I’ve been eating an 80-90% raw diet over the past couple weeks as I prepare to host a raw plant-based cleanse. As the temperature here in the Northeast gets warmer, its the ideal time to eat more raw and hence, cold, cool or room temperature foods. The fruits, veggies and nuts are easy since they are commonly eaten raw. I happen to enjoy eating whole grains and I am very active so I need the carbs. While thinking of what raw foods I would eat other than the usual suspects, I remembered that some grains can be eaten uncooked after rinsing and soaking.
Oats and buckwheat are two such grains. In their groat form they are unprocessed and still raw. Oats’ first level of processing is steel cut. The next step is rolled oats and then they are super-processed after that point. Buckwheat is often toasted and made into Kasha cereal or flour.
The groats for both soften after being soaked for at least 4 hours. The oats become chewy and make for a very hearty meal that can be mixed with whatever you would add to or top cooked oatmeal with, such as, nut milk, flax meal, chia seeds, fruits, nuts and spices. The buckwheat becomes gooey and have a slimy texture which is normal. You can also blend the groats with flax meal and spices to make a creamy porridge or cereal and then add your toppings. They are simple and quick to prepare. Now you know you can have your grains raw too!
raw buckwheat groats
raw oat groats
I’ve been reading a terrific book called the Resiliency Advantage by Dr. Al Siebert. In one of the chapters he writes about the fact that resilient people tend to experience the gift of serendipity.
Serendipity can be defined as the ability to discover good fortunes accidentally and from unfortunate events. It comes from the wisdom to convert an unexpected event or mishap into something positive. There are three elements that create serendipity.
- Something unexpected or accidental happens to you.
- Your perceptiveness and optimism lead you to discover…
- The unexpected benefit or blessing.
When you are open-minded and solution oriented you believe you have control over what happens to you. You don’t believe you are at the mercy of good luck and bad luck. Not only will you survive a negative occurrence, but you will see opportunities and end up thriving as a result of that experience. By doing so you discover strengths you didn’t know you had and you steer your life in a different and more positive direction.
As I read this chapter I immediately thought of a life changing misfortune that I experienced in 2011 that ended up changing my life for the better. Anyone who has known me for several years knows I was an avid distance runner during my teens and twenties. I ran numerous distance events and placed very well in all of them. Finally, I ran my first marathon in Vienna in April of 2011. My goal was not only to run the marathon but to qualify for the Boston marathon. (That is on every distance runner’s bucket list). While training I developed a mystery injury. Even though I knew something was wrong I did the race anyway. I reduced my training during the month before the race to prevent the injury from worsening. I completed the 26.2 miles in 3:30 and qualified for Boston! Then I had my injury diagnosed. I had a pelvic stress fracture that ultimately took 3 years to heal. Not only was Boston, not an option but I was now missing out on the social aspect of my running. I missed the company and friends I’d made and felt a little empty because a significant part of my identity was that ‘I am a runner.’
After feeling depressed for a couple a weeks I found myself wandering into Barnes and Noble seeking a new nutrition book to read, mainly because I was bored and I find nutrition to be extremely interesring. I figured if I can’t exercise I may as well learn something more. The book I decided to buy- The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder changed my life. After reading it, I converted from and vegetarian to a mostly vegan and gluten free diet. I became more inspired to learn about this lifestyle and help others to understand it and try it too. I became a certified health coach. Since then, I have elevated my health, found my happy weight, improved the appearance of my skin and hair and been able to coach others to achieve their wellness goals. I also discovered Bikram yoga. Since I had more time on my hands I began a yoga practice that is so amazing and vast. I can’t imagine life without yoga now. I still stay in touch with my running community and now I am part of a yoga community where I have met terrific people.
If I hadn’t gotten that devastating long-term injury I may not have found these two passions that have such an immensely positive impact on my life and the lives of others I’ve helped to influence and inspire.
So how do you avail yourself to serendipitous outcomes? The art of resiliency involves looking for the elusive benefits when faced with difficulties by asking three questions:
- What’s good about this?
- How can make this benefit me?
- What unexpected and unique opportunity has this created.
These questions prepare your mind discover benefits in events that may cause others to get upset and give up. We have all heard the cliche “You can’t control what happens to you. You an control how you respond to it.” I also believe that when you expect good thongs to happen to you, it’s easier to have a positive outlook and find the benefits in event that occur. In other words, two people can have the same unfortunate event happen to them. The resilient person will see the potential positives and make the declaration that they will overcome it and come out better and stronger. The less resilient person allows it to overwhelm them with stress and feels victimized and helpless to control what happens next.
Fortunately resiliency is a strength you can learn and get better at. I highly recommend this book.
How well do you measure up with your self care and balance? Are you drowning, barely getting through the day, living in a sustainable way but with some room for improvement or thriving and enjoying life? Everyone’s concept of balance is different and we find enjoyment in a variety of activities. This self assessment is a great tool to help you identify some strengths and some opportunities hat exist in your lifestyle.
The best part is that you can begin making some of these changes right away. Other changes may take some planning and collaboration with other individuals, but at least you will have the awareness and you will be able to create a game plan. When you are healthy, happy and whole not only do you benefit from a more fulfilled life, but your family, friends, and community are better served by you too.
1. Take a few minutes to complete the survey and read the interpretation of your score. Read the brief directions, and answer honestly. It will only take 5-10 minutes.
2. Identify 2-3 things you can do to improve your self care and take action!
3. After implementing these changes, you can retake the same assessment in 3-6 months and see if there are any changes.
For example for myself, I identified that I need to get more sleep, let little annoyances go and not bring home stress from work.