Dr. Tara's "Fave Five": Change-it-Up Challenge

Happy Spring!  I swear time really does go by faster the older I get.  I can hardly believe Easter has come and gone, though I’m certainly hoping the old adage is true and we start seeing May flowers soon!

My challenge to you today is to celebrate the change of seasons by trying something new.  It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering — just pick a place to start and give it a go! Maybe you want to shake up your fitness routine, get a new haircut, take dance lessons, start a book club, or make that recipe you’ve been meaning to get to.  Alternatively, for you, changing things up may mean removing things from your plate: taking a Netflix or social media break, donating the “skinny clothes” in the back of your closet that leave you disheartened every time you see them, or finally ending the toxic relationship you know in your heart isn’t serving you.  

The suggestions below are all quick and simple.  The idea is to start small, gain some momentum, and build up to bigger and better challenges.  My hope is that you’ll push outside your comfort zones, have fun, face your fears, get healthier, learn a little, and embrace the personal growth that results.  Keep me posted!

1. Recipes for Change

Sweet Potato, Tofu & Chickpea Curry

This is a great recipe to try if you’re new to spices or meatless meals.

Vanilla Blueberry Chia Protein Pudding

Stuck in a toast and cereal rut?  Time to think outside the (cereal) box and try some nutritious-and-delicious breakfast alternatives.  Chia seed pudding is rich in healthy fats and fibre and makes a great low-carb option for anyone watching their blood sugar.

Easy Peasy Basil & Pine Nut (or Pumpkin Seed) Pesto

Store bought pestos are often expensive — not to mention packed with pro-inflammatory, genetically-modified vegetable oils, sugar, and preservatives.  This homemade alternative is easy, versatile and delicious. It’s made with real, simple ingredients including fresh herbs and extra-virgin olive oil. Pumpkin seeds can be used in place of pine nuts for a nut-free recipe.

Fudgy Chocolate Delights

Ever tried baking with avocado?  Well now’s your chance! These fudgy chocolate cookies are amazingly good AND good for you.  They contain no grains or refined sugar and are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, fibre, healthy fats, and protein.  All that plus they are super quick and easy to prepare!

2. Flexible Fitness

If you’re a creature of habit like me, you can get stuck in a monotonous fitness routine.  Same classes, same workout playlist, same machines at the gym. Spring is the perfect time to change things up and challenge your body in new ways.  Get outside and walk after a long winter hibernation or try that yoga class your friend has been raving about.

As many of you know, I have been dealing with fairly significant back issues for the past few months.  Some of my usual high-intensity interval classes just aren’t doable. Instead of wallowing in frustration (exercise is my MAIN stress reliever), I decided to shift gears and try a few new activities.  I saw a trainer to help me develop a hand weight routine, started a weekly pilates class, and added regular stretching to my gym visits. And you know what? I’m loving it!

3. TED Talk: “Try something new for 30 days” by Matt Cutts

In this short, light-hearted talk, Google engineer Matt Cutts challenges us to change our lives by trying something new for just 30 days.

4. Interesting Reads

Blog “Baby Don’t Box Me In

This blog explores the downside of labels and why it’s important to adopt a growth mindset and think outside the box in terms of how we define both ourselves and others.

Expand Your Literary Horizons

Are you a science fiction lover?  Or maybe a self-help book junkie? Take this opportunity to expand your literary horizons and read outside your usual genre.  I’ve been having fun with this recently, since hubs joined a hard-core book club (totally outside his comfort zone, by the way!).  Now he’s got me reading Anton Chekhov so we can spend our dinner dates engaged in lively discussions about Russian literature. Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it!

5. Quote to Ponder

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change.”

- Jim Rohn