Fall Into Health Challenge

I recently participated in a Fall Into Health Challenge orchestrated by Allison Stevens Schaaf with Prep Dish.  This health challenge inspired me to try new things, encouraged small lifestyle shifts, enlightened my spirit, and provided more depth and happiness to my soul.

This health challenge consisted of 21 days of healthy goals to incorporate into our ever-changing lives.  Every day, I received an email with that day’s healthy goal, some examples on how to incorporate the goal, and some inspiration behind its importance.

Some of the goals were food related, like trying new spices, swapping dessert with fruit, or drinking flavored tea.  Some were exercise related, like holding plank for 1-2 minutes, stretching, or walking more outdoors, especially with the cooler, fall weather.  Others were purely about healing your soul, like giving thanks, focusing on family-time, or meditating.  No matter what the goal, my body, my mind, and my spirit reaped the benefit.

My overall experience is summed up with these three main points.  By only making a few small changes, I rejuvenated my lifestyle and added more depth to my soul.

Try New Spices

This health challenge encouraged me to try new spices and add some new variations into our weekly meal planning.

One of the spices to try was turmeric.  I was quite surprised by this because, being a foodie, I had not cooked with turmeric before.  I didn’t even have the spice in my cabinet.

It was exciting though; a new recipe to test and try was awaiting.

After researching, I learned that turmeric has extremely powerful medicinal properties.  It’s known for its anti-inflammatory properties and is a very powerful antioxidant.  Turmeric is most often used in curries; however, the flavor pairs well with most vegetables and proteins as well.

That day, I sprinkled turmeric on my Pressure Cooker Cabbage along with some avocado oil, salt, and pepper.  It was so good that this recipe will be a regular in our meal planning from now on.

Pressure Cooker Cabbage
Pressure Cooker Cabbage

Introducing turmeric into my meal that day got me thinking about the typical spices I use on a daily basis.  Most of the time, since I love the natural taste of vegetables and meat, I season purely with salt and pepper.  If I feel the need to add spices, I tend to season with traditional Mexican spices, like chili powder, smoked paprika, cumin, and cayenne pepper.  But very rarely do I venture outside my spice “box” and incorporate new and different spices.

Most people season food without much variation in spice – maybe because that’s what we feel comfortable using, maybe it’s become a habit, or maybe we forgot how truly creative the cooking process can be.  Either way, this health challenge was a good reminder that there are tons of spices out there, just waiting to be tried.

Incorporate Family Exercise

One of the goals for this health challenge was to take a walk.

Easy, peasy.

I exercise every day during my lunch break, so taking a walk is no problem, but this challenge is more about incorporating something new, changing my habits, and finding other ways to be active.

We all know that exercise is important, but who you exercise with is also very important.  No, I’m not talking about your gym buddy or your personal trainer.  I’m talking about family, and especially your children.

As parents, we serve as our children’s role models.  They study our every move, they hear the words we say, their very core is shaped and molded by our every day actions.  Children can see and feel more clearly than we can; their spirit is open and free.  This is the opportune time to teach them, while they’re young and still open minded.  This is the time to teach them about healthy life choices, introduce them to healthy foods, and incorporate exercise into their daily lives.

With the cool, crisp, fall air beginning to make its way into Texas, I decided an evening walk with my son would be something new and exciting for both of us.  Wyatt immediately grabbed his toy monster truck and we both headed out to enjoy the last rays of sunshine.

On our walk, Wyatt stopped along the way and picked a few of the remaining summer flowers he found along the trail.  He loves picking flowers.  It reminded me of how something so simple is more beautiful and more thoughtful than anything you could buy.

Evening Walk with Wyatt
Evening Walk with Wyatt

It’s amazing what a little Vitamin D can do for your body and spirit at the end of a long day.  We soaked in the crisp, cool air and drank the beautiful fall smells.  It was absolutely revitalizing.

This health challenge led me to incorporate a new activity into my daily life.  I will continue these walks with Wyatt, not only to rejuvenate my soul after a long day, but also to teach him the importance of nature, being active, and appreciating the small things.

Nourish Your Soul

We’re all busy, I get that; I’m busy too.  However, a few goals in this health challenge made me realize that I was wasting precious time on silly, stupid things.  Simply, by turning off the television and disconnecting from social media, I found time again.  Extra time that had been hiding, quite successfully from me for quite some time.

Instead of blanking out, watching silly children shows, or scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, I used this time to pamper myself, to focus more on my family, and allowed myself to clear my mind, listen to my breathing, and feel my spirit grow with the love and abundance surrounding me.

Simply by turning off the television, our family interacts more with each other.  We play board games; we color; we get creative with Legos; we set up the train tracks and play trains; we play zoo with his animals, and the list goes on.  Every evening we play something different, but we play it together as a family, with the television off, and no one stuck to their phones.

lego-zoo
Playing Zoo with Wyatt

After a long day, it’s easy to sit back and zone out, but playing with Wyatt, listening to him laugh, watching him learn and grow, is like a breath of fresh air.  I could listen to my son’s laugh every single moment for the rest of my life.  It brings energy back into my body, brings joy and happiness into my evenings…it rejuvenates my soul.

What I learned most after completing this health challenge is not only the small things we can do to be healthier, but also the small things we can do to rejuvenate our souls, connect with our family, and revolutionize the world for our children with these positive examples.

Thank you very much, Allison, for this wonderful health challenge.  It provided an opportunity to become healthier, happier, and more of who we are.

If you were also involved in the Prep Dish Fall Into Health Challenge, please add to the conversation below.  What were some of the healthy goals you incorporated into your daily life?  How did this health challenge affect you and your typical routines?  Was there something totally new to you?  I would love to  hear from you.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Amanda McKay says:

    I discovered tumeric too, I recently learned that some brands contain heavy metal i think, i didn’t look into the brands but there’s a list on the net somewhere. 🙂

    1. Tanya says:

      Wow! I just searched quickly and found this article explaining the brands of turmeric, which were recently recalled due to excessive lead.
      http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2016/10/spices-usa-recalls-imported-ground-turmeric-for-excessive-lead/#.V_v3go8rJhE

      Thank you so much for the information!

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