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A R T I C L E S* &* S P E E C H E S

by Amira Elgan

Get Real is a column on how to eliminate the artificial in your life. Processed food on our tables, unnatural chemicals in our homes and unhealthy behaviors in our lives weaken us and degrade our quality of life. This column is designed to give you bite size bits of helpful and relevant information about good food, balanced nutrition and healthy organic living. No matter who you are or what you do, time is precious. With your busy schedule in mind, Get Real reminds you to keep it real -- to focus on what makes it possible for you to reach your goals, enjoy your loved ones and live your life the way you want to.

What Have You Done for YOU Lately?

It’s easy to get caught up in a hectic daily life. We rush all day trying to do more than we have time for, exhaust ourselves at work all day, then come home and take care of personal projects and chores with whatever remaining energy we might have.

Ironically, one of the most common coping mechanisms for combining a full-power career with a real life outside the office is to cheat ourselves out of our own physical and emotional health. We save ourselves time by eating restaurant food or pre-packaged, store-bought meals. We skip exercise. We fail to set aside time to cultivate our loving relationships.

The irony of this approach is that robbing yourself of good health is a recipe for failure.

Professional success requires constantly being at the “top of your game.” You can’t really maximize your creative energy unless you feel clear, relaxed and strong—and grounded and secure in your interpersonal relationships. Robbing yourself of good health is fundamentally unsustainable. Eating junk food, failing to get enough sleep, and failing to exercise regularly may save you time in the short term, but it will guarantee declining health, reduced energy and reduced mental faculties in the long term.

You already knew that, right? What many people don’t often consider, however, is the importance of guilt-free, relaxed pleasure on one’s overall health.

If your life is generally busy, rushed and stressful, slow down and relax—do something pleasurable and fun.

Experiencing feelings of various degrees of happiness and gratification are essential to your health and overall well-being.

You’ll be surprise at how doing simple things helps you think more clearly and gain positive perspective. You will feel invigorated and energized but more importantly, relaxed and happy—ready to conquer the world again.

Of course, all that’s easier said than done.

The most effective way of enjoying simple things is by scheduling time to do them. You can plan them and enjoy them without feeling guilty or constricted by scheduling conflicts.

Here are a few simple things you can do to unplug, unwind and reconnect.

  • Schedule an “absolutely-no-work-day” at least once per month. Prepare food the day before so you can just heat it up, wear pajamas all day, read, play your favorite board games such as chess, watch movies, listen to classical music, etc.

  • Designate one day of the weekend a no-media day. Turn off the TVs, radios, computers and cell phones for the entire day. Do the things that modern technology usually keeps you from doing and give your mind a day free of noise and electronic pollution.

  • Go hiking and then enjoy a picnic under a shady tree. Bring a blanket, a book and take a nap.

  • Go for a walk on the beach at sunset.

  • Spend the day at the beach, a river or a lake—bring food, water, an umbrella, a blanket, sun block lotion and plenty to read.

  • Schedule a “do-only-fun-things-day” with your family or significant other. Start with a nice breakfast together and go somewhere for the day with total freedom; without a particular agenda—just unstructured time.

  • Do something romantic with your significant other; light all the candles, enjoy a simple romantic dinner, watch a fun movie, play your favorite romantic music CD, take a candle lit bubble bath together, give each other a massage, and the rest is up to you…

  • Live it up. Don’t be afraid to do something different and unusual. Let your imagination loose. It’s a way of living life more meaningfully, building stronger relationships with your loved ones and giving yourself a well deserved break.

Copyright© 2005 By Amira Elgan. All Rights Reserved.


Amira Elgan is author and publisher of Vegetarian Organic Life, a popular electronic newsletter about healthy cooking and better living. She also teaches healthy cooking classes for Whole Foods Market's Salud! Cooking & Lifestyles School and Sur La Table Culinary Program. Amira is a former top manager of some of the premier dining establishments in Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Hollywood, including the Mondrian, Bonaventure and Beverly Wilshire hotels, as well as catering manager for the University of California at Santa Barbara. Amira has created innovative, healthy recipes for more than 16 years. She is an educated yoga practitioner and healthy organic living and fitness expert with a first-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

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