Because I always need yoga...and I sometimes need chips.

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My Morning Routine

Good Morning, Friends!

I have a confession to make: I am a morning person. I LOVE mornings, and I love being a morning person, but I admit it sometimes can be a total drag when I'm out with friends and fighting to keep my eyes open come 10:00 pm (....okay, 8:30 pm). When the sun is up, I'm up, and when the sun goes down, I am completely down for the count. All that said, I wouldn't trade my magical mornings for anything.

I became even more of a morning person after reading the book The Miracle Morning, and I was completely hooked. This book essentially lays out six things to do in the morning before starting your day that can help you achieve your best day/year/life/etc. possible. I DEFINITELY recommend it. The author, Hal Elrod, researched the habits of many successful and happy people, and across the board six things kept coming up (SAVERS - Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Reading, Scribing). While I definitely recommend reading the book, I'll lay out what my particular Miracle Morning (and beyond) looks like. And keep in mind, the timing of the Miracle Morning varies from day to day. While Elrod says we really don't need as much sleep as we've been told, I know that for me to function at my personal best, I need 7+ hours of sleep (I know, I KNOW, wait 'til I have children!). So the length of my Miracle Morning depends on when I wake up, which depends on when I go to bed. Additionally, while I should do the Miracle Morning every day, I typically only really do it on week days. I should extend to the weekends though, maybe I'll figure that into my 2018 resolutions....

Aaaanyhoo! My mornings look like this:

1) Stumble out of bed and over the dogs. Brush teeth, drink a full glass of water, make coffee.

2) Meditate (Silence) - I generally meditate for 10 minutes, give or take 5 minutes in either direction. I like to use an app called "Calm," where you can choose different nature sounds or chanty music, and set a timer for however long you'd like. They also have some guided meditations I sometimes use. I am not by any means a pro meditator, but taking these 10 minutes of stillness is such a wonderful way to start the day. I try to focus on my breath, and I'll often do a full body scan, visualizing my breath filling up each part of my body as I go from toes to forehead (third eye center). Does my mind wander? Oh, all the time (and usually it's food-related)! But I offer myself grace, and just come back to my breath when I realize I've gone on a little mental walk.

3) Visualization - This is probably my weakest area, aka the one I spend the least amount of time on. I'm a very goal-driven person, so I'm constantly stuck in the future and where I'm going (when I need to be more present anyway), so I kind of breeze over this one. But I do try to focus on where I'd like to see myself in the next 6 months, year, 5 years, 10 years, etc. I think I also skim over it because I often am picturing the same things over and over. But really there's value in seeing your aspirations and dreams repeatedly, SO.

4) Run back up to the kitchen and grab my coffee.

5) Affirmations - I have written out several affirmations that I read through in the mornings, depending on what I feel I'm needing more of in my life at that moment. Sometimes I write new ones, based on things that are going on. Examples of what some of my affirmations are about: health (eating mindfully, regular exercise), striving to be the best possible version of myself, saving money, staying present, being a great partner to my husband, etc.

6) Journaling (Scribing) - Lately that has looked like writing in the 52 Lists for Happiness book my friend Danielle gave me for my birthday, looking up journal prompts and writing in my journal about them, or just writing about what's on my mind that day!

7) Reading - I'll pick a  non-fiction book to read that has to do with self-improvement or world awareness. To give you an idea of what that spectrum looks like, I recently finished BrenĂ© Brown's The Gifts of Imperfection and I've now picked The Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan back up (it's not an easy one for me, and I had to put it away for a year). I generally read roughly 10 pages a morning, maybe more or less based on time.

8) Exercise - Since July, this had looked like me spending 10 minutes on working on my splits, both sides. However, two weeks ago, I was reeaaally close, got overzealous, and did something to my right hamstring in the process. (Note to self: LISTEN TO YOUR BODY). So I'm currently on a hiatus from the splits, and am coming to terms with the fact that I will have lost some of my momentum, but oh well! Better to rest it than to get a real injury. So in the meantime, this has looked like me doing some push ups, crunches, and working on my headstand!

9) Shower and get ready for work.

10) Walk the more energetic (read: needier) of our two dogs, Newton.

11) Eat breakfast! My breakfast of choice lately has been a tofu scramble with vegetables or a piece of toast. Delicious!

And that's what my morning routine typically looks like! While I am a morning person, I assure you I don't always wake up singing with birds flying through my hair. Here's a photo to prove it:

No, I haven't washed my hair since Tuesday, why do you ask?

Even though I may come out of bed looking nothing short of a monster, that treasured hour or so all to myself is such a gift, and so worth waking up for! If you're interested in trying the Miracle Morning, but maybe a little overwhelmed/worried about waking up early, start small. Maybe dedicate one or two minutes to each element of the Miracle Morning, or add or subtract certain things as you see fit. The world is your oyster! If you have any questions, or if there's something you do that brightens your day and inspires you to be the best you, I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

xo and namaste! - Kim

Why Vegetarian?

Why, I'm so glad you asked!

If you are, or ever have been, a vegetarian, the #1 question you will undoubtedly get asked is "Why did you become a vegetarian?" (The second most common question being, "HOW DO YOU GET ENOUGH PROTEIN?!?!?!?!?!?!") The most surprising thing I discovered about people asking me why I became a vegetarian is that it's a deeply personal question. If someone I'm close with asks me, it's easier to answer. If someone I don't know well asks me, I immediately go into panic mode, my heart starts racing, my palms start sweating, my voice raises an octave higher, and I enthusiastically and loudly start talking about just HOW DARN GOOD IT MAKES ME FEEL! (Not a lie, but certainly not the main truth).

Why do I go on the defensive? Well, while it has certainly lessened over time, there is a sort of stigma that comes with being a vegetarian. You know, one of those vegetarians. And on the flip side, who am I to assume that the person asking me will assume things about me when I tell them the reason I don't eat meat is because I don't want to harm animals? And if I'm assuming that they are assuming, what do I really think their assumptions are (welcome to my brain, would you like to try it on for a while?)? I think my fear is that they will assume that I am in turn judging those who eat meat, which honestly truly couldn't be further from the truth. I ate meat for roughly 28 years of my life for God's sakes, who in the heck am I to judge?! So without further adieu, here are the ins and outs of my plant-based diet - my FAQs if you will - laid out unabashedly for all the world (or maybe just my mom?) to see!

Why did you become a vegetarian?
I've had several vegetarian moments throughout my life, for different reasons. When I was about 6 I became a vegetarian for a week because I had a weird meat experience that freaked me out. After my grandma served some of her awesome ham for Easter, I got over it pretty quickly. When I was in 5th grade, I became a vegetarian for a week again, because Jonathan Taylor Thomas was a vegetarian, and I felt like it connected us on a whole new level. But my heart wasn't in it since he never returned any of my letters (still not bitter), so that fizzled. When I was in college in Miami, I became a vegetarian for about six months as a way to be healthier (read: skinnier. Let's just call it what it was). I lost some college weight, and my skin became glowy and flawless. I went home for the summer, attended a crawfish boil, and lost all control (Texans, you feel me on this). When I was 23 I had another 6 month stint with vegetarianism as a means to be healthier skinnier. I learned quickly though that while chips are vegetarian, eating them for multiple meals per day isn't necessarily the healthiest (though y'all know my love for chips, SO). In the spring of 2014, I started regularly practicing yoga. I was eating more plant based-foods because I simply craved them more, and I was reading up on yoga and its surrounding principles. I learned more about the practice of ahimsa (nonviolence) and started to take a hard look at what I was putting into my body. And I know this may sound a tad insane, but my dog Newton has SUCH a personality (read: pain in the ass) that my relationship with him started to really make me evaluate animals and their feelings.

At first I decided to go pescatarian and ease into vegetarianism. After about a week, I decided I would just go for broke and become a full vegetarian (I had recently developed an adult shellfish allergy anyway, so it wasn't too rough of a transition). The difference this time was that I was doing it for moral reasons (and not to lose 5 pounds or make a teen heartthrob fall in love with me). Through eating an intuitive plant-based diet,  I did naturally end up feeling incredible, naturally shed (and kept off) some extra weight, and learned more about the other benefits of vegetarianism. Like, apparently it's really good for the environment! Because cows fart a lot, and the gas from their farts is worse than the emissions of like 2,000,000 cars (I totally made that number up, but I know it's something epic). So raising cows for hamburgers creates more farts and more farts creates more bad air. And listen, when people ask me if I became I vegetarian for environmental reasons, I emphatically say no, and I mean, I recycle and all, but I certainly could afford to be more environmentally-conscious for sure. It's just a really really awesome added bonus.

But seriously, how do you get enough protein?
Tofu! Broccoli! Quinoa! Spinach! Beans! Nuts! Seitan! Protein Powder! Tempeh! I could go on!

Do you eat fish?
No, vegetarians don't eat fish, pescatarians do. But good question, there are so many different diets and food preferences out there, it can get very confusing!

Can you eat fish? (different question)
I can! I just choose not to. :)

Do you ever crave meat?
Rarely. Like, maybe once a year I'll crave chicken or something? But I am a firm believer that if you crave something, it means your body is needing more of something. For example, if I have a really intense workout and I haven't had enough sugar that day, I start craving apple juice. I'm not particularly fond of apple juice, and I don't really drink it ever, but I'll start to really REALLY crave it. And then I'm like, huh. This is indicative of something. SO. When I do have a rare meat craving, I associate it with my body needing more of something. Okay, yes, PROBABLY PROTEIN, but again, I get so much protein as it is, I really don't have meat cravings much!

Do you ever sneak a bite of meat?
Nope. Unless I get served it accidentally and don't realize it. And believe me, I instantly can detect if there's meat or chicken broth, etc. in something. Vegetarianism gives you super spide-y senses.

Are you vegan or vegetarian?
I am vegan at home, and vegetarian when I eat out. This is what I have found that works best for me. I tried to be full vegan about a year and a half ago. After a month, I realized it was too stressful for me when eating out. Eating out with friends and family is something I truly cherish. I found I was compromising my experiences because I would spend the whole evening fretting over whether or not there was butter in my pasta, and oh, did you remember to leave off the cheese?! And speaking of cheese, I also adore it, so I like to enjoy it every now and then. Though at home, I generally stick to the cheese alternatives, which can really be delightful!

Is your husband a vegetarian?
Oh, heck no! And we make it work! My food choices are just that - MY food choices. I respect other people's food choices, just as I hope they respect mine. And I even cook meat for my husband from time to time (though tbh it's probably not very good since I don't taste as I go. But he's former military and will basically eat anything, even my under/over-cooked chicken *shrug*). "But Kim, isn't that contradictory that you'll cook meat but won't eat it?" Maybe. But I love food, I love cooking, and I love cooking meals for my husband and me. If he wants chicken, so be it. He also will partake in my veg meals pretty regularly, and that's a lot of fun as well! I realize I don't fit a particular vegetarian mold, but my main theme here is, you do you, baby!

If you have kids, will you raise them as vegetarians?
Probably not. I of course would want to raise my future spawns as healthfully as possible, with a diet full of veggies (though word on the street is, kids hate those), but I don't want to limit what they can eat (and I'm not talking, "Sure, have all the cake you want!" - I'm talking about eliminating entire food groups). I've dealt with having a bad relationship with food in the past, and I wouldn't want to impose restrictions at a young age. When my unborn future children are old enough to mindfully make that choice for themselves, by all means! But again, for those who raise their children as vegetarians, I say go you! No judgments here, especially on child-rearing, as I literally know nothing about it yet, except that babies are squishy and cute and make noises.

Is it hard being a vegan/vegetarian?
Nope! Especially now that I've been doing this for 3 1/2 years. I also think that because I love to cook, and cook creative plant-based recipes, that makes it really easy. I think if I didn't enjoy cooking, it would be more difficult. Also, living in a big city like Houston makes eating out as a vegetarian a breeze!

Do you think you'll ever eat meat again one day?
Anything is possible. I know though that right now I feel healthiest in my body and soul eating a plant based diet. I feel energized, light, and compassionate. It's become a very large part of who I am, and I know that at least for right now, it's really working for me. And if yoga teaches us anything, it's that the present is what matters. :)

So there it is, my vegetarianism in a nutshell! At the end of the day, I believe we should all do what is best for ourselves. Whether it's vegetarian, pescatarian, eating plant-based until dinner, eating locally sourced produce and meats, you name it - You do what's best for you to support your most amazing life. If my vegetarian diet was leaving me feeling awful, it probably would not have been sustainable. But since it left me feeling the best I've ever felt, I embrace it fully!

xo and namaste! - Kim