Create and Curate

Tips to Help You Make Tough Decisions

March 11, 2018

Life is filled with decisions. From the minute you wake up until you finally slip into the abyss of sleep, your brain is helping you to make choices that propel you forward, keep you safe, and bring you pleasure. This all works well, until you are confronted with a tough decision. I’m not talking about a next hour decision, like “Should I have a latte or an iced coffee?” I am talking about one of those big life decisions that can alter the foreseeable future; a next decade decision like “Should I get a cat?”

(Photo by: Kristen Coffield)


Our youngest daughter was recently confronted with a cat decision. It had been recommended, for various reasons, that she get a therapy pet. It was a big decision for us to agree to a grand-pet — we know how the pet story can end; kid gets a pet, all is fine, then the situation changes. It could be a great job some place with long hours, a new partner who is allergic to said pet, or the perfect apartment that doesn’t allow pets. It is always even odds that the grand-pet could end up living with us, so we had to be fully on board. 


Actually, a lot of things had to be right, before a cat could be introduced into our daughter’s life; the right living situation, roommates who were okay with a cat, a manageable schedule, and, most importantly, the right cat.

(Photo by: Kristen Coffield)


Adopting a pet is a lot like dating. You need to be really clear about what you are looking for, meet the prospects, and not be swayed by a pretty face. Like dating, there are a lot of eligible pets available to be adopted into forever homes. Our daughter did her homework.  She was working with a reputable agency that matches kitties with good homes, she cleared things with her roommates, got the okay from her landlord, and consulted with us.  She was ready. 


Sometimes the fear of making the wrong choice or decision, completely derails our innate ability to know what is truly best for us. We become consumed with what if scenarios. Suddenly, up goes the stress level, down goes intuitive ability, and we become trapped in indecision. The longer it takes to make a decision, the more second guessing comes in to play.


Our daughter was across the country, excited to find her perfect feline soulmate, and completely paralyzed by the process. Every cat was adorable, needed a loving home, and seemed like it could be a good fit. We had to help her devise a plan for sorting through all the cuteness, beat decision fatigue, and find the “right” cat.


There are things that can make the decision-making process easier, less stressful and more expeditious. Great decisions are rarely made under pressure. Establishing your decision-making environment may be as important as the decision itself; so take the proper steps to make sure you create the best environment possible to give yourself the greatest opportunity to get the best outcome. 

(Photo by: Kristen Coffield)

Here are 5 things that can make the decision-making process more productive.


Be well rested. Important decisions deserve a relaxed and clear mind. Sometimes, you literally have to sleep on it.

Make important decisions early in the day. Make decisions early in the day before other activities demand your attention and focus.

Eat before deciding. Being hungry or thirsty (or “hangry”) will influence your ability to make a good decision. Be well fed and well hydrated before making decisions.

Don’t feel rushed or pressured by others. Never make a decision simply because you feel pressure to do so. That rarely ends well.

Give yourself a deadline for making a decision. It is important to give yourself a reasonable deadline for making important decisions. Too much time is as detrimental as feeling too rushed. Make a list of pros and cons, get advice from a trusted advisor, ask the right questions and go with your gut. 


By taking her time, not feeling rushed, making a list of each cat’s positive and negative traits, our daughter was able to make the right decision. “Mouse” is a little Russian Blue feline who has an easy going personality, lovely short fur, likes other cats and people, loves his new home and has stolen all of our hearts. This was a big decision and it has turned out really well for our daughter, Mouse and for us.


May all of your decisions be good ones.

Get more inspiration and motivation to live your best life at The Culinary Cure.

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Six Habits to Bulletproof Your Morning

January 11, 2018

I happen to be a morning person by intention. There is something inspiring about starting my day in the dark, and secret found-time that occurs before the sun rises; where the hours are slow and the day is filled with infinite possibilities. But to be honest, it wasn't always like this. There were years when I was literally dragging myself out of bed; and my first thought was “ I can’t wait for this day to be over, so I can go back to bed.” This is when I became dependent on caffeine. 


So what changed? How did I go from hitting the snooze button to hitting the gym at 5am?  I changed my habits.


Habits are incredibly important tools that can be used to help us create and curate the lives we want to live. We often go through life on autopilot; not paying attention to habitual behavior, or understanding how to harness the power of behavior patterns to achieve different outcomes. Your habits are either helping you or hurting you. As we age, our bodies and brains need more help to do their thing. Remember when you used to be able to eat and drink anything you wanted and never gained a pound?  You didn't need to go to the gym to stay fit and trim? Our metabolisms change, our lives get busier, and we develop detrimental habits that can sabotage health, wellness and happiness goals. One day you wake up and wonder WTF happened.

(Photo by: Kristen Coffield)

What happened is that we forgot to be the masters of our own destiny.  At any time we can decide to change that, and take back control of how we are living. 


I didn't particularly like the way my story was going, so I took a long look at the things in my life that I could control. “This is just the way things are” had to become “this is the way things can be.” I needed to set some new priorities and harness the power generated by putting goals into words — and asking the universe for a little help. Where were my habits in all of this? Were there little patterns of daily behavior holding me back because I simply wasn't paying attention to them?  There were many things in my environment that I could not change; however, I could change certain habits, and by doing so could make every day a little better than the day before. This is how I became an intentional early riser, made my physical health a priority, and started a process of transformation that literally changed the course of my life.


How you start your day sets everything in motion for the way the day will turn out


Being intentional about what you want to accomplish in your day is the first step toward harnessing the power of a morning routine. Here are 5 simple things you can do to make every morning the catalyst for productivity and happiness.


Set your day in motion the night before.  

       Lay out your clothes for the next day, prep your breakfast, lemon water 

       and vitamins, and create a priorities list. People who write down their 

       intentions have a higher success rate of accomplishing them than 

       people who don’t. 


2.    Get off your gadgets and other electronics an hour before you 

      want to fall asleep.

      We live in a world of distractions, and putting healthy boundaries on 

       the worst offenders will give you a competitive edge. Your phone, 

       computer, and television all light up the neurons in your brain, making      

       it harder to get your brain the detoxifying rest essential for productivity.


3.    Start every day by taking a few moments for gratitude and some 

      form of meditation, prayer or journaling.

      This simple practice sets up conscious and subconscious expectations 

       to help you have an amazing day.


4.    Rehydrate after the fast that occurs during sleep.

      Start your day with warm lemon water. 

       8oz of warm water with the juice from half a fresh lemon will help to 

       rehydrate your body, aid digestion, prevent oxidation, stimulate your 

       metabolism, and supply you with healthy doses of vitamin C and 



5.    Make exercise a non-negotiable activity.

      The thing that fit people and out-of-shape people have in common is 

       regular exercise is NOT their favorite thing. But fit people regularly 

       exercise anyway. Exercise can jump start your day with feel-good 

       endorphins, and will give you a great sense of accomplishment. 

       Working out first thing in the morning also avoids the conflicts that 

       often arise with trying to exercise later in the day.


6.    Stay off technology and social media for an hour after waking.

       Nothing will derail your high-productivity waking hours faster than 

       getting sucked into low-priority social media or checking your email. 

       Optimize your morning with a strict policy for making sure your first 

       hours are focused on gratitude, exercise, and some form of 


      Do not confuse being busy with being productive.

(Photo by: Kristen Coffield)

Make this year great by using the power of routine to start each day with intention and purpose.


Be committed to the mindset that your new patterns of behavior will make you more focused, productive and happy.


Hold yourself accountable to doing these 6 simple things every day until they become your new habits. You can start tonight and proactively change the rest of your tomorrows.


Be sure to visit me at The Culinary Cure to learn strategies for living an inspired and healthy life.


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Sleep Is Your Super Power

November 13, 2017

Sleep is the single most important thing you can do to create a foundation for Beautiful Longevity. Restorative rest is the key to a happy, healthy and productive life; improving cognitive function, strengthening your immune system, and providing valuable time for your body to process stress.  On the flip side, sleeplessness is a contributing factor in heart disease, cancer, diabetes, hypertension and depression — not to mention the development of cognitive impairment. Sleep is an essential part of our circadian cycle, providing time for the flushing of cellular debris generated by the body’s metabolic activity. You NEED at least 7 hours of sleep a night if you want to have normal, healthy levels of fluctuating hormones in your body.


Plan For Sleep:

Maintain regular sleeping patterns. Try to go to bed at the same time most nights and wake up at the some time most mornings.

Prepare for a good nights sleep.   Turn off your electronics an hour before your sleep time. Read paper books, practice meditation, pray or write in a journal.

Create a sleep ritual. Write down something for which you are grateful,  make a to do list for the morning, sip camomile tea.

Make sure your room is dark. Block out as much blue light from electronics and ambient light from your bedroom as possible.

Turn the temperature down.  67 degrees and below creates the best temperature for deep sleep. A cool room improves the quality of sleep.

Your bed should be reserved for sleep and sex. Get the TV out of the bedroom and get off your gadgets when in bed.


Eliminate Sleep Disruptors:

Avoid caffeine after 2pm. Your body needs time to process it so it doesn't affect your sleep.

Limit alcohol. You should also not drink for two hours before bed.  While alcohol may make you drowsy, it is a notorious sleep disruptor. It causes the release of adrenaline which disrupt the production of serotonin, one of the brain chemicals important for sleep.

Eat dinner 2-3 hours before bed time. You do not want to be too full or hungry when going to sleep. If you are hungry before bed, consider 10-15 raw almonds to bring your blood sugar up and avoid insomnia-causing nocturnal hypoglycemia.


Sleep Promoting Habits:

Consume your daily calories over a 12 hour period.  Fast the remaining 12 hours. This is the way your body was designed metabolize, and helps maintain a healthy weight.

Get exposure to the sun within 2 hours of waking.  This will signal your circadian clock to reset itself for the day.

Workout in the morning. If morning workouts are not your thing, avoid vigorous exercise within 3 hours of your bedtime.

Take a magnesium supplement at bedtime.  Magnesium is responsible for over 300 enzyme reactions in the body and you must have it for your cells to make energy. Magnesium helps anything tight relax and can improve your sleep. Try 300-500mg of magnesium citrate, glycerinate taurate, or aspartate before bed.

Drink sleep promoting herbal tea.  There are many delicious sleep promoting teas like Chamomile, Lavender, Holy Basil and Ashwagandha. Try making a medicinal dose by steeping 2 tea bags for 3-4 minutes and drinking before you head up to bed.


Longevity Benefits of Sleep:

Improved memory.  Memory consolidation takes place during sleep through the strengthening of the neural connections that form memories.

Increased longevity.  7 to 9 hours of sleep a night are associated with a longer life span.

Decreased risk of disease.  Healthy sleep lowers the levels of inflammatory proteins in the blood, decreasing the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, obesity and premature aging.

Maintaining healthy weight. Sleep and metabolism are controlled by the same areas of the brain. Lack of sleep triggers the hunger hormones, and makes it harder to lose fat. Insufficient sleep, fewer than six hours a night, is linked with weight gain.

Lower stress and improved cardiovascular health. During REM sleep one of the stress-related brain chemicals, noradrenalin, is switched off. This allows us to remain calm while our brains reprocess all the experiences of the day.

Reduced anxiety and less risk of depression. Normal sleep is a restorative state that reboots the body and brain and processes out daily stress. When sleep is disrupted or inadequate, it can lead to increased tension and irritability. Inability to sleep or oversleeping can be signs of depression and lack of sleep for any reason can make depression worse.

Improved immune function. Sleep decreases the levels of inflammatory triggers in the body, increasing resistance to infection.


Make sleep a priority to keep you living younger longer!

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