks and crannies to lay out a blanket and meander. Personally, I stay away from Circle B Bar Reserve as it’s become touristy since the giant gator crossing. Holloway Park has some nice nature trails but very little tree cover where you actually hike. The trails there are sodded with grass, though. That means you can push a stroller for an intense workout that covers more distance and you can walk or run barefoot! There is a great grassy area by the stream right as you go through the gate that is perfect for afternoon snack time and general running around.
- When we go into the woods, we never wear big thick tennis shoes. I like these shoes for hiking/running or these shoes for kicking back and meandering. My children always (in the woods or not) wear either these leather shifts, these FitKids, or no shoes. Early introduction of soled shoes has some interesting effects on the development and robusticity of feet, but I won’t bore you with that 😉
- For all the stuff that should be obvious but often isn’t with a frazzled parent brain or if you decide to take your kids on bigger adventures, THIS book is a good guide.
- IF YOU ARE AN ADULT GOING WITHOUT KIDS, allow yourself at least 5-10 minutes at the beginning or end of your time (especially if you set out with a specific achievement goal), to just find a spot and sit. Literally, just sit there. It is its own form of meditation.
ENJOYMENT is the creation of a comfortable tension within your current life. Living from a place of rest, acceptance, and gratitude while pursuing passion and play are key to loving life. Enjoyment is an internal thing where you learn how to say YES and to say NO. Respecting your personal needs for sleep and managing your stress lay a foundation for choosing a life of joy. Sleep More. Stress Less. Play Outside. Sleep and Stress are the places to start when it comes to enjoying your life. It’s hard to appreciate all that is going on around you when you are rushing around, overwhelmed, tired and burnt out. Additionally, living in that space can have massive health impacts. There are times in life when all of the parts just aren’t moving in sync, or a family member is undergoing a health crisis, or work stress is unavoidable. At those times, it’s more important than ever to support your health. You can certainly do that through diet and exercise, but sometimes the sleep won’t come and the stress won’t budge. I’m entering that phase myself. Mark left to work the farms this week and I have both kids and the business to myself. Last summer, THIS supplement saved my life and my sanity! I’m not a fan of loading up on supplements. They aren’t a solution but a supplement to the other positive steps you are taking for your health. If you are in a period of great stress, improve your sleep, support your adrenals, and get a glimpse of the light at the end of the tunnel with this great product!
Nurture Growth. It’s a key component of fulfillment! Whether you are nurturing your own growth, supporting adults as they dig deeper, or growing little people, this opportunity to foster improvement provides a deep satisfaction. This is exactly what we do at our Deep Roots Nature School. Helping young people grow awareness of the Earth around them starts a ripple that will spread out infinitely. This nature awareness provides unlimited connection points to understand the interconnection of every single thing in the world- the people, the plants, the animals. That’s powerful stuff!!! I picked up this book and immediately fell in love. Check out how many pages I had bookmarked in the first hour. I have never been one to underline passages in a book, until now. How to Raise a Wild Child lays out the importance of connecting to the world around (for you too, adult) and then gives you actual action steps (doable ones) for doing just that. You don’t have to camp in a tent in the middle of a wilderness to gain the benefits of spending time in the outdoors.
I love craft beer. Elysian Space Dust is my favorite, all the time, every time. I also enjoy sitting at Beer Revolution in Lakeland. I take my whole family and sit back towards the bathroom. THIS and THIS are our special Beer Rev games. We take them for Colt to play while he drinks one of their craft bottled sodas. HINT: The ginger one has no colors added and is sweetened with real sugar. For all the reasons, I love to sit and enjoy one of these magical fizzy beverages several days a week. It is also its own form of meditation.