Wednesday, August 22, 2012

No ... or Yes!

I read a lot of information about Happiness. It started when I read the Happiness Project (a book I read really quickly – and then re-read in pieces), and then I continued reading blogs and articles about Happiness, because I find it so interesting. Here’s the thing though – everything about it is so conflicting.
Some experts say you should say no more. Some experts (and by experts I mean anyone who really wants to talk about it) say you should say yes more. Some experts tell you to take a break and enjoy downtime. Others say workout more.  And while I’m pretty sure I’ve never read anyone say to overeat or get drunk, there is a whole school of thought on how “clean” your diet needs to be in order to have your happiness come from Health. (And I think we can all agree Kris Carr seems to have found balance).
My point is … trying to be happy is hard. And confusing.
The other night I was in yoga, trying to not think, and I started to overthink this whole yes/no thing. About a year ago I was fully in the camp of say no to stuff. Someone told me I say yes to everything and maybe I should be more selective. I went a little overboard and just kind of got used to saying no to everything. Guess what happens when you do that? Requests stop coming in.
And recently I’ve just stopped the whole no thing. Sure time is a constraint, but I’m getting tired of saying no so that I can be what? More aggressive? Better respected? Appreciated more? Happier? I don’t know.
The truth is, I like people who don’t say no all the time. I love when I message someone for coffee, and the answer is sure, I can meet you in 5 minutes. Or when I want to try out a new class, start a reading club or just hangout out… and it’s a yes. Guess what? I don’t automatically think that person has no life. I think that it’s awesome they made time for me. And I want to be more like that. Or I want to go back to being like that.
This weekend I’m running in a 10k. I’m excited.  Why am I doing it? Because some women who will be running the Disney Princess Half invited me to join them, and meet up after. (Princess Power!) It would have been easy for me to say no, after all, I’m not 100% confident in my running yet. A 10k is still a bit overwhelming.  But saying yes … felt really good!
And, as for yoga (yes, still going all the time). That’s where this all began. As much as I love it, there are soooo many nights when I’m just tired. And 8:30 seems late. Or I don’t know the teacher. Or I don’t feel like it.  And I get a message from my mom and I just say yes. Because pretty much as soon as I get there, and class starts … I’m so glad I went.
So, maybe I’m going to skip the no’s for awhile. And just embrace saying yes. 
And while I'm at it, I may not have found the key to Happiness quite yet, but here's some stuff I know for me:
  • Sleep is good, but I'm a morning person. Waking up super early (4:20 am) to workout does make me happier, even if some people are just crawling into bed
  • I equate happiness with food. If I'm eating healthily I'm happier about my body, but chocolate makes me instantly happy. It's just something I need to accept
  • I am happiest surrounded by people, but also really happy to be alone.
  • I truly believe that you can't be happy in every situation, but outlook plays a big role
  • And .... I'm pretty much happiest in Disney World! Running through the castle, accomplishing a goal and getting a medal after. I can't think of anything better.
So, what makes you happy?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Crunching his way through a Clif Crunch Bar

Let me confess, I've never been a big fan of nutrition bars. The more I get into health and fitness the more I hear about bars. There are some serious discussions out there about nutrition bars. I've read them, and I've even taken the next step numerous times. Trying them. Lots of them, and here's the thing. I don't like them.
I've always had an issue with the weird texture, the cost, and the fact that it just seems really odd to me that here I am trying to swallow something I'm really not enjoying, at a price I don't like, to basically add calories (and protein,etc) to my day ... when I've spent my entire life trying to avoid calories.
Recently this all changed.
know this is shocking to say about a child of mine, but Matthew, my 8 year old is underweight because he doesn't eat enough and what he does eat is burned off by activity. (I wish I had this problem). I'm not complaining. But, when you're doctor tells you she's concerned ... it's an issue.
Matt would happily live on fruits and vegetable with the occassional hotdog and jawbreaker thrown in for variety. (yuck). He also likes granola bars.
As a parent, I generally don't. As he is being encouraged to eat more, I'm hesitant to give him a box of junk to increase his calorie intake. And, if they are in the house, my daughter (who does not need to add weight) will also eat them.
Many granola bars are packed with sugar, over processed and aren't filling. I have a hard time justifying giving my child a smores bar covered in chocolate and calling it a healthy snack.
While I was researching bar options, I received an email offering a sample of the new Clif Crunch Bar.
So, we tried Clif Bars, specifically the Clif Crunch Granola bar. Imagine my surprise when both of my kids gobbled them up (they come in 2 packs), and asked to have another one the next day.
That's a thumbs up from Matt.

There are a bunch of flavours - chocolate chip, white chocolate macadamia nut, and blueberry crisp are the ones we tried. Both of my kids way preferred the blueberry, which kind of surprised me, but they were really good.
These bars are slightly different than some of the other Clif products you may have tried - they are lighter on some of the added nutritional stuff so I'm okay with my kids enjoying them. The crunch part made it tolerable for me as well, so let's just say it's kind of a "gateway" nutritional bar - and a lot healthier than some of the stuff out there.
When I say these bars are healthy, here's what I liked - they are trans-fat free and don't contain high fructose corn syrup, artificial flavours or preservatives. The ones we tried were samples, but luckily we can buy them by the box at Bulk Barn, among other places and we plan to.
The downside to these bars? They are also pricier than some other bars. Bars come in packages of 2, and there are 5 two-packs per box. The boxes are $4.99 each. 
I don't believe they are peanut-free and nut-free, and even if they are they aren't labelled as such, so my kids can't bring them to school. This is not something I worry about at home, I'm not too concerned about that. We eat a lot of snacks on the go, and Matt tends to want to snack on this kind of stuff in the evening anyway. So ... the peanut thing isn't an issue in our house.
All in all we have a new healthy snack and a happy kid.
Thumbs up all around!