My 5 "Secret Ingredients" for a Healthy, Happy 2011


A fresh new year is about to unfold before us! With bright eyes and a hopeful heart I want to leap towards the future with optimism and glee. But it doesn't hurt to have a few secret ingredients up my sleeve...

My Recipe. Everyone has a different recipe for life, but here's mine. And I'd love to hear yours as well - I encourage you to leave your "2011 tips" in the post comments. Let's recipe swap kids!...

(And yes there are hundreds of 'secret ingredients' to health & happiness - but these are my favorites for my 2011.)

Kathy's Secret Ingredients for Health & Happiness in 2011

Ingredient #1: Laughter. (Nope, smiles won't cut it)...

A few days ago I tweeted this: "#for2011 my resolution is to LAUGH & SMILE more. ..puts the #happy back in Happy New Year (misery-inducing resolutions NEVER seem to stick)"

...But I'd like to change my quote. And remove the smile part. Yeah, that's right. I'm not going to vow to smile more in 2011. Why? Have I gone moody on you? No. It's simply because to me there is a big difference between smiling and laughing. 1) you can fake a smile. 2) You can't really fake a laugh.

Go on. Try it.

Smile. Ear to ear. Big smile. Say "vegan cheeese!"

Nice.

Now try to laugh a big, gut-shaking, jolly, fall down on your face (LOL-ing) LMFO chuckle.

...um, that was so fake. Think of the last time you really laughed - so hard your cheeks hurt. Probably sounded a lot different than just now.

So there you have it. I am not going to try and plaster fake smiles on my face - but instead seek out the company of people, artists, movies, friends, family and even pets that help me laugh my ass off in 2011. Dude, you saw Patch Adams right? Laughing is not only fun, but it's my all time favorite wellness-inducing ritual.

So I want to seriously give a big coconut water toast to all the people who made me laugh in 2010. I am in awe of your wit, comedic timing, hilarity, goofiness, deliriousness, silliness and all around funny nature. Lets all "find the funny" this year.

Ingredient #2: In 2011, Put Some Wear & Tear into your Kitchen.


In 2011 order in. No, I mean, really in. From your own kitchen. Apartment dwellers, you know that "wear & tear" clause in your lease? Use it in your kitchen!

Are you cooking for yourself enough? Here's the test. Stand up. Go to your stove and lift up the 'most used' burner' Are there spots? Stains? Grease marks? A few crumbs? Go check.

(Go on, I'll wait)

If your 'most used burner' is spotless, you are either a 'Jeff Lewis' clean-freak or you need to step up your Chef-attitude in 2011. Now you may be wondering why I think that health and happiness lies in homemade food. Besides a few of the obvious reasons including saving money, consuming less sodium, fat, processed food and such - there is a secret additive that you will find in food from your own kitchen that really does get left out when you eat out. Yes, it's love. Don't roll your eyes at me! Really, the whole "food is love' thing is true!

Cook. And Laugh. In your kitchen. In 2011.

Proof (that 'homemade' is good for you): When I think back on 2010, all the most exhausting or mentally challenging times I had were saved by one thing: food from my own kitchen. When my husband was working insane long hours early in 2010, I'd pack him a giant homemade lunch bag every day and he swears it got him through the day - the juicy bag of fresh grapes, the mini spicy mustard arugula sandwiches, the little note tucked in between the coconut water and the homemade cookie. And then there was the week my mom was sick (I made her some soup, juice and biscuits that made her feel better).

..Or when I was exhausted from a super long week and all I craved was sitting down for a homemade dinner with my husband. Or even a simple homemade peanut butter/banana/cinnamon sandwich on sprouted grain bread, sweet Basmati Rice Milk on the side. It's these simple homemade meals that I remember fondly from 2010. Food fuels us. It makes us strong and fills our bodies with life. Food from your own kitchen always saves the day.

Is there anything better than homemade desserts??? No really. Is there?


The Vegan Edge. And yes, my vegan diet gives me a huge advantage in the wellness/health portion of my year. Going vegan is one of the best decisions I have ever made in life - and heading into 2011 "vegan" makes me feel like I have already won. Even if you are not vegan, I hope you will experiment with a few of my recipes and slowly weave them into your lifestyle. Even a "more" plant-based diet is a huge step in the right direction for 2011!

So yes, get in the kitchen and start simple (with a PB&B sandwich perhaps)...







PB&B needs really tasty chilled rice milk...


Ingredient #3: Use Your Voice.
Year after year I continue to learn how incredibly important my voice is to not only expressing myself, but also purely to my sense of peace and well being. There is nothing more stressful than the feeling you get after you have been in a situation where you wished you had said something. I used to be the quiet girl in class that you had to squeeze words out of at times. So trust me when I say that the stress that comes with not speaking up is far greater than the stress that comes from taking a risk and speaking out.

Maybe you were shy, scared of how you might be judged, or simply didn't have the energy to 'get involved'. Well if there's one feeling that will rocket your emotions into happiness it is speaking your mind with a pure, true heart. And yes, this advice lies in many areas of life: love, politics, animal rights, friendship, business, community, family and more. Use your voice. Use your voice. Use your voice. Everyone has one.

And if you meet critics or someone doesn't like what you have to say. Screw it! You are entitled to your own opinion, your own feelings, your own point of view. Laugh it off and move on. Be true to yourself and happiness will find you. Winning the 'approval of others' is never true happiness.

Ingredient #4: Move. Get Up. Go Out.
"Where are we going?"
"Don't know. Let's just go."
"Out?"
"Yeah. Lets just go."


...This conversation gets a lot of play in my house. Sometimes it's nice to not have a plan and just get out there and participate in the world. Of course, this is incredibly easy living in New York City. A walk down the block can change your life or ruin your day, but it's the whole idea of just going out that I think will give you a lot of freedom.

On Christmas Eve a few friends and I didn't know where we were going to go or what we'd do. So we just "went out" and we found ourselves chatting the night away at a lil corner restaurant for many hours. Best night in a while.

Just get out...


You never know where your path may take you. Hopefully to Malibu, right?...


So today, if you get that blank feeling of "Hmm, what am I going to do today?"

Just do it. "Go out." You never know what you may find out there.

Grab your hat & gloves! .. Why, where are we going? .. OUT! .. ok...


And yes, this will benefit your wellness as well. "Going out" usually burns more calories and uses more muscle groups that the oh-so-popular-activities of 'chilling on the couch' or 'surfing on the web'.

Ingredient #5: Listen More.
Call this the decade of being "in our own heads". We are becoming slaves to our own inner thoughts..

"How will I form my thought into my next tweet?"
"Hmm, this thought would make a good Facebook status."
"These feelings I'm having would made a snazzy blogpost."

..We are all becoming experts in the school of self-expression. But are we failing Listening 101? And when I say "listening" I mean listening to other people as well as the silent signals of your own body and spirit.

If you stop and listen deeper, you may find that you have a lot more to say. Your ultimate self-expressions and communications will be crisper, cleaner and more meaningful. Let's all practice together: stop, listen and maybe even smell the flowers...

Stop. Watch. Listen.

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What are Your Secret Ingredients?? I'd love to hear about what lessons you guys learned in 2010 and what secret ingredients you will be adding to your "Health & Happiness Recipe" for 2011. Please add them to the comments and have a fabulous 2011 everyone!! xoxox


Another PB&B pic, because it's just so yummy and cozy...

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