How Meditation Saved Me When I Had a Breakdown

A couple of weeks ago,Toby (my dog) and I were driving down the freeway about 30 minutes from Seattle. We were on our way to the Tulip Festival. Suddenly, my engine light came on and my car made a freaky sound. I knew immediately we were not going to make it to the Tulip Festival that day.

I pulled the car over, took out my phone and calmly Googled the nearest mechanic and called a tow truck.

Breaking down on the freeway has always been a fear of mine. I was shocked at how calmly I handled the situation. I believe the reason I was able to keep calm was because of my meditation practice.

I’ve been dabbling in meditation for years but never maintained a consistent practice. However, the weeks leading up to my car break down, I had been meditating for 5 minutes twice a day. I made a commitment to myself to try out meditation to see if it benefited me. Within a couple of days of meditating my negative mood had lifted and I was happier. The best benefit was that I was sleeping much better. Meditating before bed is a way for me to “take out the trash”, clear out the fear, stress, negativity that accumulate during the day.

It took over a week for my car to be repaired. To save money I returned the rental car and decided to walk to work each day. The round trip walk is about 4 miles, which means I am walking an additional 20 miles a week, 80 miles a month, I wouldn’t have other wise walked.

I use my walks as an opportunity to appreciate all of the beauty that surrounds me. I notice the birds chirping, the ducks swimming and beautiful flowers blooming. I practice deep breathing during my walks and also work on staying in the present moment. Typically, my brain is always thinking of the future, however, my meditation practice has been helping to ground me in the present moment.

How do you cope with unexpected stresses in your life? Have you ever tried meditation before? Leave a comment below.

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For more information about my 1-on-1 health coaching practice, emails me anytime at brooks.dawn@gmail.com or to schedule a free health history consultation.

 

Love,

Brooks Sig

 

 

 

Brooks

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The Book That Changed My Life and Health Forever

A couple of years ago, I was shopping at Target and came across a book by Kimberly Snyder called “The Beauty Detox Solution”.

Little did I know that this book would change my life and would put me on a path to overhauling my health and life.

Kimberly Snyder’s book “The Beauty Detox Solution” aka “The Book that Changed my Life and Health Forever”

When I bought “The Beauty Detox Solution”, I had a muffin top, cystic acne, anxiety, insomnia and depression. I hated my body and my life.

Kimberly’s book started me on a health revolution and introduced me to the benefits of a vegan diet. As long as I can remember, I never enjoyed eating meat and especially detested chicken. Over the course of a couple of years, I transitioned to a vegan diet. My diet is now 95% vegan. I know that this diet is not for everyone, but it is working for me.

As my health began to improve and I started feeling vibrant and energized, I made other changes to my life. I got out of a toxic relationship, moved to a city I love, got a less stressful job, went back to school, paid off $100,000 in debt and became a yoga teacher. Gone are the days of popping RX pills for every ailment.These days I spend time in nature, do yoga and meditate to relieve anxiety and to fight insomnia.

Today I can honestly say, I have a body and life that I love. At age 35, I feel much better than I did at age 25.

Kimberly Snyder’s 3rd book “Beauty Detox Power” came out earlier this week.

Kimberly Snyder’s new book “The Beauty Detox Power”

 

I have been reading Kimberly’s new book for two days now and have already gained valuable insights. For instance, Kimberly talks about how our negative thoughts shape our bodies. Every women I know has talked negatively about her body, myself included.

Lately my mind has been pretty negative towards my body and thoughts such as “now that I am 35, it’s harder to stay in shape and I have to work so much harder” or “ugh, my stomach is so bloated and fat” are on repeat in my mind. As a result, no matter how well I eat, I am not reaching my fitness goals.

“Beauty Detox Power” has inspired me to stop talking to myself negatively and to replace my negative thoughts with positive affirmations such as ” it is easy for me to maintain the trim, fit body that I want” and “I love myself and accept myself right now”.

As Kimberly suggests, I wrote 10 positive affirmations on Post-its and stuck them in various places in my apartment. I am confident that if I replace my negative thoughts with positive affirmations, I will start seeing improvements with my body and health.

“It is easy for me to maintain the trim, fit body that I want” to replace “Now that I am 35, my metabolism is slowing down and it is so much harder for me to maintain my weight”.

 

“I am powerful & beautiful” to replace “Ugh, I look like shit today, I just want to lay on the couch in my yoga clothes all day”.
“I am successful in all my endeavors” to replace “I am a failure, I hate my job”.

 

Do you talk about yourself negatively? What do you say about yourself?

Take action now:

  • Get out your Post-its and a Sharpie and write positive affirmations to replace the negative thoughts you currently have. You can use the ones I provided or make up your own.
  • Stick the affirmations in places you will frequently see them: bathroom mirror, window, fridge, on your cell phone etc. When you see the notes, read them out loud for the most benefit.
  • Pay attention to your negative thoughts and stop them before they spiral out of control and damage your body and health.

I know how much it sucks to be stuck in an unhealthy, bloated, fatigued, miserable body. I also know how an unfulling job or relationship can suck the life out of you. Are you ready to create a body and life you love?

Email me at brooks.dawn@gmail.com to set up a FREE consultation and learn more about my “Love Your Body, Love Your Life” 6 month 1-on-1 health coaching program.

Thanks!

Brooks Sig

 

 

 

Brooks

 

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How I Avoid Stomach Issues While Traveling

I love to travel. I love seeing and experiencing new places, however, when I travel I am always plagued with horrible stomach issues. Usually the stomach pain starts as soon as I am in the air and lasts long after the vacation is over.

I recently went on a trip to Kauai to celebrate my 35th birthday. Here are a couple of my favorite spots in Kauai:

 

Waimea Canyon, this is where parts of “Jurassic Park” was filmed.

 

Na Pali coast. The most beautiful beach I’ve ever been to.

 

I wanted to enjoy everything Kauai had to offer and was determined to figure out how to avoid stomach issues. It worked! Here’s what I did:

I sipped on herbal peppermint tea on the airplane.

The flight to Kauai was a little over 6 hours from Seattle. I packed my own peppermint tea and requested hot water when the flight attendants did their rounds.

Here are some of the benefits of peppermint tea:

  • Relieves stress and anxiety due to it’s anti-inflammatory nature. Peppermint can reduce blood pressure and body temperature, and allow you to unwind and relax, letting your cares melt away.
  • Relieves pain in the digestive tract by moving gas through the stomach and intestines
  • Stomach healer that can assist with irritable bowel syndrome, nausea, stomach aches, diarrhea or constipation
  • The analgesic properties of peppermint tea help calm and relax the stomach and intestinal muscles. This calming effect prevents irritable bowel syndrome, diarrhea or stomach cramps

I kept my meals simple and healthy.

I admit, usually when I go on vacation, I throw my healthy eating habits out the airplane and allow myself to eat whatever I want because “I am on vacation”. This time, I decided to eat the way I normally do when I am not on vacation.

I loved Kauai because it was so easy to eat healthy. There were a ton of juice bars and produce stands.

Fresh produce stands are everywhere in Kauai. This one was in a little town on the way to Waimea Canyon.

Here is a sample of what I ate on a typical day in Kauai:

Breakfast at the hotel:

-Gluten free, steal cut oat meal, topped with flax seeds, almond milk, dried fruit, shaved almonds.

Lunch at a juice bar:

-Acai bowl topped with fresh, local coconut meat, gluten free granola, raw local honey, local bananas, and bee pollen

Dinner:

-Coconut shrimp with a huge kale salad mixed with a variety of local veggies.

I loved Kauai because just about everything I ate was grown locally and very fresh.

I slowed down and really took the time to chew my food.

This is something I have been trying to do at every meal and it has made a huge difference in curing my stomach issues. I come from a family of fast eaters. We are similar to dogs. We don’t taste our food, we just inhale it as quickly as possible. This is a recipe for disaster because our stomachs do not have teeth.

Instead, if we slow down, take smaller bites, and chew our food until it is almost a liquid our stomach doesn’t have to do so much work. When we chew our food, we activate the digestive enzymes in our saliva which breaks down our food. When we inhale our food, our stomach has to work harder because the food was not adequately broken down using our teeth or enzymes.

Eating slowly does take a lot of practice but trust me it is worth it. You will also feel more satisfied after your meal, if you actually take the time to taste and appreciate your food.

I downed massive amounts of ginger.

I admit that I am addicted to ginger. I love it in every form. Ginger grows naturally in Kauai. I had a couple of bags of chewy dried ginger. However, my favorite ginger treat iis pictured below. On the way back from Na Pali beach, I spotted a cute juice bar on the side of the road. I was thrilled that they offered a ginger, tumeric shot! I made my sister take a sip, but she nearly gagged! Maybe ginger shots are an acquired taste.

Both ginger and tumeric are proven to lower inflammation in the body. Ginger also reduces pain and spasms in the intestinal track. This shot can easily be made at home if you have a juicer. Chop an inch of tumeric root and ginger root and throw it in the juicer. You can also add a little cayenne pepper to kick it up a notch.

Ginger, Tumeric shot from an amazing juice bar in the North Shore of Kauai. How cute is this shot glass?

 

Next time you travel, try to incorporate some of these tips to avoid stomach issues. Who wants to feel miserable and bloated on vacation? Not me!

If you have any other tips, please leave a comment below.

 

Brooks Sig

 

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How Acupuncture Helped Me Regain My Health

posted in: Holistic Health | 0

These last couple of months have been some of the craziest of my life.

I quit my job of 7 years and sold most of my stuff on Craigslist. I stuffed the remnants into my Ford Edge and drove 13 hours to my new home in Seattle, Washington. Two days later, I started a new job. During this time, I ate out a lot and was under tons of stress. Self-care and exercise were non-existent. As a result, my skin was covered in cystic acne, my stomach was bloated and I had various aches and pains.

Once I settled into my new home and my new life, I was ready to address my health. I went my local Whole Foods and stocked up on the foods I know nourish and heal me. Soon I began to feel and look much better, but things were still a little off. That’s when I turned to acupuncture.

I’ve done acupuncture several times before, but I am always nervous to try out a new acupuncturist. I did a quick Yelp search and found a highly rated acupuncturist near my neighborhood. The acupuncturist spent 20 minutes asking me questions about my health and listening carefully to my answers. After she got a good picture about my health, I laid on the acupuncture table as she strategically placed the needles into my body. After 20 minutes of treatment, I was completely relaxed and feeling great.

The days following my acupuncture appointment, I noticed so many awesome benefits. Here are some of the amazing benefits I experienced after acupuncture:

Stress Relief and Mellowing Out

When I walked out the doors of the acupuncture office and back onto the streets of Seattle, I was noticeably more calm. In fact, I almost felt like I was floating because I was so relaxed. I noticed that after treatment, I was less reactive to things that would typically bother or annoy me. I felt like I was better equipped to handle stress.

Surge in Energy

To be honest, I still start my days off with a cup of coffee. However, after acupuncture, the 2:00 afternoon slump went away. Usually around 2:00, I get sleepy and crave sugar to wake me up. Now, at 2:00, I am still feeling great and full of energy.

Excellent Sleep and Waking up Restored

I have struggled with insomnia for years. In my opinion, there is no nothing worse than not sleeping. Acupuncture helps to relax the body for sleep. Usually, I wake up several times a night and it is rare for me to sleep through the night without tossing and turning. A good night sleep is very important to the detoxification because most detoxification takes place when we sleep. No sleep=less time for the body to detoxify.

Detoxification and Better Digestion

Acupuncture works to unclog pathways in the body. Acupuncture is great for anyone doing a cleanse because it will assist the body in detoxing and also decrease detoxification side effects.

Clearing of Acne and Other Skin Conditions

My personal favorite benefit of acupuncture is that is helps clear up acne. Acupuncture sends signals to the body to reduce inflammation (and acne is a form of inflammation). Acupuncture helps relieve acne from the inside out, which is safer and much more effective than using harmful, chemical filled topical creams.

I hope that this post inspires you to give acupuncture a try the next time you are struggling with a health concern. If you have any questions about acupuncture leave a comment below.

I am always looking for new ways to aid the body in detoxification process. Next weekend, I will be heading over to City Sweats spa in Seattle for a lymphatic message and an infrared sauna treatment. I will definitely be writing about my experience in a blog post.

 

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If you are interested in health coaching with me, the first step is to sign up for a FREE 1 hour health history session. Check out my “Health Coaching” page for detailed information about the services I offer.

Take care,

Brooks

 

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Save Time & Money, Create an At Home Yoga Studio

posted in: Yoga | 0

Before I simplified my life I rarely had time to exercise. I woke up at 5:30 am, and was on the freeway by 6:30 am. I had a two hour drive to work, each way. I did not get home from work until about 7:00 pm. Once I got home from work, I was completely exhausted and had just enough time to eat dinner and watch TV.

I quickly gained weight and my health was deteriorating. I was living an extremely unhealthy, sedentary lifestyle.

Now that I have simplified my life , I live only 9 miles from work (I plan on moving even closer eventually). As a result, I have reclaimed 3 hours each day. Instead of using this time to watch TV, I do yoga or take my dog on a long walk.

When I first moved to my new place, I quickly purchased a $45/mo. membership at the nearest gym. Even though the gym was only 2 miles from my apartment, it usually took me 20 minutes to drive there and then find a parking space. I love yoga, and was thrilled that the gym offered numerous yoga classes. A one month unlimited yoga pass at a typical yoga studio runs between $120-180 a month. I thought I was really getting a steal.

I was in for a rude awakening during my first yoga class at the gym. The gym was very large, loud and overcrowded with people. I found the yoga studio upstairs next to the weight area and unrolled my mat. Usually, at yoga studios a relaxing ambiance is created with comforting music and dim lighting. Instead of peace and quiet, all I could focus on was the startling sound of men dropping weights on the floor outside the room. After a couple more attempts at gym yoga classes, I decided to cancel my membership and create my at home yoga studio.

I live in a 750 sq. ft. apartment and I was able to find space for my yoga mat and props. If you want to save time and money, creating your own at home workout area is a great way to do so.

Here is a picture of my yoga studio:

 

I am so lucky because my apartment has hardwood floors just like a real studio. I moved my sectional couch and other furniture to one side of the room and use the dining area as my yoga space. I never feel cramped and have plenty of space to do all kinds of poses.

I find myself working out a lot more than when I had the gym membership or even a pass to a yoga studio.

For me, practicing at home is a much more convenient option than driving, parking and planning my evenings around a class at a particular time. Also, I can practice poses I want to practice, instead of following the sequence created by an instructor. If I am feeling blah, I usually do slower, more restorative yoga poses. If I am feeling energetic, I will speed up my poses and do a Vinyasa-type practice.

In addition to the money I am saving on gas, I am also saving thousands on membership dues. I am now able to put more money into my savings account.

I hope this post has inspired you to re-think your workout routine. If you have an at home workout area, I would love to hear about it in the comments below. Are there any other ideas or tips you have to save money and time and still keep in great shape? Please share below!

 

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Tips to Look Good Quicker & Vegan Beauty Products

posted in: Holistic Beauty | 0

I am always looking for new areas of my life to simplify. I use to have more makeup than I could use in a lifetime. I got rid of about 95% of the makeup and set out to cut down on the amount of time it takes me to get ready each day.

Here are 3 tips for looking beautiful in less time.

1) Don’t wash your hair everyday.

I was once a firm believer that my hair needed to be washed every day. As a result my hair was chronically dull, dry and brittle. These days I wash my hair a maximum of 3 times a week. This saves me so much time. I estimate this alone saves me 2-3 hours a week. Instead of washing, blow drying and styling my hair I now have more free time to do other things.

Here is my simplified hair routine:

Day 1: Wash my hair, blow dry it (or if its warm outside, roll down the windows on my way to work and let it dry naturally).

Day 2: Brush my hair out and use a curling iron to create bouncy curls.

Day 3: Ponytail. Usually my hair still has some wave from the previous day and it gives the ponytail a polished look.

Day 4: Bun. I usually plan this day to fall on a Saturday. I am a master at buns but braids are also an option.

Day 5: Wash hair again. I use a moisturizing treatment in the shower and leave it in my hair while shaving my legs.

Day 6: Bouncy curls!

Day 7: Ponytail!

This exact routine may not work for you or your hair type. Since I’ve switched to this routine, I am always receiving compliments about how long and shiny my hair is. Also, I only get my hair cut 3 times a year with this system since breakage and damage are no longer an issue.

2) Don’t fall for elaborate makeup techniques. Keep it simple.

I have a confession to make. I was recently looking at the beauty section of Pinterest and was so impressed by the looks created by the Urban Decay palettes that I purchased a palette for myself. I got home and was so excited to recreate the looks I saw on Pinterest.

What a disaster. After about an hour of trying to recreate the looks, I had a melt down and a Pinterest FAIL. I washed my face and decided I would try again the next day. The same thing happened, I failed again. The third day I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to spend a lot of time looking good. I returned the expensive Urban Decay palette and now have a simplified makeup routine that includes only a few products.

3) Use the least amount of products as possible.

My beauty supplies have been simplified to the bare minimum: 1) Blush 2) Blush Brush 3) Eye shadow (applied with my index finger) 4) Brow Powder 5) Angled Brush to fill in my brows 6) Mascara 7) Foundation. Although my makeup drawer is now very minimalist, I don’t feel like I look any less polished than when I had 50 makeup products. In fact, my skin looks a lot better and I no longer struggle with cystic acne.

A consequence of a simple life is that I contemplate every purchase. I never use to pay any attention to animal testing labels on cosmetics. Now, I will not buy a product if it is tested on animals because I do not want to contribute to the needless suffering of animals. I am in the process of phasing out all products that test on animals and/or contain animal products. Most of the products I buy are from a company I love and admire called “100 % Pure”. All of their cosmetics are vegan and are not tested on animals.

 

If you loved what you read here and want to help others simplify share this post with your friends. To keep learning how to simplify sign up for my free weekly newsletter packed with tips, advice and inspiration.

 

Love,

Brooks

Want clear and glowing skin--without expensive creams or botox?

Enroll in The Vegan Glow School and I'll share all my beauty secrets.

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Why Simplifying Your Mind is as Important as Simplifying Your Home

posted in: Uncategorized | 0

Simplifying our minds and reducing mental clutter is just as important as simplifying and reducing physical clutter in our homes.

My main tool for creating a more simple mind with less mental clutter are the teachings of Gabrielle Bernstein. If you don’t know who Gabrielle Bernstein aka “Gabby” is, let me tell you. Gabby an ex-drug addict and 30 something spiritual leader. She is the author of the books “Add More Ing to Your Life”, “Spirit Junkie”, “May Cause Miracles” , and “Miracles Now”.

What is a miracle you ask? A miracle is a shift of perception from fear to love.

Little did I know how much my life would change by reading these books. I now have a more positive outlook on life thanks to Gabby’s encouragement and techniques.

I have learned to be grateful for what I have on a daily basis. Instead of focusing on the things I hate or dislike about my life, I focus on all my blessings. This puts me in a more high-energy place where I am able to focus on living my dreams and creating a life I love.

Recently, Gabby released her new book “MiraclesNow“. I was fortunate to attend Gabby’s lecture and book signing at the W Hotel in San Francisco.

When I first bought my ticket, I was super excited to go. However, as the day approached I started making excuses for why I shouldn’t go. I told myself “traffic will be so bad”, “I am tired”, “my allergies are so bad, I’d rather stay home and rest”, “parking will be too expensive”, “I don’t know where the W is and I don’t want to get lost in San Francisco”, etc.

In the end, I decided I would go to the event and I am so happy I did. I battled through rush hour traffic to get to San Francisco by 7 PM, paid $20 for 2.5 hours of parking and got home past my bed time.

Gabby’s messages resonate with me because they simplify my mind. Through Gabby’s positive advice and techniques, I have been able rid my mind of negativity, fear, and anxiety. As a result, I now have much less clutter in my mind.

Gabby recommends a daily meditation practice. At first, I was horrible at meditation. I would attempt to meditate but my mind would not stop thinking. Now, after months of dedication and practice, I am quickly able to calm my mind. When I start my day with a 5 minute mediation I feel more centered and my mind is focused.

If you are new to meditation I recommend Gabby’s guided meditation albums available on iTunes. Her meditations are between 4-10 minutes. Everyone can set aside 4-10 minutes to clear their minds of mental clutter.

What are your tools for reducing mental clutter? Leave a comment below and share this post with other’s in need of a mental cleanse.

 

Love,

 

 

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