Monday, March 7, 2011

Living a Balanced Life

Life is all about balance.  We go to work, we play, we spend time with family, friends, we do things to keep us healthy like exercise, we try to find time for ourselves and to take care of others, and so much more.  Wow, we sure do try to do a lot, right?!  Well, eventually, if you are off balance long enough... you will go crazy.  Okay, you might not literally go crazy, but it will catch up to you in some way... you might get sick, or depressed, or lose motivation to exercise or eat right and take care of yourself, and the list goes on...which is why it's so important that we have BALANCE in our lives!
I recently went through a little phase where I just felt off balance... it might be the very long work hours and that I don't have much time to spend with family and friends or exercise... but either way, this post is as much of a reminder for me as it is for those of you reading.  So there is my little confession.  Life isn't always perfect... we all have our ups and downs, so what do we do?  We roll with it, and learn from it, and move on!   That's the glory of life... it just keeps going... so you can get off balance and know that there is always time to find that balance once again.  Whew!!
This is what being balanced looks like for me... at total peace.

This is what being balanced looks like for Sam and Major... hehe

It may not always be easy, but look at it as an opportunity.  It's an opportunity to learn something new about yourself, and maybe you realize something you have been missing all along that will give you just what you need to center yourself again. Balance is everywhere.  In our minds, our meals, our workouts, relationships, etc.  If you lift weights every single day without doing something else to balance your body, then it will catch up to you.  If you eat cereal all the time (I love cereal, by the way), you probably won't be feeling too good after a while. If you don't take time to relax, then it will eventually start to have an impact. In other words, too much of one thing isn't necessarily good and may defeat the purpose of the other.Now let's get down to the nitty gritty fun stuff... here is a list of some things that help keep me balanced.

This Blog!
If I haven't blogged in a while, then I know that I am starting to get too off balance and not making enough time for the things I enjoy.

Exercise helps with balance in all aspects of my life.  It pushes me to my limits, energizes and calms me at the same time, and just makes me feel good all over.  I bring balance to my workouts by not always doing the same thing.  It's more fun that way!  Although I do have favorites like yoga and CrossFit, I still really enjoy just going outside for a run, a pilates class, swimming, biking, and even rollerblading... yes I said it... rollerblading... nothing like having a little kid moment and throwing on those skates for some old school fun!
CrossFit Fun at Brandt Fitness & Self Defense

My friend Steph & I...Sam is taking the pic

Yoga @ Cowboys Stadium ~ Indigo Yoga 
Ya... I took a picture while upside down in the pose... 
looks kinda cool right?! 
Biking along the Trinity Trails
Swimming in the Pool Barn @ Lake Austin Spa & Resort
Golfing Fun

Variety is the spice of life!!
Exercise doesn't have to mean going to the gym and doing a cardio machine, then some weight lifting, then ab work... it can be so much more fun than that!  To keep it simple, find a few things that you enjoy and just add them to your workout rotation.  Change it up and have fun!
Healthy Food
Oh my, I confess... I LOVE food!  But what I really love... is making healthy food that tastes so good that you forget about all that greasy heavy food that you used to eat.  Yes, I ate Big Macs, fast food, big country breakfasts, and fried foods all the time growing up... and loved it at the time.  But now, I don't even crave those things anymore (okay, maybe some good ole biscuits and gravy every once in a while), but I find myself craving greens, fruit, smoothies, and almond butter!  I never knew the possibilities that could be created in my very own kitchen!
Healthy food is energizing and it just helps your body function.  I'm not saying don't indulge in dessert because you have to do that too in order to have balance of course!
Here is a TIP
 If you are eating healthy for two meals a day, then it's pretty hard not to stay balanced.  A good way to make sure you are doing that is to have a smoothie and a meal with lots of greens and veggies every day (salad or stir fry for example).  I like to start my day with a smoothie as you all know, and then I make sure to get my greens during at least one other meal of the day.
Here are some of recipes I have enjoyed lately that will help you get your greens and veggies! 

(from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs)

Oh my goodness, this recipe and the sauce will knock your socks off!  We actually haven't made it raw like the recipe says, but I want to try it.  We prepare all the veggies and the sauce and mix it together and then add a little cooked soba (buckwheat) noodles, and then heat all of that up together on a pan.  If you want to add some tempeh, chicken, or shrimp that would work great too!  Makes for great leftovers for lunch the next day!
(from Diet, Dessert, and Dogs)

Kale and I have become very good friends.  It's so good for you and makes the best salad.  The thing about kale is that it is a tough green.  So to soften it up, rinse it, chop it up, put it in a bowl and drizzle a little olive oil, lemon juice, and a salt and massage it! Yes, I said massage the kale... just get your hands in there, rub it, and just go to town with that kale.  It makes it much more tender and tasty!  Add a little avocado to this salad, maybe some sautéed tempeh or whatever source of protein you enjoy, and there you have it... a perfect dinner or lunch!
I like to always keep massaged kale on hand along with a good dressing like this one in the recipe. Also, you can add a little cooked millet, quinoa, or brown rice to this salad too to give it a little more "umph."
Mediterranean Kale Salad
Serves 2-4
If you like tabouli, then you will love this!  Cook 1 cup of quinoa as directed and toss with lemon, fresh mint, parsley, and garlic to taste.  Add 4 cups of chopped and massaged kale to the quinoa mixture with additional lemon juice and 4 Tbs of olive oil.  Toss until the leaves are coated.  Add 1-2 cups chopped tomatoes, 1-2 cups chopped cucumber, and 10 - 20 kalamata olives.  Enjoy! 
I had this dish for leftovers and changed it up a little bit by throwing it in a pan with a little coconut oil and sunflower seeds so it was almost like a stir fry.  Then added a little avocado.  Delish! 
My New Smoothie
As I mentioned, it's important to change things up every once in a while.  Since I have a smoothie almost every day, I recently decided to change it up a little bit.  Here is what I'm enjoying these days...
4 Whole Organic Frozen Strawberries
1/4-1/2 cup Organic Frozen Blueberries
1/2 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Unrefined Coconut Oil
1/2 Tablespoon Almond Butter
1/2 cup unsweetened regular or vanilla almond milk
Dash of cinnamon 
1/2 cup water
*Every other day I will add 1 teaspoon of Maca Powder.
*Sometimes I will add a dash of carob powder.
**Check out Ange's Vlog at Hol : Fit for the many benefits of cinnamon and coconut oil
Stretching & Meditation
After a workout or at night I like to take a good 10-20 minutes to just stretch.  I will either do some light yoga with inversions (head stand or shoulder stand) or I will have a little date with my foam roller if I'm really sore.  This is definitely my "me" time... I completely zone out and let me mind just "be."
Me Time 
 I also just really enjoy relaxing after a long day, drinking some tea, and reading a book/magazine or catching up on some of my favorite blogs.

Family & Friends Time

Bachelorette Party Fun w/ the Girls

Nothing beats a girls night or spending time with your family or loved ones to bring you back to center.  Lately, Sam and I have just enjoyed making a delicious dinner and catching up on our favorite shows together. (American Idol, Modern Family, Glee, How I Met Your Mother, Big Bang Theory, anyone?!) I also love having family and friends over for dinner and introducing them to something new, healthy, and delicious!  Or going to see a movie!

Mom & Dad

Oh Happy Day!
So there you have it.  Here's to finding and keeping your balance!  
With Love, Health, and Happiness,


Weekend Cowgirl said...

Nice blog. It's great to see you are doing so well! Love all your photos!

Anonymous said...

This is a great post on balance. I love to be reminded of all the things that could help me feel more balanced and I just decided what to do with all the extra kale I have in my fridge.

Ange said...

What a beautiful post & a great reminder! I love all the pics you shared - you live a full & healthy life...I think we'd be great friends if we lived closer ;)
Thanks so much for the link up too - I drink almost the exact same smoothie every day. That brand of Maca rocks!
Gonna try out that pad thai recipe this week -yumm!

JenATX said...

I eat cereal for breakfast every day ha! I always intend to wake up & make something but pouring that cereal into the bowl is just so easy.

And I must confess that I've been feeling off balance as well. My weekends have just been a blur of going out & laying around all day. I realized this last weekend so I made a point to go to the library Saturday & Sunday as well as getting in a hard workout both days. I felt SO much better & I didn't dread Mondays as usual since I had kept my energy up all week. ** By the way, I can tell Cody is feeling off-balance too. After I totally whooped his butt in that bootcamp workout we did on Sunday, he said he felt like he spends too much time sitting & reading. I know he wants to study as much as he can to make good grades & I know he hates taking away study time, but I think after seeing how much he was huffing & puffing made him realize that he has to make time in life for both things!

Ricki said...

Oh my gosh, there is so much great stuff in this post! I love the photos of Sam and Major "finding their balance"! :D And thanks for the links to the recipes, too--I am thrilled that you love the kale salad as much as I do. I bet the pad thai would be phenomenal with noodles--wish I could have those sobas right now! Gorgeous wedding photos, too. :)

Michelle said...

LOVE this post girl! I am very proud of how far you've come and I admire the passion you have! You will do great things and inspire many people to live healthy & happy lives :)

Steph said...

I just love you and your blog!! I need some balance in my life, too- a little more Cami time, please! :)

Cami said...

YAY so many fun comments!! I must address them all :)

@Weekend Cowgirl - Thank you so very much!

@myveganland - Oh, I'm so glad this post gave you an idea for how to use your extra kale! Never want to waste such delicious and nutritious kale!

@Jen - Girl, I know what you mean! With my busy work hours, I have not been able to work out as much as I would like, but I always feel SO much better after I do! I'm so glad you opened Cody's eyes to the need for both sitting and getting up and working it out! BALANCE :)

@Ricki - Thanks so much for your comment!! Your recipes are definitely going to be popping up on my blog more often now with the ACD diet. I love all of recipe ideas! They are life savers right now. Let me know if you try the Pad Thai with soba noodles... i love it! I also really like this seaweed salad recipe with soba noodles...

Soba Seaweed Salad

For 2 servings:
2 oz soba noodles
1/4cup dry Wakame seaweed
2 tomatoes
1 avocado
2 tablespoon sesame oil
Sprinkle of sesame seeds
Salt to taste
Soak the seaweed in a bowl with warm water for about 10 minutes. Boil the soba noodles for 6 minutes. Chop the tomatoes and avocado. Add everything to a bowl with sesame oil and seeds.

@Michelle - Thanks my dear for the sweet words!

@Steph - Ahhh I agree!!! Miss you! We have LOTS of catching up to do... I will free up after the next two weeks and you are on my "to hang out with" list!

Cami said...

@Ange - Oh my goodness I completely agree! If we only lived closer!! I know we would be great friends... especially since your husband is a veggie guy too! Sam just started an organic garden on our apartment patio in these self-watering buckets. He is going to do a guest post soon on how to do it!

Oh, and that makes me happy that your smoothie is almost the same! So energizing! What do you do that's different?

Let me know if you try that pad thai recipe and what you think, it's one of my new favorites!

Love your new blog name by the way. Working on my blog redesign as we speak! New name too :)

Anonymous said...

Love your blog :) Also, do you watch The Bachelor? You look like you could be Ashley Herbert's twin!

Amberly Elmore said...

I adore your blog! I don't know how I came across it but I am so glad I did. I am trying to tone up, you know just lose my love handles and small gut! ha, I like the way I look but I want to be firmer. And honestly I don't know what is best for me. I work out three times a week, but it seems like nothing is happening. I am so glad I found this blog though! I may have to ask you questions!!

Emily said...

What a sweet blog. Truly inspiring. :) I'll have to try the kale salad. I love unique, super healthy foods so this will be great!

Anonymous said...

I think Work should be in this balance post, We spend about 8-12 hrs a day at work.Although we may not be actually working all those hours it always good to find a balance with work an our personal life and not mixing these up. Alot of ppl dont know how to switch off or just take matters of a work nature at home and vice versa.

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