Monday, February 24, 2014

A few ways I deal with Anxiety

This past week, I've posted a few videos on YouTube-something I've wanted to do for a long time. But when I watched the first one, I noticed myself say that I've blogged about anxiety. And I think that I have mentioned that I deal with anxiety, but I don't know that I've ever really done a full post on the subject. So I thought now would be a good time, and I want to talk about a few ways that I have learned to deal with anxiety.

Just to clarify, the level of anxiety that I experience is not extreme. I go through bouts where it gets harder to deal with, but I am not on any medication and it doesn't severly affect my ability to live my life. If you experience anxiety that is preventing you from enjoying and fully participating in life, I strongly urge you to seek help-there's no shame in that.  

But if you think you might be like me-the chronic worrier, always thinking that everything is going to go wrong, Type-A personality, all your friends tell you you need to learn to chill out type, then here are a few things that might help you, as they have helped me.

 Remind yourself that the world doesn't revolve around you- I know, that's a hard pill to swallow- I like to think that I am a very important person. I just think sometimes we get too far inside our own heads, and our problems feel like they are bigger and more important than they actually are. The world is going to end if the things that we worry are going to happen actually do happen. Like if I say or do something stupid I obsess over how anyone who witnessed it MUST think I'm a total loser. They're at home thinking about it right now. And I beat myself up, oh god, why did I do that, I suck. Now everyone is going to hate me because they all care so much about everything I do and every little mistake that I make. But I think the truth is that most people are thinking about their own problems. And their problems are probably pretty similar to your problems. Talk to other people about their problems, you might realize that oh, your problems are literally the exact same as everyone else's and the universe is not punishing you, that's just life. I mean, it sucks sometimes, but it doesn't uniquely suck just for you.

Ask yourself, what can I do about this right now?- Sometimes when you're in an anxiety spiral, you feel totally overwhelmed and unable to do anything about your problems. I tend think about everything at once and go worst-case-scenario. Like oh my god, I have so much going on right now there's no way that I'm going to be able to finish writing this paper, I'm so behind in my reading, I work the next few days, I've barely slept, I don't know how I'm going to even get through my shift tomorrow, I'm going to fail the class and get fired from my job and everyone is going to hate me(in my head, all bad situations end with everyone hating me).
But instead of focusing on the enormity of EVERYTHING, I find that I can often halt my anxiety simply by taking a little step towards remedying the issue. Like, if it's a school thing, ok maybe I'm not going to finish my paper tonight, but instead of laying in bed freaking out about it, I could use that time to figure out which sources I'll use for the paper I'm working on, and maybe get a few rough notes done. Instead of focusing on everything that's out of your control and everything you can't do, just ask yourself what can I do right now towards fixing this problem? I know that anxiety can feel really crippling, but you can't let it paralyze you. Even taking a small step towards fixing a problem can be a huge relief.

Be present in the moments that you aren't feeling anxious- When I am experiencing anxiety, my entire body is tuned into feeling it. My stomach, my chest, my head-they are all very aware of what I'm feeling when I'm in an anxious state. But when I'm not feeling anxious, I don't even notice what I'm feeling. Lately I have been trying to stop and pay attention, and actually say to myself "I am not worried about anything right now" and really experience what that feels like. Not only does it help to enjoy and be thankful for the good times, but I find it also helps when I'm back in my basket case state. Sometimes when you're experiencing anxiety-or any negative emotion-it kind of feels like you always have, and always will feel that way. But if you take notice of the times that you feel good, you can remember those feelings when you aren't in the best head space. Like, I know you're freaking out right now, but remember just yesterday you felt calm, and you will be calm again.

Try a few traditional relaxation techniques, even if they seem a little cheesy- I don't really think of myself as a spiritual or hippie type person. I tend to be pretty skeptical of a lot of the sort of traditional, natural relaxation methods that I associate with people like Alanis Morissette(no disrepect). But right now I'm chilling in my room that's filled with the scent of lavender oil, which I purchased for its' calming effect-and it is doing a damn fine job. I think people say that type of shit works because it WORKS. Deep breathing, meditation(you can find guided meditation videos on YouTube)-I've found a lot of that stuff legitimately helpful in calming my worrying and anxiety. And maybe a lot of these things work by the power of suggestion-you believe it's going to work, so it does. But so what? I believed that lavender oil and deep breathing would help me feel better, and they did. Mind tricks or not, I'm down with the result.

If all else fails, look at some pictures of cats. Here's my cat to help you out.

Why ya stressin boo?
  I'm gonna go get my pajamas out of the dryer and crank this relaxation party up a notch. If you like this post let me know. I've been dealing with anxiety for a long time, and have learned a lot of ways to help myself through it-I could easily do a second installment on the topic.

[UPDATE: I accidentally set the dryer to delicates/cool air so my pajamas aren't even warm. Why is life so terrible and hard????]

Thanks for reading!

Link to my YouTube channel

Friday, February 21, 2014

New Stuff from Sephora + A Surprise

I just got a bunch of new stuff from Sephora, yeaahhh buddy. But this time instead of writing about it, I am very excited that I finally got my act together and filmed a video for YouTube. I didn't want to annouce that on Facebook or anything, but I figured that if you cared enough to read my blog, you might like to watch the video. I have been wanting to do this for a while now, and I just haven't found the balls to do it before now.

My Youtube Video

I think the video turned out pretty deece for a first try. There's definitely a few cringey moments, usually when I'm trying to make the camera focus on the products and failing miserably-but I managed not to pick my nose on camera or anything like that. I'm super excited and I hope that you guys enjoy.

If you don't want to watch it, that's cool, here's some photos of the stuff I picked up during my last midnight online shopping spree. While crying, probably. No matter how much I buy, it never fills the void inside. Although my new perfume is doing a pretty good job right now.

Side note: I somehow fucked up and this blog and my YouTube channel are on different Google+ accounts. I started an account just for the Ruth and Glory name, but I guess this blog is still in my old account. Honestly fuck Google+.

Marc Jacobs Daisy Gift Set(Gift for self)

Nars Eyeshadow Duo is Mandchourie
Boscia Cleansing Oil
Lavanila Healthy Deodorant

I did get a few other items, so if you want to see those watch the video! I'm begging you. Just kidding, I don't beg for shiiiit. And I don't cry while shopping either. Usually.

Thanks for reading/maybe watching!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Book Review: The Start Here Diet

I've talked a lot on this blog about eating clean and working out, but I haven't spoken much about where I've gotten my information, or my ongoing motivation to adopt and stick with a healthy lifestyle. Tosca Reno is one of my main resources for all this fitness, and one of my (many) female heroes. She is the author of the "Eat Clean" book series, among other publications, and writes a monthly column for my favourite magazine, Oxygen. I have followed Tosca's career for about the last 5-6 years. She really is an amazing woman, and I often turn to her writings for guidance in my food choices and fitness goals.

Reno's latest book in entitled The Start Here Diet-I've seen it in bookstores for the past few months, but it didn't really call to me as something I cared to buy or read. The book is marketed towards people who are just at the beginning of their fitness journey. I've been going to the gym for over 10 years, and clean eating has been a priority of mine for the past 5 years. I just didn't think this book was for me.

Another reason I didn't think I needed this book was that I've found a lot Reno's "Eat Clean" books to be very repetitive-Eat Clean for Kids, Eat Clean for Men-just a lot of the same information repackaged and remarketed. Not that I don't like the two Eat Clean books I own-The Eat Clean Diet Recharged and The Eat Clean Diet Stripped(as well as another of her books, Your Best Body Now)-I would absolutely recommend any of those books to anyone who wants an in depth guide to eating clean. I just didn't see the need to add another book with the same subject matter to my already too full bookshelf.

But lately I've been feeling like I've lost some of the drive that I usually have to stay on track with my good eating and fitness habits. I haven't let it slide too much, but I have felt some negative, self-defeating thoughts creep into my head, and I've just kind of been going through the motions. One thing I've learned about keeping your mind in the fitness game is that repetition isn't always a bad thing-sometimes you need to be reminded where your motivation lies. I figured that even if the book was more of the same stuff, it would at least have some different stories in it, and maybe it could help put my mind back on track. So when I saw the book was 40% off at Chapters, I decided to pick it up.
(I did also buy it with the intention to review it here-this blog is great for justifying all kinds of purchases.)

I just sat down and read the book in one two hour sitting(none of Reno's books are difficult to get through). And I was really surprised that it is not at all like the books in the Eat Clean series. Those books are comprensive guides to following the diet-lots of nutritional information, meal plans, etc). The Start Here Diet barely even mentions eating clean(although does include meal plans). Instead, a large portion of the book focuses on the deeply rooted emotional issues behind the bad eating habits that people have developed, and what one might have to work on internally to see the external changes they desire.

Reno really puts it out there in the first few chapters of the book. I was almost in tears reading about her past struggles-losing herself in an unhappy marriage, reaching over 200 pounds, and feeling powerless and depressed. Thankfully she moved to the happier part of the story before the waterworks turned on. One passage that really spoke to me:

"Many life lessons are not learned when times are good. They occur when the ground under your feet is unsteady. This is when you have to drill down into your core, searching for your true self. Not that I would ever wish to go back to the place that I started, but I do know now that without such tests, life is boring and leaves you emotionally shallow" 

 Daaaaaaaaaaaammmmn Girl, shit's deep. Reno talks candidly about lifting oneself out of a dark place. She connects weight gain with deeper issues that need to be addressed before a person can even begin to lose weight. And I think she's spot on with that analysis. I'm really impressed with the way Reno handles the emotional apsect of weight gain and weight loss. That part of the book could be helpful for anyone(including myself), regardless of what stage they're at in their fitness journey. It's always great to be reminded about why taking care of yourself is important. I think the author does a great job here of ensuring readers that they are not alone, and validating their emotions about their bodies.

Moving onto the diet part of the book, it really is a starter plan-it doesn't delve too much into the principles of eating clean. The main issue that Reno tackles here is identifying and eliminating "hidden foods"-the unhealthy foods that we mindlessly reach for most often, that are sabotaging our fitness or weight loss goals. I didn't think that I would get much out of the diet tips in this book. Like I said, I consider myself a seasoned pro at eating clean. But here, Reno really gets down to basics. I do eat clean for the most part, but I was surprised that this idea of hidden foods made me think about my own. Even though I don't have many bad eating habits, I still hold onto a few: aspartame(Diet Coke, hey buddy!), chocolate, and alcohol(although less than in my early 20's, I can never seem to fully give it up). Reading this book I can't help but wonder if I'm missing my full potential just because of these three things. I don't want to commit to this yet, but I'm already thinking about axing the DC and chocolate for a bit to see how it feels (no word on the alcohol yet).

The exercise portion of the book was the least helpful to me, but that doesn't mean it couldn't help a lot of people. There's no sign of the grueling weight workouts that I'm used to seeing from Reno. Instead, she presents the idea of moving just a little. Since this book is aimed at people who are just starting out, this is a realistic way to begin. A list of 25 small-and I mean small movements is given-including things like "raise your arms out to your sides and flex your fingers up and down".  I know that for some people, this is the reality of their mobility, and I think it's awesome that Reno truly starts at the beginning. She then moves on to a list of more challenging activities, like trying Zumba, kickboxing or rowing. None of the workouts is going to challenge someone who is already into fitness. But that's not who the book is aimed at, so I don't fault Reno for that.

Overall, I am really impressed with this book. I'm a huge fan of Tosca Reno, and I think this is her most personal work yet. It feels very empowering to read her story and see the woman that she has become. Parts of this book weren't super helpful to me, and I don't really feel like it taught me a lot I didn't already know. But I think it served a very good purpose-it reminded me what it feels like to be unfit and unhappy. Because I've been going to the gym for so long, I sometimes forget what I felt like befor fitness was a part of my life. And a lot of my own feelings back then mirrored what Reno talks about in the first few chapters-and I don't ever want to feel those things again.

I would absolutely recommend The Start Here Diet to anyone who is just starting out, and trying to figure out the first steps towards a healthier lifestyle. But I also think it's a good read for seasoned gym rats who need a little new inspiration and motivation. As Reno says in the book "I am a warrior and I will survive."


As always, thanks for reading. I accidentally placed a Sephora order the other day (these things happen), so look for that soon!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Not Everyone in the Service Industry Hates Their Job

I've been seeing a lot of stuff on the internet lately from people who work in the service industry-specifically restaurants- and what a horror it can be. You know, comedy videos about shit servers say(never anything positive, of course) and Facebook pages dedicated to rants about working in customer service. And maybe I've had a laugh at some of these things, but overall they kind of bum me out. It makes me sad that the loudest voice from the customer service/food & beverage industry is coming from people who apparently hate their jobs, and their customers. I don't want people to watch and read that kind of stuff and think that every person who serves them a club sandwich is trying to set them on fire with their mind power. I've worked in customer service for over 13 years, and I've only tried that once or twice, just to see if I could do it (I can't).

But seriously, it really bothers me that the perception of people working in the service industry is that we're all miserable. That makes us seem like a bunch of low class losers who couldn't do anything better with our lives, so we're bitter now. And that's just not the way it is-there are plenty of people who work in restaurants by choice, who really enjoy their jobs.

Over the past few years I've thought a lot about my career-and yes, I do consider my work in the restaurant industry a career. I took what I do for granted for a long time, because I've always worked in customer service. But once I got a college diploma(in a totally unrelated field) and found myself still working in a restaurant I started thinking more deeply about why I really do it. And when I thought about it, I realized that I work in a restaurant because I actually enjoy doing what I do. I love meeting and interacting with new people every day. I love that I don't have to sit in a cubicle to do my job. I love feeling like I'm a part of my community. I even love the general everyday chaos that comes with working in a busy restaurant.

Some of the best friends I've ever made have been people that I've worked with in restaurants. I know a lot of young women who are servers, and they are some of the hardest working people I know. Many people work in the industry partly because the unconventional hours allow time to pursue other passions in life. I know a lot of servers who balance multiple jobs, school, and hobbies and still manage to be friendly and enthusiastic while refilling your coffee for the fourth time.

Beyond the people that I've worked with, I could not even begin to count the number of amazing people I've met when I've served them at various places I've worked. People who have become friends, people I'm genuinely happy to see when they walk in the door on a busy Friday night. Not everybody gets to go to work and see a bunch of friends every day. Of course you always run across a few people who try to grind you down. But for every one time that a customer has been rude to me there have been at least 15 times that someone has made brightened my day and made me feel like what I do is awesome.

Another thing I love about working in restaurants is that I have always felt like I could just be myself. I think that most customers appreciate it when you act like yourself and treat them like a friend.  I've never worked in a corporate restaurant(other than McD's in high school), and that's probably different. But in the places where I've worked, I've always felt that as long as I was working hard and being nice to people, I could pretty much just be myself.  I don't think a lot of people have that luxury in their professional lives.

I'm not saying that I've never been pissed off when someone sat at a dirty table, or ordered a complicated drink at last call. But overall I have had a great time working in bars and restaurants, and I would even go so far as to say that my work is fulfilling.  I don't know that I represent the majority of people working in the service industry, but I know for sure that I'm not the only person who enjoys the job. I just want everyone to know that people who work in restaurants aren't as disgruntled and underprivileged as we are sometimes potrayed. We don't hate every person who asks for another refill of tap water. And even if we did, we can't set you on fire with our minds anyway, so don't worry about it.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of what I look like at work.

PS. If any of my server friends HAVE figured out the telekinetic firestarter thing, let me know. Just in case I change my mind about everything I just said.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Minestrone Soup Recipe

"Ruth and Glory" isn't my first blog. A few years ago I had a blog about one of my favourite pastimes-cooking. I only kept it up for a few months-I just got bored of writing about food all the time. That's why I've never given this blog a particular label or category-I want to be free to write about whatever I feel like. But I do still love cooking. This week I made a really good soup. I hadn't made soup in a long time, and I totally forgot how easy it is. I didn't even follow a recipe-just quickly read over a few to get an idea of what I needed to do, and freestyled it from there. The result was a very hearty, rich flavoured winter soup. I posted a photo on my Instagram and a friend asked for the recipe. So I thought I'd put  on my blog because I'm sure as shit not going to take the time to type this out for just one person (Hi Shane!).

This is just a basic recipe. You could switch things up, add whatever vegetables you like, add fresh herbs, whatever. That's why I'm calling it......

However You Like it Minestrone 

3-4 Tbsp. Olive Oil
3 Carrots, chopped
2 Stalks Celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced

4 cups low sodium chicken broth [I just like to be able to control the salt content]
4 cups tomato sauce [I used a good quality jarred sauce with basil in it. It's actually super easy to make homemade tomato sauce. But I have a tiny kitchen, and no dishwasher. I don't feel like doing all those dishes twice. Or even once]

 1 Pound Cooked Sausage Meat-[you can buy it by the pound, or you can buy actual sausages and remove them from their casing-which is a very strange and sexually confusing experience]
1 can of red kidney beans
2-3 Cups precooked mini shell pasta [the reason you don't just put the uncooked pasta right into the soup as it cooks is that pasta has a lot of starch in it, and would change the consistency of the soup if you cook it in there]
1/2 Cup Red Wine
2 Cups Spinach, chopped

Salt and Pepper, to taste

1.Heat the olive oil at low-medium in a large soup pot. Add the carrots, onions and celery. Stir to coat all the veggies in the oil, and allow to cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Add the minced garlic and keep cooking for about 10 more minutes.

3. Add the chicken broth and tomato sauce. Turn the heat up and allow the soup to come to a boil.

4. Turn back down to low-medium and add the sausage and red wine, pasta and spinach.

5. That's pretty much it. Turn the heat down really low, put a lid on it, let it simmer for a few hours, add some salt and pepper and then eat it.

This soup was very easy to make, and it came out awesome. You may notice that this isn't really the "cleanest" recipe. I made it for my boyfriend, and I just wanted to make a classic hearty soup. But after remembering how easy it was to make enough food to feed an army, I think I'll definitely make it again for myself, with a few tweaks. To make this a clean recipe, I would leave out the pasta and wine, switch the sausage for ground turkey, and probably add a few more vegetables.

This made about 8 servings. I thought it was filling enough to be a meal. Cooking in big batches like this is a great way to stay on track with healthy eating. You could make a big pot of a cleaner version of this, and eat it throughout the week. Once you've cooked healthy food and have it on hand, it's just as convenient and easy to make the choice to eat that as it would be to grab fast food.

Hope everyone is having a good weekend, staying warm and eating good food.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Making healthy food choices!

I'm going to try something new this week. Usually my entries are pretty long and take me a while to write and edit. But between school and work, my schedule is jam packed right now. I don't want to neglect my blog, so I'm going to try to write a bunch of shorter entries, which I think I will have time to do. Right now I'm taking a break from reading an extremely boring paper for school (I was reading it for AT LEAST 15 minutes, a break is much deserved), so I thought I'd take a moment to do something that doesn't make me wish that death comes soon, and swiftly.

I've talked about eating clean before-actually this post I did a while back talking about clean eating has been my most popular blog post to date. And I am still on that wagon. But we're currently in the dead of what feels like the worst winter of all time. I'm finding myself having to really dig deep to find motivation to go to the gym and eat healthy. I think right now a lot of people are feeling pretty bummed out, and it's tempting to just lay in bed and eat all day. But over the years I've learned some ways to talk myself into making healthy choices. Don't let winter get the best of you-warmer weather is coming soon. I hope. Please Dear Lord, Mother Earth, whoever is in charge, please say it's coming soon.

Here's a few things I think about to help me make healthy decisions about food:

1. I can have that junk food anytime I want- I am an adult who makes my own decisions about what I eat. And more importantly, I am an adult who lives right beside a well stocked 24 hour convenience store. If I want Doritos/Oreos/McCain's Deep n Delicious Chocolate Cake I can have those things literally anytime I want. So when I crave them, I don't feel an urgent need to have them right away. If I still crave those things the next day, I can have them. Even if you don't have the location advantage that I have, this more or less applies to you. You don't have to eat junk food the second you crave it. It's still going to be there tomorrow. And probably in 100 years too, because that shit is full of preservatives.

2. That particular food is not worth it-I'll wait for something that is. Someone once said that nothing tastes as good as being thin feels. I do not subscribe to that notion. Some things taste wayyyyy better than being thin feels. But a lot of junk food is just...junk. It doesn't even taste that good. I believe that white flour and white sugar are addictive, and sometimes when we start eating food made from these ingredients it does something to our brains. Like you just want to eat as much of it as possible, ideally with a shovel. But take a minute to think about it-is that McDonald's apple pie(for example) really that fucking good? If you're stoned the answer is probably yes, so ok that's fine. But a lot of the time we just eat crap because it's readily available and it has been created to be craved. Sorry for getting all conspiracy theory on your asses. But I think that even your junk food choices should be made with some thought. Like I love chocolate. But I'm not just going to eat a chocolate bar from the corner store. I go out of my way to pick up a few good quality pieces of chocolate from Laura Secord, or one of my local chocolatiers. If you're going to eat crap, make it high quality crap.

3. If I make healthy choices most of the time, I can really enjoy my indulgences.- This is a big one for me. I struggled with bad feelings about food and my body for years. During that time I could never enjoy any kind of food that I thought was going to make me fat. I was filled with self hatred. But now that I make healthy choices most of the time, and I'm kind to my body, I can relax and not worry about every calorie that I consume. This past weekend I had some girlfriends over and we ate pizza and party mix(pizza party must-have) and drank wine(and vodka, and tequila)-and I didn't worry or feel bad about it all. Because I knew that I'd eaten healthy the rest of the week, and that I would be right back at it the next day. Or at least once my hangover cleared up.

So that's just a few ways that I steer myself towards making healthy choices when it comes to food. And I know the internet is really sensitive to fat shaming these days, so I want to be clear that I know this isn't important to everyone. Eating clean/healthy is my choice, and it's what makes me feel good. I am happy to talk about my experiences with others. But if you have a different approach to food and your body that works for you and makes you happy, that's awesome.
If you liked this entry, let me know. Talking to other people about food and fitness is one way I stay motivated, and maybe I can do an entry about my current gym routine or any other related subject, and it will help keep us all on track.

Yesterday's Lunch: Sliced chicken breast, kale and bean salad and fresh guacamole.

Ok I have to go read for another 15 minutes and then take another break to watch a YouTube video about George Zimmerman's upcoming celebrity boxing match, which suddenly seems very important.

Thanks for reading!