Category Archives: Victory

Recipe: Healing Fresh Ginger Tea

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been one of those weeks full of craziness over here as the kids have been home from school and a few girls and I were preparing to throw a baby shower for our favorite person in the world.

Yesterday we gathered 20 girls together to wish our beloved best friend well in her motherhood journey. There really is something very special about spending time with a close group of inspirational women, and it is something that as I get older I have wanted to do more. It’s okay to be real, and to get real in those situations, and yesterday we were (roller coaster of wild emotions and all). Thanks ladies, my heart is full today and I can’t wait to see what’s next! πŸ™‚

Given the time of year, today’s recipe is all about warmth, digestion, and healing. This age-old remedy for good health has been around for ages, and for good reason. When we were kids, this was what we were given when sick, livened up with fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper & honey. Ginger is spicy & warming and does wonders for settling a tired tummy that could use a little rest from perhaps (just a little) holiday over eating.

I’ve been nursing a pot of this on the stove for a few days now and have to thank a friend for reminding me just how amazing this drink is…so thankful. Between this and the high from being around so many cool ladies yesterday – I think I’m set for a great week to come!

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

The Less:

Less burden on the tummy means it can feel nourished with little food. Fewer bagged teas means less cost, waste, and more freshness. Less caffeinated & sugary drinks means health is just a cup away, so warming up & wellness come together at less cost.

The More:

More spicy, healing ginger means more warmth & aid to your guts. More aid to your guts means happy tummies all the time. More fresh ways to warm up means less reason to seek them outside, so keeping a pot on the stove makes sense all year round.

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOMHealing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Fresh Ginger Tea:

  • (2) large pieces of fresh ginger, peeled, and cut into thumb sized pieces
  • (6-8) cups fresh water for boiling
  • Optional additions: fresh mint in summer, a cinnamon stick in winter, honey, fresh lemon juice, cayenne powder

Clean up your ginger and slice it into small thumb sized pieces. Combine the ginger in a medium sauce pan and fill with 6-8 cups of fresh water. Bring the water to a boil, and turn the heat down to medium and simmer the mixture at a gentle rolling boil for 20-30 minutes.

For cinnamon ginger tea, add a half or a whole cinnamon stick to the pot in the beginning. For mint ginger tea, add fresh mint to the pot for 5 minutes at the end.

Once ready, ladle into warm tea cups and add fresh lemon juice or honey, or both. To help ward off a cold, add a pinch or two of cayenne pepper to each cup. Enjoy by the fire with your favorite book or magazine (not required but highly recommended).

You can keep this going by adding more water to the ginger as you run low and re-boiling again. Simply leave the pot on the stove and add water and re-heat as desired. It really is the never ending ginger tea!

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Healing Ginger Tea | IPOM

Wishing you all a wonderful, healthy, and feel good week – I am so excited for this year I can’t even tell you. Well, maybe I could πŸ˜‰

  • Are you taking any measures to restore well-being after holiday over indulgences? If so, what are they?

I’d love to know..for now I am off to make a green smoothie…

Yours in less,

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Filed under Food, Gluten Free, Health, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Rich & Simple, Sweet Treats, Vegan, Vegetarian, Victory

True Storytelling: A Not So Fast Going Without Story

Time for some more storytelling. This is our story, after all.

The day was April 16, 2011. That was the day I started fasting once a week and giving the value of what I didn’t consume to those who have less.

Not So Fast began just a few days after the idea came to me, and I knew it would be a long process of putting this whole beautiful thing together, but I wanted to start right away.

Since that very first day, a few (awesome) things have gone down. A blog or two, some great discussions, a few meetings, some great food, and all of you (wonderful readers and friends -xxx)!

But enough about me.

I am honored today (back to a new recipe tomorrow!) to send you over to Somer’s blog to read her story and to see how easily a simple concept can bring beautiful people together from all over this big, beautiful world.

So head on over to see Somer, she is one amazing woman with one amazing story. Storytelling like this is just too good to miss.

If you’d like to get involved, feel free to drop me a line at shira@wearenotsofast.org.

I’d love to hear from you!

A HUGE thank you to all who so generously donated to our cause this past two weeks, we are honored by your actions and look forward to sharing even more (in less). Our second cooking class kicks off this week, so stay tuned!

Tomorrow I’ll be back with a sweet new recipe! πŸ™‚

Yours in (just a little) Less,

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Filed under discipline, Fasting, Food, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Success, Victory

True Stories: My Shopping Addiction & The Healing Process

A quick break for some storytelling.

Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in getting up every time we do.

~ Confucius

True story: I love food.

I love creating food, serving food, eating food, and in general sharing the great wealth of variety & goodness we have at our fingertips.

But I love other things too.

For instance, I love shoes. And clothes. And jackets and handbags and designer lipstick.

For those of you who know (just a little) about IPOM, you may have read (at some point) my story here on my About page. The real reason I am here today, writing this blog, having started a charity from no more than a passing idea, is because just over 2 years ago I overcame a pretty big issue: a compulsive and destructive addiction to shopping.

And no, I don’t mean to cocoa nibs and kale πŸ™‚

You see, after reaching a certain level of accomplishment in my life (kids, marriage, work, home, renovated kitchen, two cars), I was at a point where I didn’t know what mountain was left still to climb.

I had it good, and it was time to show it, no? After all, isn’t that what you do after spending your life attaining all the things in life we are supposed to want?

I haven’t led a typical life, that’s for sure.

My story is long and varied for a woman of 35 and has many stories (not all of them good). I didn’t set out to have these things, but I consider myself beyond blessed to have been given them. I don’t plan to share too much here on this blog, but I do promise that one day I will, somewhere soon. When the time and place are right.

But back to that status thing. I had two healthy kids in school, a good job, and a kitchen worthy of magazine covers (I stole my ideas all from those covers and it turned out pretty good).

So I set about decorating my physical frame with beautiful things. In some cases (well, most cases), I did it with money I didn’t yet have, and with an openness that didn’t exist.

There was a period there where you could have asked me ‘What’s in the wings?’ – and I would have had at least one (or two or three) expensive items either on layaway in store or hiding in a closet deep in my basement somewhere, hidden from my husband, but secretly known to me, the shopkeepers, and that Visa no one else in my house knew about.

Acquiring nice things became a game between me and my scheming mind, and once I acquired one and successfully integrated it into the mix (‘What, this old thing?’), I soon would lose the rush and set my sights on what I could focus all of my powers on to get next.

Addiction. It’s not pretty.

Knowing myself as the addictive person that I am meant I knew I had a problem.

But like most of us, when we know we want to change something, is it easy to change?

So that brings us here. To be truthful, I am here because I needed to get better (it has worked). I needed to re-focus, and look outside of myself, and not to what is hanging on my flesh, but to who and what is going on around me. So I’ve dedicated this time in my life to nurturing the part of me that wants to connect with others, those in need, and those also in need of connection.

I needed to change my ways for my girls, and for my marriage, and I needed to connect with what it was I was really after.

A purpose far greater than just myself.

It’s still a long way away, but I am on the path, and just by being here, you are with me too, and that (IMO) is pretty darned awesome (it’s not just awesome, it’s better than awesome).

I love food, and I’ll continue to share all that brings me joy in this life, in hopes that I might continue to bring some small nugget of value to you as readers of this blog.

But I’d be lying if I told you just food was enough. There’s just so much more to celebrate and talk about.

All in moderation of course πŸ™‚

Less really can be more, in all aspects of our lives, whether it is with food, television, swearing, shopping for pretty rags & (really) over consumption of all kinds.

I know many of you blog (or read blogs) for reasons of health, happiness, inspiration, and making conscious choices that can make the world a better place for all of us.

So whether that choice is veganism, food activism, human rights, or otherwise, I’d love to know how you came to that choice. And I’d also love to hear, and perhaps even share, your story.

If there was one thing you could see going without for a better and more fulfilling life, what would it be? Do you have any destructive habits you’d like to kick for good? Have you already started this journey and want to share it?

You don’t have to share it here if you aren’t comfortable, and honestly, if you’ve made it this far into this post, I’m just happy you are still here..but I’d love to hear from you, and perhaps even share your story here.

If you like, feel free to drop me a line at shira@wearenotsofast.org. I’d like to mix things up a bit here and get real. Want to share your story of healing? I’m all ears.

I’ll get back to cocoa nibs and kale in my next post, I promise, just as soon as I pull on this old jacket and these shoes from last season πŸ™‚

I’m no saint here, but I’m trying. Trying to do better, to be better, and to help others do the same. Thanks for being here with me, and for doing what you all do to make this world a better place.

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Victory

On Gratitude, Gratefulness & Always Giving Thanks

Gratitude. What does it mean to you?

We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures.

~ Thornton Wilder

It’s that time of year again!

The time here in the cooling (and beautiful) Northwest when we start thinking about cozy sweaters, warm scarves, pulling on our favorite boots, and about Thanksgiving.

This is the time of year when every corner grocery store stocks tiny mini pumpkins and you can’t take a step without hearing a leaf (or seven) crumble under your well-meaning fuzzy-socked feet.

Happy October everyone!

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.

~ William James

This week I am particularly thankful for big progress here at what I like to lovingly call world IPOM headquarters (tee hee).

Not So Fast is making progress at a healthy and (mostly) manageable pace. I owe big gratitude to all who are taking part in this creative and amazing labor of love. Your energy and support are the only reason NSF is anything more than just a random passing idea.

I’ve got a giant heart here and it’s all full because of all of you. Yes, you (that is pointed squarely at you too IPOM readers).

Risks must be taken because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing.

~ Leo Buscaglia

Not So Fast is hard at work planning a full school year of cooking classes for kids and families living in our fair city’s poorest neighborhood.

We want to not only share simple food with those who are keen to join us, but we hope to (maybe) offer (just a little) hope, confidence & much needed access to eating well into lives that are (likely) much more limited than our own.

A quick visit to our local farmers market drives our mission home for me with motivating intensity each and every time I go.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.

~ Epictetus

This time of year showcases producers of all types offering up the very height of glory in the fruits of their (hard) labor.

I get goosebumps just thinking of perusing & buying fresh corn, squash, kale, sweet cherry tomatoes, heirloom variety apples, and the last of the summer fruits and berries of all kinds.

It is nothing short of pure vegetable heaven this time of year, and every bit a true food lover’s paradise, no matter what your dietary preferences. You’d have to be inhuman not to get inspired this time of year after a visit to the market.

That is, unless you can’t afford it.

I wrote a few posts back about my visit to the market where I (oh heavens me) happened to find myself with only a meager sum of cash to get me through my visit. That visit where I had to control my desires and my will.

Imagine (just for a second) that you had to do that every day?

Not because (like me) you just weren’t organized, but because you simply didn’t have the dough. I ask this question not to instill guilt, or a sense of anything other than awareness.

Awareness that no matter what your means, there is always someone who has less than you, and always someone who has more.

Those blessings are sweetest that are won with prayer and worn with thanks.

~ Thomas Goodwin

As we prepare here in Canada to celebrate our national celebration of Thanksgiving (we are 3 weeks ahead of our American friends), many of us might be busy planning menus, inviting guests, or maybe just looking forward to our next three-day weekend.

My wish for this coming weekend, and for all the weekends to follow is simple:

My wish is that each day that comes next might be just as good as the day before, and that no matter what life throws at me, I always remember the important things. Like having a healthy loving family, a cozy roof over my head, and two strong legs to walk my sorry a** to the store when I’ve run out of milk (again).

Rest and be thankful.

~ William Wadsworth

I’d love to know what you might be thankful for not just this season, but all year long. I’ve a feeling our needs are not that different from one another, really.

Food, shelter, love.Good people. Good food. A good laugh here and there.

Not too much for ask for I reckon, especially when there is just so much to go around.

I am so happy to have you all here at IPOM to continue to celebrate simple healthy food and the idea of living with (just a little) less.

Many blessings to you, your loved ones, and the communities you live in.

Because the truth is as we move forward in our collective lives is just this: we are all in this together.

I’d love to hear what you might be pondering in preparation for this coming holiday weekend (and for those of you who are looking that far ahead in the US). No matter where you are, thanks for joining us!

I’ve got some recipes coming up that I hope you’ll love πŸ™‚

  • What are you planning for Thanksgiving?
  • How do you give thanks?

Yours in Less (as always),

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Filed under Children, Cooking, Fasting, Feeding, Food, Food Insecurity, Going Without, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Recipes, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory

The Less & More of Running (more or less)

A little change of pace is always welcome here.

If I’m free, it’s because I’m always running.

~ Jimi Hendrix

Ready to talk a little moving IPOM style?

When it comes to exercise, the preferred approach (in this girl’s humble corner of the world) is just this:

Moderately everyday instead of obsessively now and then

With all the pressure we face in life to be constantly awesome (mostly put on our own selves by our own selves) – it can be easy for some of us to fall into traps.

Traps of thinking if we aren’t 100% clean eating, we fail, or traps of thinking if we aren’t the best at something we shouldn’t do it.

Obsessing over perfection is just silly, and it’s always better to do something good than to not.

Since physical results are always cumulative (resulting from regular habits), I can’t stress enough how key adopting this philosophy has been for me personally in as many areas of my life as possible (and trust me it does not come naturally).

Let freedom reign. The sun never set on so glorious a human achievement.

~ Nelson Mandela

This is not me (But it could be). Well, sort of.

With all the wonderful fitness choices available out there, I settled long ago on my one true fitness love.

Yes, it’s running!

And no, I am not hardcore like the crazy guys pictured here (really, not at all).

I don’t race (not to say I am against it). I don’t run with headphones, or even with a clock or a watch. It’s just me, my thoughts, the road ahead, and whatever time I have to get out there. So I try to make the most of it. The important thing is to do it as often as I can.

But enough about me.

All men should strive to learn before they die, what they are running from, and to, and why.

~ James Thurber

You could just stumble upon this...

Regardless of the time you have, or the day you’ve had, it’s really just about starting.

If you regularly have a tough time just getting out, try my girlfriends brilliant ‘5 minute rule’: tell yourself you’ll do it for just 5 minutes – once you are out there all warmed up and breathing that fresh air – see where you go, it’s never back home πŸ™‚

So if you are a seasoned runner, someone who’s never run, or someone who’s even just thinking about it, here is the less and more of running IPOM style – I’d love to see what you have to add to this!

The Less:

Less Time: Despite what anyone says (“I don’t have time!”)….you absolutely can get a good cardio workout in just 20 minutes. Seriously folks! 20 minutes! Where else do you get that kind of a return on your time? Factor in 3 minutes to change, 20 seconds to tie your shoes, and you are in business as soon as you cross your doorstep.

Less Money: A pair of decent running shoes costs about $60 and up. Add a pair of shorts, a sports bra (for us ladies), and an old rock t-shirt (I don’t run in one but I have always wanted to) and out the door you go! No membership fees, no classes. No driving, no gas. Less cost for more benefit. Less is oh so much more here.

Less Constraints: Go anytime. Anywhere. Go when you are traveling (a fabulous way to see a foreign city). You choose. No late starts, no classmates. No worries. Less dependence. Less pressure. Just lace up and go! It’s free to try, and best of all, if you like it, it’s free to keep going too!

Always do your best. What you plant now, you will harvest later.

~ Og Mandino

The More:

More Cardio: Moving at your own pace means you set the tone. Climbing a hill while running is a real achievement, so work into it. Power walker? You are half way there already. It’s all good, so go slow, and don’t stop – just find your pace (even if you do feel like a turtle at first) and settle in.

More Meditation: Every runner’s got their reasons why they are hooked. Mine is in the meditation. Every step in the cold air is a sun salutation. Every thought processed, every step forward, I can work it all out. The ‘zone’ is the best zen feeling I’ve ever found, and it’s one that lasts throughout the rest of the day, and seeps into all areas of life. Namaste!

More Leanness: All good cardio promotes lean muscle development and the cardio burns lots of fuel.

Fresh air in your cells means more oxygen flowing so they can do more dirty work. Strong muscles means better efficiency.

More Strength: More strength means more power and more power means, well, more power to do the things you really love!

More Freedom: You can go wherever you feel moved. Wherever, whenever. Like walking (also a fave), all you need is you, a few minutes, and a will to go. Let your feet do the rest! No special gear, no vehicle. No company necessary (unless you want it).

More Scenery: See the world on foot! Anywhere you go, the world awaits.

More Confidence: This is the real deal. When you set your mind to running, there is no feeling like the finish. Knowing that you can, and you will, is (IMO) just about the best feeling in the world. It’s a gift you can give yourself every single day!

More fresh Air. More time just for you.

Gear is important, but not THAT important. I recently cleared out my ‘gear box’ and got rid of about 80% of what I had in there (part of my spring clean). But there are one or two very important essentials, starting with a good supportive sports bra (unless you are a dude in which case you are all good).

The greatest step is out the door

~ German Proverb

A good athletic top or two is nice. You want something light, that you can really sweat in.

Cotton is okay, but there is some great technical stuff out there, and really, one is all you need.

It’s worth it, no matter what sport you do in it.

Of course, if you want to be (just a little) bad-ass, wear a cool rock t-shirt. I’ve always wanted to do that πŸ˜‰

There is no one giant step that does it. It’s a lot of little steps.

~ Peter A. Cohen

Then there are the shoes. Yes – the shoes! There are lots of different philosophies on shoes. I am not an expert, so make sure to buy comfy ones from a decent brand.

There are even folks doing this completely barefoot these days..

What do you prefer?

Call me simple, but running is the reason I don’t get on skis (never mind I am not a fan of the cold snow)…give me a snowy trail, a good fleece jacket, and an hour and I am happy as a clam!

There are folks who have trouble running, whether it is hard on the knees or just not your thing. Thankfully, there is no end to the ways we can care for our bodies.

It just matters that we do.

  • Are you a runner?
  • Got any tips you’d like to share?
  • What is your favorite way to stay fit?

Whatever gets you there..

Begin to be now what you will be hereafter.

~ William James

I’d love to hear your thoughts on fitness and how you get outdoors. The best things in life really are free, and I can’t think of anything better than fresh, cool air. (Just a little) everyday is all takes!

Let us know your thoughts friends, and as always, much gratitude and thanks for reading!

I hope you all are having a fabulous day – our next post – a fabulous potato salad!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Cheap, discipline, Fitness, Happiness, Health, Hope, Inspiration, Lifestyle, Success, Vegan, Victory

Finding more in (just a little) less on the plate.

A full plate seems like a dream come true. Indeed it is for many.

What does a full plate mean to you?

To many it’s the picture of a literal plate, a plate filled with food, and (hopefully) a plate to nourish and fuel us.

A full plate is a nice thing to have, and I like to imagine most of us are keenly aware that this is not a luxury all are lucky enough to enjoy.

Then there is the other full plate: the fuel of our lives, made up of to do lists, obligations, chores, passionate pursuits and promises made to ourselves and loved ones.

This plate is rarely empty for many of us, as we hustle through the day trying to keep up with all we commit to.

Our hungers for achievement and successes drive us with voracious appetites…we pile the plates so high until we actually can’t see it all clearly anymore.

When my plate gets too full I start to lose my appetite.

When I get a plate that’s too full for too long – I have to say I stop knowing real hunger anymore. Literally, figuratively, or otherwise.

When this happens to me I know something’s got to go.

So whether you are looking to lighten your load by streamlining what you eat….or dropping a few commitments you’ve made, feel strong in knowing your strength and your wisdom can only do you good.

When times get tough, I always try to lighten the load (just a little).

Step 1: Don’t be ashamed, no one can do it all! Admitting weakness is healing and empowering. Better to know now than further down the road.

Step 2: Look objectively at your life. What brings you joy? What isn’t working?

step 3. Take action! You aren’t going to change overnight, but you can start tomorrow. March forward fearlessly!

Begin to make changes in small doses. This will show real results and can be very motivating, it also won’t overwhelm you.

If you need to devote 10% less time for a friend you just aren’t getting anymore, or even spend 10% less time volunteering because you haven’t time for yourself, you are only going to gain somewhere else. The same goes for your diet. Try cutting meat one day a week, or dairy, or sugar. Give yourself a small boost and try again. Small victories add up.

Chances are, when you streamline, you’ll start to see clearly again. And you may just end up finding that sweet spot, the modern holy grail, that sweet blissful spot known asΒ  just right’.

When you cut out what's not working, you will start to see clearly....you can even add a little more variety. Less is more.

I’m working on it constantly, and it’s why I am here today.

Because many of us could all do to live with (just a little) less.

I am so glad to have found some friends along the way….stay tuned next week – I’ll introduce you to two of my friends who are doing just that! We’ll follow their journey as they both give something up for the good of others….I am so excited to share their story.

I love this response from the Dalai Lama when asked what surprises him most:

β€œMan, because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then he dies having never really lived.”

  • Is your plate too full?
  • If you had to drop one thing from your life, what would it be?
  • Could you live with (just a little) less?
  • Are you already?

I’d love to know.

Stay tuned for a killer raw recipe tomorrow….a little something sweet!

Yours in Less,

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Filed under Aspirations, Discipline, Fasting, Going Without, Happiness, Hope, Inspiration, Non-Profit Organization, Not So Fast, Photography, Rejuvenation, Success, Uncategorized, Victory