November Newsletter
Eat Well. Avoid Toxins, Be Happy!
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Eat Well and Avoid Toxins

My favorite thing to tell people is eat fresh fruits and vegetables and drink water.  But, the truth is that for many of us it's not that straightforward.  The reality is that we do buy processed foods and we are sometimes confronted with choices that are suboptimal from a health perspective.

I often get asked questions about comparing one product to another -- are these crackers better than those pretzels?  Or, what should I do when I'm at a party and these are my only two options?   I tell people to become informed consumers and read the labels and, often, I suggest that they take a picture of the label and send it to me.  Then I squint at my iPhone and try to assess the food.  You can imagine, therefore, how excited I am that the Environmental Working Group has just made all of this so much easier.  

Their new food scores database allows you to enter a food and it provides you with a score of 1-10 based on how harmful they assess it to be.  As with the Skindeep database (which I also love), you can dig deeper and determine which items cause  concern.  And, yes, there's an app for that.  You can download the app and then actually scan the bar code of the food you are considering purchasing.  I still think that we have to be our own advocates, look at labels, and not be drawn in by marketing, but this is a hugely helpful step forward.  I'm very excited to start using it!

One of the things that I find absolutely fascinating is the number of brands that, for the same type of product, have vastly different ratings.   So, if you have a favorite brand, explore a little and see if you can find a healthier version. 
Interested in what I do or learning more about me?
Be Happy.. Be Kind in the Workplace

When I was a teenager (a long time ago), I had a temp job that made a big impression on me. Every morning I would come in and sit at the typewriter (yes, actual typewriter) and do whatever tasks had been assigned to me. Grim looking people hustled around doing serious appearing tasks. Then, one morning, I came in and a group of people were laughing and telling jokes in the hallway for two or three minutes before beginning their day’s work. It turned out that the boss was coming in late that morning. My supervisor told me that those few minutes of laughter made the day go better with smoother interactions and increased productivity, but the boss had neither patience nor tolerance for those brief, positive interactions. I have since worked in a number of environments with bosses who were unkind, who saw yelling as an acceptable management style, or who saw my kindness as a weakness.  It makes no sense to me. I have always believed that being kind in the workplace is an asset, not a liability.
How validating to learn from Dr. David Hamilton that being kind is actually good for you and for those around you. Being kind can improve confidence, control, happiness, and optimism. It leads to positive physiological changes in the brain, decreases isolation and increases connectedness. It is good for our actual, physical hearts. Maybe when we say “you did my heart good”, we mean it more literally than we realize. It actually does not matter if people reciprocate kindnesses, it is the act itself that is beneficial (not to mention all of the Karmic benefits). On top of the benefits for ourselves when we are kind, Dr. Hamilton’s research also shows that when people observe others being kind, they are more likely to be kind.  
With all of the benefits of kindness, I started to think about easy acts of kindness in the workplace. Here’s my list:
  • Refill paper in the printer, start a fresh pot of coffee, or pick up something that’s fallen over. It will likely take less time to do it then it would take to ask someone else to do it. In my first job out of college, I acquired the skill of removing jammed paper from a copy machine. It has served me well over the years.   
  • Smile and say hello to people in the hallway or people in the elevator, even strangers. When I was in college we had a deep and serious exploration of issues on campus after a suicide shocked our small, liberal arts community. One of the takeaways was how impactful it could be for people to simply take the time to say hello to each other. A few years later, I applied this in a work environment where all of the first year employees took it as a personal challenge to make eye contact with and greet the more seasoned staff. A huge win was when the senior staff responded in kind.
  • Say “yes if” rather than “no because.” While there is a lot of pressure, especially on women, to learn how to say no, I think that it is sometimes more powerful to say “yes if.” Perhaps, “yes, I can stay late and help you finish this report if you can proofread this letter for me that has to go out today.” Or, “yes, I can meet with you if you can make it a walking meeting so I can get outside today and enjoy the beautiful fall weather.” Or, “yes, I can meet with you, but I want to give you my full attention, so can we do it later this afternoon?”  
  • Say please and thank you. If something is praiseworthy, let others know.  I have a friend who describes herself as a “please and thank you kind of girl” and so, even on Twitter, she always says thank you – “thanks for the retweet,” “thanks for the mention,” “thanks for the great article.” And, the truth is, that causes me to retweet her more.
  • Be a kindness leader. People model their behaviors on what they see in the workplace. Through modeling kindness, you create kindness and in doing so, create a healthier, more vibrant and more productive work environment.
Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.” Maybe this applies to kindness in the workplace. Maybe if we are kinder in the workplace, we will be kinder out of the workplace. And, just maybe, this will increase the level of kindness in the world.
About me

I work with organizations seeking to incorporate health and wellness into their corporate culture, individuals seeking to achieve their goals through health and wellness choices, and communities seeking to make the healthy choice the easy choice. 

I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach, a strategic planning consultant, a distributor of Ava Anderson Non Toxic Products, and a HeartMath coach.
Copyright © 2014 Break Through Consulting, All rights reserved.

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