Do No Harm

2018 was a tough year for me. I lost my favorite kid in the entire world to Ewing’s Sarcoma, a rare type of bone cancer, and my boyfriend was diagnosed with a malignant neuroendocrine tumor (NET) in his small intestine, which thankfully they removed right before Christmas.

I can’t help but think that these life-shaping moments mean something more, and I personally have felt very called, convicted to share my knowledge on how to help people make safer, better choices.

The mantra “Do No Harm” comes into play here. We are hardwired to go with the flow, the masses. Society can make choices that we automatically deem ok because “other people are doing it.” I remember in elementary school getting in trouble for doing something against the rules, and my teacher saying something like if everyone jumped off the roof, would you do it, too?

We have to stop “jumping off the roof” when it comes to our health and wellbeing. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t make it the best choice for each of us.

I love the idea of exploring this whole idea of don’t just go with the flow when it comes to your health. It’s a loaded topic. And I know people will get testy on the subject because we want to believe that we are doing the right thing. Health and wellness is just a touchy topic because everyone choices to live differently.

But let’s unpack this idea. For fun. Particularly for the endocrine system.

I found this article from Dr. Axe, and it totally hit home for me.

With Brad’s cancer specifically affecting hormone cells in his small intestine, changing his diet won’t be enough on the preventative side we can control. There are so many things that we use on our bodies, breathe in through the air and eat that can effect our endocrine system. So diet is only one of many things.

Well, you can’t control what chemical makeup of the air we breathe.

But you can get a home air filtration system or diffuse clarifying essential oils or use safer cleaning products. I started looking into household cleaners once I signed on with Beautycounter and started learning about all the ways our endocrine system can be affected by what we put on our bodies. That translated quickly into changing our everyday cleaners and detergents.

Brands I use include Seventh Generation, Better Life and Doterra. Better Life is a new one for me, but proving to be a good one. I get mine through Thrive Market or on Amazon.

I use EWG’s Skin Deep Site or app to check out beauty and skin care products that fall outside of Beautycounter‘s current product offerings. Finding Beautycounter was a total game changer for me and my skin care. I’ve always suffered with oily, acne-prone skin, but now I believe that was totally because the products I was using were full of harmful chemicals, additives and questionable ingredients. Beautycounter has a list of over 1,500 ingredients they never use in any of their products. It’s a company I’m proud to support because we are collectively changing the beauty industry for the better.

I realize this is a heavy subject, but we need to be talking about it as consumers. We need to be voting with our dollars for company’s that put people first, instead of profit. This is something I’m deeply passionate about, and it is so very important as we move forward.

The goal is not to have everyone I know using Beautycounter or brands I love (though I would love it if you found Beautycounter to be your thing that works for you).

The goal is to get you thinking about things in a new way.

To question.

To not jump off a roof just because everyone else is doing it.

To take your health and wellness seriously.

Because, y’all, we only get this one life.

What do you want to do this year to take control of your health and wellness? What small changes can you make? What things can you get rid of? How can I help you? Because I truly feel called to help you take the steps to make a choice.

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2019: The Year of Gratitude

I spent the weekend reflecting on 2018 and setting goals for 2019. What a year it’s been.

I always love looking at everyone’s “Best Nine” at the end of the year. It’s so fun to go back and look at what consumed your life. Mine was consumed with travel, gardening, Annie Mae and B. Several things happened that I wish hadn’t, but overall I found goodness and a little grace.

I completed my 2019 Powersheets prep work on Saturday morning. This is the first year I’ve tried to set intentional goals at the beginning of the year. Last year, I started with Powersheets around June. I love the prep work because it helps you really nail down what you want to accomplish for the year, and it breaks your main goals down into smaller, easier-to-digest goals to work toward monthly, weekly and daily.

One of my main goals is to establish and maintain healthy eating practices and a true fitness routine. So I wanted to share with you what I will be doing to reach that goal starting tomorrow.

Establish a Meditation Practice

I’ve used the Calm app off and on for a couple of months to see if it is something that will help me. Quieting my mind is basically non-existent. My brain literally never shuts off. It can, at times, be awful. So I did some research about stress management, and guided meditation is one of the best ways to manage stress.

Tomorrow, I will start a daily mediation practice. Whether it’s in the morning or before bed will depend on my mood, but my goal is to mediate in the morning before leaving for work. I will also use the Sleep Stories or sleep mediations to help me fall asleep at night, instead of using the TV. At least, that is a long term goal for this practice. I’m shooting for 5-10 minutes per day, and then maybe longer periods on the weekends, which will lead into the second part of this overall goal.

A Daily Yoga Practice

After lots of research and looking at my daily schedule, yoga seems like the easiest thing to work into my life at this time. Plus, there are added benefits of stress management for combining a mediation and yoga practice. I know it sounds pretty granola, but that’s just where I am right now.

I’ve used Asana Rebel off and on, and I have a BOD account. So the plan is to use them, even if it is only 5 or ten minutes. Just move my body each day. Ideally, I would like this to be 10-20 minutes on the mat with longer sessions on the weekends. And I plan to use the Calm app directly after my yoga practice.

My intention for the new year is centered around gratitude, and my intention for my yoga practice is focused on being awake.

I would love to know what your goals are for 2019. Please share.

The Season of Change

“Respect yourself enough to walk away from anything that no longer serves you, grows you, or makes you happy.” 
― Robert Tew

Hey. Hi. Hello.

It’s been awhile since I last published on this space. But it feels like the thing to start doing now that life has significantly changed.

So what has changed?

My better half was diagnosed with cancer, had surgery and has been declared cancer free in a mere two week period. All of this happening grossly close to the Christmas holiday and during a busy work period for me. Isn’t life funny like that? It always makes you slow down and take stock of what is really important at the most inopportune times.

But that is why I’m writing now. I want to be able to share all the things we learn about how to live our best life as we prepare for routine scans and the anxiety that comes with that. It’s just another season of life, but it won’t slow us down for one minute.

So what does this season of life look like?

To be honest, I’m not really sure. I know I want to be in the moment more than ever before. I know I don’t want to dwell on the little things. I know I don’t want to worry over what people think. I know I want to live my best life with Brad and our puppies in our home that we share. I know we will be eating very clean. I know we will start a routine of exercising (yoga for me…not sure what Brad will want to do once he is fully recovered from surgery.)

And I know this is the space, as well as my Adventures to Wellness Facebook page, where I will share what we are doing to accomplish and thrive during this new season.

Gratitude for All the People

A cancer diagnosis for someone as young as Brad is super unsettling. Most people don’t really know what to say to us. So they just not to say anything (not judging, just an observation) or they say something off the wall. It can be quite comical. And yet I feel a little guilty typing that out because so many people have been so good to us during this time. It’s just the truth.

There is a small population of people that know exactly what to say and how to say it. Very, very small. And I can say we have been blessed beyond measure on having key people in that category. And people in the category of just coming to spend time with us….because spending time is the most valuable thing someone can do for another person.

The Restart

When I thought about what I wanted to say in this first post, nothing really feels adequate. Most starts or restarts are horribly awkward. (This one is shaping up to be pretty awkward, too.) I’ve found, most of the time, the fear is in starting.

I’ve started over on this blog lots of times, but no other time has it been more important to me than now.

2019 will be the year of weeding out what and who doesn’t serve, grow or make me happy.

I know that’s a bold statement. But when the one person you love most in the world faces a scary beast like cancer and wins, you have to celebrate life because every single day from here on out is a gift. A straight up gift.

So what can you expect to see here?

  • Paleo and Ketogenic recipes and food content
  • Clean eating philosophies
  • Clean beauty and skin care for men and women (B’s tumor affected his endocrine system)
  • Books on gut health, general health and wellness, food, personal development and spiritual development
  • Outside resources (mostly on the Facebook page) we feel warrant sharing with a larger audience
  • Life updates on B’s condition, our life, etc.

This space will be what I intended it to be when I first conceived the idea. It will be with some regularity, but maybe not daily, and I welcome you to follow along.

This is no longer just my space of wellness, but Brad’s, too. And, ultimately, yours…if you want to be a part of it.

With all my love and positive energy,
Ashten

Show Me Your Friday Face

We made it to Freedom Day…also known as Friday. Woo whoo!

This week has been hard on me. Like crazy hard. My day job has been crazy. I’m working hard on my side hustle with Beautycounter after I get home. I feel like I need a mental break. But this too shall pass .

I’ve been switching my my eyeshadow every few days since I got the gorgeous Winter Jewels Palette from Beautycounter. But I’m gravitating to certain ones over and over again.

In the Winter Jewels Palette, I’m completely in love with the Rose Gold eyeshadow. I’m wearing only that and the Volumizing Mascara in the photo above.

But I recently got the Nude Eye Trio from the Holiday Collection. The nude cream eye shadow is to die for. It’s the color of my dreams. Neutral with a hint of gray. I hope they keep those two shades after the holidays are over.

If you haven’t checked out the Holiday Collection, I highly recommend that you do. Everything is so gorgeous. Perfect for stockings. I can make recommendations for the special people in your life. So let’s give the gift of clean beauty.

Anyway, I didn’t intend for this to be a Beautycounter post, but I’m just really loving everything they’ve got going right now.

Happiest of Fridays, friends!

Weekend Wonders

Lazy weekends are my jam.

I love being able to totally check out. This weekend was the coldest one we’ve had so far, and I was excited to finally break out a big scarf and my favorite winter hat.

But the only thing I look forward to during the cooler months is a fire in the fireplace.

Since it was the first true cold snap of the season, we kept a fire going all weekend long. From now on, we are going to have Fire Fridays, which consist of a date night out for dinner and then home to a fire and whatever goodness we want to watch on Netflix. Right now, we are rationing out Stranger Things 2. And when I say rationing, I mean one episode per night.

Annie is loving this whole lazy weekend thing we’ve decided to pursue. She spent her time all cuddled up in blankets on my lap. But seriously, I can’t handle her cuteness. When I took this picture, I was whispering sweet nothings to her about how pretty she is. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Brad didn’t even bat an eye at this. It’s simply my normal behavior when it comes to my puppy bear.

Keeping with the lazy weekend theme, I bought on of Honey Pies’ Chicken Pot Pies from Me and McGee Market.

Run. Don’t walk. Run to Honey Pies on Bowman Road in Little Rock or to Me & McGee Market to get yourself this deliciousness.

I would love to tell you that we had leftovers. But that would be a complete lie.

We ate every single bit of this gorgeous pie in a matter of minutes.

Is it Whole30 approved?

No.

Is it gluten-free?

No.

Is it dairy-free?

No.

Was it worth every single bite?

Absolutely.

That, my friends, is exercising food freedom. Finding balance with food is hard. I posted a live video the other day expressing my struggles with eating healthy. So I’m truly getting back on the wagon, and I’m working hard to make sure I have food prepped and ready to go. Part of the issues I’ve been having is not packing a healthy lunch, getting caught up a work and settling for less-than-stellar foods and forgetting to thaw our meat for our weeknight dinners.

The first step is admitting you have a problem. And I do. I need to 5-Second Rule myself to get my act together when it comes to meals and meal prep. If I can do it flawlessly during Whole30, I can do it any other time. I can’t for the life of me figure out why healthy choices are so difficult to make sometimes. And why making good choices during a Whole30 seems easier than any other time. Anyone have any insights into that?

It’s amazing how easily excuses creep. How I can talk myself out of cooking dinner and going out to eat. How I can’t say no to a donut or cookie even thought I’m not hungry at all. How reintroducing sugars, even in the natural forms, can make daydream of sweets during my afternoon coffee breaks at work.

The mental attachments to certain foods are long-lasting. It gives us a glimpse of just how powerful the mind really is when it comes to attachments and habits. I remind myself that I must exercise making healthy choices like I exercise my body. The mind is merely a muscle that can be trained to be stronger. And while I practice I keep telling myself…I think I can. I think I can. I know I will. I know I will.

What do you do to help you make healthy choices? Any tips or tricks?