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General Posts, NICE

The Top 9 Benefits Of Being Nice vs. A Complete Jerk

Advatages of Being Nice-Farmhouse Soul blog post

Let’s Talk Nice. 

What happened to being nice? Lately there’s been an upsurge in degrading insults, pissed off rants and the absolute lack of respect or regard for any opinion that doesn’t mirror our own. And it’s not limited to political ideology, religion or social issues either. There is a stifling pervasive stench of nastiness. Intolerance and bullying are on the rise. To call it a pandemic might be an exaggeration. However, based on observations of posts and comments from various social and national media outlets, a fast growing number of folks think that “it’s OK to be mean”. Well, most of your mother’s would say “it’s not”. Somehow we need to regain our perspective on the bigger picture.

Reboot The Attitoot.

Here’s one suggestion. Let’s all take a big communal deep breath followed by a collective step back and regroup. Who can argue that showing compassion, respect and kindness toward your fellow human isn’t a good thing? But to be clear, being nice to others doesn’t mean being passive, weak or some kind of a cheap sunflower print doormat. Nice is about being understanding and empathetic yet assertive and strong. It’s about taking the stage while letting others bask in sharing the spotlight too. So, I’d like to offer up a few interesting but presently overlooked facts to the benefits of being NICE.

  1. Nice People Make More Money
    According to Professor Dacher Keltner, a scientist at the University of California-Berkeley, compassionate people, especially those who are able to read other people’s emotions and clearly communicate their own are not only healthier and happier, but also more popular, and even more successful at work. Turns out, nice people get more raises and promotions.
  2. When It Comes To Love, Nice People Are Luckier
    A study done at the University of Toronto found that people who are generally pleasant and friendly have one half the divorce rate of the general population.
  3. Nice People Are Healthier
    Ervin Staub, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, found that nice people have fewer trips to the doctor. Also, a University of Michigan study found that older people who are charitable with their time have a 60 percent lower rate of pre-mature death than their selfish unhelpful peers (University of Michigan study). Live mean, die young. According to studies, everyone from the elderly to alcoholics saw their health improve if they did volunteer work.
  4. Showing Kindness Demonstrates Strength
    It is much more difficult to hold your tongue and speak supportively toward others, especially those who have wronged or mistreated you. Being kind is more challenging and more honorable.
  5. Nice People Spend Less Time in Court
    At the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, they found that doctors who have never been sued speak to their patients for an average of 3 minutes longer than physicians who have been sued twice or more. Just by being more empathetic, doctors might avoid malpractice suits altogether.
  6. Being Nice Feels Good
    Brain scans consistently show that acts of kindness register more like eating chocolate than, say, fulfilling an obligation. The same pleasure centers light up when we receive a gift as when we donate to charity. Neuroscientists sometimes refer to it as “the warm glow” effect.
  7. It’s The Right Thing To Do
    While being kind sometimes feels as though you are allowing meanness to go unnoticed or unchecked, it does not mean you’re allowing others to walk all over you. You are simply rising above in a different way.
  8. Being Mean Doesn’t Solve Anything.
    Being nice can diffuse a tense situation. It doesn’t matter if nothing is solved, at least you know you didn’t make it worse.
  9. Being Nice Makes Others Happy (and you too!)
    Maybe not right away, especially when the tip of your tongue is holding itself back from spewing your true feelings. At the end of the day, you can fall asleep easier knowing you didn’t say something you can’t take back.  You’ll have peace of mind reflecting back on how you offered kindness instead of unnecessary meanness.

    The Golden Rule Effect.

    The way you act towards others is a reflection on yourself. Your words or actions can last forever on others. Sometimes it doesn’t feel permanent to you, but to the other person, it could be everlasting. Surveys have shown people prefer to be known for being nice rather than a complete a**hole. It’s up to you. No doubt, some will say, “Yeah, well, I really don’t care what people think of me”. To those people I’d say… “This world is already difficult enough to navigate. So, pause and think the next time you’re about to unleash a slew of negativity, contempt, disdain or whatever else upon the rest of us . Go get some therapy, smoke some weed or somethin’ to fix the tude, dude. If you’re not gettin’ paid to be mean stop workin’ for free.” Yep, that’s what I’d say, if I could. Wait…I guess I just did.

General Posts, NICE

Breakfast- 8 Quick Healthy Great Tasting Choices.

Breakfast, who has time? And it’s supposed to be healthy too? It might seem like a lot to ask, especially if you’re not a morning person. Some of us (my husband Patrick included) can’t handle anything more than a cup or two of coffee to get the day going.  Having less than healthy eating habits will catch-up with you, as Patrick recently found out from his doctor . The early signs can be easily ignored, but if you continue to venture down this slippery slope you’ll face some really unpleasant and unhealthy issues like serious weight gain, type 2 diabetes and a list of things you’ll wish you didn’t have to deal with. Here’s a couple of symptoms that might sound familiar  A consistent mid-morning energy crisis.  Brain fog so thick you can hear the fog horn going off inside your head and no amount of coffee seems to help.  An overall feeling of lethargy throughout the day. These are just a few of the consequences  you can avoid by simply fueling  your body nutritiously in the morning.

When you skip breakfast you might think it will save you a couple of pounds, but the reality is the numbers on the scale will start creeping up not down. That’s because when you don’t eat anything for breakfast (sorry Hun, coffee doesn’t count)  your metabolism slows down, not good! Improving your overall eating habits will not only make you feel better physically, but mentally as well. Then you’ll be on your way to living a NICE life. The primary benefit we get when we Nurture our bodies is that we feel better, which in turn Inspires us to do more and Create more. The end result? We Evolve and that’s what the NICE Life Evolution is all about!

Ok, I know it can be an effort, but your health and well being are worth it. It’s been proven that when our health is good our outlook on life is better, which in turn allows us to focus on and improve other areas of our life. Try eating something nutritious in the morning for two weeks and see if you don’t reap some rewards. I gave this list of breakfast ideas to Patrick and he thought he could handle most of them (we’ll see).

Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Citrus Fruit, Aromatherapy for Breakfast-

Oranges, tangerines and especially grapefruit can help wake you up. The smell energizes and can actually cause your body to produce serotonin, called the “happiness” hormone. Citrus fruit is also packed with vitamin C for added benefits.Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Apples-

Besides tasting good, apples are high in soluble fiber (4 grams per medium apple) which helps fill you up and keeps you feeling full longer. Apples also contain vitamin C and the antioxidant quercetin which can boost endurance by making oxygen more available to the lungs. So have an apple before you go workout. Here are some quick breakfast ideas.

  • Add chopped apple to oatmeal or any whole grain healthy cereal that’s low in sugar.
  • Apple slices with 1-2 Tbls. almond butter or peanut butter. For added nutrients sprinkle with chia seeds or sesame seeds and a few raisins.
  • Try this cinnamon apple overnight oatmeal recipe from tastesbetterfromscratch  but use grated apple instead of applesauce.

Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Avocado-

With cholesterol lowering monounsaturated fats and loads of fiber, avocados are a great breakfast choice. They help regulate blood sugar which will keep your energy level on a more even keel. Besides tasting rich and yummy, they are full of great nutrients and have more potassium than bananas. Try some of these breakfast suggestions:

  • Sliced avocado on whole grain (low sugar) toast. Use a fork to mash the avocado onto the toast to bring out the flavor. Sprinkle with a pinch of sea salt or pink Himalayan salt.
  • One hard boiled egg sliced, or if you prefer over easy or scrambled. Use a healthy oil or tiny bit of butter/margarine to cook it in. Whatever you use, make sure it doesn’t contain hydrogenated oils (we like Smart Balance). Eat your egg with 3-4 slices of avocado on top.

Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Eggs-

Yes, eggs are definitely a wonderful choice for a quick healthy breakfast! They are high in protein, and have lots of wonderful nutrients. As I mentioned above, you can hard boil, scramble, poach or cook them over easy. Use a non-stick pan with as little oil/butter as possible. Use a healthy oil such as coconut or olive oil. If you use a margarine make sure it doesn’t contain any hydrogenated oils (try Smart Balance).

  • Put hard boiled egg slices on a piece of whole grain toast with one slice of lean (uncured, if possible) Canadian bacon.
  • Try the egg and avocado suggestions listed under avocado.
  • Cook egg according to your preference and place in a heated corn or whole wheat tortilla with a couple of teaspoons salsa or favorite hot sauce.
  • Breakfast Burrito- 8″ whole wheat tortilla, 1 hard boiled egg sliced, 1 slice Canadian bacon or lean ham. 1/2 ounce slice of cheese (optional) you can also use low fat cheese and 1 tablespoon salsa.

Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Yogurt-

I know there are a lot of yogurts on the market. All kinds of delicious sounding flavors that are loaded with calories and sugar (sad). The good news is that non-fat Greek yogurt is not only great tasting but is packed with protein (twice the amount of regular yogurt) and probiotics that are great for your digestive and immune systems. It’s thick rich texture and taste defy how healthy it is,  only 100 calories for a 6 ounce serving and a lot less carbohydrates and sugar than regular yogurt. It’s high in potassium and low in sodium, contains vitamin B12 and the high calcium content helps with weight loss and  overall health. If you don’t like the thicker texture of Greek yogurt try using it to make a morning smoothie which will thin it down but you’ll still get all the benefits.

  • Try a yogurt and fruit parfait. Add some fresh berries of your choice, chopped apple, toasted almonds or walnuts. Sweeten with honey or agave. You can even swirl in a teaspoon or two of almond butter for a creamy treat. Try this recipe from Real Simple
  • Mix yogurt with honey or agave to taste and add a little vanilla extract, stir well and top a bowl of fresh berries with it, delicious!
  • Substitute Greek yogurt in any of your favorite smoothie recipes. Here’s a link to a yummy peanut butter & banana smoothie from the chubby vegetarian.

Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Energy Bars-

If you don’t have any time in the morning or have to ease into eating something for breakfast other that coffee, try an energy bar. Not all bars are created equal, though, and there are many of them on the market that are really high in sugar and don’t pack much protein. So look at the label and keep the sugar around 10 grams, the protein around 10 grams and the fiber at least 3-5 grams. Try Kashi Go Lean bars, Odwalla and Tru Soy and Kind bars. There are some really good and fairly simple recipes to make your own bars. Give this Apple Pie Granola Bar recipe  a try (see photo above, credit Carmen Sturdy) from dailyburn.com

Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Nut and Seed Butters-

Almond butter tops the list of nut butters when it comes to the healthiest choice. It has more heart healthy fats than peanut butter and usually less sugar too. Pick an organic or all natural brand that contains only roasted almonds. If peanut butter is your preference, you’re still okay as long as you buy natural peanut butter with nothing added. Peanuts should be the only ingredient with the exception of a little sea salt some brands add.

Yes, I know it’s a pain to stir up the natural nut butters and keep them in the fridge, but it’s worth it. Brands like Skippy and Jif that don’t need mixing, contain hydrogenated oils which are a big no-no for your heart health, plus they’re loaded with sugar.

Seed butters are another option, especially for those who have nut allergies. Sun butter made with sunflower seeds is a good one to try. Again just stick with the ones that have the fewest ingredients.

  • Spread 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter on 1 slice of 100% whole grain (low sugar) bread toasted. Top with 1/2 of a banana sliced and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon chia or sesame seeds.
  • Toast a whole grain toaster waffle and spread with 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter, 1 tablespoon raisins and a sprinkle of sesame or chia seeds, or chopped peanuts or almonds for added fiber. This breakfast is  higher in sugar than some of the others due to the toaster waffle. Limit this choice to only a couple of times per week.

Note-

Peanut butter naturally contains the amino acid tryptophan which can make you feel tired. So, if you have trouble clearing out the morning fog you might be better off with almond butter, at least in the a.m.

Breakfast Ideas-Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog

Fiber Rich Cereals-

High fiber cereals often contain too much sugar and sodium but there are some good ones, such as, the Kashi GoLean cereals. Their Clusters cereals contain 6 grams of fiber, 9 grams of protein, 9 grams of sugar and 85 mg of sodium per serving. These are reasonable numbers which you can use to compare other high fiber cereals to. Stick to the serving size with 1 cup of low fat milk or 6 ounces of vanilla Greek yogurt. You can increase the vitamins and fiber by adding 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts, almonds and/or fresh or dried chopped fruit. Look for dried fruit without any added sugar.

Note-

Nuts and seeds are very healthy and good for you unless you suffer from allergies to them. Also, if you suffer from a gastrointestinal issue like diverticulitis, colitis or Crohn’s disease, consult with your physician before adding these to your diet.

Eating a healthy breakfast helps balance your mind, body and soul. Enjoy and live NICE!

Live NICE-Farmhouse Soul Blog