One Girl’s Guide to Healthy Eating

Hello beautiful reader,

I am writing this post to share some of the tips & tricks I’ve learned over the years to maintain a healthy diet (not “diet” like “on a diet,” but “diet” like “what I normally eat.”)

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional, dietary specialist, professional nutritionist nor literally any other type of authority on this topic, so consult your doctor before taking my advice. I just want to share what has helped me over the years.

So, without further ado, here is my guide to healthy eating:

  1. Eat for Your Health, Not for Your Appearance
    1. After eating healthier for a while, we can become discouraged if we don’t see physical changes right away, but remember to check in with yourself and notice how much better you FEEL.
    2. It’s not all about the number on the scale or your clothing sizes.
      1. These things can be very misleading & inconsistent.
  2. The Key is Finding Healthier Alternatives. Do Your Own Research.
    1. Care about the quality of food you are eating as it pertains to your health.
    2. Research healthier, organic and non-GMO alternatives to the foods you already eat.
    3. Some examples:
      1. If you want potato chips, try baked chips rather than fried chips. Same goes for French fries.
      2. If you want fried chicken, throw some breadcrumbs on the chicken and bake it! If you season your food right, you won’t even notice the difference.
  3. Speaking of Seasoning, “Healthy” Doesn’t Have to Mean “Bland.”
    1. I got this tip from my cousin when he was a vegetarian:
      1. Not used to eating so many veggies? Not sure how to season them? Season them the same way you would season meat.
        1. Sidenote: If you don’t season the meat you cook, start with garlic powder, onion powder and Sazón Tropical seasoning (the green one).
        2. Also, while I’m at it, clean the meat before you eat it by soaking it in vinegar & water. ALSO, clean your vegetables by soaking them in vinegar & water especially if you plan on eating them raw. Too many people don’t do this and it really makes me uncomfortable.
  4. Consider What Your Body Has to Say
    1. Dietary needs are definitely not a one-size-fits-all situation.
    2. Listen to your body when it comes to the food you eat rather than ONLY following other people’s dietary advice.
    3. Request an allergy panel. It’ll give you some insight into why you react certain ways to certain foods that are deemed “healthy.”
  5. Be Kind to Yourself
    1. Health isn’t just your diet, but your mental health as well. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Eat from a place of love, not from a place of punishment.
    2. We all eat food that is unhealthy. I’m not a fan of calling it a “cheat meal” because to me, it’s just a meal.
    3. One of the most encouraging things I’ve heard, pertaining to food, is this:
      1. If you eat fast food ever day for every meal, then, one day, you decide to eat a balanced, home-cooked meal, you’re not suddenly going to become significantly physically healthier from that ONE meal. Are you?
      2. Well, that works the same way for the opposite. If you are consistently making the effort to eat well for your health, then, one day, you decide to go off on a large, greasy pizza with all the toppings & sauces along with a side of cheesy bread and dessert to top it off, you’re not going to suddenly become significantly less healthy from that ONE meal. Enjoy that pizza boo!
  6. Celebrate your Effort as Much as You Celebrate Your Progress.
    1. Goals and milestones are great, but the in between is where the growth happens.
    2. Celebration doesn’t always need to be tied to seeking junk food as a reward either. It could literally just be a moment of recognition and saying, “thank you” to yourself.

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I hope you have a healthy day. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have any tips you’d like to share?

With love,

M

Greatness

April 13th, 2020: 

Everyone is destined for greatness. It just depends on what they define greatness as. If we stop comparing ourselves to one another and simply listen to our hearts and work hard, we will be great. We will succeed. We succeed every day we use our gifts for good. Fame does not directly correlate to greatness. Money does not directly correlate to success. They say money is simply a tool. It is not the destination. It is not the goal. 

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I don’t need to have my name in the history books. At the end of the day, the people we look up to, the people who have their names in the history books and the people we study often have a village lifting them up. Their village helped them get to where they are and every single one of those individuals who comprise those villages are just as important as the names we know.

We can’t all be the next Lin Manuel Miranda, Ava DuVernay, Thomas Edison, Isa Rae, Madam CJ Walker or Elon Musk. But, I have really exciting news for you: We can all be the first us.

It’s important to remember this. Even if it’s not our faces, even if it’s not our names, we all have a part to play and it is beautiful and it is necessary. It is needed. We are needed. You are needed.

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

What are your thoughts on this?

With love,

M

to the daydreamer: your best life

A note to the person who is learning how to be proud of where they are in their journey, right now, in this very moment regardless of how much further they believe they have to go:

I have this image in my mind of some future, more accomplished version of myself who has her life together. She has more money than I do. She has stronger, healthier relationships than I do, not just with others, but with herself. She’s not only content, but she is truly happy. I used to think, “I’m just over here trying to live my best life, but when I’m her, I’ll finally be living my best life. I’m just trying to get like her.”

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

The truth is where you are is your life. The past, the future, and alternate realities are concepts. The phrase, “your best life” gives off the impression that you have infinite possibilities and if you choose the wrong path, you might arrive at a destination that was not the optimal one, a destination that is not “your best life.” But, your best life isn’t found at the destination. Your best life is found in living. Your best life is found here, now. All we ever have is the present.

How you feel about it determines whether or not you are already living your best life. That’s it. Not how other people feel about your life, not where you believe you can go from here, not even where you’ve been. But how you feel about your life right now, relative to nothing else.

It’s okay to not have it all together. It took me a long time to realize very few people have it all figured out. I don’t think most of us ever figure it all out. However, I believe the few people who seem to have it figured out prioritize their happiness. 

I genuinely believe happiness is so valuable. Far more valuable than money, attention or status. True happiness can’t be bought because it comes from within. Happiness is found in the present. I personally believe if you are living your life to the best of your ability, even if you haven’t found happiness yet, you are already living your best life.

What are your thoughts on this? Did this post show you a different perspective or did you already feel this way?

With love,

M

P.S. – Click here for my first poetry book. ❤️

Morgan

April 18th, 2020:

I made a short film at 4:00 a.m. and just posted it on Instagram. I keep checking my notifications, but I need to stop that. The joy should be in the making the thing, not how people react.

Even when making it, I was rushing to post it on Instagram. I’m working on that, but in the meantime, it does feel good to finish and release projects. 

I can call myself an author because I’ve published a book. I can call myself a filmmaker because I’ve made short films. I can’t call myself something I haven’t earned the right to call myself. I can’t claim something I have yet to accomplish.

Then again, maybe that’s okay. Maybe, I should simply be content with knowing what I enjoy doing. I don’t really need to call myself anything other than “Morgan” to feel complete.

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August 1st, 2020 (Update):

It’s a balancing act. I don’t release everything I make.

I’ve gone through periods of time in which the art I’ve created was purely for my enjoyment, periods of time in which I’ve shared everything I was making both to inspire others and to share art I was proud of making, and periods of time in which everything I was making was made to be shared. I still haven’t found the sweet spot, the balance between filling my cup up and pouring what I have into the world’s cup.

However, I’ve realized it’s actually okay to be excited to see how people will receive the art I make, but it’s important to ask myself why I care how my art will be received.

I’m still figuring that out, but for now, here’s what I know:

  1. I enjoy telling stories.
  2. I enjoy when people feel better after they consume the stories I tell.

So, I think I’m on the right track.

And with that, I’ll end this post with a quote that I first heard in one of my favorite movies, Harriet the Spy (2010):

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” – Cyril Connolly

What are your thoughts on this?

🌹

With love,

M

LEAD WITH LOVE

June 2nd, 2020:

“Speak the truth, even if your voice shakes.” – Maggie Kuhn

Sometimes, the people in our lives say things that don’t sit well with us. Don’t let it slide. Address it with love. Breathe. Take your time. Read the room. Sleep on it, if you must. But, have the conversation if it’s important to you.

The deepest changes and the most impactful revelations are born from the courage to have uncomfortable conversations.

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To change something, it helps to first understand it, to listen. Once you begin the conversation, you might feel a sentiment similar to: 

“It has seemed to me that most people are generally good, in every race and in every country where I have been.” – Langston Hughes

A friend of mine brought up a great point recently. She said that it can be difficult to simply have a conversation with some individuals because the information they are continuously consuming is a different set of information than the information you are continuously consuming.

It is similar to a book club discussing this week’s chapters, but each member of the club has been reading from one of two stories: Grendel or Beowulf, Maleficent or Sleeping Beauty.

The stories we consume shape how we see the world, the protagonists, traditionally seen as the good guys, and the antagonists, traditionally seen as the bad guys. Who gets to tell us the story often shapes the stories we consume.

Many of us find comfort in the way we see the world as some of us conflate the way we see the world with our place in it, seeing our place as stagnant and sure. If we continue to only consume one side of the story, we’ll continue to think we’re right, citing quotes from our source material, and the other person is wrong simply because their quotes don’t make sense to us, rather than realizing, there is another set of information we have yet to consume.

While thinking for ourselves, we arrive at our own ideas and opinions as a result of the stories we consume. We create an output dependent on the inputs.  

Once we seek to consume all sides of the story, once we accept the idea that, in someone else’s story, we might not always be the protagonist and once we accept the idea that “…most people are generally good…” (Langston Hughes), we will become more comfortable with the idea that we can both be correct. 

We already understand this concept to some extent. If I’m facing you and I say, “to the left”, you’ll probably respond, “Your left or my left?” and not, “You clearly don’t know what left is.” We already understand that perspective changes everything. We already understand that we can point to the same exact spot and call it the exact opposite of what the other person calls it. We already accept the idea that we can both be correct.

So, begin the conversation. Begin to understand why the other person feels the way they feel. Consume that other set of information. Then, resume the conversation.

What are your thoughts on this? Let me know in the comments.

With love,

M

P.S. – One of my favorite books, “Unflattening” by Nick Sousanis, really helped me understand this idea. Our truth is not always the whole truth. What we see is simply a piece of the puzzle.

R E S P E C T

May 17th, 2020:

The difference between treating someone with respect and having respect for someone is a fundamental part of my understanding of how to interact with other individuals.

Treating someone with respect says far more about me than it does about the other person. However, for me to have respect for that other person, they must earn it. One is a gesture, the other is a feeling.

I have to thank my parents for this. They did a pretty great job at showing, not telling. No matter my age, they always treat me with respect, like a full human being, which really gave me the audacity to believe I am one, giving me the chance to earn their respect.

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They didn’t raise me to be a follower. They knew my questions didn’t warrant a, “because I said so” or a, “because I’m the parent.” Rather, they raised me to question everything that didn’t make sense to me. They knew my questions deserved either an actual answer or an understandably human, “I don’t know. Let’s figure it out.” They set a powerful precedent, establishing the idea that thinking for myself does not inherently disrespect them. 

I’ll treat everyone with respect.

I’ve realized it doesn’t matter if I’m older than you. I will still show you respect. It doesn’t matter if I am in the position of authority. I will still show you respect. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like me and it doesn’t matter if I don’t like you. I will still show you respect. I had to grow into that last one. 

I will treat you like a full human being, with respect, keeping an open heart and giving you the chance to earn my respect.

What are your thoughts on this topic? Let me know in the comments.

With love,

M

One Girl’s Guide to Meditation

Hello beautiful reader,

Many of us have a very specific idea of what meditation is. Consequently, many of us believe we just don’t have the attention span for it, so we write meditation off as “not for me.”

Photo courtesy of DVDizzy.com

Although this is the idea we’ve seen more often, both in the media and in research about traditional meditation, it’s not the only form that meditation can take today.

Here’s a little modern meditation cheat sheet for you, derived from my personal experience.

DISCLAIMER: I’m not a professional meditation expert. I just want to share what has helped me in hopes that it might help someone else.

  1. For Beginners:
    1. I was a relatively anxious 14 years old. One day, my mom’s coworker suggested I listen to a meditation podcast aptly titled The Meditation Podcast. It was a guided meditation. The episodes were long, about 45 minutes long, but they worked. I’d listen to them while lying in bed or sitting in the passenger seat on the way to school and they helped me find calmness and stillness in the midst of the everyday hustle and bustle.
    2. They can be as long or as short as you want them to be. I often enjoy listening to 1 minute guided meditations.
  2. For Mindfulness:
    1. The Calm app had a really great mindfulness guided meditation plan. This was how I began practicing mindfulness. The beauty of this is, as the narrator tells you, it’s okay to allow your mind to wander then to “gently bring your attention back” to the present moment. Mindfulness is about observing the present moment without judgement. This might be a good place to start for people with short attention spans.
    2. The Calm app and Simple Habit both have great “Body Scan” meditations that really help bring you back to the present moment as well.
  3. For Your Morning Routine: Try Simple Habit’s “Meditation in Bed”
    1. In a Rush? Try “1 Minute Meditation” by Don Simmons on YouTube.
  4. For Midterms/Finals Week: Try Simple Habit’s “Relax Before Your Exam.”
    1. I used to do this meditation before I would leave my apartment to take my exams and it helped me tremendously.
  5. For a Reminder of Your Importance in this World: Simple Habit’s “Appreciate Your Impact”
  6. For a Bedtime Story: The Calm app’s “Sleep Stories” section has many amazing recordings, but two of my favorites that I’ve listened to so far are “Wonder,” narrated my Matthew McConaughey and “Dreaming of Atlantis,” narrated by Alan Sklar.

These apps and guided meditations can act as a gateway to greater and deeper spiritual reflection for people who see more traditional meditation as daunting or unattainable.

I hope these meditations can help you find moments of serenity throughout your day. Comment below with any meditations you’d like to share.

With love,

M

Inspirational Quotes for Trying Times

Hello beautiful reader,

I used to be obsessed with inspirational quotes when I was in high school. (I still have multiple Pinterest boards dedicated to them.)

Whenever I needed a boost of inspiration or a change in perspective, I would look for quotes. In fact, although my first blog post was a playlist of my favorite songs at that time, my second blog post was a list of some of my favorite inspirational quotes.

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

If you’re searching for some inspiration, I hope this gallery of some of my favorite quotes can help.

(Click on the images to expand the gallery.)

All images courtesy of Pinterest.

I hope something you’ve read resonates with you.

Comment your favorite quote(s) below!

💡

With love,

M

Finding My Why

Actual footage of me searching for my “why”. (GIF courtesy of giphy.com)

Recently, I’ve been noticing a recurring theme pop up in my life: the importance of understanding my “why.”

Why do I do what I do?

Wait. What do I do?

When I focus on my “why” rather than my “what,” I find that my “what” becomes far more flexible. I give myself permission to grow and pivot when my “why” is at the core of what I do.

I’ll continue to evolve and, with my growth, my “why” might evolve as well, but in this moment, my “why” can be summed up with a quote by Marianne Williamson: 

“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Right now, this is my “why.” I want people to know they are not alone. I don’t want to contribute to pluralistic ignorance anymore. 

It was scary to lean into what makes me different, but when I did, I learned that when we allow ourselves to shine, our shine becomes a lighthouse, a beacon that attracts our people.

You know when you’ve found your people, it’s the moment when you’re in company that makes your soul feel at ease. Moments like these are proof that you are not alone. But first, you’ve got to stop dulling your own shine in an attempt to be what you think other people expect you to be.

GIF courtesy of giphy.com

Side note: People have far more to worry about than their expectations for others, so if others’ expectations for you weigh heavily on you, I’d suggest having an honest conversation about it with that other person if you can. If you’re not comfortable enough with nor close enough to that other person to have a conversation about their expectations for you, then ask yourself why their expectations weigh so heavily on you. Only you can evaluate that for yourself.

❤️

With love,

M

A Playlist for Your Soul

Hello beautiful reader,

I don’t know about you, but I’m an empath, so I’ve realized I have to be incredibly mindful about the information I’m taking in, especially recently.

A lot of painful news headlines and stories have been shared on our televisions and on social media lately.

Photo courtesy of Instagram

Healing might seem unnecessary if nothing you’re watching, listening to or reading about is directly happening to you, but it is important to be aware of the amount of pain you are consuming. We are what we eat and, if we continue to consume pain without allowing ourselves to process it, we might not even notice when we become numb to it.

Photo courtesy of Instagram

Heavy hearts, unfortunately, are a result of allowing ourselves to acknowledge and process the difficult times we, as a society, are experiencing. Everyone heals in different ways and as we grow, we continue to find coping mechanisms or “tools,” as my mentor says, that help us.

Music is one of my tools because it reminds me I’m not the only one feeling what I’m feeling. I made a playlist for you with some songs that bring me comfort, joy and hope. I hope these songs can do the same for you.

I’m always looking for new music recommendations, so please comment below with song titles that help to soothe your soul.

Gif courtesy of giphy.com

With love,

M

Wild Things

April 14th, 2020:

After watching yet another commercial made with quarantine in mind, I have realized, this is an extremely rare time we are living in because it is giving us all a shared experience. For the first time in generations, everyone, no matter your age, race, gender or religion, is experiencing this at the same time and as much tragedy as this pandemic is bringing, there is a strengthening of the shared consciousness of our society. There is beauty to be found in this commonality.

Maybe it’s wildly optimistic for me to hope we’ll be better for it when we emerge on the other side, that this moment has the impact it is capable of and actually changes us for the better. Optimistic, I know. But, wilder things have happened.

With love,

M

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The Book Tag

Do you have a certain place at home for reading?

The couch is my personal favorite.

Bookmark or a random piece of paper?

I love bookmarks, but I rarely have one near me when I need it. As a result, I’ve used a random peace of paper, a necklace, pens and pencils and anything else that will hold my place in the book.

Can you stop reading anytime you want or do have to stop at a certain page, chapter,part etc.?

I highly prefer the luxury of stopping once I reach the end of a chapter, but if I must stop, I can stop anywhere.

Do you eat or drink while reading?

I don’t do either for multiple reasons. The first being I find that eating or drinking while simultaneously reading takes me out of the story. In fact, if it’s a really great story, I’ll often forget to eat and drink at all while I’m reading. The second reason is, when I was younger, I heard someone say that the human body struggles to digest food and read at the same time because of blood flow to the stomach and brain. I’m unsure if it’s true, but I heard it when I was a lot younger and I’ve used it to rationalize snack-based procrastination when it comes to my schoolwork ever since, so I have to stay consistent. Remember kids: consistency is key.

Can you read while listening to music/watching TV?

I can read while music/TV plays in the background, but I don’t think I can properly consume both mediums simultaneously.

If my dad is reading this, schoolwork is different. In that case, music/TV actually helps to keep me focused. It’s odd, but true.

One book at a time or several at once?

I would love to be the type of person who carries the book they’re reading around with them everywhere they go and doesn’t pick up a new book until they finish the one they are reading, but I am currently in the process of reading four books. I think the key is that they are all different genres: a nostalgic read, a classic, a young adult romance, and … one that I’m still not sure what it’s about.

Reading at home or everywhere?

Both, but preferably at home.

Reading out loud or silently in your head?

Silently for sure.

Do you read ahead or skip pages?

And rob myself of the process of arriving there naturally? Why? No! Potentially spoil a plot twist? I could never.

Breaking the spine or keeping it new?

This one’s tough. I try to keep it new, but it usually depends on where I read the book. If I read it at home, it usually stays looking new. However, if I read it everywhere, it usually sustains a bit of natural wear and tear.

Do you write in books?

I never did until I had an English teacher who made us annotate Fahrenheit 451. Then, I watched NayaReadsandSmiles’s video on how she annotates her books. After that, I fell in love with it. But, most of the time, I write on post-it notes within the books rather than writing directly on their pages.

And, of course, only on books I own.

That was fun! I tag anyone who wants to do this tag as well.

I truly hope you are doing well.

Until next time,

Morgan

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