Saturday, May 18, 2019

How To Wake Up Earlier

There is a lot of buzz about the benefits of waking up early and becoming a morning person, but it's not for everyone. In this video, I share a few key tips on how to wake up earlier -- if that's something you want to do! This video provides an overall framework if you want to make this change. I don't discuss specific tactics like putting your alarm clock in a different room, drinking lots of water before going to bed, etc. because these tactics vary from person to person. If you follow the recommendations in this video, you'll gradually find the specific tactics that work for you through experimentation.



1. Know your why. Have a good understanding of why you want to wake up early and how you personally feel when you wake up early. This is your "north star" for waking up early and will keep you motivated.

2. Don't sacrifice sleep. The key to waking up early is going to bed early enough so that you get your ideal number of sleep hours. Figure out how many hours of sleep you need and work backward from your ideal wake time to determine your appropriate bedtime. Sleep is non-negotiable as there is all kinds of research about the dangers of not getting enough sleep or accumulating too much sleep debt.

3. Create a morning routine that you love. This will provide you with the daily incentive to get up as soon as your alarm goes off. I hated waking up when I was working full-time -- until I gradually carved out time to do some of the things I wanted to do before I had to leave for work. I started waking up earlier and earlier because I looked forward to this time for myself.

4. Be kind to yourself. If you truly want to wake up earlier and become a morning person, don't give up! Be gentle with yourself and keep experimenting until you find what works for you. Don't get down on yourself if you try specific tactics that don't work -- everyone is different and you have to find the combination of tactics that "click" for you. Also keep in mind that people change over time, so what worked for you in the past may not work now. It's ok to take baby steps and get there gradually.

Please let me know if you identify more as a morning person or as a night owl, how many hours of sleep you need, and what time you typically wake up and go to bed!

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Oil Pulling How-To and Benefits



Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that is supposed to draw out the toxins in your mouth and digestive system, prevent tooth decay and cavities, whiten your teeth, freshen your breath, and improve gum health. I haven't noticed whiter teeth, but I have noticed that it seems to draw out quite a bit of phlegm. My mouth feels really clean after I oil pull, so I typically just rinse my mouth with some warm water after I spit out the oil. I've been oil pulling for 20 minutes every morning for the past month or two, and I plan to continue going forward.

It's really important to spit out the coconut oil in your garbage or in your organics bin -- NEVER in your sink or toilet as the oil will clog your drains.

If you're just starting out, you can gradually build up to the 20 minutes or 1 tablespoon of oil. For me personally, I find that 1.5 teaspoons is the perfect amount. If you've tried oil pulling, please let me know!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

30 Days of Self-Improvement • April Challenge • Update 3

We're over halfway through the month of April. Where does the time go? This month, my 30 days of self-improvement involves waking up at 5am and eating no processed junk food for the entire month (I'm playfully dubbing this challenge 5AM+NPJF for "simplicity"). By doing this challenge, I'm hoping to see positive results in my energy levels, motivation, and productivity.

Waking up early
I've been waking up -- and getting out of bed -- pretty much right at 5am for the past 5 or 6 days, and it's felt great. At first, I feel a bit sluggish and sleepy, but as soon as I brush my teeth, I feel alert. The key is not snoozing! The hiccup this week though is that I've been sleeping late. Playoff hockey + Game of Thrones = mandatory late nights. I've been going to bed at around 11pm, which sounds early, but when not for someone who wakes up at 5am and needs 7.5 hours of sleep. To make up for my later-than-normal bedtime, I've been taking 1-2 hour naps almost daily. These naps are two-fold: so I can catch up on sleep (I don't want to accrue sleep debt) and so I can stay up late to watch more playoff hockey. I know, this is a vicious cycle, but one that I've been in before. I'm confident that I'll be able to break free.

Stopping the purchase and consumption of processed junk food
This part of the challenge is rolling along nicely. I did have some minor junk food cravings a couple of times, but nothing severe. The only issue is that hubby and I have been eating SO MUCH cheese, crackers, and bread. I gained a little weight this winter when I was overindulging on chocolate, so I've been meaning to trim up a bit. But that's next to impossible with the amount of bread and cheese (and dried fruit) I eat. I'm going to try to scale back a bit. In terms of my skin, I ended up breaking out pretty badly during my "time of the month," -- the pimples seemed more surface level, but I picked at them, so they got much worse than they would have if I had just left them alone. Henceforth, I resolve not to pick at my skin anymore!



Note: for the purposes of this challenge, processed junk food will include potato chips, bagged popcorn, chocolate bars, candy, rice cakes, tortilla chips, cookies, etc. — basically anything that comes in a box or bag that you would keep in your pantry and consume as a snack. I’m still going to be eating bread, cheese, plain yogurt, crackers (e.g., with my goat cheese appetizer), etc.; however, please feel free to set your own rules!

Daily updates will be posted via Instagram stories @Authenblissity. I’ll also be posting periodic updates and standalone videos (on topics related to waking up and healthy eating) on YouTube.

Not sponsored. Amazon affiliate links included above.

Monday, April 15, 2019

My 5am Morning Routine • Healthy Morning Habits

Now that I’ve been waking up at 5am somewhat consistently for the past two weeks, I wanted to share a quick video on my morning routine from 5am to around 7:30am. Over the years, I've picked up some healthy habits, I've started waking up earlier, and I've developed an appreciation for quiet mornings. This wasn't always the case, but now I can safely say that I love mornings!



A few notes:

- Do you make the bed? Yes! We make our bed every day. Hubby is a bit of a night owl though, so he often wakes up well after I do. I didn’t show footage of me (or him) making the bed because he was still sleeping on this particular morning. :)

- When do you eat? I intermittent fast so I eat my first meal sometime between 11am and 1pm.

- Do you pay attention to Truffle? YES! Truffle gets tons of attention in the morning. He’s usually resting under the table though, so he’s difficult to capture on video before the sun comes up.

- What do you do during “personal growth”? On this particular day, I did some writing for a personal project. I also like to journal during this time.

- What hair products are you using in this video? I’m trying to use up a bunch of random products that I’ve had for a long time. In this video, I used the Chi Silk Infusion before blow drying, and Frizz Ease to tame flyaways after blow drying.

- What does the rest of your morning look like? It’s always different so that’s the main reason I only showed the first 2-3 hours of my day. Usually, I’m on the computer — either doing some project work or working on a video/blog post. I also do a few chores or cook. At some point, I eat. Sometimes I go to the grocery store or to a yoga class. I've really been enjoying the flexibility of being home. :D

That's it for today's video! Are you a morning person? What is your morning routine like? I would love to hear a bit about it. :) Thank you for watching!

Friday, April 12, 2019

30 Days of Self-Improvement • April Challenge • Update 2

We're already well into April, so I thought this would be a good time to provide another update on my 30 days of self improvement. In the month of April, my challenge will involve waking up at 5am and eating no processed junk food for the entire month (I'm playfully dubbing this challenge 5AM+NPJF for "simplicity"). By doing this challenge, I'm hoping to see positive results in my energy levels, motivation, and productivity.

Waking up early
I've been doing reasonably well with waking up at 5am. I felt like I cheated a bit in the first few days -- I would wake up and turn off my alarm, but I would then stay in bed and "meditate." Truth be told, my "meditation" essentially functioned as a snooze. With that realization, I started trying to get out of bed once my alarm went off, and I was successful twice in the first week. On most other days, I would roll out of bed between 5am and 5:30am. There were only two days when I missed the 5am hour completely -- on Saturday morning, I got up at around 6am, and on Sunday morning, I didn't bother trying to wake up within a reasonable hour at all as we went to bed at around 3am the night before. I value and prioritize my sleep, so I try to get around 7 or 7.5 hours per night.

Stopping the purchase and consumption of processed junk food
I'm still doing very well in terms of processed junk food. For the purposes of this challenge, processed junk food includes potato chips, bagged popcorn, chocolate bars, candy, rice cakes, tortilla chips, cookies, etc.—basically anything that comes in a box or bag that you would keep in your pantry and consume as a snack. I’m still going to be eating bread, cheese, yogurt, crackers (e.g., with my goat cheese appetizer), etc. If you are planning to take on this challenge, please feel free to set your own rules! I initially thought this shift in my diet was contributing to higher energy levels and better skin. I do still believe this, but my time of the month came this week, and with it came lots of fun symptoms. Yesterday was the worst day for me since starting this challenge -- I felt physically exhausted and emotionally drained... and I got some bad breakouts to boot. Part of me even started craving chocolate bars and potato chips -- the first time I've felt this way throughout the challenge. Thankfully, I'm feeling much better today!



Daily updates will be posted via Instagram stories @Authenblissity. I’ll also be posting periodic updates and standalone videos (on topics related to waking up and healthy eating) on YouTube.

Not sponsored. Amazon affiliate links included above.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Overnight Oats • EASY Base Recipe and Topping Ideas



In this video, I show a super quick and easy base recipe for overnight oats. I've tried a bunch of recipes in the past, some with a pinch of salt, but I didn't notice a difference in flavour. When I was working full-time and very short on time, I stripped the recipe down to the bare minimum--and I've stuck with it.

I prepare the base recipe the night before. In the morning, I heat up the overnight oats in the microwave (you can have it cold if you prefer) and add a variety of toppings. In this video, I share a whole bunch of topping ideas, but I basically go with whichever combination I'm in the mood for. It takes very little time.

You can use any type of oats or combination of oats in the base recipe. I've tried various combinations but my favourite is 3/4 cup of rolled oats with 1/4 cup of steel cut oats. Quick oats can also be used--this will give you a more creamy/soft texture. I don't measure the liquid but it's around 1.5 cups of liquid to 1 cup of oats. I started off using nut milks in my overnight oats, but I'm now using a combination of nut milk and water. This recipe serves 2, but if you're not sharing with anyone, you can eat the first portion the next morning and the second portion the following morning. The base recipe is so simple that it can easily keep in the fridge for 2-3 days. The oats will get a bit softer, but they will still be good to eat.

I love recipes that are flexible and customizable--please feel free to make it your own!

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Four Ingredient Energy Balls with Peanut Butter and Dates


Instead of snacking on Cheetos and Chicago Mix, I've been whipping up quick, easy, delicious, and filling alternatives. Bagged snacks can often leave your throat feeling raw and your body feeling sluggish, but these four ingredient energy balls make you feel so good. And I'd venture to say they taste better too.

Simply combine 1/2 cup rolled oats (you can also use quick oats), 1/4 cup hemp hearts (you can also use flax seeds or chia seeds), 1/3 cup peanut butter (crunchy or smooth are both A-OK, but I recommend using one ingredient peanut butter made only from peanuts), and 1/4 cup chopped dates (I hand chop these). Mix the ingredients together (you can chill the mixture for around 15 minutes for easier handling) and form approximately 12 bite-sized spheres.

The energy balls can be stored in the fridge (consume within a week or so) or freezer (thaw overnight in fridge before eating). Each energy ball is approximately 85 calories (if you use rolled oats, hemp hearts, peanut butter, and dates). Calories will vary if you decide to make any substitutions, but substitutions are fun and definitely recommended. Enjoy!

Note: I decided to roll mine in a light dusting of raw cacao powder, which provides an interesting bitterness. This would count as the 5th ingredient but is entirely optional.

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