Seattle life has been an adjustment for us. Adam and I were both raised in small country towns, with Adam’s hometown in Oregon being especially small with a population of under ten thousand people. Adam has lived in other cities, as he spent time living and Southern California, but for the past six years he has lived on the Big Island of Hawaii. After college, I moved straight to Hawaii and hopped around between Oahu, Kauai, and Big Island. Like I have mentioned in the past, moving to Hawaii was a very powerful experience for both of us. We both immediately felt as though Hawaii was our home when we moved there. The pace of life and emphasis on LIVING as opposed to achieving status or material success really resonated with us. The closeness to nature calmed my anxiety-ridden mind.
Being that Hawaii felt like such a great fit for our personalities, moving to a big city like Seattle has been a challenge. Oddly enough, I feel like I’ve experience quite a bit of culture shock in acclimating to my new home. It started with the traffic. Yes-Hawaii has lots of traffic. However, people are way less angry about it on the islands. I’ve noticed this throughout the Seattle area in general, but it is most noticeable on the roads. I have never lived somewhere that people are so aggressive to pass, tailgate, swear out their windows, cut you off, etc. I’m not sure where everyone is going, but it can’t be important enough to speed over 40 mph in a school zone! (We have our bumper ridden every morning for abiding by the posted speed limit signs driving past a school) I have also experienced a general lack of friendliness from people that I encounter in places like the grocery store within the confines of the city. Bummer.
My observations have noted, however, that people seem to be friendlier and happier in places like Whole Foods and out on the trail…hmm.
I get it. When I'm feeling shitty I'm the same way: stressed out, rushing, unable to feel connection sometimes even with the person I love most! I know that the weather here can be a total drag on everyone’s mood. Vitamin D deficiency is a serious thing in the Northwest. But I think that there is a way to bring some of the island mentality to the big city. Here are some of the things that we have done over the past several months to perk us up and keep us vibrating high this winter:
Eat lots of raw fruits and vegetables!
We start each morning off with a 32 oz (HUGE) smoothie that consists of frozen bananas, frozen berries, coconut water, almond milk, and superfood powders. I had been adding maca powder to our smoothies, but I recently invested in my first bag of Vegan Shakeology and it contains Maca as well as tons of other superfoods that I had been having us supplement anyway, like Ashwaganda, chlorella, cordyceps, etc. Maca is great for energy, sex drive, hormone regulation, etc.
Nix the meat and dairy.
When Adam and I removed these food groups, we saw monumental changes in our health. We have both lost a substantial amount of weight from cutting out animal products, while filling their place with plant-based alternatives. This does NOT mean adding in a bunch of fake meat and cheese products. (If for nothing else, our digestion has significantly improved and regulated itself now that there aren’t animal products clogging up the works.) If you want more information on how animal products are dangerous for your circulatory and digestive systems and make you gain weight, check out the "What the Health” documentary. Link to documentary here.
Cut way down on processed food.
Processed food means everything from oil to twinkies. Processed just means that we’re changing it from how it is found in nature. This is aside from the fact that lots of processed foods have products in them that are man-made and not food at all. A real wake-up call for me was learning that my beloved olive oil wasn’t as good for me as I thought. I wasn’t made to be consuming refined oils from plants. It is straight fat and not the happy ratio that nature designed for us. I still cook with olive oil and consume some oils, I’m just not slathering it all over salads and drowning my potatoes in them before I cook them. My body doesn’t need it.
Seriously, what are you in such a hurry for? If you can’t get to work on time, wake up earlier. If you can’t wake up earlier, go to bed earlier! This is about taking care of yourself, people! We all know that stress is terrible for our bodies and our moods, so slow the hell down and know that nothing is more important than you getting from point A to point B without killing or seriously injuring yourself or another person. You may think the person that is driving the speed limit in the passing lane is an asshole, but if you speed up to get around them and hit a person crossing the street in the process, none of that shit matters anymore. Ask anyone who has killed someone with their vehicle. This stuff is serious and it happens ALL THE TIME. Let’s start valuing each other’s lives more than we value that extra 5 minutes of sleep in the morning, or the fact that you need 5 minutes to stop and get your Starbucks before work without being late.
Drink (good) water.
Water is such an important component of our lives. We’re mostly water! Our food is grown with water. I think this is why most humans are so drawn to the ocean. It is us in our most free form. Ebbing and flowing with energy all over the world. Hydration is so important for us to be healthy and happy and efficient. We have made drinking lots of clean water a priority. Rather than drinking tap water that is contaminated with Flouride (which calcifies your pineal gland) as well as other toxins like chlorine, we have been drinking water filtered through reverse osmosis to remove these impurities. We also add lemon or alkalizing pH drops to our water to bring the pH up to a more alkaline level, which is ideal for our bodies to function properly and not get sick. I also plan to invest in a Kangen machine in order to filter our water of impurities AND control the pH by the end of the year. Yes. Drinking good water IS that important to us. If you want to know more about the importance of water, click here: http://www.saltsandandsmoothies.com/mystory/
Stop drinking alcohol.
This one has been difficult for me to say, because I know how ingrained alcohol is into our society. It is everywhere. Billboards, movies, all over Instagram everyone thinks it is so cool to talk about how they drink wine and shit. We all know it makes us feel horrible and do stupid things and it is liquid sugar. Ever wonder why it is so heavily pushed on us by those in power? (Those who own the wealth in this country and therefore the companies that produce alcohol?) I bet you’re really starting to wonder why it has been legal all of this time while marijuana is still demonized. Alcohol is mind numbing and marijuana is mind expanding. Think about it.
Exercise to be happy NOT skinny.
You are not fat because you don’t exercise. Let me repeat that. YOU ARE NOT FAT BECAUSE YOU DON’T EXERCISE! You are “fat” because you eat like shit. This is hard to hear. It is hard to accept. But it is true! You can achieve a healthy body weight without changing anything about your activity level and just switching over to a plant-based whole foods diet. That is how we lost most of the weight that we lost. We started adding in hikes on the weekends and jogs sprinkled in throughout the week, but that was as a result of our increased energy levels from, you guessed it, not being so fat. We are just now getting to the point that we are ready to kick our own asses and get into serious “I can’t believe I look this good” shape. We have the energy for it now! We notice after doing our T25 workouts the next morning we wake up feeling great. We sleep better after exercising and wake up energized. It is wonderful. And it doesn’t feel like punishment. https://vimeo.com/ondemand/whatthehealth
All of these things that we have been implementing into our lives have helped to not only minimize our winter blues, but to deal with life challenges like my parent’s divorce. If you asked me a few months ago if I wanted to move back to Hawaii and sit in the ocean while I absorb all of these life changes, I would have screamed YES PLEEEEEAAASE! But changing my lifestyle has awakened me to see the amazing beauty all around. The Northwest is seriously INCREDIBLE!!! I am so grateful that I learned how to better care for myself so that I can actually enjoy it. And with these basic principles leading us, I’m sure that we could thrive anywhere.