The Ripple Effect of Sobriety

The Ripple Effect of Sobriety

It only takes one action to create a ripple effect. That ripple creates another one until we are swimming in a sea of positive change and transformation. When I stopped drinking on January 1st of this year, I was definitely not aware of how sobriety would slowly change my life for the better. I definitely believed in the beginning that life would be eternally boring and that I needed my beloved red wine to grow and transform into the woman I so badly wanted to be.

Throughout most of my adult life, I mostly knew myself under the influence of alcohol as I would enjoy all of the highs and lows in my life by drinking. It soon became very normal to me to assume “this is the way it was–“that growing into an adult was embracing the fact that life is hard and drinking provides an immediate remedy to anything life throws in our direction. Deep down inside, I knew better. I knew drinking actually wasn’t a remedy and it definitely wasn’t good for me. Even though I knew this very well, I continued on, telling myself the same story over and over, stubbornly doing the same thing and expecting different results, or a ripple effect.

When we decide to make one positive change in our lives, it creates the ripple to bring about more change and the cycle continues. When we do the same things that aren’t good for us over and over, we create more of the same experiences sans change. This keeps us stuck in destructive patterns that feel impossible to escape. The process of transformative change doesn’t have to begin with a big change, it just has to be one small step in the direction of the life of your dreams.

My lifelong dream is to work for myself; to design and create a life that I love with the people I love. I knew drinking alcohol was keeping me stuck in old patterns so the ripple effect wasn’t going to happen unless I decided to take the first step. To best describe the ripple effect in action, I will describe my experience and how it has changed my life in the last 4 1/2 months:

When I became a non-drinker, I started to experience better sleep. Not only did I feel more rested, I also became a better person because I was happier overall. Adequate, high quality sleep affects us mentally, emotionally, and physically. So naturally having more sleep gave me more energy to do things I wanted to do. I started working regularly with a personal trainer twice a week and incorporating my  own regular cardio , strength, yoga, and meditation practices in my life. Since drinking was also no longer an option, my new options centered around my well-being. I wouldn’t always have the energy to workout after a long day at the office, so I took a close look at what I was eating. I soon discovered that I was eating more refined carbohydrates and sugars throughout the day which I found was the cause of my depleted energy levels. This was ok for me for the first few months of sobriety since I was already cutting out alcohol and I still needed to treat myself with chocolate, Starbucks lattes, kombucha and other treats to keep me from drinking again. I knew soon though, that I would have to change my eating habits for the better. This realization helped me change my eating habits and tune into what my body actually needed. I began working with a nutritionist and I discovered my body thrives on high quality, lean animal proteins, fats, and non-starchy veggies and greens without folate. Vegan diets were not right for my body. Also cutting out refined carbohydrates and sugar was revolutionary for me. My energy levels skyrocketed and I soon had much more energy, even after a long day at work. Knowledge about my health and energy levels became power for me and I felt inspired to share my healing journey and help other people along the way. So I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s Online B School for women entrepreneurs, and will be working with a business coach to help me start my own health coach business part time. I also recently enrolled in the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to get my health coach certification.

These “ripple effects” have all occurred within the last 4 1/2 months and all began with my choice to stop drinking alcohol. It wasn’t always easy for me but it was SO worth it. It is definitely the best decision I have ever made in my life next to marrying my husband. I am looking forward to see what other ripples come as a result of the small, positive changes and adjustments I make in my daily life. Why not try it for yourself today? Make one small change in your life in the direction of your dreams. You may be surprised what other positive things come your way as a result 🙂

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My mom and I on Mother’s Day

 

 

 

 

 

Earthy Salmon Pasta

Earthy Salmon Pasta

As an undermethylator (read more about undermethylation here) it is important for me to include plenty of lean, grass fed meats and wild caught fish in my diet. After discovering a few months ago that I am severely undermethylated and have high copper in my blood (revealed to me by my nutritionist from a whole histamine blood test), I have to eat a mostly lean meats, eggs, plenty of root veggies, (that do not have folate since undermethylators should definitely avoid folate) blueberries, raspberries, apples, gluten free grains, white rice, and fat sources from animal proteins, ghee, olive oil, and coconut oil.

I have learned not only do I have to change my vitamin regimen, I have to change the way I eat and how often I eat too! My food choices are more about nourishing my body and finding foods that taste delicious and healthy. Luckily there are options and I am having fun being creative with lots of new dishes!  I will write another blog post all about my experience with undermethylation, but today I want to share a yummy and simple recipe with you that is also gluten free, soy free, egg free, and nut free!

Earthy Salmon Pasta

Gluten Free, Soy Free, Egg Free, Nut Free, Low FODMOP

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Tools you will need:

  • a medium sized frying pan and spatula
  • a spiralizer (or something to make zucchini into pasta)

Ingredients (serves 2):

  • 2 wild caught salmon filets or 8 ounces of salmon (frozen or fresh although most wild caught salmon in the Chicagoland area will be frozen)
  • 3-4 medium sized zucchini
  • 1 cup of white jasmine rice (I like the Trader Joe’s brand)
  • coconut aminos to taste (similar to soy sauce–can be found at Whole Foods or online at Thrive Market)
  • 1-2 Tablespoons of Ghee or Coconut Oil)
  • 1 Tablespoon of oregano
  • 2 teaspoons of thyme
  • Pink Himalayan sea salt to taste (I like the Trader Joe’s brand)

Instructions:

  1. Melt ghee or coconut oil in frying pan on the stovetop over medium heat
  2. Use your spiralizer to make the zucchini pasta. Set aside on a cutting board or a bowl
  3. Cook salmon on the frying pan (about 2-3 minutes each side) or until cooked to how you want it). Chop it with the spatula into bite sized pieces in the frying pan and divide into two bowls.
  4. Add a little extra ghee or coconut oil if desired to the frying pan, toss in the zucchini pasta until tender (2-5 minutes). Add coconut aminos and al the spices. Toss with the spatula until evenly distributed.
  5. Cook the jasmine rice according to the directions (either on the stove or in the microwave). Add rice to the zucchini pasta and toss for a minute or so.
  6. Toss the pasta mixture with the cooked salmon. Add extra coconut aminos or oil if desired to your dish. Enjoy!
Financial Freedom in Marriage

Financial Freedom in Marriage

Last weekend my husband and I sat down and had one of our “bi-weekly” money meetings…or in other words, an opportunity for us to check in to go over bills, share what we want to do individually and as a couple, and to track our progress towards savings goals, etc. Being married for almost 3 years now, this wasn’t always something we did together, we definitely had to learn these habits through some tough trial and error.

While we both like to enjoy ourselves, take vacations, and go out to dinners, I am the first to admit I am more of the spender and my husband is the more frugal one in our marriage. I believe life is meant to be enjoyed in the moment and my husband prefers to put money aside for a rainy day. Although I manage our money and our bank accounts most of the time, I like to spend when we have the extra cash. We’ve shared our bank accounts for almost 6 years and still struggle to get on the same page about money. That’s because money runs deep into the ocean of our subconscious. We learn about money from a young age and carry these beliefs with us into our marriages: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Money is way more than just the numbers, it’s how we feel about it that matters. Knowing these slight differences in our beliefs about money is the first step in determining what is truly important to us in our lives.

So last weekend I decided we were going to spice up our money meetings by making them feel better. For me, money troubles immediately cause me overwhelm. Knowing this about myself, I needed to start with a foundation of feeling grounded and calm. I grabbed my Desire Map book, a notepad a comfy cushion, our Mac, and a blanket and we laid it out in our backyard. We both meditated together for 5-10 minutes then we took turns sharing what we wanted out of our money within the next few months. We both listened to each other, uninterrupted. It allowed us to share our desires with each other without feeling judgment, fear or anger. We created the space we needed to discuss what we both wanted individually and together.

 

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In case you don’t know about Danielle LaPorte’s book #TheDesireMap, it is a wonderful tool you can use to determine the core desired feelings you want out of your life. So often we say we want that dream car, amazing job, perfect boobs, or the perfect partner but that approach is backwards. We need to start with determining the feelings we want to feel, and getting uber specific with them, then we begin taking actions based on our core desired feelings and attract more abundance into our lives naturally.

Knowing both my own and my husband’s core desired feelings, it lays a foundation for us to be able to more openly talk about our desires and troubles when it comes to money. With open and authentic conversation on tough topics like money regularly, we not only get to check in with each other, there is no tension or deep seated frustrations regarding money since we address everything on the spot.

We still struggle on occasion and we don’t always agree on everything, but the commitment we have to regularly return to openly discussing money is the key to long term happiness and freedom. When something comes, up we don’t avoid it, we talk it out even when we’re angry, frustrated, and disappointed. Avoiding money talk in marriage whether you share a bank account or not is a definite path to marital troubles down the road. Being honest and open with each other regularly is the path to true freedom.

What types of regular practices work for your marriage in achieving financial freedom? What sort of roadblocks have you run into as a couple with regards to money? Feel free to share in the comments below!

#marriage #financialfreedom #love #money #wellness #desiremap #sassyfreesensitive

100 Realizations from 100 Days of Sobriety

100 Realizations from 100 Days of Sobriety

On December 31st I took my last drink. I planned this for months, yet as I dumped the rest of my last bottle of pinot noir down the drain in my kitchen that New Year’s Eve, I knew I was beginning a new chapter; an opportunity to get to know my true self completely sober.

Yesterday I celebrated 100 days of sobriety. Here are 100 realizations I’ve learned in my experience during this short time period of living clearly:

  1. Life is precious..seriously
  2. Clear thinking is unbelievable
  3. Waking up without a hangover is amazing
  4. Conversations are more meaningful
  5. My friendships are more valuable to me
  6. Sex is better
  7. My skin glows
  8. My digestion has improved
  9. If I have a dry mouth it is because I am thirsty, not because I am hungover
  10. I speak clearly and concisely
  11. I CAN dance sober
  12. I am more comfortable being vulnerable
  13. I have more time to do the activities I love
  14. I exercise a lot more
  15. I have more money
  16. Sober treats are wonderful
  17. My eczema is disappearing off my eyelids
  18. I realized I have sort of a dysfunctional relationship with sugar
  19. I still have the desire to drink every so often
  20. Sometimes I am uncomfortable explaining that I don’t drink to other people
  21. I am genuinely happy for no reason (this is a big one)
  22. My anxiety levels are much lower
  23. I am not as irritated about little things
  24. Beautiful mornings have so much more meaning
  25. I meditate regularly
  26. I get goosebumps knowing I have come so far
  27. Alcohol smells like poison now
  28. My organization skills rock (I now use a calendar to plan things I want to do)
  29. I published a self-care article on Mind Body Green
  30. I signed up for Marie Forleo’s B-School
  31. I don’t know what my business will be yet but it will definitely be awesome
  32. I have been blogging and writing more than I ever have
  33. Some Friday nights are spent practicing restorative yoga
  34. I am real with myself–I feel all my feelings
  35. My sleep quality has improved greatly
  36. I am kinder to myself
  37. I enjoy daytime activities more than ever
  38. Brunch!
  39.  My running has improved. I am faster than before
  40. I love coffee
  41. Evening salt baths are a must for my self-care
  42. Gluten and dairy bother my stomach
  43. My face looks healthy. No puffiness or inflammation
  44. Friends assume I am the designated driver and that’s ok
  45. I have the desire to go out and dance more than ever
  46. My mid section is 3 inches smaller
  47. I dropped 7 pounds
  48. I work with a personal trainer twice a week
  49. Focusing is easy at work
  50. I follow through on the things I say I am going to do
  51. Relationships are more intimate
  52. I truly listen to what my husband is saying
  53. Life is more fun sober (Trust me I used to think this was bullshit too)
  54. Some people don’t understand why I don’t drink and that’s ok
  55. I journal more when I am having a rough day
  56. I used to wake up some mornings feeling dread. Not anymore!
  57. Food tastes better
  58. My husband and I are planning a Hawaii trip
  59. I am no longer consuming an extra 400-800 calories daily from drinking wine
  60. Its nice not having to worry about how I am going to get home at night
  61. Did I mention clear thinking? If not, I am mentioning it again
  62. What felt impossible when I was drinking now feels possible
  63. Freedom!
  64. I feel a lot more accomplished
  65. Facebook was overwhelming me so I gave it up for Lent
  66. Instagram is amazing
  67. Cooking meals is more of a mindful process
  68. I now think before I say something I may regret
  69. Life isn’t always wonderful but it is REAL
  70. Uncomfortable feelings don’t last as long as they used to
  71. My overall stress levels are lower
  72. I look younger
  73. I make time for moisturizing my skin every night
  74. Natural highs used to be rare. Now I feel them several times a day
  75. I choose not to hold grudges
  76. I am in the driver’s seat. I am in control of my life
  77. Calmness takes on a whole new meaning with sobriety
  78. No regrets about something I said or did the previous night
  79. No more spilling red wine everywhere or all over my clothes
  80. I wouldn’t be able to do this all alone. I hired a health coach my first 3 months
  81. The simple things in life mean so much more to me now
  82. The future actually feels brighter
  83. I am seeing better physical results with my workouts
  84. Saunas are therapeutic
  85. Sticking with my choice to stay sober gets easier each day
  86. I am in more control of my finances
  87. Headaches are rare because I am no longer suffering from hangovers
  88. I am less bloated
  89. I actually like the pictures of myself now
  90. I am reading more books
  91. I started a sugar detox program
  92. I completed a 21 day meditation challenge
  93. My mind is sharper. I don’t forget things as often
  94. Healthy eating is more of a priority
  95. I am listening closer to my intuition
  96. I am truthful with myself and everyone around me
  97. I am more patient
  98. Material possessions are no longer as important as they used to be
  99. I have slowed down significantly. I am no longer always in a rush
  100. Each sober day keeps getting better and better over time

I can probably go on for another 100 realizations I’ve made but I will stop here for now. What kind of realizations has sobriety brought you?

How choosing to be a non-drinker has changed my life

How choosing to be a non-drinker has changed my life

This used to be me…

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Always living for the next opportunity to go out and party.. I was the girl that would get tipsy after only a couple of drinks and dance on tables and poles at bars and nightclubs. It was my way of “letting my hair down” and unleashing the inner vixen that so badly wanted to be seen and heard.

I remember frequently waking up after  nights of drinking suffering from pounding headaches, anxiety, dizziness, and dry mouth. My body was telling me it was suffering and it so badly needed rest and recovery. In addition to the physical hangover symptoms, my friends also reminded me of how crazy I was acting on the dance floor and some of the weird things I was saying to people, which made me feel guilty, sad and ashamed. Needless to say, I also earned the nickname of “wild child” when I would go out and drink with friends.

2009 me

Of course this was only a snapshot of a period of my life. I was in my early twenties and all I wanted to do was drink and have a good time. Oddly enough, I thought it was the drinking that allowed me to have a good time but it was really the experiences I was having with the people I cared about. As my excessive party girl habits changed in my mid twenties, my drinking habits continued on, whether it would be drinking at restaurants, parties, holidays, or just polishing off a bottle of pinot noir to myself at home. My drinking habits were a slow wake up call, or a progressive realization that my  relationship with alcohol was very dysfunctional.

There was really two major reasons why I chose to drink alcohol. The first one was it was socially acceptable to drink and it was my way of feeling included with friends, family, and colleagues. When I was younger I was involved in a lot of extra curricular activities but I was always naturally more introverted and would frequently “live in my head” and overanalyze everything. Drinking alcohol was a way for me to feel accepted in whatever group I was with at the time. Not drinking alcohol made me feel left out because I wasn’t aware of who I was or what I had to offer yet. I wasn’t comfortable being the real me.

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The second reason I chose to drink was to numb out my strong emotions. As a sensitive person that feels a lot, alcohol was a lubricant to “protect me” from getting hurt or feeling too much. It was my go to for pushing away all sorts of emotions in my life from anger, to sadness, to excitement and happiness. Red wine was always my “go-to” drink of choice after a stressful day at work, a cure for my Saturday night boredom, or a reason to celebrate a promotion at work or the holiday season. Society normalizes these things as reasons to drink, however in my own experience, it is a cop out and it just made things worse over time. After a few years of contemplating my relationship with alcohol and trying so damn hard to moderate my consumption, I threw my hands up in the air and surrendered. It wasn’t easy but I knew I had to end my relationship with alcohol if I wanted to move forward out of stagnation in my life.

Today I celebrate 90 days of sobriety. I can write on forever about the benefits 90 days of being a non-drinker has done for me, but that isn’t what this post is about. My purpose is to inspire you to question the role alcohol is playing in your life. How does choosing to drink alcohol benefit you in your life? It may be that you drink a lot, moderately, or hardly at all. Or maybe you’re one of the lucky ones that never even started in the first place! Whatever the case may be, my intention is not to judge, just to get you to start thinking about why you drink. I challenge you to think very deeply about this. The true answer may surprise you.

For a long time I believed alcohol was actually helping me but that couldn’t have been further from the truth. It was hurting me and if anything, it was slowly killing me mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I believed alcohol made me more confident, likable, and interesting. The truth was I wasn’t comfortable with the person I was on the inside so I continuously would hide behind different masks in order to be accepted and validated. Looking back on this wounded part of myself, I now give her a big hug and tell her she is perfect exactly as she is. This  takes courage and the willingness to be vulnerable. It is choosing self-love and acceptance and it definitely takes time and I am still working on it, trust me. The truth is I am already perfect exactly as I am.  I just know drinking alcohol takes me further away from my true self so I choose not to go that direction anymore.

I understand giving up alcohol or even having the courage to question your relationship with booze can be difficult. I totally get it, trust me. If someone would have told me a long time ago I would enter my 30’s sober, I would have laughed and not believed them. I used to live to drink. Forget everything else important in my life such as building relationships, having good conversation, or laughing at funny jokes…all of that was second priority to my drinking. It was like all of those things didn’t matter unless I knew I had enough alcohol to get me through the evening. Alcohol was the prerequisite to me having a good time and that in itself was exhausting. I also used to think people that didn’t drink were lame but knowing what I know now, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Alcohol, whether we admit it as a society or not, is an addictive drug. I do not consider myself an alcoholic but I definitely consider myself strongly effected by the addictive nature of the drug. The only way to rid it from the body, is to simply avoid it all together.

It takes awhile to adjust to a sober lifestyle so it is important to be kind to yourself. I still struggle every so often and usually get triggered when I am out at a restaurant or at family parties. It is important to not take away the fun in your life during the transition to sobriety.  I treat myself to fun things frequently whether that be bubble baths, kombucha, chocolate, exercise, yoga, acupuncture, manicures, pedicures,  trying yummy food at new restaurants, having good laughs and fun activities with my husband, friends, and family. I also have been exploring creative hobbies such as painting. knitting, or working on a DIY home project. These things have become non-negotiables in my life and they definitely keep my life more rich and exciting. I find myself forgetting about the fact I do not drink anymore because I get lost in all the new fun I am having!

My sobriety is sacred and now part of my spiritual journey. I get to live my true self everyday and that feels so powerful because it is my choice. I am no longer being controlled by an addictive substance. My life is amazing, my life is authentic, my life is free. I am now in control of my choices. Life isn’t always a happy rose garden, but at least I know I am being true to myself. Sobriety is the best decision I have made for myself and I honor this decision with my heart everyday.

I challenge you to question your own relationship with alcohol today…What role does it play in your life? Or if you’re a non-drinker, how has your choice not to drink improved your overall quality of life?