Would you rather be happy or be right?

“To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.” – Elliott Erwitt

I completely agree with Elliott’s description of photography (as a new photography enthusiast). Everyone can see something that’s the same, but experience it and see something completely different. And isn’t that wonderful? The differences are what makes us beautiful and unique.

Life can be like this too; it can be enjoyed, it can be suffered, it can be felt and seen an infinite amount of ways. . . And who is right? I heard a lovely and intelligent man (Nathaniel Branden) once say how humans a lot of the time will choose being right over being happy. Personally I’m not big on being right, and I’m typically the first to accept if I was wrong. Yet I have met people who fall under this trap of being right. . . And they’re typically unhappy. But they hold their ground and they’re “right” in their mind. I just wonder, what good comes from being right, that one would be willing to put happiness to the side? I certainly don’t relate to it but can see how it is a powerful emotion for people. Remember that being right is not everything in life; we can be wrong and be a good person, we can apologize, we can accept it and change.

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Happiness > Being right

It can be a really humbling and positive experience to accept that you’ve made a mistake. It makes you human.

Much love,

Abby

4 Quick Habits for Eating Healthier!

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be so difficult. Normally, we stray from our nutritious diets because there are too many temptations put in the way of us. If you get rid of temptation, you’ll find that eating a healthy and balanced diet is a lot easier to do. In fact, you could end up eating a lot healthier without even noticing! Here are four tips that can help do just that.

Hide Sweet Treats

If you see unhealthy foods, you are going to be constantly tempted by them. So take any cookies, chips, and candies out of sight. Hide any sweet treats that you have in cupboards that you hardly go in. Try to put bowls of fruit and nuts out on display on your kitchen surfaces. That way, you will reach for a healthy snack whenever your tummy rumbles.

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If you’re craving something sweet, make yourself some nicecream

Don’t Throw Away Leftovers

Throwing away uneaten food is a big waste. If you don’t finish your meal, keep the leftovers to have for lunch the next day. You can also keep ingredients that you didn’t use for another recipe. Leftovers usually have a good shelf-life when stored in a fridge. To extend this shelf-life, you should place them in your freezer. One way to keep them for a lot longer is to vacuum pack them before you store them in a fridge or freezer. To do this, you need a vacuum sealer. Try to get the best vacuum sealer (here are some with reviews) that can help you store food for a few weeks.

Use Smaller Plates

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One of the main reasons people have issues with their weight is because they eat large portions without realizing it. So to make sure you aren’t overeating, serve your food on smaller plates; here’s a great study that showed that we tend to overeat due to the size and color of our plates (shocking! I know). Be careful not to pile all the food up high on your plate, though! At first, you might feel slightly hungry after eating off smaller plates. That is just because your body is used to large amounts of food in one go. However, after a couple of days, you will get used to it and will feel full after a smaller meal. No matter the size of your plate, though, ensure half of it is taken up by fresh fruit or vegetables.

Drink Lots Of Water

Water is key for a healthy diet. You need to aim to drink at least eight glasses of pure water a day. The more water you drink means you won’t need to drink sugary or caffeinated drinks to stay hydrated. There are loads of ways you can encourage yourself to drink more water. One of the best ways is to keep a water bottle with you whenever you leave the house. That way, you won’t need to buy a drink while you’re out. If you don’t like plain water, try sparkling water. It tastes like a fizzy drink but doesn’t have all the hidden sugar.

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Hopefully, this guide will help you eat a lot healthier without even trying! You might be surprised how much healthier and happier these tips help you feel.

Much love,

Abby

 

Calorie Counting: Friend or Foe?

Many of us have used this old trick of counting calories to help us in some way. I personally disliked using this technique because I’d lose track, I found myself over-thinking about it and it made me feel like I was restricted. I felt like I couldn’t just eat, it was different. So I stopped. It was the best decision for me, personally.

Whether you are trying a food journal (which is a fantastic idea to gain some insight into what you eat!) or you’re simply curious about how many calories you consume; it’s important to remember that some of these techniques can be flawed or may not work for everyone.

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Don’t be harsh with yourself if you forget to write down the snack you had 7 hours ago, it happens to all of us. This is one of the biggest flaws of calorie counting, we’re actually pretty terrible at it.  They’ve done studies to find out how well people do in keeping track of their calories and food intake and the results were shocking; the women from the study were underestimating on average 50%. That is 50% on average.

Another interesting fact? Labels can lie. They can actually have a 20% margin of error.

“The ratio between the amount obtained by laboratory analysis and the amount declared on the product label in the Nutrition Facts panel must be 120% or less, i.e., the label is considered to be out of compliance if the nutrient content of a composite of the product is greater than 20% above the value declared on the label.”  (FDA Guidance for Industry: Nutrition Labeling Manual)

There are other reasons why calorie counting may not be the best option, such as; swapping something ‘low fat’ instead of having the full-fat version (simply because it has fewer calories),  it can make you feel stressed (as this study showed) and it can make you eat more (because it’s on your mind all day!).

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There are also good reasons to like calorie counting! It can give you an insight as to how many calories you’re consuming on a day-to-day basis, which may come as a shock. A lot of us eat way more than we think! It may also help you regulate how much sugar, coffee, etc. you’re consuming (in case you’re trying to consume less of any). It has proven positive results for many and that’s the main reason so many continue trying it.

What do I think is the best solution? I can give you the solution that worked for me!  

I know that I can eat as much as I want of anything I want. There are no restrictions. Butter on toast? Yes, please. Vegan raspberry croissant? Double yes! Coffee? Yes! Sweet potato fries? Triple yes! (There’s even a recipe on the blog!) and I can continue until my hands are tired; my point is – there are no restrictions.

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I learned to eat with awareness. I try (and this takes a bit of time) to enjoy each and every bite I take. I don’t rush it, I really want to enjoy it and savor everything I eat. This made me eat at a slower pace. I used to be told I was the faster eater out there, because I’d always be done eating first. Well, now that’s different.

I take my time, pause between bites, enjoy, savor it and repeat.

What has happened since I began practicing these eating habits? For one, I’m happier! I know that if I want that ice cream I can have it, but what I crave is an acaí bowl. I eat a much bigger variety of food – because remember, there are no restrictions! I have little treats here and there (today I had a few bites of a croissant with honey) and I really enjoy them. I don’t feel guilt or any negative feeling. I just enjoy and move on. It’s simple and it works for me. I can recommend it to anyone who wants to feel free and not restricted when it comes to food.

Food should be enjoyed, so enjoy it!

Much love, Abby

Lemon Shortbread Bars – Guest Post!

Hey guys! My name is Alexandra, and I’m the creator of vegandra.com, a website devoted to delicious vegan recipes and lifestyle tips. Abby was amazing enough to allow me to write this guest post, so I hope you all enjoy 🙂 If you do, please check out my blog, and see what other goodies I’ve shared!

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So, lemons. Kinda hard to use in cooking, because the flavor has the potential to be too overbearing and sour. But, using the zest gives all the flavor of the lemon without the sourness!

The shortbread base here is super simply (just flour, powdered sugar, and coconut oil), but is perfect to let the lemon flavor through to be the star of the show! These bars are simply, light, and refreshing. Give them a try!!

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Serves 8

Ingredients

For the crust

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbs. coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 powdered sugar
  • 1 tbs. water

For the filling

  • 1/2 ripe banana, mashed
  • Zest and juice of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup + 2 tbs. powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs. cornstarch
  • 1 tbs. flour

To Prepare

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Combine ingredients in a bowl to form a dough.
  3. Press dough into a greased baking pan and bake for 7 minutes.
  4. While base is baking, use a hand mixer to beat together ingredients for the filling.
  5. Pour filling on top of base, and bake for 30 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and set to cool (can be cooled in the refrigerator if you’re really hungry!).
  7. Cut up and sprinkle with powdered sugar.
  8. Enjoy 🙂

Much love, Abby & Alexandra

Sweet potato fries…a taste of heaven!

This has been a unique week; I am not only exploring and getting to know Australia’s rural side, I’m starting a new career (this beautiful project we call Yummy Habits!), I’m cooking more than ever before, I’m traveling from city to city every 5-7 days and dealing with surprises from time to time (having no cooking supplies, no stove/oven, a mini fridge that freezes your food, etc), and I’m also battling the traveling temptations that happen to all of us (you know, when the hunger strikes and you’re in a place you don’t know, with no mobile reception and only the equivalent of a seven-eleven to choose your food from). Regardless of the little obstacles that we may encounter sometimes, it’s always good to remember things aren’t as bad as they seem!

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I’ve also had some lovely and exciting adventures exploring; like this one.

As they say, it’s the simple things in life that can bring the most bliss sometimes. I am now in a stereotypical house; with a full kitchen, oven, fridge, blender, stovetop, microwave, toaster…and I feel like I arrived to heaven. It’s truly the little things.

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And now, back to those simple pleasures in life…sweet potato fries! They have easily become my favorite snack because they’re so easy to make and so delicious (who doesn’t like that?). I’ve been cooking them all week, multiple times per day; experimenting with different cuts, times, temperatures and spices. I read an infinite amount of recipes trying to find the perfect one but as we all know, perfection varies from person to person. I sometimes like my sweet potato fries very spicy! Would that be perfect for you? Maybe, maybe not. I want you to create your own version of perfect, hopefully with my guidance and support! 

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This recipe is the result of a lot of sweet potato fries making people happy and I hope they do the same for you!

  • Quick tip: Portion-wise, I’d recommend 1-2 sweet potatoes per person depending on how hungry they are.
  • Quick tip 2: Don’t add sea salt until the sweet potato fries are done, this will prevent the salt from potentially drying the fries.image3-1

Ingredients:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 2 tablespoons of Olive oil (you may use canola, grapeseed or melted coconut oil if you’d prefer)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground chili, cayenne pepper, paprika (it’s up to you! Any of these will do the trick to add some spiciness!)
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder 
  • 1/2 tablespoon of cumin

Instructions:

*Preheat oven to 450F or 230C (technically its 232.2 but that’s tough to set on some ovens so 230C can do).

*Wash, peel and cut your sweet potatoes. You may also leave the skin on for some added crunch.

*Cut them approximately 1/4 inch thick (this is very important!) it makes a significant difference how big/small they are – if too big they won’t fully cook, if too small they will burn.

*Combine: pepper, your choice of spiciness (chili, cayenne, paprika), garlic powder and cumin. (here you may notice I didn’t mention the salt – that’s important!). 

*Place cut sweet potatoes in a bowl and add the olive oil; sprinkle it all around and use your hands to get it all over the sweet potatoes.

*Add combination of spices (remember, not the salt!) to the sweet potatoes and use your hands again to get it all over them.

*Place sweet potato fries in a non-stick baking sheet for best results. Don’t overcrowd them, place them about 1/2 a centimeter apart.

*Leave them alone to bake for 10 minutes, then take them out and rotate them carefully (don’t burn yourself, I’ve done it too many times due to excitement).

*Place them in the oven for another 10 minutes.

*Take out and add sea salt now!

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Much love, Abby.