What if You Had One Week to Live? I did.

I don’t like the phrases “live like there’s no tomorrow”, “live like you’re dying,” or “what if you had one week to live?”

This is a very matter of fact depiction that I wrote while I couldn’t sleep. It’s purely to request you to think deeper about the previously mentioned phrases, and not a current mental or physical state. Rather, a perspective from an insider. Be warned, It’s long, riddled with errors, and the context also changes frequently, my grammar fanatics.

This is coming from someone who (several years ago now) truly believed that their life was coming to a near end due to health related issues.

None of my doctors were optimistic about my chances for survival, and I believed them.

The problem with believing that’s there’s no tomorrow is that we fail to take into account that there are consequences for our actions. We perpetually minimize things that have a major impact on us long-term, and don’t take into account the repercussions that will arise from rash indiscretions.

Sure, I understand what the concepts are trying to portray. “Seize the Day.” I understand that the message is supposed to be, “Tell people you love them, take chances, follow your dreams, spend time with your kids, etc.” However, when you believe you’re dying or that there’s no tomorrow (or at best very few of them), those are not the actions that I found myself making.

What I found during that time was that most people I interacted with had little concept of what it actually felt like to live this way. I lived in the parallel universe that no one seemingly made sense to me, and I beyond baffled everyone I came in contact with. Consequences didn’t matter to me anymore, because I wouldn’t have to live through them.

So, in that aspect I’ll give you a brief summary of what it was like for me to live as a person who was dying and the thought of no tomorrow.

Romance

I didn’t date seriously. A lot, but not seriously. I wouldn’t let anyone get close to me. I avoided new legitimate relationships. After all, how do you answer the question: “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” How could you seriously allow someone to become emotionally attached to you knowing there’s nothing in store for them but heart ache?

Friendships

I like to think that I was just unlucky with picking my friends, and that most humans don’t interact this way. However, if you are ill long-term you will more than likely lose most of your friends. (At least in my experience). You slowly start declining more and more invitations for social activities. You cease to invite people over/out. You fade away. You need more and give less. And to be completely honest you’re boring and depressing, which most people don’t tend to seek out. You get questions like: “How’s it going?” You either lie – “great!” Or you tell the truth “well, I can’t get in and out of the tub anymore. It’s too hard for my to stand long enough to shower, so I’m using a lot more baby wipes” or “I’ve lost 12 pounds this week, because I can’t keep food down.” You begin let go of people that you care about.

Work

If you’re even still healthy enough to work. I was unfortunately not in a financial situation to be able to take off work. I was a single adult who still had too many bills to pay (plus new ones with all of the medical expenses). I no longer tried to improve my quality of workmanship. I couldn’t afford to put any further energy in increasing my skill set. It took all I had just to get out of bed each day. Impressing people no longer mattered. I had to be driven to work, because I became too weak to drive myself. My quality of work rapidly declined. What was the point?

Health and Wellness

Many of the health trends are due to us wanting to live long and healthy lives. If you know you’re dying, then why not? I was sleeping on average 18-20 hours per day. You’re too sick to want to expend the energy on exercising (in fact walking across the room, is enough to make you need to take a nap). I couldn’t stand long enough to cook anything, which I had loved cooking and baking. My diet became a menagerie of fast food, delivery, high sugar and caffeine (for energy), alcohol for the pain. **Alcohol was a major contraindication for my medicines, but what was it going to do? Kill me?. I had also tried approx 10 different pain medications for my severe pain, most of which caused horrible reactions. (Rashes, edema, panic attacks, etc) Tylenol even put me in the ER** (If you know me now, my diet is very strict and I still get teased for not consuming alcohol.)

Finances

So, what happens when your lease is up when you know you won’t live another year? If you don’t renew what about your stuff? Should you put it in a storage unit? Money was way too thin to justify it anyway. I gave away almost all my furniture, clothing, and home goods. I was too sick to move it, and what did I need it for anyway?

I didn’t file my taxes. Come rob my grave, IRS. I stopped paying a lot of my bills. Were my student loan companies going to come repo my diploma? I was already choosing between medicine and food. One prescription was $1000/mo. Obviously any kind of saving was out of the question.

Healthcare

I didn’t go to the dentist, the eye doctor, my OBGYN, regular doctor for check-ups, etc. why? Anything seriously wrong with any of those departments would take years to manifest, and I had months at best.

What I can say positively is that I suffered from depression prior to these events, and I can also say that it honestly cured it. I have previously tried to recount these concepts for people who claim I was just depressed and had given up. Quite the opposite. It cured my depression and I fought every day to see the next one. I just had to pick my battles, and I found I could fight fewer and fewer as my health declined.

Why anyone would want to live like they were dying is beyond me. It only proves that the ones who state these ideas have no concept of what it’s really like. My overall trend was “what’s the point?” Especially while I was already spread so thin on just trying to survive one more minute.

Advice

What I believe is that we should live as if we have our whole lives ahead of us. We should act and build now. So that we can have as long as possible to reap what we’ve sown. Build something beautiful that you can love and share with others. Save money. Travel. Splurge on loved ones. Put your toes in the sand (even if you don’t like the beach – get an umbrella). Go camping (even if you don’t like bugs – get a cabin). Go to a foreign speaking country, and feel what it’s like to be an outsider. Do things that scare you (parasailing… Absolutely terrified me!) Try things you don’t think you’re capable of. Don’t stay where you’re not appreciated. Give up when you can’t make a difference, so that you can find where you do. Avoid debt as much as possible. Support people’s passions. Help those during their trying times. Most of all never live like you’re dying, because there’s always a point.

Effervescent Embers: How to Make Kombucha

make.kombucha

I decided to add a new category to Miseducated based on the wonderfully fulfilling and helpful work one of my best friends and I do together on an almost daily basis. Not only do we get together on weekdays to work (we both have jobs that rely on laptops, coffee and a strong WIFI connection) and encourage each other but we also do extra life-enhancing things like discussing hardships to find the positive hidden within, practicing yoga (she is an excellently encouraging yoga instructor so stay tuned for information about her business as the website is in the works) and connecting with our animals while incense swirls in the air and the music hums.

Lately we’ve began cooking together as we shared a home for a time and especially because Emma makes kombucha. I wasn’t even scared to try the drink because I was staying with her for a week and I figured I’d give it a shot. In one of my worst times I honestly felt good health-wise, which is not usually the case for me. I had been having a stomach ache and had been unable to eat much until I began drinking the drink and my stomach worries went away. I had issues with digestion and other women’s woes as well that seemed to clear up shockingly quick after enjoying kombucha daily. It wasn’t until later when I saw what went into this delicious vinegar soda I began to get skeptical. Extensive amounts of reading others experiences and recipes showed me that this is an ancient health elixir that has been made nearly everywhere and is only fairly new to our culture. So yes, I began to craft my own and we will teach you to do the same. All it takes is a SCOBY, tea (start with black or green) and sugar. Real sugar, not the chemical kind.

As always this is my experience, you are free to have your own and either dispose the taste or the entire idea behind the drink and that’s totally fine! I do not claim any magical healing benefits nor do I expect everyone to enjoy the taste. However I think trying new things is many times a good idea unless you have strong truth-based reservations about them.

So kombucha tastes nothing like tea or juice or regular soda or sugar. I figured I’d first throw that out there. To describe it at all, depending on what you add to it, it tastes like a carbonated vinegar. The carbonation and flavor depend on the amount of fermentation it does and what sort of juice you add after you bottle it. We have chosen to add mango lemonade but next time I believe I’ll try something new. I’ve heard of people adding ginger and that entices me.

Why kombucha though? Other than my own experience? Kombucha contains probiotics and multiple species of yeast and bacteria along with the organic acids, active enzymes, amino acids, and polyphenols produced by these microbes. The precise quantities vary between samples, but may contain: Acetic acid, Ethanol, Gluconic acid, Glucuronic acid, Glycerol, Lactic acid, Usnic acid and B-vitamins. It was also found that Kombucha contains about 1.51 mg/mL of vitamin C. The acidity of kombucha resists contamination by most airborne molds or bacterial spores. It was shown that Kombucha inhibits growth of harmful microorganisms such as E. coli, Sal. enteritidis, Sal. typhimurium, and Sh. Sonnei. As a result, kombucha is relatively easy to maintain as a culture outside of sterile conditions. – Wikipedia on Kombucha

EMBER’S KOMBUCHA

by

Ingredients

  • 3.5 quarts water
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 12 bags green or black tea / 6 tbsp loose green or black tea
  • 2 cups starter tea from last batch of kombucha
  • 1 healthy SCOBY per fermentation jar
  • Optional: when time for bottling add 1 cup fruit juice to bottle

Equipment

  • saucepan
  • 1 gallon glass jar
  • jars or bottles: 8 16-oz mason jars or soda bottles (with lids)
  • funnel
  • strainer

emma and our kombucha

Instructions

1. Make a batch of sweet tea: Fill saucepan with approx 1-2 quarts of water and add the bags when boiling. Add sugar and allow tea to steep until water has cooled. Add ice if impatient.

2. Add tea to 1-gallon jar. If still warm add cold water and leave only around 15% of jar unfilled.

3. Gently add your SCOBY and 2 cups of previous batch (without juice) being careful not to use metal to touch the SCOBY — we used bamboo tongs. Cover the mouth of the jar with a coffee filter and secure with a rubber band or tape if necessary (my jar was an oblong shape).

4. Ferment for 7 to 10 Days: Keep the jar in a cabinet by it’s lonesome. Store at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and safe from being shaken or moved. Ferment for 7 to 10 days, checking it periodically to make sure the SCOBY is fermenting the tea and not succumbing to mold or ailments. (I like to check it and take a sniff to make sure it smells like vinegar and not anything rotten.)

You will notice the SCOBY may position itself anywhere around the bottle but usually a new SCOBY baby will form towards the top of the jar (in the liquid). You will also see brown strings settling on the bottom and around the SCOBY. These are signs of good fermentation. Feel free after 7 days to taste the kombucha with a teaspoon. If the tartness and sweetness are to your taste feel free to bottle, if not let it ferment up to 14 days (you can do a second ferment for 3 days in the bottles flavors added if you so decide).

5. Remove the SCOBY and prepare another saucepan with the tea recipe listed above. Without using metal transfer the SCOBY to a clean plate and remove extra layers if it has gotten too thick.

6. Now that you have your jar filled with only the kombucha, get out the stranger and funnel so you can pour it into the bottles/jars you prepared. Feel free to add fruit, fruit juices, flavors such as ginger, etc. We’ll add a feature on more kombucha uses and flavors in the future!

7. After the kombucha is bottle, store it at room-temperature out of direct sunlight and allow 1 to 3 days for the kombucha to carbonate and ferment further with the flavor you have added. Keep in mind that if you’re not familiar with the ingredients and time needed for carbonation the bottles could explore or pop open so keep checking and burping them everyday. After ready place them in the refrigerator to stop the fermentation and store for up to a month.

8. Use your tea, water and SCOBY to make another batch of kombucha as outlined above ready to continue the cycle.

* Too many extra SCOBYs? Put them in a jar filled with kombucha and feed them a cup of sugar every 2 weeks while waiting in the fridge. You can also donate them to a friend and teach them how to make kombucha OR you can start making multiple batches at once and experiment with flavors.

20 percent juice

Also view this recipe and how it relates to a yoga lifestyle at Emma’s ashtanga, fire and growth blog The Buddhi Blog and check out if your scoby has gone bad and other similar questions at Holistic Squid.

Cats Are Good for your Health

kitties

For those who don’t know, my life mascot and furry soul mate, Hobbes, passed away in early June. He was 17. It was completely heart shattering. I felt closer to him than anyone, having him near me for 17 years, a constant in my life and losing him was very tough.

I allowed myself time to mourn and fall apart for several days and then began to pick myself up the following. In the midst of this was my daughter’s birthday and other activities so to be a good mother I took maybe one to two days to completely grieve (alone) and nothing else.. the next few days I maintained a positive outlook for our children before they arrived back home.

The days following that we began to speak about whether we would want another pet and if it would be a dog or a cat.. David was eventually open that he would want another cat because his bond with Hobbes turned him into a full blown cat person. We waited until we could have a family meeting about the passing of Hobbes and if we would want another pet. We looked online the next whole night for babies to adopt and found a little Manx which looked like a relative of Hobbes. We adopted the next weekend and David named him Calvin in honor of his big brother. It took him maybe one eve before he was completely obsessed with David and I. He is crazy, kittenish and hyper half the time while snuggly, cuddly and a nap lover the other half. He is officially our new baby boy.

So what is it about cats that steal our hearts and soothe our souls? We all know petting our cats helps us relax and feel comforted like no one else, unconditional love and admiration for every pat, but did you know they can also detect your feelings and even medical emergencies such as seizures? That they lower blood pressure and instill a feeling of safety and security?

I’ve read about quite a few cats detecting seizures on the web these days and I know my own cat always knew when I was upset or sad as he would meow to me and lay on me for hours if needed. I read up about this and scientists don’t really understand much about it other than the cats are able to detect biochemical scents. Many cats even alert family if an owner is beginning to have a seizure. Did you know cat purrs encourage the mending of broken bones? Cats have also been known to wake and alert families of house fires while they sleep. Yes, cats can save lives AND improve your health and happiness. In fact, read 8 Benefits of Being a Cat Owner by Mental Floss.

Cat-Purr-Therapeutic-Infographic

Healthy Life Stylist: Caffeine Addiction

caffeineaddiction

Question

I drink tea and coffee all day, even at night. Are tea and coffee really healthy or unhealthy? What is the truth about how caffeine can help or hinder me from having a healthy life?Jamie, TN

Answer

Jamie,
This is an excellent question & certainly something that many people seem to struggle with these days. As a culture we’re overworked, under-rested and, as a result, highly caffeinated. Plus, because caffeine is an addictive substance that often causes withdrawal when you try to quit, it can be quite hard to shake the feeling of tired to wired and back again.

There are two sides to the argument about caffeine, on the one hand, moderate amounts of caffeine have been found to improve concentration, increase memory function, reduce muscle soreness and even possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease. On the other hand, it also interferes with your absorption of vitamins & minerals, stimulates stress hormones, spikes your blood sugar and dehydrates your cells, causing premature aging.

From the sound of things, your personal caffeine consumption is certainly above average. Over time, consuming at your current rate could fatigue your adrenal glands, putting your body in a perpetual state of stress and exhaustion. Cutting back on your caffeine, especially from coffee, can bring things back into balance, help you sleep better, and allow your body to absorb important nutrients it could be missing out on.

If you were one of my clients, I would encourage you to choose tea over coffee for awhile. Yes, you’ll still be consuming caffeine, but the caffeine in tea is more bio-available to your body than the caffeine in coffee. Plus, since tea is super high in antioxidants, the healthy benefits far out way any damage done by the caffeine that accompanies it.

The other great thing about the caffeine in tea is that it varies from type to type. This is helpful when trying to reduce your stimulant consumption slowly to avoid withdrawal. You can start off by trading your cup of joe for a nice black tea, the most caffeinated variety of teas. Then switch to oolong, green & white teas, the next step down. Until finally you can switch things up entirely with some tasty herbal teas. With the exception of yerba mate, herbal teas contain no caffeine at all, but they do help to replace the ritual of waking up to a warm beverage. If you find that you miss the earthy taste of coffee after cutting back, you may want to check out Teeccino, an herbal tea brand that’s roasted to mimic that java taste without the harmful caffeine.

Happy Drinking,
Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

Ask A Healthy Life Stylist

Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

For more information about Health, Happiness, & Hoola Hoops please visit Michelle‘s website!

Positive Energy Project: How to Sage Your Home

“Every life transition has its “zero hour,” that moment when everything that came before it is different from everything that comes after.” ~ Holly Rossi

Sage Cleansing Ritual

1. Make or purchase a dried sage smudge stick (many dried sprigs of sage tied together into a small bundle) and also obtain an abalone shell to hold it over while it burns so you do not drop ash or embers as you go around your home.

2. Open every door and window in your home, including the closets, drawers, cabinets and pantries.

3. Light the stick and softly blow out the flame to allow the embers to smoke (like incense).

4. Walk around the room waving the smoking sage stick into every corner, along walls, around windows, in cabinets and closets and along ceiling lines. You may need to relight several times to keep it smoking. As you do, imagine the smoke absorbing all negativity, toxicity, left-over energies from others who occupied your home once before and anything else you want to dispel. Watch the smoke dissipate and float out the windows while imagining the negative energies flowing out of your space to make room for positive energy. Say a prayer of cleansing as you do this.

“I cleanse this space of all impurities, negative energies, bad vibrations and anything else that does not suit or support the people that live here now. Infuse this home with the love of my higher power and of the universe.”

5. After you’ve blessed every room, give yourself a sage shower by cupping your hands over the smoke and brushing it over your face and body. Visualize any residual negativity floating out of your body, out of your home and into oblivion.

6. Extinguish the stick in water and store it for the next use or – if your stick is almost gone – bury it in your yard for added protection from negative energy.

How to Create Your Own Signature Smoothie


Smoothies have been all the rage for many years now and healthy smoothies are only becoming more appreciated in this drink/dessert niche. Upon staying with my best friend in California and having her craft the tastiest protein smoothies for lunch and then moving in with my health-conscious soul mate and watching him prepare his own green smoothies I started to really appreciate the craft and every unique technique. Fruit or vegetables? Protein powder or vitamin powder? Honey or sugar? Ice cubes or frozen fruit? Milk, water or tea? So I decided it would be fun to discuss the basic craft of the smoothie and all of the ways you can change it up to fit your own specialized taste so that you too will have a signature smoothie recipe! I’ll even throw in my own go-to smoothie recipe at the end.

First you need to have a blender or a food processor. I use a blender at home but have tried both.

Next you’ll probably want to select some fruit which will likely be one of the main parts of your smoothie. Use fresh (if so you’ll later add some ice cubes) or frozen, one fruit or several. Have fun blending your fruit and creating new favorite flavors.

Fruity ideas: Mangos, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, bananas, apples, kiwi, avocados, pomegranates, oranges, watermelon and pineapple.

Next you’ll want to select a liquid or semi-liquid to add so you can blend your smoothie. There are obvious ideas and some creative ideas to create a more unique smoothie.

Liquid ideas: Milk, soy milk, rice milk, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut water, greek yogurt, tea, fruit juice, ice cream, sherbet, frozen yogurt, sparkling water or water.

Next you may choose to add protein or extra vitamins to your smoothie by using any number of protein powders or vitamin powders. We have a few here that are chocolate and vanilla flavored that adds a bit of sweetness and more vitamins to the smoothie making it more like a meal.

Next you may want to add some greens or vegetables to your smoothie to add some more healthy benefits. Some greens, such as spinach, don’t change the flavor and contain more nutrients. Others to try are kale, carrots, celery, beet root or green powder made from an array of green plants. When using veggies be sure to blend alone with water to make sure your smoothie is smooth and not like a cold vegetable soup.

You can add a sweetener to your smoothie if you feel it will not be as sweet as you would prefer. Try ripe bananas, sugar, honey, agave nectar or, if you must, artificial sweeteners. For me the vanilla protein powders or vitamin powders sweeten the smoothie enough.

To change the taste of your smoothie you can also add different flavor enhancements such as vanilla extract, almond extract, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, salt, coconut shavings, peanut butter, nutella, chocolate syrup and any number of extracts and flavorings you may have or prefer.

When everything is in the blender add a few ice cubes on top. I like my smoothies to be really smooth and icey almost like a smooth sherbet but some just use frozen fruit.

It’s time to mix the ingredients together and create your smoothie! Put the lid on the blender and turn it on medium until the blender starts to smoothen the ingredients then slowly turn it up one notch at a time. Start slow and let the blender work the ingredients for a minute until they are as smooth as you would like and pour into a glass. If you’d like to garnish your smoothie use slices of fruit, skewers of fruit, loose berries, a wedge of citrus fruit, a sprig of mint, flat-leaf parsley, a few leaves of lemon verbena or even a little umbrella. If you’re feeling in a bubble tea mood try to add some BOBA or small jellies to your glass before you add your blended smoothie and garnish with a wide smoothie straw.


My Own Recipe

Add these ingredients to the blender as noted, blend and enjoy!

  • Fresh spinach leaves (blend with cup of water until smooth)
  • Ice (as needed, might need to add more water to blend)
  • Mango chunks
  • Pineapple chunks
  • Apple chunks
  • Strawberry slices
  • Scoop of vanilla vitamin powder (may substitute protein powder)
  • If you like add boba to the smoothie glass and pour in your smoothie after it has been blended smoothly and enjoy with a wide straw!

Healthy Life Stylist: Question & Answer

Question

I eat a lot of fast food, smoke and drink alcohol. I’m interested in adopting a healthy lifestyle as I continue to age. What are the easiest and fastest ways to get started down my new healthy path?
Vivienne, California

Answer

I have good news and bad news for you, Vivienne. The good news is, the first step to adopting a healthier lifestyle is the desire to change, so you’ve got that covered. The bad news is, like most changes that are worthwhile, altering your life for the better rarely comes easy or fast. That being said, my advice for you is to take it one step at a time and give yourself credit for everything you accomplish.

First, drink more water. This sounds so simple, but you’d be amazed at how many health problems can be solved by adequate hydration. Water not only helps to keep your body functioning properly and decreases cravings, it also flushes out the toxins from all that fast food, cigarettes, and alcohol you’ve been consuming. Bonus: drinking a full glass first thing in the morning wakes your body up and helps you crave healthier options throughout the day.

Second, add more healthy foods into your diet: fresh [preferably organic] produce and lots and lots of leafy green vegetables. Spinach, broccoli, kale, and other greens purify the blood, reduce inflammation, and can help reduce cravings for sugar and alcohol when eaten regularly. The powerhouse nutrients in leafy greens will help your skin glow and their diuretic properties will reduce bloat. Bonus: Adding in healthy foods will eventually crowd out the unhealthy ones without making you feel deprived.

Third, pick one bad habit a week to change for the better. In my health coaching business, I work with my clients every other week for 6 months because the best way to change old habits is with patience, support, and time. Maybe your goal for this week is to drink more water, or perhaps you want to try to eat one new vegetable…whatever you decide to work on, stick with it and give yourself credit once you’ve achieved it. Bonus: Taking things one step at a time prevents you from feeling overwhelmed with life changing goals, but you’ll still be able to change your life.

And finally, find yourself an accountability buddy to help keep you on track. This can be a friend, a family member, or a hired professional [*ahem*], just make sure that it’s someone you can count on and trust. It’s your buddy’s job to make sure that you stay on track with your goals and to remind you of everything you’ve accomplished. Bonus: If someone in your life makes a good accountability buddy, they probably make a great friend.

Ask A Healthy Life Stylist

Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

For more information about Health, Happiness, & Hoola Hoops please visit Michelle‘s website!

Multi-tasking, Mindfulness and Moving On

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed yet in our increasingly fast-paced society that multi-tasking seems to be an un-sustainable idea. It seems like the obvious thing to do when you have a never-ending list of tasks to complete each day but instead of multi-tasking simply to speed through actions try focusing on one thing at a time and master your current activity. I do admit that I enjoy doing multi-tasking occasionally (I am a young mother afterall) — especially when I’m uninspired to write. Right now I’m attempting to write an article, editing a video, listing to fidget, eating pineapple and chatting with my best friend, Kimi. Not to mention my focus is rather off due to some very vivid and upsetting dreams. Not all of my dreams have been bad in this stressful time but they have all been very vivid, colorful and often lucid which has been a skill and gift I have worked towards mastering for many, many years. Mastering everything that you do throughout your day and night (even when sleeping!) is much more rewarding than just completing as many tasks as you can. It might not seem that way but after trying both for extended periods of time I’m sure you’ll find that you feel much more at ease by doing and focusing on one thing at a time.

After attempting to live mindfully for quite a few months it almost seems as though I’m radiating the light of a thousand rainbows, a symphony of magical mermaid pheromones and rays of positivity. I’m attracting all of the opportunities I stopped chasing when I became very sick and not only that but I’ve found I have much more family and friends than I originally thought that are sweet, giving, honest and true to me. Losing contact with those you were once very close to is many times a sad affair but it’s always fun to reconnect and to catch up. I also got another friend into the musical world of Sound Cloud. What’s funny is I’ve always loved it but hadn’t logged in until he requested use of my quotes as lyrics. I have strong support to those living their dreams by working for what they want and not being afraid to ask. You know what you want to be/do? Be it! Do it! Remember you are the only one that can do it your way, you’re unique and no one else sees the world through your eyes.

One of the first things you will learn if attending therapy is the mindfullness skill (yet another article I started writing at least a year ago, heh) which basically means doing one thing at a time and doing it as well as you can. It reminds me of Buddhism because of the importance of mastering the spectacular as well as the mundane. In other words, if you’re going to do it, do it right. Cut the multi-tasking. Try focusing on the task at hand, put all of your effort into it and do your absolute best. Trust me, you wont be disappointed. You’ll feel great having given your all and also having achieved a goal no matter how small or gargantuan.

Speaking of multi-tasking, if I told you everything I was doing/going through at the present you’d be shocked I’m still kicking. Not only am I immersed in my work but I’ve had to move and change my entire life in relation to both my physical, spiritual and mental health. I’ve had to move, let go of the past and to still be able to allow myself to succeed while feeling an abundance of fear. I’m starting to think that I’m beginning to actually have things figured out in this life. I’ve stopped using everything mood-altering, alcohol, cigarettes, even the prescribed medications that used to help me to get out of bed in the morning and go to sleep at night. I feel more powerful, as though I’m playing an unbeatable hand in poker while sitting on a high pedestal with an attractive clan, drinking French carbonated pink lemonade from a straw and munching on lavender macarons. I sure do occasionally miss the complex flavors of wine and champagne and I do realized that it’s quite tough to let go of them. Still though, they could never compete with my obsession with tea, espresso and black coffee which are much more helpful to my health, work and writing obviously. Have you let go of any unhealthy habits recently? Have you taken on any healthier lifestyle traits? Have you noticed more clarity and stability in your health and life? It surely is an empowering thing to let go of unhealthy addictions. Keep going strong and keep becoming the person you are meant to be and you have my word I’ll continue to do the same.

Why Should I Become Vegetarian or Vegan?

“Oh, Lady Gaga’s job is to do outlandish things, and this certainly qualifies as outlandish because meat is something you want to avoid putting on or in your body.” ~ PETA president to NYDN

While I am an animal lover and animal rights advocate, and my reasons for being vegan are largely spiritual, I think it’s also important to recognize the environmental impact that this lifestyle has. In June 2010, The Guardian discussed a a United Nations Environment Programme report that underlines the negative impact that consumption of animal products has on our ecosystem. The article quotes the original UN report:

“Impacts from agriculture are expected to increase substantially due to population growth increasing consumption of animal products. Unlike fossil fuels, it is difficult to look for alternatives: people have to eat. A substantial reduction of impacts would only be possible with a substantial worldwide diet change, away from animal products.”

Professor Edgar Hertwich, the lead author of the report, said: “Animal products cause more damage than [producing] construction minerals such as sand or cement, plastics or metals. Biomass and crops for animals are as damaging as [burning] fossil fuels.”

It goes on to suggest a gradual change: try giving up meat for one day each week. I agree with this approach. If you’re a red-blooded, meat-and-potatoes eatin’ American and you’re ready to make a change, good for you! Just know that you’re probably going to feel unsatisfied if you suddenly remove meat, dairy, and processed foods from your diet. You’ve gotten your system used to taking in that sort of fuel; it will take time for it to recalibrate. Set a realistic goal and start slowly, knowing that every step you take towards an animal-free lifestyle is making a difference.

Read the original article here.

“From the meat industry’s rampant abuse of animals and environmental devastation to the tremendous health benefits of a vegan diet to helping end world hunger and deplorable working conditions in slaughterhouses, there are countless reasons why more and more people are leaving meat off their plates for good and embracing a healthy and humane vegan diet.” ~ PETA

More Meat Free Resources

Ask a Healthy Life Stylist and Coach


Greetings & Salutations, Miseducated!

As your new virtual healthy life stylist, I am thrilled to be your guide through the wonderland of wellness. In the coming months, I look forward to answering your most burning health & wellness questions, but first, allow me clear up a few common questions about what I do:

What is a Healthy Life Stylist?

A healthy life stylist is like a fashion stylist for the health world. Much like a fashion stylist would help you makeover your wardrobe [getting rid of the items that don’t flatter you & giving you new items that allow your inner goddess to sparkle], I help you makeover your life. From what to eat to feel your best to what steps to take to achieve your dreams, my job is about creating health for your whole being. Health and wellness aren’t just about eating vegetables; they’re about loving yourself, loving your job, developing healthy relationships, and cultivating a spiritual practice that makes you feel enlightened & at peace. I’m here to help with all these things and more.

What kind of questions do you answer?

Because I like to think of myself as a nutritionist, a life coach, and a therapist, all rolled into one, I can answer questions about any area you’re feeling less than fabulous about. I’m here to help you feel your best.

How can I learn more about your services?

If you’re in need of more than just a few questions answered or you want to receive an individualized lifestyle plan, consider signing up for my Health & Happiness in Half a Year program. You can check out the details & pricing for individual or group sessions on my website.

That’s it for now, darlings. <3 I look forward to answering your deepest health ponderings. xoxo, Michelle Shea Walker, H.C.

Just make sure you are clear about if you mind your question/answer being published on Miseducated and if you’d prefer to be anonymous. All questions will be answered by Michelle regardless so ask away!

Photo of Michelle by Aaron Ehinger Photography.