Fulfillment

What is Fulfillment?

A feeling of satisfaction or happiness as a result of fully developing one’s abilities or character.
And/Or the achievement of something desired, promised or predicted.

Having a fulfilling life means putting yourself out there. Getting to your goals, making those goals really worthwhile and being the best you can be.

Our goals may change, our vision of our lives may change, but if we are always pursuing excellence and developing ourselves, this is the path to a fulfilled life.  Achieving our goals is possible; refining them as we move through life is necessary.

The Healthy Living Tribe believes that all humans can find fulfillment, no matter what their life circumstances are.  It’s not how much money you have, how much “stuff” you have, or education, it’s your character and your self-belief,  your growth every day that will leave you living a life with no regrets.

It is not in the pursuit of happiness that we find fulfilment, it is in the happiness of pursuit.

Denis Waitley

holidays

Winter Hiking!

 

I recently moved closer to the Rocky Mountains in Canada and I have enjoyed seeing the majestic peaks every day.   A week ago I finally got out there in the snow for a few hikes and it was truly a peak experience, pun intended.  Getting outside, enjoying the fresh air and beautiful scenery, getting some exercise without feeling like I was, communing with nature, bonding with my friends and family… wow, so many benefits!

The first hike I went on was in Kananaskis called the Fullerton Loop.  This is a fairly easy and beautiful walk near the Rockies, only a few minutes from Bragg Creek, AB.

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Fullerton Loop
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View on Fullerton Loop

The weather was gorgeous and the hike was quiet and lovely. I went with a friend who is a great guide and knows all the good spots in the area.  This walk/hike was a terrific way to get my exercise for the day and really see some beautiful nature!  I used trekking poles on the descent to help protect my knees, but they certainly weren’t necessary.  I also just had on my hiking boots, with no ice cleats, and it was perfect.  We did see some people on the trail with snowshoes and while they certainly weren’t necessary, they would provide extra calorie burnage!  (Snowshoes add a level of difficulty and effort.)

The next hike I went on, with a huge group of my family, was near Banff called Johnston Canyon.  I have been told that this is a busy hike all year round.  Luckily for us, it wasn’t crowded on this weekend in January!  It’s an easy, gorgeous hike.  The canyon is beautiful.

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Hiking Johnston Canyon, Banff

The views at the Upper Falls, and along the entire hike,  were gorgeous.  The trees laden with thick snow, the trail packed hard with snow and ice (Wear your ice cleats!) and the canyon iced over, with views of the blue, cold running water.  I loved the way the trail followed the canyon and wound up and down through the mountain.  The air is crisp and clean.  You could even feel winded if you weren’t used to the higher elevation!

 

Once we got to the Upper Falls, taking about an hour since we, naturally, had to stop for pictures, we just stood back and marvelled at the falls and the bold ice climbers!

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Upper Falls at Johnston Canyon

These two winter hikes in the beautiful Rockies were a great reminder to me to stop using winter as an excuse not to go outside.  The ice and snow just magnified the beauty of the area.

I really encourage you to get out there and hike in the winter!  It is not just a summer activity.  If you are able to get to the Rockies and enjoy the many fabulous hikes, the snow is calming, the air crisp and the Rockies are magnificent!

If you don’t live near the mountains, see what options are available in your area.  Even if you think you live somewhere “boring” (you probably don’t btw), there are usually beautiful areas to walk and hike.  Edmonton, for example, has a beautiful river valley with many trails to explore.  And it is also close to Elk Island Park, rich in trails and the beauties of nature.

I have never been one to enjoy being cold, but as long as the weather is fairly cooperative and not too cold, anyone can get outside and hike!  You will need some basic gear and preparation to make your hike fun and safe.

What you will need:

Layers – Several layers of clothing. It is best to have layers that wick moisture and dry quickly, that you can remove and add as your temperature fluctuates.  I was surprised how quickly things can heat up.  You will want to avoid overheating and thus sweating too much as this can make you not only feel uncomfortable but can lead to chilling when you cool down and now have to hike in damp, cool clothing.

Good hiking boots – Always a good investment.  My boots work well in summer or winter, or you can have separate pairs for the seasons.  If you are on a budget, look for sporting goods store or trading posts that deal in slightly worn apparel.  It is possible to get a good deal on used hikers! Here are the boots I have.

Good mitts –  Nothing is worse than cold hands!

Good socks – Could also be said that nothing is worse than cold feet!  Get socks that don’t cause sweating, provide warmth and wicking.

Ice cleats – These clip on to the bottom of your boots, giving you added traction in icy conditions.  Very helpful on an icy trail.  I used mine on the Johnston Canyon hike and would recommend them there as the trail can get quite worn and very slippery.  I didn’t need them on the Fullerton loop as the trail was just packed snow.  You can order them online or pick them up at a sporting goods store.

Alpine poles – Not a necessity but they can help with steep descents, with balance and stability and also can increase the number of calories you burn.  They can sometimes feel in the way though, so maybe they are for you and maybe not.  I have personally seen how they can speed your descent and make it safer for joints and knees.

Snowshoes – Not needed unless on very deep snow with an unpacked trail.  Always check websites and local weather to see the conditions.  These two hikes I talk about here did not need snowshoes, the trails were packed and my hiking boots were great.

Personally, getting outside and moving and exploring in the winter felt like something I need to do, could do, on a regular basis for my health, physical and mental, and enjoying the solitude if I can’t find anyone to drag along with me.  Maybe we can all get out and explore!

Adventure – This we seek!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” — Mark Twain.

Adventure.  We all need to get out there and try new things!  Whether it is a new place, new food, a new activity or hanging out with new people, humans have a deep-felt need for novelty and for experiences.

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Part of our mandate here as part of the Healthy Living Tribe is to learn how to live our lives fully and completely.  To the best of our abilities we are learning how to live with courage and to cultivate our desire and capacity for growth.

What adventures are you seeking?  Where do you long to go?  What do you want to try?

What is stopping you?

“A ship is safe in harbour, but that’s not what ships are built for.” — John A. Shedd

Go for it!

New Years Resolutions?

As the new year begins, often so do our thoughts on self-improvement and life changes.  Goals, New Year’s Resolutions, whatever you call them, the pressure is on now to get some set.  The most popular ones in January that we have all heard and perhaps set ourselves are, “lose weight, start exercising, and stop smoking and/or drinking”.  The gyms in my small town are brimming full of people aiming to lose 10 pounds or ‘get in shape’.  Of course, those same gyms will be much more quiet starting probably around early to mid-February!

While not all of us believe in setting New Years Resolutions, all humans strive for happiness and fulfilment. Sometimes we write these hopes and dreams down, making them goals.  Sometimes, we just wish for them, but don’t take concrete actions towards these desires.

Whether it is a wish and a hope or actually a goal we are determined to meet can make a difference in whether we see the results manifest in our lives.

How do we set a goal and not just wish things were different?  Goals are “SMART”, usually written down, have concrete actions to go with them and are very clear.   Just setting the typical goals of weight loss, for example, might not be clear enough.  Maybe you need to set the goal of Read More

Sleep – Vital for Health

Get enough sleep! 

Close up of Indian woman sleeping in bedSleep is a crucial period where our brains and body rest, renew and regenerate.   Healthy and fulfilling sleep is necessary for long-term health (just ask anybody who suffers from insomnia!).   Having a deep, restful sleep is important for all of us. 

Not getting enough sleep can have severe consequences.  According to the National Sleep Foundation, “short sleep duration is linked with:

  • Increased risk of motor vehicle accidents
  • Increase in body mass index – a greater likelihood of obesity due to an increased appetite caused by sleep deprivation
  • Increased risk of diabetes and heart problems
  • Increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse
  • Decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information”.

According to researchers Michael H. Bonnet and Donna L. Arand, “There is strong tiredevidence Read More

Can you reduce your exposure to toxins?

It is one thing to eat a great diet, exercise, get a good nights sleep, have time for meditation and other nurturing, healthy habits.  However, we also need to be aware of the hidden dangers in our environment, food and water supply.  Our world has many sources of toxins, some obvious, such as car exhaust and smoking and some hidden, such as that pesticide coating the apple you are eating or the lining of that tomato can.

Natural or synthetic (or man-made) toxins are substances that are considered harmful to us as humans, plants or animals in the environment, the ecosystems, our planet, our atmosphere, etc.  Toxins can damage our cells, often permanently.  They do provoke some type of negative or undesired reaction even we if don’t notice.

toxins

The sheer number and amount of chemicals in the world is amazing!   The world load of chemicals has increased Read More

The First Yama of Yoga – Ahimsa

The first Yama, Ahimsa, means non-violence.  This is the first and foundational principle.  Violence towards self or others makes a journey into the yogic lifestyle impossible.  Non-violence towards yourself means forgiveness, understanding and love towards yourself.  Towards others, ahimsa shows up as compassion, forgiveness, understanding and the task of not perpetuating more violence or harm.  Do no harm extends to nature and all of mother earth, since we are nature and nature is part of us.

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It is easy to love a cute animal, baby or even people who love us back.  How about animals we are scared of?  How about people who disagree with us, our ex’s, or the guy who cut us off on the way to work?

And the big one, ourselves?  Do we love ourselves?  Do we say kind things to ourselves in our head?  This can often be the greatest task.  Often we treat ourselves much worse than anyone else and we would never say things to another person that we say in our heads.

Challenge:  Monitor what you say to yourself.  What are your thoughts like?  Don’t worry about changing them, but start paying attention.

just love yourself

Yoga – Mind, Body & Spirit

I just finished my 200 hr Yoga teacher training!  I was blessed to delve into yoga for 200 hours and this educated me, inspired me and really wet my curiosity to learn more.  Learning about yoga has improved the quality of my life, helping me to more clearly see the path for my life, my purpose, my dharma.

Yoga means union.  It is a linking of our body, mind and spirit, bringing unity to our lives.

Yoga is more than postures, asana, and has many forms.  Raja yoga, or Ashtanga yoga, follows the eight-limbed path, only one of which is asana.

The great Yoga teacher Patanjali wrote about the eight-limbed path (Astanga yoga) in his book of yoga aphorisms, the Yoga Sutras.  Out of the Sutras, meaning thread in Sanskrit, come the Yamas and Niyamas.  These are the first two limbs of Astanga yoga and are the ethical principles, personal and social observances that help create a more open and joyful life.  These are not Rules or Commandments, merely guidelines to help the yogi increase her own awareness and fulfilment and are the starting points to moving along to the other limbs.  These are asanas, (physical postures), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (deep meditation) and samadhi (unity or bliss).

8 limbs

Living healthy is more than just the physical, although the physical is vitally important. We must do our best to strengthen and train our physical bodies, through movement, healthy and nourishing food and reducing our toxic load. And we must nourish and strengthen our mind and emotions so that we can move through life with more ease and less conflict, both within ourselves and with others.

Let’s delve into healthy living.  We can use yoga as a tool, along with many others.

Be mindful.  Listen.  Move with alignment.  Breathe.

And the enemy is…SUGAR!

 

 

Why is sugar our enemy?

  1.  Weight gain, excess sugar gets converted to fat.  Healthy fats, omega 3s and monounsaturated fats, can help increase metabolism.  So it isn’t fat consumption that makes us fat, but the excess sugar.
  2. It is addictive and we crave it:  see this wonderfully informative Ted-Ed talk about the dopamine response and sugar.  Learn how sugar behaves like a drug.
  3. We eat too much of it (see #2) and this replaces healthy foods, leading to a worse diet and much worse nutritional status.  Sugar is cheap and thus easy to add to foods, replacing healthy alternatives.
  4. Tooth decay.  Ok, we all know that sugar attracts bacteria that attack our tooth enamel, putting us at higher risk for cavities.  No one wants cavities.
  5. Eating a lot of sugar can increase our triglyceride levels, leading to an increased risk of heart disease.
  6. Too much sugar can lead to diabetes.
  7. To much sugar causes glycation in the skin causing damage to the collagen and elastin, making us look older and our complexions less healthy.
  8. Insomnia, due to the crashes and highs of the sugar rollercoaster.  These can keep us up at night.
  9. Worse memory.  Too much sugar can make the memory function less optimally.  People on a low sugar diet have improved memory functioning.

What is the number one New Years Resolution?  Yup.  Lose weight!  One way to effectively lose weight is to cut out sugar from your diet.  Sugar makes you fat. Simple.

And then you go to point number 2 above and so on.

And please don’t go to those artificial sweeteners!  They aren’t any better and don’t help with weight loss either.

The best replacement sweetener that I have found is Xylitol, which has the added benefit of being healthy for the teeth, or Stevia.  Both are plant based.

Based on my personal experience, simply cutting out sugars helped me lose weight.

How?

Read labels. (Don’t eat anything with more than 5 gms of sugar per serving!!!)  Sugar is everywhere!  So many products in the grocery store contain sugar, things you wouldn’t even think of!  Ketchup, bread, sauces, cereals, etc.  So read those labels!

Be aware of all the different names for sugar.

Never eat ANYTHING with sugar as the top ingredient.

Remember that breads, pastas, starchy carbs are converted to sugar by the body.

I will talk more about sugar in later posts, as it is just too important and such a simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

 

 

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