30 day challenge august alcohol detox

30 Day Challenge – August

30 Day Challenge.

As promised in yesterday’s post, I’m back with the announcement of my final 30 day challenge in this year of 30 day challenges.

Each month since I turned 40 I have completed a 30 day challenge. Some have been physically challenging and some have been mentally challenging. Some months the challenge has been a breeze to complete and others have taken extra dedication.

Through it all, the main goal was growth.

That has been accomplished.

August Challenge.

I have come full circle for my final challenge.

The challenge for the month of August is:

30 Days of No Alcohol.

Beer at Paris Cafe

If you’re wondering what I mean by full circle….last August I also went 30 days with no alcohol.

I wrote about the beginning of that challenge in this post.

I shared a little more in detail of what prompted me to go 30 days without alcohol and what I learned during those 30 days in this post.

Flight of beers in Stirling, Virginia

Lessons.

One of the lessons that I took away from the challenge was that by challenging myself, I could grow.

And so began the year of 30 days challenges upon turning 40 years old.

At the time, I didn’t see any major changes by cutting out alcohol. However, when I added it back in, I realized that it did make me less productive. I have a hard and fast rule about not responding to comments after a glass of wine. My concentration levels also go down.

Given the fact that my stress levels are also leading to current bouts of insomnia, this couldn’t be a better time to incorporate this as my final challenge. While I don’t plan on abstaining permanently from alcohol, I do like having this “reset” of sorts as I head toward the celebration of the day of my birth.

I think that even after I turn 41, it is very likely that I will continue incorporating 30 day challenges into my life.

I’ve learned so much about myself on this journey and I’m looking forward to learning so much more in the years to come.

As always, if you feel compelled to join along in this challenge, please do!!

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

30 Day Challenge…July

30 Day Challenge.

I can’t believe that I’ve made it to month 11 in my year of 30 day challenges.

If you are new to the blog, I have been doing a 30 day challenge each month since I turned 40 last September. They vary between physical and mental challenges, but are always meant to encourage personal growth.

July Challenge.

Normally, I announce my challenge prior to the beginning of the month.

However, I am on vacation and most of my days have looked like the photo above. That view makes it hard to think about little more than staying in the present, soaking up the beauty and tucking it away for me to draw upon on the days where I’m not so happy with what life is throwing at me.

A reminder of gratitude.

A reminder of my happy place.

The place where my soul feels at ease and the pace of my life slows.

The place where procrastination is almost a given.

The Challenge for July is…

A 30 Day Fitness Challenge.

 

Since I’ve been lounging for a large part of June, I thought that I’d take on another fitness challenge.  Last night I dug around on Pinterest to find a challenge that would work with the fact this I am still traveling and that when I return, I have two full days of college orientation with Big Mr.

I’m a little nervous about the amount of push-ups because I have shoulder issues, but I did make it through the plank challenge. 

If you are interested in joining in the challenge, you can find the infographic here on Pinterest. Or on this Fitbit page, which also shows you how to do each move.

I’ll still be lounging at the beach for the next week, but I’ll be fitting in the pieces of the challenge as well.

I hope that your July is off to an amazing start!!

Look closely at present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. -Alice Walker

Let your light shine!

Amy

30 Day Challenge…June

End of May.

This month has flown by for me.

It will continue to be busy for the next few weeks.

I apologize ahead of time that it’s taking me a little longer than normal to respond to comments and catch up on reading.

30 Day Challenge.

I looked at the calendar and realized June was sneaking up on me and I hadn’t announced my June Challenge.

…and I had no clue what I was going to do.

For those that are new to my blog, I’ve done a 30 day challenge each month since I turned 40 back in September.

A challenge to press outside of comfort zones.

To grow in some way.

June Challenge.

After pondering a bit, I’ve come up with my June challenge.

So without further ado,

30 Days of writing (either a short story or part of a longer story)

for 20 minutes each day.

Europe to do list

Writing.

I knew that this challenge would need to be portable since I will be spending part of June in Florida. Also, May’s yoga challenge was physical in nature. Therefore, I wanted June’s challenge to be more mental in nature.

I’ve started and stopped writing pieces of fiction many times. I thought that this year I would find space to make my writing a more important component of my daily life. I am not very good at putting my needs before others so I only carve out small snippets eat day for my own pursuits. Since I decided those pursuits would include 30 day challenges, they took the place that I might have reserved for my writing.

I had dreams of writing during my time in the U.K. I thought the words would spill into the leather-bound journal that I brought along. Instead I rushed along to see the wondrous sights and collapsed into bed at night.

And so for the month of June, writing will “be” the priority.

For the last portion of the month, Miss Sunshine and I will be staying at a little cottage near the beach. I’m already dreaming words flowing from my fingertips as I sit upon the little cozy back porch.

I suppose if I sit down and write a reflective blog post (which has an element of storytelling and takes me well over 20 minutes) then on those days, that will qualify as my writing time.

However, I am hoping most days will be filled pouring out ideas of storylines and seeing if they coalesce in a satisfying way.

I see this as a slowing down time after the rush of end of the school year preparations.

I hope that you find some areas in your life where you are able to slow down as well.

The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it. - Henry David Thoreau

Let your light shine!

Amy

30 Day Challenge…May

30 Day Challenge.

Most of you who’ve been on the journey with me, know that I’ve been doing 30 day challenges since turning 40 in September of 2017.

The challenges are meant to push me in ways that I wouldn’t typically push myself.

We are fast approaching May, so it’s time to make the announcement for what my 30 challenge will be for the month of May.

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May Challenge.

I will be traveling for two weeks during the month of May, therefore, I knew that it would need to be a portable challenge.

I also wanted the challenge to be physical in nature.

With all that in mind, here is the May 30 day Challenge:

30 Day Yoga Pose Challenge

Yoga Crow pose Bakasana

Yoga.

I have only been practicing yoga for a few years. I wrote about how yoga was good for my soul in this post.

When I decided that I wanted to train for a 5k (which I have not participated in as of yet), I needed to open up some time in my schedule for running. I achieved this by cutting out the yoga classes (similar to power yoga) that I had been attending.

Yes, I could have created or found a flow to do at home. Or even completed some rounds of sun salutations. But the fact of the matter is that I didn’t.

Reverse Warrior Yoga Pose

Yoga Poses.

I’ve missed my yoga time.

Granted I have stayed physically active with my Pilates classes and have stayed mentally centered with my meditation practice.

However, I’ve been wanting to incorporate more yoga back into my life.

I’ve opted for the yoga pose challenge because I am realistic about the time I have to afford placing anything extra into my life when I am traveling.

If you are interested, I am using this infographic for my challenge. I am not doing the challenge referenced in the article. I will only be completing the daily poses. This is technically a 31 day challenge. May does have 31 days or you could easily squeeze two poses into one day.

Yoga Namaste

Follow Along.

As many of you know, I leave Virginia on May 9th and will return on May 22nd.

It’s very likely that I will try to include a photo of me attempting some of the poses on my Instagram stories.

I pack lightly so we’ll have to see if there’s room for workout clothes that I’d be willing to share publicly.

As much as it may appear that I like the limelight because I have a blog and share things on Instagram, you will not find my poses being performed in front of some beautiful tourist attraction.

Sorry to disappoint you.

Once we make it to the UK, the only way you’ll see the pose outside of the hotel room is if we’ve found a semi-remote place to achieve a photo…even then, some may not be shared.

…and try not to laugh too hard if, instead of a graceful swan, my poses look like an injured chicken.

I’d love for you to join along on this 30 days yoga pose challenge. Or any other yoga pose challenge that you find that you might enjoy.

Are you in?

Let me know!

When life seems overwhelming...pure bedlam...find a quiet place, close your eyes...and just breathe. -Amy Lyon Smith

Let your light shine!

Amy

Lessons Learned During A Month Long Fitness Challenge

On Turning 40.

As I approached 40, I knew that I wanted to do something memorable for myself. Leading up to it, I thought I might make a 40 before 40 list. Then I thought I might make a 40 things I want to do while I’m 40.

As fate…destiny…timing…would have it, I stumbled upon a site saying that a 30 day detox from alcohol would be a great thing as I headed toward Virgo season (I am a Virgo). So I decided to do it.

I was successful!

After adding alcohol back into my life (which was never daily…but back to the occasionally), I can see how I might change some of the “lessons learned from 30 days of no alcohol”. However, out of that experience, an idea for my 40th year was birthed.

30 Day Challenge.

Each month, beginning with my birth month of September, I have set a 30 day challenge. A challenge that pushes me. Whether that is to push me out of my comfort zones, a push to expand my knowledge, a push to manage my time better, or to push myself physically, all of them are attempted in order to grow.

With each challenge I learn something about myself.

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March Challenge.

The March Challenge offered me lessons as well.

If you missed the March Challenge, it was to push myself further than I have from a physical standpoint. I did have an ulterior motive for a hard physical challenge. We were heading to Aruba at the end of the month and I planned to live in a bikini.

I decided on a double challenge of logging 10,000 steps per day and doing a plank challenge. The plank challenge started at 10 seconds, climbing 10 seconds per day, to a culmination of 5 minutes.

There were many, many days when I thought that I might not complete the plank part of the challenge.

However, ultimately, I was successful on the completion of both challenges!!

Caveats.

I have shared in past posts, that while I completed the majority of the plank in a forearm plank, there were also times when I would go to my hands (taking the pressure off of the core, but adding it to the shoulders). Also, I occasionally took my legs wider than my hips to form a different base. I focused on maintaining form during transitions because I have lower back and shoulder issues.

I share this information so that there is no misinterpretation of my approach to this challenge.

Lessons Learned.

This challenge offered many lessons.

Here are a few that I learned.

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Walk More.

  • Many average days don’t include 10,000 steps. While I don’t think steps are the full measure of physical health (for example, my Pilates classes don’t include many steps) you should still focus on moving more. I can get lost in writing or editing photos and spend hours without moving. Set a timer if you need a reminder…BUT GET UP AND MOVE.

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Avoid Injuries.

  • When you read about someone else’s journey with the plank challenge and they mention the fact that they ended up with friction burns…take heed! By day 26, my elbows were raw. On day 27, they were painful. Days 28-30, I got smart enough to lay my yoga mat on top of the carpet. I don’t know if using it from the beginning would have eliminated the burns, but it helped me make it to the end. If you do end up with friction burns, use a healing lotion!
  • Although I’ve stated it before, I will reiterate..No challenge is worth damaging injuries. There were days when I thought I’d have to throw in the towel because I didn’t think my shoulder and/or lower back would handle the length of the plank. I monitored it closely because I wasn’t willing to put myself at a significant risk for an injury that would have made my time in Aruba miserable.

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Push Yourself.

  • Your body is capable of so much more than you think! If you told me when I took this photo for my A work in progress post in February of 2017, that a year later I would be working on holding a 5 minute plank, I would have laughed…loudly. Although I had been practicing yoga for a few years, I had only been taking Pilates for about a month at that point. My journey with both of those has brought me so far, both physically and mentally. p.s.-I’m still a work in progress. Aren’t we all?

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Celebrate Your Victories.

  • It’s okay to be proud of your accomplishments. You should celebrate your victories. I struggled with this on a physical challenge because I don’t want to seem narcissistic. Also, I have issues with body confidence and I struggled from the standpoint of sharing photos that showed off my accomplishment, but also put my “perceived” flaws on display. I say “perceived” because I realize I’m harder on my physical appearance than I should be. This is an area that I am working on.
  • Which is why I put out photos on Instagram (even ones in a bikini…granted on the story and highlights only)…not to show off, but to teach myself that it’s okay to be proud of how far I’ve come, even if I’m not where I want to be.

Although some of you have already seen it, working on appreciating all that my body can do, is why I’m sharing the time-lapse of the final day of the plank challenge.

If you’ve missed my announcement for April’s challenge, you can find that here. You can also find what I’ve learned from prior challenges by clicking on the monthly link.

September

October

November

December

January

February

Have you ever discovered a strength in you that you didn’t know that you had?

Look closely at present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming. -Alice Walker

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

 

 

 

 

30 Day Challenge… April

#thisis40.

We are fast approaching the 8th month in my year of #thisis40 thirty day challenges.

Those of you who’ve been following along since the beginning know that I turned 40 in September of 2017. Eek! I can’t believe that we are well past the halfway mark of my 40th year!

Even though I had been pressing outside of my comfort zones since beginning this blog at the start of 2016, I felt like 40 was pinnacle for further pushing. Instead of dipping my toes in the water’s edge, I’d move out into the deep.

The only way for me to learn who I truly am is through trial.

My September Challenge taught me to be even more mindful about the environment. That one person’s changes CAN and DO make an impact.

My October Challenge taught me how to center myself. It taught me new ways to deal with my anxiety and how to change my focus.

My November Challenge taught me to try new things.

My December Challenge taught me that there is ALWAYS something to be grateful for. Some days take a little more looking, but something can always be found.

My January Challenge taught me to be mindful about what I put into my body.

My February Challenge  opened my mind to worlds unknown.

While I’m still in the process of my March Challenge, I have learned that my body is capable of so much more than I have given it credit for.

30 Day Challenge…April.

So what challenge do I have in store for April?

30 days of practicing a foreign language

for 15 minutes per day.

Foreign Language.

Given that I hope to have a lot more travel in my future, I would like to become more fluent in some foreign languages.

Over time, I would like to learn multiple languages other than my native English.

Spanish.

For the month of April, I will be spending my 15 minutes a day learning Spanish.

I have specific reasons for starting with learning Spanish.

First and foremost, is that I took two years of it in high school.

Not that I’ve retained much of it.

However, if you’ve read about my past then you know that I graduated from Immokalee High School in Immokalee, Florida. I don’t know what the demographics were when I was in high school in the 90’s, but the main percentages from the 2014-2015 data that I found at U.S. News don’t sound far off: Hispanic 73%, Black 22%, White 3%.

Along with my classes, I picked up some other words here and there.

Mostly ones that I can’t repeat here.

One of my besties in my early teens was named Carlos. He was Cuban and lived nearby.  He taught me many inappropriate phrases. I can still remember some of them and some of our jokes. Sadly, he died in our early 20’s.

Study.

I’ve also chosen Spanish because Miss Sunshine is in her first year of study. Mr. D is in his 4th year of study and plans to continue with a 5th year during his last year of high school. At that point, his high school diploma will have a bilingual seal.

I figure that I will be able to bounce words and phrases off of them as I study.

My teens have recommended the DuoLingo app because that is what most of their teachers recommend. I will probably incorporate the usage of this and other study methods for a total of 15 minutes each day.

I’ve made the challenge 15 minutes of “foreign language” study in case you decide to join along and want to choose a different language.

Travel.

Before Mr. D heads off to college, I would like to travel to a Spanish speaking country so that he can have real life practice in using the language that he will have worked so hard to learn. Right now, I am thinking we will travel to Spain some time next year. But we will see what the future holds.

Until then, I will be working on re-learning the Spanish that’s hidden in the recesses of my brain and forging ahead on learning all that I do not know.

Bilingual.

Do you speak more than one language? What languages do you speak?

In any given moment we have two option: to step forward into growth or to step back into safety. - Abraham Maslow

Let your light shine!

Amy

Lessons Learned During A Reading Challenge

Reading.

I have always loved reading. I can’t remember a time when my nose wasn’t buried in a book.

Just as in life, my reading seasons ebb and flow. Sometimes I am voraciously reading book after book and other times I watch the ones that I thought I’d read, sit and gather dust upon the shelf.

I realized that there were quite a few classics that I had not read. I wondered if I would think that they had earned their place in the “classics” category.

Opinions amongst people are always plentiful and don’t always align.

How would mine stack up?

Reading Challenge.

Most of you already know that for each month since I turned 40 (back in September), I have done a 30 day challenge to push my personal growth and comfort zones. After finally finishing Middlemarch, by George Eliot, I decided that for the month of February, I would do a reading challenge.

The challenge was to read three classic novels. I shared some possibilities of what I thought I might read, but much of it depended on what I could find at the library.

What I Read.

I actually ended up reading 5 classics novels!

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Random Harvest by James Hilton
  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

About My Choices.

Book 1.

Pride and Prejudice was high on my list and wasn’t too long as to take up the entire month of reading. Part of my selection had to be based on length so that I could achieve my goal.

Book 2.

Random Harvest was the only novel that I hadn’t originally considered. If you followed the blog of the month of February, then you already know that our library has a “Blind Date with a Book”. You are given a few clues as to the premise of the book, but it is wrapped in brown paper. I love surprises, but was already committed to my reading challenge. However, one said “timeless classic” and ended up being Random Harvest. Honestly, I didn’t have high hopes for it, but it turned out that I couldn’t put it down.

Book 3.

The Great Gatsby is a super quick read. Mr. D had read it for English class and said it was good. I couldn’t remember the movie very well, which was good.

Book 4.

The Color Purple had been highly recommended. It’s on the list of choices for current year’s high school reading list. I had a vague notion about what the book was about. Nowhere near what its harsh reality is. I thought I’d have to put the book down after page one. This was because I felt absolutely horrified for the character and didn’t know if I’d be able to bear reading more. I continued…and finished it in two days.

Book 5.

The Picture of Dorian Gray may have been my least favorite of the bunch, but it was still interesting.

Conclusion.

There is a reason that a classic is considered a classic and it’s because they’ve earned their place.

Lessons Learned.

As mentioned by the title, I did learn a few lessons over the course of the month.

Lesson one:

If it’s important to you, then you’ll make time for it.

To be able to complete the challenge,  I had to be deliberate and set aside time for reading. Often I feel like reading is a luxury and I put it aside to deal with matters like cleaning the house (I’m pretty sure this is the Virgo in me). Since household chores are never actually complete, it’s important to take the time to do things that you hold as important for yourself or that make you happy. For me, a few of these are Pilates, meditation, and reading.

Lesson two:

Don’t judge a book by its cover…or its first page.

If I hadn’t kept reading A Color Purple past its first page, I would never have witnessed the main character grow into her strength. I will tell you that this book has been challenged and banned in places and you may be a person who needs to know what the book is about prior to reading as its subjects could be triggering for some people.

Lesson three.

Celebrate at how far we’ve come as a society.

I know that we have a LONG way to go, but… OH MY GOODNESS… the way that the men speak about women in some of these books makes me so thankful that I don’t live in that era!

I can appreciate the fact that the main character in Pride and Prejudice is a strong-willed woman. In fact, I find that many of the classics that I tend to enjoy are where the woman doesn’t feel like she has to conform to society’s standards of her being a person with no mind of her own. However, there is a tendency in many of the classics for the males to think lesser of females. The Picture of Dorian Gray’s Henry has an atrocious outlook on females. Even in Middlemarch, the uncle thought women shouldn’t be learned and that it was too much for their brains.

I’m not even going into the treatment of women in A Color Purple!

My Story.

I guess that I am a contradiction of sorts. I have spent my entire life of motherhood not earning a physical income. However, I am far from intellectually inept. My husband and I often have conversations on a great many topics. He does not assume that he is superior to me. We are equal. We just choose to have different responsibilities in relation to our household. I predominately manage our household. He goes off to a job. Everyone knows that housework is never done, so there are plenty of times when he is helping with portions of that as well.

I knew that I would address this topic of equality because I found it so annoying. I asked the hubby what he thought it would be like living back when woman were just viewed as property and with no intelligence.

One of his responses was that he thought it would be boring.

I was secretly delighted in his answer because I am FAR from a meek woman.

So yes! I celebrate how far we’ve come, even if there is still so much farther to go.

Future Challenge.

I enjoyed challenging myself to read so much that I decided to continue with another reading challenge. So I will jump into Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2018 Reading Challenge. I was going to do the challenge a few years ago, but fell off of the commitment wagon pretty early on. It wasn’t that I didn’t continue to read, I just didn’t pick from the topics on that challenge.

I will be filling in some of the spaces with books I read in February and then will continue to fill in the blanks as I find a book in that niche.

The Details.

  • A classic you’ve been meaning to read Pride and Prejudice
  • A book recommended by someone with great taste (I know you all have great taste. Leave me some recommendations).
  • A book in translation –The Little Prince (I’m starting this as soon as I finish my current read)
  • A book nominated for an award in 2018
  • A book of poetry, a play, or an essay collection
  • A book you can read in a dayThe Great Gatsby
  • A book that’s more than 500 pages (too bad I started Middlemarch last year!)
  • A book by a favorite author
  • A book recommended by a librarian or indie bookseller
  • A banned book – A Color Purple
  • A memoir, biography, or work of creative nonfiction The Glass Castle (my current read)
  • A book by an author of a different race, ethnicity, or religion other than your own. (some I’ve read technically qualify, but I’m choosing an author with a broader difference).

I’ll continue to share my reading choices throughout the year.

Let your light shine!

Amy

March 30 Day Challenge

30 Day Challenge…March

30 Day Challenge.

Once again it’s time to announce my next thirty day challenge.

If you are new to my blog, every month, since I turned 40 back in September, I set a new thirty day challenge for myself. The goal is to have my year of being 40, a time to press outside of my comfort zones and to challenge myself in new ways.

I’ve noticed a tendency to switch one month with a challenge that is more mental in nature and the next month with a challenge that is more physical in nature. Obviously most challenges contain an element of both, but one does tend to be the stronger factor.

February’s challenge was to read 3 classic novels in 30 days.

So sticking with my tendencies, March will be a challenge that is more physical in nature.

March Challenge.

The 30 day challenge for March will be:

30 days of achieving 10,000 steps per day

&

30 day plank challenge

Calia by Carrie Underwood tank and Nike running shoes

10,000 steps per day.

There are a lot of popular indicators that we should try to walk 10,000 steps per day. There is some debate about that precise amount amount of steps. This PubMed abstract from 2004 said this appears to be a reasonable goal for most populations.

I’ve been noticing that I have a tendency to spend a lot of time sitting. Between writing posts, editing photos, and other computer related work, I often sit for many hours at a time.

Even though I do move to go to Pilates, run errands, and clean my house, I still felt like challenging myself to move more. 10,000 steps gives me a target to attain. I’ve dusted off my fitbit and will be tracking my steps throughout March. I plan to do more walking, running, and hiking since the weather is getting nicer.

I do have a secondary motive for having such an active challenge for the month of March. We head to Aruba at the end of this challenge and I would like to be more fit before we head to crystal clear beaches.

Side Plank

Plank Challenge.

Since I will be in a bathing suit for most of that week in Aruba, I wanted work on strengthening my core muscles. I decided to look at plank challenges. As soon as I mentioned it, both the hubby and Miss Sunshine said that they would join me on this part of the monthly challenge.

I dug around on Pinterest and opted for this Jillian Michaels 30 day 5 minute plank challenge.

Don’t worry, it’s not side planks like the photo of me from Christmastime. This time I’ll try to have someone snap some photos at the completion of the plank challenge because it’s hard to get in to form in time for the self-timer!

As always, you are welcome to join along on the challenge.

The hubby and Miss Sunshine are advocating we start the challenge at higher than a 10 second hold to start since they’ve held planks longer and I’ve been going to Pilates (mat Pilates) for a year and can hold a plank longer as well (although I don’t think any of us have tried to attain the finale of 5 minutes).

We may take that option, but don’t feel like you need to do that.

Even if you only choose to do one of the two challenges, I hope that you’ll join in this month!

If you can't fly, then run. If you can't run, then walk. If you can't walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. - Martin Luther King Jr. quote quotes photoquote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Lessons learned during my month of being a vegetarian 30 day challenge

Lessons Learned During My Month of Being a Vegetarian

Vegetarian.

I hadn’t heard the phrase Veganuary, until well into the month of January. Otherwise, I might have gone Vegan for the month. As it was, my January Challenge was to become a Vegetarian for 30 days.

Along the way, I learned a few lessons.

Lessons learned.

Likely, the biggest lesson that I learned was :

  • Be Prepared.

Originally, I had anticipated going vegetarian for the month of February. When my husband asked me to move it up to January because he wanted to participate, I did. However, I had not mentally (knowledge-wise) prepared.

Which brings me to the next lesson learned:

  • Know your daily nutrient needs.

I did not look in to my daily nutrient needs prior to beginning the month of vegetarianism. It was a busy time for me so I didn’t do the running and/or yoga that I do on the days other than my M-W-F Pilates class. But it wasn’t just because I was busy, it was also because my muscles were sore for longer after my Pilates classes. This may have been due to them being a harder workout for me, or possibly I wasn’t getting enough protein (which is my husband’s educated guess). Our bodies also need specific vitamins and minerals and I wasn’t monitoring any of those.

Pineapple Avocado Smoothie

  • Keep your house stocked with choices.

If you failed to heed lesson #1, you may find yourself craving different types of food. While I am no expert, my opinion on this is that your body is asking for a certain nutrient. You should keep your house stocked with choices to satisfy your hunger in the moments.

  • Adjustment.

You should also be aware that it’s likely your body will need an adjustment period to any big changes in diet. I’ve shared in my varying purposes for taking on this challenge. In case you missed them, I’m sharing them again. Heart disease runs in my family and I am endeavoring to lower my risks. While I haven’t tested positive for a specific autoimmune disease (of the ones tested), I did test positive for autoimmune antibodies. The main reason, however, was that I have had digestive health issues for the majority of my life.

I was hoping that going vegetarian would miraculously cure them. Instead, the first five days, my stomach was in more pain than in the past. Some people will say that this is a detox period. I don’t know if that is the case. There was a shift on day 5 in which my body decided that it would cooperate with this diet. I should also mention that I was eating vegan the first 5 days. My goal was to cut out dairy and so I just included the other components of eating vegan.

  • Food Choices.

After that first week I found myself relying too much on bread and cheese. I could have made much better food choices. I did spend the entire month being a vegetarian and learned that meat was not that important to me. Sure, there were a few moments when I stood before the refrigerator or pantry and thought, “Oh, that sounds good for lunch. Oh wait, that’s meat!”. This mostly goes back to being caused by failing to heed Lesson #3 and partially Lesson #2. Otherwise, I was very happy with the food choices available to me.

 

Cream Cheese Stuffed Date

  • Take-Aways.

After a month spent as a vegetarian, I had a few take-aways other than just the lessons I’ve shared. One such take-away came in the form of an article that my husband sent me about NFL players going vegan. I was already familiar with the fact that Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen were 80/20 vegetarians. However, I was surprised by the number of athletes who are vegan.

I was quite fascinated by the 300 pound Vegan, David Carter who is a former NFL player. It made me feel confident that I can work harder at vegetarianism and possibly veganism if I focus on my nutrients.

I’m still not sure if I’ll move toward 100% vegetarian or if 80/20 is a better goal for me. I think with proper nutrients I could be 100% vegetarian locally. Where the 20% comes in for me is that I love to try new foods when I travel and some local delicacies include meat.

Who knows?! Perhaps if I fully shift to 80/20, I will begin to view it all through new eyes.

If you’re wondering if I’ve eaten meat since the end of the challenge…I have. Mostly due to the fact that there are leftovers from making meals for the teenagers and I still struggle with food waste.

I’m still working on the balance.

We are all works in progress.

Let your light shine!

Amy

30 Days of...

30 Days of…February Challenge

That by desiring what is perfectly good, even when we don’t quite know what it is and cannot do what we would, we are part of the divine power against evil – widening the skirts of light and making the struggle with darkness narrower. -Dorothea in Middlemarch by George Eliot

Reading.

I love to read. I have loved reading for as long as I can remember. Anybody else with me on that?! There are distinct memories of reading The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, in our playhouse. I remember being fascinated by the imagination in Five Children and It by E. Nesbit. There also was the family who would come down to live in the log cabin that they had built by hand. The mother had books lining the shelves and she would let me borrow them. I remember my love as I read Little Women by Lousia May Alcott, and how it moved to the position of my favorite book. The feeling of delight when Mrs. Parker gifted me that copy from her shelf. I was that girl who asked for the hall pass to library during lunches. In seventh grade it was so I could read series, namely The Babysitter’s Club by Ann M. Martin and Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal . 

Classics.

I don’t recall all the books I chose to read throughout the rest of school, but I do remember all the classics that we read in English class.

A few of which included:

  • Lord of the Flies by William Golding
  • Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
  • The Crucible by Arthur Miller
  • The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  • SlaughterHouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut

Classic Books

There were many other shorter stories, like Edith Wharton’s Ethan Frome.  Of course there were all the  Shakespeare Classics as well. I also have read many classics on my own and alongside my children as they’ve read classics for their classes. They’ve even read The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, from my well worn copy, which was a gift from my 12th grade English teacher. Another classical reading accomplishment has been that I finally finished reading Walden by Thoreau during my time in the beginning of this blog.

Favorite Book.

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë moved to my favorite book over 20 years ago. I don’t often read a book twice, but I made an exception for Jane Eyre. I couldn’t believe my hubby had never read it so we took turns reading a chapter before bed each night. That was when our evenings were quiet. I was pregnant with our oldest (who will turn 18 next month!). We would then be knee deep in three babies and toddlers…and then moves…and more moves. Now we are at that point where the nights are still not quiet because teenagers like to stay up late.

Recent Read.

I’m continuing with my year of #thisis40 endeavor to learn and grow through 30 day challenges. You may be wondering what all this has to do with my 30 day challenge for Februrary. Well I just finished my most recent read, Middlemarch, by George Eliot, yesterday. If you’ve been following for some time, you may recall when I announced that it had come into the library after I had placed it on hold. That post was at the end of October! Granted, in the copy I was reading, Middlemarch was 838 pages long. My hubby thought I must be torturing myself since it took me three months to read it. The reality, however, was that I loved it (some people’s stories took me longer to be interested in than others). In fact, the quote I opened with made the entire book worth it to me. That and the last sentence of the entire story (which I’ve decided not to share since that’s like opening to the last page of a book to see how it ends.) justified all time invested into reading this classic. The real problem and why it took three months was that I wasn’t making reading a priority.

30 Days of...

February Challenge.

Which brings me to my February Challenge:

Read Three Classics in 30 days.

Since there’s obviously not 30 days in February, I will be beginning this challenge a few days early.

Reading Walden

Reading Plan.

I looked up how many pages the average reader tends to read. This Forbes article says that the average adult reads 300 wpm. This website breaks down an estimation of how long some classics will take to read. I will not be reading any classics that I have read in the past. Part of my choices will factor time available and also what books are available to me. My plan is to have a 20 minutes devoted time for reading over the course of 30 days. This is 600 minutes (or 10 hours) over the course of the month.

I also plan to make sure to find a short bio on the authors. Since many of these classics were written before my time, I have relatively little knowledge about the authors behind them unless I read their works in school. The reason behind wanting to read their bio is because I was embarrassed to discover that I had no idea that George Eliot was a pseudonym for Mary Anne Evans.

Great Expectations

What I’m Reading.

I will be starting with reading A Passage to India by E.M. Forster. The main reason for this is because it is in our personal library. One of the teens had planned to read it, but didn’t get to it. I don’t think that I’ve ever finished Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (another book that I own and one of my favorite movies!). I plan to finish it, but it will not count toward my three classics. It is likely that the other two classics will come from this list of short classics that I found on Pinterest. Again, most of the choices depend on what is available to me.

Short Classics

Likely I will try to read:

  • The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald  AND/OR
  • Brave New World by Aldous Huxley   AND/OR
  • The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway  AND/OR
  • Frankenstein by Mary Shelley  AND/OR
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

although many others look equally as intriguing.

Longer Classics.

Since it is hard to estimate reading times vs. amount of pages, I will be sure to get in my three Classic novels. Assuming that they take less than the 10 hours to get through (which I am anticipating to be the case) I will continue reading classics throughout the month.

Some that I am considering are:

  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
  • The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Opinions?

Have you read any of these? Which would you consider your favorite of the bunch?

What is your all-time favorite classic novel?

I think mine still stands as Jane Eyre.

If you’re in the mood to read some classics…or even if you’re just in the mood to read, I hope you’ll join in with this reading challenge.

Feel free to share what you are currently reading. I’m always looking for a good book to put on my list.

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Let your light shine!

Amy