Take a moment on this day to sit and think about what your dreams and goals are. It might be career goals, fitness goals, relationship goals – who knows. Whatever they are for you, ask yourself this: do they frighten you? When you think about what it will take to reach them, do you second-guess your ability to succeed? If the answer is no, then you my friend, need to dream a little bigger.
My past couple weeks have been filled with preparation for something I’ve wanted all of my life. Without going into detail, I can tell you it’s career-related. Yesterday I was tested in many ways to include mental and physical, and let me tell you that it wasn’t easy, but boy was it rewarding. Why am I telling you this here? Well, first of all, I don’t know if I would have been able to perform the way I did yesterday without the life changes I have made recently. Not only physically, but mentally and emotionally. I’m not saying that the Paleo Diet has done all this itself, but it has given me the ability to challenge myself in many ways, thus effecting many areas of my life. As my day of interviews and testing began yesterday for this possible career choice of mine, I was confident through all of the mental areas. But let me dissect into the physical a little more, because if you know me (especially if you have known me for a long time), you know that I am not a person who has often been confident in my physical abilities. You see, if you were to look back at me about 4 years ago, you would see a girl 45lbs heavier with multiple health issues, who couldn’t and didn’t do diddly squat when it came to exercising. Fast forward back to yesterday. As I completed the initial portions of testing and moved on to the physical, I changed out of my suit and into my running/workout gear. As I put on my running capris, tank, and fabulous pink running shirt, I looked in the mirror and saw something I hadn’t seen in a while, and I felt something I hadn’t felt in a while. My body felt amazing. I felt strong. I felt an absence of so much of the excess crap I have been having in my body for so long. I looked great. I was ready. Having that kind of confidence alone can carry you so far – remember that. As I went out and completed the physical testing, I did better in multiple arenas than I had ever done, even in recent times where I had been practicing. The most amazing part – I ran my fastest mile ever in 9:44. Even 3 days prior I did my best and only ran it in 10:35. What’s my point in all of this? Here it is…
When you feel like you don’t have 10 more seconds in you, or 5 more reps before your muscles completely fail – keep going. It’s in your mind. When you tell yourself that you only have those final 10 seconds left and you want to give it ALL without regret, it’s amazing what your body can do. But your mind has to know that it can do it. Now tie the two together – dream bigger, and imagine you can do more physically by pushing yourself with your mind. You can do it because you are amazing. Your body is amazing. It is a gift to you from God. You should take care of it, but also challenge it. We know that challenging our brains is good for us, why don’t we continuously do the same with our bodies? We should.
Ok, now let’s dive into something else. How many of you are coffee drinkers? How many of you drink multiple cups in a day? Did you know that drinking too much coffee can dehydrate your body and also cause you to crash and be sleepy later, especially if you are not getting enough water? Have you ever considered switching to, or at least substituting tea for some of your cups of joe? Let me give you a small list of the benefits of tea:
– Tea has much less caffeine than coffee – between 25-50% as much.
– Tea contains tannins and catechins which have been associated with cancer and heart disease prevention
– Tea has been shown to act as a stress-reliever.
– Tea contains the polyphenol quercetin, which may interrupt the oxidation of LDL or “bad cholesterol”. It may also lower blood pressure and blood sugar, suppress aging, prevent food poisoning and skin disease and act as an anti-viral. Quercetin can also act as a natural COX-2 inhibitor, providing pain-relief similar to pharmeceutical versions like Vioxx and Celebrex.
– Tea decreases triglycerides and free fatty acids in your bloodstream, while coffee contains cafestol, a fat-like chemical that actually can increase your cholesterol levels.
– Tea contains EGCG and theaflavins which can suppress the enzymes required for cancer-cell growth, thereby slowing the progression of some cancers. (Some research suggests that the antioxidants in tea may neutralize this effect, however).
– Tea is a digestive aid, it flushes the digestive system.
– Unlike coffee, tea has almost no carbohydrates, fats or proteins.
– Tea contains L-theanine, which has been shown to boost mental alertness and help the body’s immune system.
– Oxalates found in tea can bind with free iron in the bloodstream, which can help the body fight HIV.
– Polyphenols in green tea can reduce intestinal inflammation related to IBD.
– Tea can help prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s
– Tea may also be a significant factor in strengthening bones against oseoporosis
– Tea lowers your blood pressure
– Tea can help prevent kidney stones
Interested in at least trying tea now? Tea is also in many ways more economical than coffee! Depending on what type of tea you are drinking, many can be steeped multiple times, getting more than 1 cup per serving of tea. We all know you can’t do that with coffee. You can still get caffeine in many teas too, it’s just not the level that is in coffee. I’ve just recently taken the dive into teas – I mean all I had really been into before was the kind that was iced and loaded with tons of sugar. I mean, I am a southern girl. No more of that though. I have found many different kinds of tea that I love and enjoy – Twinings French Vanilla Chai Tea, Celestial Seasonings Gingerbread Spice Tea, and Yogi Caramel Apple Spice . These are all teas that are available in local grocery stores. I also stumbled upon a few loose leaf teas while on a trip to Savannah recently – a Caramel Almond fruit tea, a Coconut Oolong Tea, and an Earl Grey Creme Tea. These are all fabulous – and the loose leaf is the type that you can steep multiple times, getting multiple cups out of each serving of tea! Here’s the websites for the two shops I found in Savannah where I got these:
The Salt Table
Savannah Spice & Tea Exchange
You can also find other great things in both of these stores. Both also allow you to order online. The latter store told me they ship anywhere in the state of GA for free.
When you are trying teas, try them hot and cold to see which you prefer. Something I even found that I like is taking a regular ole Lipton tea bag and steeping it, adding just a touch of honey or sweetener, and a mint sprig. Enjoy it hot, especially this time of year.
That’s it for today, folks. If you try any teas that you especially love, please let me know! I’d love to try them as well!