Living in the Western world, we have become so busy in life with acquiring things for the benefit of ourselves and seeking things we need, from good food to a decent jacket. Ergo, it is easy to forget about the more important things in life such as selfless giving, kindness, creative altruism and of course, love. These are things that ultimately shape the context of our human being experience and what bring us closer together. Universally, these are investments that never fail and we make a life by what we give not by what we get.
When we do good, we feel good.
How do we exercise our ‘good‘ muscles and work jointly for a greater impact in driving change in the world we inhabit? One act of kindness at a time. When we cultivate sincere generosity and kindness without expectation of reward or reciprocity, we inadvertently discover the great paradox that underlies fuller human flourishing – in the giving of self lies the surprising discovery of a happier and healthier life. So by doing ‘unto others’ we not only help those in need, we help ourselves. Above and beyond, we are all connected and no life is separate from another. No matter how big or small the act is, everything we do as an individual affects the whole.
We all want the same things – peace, justice, love. A life of significance and hope. All of us would like to believe that if we were in an unfortunate situation, someone would help us. And if we have the opportunity to be there for someone, we should have the initiative and courage to take it. With our mutual efforts and assistance, we fulfill our responsibility of cherishing every human life. Charity begins at home but it doesn’t stop there. We hope you continue to do small things with great love and continuing using this life for doing good for the world! We can still create a better humanity with one act of kindness at a time.
Good To Be Good is a community-wide effort to raise social injustice awareness and in-kind donations for various shelters, charities and non for profit organizations.
September 1, 2016 – Red Door Family Shelter
December 2016 – Details To Follow
I am often asked how I’m able to maintain my high energy and avoid burnouts considering how frenetic and chaotic life can get. Naturally, I’ve always been a gregarious and very hyper individual since day fetus. Even with all of the hardships and adversity I’ve faced in my life so far, I am thankful that I’ve conquered what I have and still possess an elevated spirit; a spirit that not only constantly fights but believes that life is for living to the fullest and at a wide capacity.
Everything about the modern life is in constant flux from the demands of work, personal projects, commitments to family and friends to environmental factors. Each of these can affect us in different ways, sometimes leaving us feeling lethargic or unable to face the world head on. But I’ve always believed that as human beings, we have a boundless source of universal energy that is available to each and everyone of us. I also trust in the power of mind over matter. An inner belief that you can endure all that comes to you utilizing the resources you have and can acquire.
Let’s start with your body’s fuel. A healthy diet is a huge contributing factor. Something I most definitely credit some of my high energy to. While nutrition is not the only answer to sustaining energy levels, the food you put into your body does have a direct influence on your internal biochemical ground. You are what you eat, right? So if you want to level out those energy levels, a diet is a good place to start.
I eat a strict vegan, gluten/wheat free and refined sugar free diet. That means noshing on lots of fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, complex carbohydrates such as quinoa, brown rice, beans and super foods such as spirulina, green tea (matcha is my favourite), goji berries, maca, raw cacao, flax seeds, chia seeds, the list goes on. If I have a processed food such as a protein bar, I always make sure it fits this criteria: no weird ingredients and unpronounceable preservatives. I stick to eating real food with real ingredients. Other than that, I don’t have cheat days. If I have a craving for something sweet, I’ll munch on frozen fruit, raw desserts made with cashews and dates, or a few pieces of homemade sugar free dark chocolate. If I have a craving for something crunchy, I’ll opt for organic popcorn with black pepper or flax crackers paired with oil-free hummus. I also stay away from chemicals, drugs and alcohol.
One simple technique that can make a significant impact to keeping your energy levels balanced is playing close attention to blood sugar level. Processed foods and refined carbs (white bread, pasta, pastries, etc.) can cause blood sugar levels to jump very high. That can give you a rapid instant boost, like drinking coffee, however, it has psychological consequences. Your body has an efficient and highly responsive system that deals with the sugar spike. That brings us to the hormone insulin – which informs your cells to absorb all of the sugar as quickly as possible to get the blood glucose levels down to safe levels. The outcome is simply the ‘what goes up must come down’ common effect. You go from feeling absolutely fantastic to crashing as your blood sugar level plummets back to the ground leaving you feeling not so good. You can avoid all of that by eating lighter, better meals throughout the day to properly top up that blood sugar. For me, this means a good (BIG!) breakfast, a light midmorning snack, a good lunch, an afternoon snack, and finally a good dinner. Focus on lean proteins, healthy fats, and as much vegetables as you can manage. Especially green veggies. Make those your friends! This will ensure you to be full longer, maintain your blood sugar at an even level, and consequently won’t provoke energy spikes and dips that can affect your mood and behaviour.
Another way I tap into my innate energy power source is by practicing unrelenting hope and enthusiasm on a daily basis. As complex human beings, it’s inevitable that we get flustered, angry and/or irritated from time to time triggered by external coordinates. I can’t even tell you the amount of times my mood goes off course because of something someone said or something that didn’t go right, but eventually, I do my very best to look for the lesson or the opportunity in those moments and to grow from it. Yes, it’s normal to get upset and you should feel things but if you are constantly feeling like you’re in a rut, then that is the world you will inhabit and moving forward with optimism will feel dreadful. Additionally, feeling your feelings helps too! Trying not to feel them creates more anxiety and drains energy. So feel what you need to feel. By doing that, you don’t let it control you and physically your body won’t hold onto all of those stressful emotions or tensions. I mentioned mind over matter. If your thoughts are thoughts that yank low frequency energy to you, you will emotionally deteriorate and physical disease may follow. Thus, shifting the focus from the issue to a possible solution, seeking new avenues to take, and having a greater awareness of what could be possible not only alleviates the energy drain, but also replenishes us with brand new energy without repressing what’s negative. The hope for new possibilities can attribute to our energy going up and our zest for life established. If we are interested, engaged, and willing to live our lives, it will transcend in our overall energy.
Speaking of interest, another rewarding way I like to boost my energy is by connecting with my passions. For me, that includes a lot of time for reading, writing, journaling, listening to music, dancing, travelling, outdoor activities (hiking, swimming, SUPing, walking the city) and going out with friends. Allowing myself to engage and make time with the things that I love the most and energize me can generally prevent my battery from getting low. Moving around more ironically raises my energy. I can’t reiterate this enough: if you train your mind to see the good in what you’re doing, if you overcome the discomfort, your spirit will unexpectedly and magically magnify.
There are also some practical ways to boost your energy which you can try: taking power naps, exercising, drinking more filtered water, focusing on your breathing from time to time, meditation, cutting back on caffeine, taking B vitamins, get some sunshine, laugh more and even cuddling with a loved one.
Commit to your life and watch your energy soar!
In light of the earth’s current chaos, I invite you to practice loving those around you today. To willingly take care of those closest to you, those at home. To meet everyone you come across with a smile. To make time for more laughter and tears. To not feign affection but embrace the nurturing strength of your spirit’s warmth. To speak up and say your truth with passion, clarity, and grace. To promote integrity, justice, and collective togetherness despite the conditionings. To enthusiastically participate in creative altruism and think beyond yourself. To consistently believe that there is good and beauty to be found in everything. To focus on raising your energetic vibration instead of fighting immorality. To not misplace your faith in humanity and enrich an infinite amount of hope amidst its struggles. To put your love in the cracks of people’s souls rather than shaming them for their faults. To give more than you think you can give especially to those who need it the most. To be thankful for every single moment and experience, favorable and unfavorable, the Universe has entrusted upon you. To lead a compassionate life of virtue, wisdom, and selfless kindness. To let there be room for grief and misery to heal in order to feel the pleasures of joy and relief. To not punish ourselves for not loving correctly. To not to push each other way when we love too hard or love too little. To hug those you love just a little bit tighter. To stay resilient in times of discomfort, challenge and oppositions. To show up and relentlessly try in place of waiting for perfection. To not let fear cripple you but recognize it as a significant sign of what you should do next. To not take for granted those who love you and those you love. To love until it hurts until there is only more love left. To seek the barriers within yourself that you have built against love and surrender your ego. To mean well, commit and take responsibility. To tell your magical stories and listen to others as they speak their own. To really listen, with expansion and empathy. To welcome vulnerability with sheer abundance. To strive for authenticity and devotion more than success and prosperity. To have enough courage to love one more time. To earnestly trust once more. To brave it out. To do small things with great love. To be of service in this life and to dedicate yourself to others. To care enough to understand that there is no better day than today to be the change. To be there for life sincerely and unconditionally. To fully give because giving is receiving and there is nothing as powerful as spilling your heart every day. Because in this life, this is what it means to be completely human.
Underneath the fear, dubieties and circumstances, we can still create a better world. Here’s to you and us.
Did you know, that one person can create an average of over 4 lbs of non reusable trash every day? And that’s just ONE individual. Imagine the impact from a family of 4. Now imagine 2.6 million people living in the city! You get the big picture.
When it comes to our environment’s well-being, you as a single entity, can make a difference. You can re-evaluate your environmental impact and think about ways to reduce it with a few simple and inexpensive steps. Every action on your part helps contribute to a better and sustainable planet! By consciously shifting a few changes in our lifestyle, we can each reduce our impact on this vital issue and move closer to a healthier environment.
So let’s save the Earth we live in and feel good about doing it! Here are a few of my favourite ways you can incorporate in your day to day in each of the consumption category – housing, transportation, food, services and commodities:
- Don’t drive when you have alternatives! Walk, bike, take public transportation or even carpool whenever possible. Using the car less will reduce your carbon footprint significantly, helps minimize traffic jams and keeps the city’s air cleaner.
- Choose energy efficient appliances in your home. Opt for low flow shower heads, toilets and sink faucets. Have a leaky faucet? Only 1 percent of Earth’s water is drinkable and our supply for clean water is running out. This should prompt you to fix those leaks and be more mindful of properly shutting your faucets off.
- Hang your laundry out to dry! Limit your use of the dryer as they use up a lot of energy. Plus, drying racks are inexpensive.
- Install energy efficient light bulbs and lamps at home. And turn them off when they’re not being used. Turn off computers, TVs, computer bars and large electronics. Use a power strip. Unplug them when they’re not being used.
- Keep the thermostat low in the winter (wear thick sweaters, cozy up in blankets, cuddle more!) and be easy with your AC in the summer (keep cool with large fans when you can instead!)
- Replace those disposables with eco friendly reusables. Put those washable rags to use instead of paper towels, reusable shopping bags instead of plastic bags, and limit your spending on plastic bottled and paper cup beverages and alternately, carry a reusable bottle/mug whenever possible. Also, invest in reusable containers and bring your lunch to work instead of buying packaged meals! For things that don’t have reusable replacements, search for products that are planet-friendly or biodegradable. Awesome eco-brands I love: Seventh Generation, Bio-Vert, Eco-Max and Caboo.
- Be mindful about food waste! In Canada alone, over 35 percent of foods end up in the garbage. That can add up to 27 billion dollars of food wasted. So use your leftovers for the following day or give it to someone who may really need it. Anything that can’t be used, should be composted.
- Buy in bulk. Small disposable containers generate large amounts of wasted plastic. Including paper products. Choose products with less packaging to reduce waste too.
- Shop at your local farmer’s market. Seek out for in season, local produce that didn’t have to travel long distances to get to your plate.
- If you’re not a dedicated vegan, attempt to go meat and dairy free once in awhile! Going meatless for a week can create a huge impact. The livestock agriculture industry is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions globally and is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. (Fact: The production of kilogram of beef can require 16-22 thousand litres of water!) Evidently, the ecological footprint of vegans and vegetarians is estimated to be half that of those who eat meat.
- Adopt water-saving habits: use less water when gardening and cleaning, take shorter, less frequent showers, turning the tap of while you’re brushing your teeth, run the washing machine only when full, and refrain from using the dishwasher and hand wash instead.
- And of course, the golden rule: Reduce, reuse and recycle!
From the age of 16, film has been a major catalyst in my life for inspiring good health and wellness. I remember watching Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me documentary for the first time and my body going into shock from all of the knowledge I had acquired that evening. It wasn’t often that I came across a thought provoking movie that shifted me to rethink my food habits and question the lifestyle I was accustomed to from childbirth. After that evening, the notion of McDonalds was never going to be the same for me. Consuming meat would not be in the picture either.
From there, I made it a process to actively educate myself more through my love of research, books and of course, documentaries. Even though the wealth of information I was learning along the way practically traumatized me, consciously choosing a vegan lifestyle was the greatest decision I had ever made for myself and my soul. And it all started with simply changing my diet. And then slowly but surely, I began to develop and propagate morals for animal rights, environmental issues and human activism. And my decision to go vegan was not based on just one thing anymore – it grew to a foundation of all connecting principals that seemingly came together.
Over the past few years, the number of food and health documentaries has tremendously blown up. You now have easy access to watching a myriad of topics too – from food politics to nutrition theory shifts to diet stories. These documentaries have an effective medium to cultivate ideologies and bring awareness in a powerful way to society with the compelling magic of storytelling.
It all starts with awareness, right? So whether you’re looking for a little inspiration to clean up your lifestyle or want to discover more about the food industry and its global effects, watching these 8 food documentaries is a great way to start! All from the perspective of wellness/health, the environment and human ethics.
FORKS OVER KNIVES
HUNGRY FOR CHANGE