April Newsletter
Eat Well. Avoid Toxins, Be Happy!
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I Got Punk'd

It's true, even the non-toxic diva that I am, I can get punk'd.   Here's what happened.   I went to Dallas for a business trip (more about that below).  The hotel was lovely, There was mood lighting in the lobby, friendly staff, fresh water with lemon available at all hours, and a running trail nearby.  I woke up early in the  morning and, as I stumbled half asleep to the shower, I looked at my toiletry kit.  As I was reaching for my almost empty non-toxic conditioner, I hesitated.  On the bathroom counter was the hotel-provided product.  The soft brown container, the pretty lettering, and the name of an actual person beckoned to me.  I caved.  I took the conditioner into the shower with me and poured it on my poor unsuspecting head.  Immediately, I was overwhelmed by the chemical scent. I rinsed it off and got on with my Wendy preparations.  By the time I was meeting colleagues in the lobby, I had a pounding headache and the scent embedded in my nose. I happily returned to my regular shower routine the next morning.  It gave me pause, though. I don't want to spend my life hyper vigilant and missing out on life's adventures and joys. However, I do need to remember not to be pulled in by the lure of packaging, not to use travel as an excuse to make bad choices, and that it's my life and my choice.  How about you?  Have you gotten punk'd?

African Peanut  Stew

One of the joys of my recent business travel was the opportunity to spend a day with my awesome friend Maggie.  She made a delicious stew and I want to share her recipe with you.

  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 2 Tbs coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1-2 tsp pressed garlic
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 3 cups cubed sweet potatoes or yams (one inch cubes)
  • 3 cups tomato juice (if you are feeling ambitious or have a lot of tomatoes, make your own)
  • 1 cup apple juice (organic, unsweetened)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp grated peeled ginger
  • a pinch or two of chopped fresh cilantro (people have a genetic preference for loving or hating cilantro - know your audience and omit if necessary)
  • 2 fresh chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter (natural, organic)
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped okra
  • 2 chicken breasts (cooked and sliced) - optional
  • Brown rice (cooked according to instructions)
  • For garnish
    • Grated coconut
    • Crushed peanuts
    • Sliced bananas
  • Put oil in pot and sauté onions until translucent
  • Stir in pepper and garlic
  • Add cabbages and sweet potatoes (steam for a bit)
  • Mix in juices, salt, ginger, cilantro and tomatoes
  • Let cook for fifteen minutes, until sweet potatoes are softening
  • Add peanut butter and okra (and chicken if using)
  • Simmer for about 45 minutes, until thick and tasty (add more peanut butter to thicken and more garlic, if needed)
  • Put coconut, peanuts and bananas in dishes for garnish

Serve over rice in the late afternoon with a salad, some fresh bread and old and new friends and it will just make you happy.

Be Happy Be Kind

(Be Kind Whenever Possible; It is always Possible - Dalai Lama)

On my recent trip to Dallas, beyond getting punk'd in the shower, I was delighted by the number of acts of kindness I experienced, whether it was on the running trail or as I was trying to cross an insanely busy street at the cross walk.  I've been thinking a lot about kindness lately, The political vitriol nationally, local events here in North Carolina, and other events have brought it to the forefront of my mind. While my Facebook feed is filled with memes of kindness, cute puppies, and old friends appearing to say hi, there is much in the world around us and in people's behaviors that is not kind. Perhaps the Facebook feed is a reflection of how desperately we are searching for kindness. I think being kind online is great, I am always happy to share posts about kindness and happiness, but I think actual, in person, human kindness trumps all.  Some of my thoughts on kindness:
  • Be Grateful
    It is easier to be kind when you are experiencing a positive outlook and it turns out that being grateful can create a positive outlook. Try this: for thirty days write down three things for which you are grateful, as you are writing actually experience the feeling of gratitude.  As you go about your day, see if you are feeling a little bit kinder to others.
  • Spend some time alone, in nature if possible
    Ironically, it might be that one of the best ways to be kind to others is to be sure to give yourself some time to be alone, perhaps it's about being kind to yourself so that you can be kind to others.
  • Give hugs freely
    I'm not necessarily recommending hugging strangers in the street (although that is an interesting social experiment), but hug the people close to you, sincerely, with intention and with affection.  They and you both will experience that as kindness.
  • Recognize that sometimes being kind is more important than being right (and accept that you are unlikely to change my world view and vice versa)
    It is interesting and informative to have debates about different points of view and different perspectives. It is not informative to be mean to each other or to express these views in cruelty.  Accept that people see the world differently and even learn information differently. Healing the anger, hate and mistrust that seems to be appearing on the political and social stage daily is a huge undertaking and can begin with simple acts of kindness among friends and strangers.
  • Say please and thank you
    Perhaps it should go without saying, but following the basic manners we learned growing up can go a long way towards being kind and having people be kind to you.  You don't have to agree with everything someone says or even like them very much, but there is actually no reason, not to be polite.  

I taught a class this week on healthy project management in which I recommended that project managers create healthy policies for their team. I was asked what policies around kindness would look like. What do you think?  What does kindness look like at home and in the workplace?   What would you add to my list above?

About me

As the president of Break Through Academy, I work with individuals and groups to help them achieve their life goals through making choices to eat well, avoid toxins and be happy.  As a strategic planning consultant, I work with organizations to improve performance through incorporating health and wellness into the fabric of their culture.
I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach, a strategic planning consultant, a distributor of Pure Haven Essential products, and a HeartMath coach.
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If you are receiving this newsletter for the first time. Welcome!  It is because I  met you at a workshop, we are contacts on LinkedIn, or you are a friend of my mother's.  Please continue to enjoy this newsletter at no charge, or you may unsubscribe below. Thanks! Wendy
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