Happiness Project: March

Hello and Happy Easter to everyone! My sincere apologies for my disappearing act over the past month. I think all bloggers suffer this fate at one point or another in the early stages of their blogging life. I suppose it’s just a good reminder to always stay consistent, because it’s all too easy to fall behind. I was on a roll for a while, posting almost every day and then I let myself make excuses for being too busy to write a post or too tired, or sick etc etc.

Anyway, I apologise and promise to do my very best to pick up my game!

So, it’s now April and I am overdue on an update on how my March resolution for my Happiness Project went. The goal for the month of March was Health.

Health

Going back to my Year 11 Health studies, the World Health Organization (WHO) defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”.

I think the theme of health is one that is very closely tied to goals and resolutions of people throughout the western world. How often do you hear about people making New Year’s resolutions to “lose 10 kilos” or “quit smoking” or vowing to start eating healthily or start that new diet next Monday? It’s a popular and tired goal, but one that most people strive for their whole lives.

I am no different. I had planned to dedicate the month of March to finally kicking off sustainable and healthy eating habits for good. I even bought a book called The Beauty Detox Solution by nutritionist Kimberly Snyder and had wanted to use her advice and recipes to start my new healthy way of life.

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For the grammar-savvy folk out there (or, well, anyone) you’ll notice that the above is all in past tense. I had planned to do all these things. But, sadly I didn’t quite achieve it. I could sit here and come up with all number of excuses as to why it simply wasn’t possible to achieve this particular goal – I was busy, it was too hard to sustain, her suggestions were impractical, the food was too expensive, blah blah blah – but the fact of the matter is that Health, like so many other things, is a constant, ever changing concept that I will be struggling with and working on for the rest of my life. It is not something that can be addressed and improved upon in one simple month after reading one book.

And that’s ok, I’m ok with that. Yes, I still eat chocolate more than I should and don’t always have a healthy meal planned with ingredients bought and ready to cook every night of the week. But I am always working and trying to do better, and I think that counts for something. Health is something that is really important to me and my lifestyle and I like to think that I’m a pretty healthy, active person in general. Luckily for me, my interest in health, fitness and nutrition is just that – an interest. I care about my health and place great importance on it because I think it matters and it is in my best interests. I don’t have any serious health problems, I’m not obese or terribly unfit. I’ve got it pretty good.

So, that’s how March went. I’m incredibly pleased to say that, never mind not addressing Health as planned, I have continued to keep up with my January and February goals of Enterprise and Productivity. I’m happy to report that I have been working very hard throughout the month of March on two separate business endeavours while working four different jobs and still dancing at least four times a week.

I’m pretty happy with my progress. There’s always room for improvement and my Happiness Project is designed to be a constant, ongoing and flowing thing. Just because I affix a goal or resolution to each month doesn’t mean that I stop pursuing it once the month is up or get down on myself if I didn’t quite achieve what I had set out to do. I think this is an important thing to think about and always keep in mind, you can always work on yourself and aim higher – if you fall short, just get right back up again and keep trying!

So, what do I have planned for April? Attitude. This month is all about positive thinking and looking on the bright side of life. Stay tuned for an update of my progress throughout the month and a review about how I went at the end of the month.

I also promise to post some yummy recipes, DIY projects, product reviews and more very soon!

Eleanor
x

Happiness Project: February

You may have noticed that this past month I haven’t been posting quite so often and not nearly as much as I would like to. This is primarily due to February’s Happiness Project Goal, which ironically didn’t leave me with enough time to make or bake anything that would have lead to a post. So, what goal would that be, Eleanor?

Productivity

:productivity |ˌprōˌdəkˈtivətē, ˌprädək-,prəˌdək-|noun: the quality, state, or fact of being able to generate, create,enhance, or bring forth goods and services

Throughout February (yes, I am aware that we still have 9 days left of the month) I have resolved to be as productive as I can be. Productivity is something that is always in my mind, the ultimate goal in a way. It’s something that I feel I often struggle with – especially at Uni when assignments are due. I can be an outstanding procrastinator, which is essentially the direct opposite of being productive. I am of the opinion that when you are being productive you do not feel as though you are just getting things done, but that you are achieving. For me, the feeling of daily achievements is a big contributor to happiness. How often do you feel down on yourself as a result of procrastination or falling short of your potential? Hopefully not too often, but for me that guilt was too present for my liking. Which brings me to my resolutions for February, the month of Productivity.

  1. Work as much as possible
  2. Write daily “to achieve” lists rather that “to do” lists
  3. Each night, reflect on what I achieved that day
  4. Use any spare time to work on nagging tasks, future projects, things that need to get done

Looking at this list of resolutions now, after 20 days of doing so, it’s a bit unrealistic. I’ll tell you why. While all my resolutions are working in favour of constantly achieving and feeling productive, I didn’t really allow myself any down time. This was a mistake. My average day this month has looked something like this:

  • Up at 5.00am/5.30am
  • Personal Training, Client 1: 6.30am – 7.30am
  • Personal Training, Client 2: 7.30am – 8.30am
  • Work at a Childcare Centre 8.30am/9.00am – 3.30pm
  • Work on PT programs, answer e-mails, work on business proposal etc during 45min lunch break
  • Nanny 3.30pm/4.00pm – 6.00pm
  • Dance classes 6.30pm – 9.30pm
  • Home at 10.00pm
  • Write a program for PT sessions
  • In bed by 11.00pm

This may or may not seem a bit hectic to you, I know many people do a lot more. Unfortunately, I have a shocking immune system that doesn’t seem to agree with my goal of productivity. I have been fighting off colds and headaches all month and fell in a heap this weekend.

I am writing this post mid-month as opposed to writing a summary of my month once it’s over because it’s not working as well as it could be. I now resolve to work smarter. So, rather than constantly working and always being on, I resolve to be more productive in shorter bursts of time. I also think I need to take the time for active relaxation. By which I mean things like yoga or meditation, not just sitting on the couch vegging out – that is not active relaxation, it’s passive relaxation.

Which all brings me to a little teaser for next month’s goal… Health. I am so excited about this one. I’ve been reading this wonderful book; The Beauty Detox Solution by Kimberly Snyder and am planning on putting a lot of her principles into  practice in March.

Stay tuned!

Eleanor x

DIY Detox Diary: Day Two

My apologies for the delay in posting Day Two of my DIY Detox, I will post Day Two and Day Three today for you. For those of you who have no idea what I’m on about, check out my DIY Detox Diary: Day One and Preparation posts.

The day started well enough. We had our four day juices all ready to go in the morning which made the start of the day go a lot smoother and was a lot less stressful. Juice #1 & #2 went down fine – they are probably two of the tastiest of the six daily juices.

Luckily, we had learned our lesson from the hideous Juice #3 the day before and we added some tomato and a lot less ginger to it for lunch today. It went down alright, but it really isn’t that satisfying. I’m not finding myself hungry per se, just so unsatisfied by these juice to a point where I almost can’t be bothered drinking them.

Late afternoon I headed to the pool to meet up with some girlfriends, Juice #4 in tow in my ‘Schkinny Fresky’ (I cringe just typing that name) on ice for the drive over. As my luck would have it, I walked into the pool at the exact same time that three of the girls happened to be heading to the snack bar. Again, my inner monologue was having a screaming match with my stomach, intensely debating whether or not hot chips are, in fact, the best thing ever invented and pretty much my favourite food group of all time. I desperately rifled through my bag to find good old Juice #4, hoping it would be my saviour against the sweet smell of dirty, greasy, pool food while mumbling “No, I’m good” to my friends when they asked if I wanted anything. Another hot tip: avoid snack bars at all costs. I think I may have actually caught myself drooling whilst intensely watching my friend devour a potato cake.

At last we were done in the snack bar and we headed outside to find the other girls sun baking. One of the more health conscious girls (not that the others aren’t, they’re all dance teachers so a potato cake or a callipo now and then isn’t going to do much damage) was munching away on some nuts and kindly offered me some. It took all the (very, very little) energy I had not to scream “Do I want some nuts!? Do I want some nuts!? Of course I want some goddamn nuts, I’ve been living off shitty juice for the past two days!!”, while simultaneously grabbing the bag of nuts from her hands and stuffing them in my mouth like a ravage animal that has just been let out of captivity. Instead, I politely declined and proceeded to sip on my (now disturbingly warm) juice.

I got home in the evening after my afternoon in the sun feeling particularly weak and not at all in the mood for Juice #5. I had prepared this juice earlier in the day and only had to heat it up for us to have as our dinner but could not for the life of me bring myself to “eat” it. This feeling was not at all helped by my boyfriend complaining about how hungry he was as well as constantly rambling about all the food he wanted to eat. We both agreed that we were just so bored of the juices and so unsatisfied by them that we would rather go hungry than have another juice. I deliberated for quite some time about what to do (I honestly could not stomach another juice) and finally decided that it wouldn’t hurt that much, surely, if we had a cheeky salad for dinner with only raw vegetables.

So, that’s what we did – and I felt like such a failure for breaking it on day two, especially considering that I did a three day cleanse last year with no dramas at all. I figured maybe we would cut it down to three days instead of five, especially as we were planning on visiting my mum on Thursday for Australia Day, and just replace the lunch and/or the dinner juices with raw salads for the next day.

With this idea in my head, we still had our “dessert juice” which we both quite like, at the end of the night.

I was incredibly disappointed in myself for breaking the cleanse but was determined to power on and get through it.

Here’s to Day Three!

Eleanor x

DIY Detox Diary: Day One

Dear Detox Diary,

Today is my first day of my DIY Detox or my fruit and vegetable juice cleanse.

6.30am – Wake up after only 5 or 6 hours of sleep and get to work making our first 4 juices for the day. So glad I portioned up the fruit and veggies during my preparation yesterday but it is still taking ages to make 8 juices! Squeeze myself some lemon with warm water.

8.00am – Finish juicing just in time to send the boyfriend off to work with a detox goodie bag of 4 juices and some detox tea. I start on Juice #1: Spinach, Snowpea, Apple, Honeydew and Chlorophyll aka “Mean Greenie”. This one is really yummy!

8.30am – Getting a bit sleepy and exhausted with a slight headache, though this could be due to my lack of sleep and stressful morning of juicing and not the detox.

8.50am – Decide to go and rest in bed, so glad to be a uni student on holidays!

10.17am – Get a call from my boyfriend at work and chat about how we’re feeling and our plans for the week, finish my last quarter of juice one and feel refreshed but still a bit lethargic.

11.36am – Just got a tiny hunger pang, time for Juice #2: Celery, Apple, Ginger and Kiwifruit aka “Immuno Booster”. Another green one, this one is nice and refreshing. Feeling good!

12.42pm – Still working on Juice #2 (I’m such a slow poke!) and actually feel quite full!? Who knew juice could be so filling!

1.30pm – Called my boyfriend who is struggling, “Baby, this is so shit”. He’s not enjoying it at all! I wouldn’t want to be at work and having to use my brain too much today, must be hard.

2.00pm – A bit late on Juice #3: Carrot, Parsley, Beetroot and Ginger aka “Ginger Minge”. Holy crap, this one is disgusting! Way too much ginger! Pulled the foulest of faces attempting to skull this one, it helped a little bit to heat it up as a soup as suggested in my recipe book. Couldn’t for the life of me finish it, absolutely gross. Exchanged some texts with my boyfriend about how horrible it was.

3.15pm – Out shopping for more ingredients – I’m allergic to almonds which is a major ingredient in Juice #6 so was on the hunt for hazelnut milk and hazelnut meal to substitute. Wandering around the supermarkets looking for anything hazelnut and my inner monologue is going something like this: “Ohh look at all the bread, No! No, I don’t even want bread, I don’t even like bread. So doughy, mmmm. What’s that? Sushi! I mean..pffft who likes sushi? I don’t. I don’t even want any. I’m gonna go home and drink some juice, awww yeah. What’s that? Pizza! OMG I WANT PIZZA! Wait, no I don’t. Pizza sucks. Detoxing is good. Healthy healthy healthy..chocolate!?” The moral of the story being: For the love of God don’t go to a supermarket/anywhere that sells food while detoxing! And while we’re at it, don’t even listen to the radio. Or watch TV. It’s insane how many food ads there are or how often people talk about food. Torture.

4.30pm – Just got home from shopping. A bit late again for Juice #4: Rockmelon, Watermelon, Blueberries and Mint aka “Summer Burst”. Was looking forward to this one – it sounds so yummy! – but was a bit disappointed by the blueberry floaties which make it hard to enjoy drinking. Anyone who knows me knows I hate “bits” in my food, I’m weird about texture. Yes, other people are too, I’m not that odd.

6.00pm – My boy gets home from work and the first thing he says when coming in the door is, “Ahhhhh, I’m so hungry!”. Good thing I’m making our Dinner Juice/Soup #5: Tomato, Carrot, Basil, Capsicum and Garlic aka “Martie Toe”. Now this one is good. It tastes just like a yummy tomato soup – well, a watered down version. The basil in it is delicious. We decide to replace the ghastly Juice #3 with this one tomorrow. So much tastier.

6.35pm – The two of us set up in the kitchen to make up the four juices for tomorrow. After the crazy rush this morning, we decided it wasn’t worth draining our energy in the morning making juices on a deadline. As much as we couldn’t be bothered doing it now either, it was much better to do it now than in the morning. Ideally, the juice should be consumed as close as possible to the time it was juiced – which is why it makes more sense to juice your fruit and veggies in the morning. We’re happy to sacrifice some freshness and some loss of vitamins for the sake of our sanity.

7.45pm – I prepared the pumpkin juice earlier for Juice #6: Pumpkin, cinnamon, Hazelnut Milk and Hazelnut Meal aka “Pumpkin Pie” so I just popped the rest of the ingredients in a glass and stirred it around for our “dessert juice”. We were a bit skeptical about this one but it was surprisingly tasty. An acquired taste, but drinkable – even if it did have a few floaties.

8.00pm – We sit down to watch a movie, both pretty exhausted.

9.00pm – Bedtime! I know, ridiculously early, but the detox kit recommends you get an extra long sleep tonight and we were both ready to just pass out.

10.13pm, 11.17pm, 12.34am – Keep waking up to pee – too much damn liquid in my system! All I want to do is sleep!

1.23am – Wake up again with an incredibly dry throat and a bit of a cough. Try to have enough water to help my throat but not too much so as to wake me up an hour later to pee again.

Well, that was Day One of my DIY Detox. All in all, not too bad. Yes it really sucks not eating solid foods but I keep trying to remind myself of why I am doing this and how great I will feel afterwards. My body will love me for it. I think it’s much harder for my boyfriend – a first time detoxer – as he hasn’t experienced the amazing post-cleanse feeling so it’s hard for him. I’ve been trying to remind him to think positively and about the goal – but then he just starts talking about cupcakes and opening the pantry to smell some crackers or something. I think he’s getting a bit delirious.

Here’s to Day Two! Wish me luck!
Eleanor x

DIY Detox Diary: Preparation

Around this time last year I decided to do a detox that I had been told about. This one wasn’t about eating only carrots or living off lemon juice, cayenne pepper and water for 2 weeks (like the Lemon Detox Diet – worst detox you can do, so unhealthy!). Instead, this was a Juice Cleanse. The idea is that you only drink juice for 3-5 days while detoxing. The juices are specially formulated to provide you with adequate nutrients during your detox while also being packed with vitamins and minerals to help restore, revitalise and rejuvenate your body.

Last year, I did a 3 day, Level One cleanse with Urban Remedy which set me back over $200 as all my juices were delivered fresh to my door. I had amazing results after just 3 days and felt the healthiest, clearest and most energetic I have ever felt before in my life. Amazing!

So, it is no surprise that I was keen to do another detox this year (ideally I’d like to cleanse once every few months). Unfortunately, however, my bank account wasn’t willing to shell out another $200-$300 for the 5 day cleanse I wanted to do this time. So, I started researching for recipes to do it myself at home – because I was lucky enough to receive a brand spanking new juicer a few weeks ago from my ever so wonderful boyfriend – details here. Lucky for me, I came across the DIY Detox Kit offered by Schkinny Manniny (I know, horrible name right?).

Juice Cleanse Materials

The Schkinny Manniny DIY Detox Kit

This Kit Contains:

  • Recipe Booklet
  • Daily Cards with Do’s and Don’ts
  • Esky
  • 6 Water Bottles
  • Liquid Chlorophyll
  • Detox Tea
  • Bath Soak
  • Psyllium Husks
  • Loofah for Dry Skin Brushing (not pictured)

After waiting desperately for over a week to receive my kit I hurried out to my local fruit shop as soon as I finally got my kit with the recipes and ingredients to buy all the fruit and veggies I would need for my 5 day cleanse.

Somehow, my boyfriend managed to jump on board so we went shopping together and bought double the ingredients listed in the recipe booklet. We were in the fruit shop for a good half an hour getting everything – I worried we might clean them out! We had 3 baskets full and I dreaded the total. Luckily, it always pays to go to local fruit shops over supermarket chains and we were set back only $88.30 for 5 days worth of fruit and veggies for the tow of us. Pretty damn good if you ask me!

Shopping for Juice Cleanse

Trolley full of fruit and veggies - there's more underneath!

I’m a bit of an organisation junkie. So, I decided it would be easier for my sanity in the morning to portion up all the ingredients into groups for each juice so I could easily throw all the ingredients in the juicer rather than spending ages chopping and peeling and riffling through the fridge to find the ingredients for each juice I had to make for the day. I have to admit, I also got a kick out of organising, ordering and labelling my fruit and veggies into containers and freezer bags.

Juice cleanse

mmm so organised 🙂

Well, that is all from me for now. I will be updating my blog with my progress with daily posts throughout my detox – stay tuned!

Have you ever tried a detox/juice cleanse? What did you think?

Eleanor x