One task, one goal

..at a time. Can you do it?

Today I tried to

  • do abs
  • listen to a webinar
  • take a shower, get dressed and all the rest
  • prepare my lunch and snack for work (ok, it’s only an apple so not a big deal)

And I tired to do it all mainly by doing two things at a time.

Let me tell you: I’m not a multitasker. My lunch finished on my clothes, I didn’t get much of the webinar and I left home stressed. I don’t know how other people do it (multitasking) and to be honest I highly doubt they do

Later in a day I found that article:
https://medium.com/darius-foroux/the-power-of-single-tasking-b8a08e8b1084

And it made me think about how I approach life and everyday routine.

I try to do more than one thing at a time and according to this article it just doesn’t work. One goal, one desire in each field can help you to streamline your energy into one direction. Sometimes your goal can be so important that it will define other goals or even eliminate them. For example if you want to start your own firm you must probably downsize your expenses and spend more time on the new project. No dining out, new clothes, holidays or procrastinating: new business is your main thing.

I thought why we or I tend to put so much on our plate. Maybe we’re not committed enough to choose only one important project? Or maybe one goal is so intimidating and we need something else to keep us sane (or distracted)? Or maybe..just maybe..we’re afraid of failure so we engage in million different things hoping that at least one of them will work and we won’t see ourselves as a complete failure?

Another possibility is that we’re so accustomed to doing more than one thing and having a single goal is so close to being obsessed with something. Our society love obsessed people: the geniuses that create amazing things. We love to read about them, we love to buy things they’ve created, we go to see movies made about their lives. But we don’t want to be obsessed weirdos, that’s a hard life.

Doing one thing is scary perspective to me. Some of the things suggested in this article scare me! Going for a workout without music? Turning on the ‘don’t disturb mode’ in your phone for the whole day? Damn, that’s extreme.

But I’d like to practise single goal approach. Running, work, life.

Freedom is secured not by the fulfilling of men’s desires, but by the removal of desire.” (Epictetus)

Are you a single goal type of person?

What are your goals at the moment?

5 for Friday

All female Milan Marathon Relay: running for a good cause

This Sunday Milan will be full of runners! Between marathon runners and relay runners there will be few people left on the couch..

Let’s hope they will not stay there, we need some cheering along the way!

This year I run for AISM (Associazione Italiana per Sclerosi Multipla), an Association that helps people affected by multiple sclerosis, both patients and their families. Thanks to my friend Greta I’ll be joining another 3 women in a relay. I have to say that running for good cause is incredible: you feel faster that you really are basically you smile all the way. Finally you’re running not only for your benefit! If you want to donate (what you pay for your regular coffee would be great!), please follow the link https://bit.ly/2IcFMRx

Green monster: my shake full of goodness

You know I love my fruits and veggies but I’m not a big fan of fruit juices as they have little to no fibre. Recently I found myself in an emergency: I had to process a bunch of oranges that started to go bad (nice problem to have, I know).

That’s how I created a Green Monster: oranges blended with a lot of fresh spinach and some fresh ginger. If you don’t like spinach trust me you won’t feel the taste of it! Vit C from oranges will help to absorb iron from the spinach and ginger will do some good as well and give you that sharp, ‘zingy’ taste!

Reading: a bit of spookiness and of course running

I have two new books on my Kindle and I love them so far! The first one ‘A skinful of shadows’ is a very well written spooky story. I’m not a fantasy of horror lover and this one is not a typical ghost story. It’s about a girl living in England around English Civil War, a girl with a particular gift, trying to deal with it the best she can. The synopsis will probably won’t make you want to read it but trust me, it’s a great story!

‘The way of the runner’ is an incredible book: it’s not about Kenyan runners or obese people becoming runners! That alone should sold that for you!

Seriously, this book tells a story of fenomenon:running in Japan. I knew japanese runners were fast but I had no idea how fast and that running was such a big deal there. You probably heard of ekiden, a relay running in a japanese corporations but I bet you didn’t know that the big companies have professional running teams! I’m getting into this book and if you’re like me, a running nerd, you’d like it as well!

Coconut oil

I’ve already told you I use coconut oil everyday but now I’ve found another use: taking off my makeup. I’ve tried that method a while ago and it didn’t go well and now I know why. Simply the coconut oil I had before was not of a great quality..The one I’m using now is simply divine. I put a small amount on my face, makeup simply melts off and I take everything with a small cloth damped previously in warm water. Then I normally wash my face with soap. Works incredibly!

Spring!

I love summer even more but I have to say that spring, longer days and everything that blossoms makes me very excited for each day! I love light, I’m addicted to it so springtime makes me feel so positive even if not everything is perfect 😉 Few weeks ago I went for my first bike ride of the season and I can’t wait for another one!


Food trends: do you follow?

If you pay attention to new healthy crazes on Instagram or Youtube you probably know that celery juice is the new black. Celery prices are going over the roof because someone made a claim that celery juice will change your health.

I guess eating more vegetables is always better than having less of them and green juice a day won’t hurt anyone.

Do you want to have a brief round of recent health trends with me? Let’s see what’s been going on recently in the fitness world.

Celery juice

To juice or not to juice…

It supposed to help you with

  • Inflammation
  • Gut health
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Pay your taxes (I was just checking if you were reading)

From what I read and heard from  people who had it form some weeks it can be good to your health. In my opinion though any vegetable juice is low in fructose, has a lot of vitamins. So if you fancy a celery juice (a round of applause), go for it, you can’t go wrong with vegetable juice. I think that like with all of Instagram trends there’s no solid proof (aka long term research non based on animals) to prove its miracle benefits.

Chia seeds


They became healthy few years back among runners as a perfect source of Omega 3 and a great way to stay hydrated. Why? If you ever put chia seeds in a liquid you’ll know that they absorb it. So if you add them to your smoothie, porridge or even water you’ll ingest a sort of gelatin consistency. In theory that could keep you more satiated for longer. It’s like a gift that keep on giving. Plus they are a source of micro nutrients and vitamins like zinc or phosphorus. They do contain Omega 3 but the short- chained ones (ALA) that must be converted into long-chained Omega 3 (EPA and DHA) before our body can use them.

And they are still quite expensive, rightly so because they grow in Central America.

Superfoods, both because of the way they are sourced (high standards cost) and because they support local agriculture shouldn’t be cheap.

Are they worth the hype? Yes, but if you want add Omega 3 to your diet take flax seeds as they contain more Omega 3.

Grind them in the blender and add to your salad, smoothie. Hydration? There’s no way around it. Drink water, eat fruits!

Intermittent fasting

Again, I’m a fan of intermittent fasting,meaning a way of eating where you alter the period (or a window) in which you eat with a period when you don’t. I theory we all do that every day, that’s why we break fast every morning after hours of non eating. Still, real benefits of fasting can be obtained after at least 10 hours of not eating. What are they?

  • Your muscles adapt better to burn fat
  • Improvement of gut hormones levels and insulin sensitivity: that’s why intermittent fasting is often advised to diabetics
  • Your body uses better the surplus of the energy from the food

These are the main ones but definitely not the only ones.The thing with IF is that it’s not a weight loss diet and so many people think it is. It can help you to improve your hunger levels but it won’t do the work for you!

I have to be honest, I’m a fan of all of above mentioned trends, they will do you no harm and potentially can make you healthier. Try them, maybe they will work for you. What I always ask from myself and others is critical thinking. No one gives you a free pass on that. Don’t bottle down juice and expect to be healed. Check your sources, don’t take anyone’s word for it, not even mine. I’m not a dietitian, I just like nutrition, I read. Do your own research!

5 for Friday!

Podcast

One of my favourite YouTubers, The Lean Machines, have finally launched  podcast!

Leon and John are personal trainers and movement aficionados from UK and on their channel you’ll find great advice for training, nutrition and life. They have a great sense of humor and some distance to this crazy fitness world. If you don’t know them yet it’s time to make amends!

App

NTC, Nike training center. I used to train with the old version refusing to switch for the new one but I finally had to..the old one stopped to function. I shouldn’t have waited for so long! I use mainly 15-20 min long workouts for abs and legs (sometimes arms) and I really like the. The best part: they have stretching incorporated which means I can’t skip it..which I would always do.

Food

Oriental-ish, that’s what I would call many of my favourite dishes recently. Miso soups, ramen, lots of veggies, lots of spices. Last few weeks has been cold and I was craving hot soups. It’s not difficult to prepare once you got some essentials: soy sauce, rice, rice sheets, miso paste, noodles, fresh ginger. Cook your favourite vegetables in water with miso paste and fresh ginger, add your protein of choice (or not),throw in noodles for the last 5 minutes and it’s done.

Another thing I’ve been doing with my veggies is changing the form of serving: chop them differently if your bored and instead of salad wrap them up in the rice paper, sprinkle with sesame seeds. Most of the time the ingredients are the same, only the form of serving them change.

#lesswaste

Do you wash your face or/and remove makeup? I do and recently instead of traditional  cleansing balm and face wash I decided to go naked.

That means go for products without plastic packaging. Once more my beloved Lush came to rescue. First I go with solid cleansing oil ‘Like a virgin’

Like a Virgin solid face oil
Movis soap: loooove it

and once I removed all the dirt,makeup I clean my face with Movis soap. Both products are incredibly gentle yet effective, they have no packaging and easy to travel with. If you know any other similar products let me know!

Athlete: Latoya Shauntay Snell @iamlshauntay

I knew her already from Rich Roll’s podcast but her Ista Stories got my attention recently. She’s a badass woman and incredible athlete.

Actually athlete is just a part of her life; she runs, she writes, she’s a professional cook

Runner who is a living proof that when it comes to running it’s your will that makes all the difference. She fights prejudice about race, sex, prejudice. She struggles with more than that. Do you know what endometriosis is? I’ll let you do the research and think about it next time you’ll search for an excuse for not running.

she’s so fierce!

What are your favorites?

Plans for the weekend? Anyone racing or cooking something good?

Ayurvedic rituals in my daily routine

Ayurveda means the science of life. It’s a series of indications for your health and by health I mean both mental and physical aspects of your life. In fact Ayurveda does not make distinction between the two.

What you take in (energy, food, relationships) and what you put out into the world makes up your health.

From our Western perspective Ayurveda has more of preventive approach to health. In fact, in presence of a disease Ayurveda can alleviate the symptoms but not cure (for example a tumor).

I tried a few daily rituals from Ayurvedic tradition and I think I’m going to keep them. Let’s see:

Oil pulling

Sounds weird or horrible? I know, it sounded also impossible the first time I heard about it. Basically consist of putting in your mouth a tablespoon or more of coconut or sesame oil and swishing it for at least 5-10 minutes if not more. Then you spit it out, wash out your mouth with water. You should oil pull after washing your teeth.

Why? It supposed to pull all the bad bacteria from your mouth, prevent bad breath,inflammations and it’s anti-funghi. Ayurvedic medicine prescribes oil pulling for more than 30 conditions

What benefits do I see? It works like a good mouthwash but without nasty things you would find in traditional products: fluorine, alcohol. And the results last for longer-good breath and better oral hygiene.

I have to say that putting in my mouth solid oil and wait until it melts was not pleasant at the beginning but I got used to it and it seems so normal now.

Dry brushing

You take a brush for body and you brush your body dry. I decided to try once I was scanning my bathroom trying to use less plastic and I noticed how many body scrubs I use. I love scrubbing, it makes my skin soft and I like the sole process of scrubbing.

Why? Dry brushing is indicated in Ayurveda to help your circulation, moving the brush in the direction of your heart. It is especially indicated for my type of dosha*. I do it before the shower.

What benefits do I see? It helps a lot, in particular after a run, I feel it refreshes non only my skin, it keeps my blood flowing and has the same effects on my skin like a good scrub. I don’t buy scrubs any more so my plastic consumption has decreased!

Spiced milk after dinner. Some prefer a tumeric latte (a powerful spice with anti inflammatory properties) other like less hyped (so far) chai masala latte.

Why? Both ghee (clarified butter) and milk are considered a powerful medicinal food, adding a mix of spices to milk can help with digestion and even insomnia. I opt for plant milk and add a chai masala mix (cardamon, pepper, cinnamon, aniseed).

What benefits do I see? I often drink a herbal tea after dinner but spiced milk is even more soothing for my digestion.

These rituals are of course a simple approach to Ayurveda which is much more deep and sophisticated than adding spices. The more I learn about it the more I think it’s a true science of life.

Have you ever heard about Ayurveda?

Do you have a daily routine or a ritual that you’re attached to?

*dosha is a psychosomatic characteristic of a person, everyone has 3 types of dosha, usually with one type dominant over the others

Once you’ve decided..new goals you should put into practice

New Year’s resolutions

Wait, what? Aren’t we supposed to give up resolutions? You’re right, resolutions sounds so 2010, let’s call them running objectives that is much more athletic and professional.

We run for new PBs, we run to be in shape and most of all we’re running because we like it, we love it, it keeps us sane. Our running objectives change throughout the year and we can have as many as we want. Let’s make a list and draw a simple plan so all this won’t seem so unachievable.

Run/exercise regularly

Not all of us are fitness junkies (WOOT?!) and we just can’t make it. Or can we? It’s a matter of priorities.

HOW? Make a small, humble and doable plan. I know, we all want to feel like a superheroes and that means running a half marathon like it was a piece of xmas cake but the TRUTH is that everyone focus on that big race, huge medal and pain is temporary and other glory related quotes.

Nobody tells you that squeezing 15 minutes every day into your schedule to do the strength work or 20 minutes run is the fabric that superheroes are made of (make a t-shirt with that phrase. Or pyjamas).

Once you’re no longer suffering doing that add minutes to your walk or run or add another session.

Getting fitter is all about controlled suffering. Once your body adapt you must make it suffer some more so it will adapt even further and you will become a badass.

Oh, you can’t do that?  I apologize, I thought it’s a fast course to become a badass.

Dat DIET thing

OMG, don’t make me even start on that, you should eat cabbage and drink only water with apple cider vinegar all day long! What do you mean you like pizza and fries and beer? Stop!

HOW? In a ideal world I’d told you to throw away all the junk food from your pantry (and give it to me, no food should go to waste). In real world I’ll tell you that if you really want junk food you’ll find a way to get it. Get that chocolate, one piece of chocolate and make it a good quality, same with peanut butter or premium quality chips. Which doesn’t mean you should have it all the time, just as an emergency. Before the emergency occurs, prepare. Get the whole bunch of fruits and vegetables you like, not that fancy kale nobody knows what to do with. Everyone likes potatoes, tomatoes, carrots, apples, bananas. Buy those and buy good spices or soy sauce, something that will make it taste better without a load of calories.

Don’t plan elaborate recipes, cook a batch of good rice or quinoa (it’s good, I swear, you probably cooking it the wrong way!) to have it in the fridge.

Supplements

Let’s face it, it’s hard to survive in this world without some support (wink, wink). And supplements, at least the ones you should care about, are still legal. Consider including some into your diet.

HOW?

Don’t throw yourself on million things before blood test cause some supplements might be bad for you (like iron) and you can spend this money on junk food (joke: spend it on kale or beer). What you can experiment with (all drug related conversations starts with this phrase) is (drumrolls)

vit D3 combined with vit K2 because there are high probabilities you’re not having enough of it. D3 means healthy bones and vit K2 put that calcium only into your bones and not into your veins (horror story, just take that vit K2 with D3, okayy?). Anything else? If you’re an athlete try carnosine monohydrate that will help your muscles recover and stay in top form or build muscles if you’re a gym junkie.

Cross training

I don’t mean only abs. But abs are a good thing to look at so..your choice.

Still if you’re an ambitious athlete you can’t just do your sport without well shaped abs, glutes and legs (ok, add shoulders as well) because flappy muscles are the reason you get injured and not training sucks and we get angry and hungry. And abs.

HOW? The tactic is quite similar to the running regularly plan with the small twist: it’s completely different. If you make time for running you should get time for doing your abs or legs exercises. But probably you don’t like it or you think that running will solve everything, even the world’s peace issue. The solutions for you cross training phobia are two: you make time for abs (see the first point of this post) or you take up a new sport. Swimming, cycling, judo..anything that will make you happy and make that muscles work! Choose your happy path, that’s an advice that will get you far, my friend.

I hope I gave you some ideas for getting better, happier and putting that resolutions into practice! At the end of the day it’s your will to change and some strategy to put things into practise that make that resolutions work!


Christmas Q&A

Last week was a bit hard on me and I couldn’t wrap my head around any serious subject. That’s why I leave you with a Christmas related Q&A and I’d love to know your answers!

Are you the one that starts Christmas preparation in the mid November or you’re more of a Christmas hater?

I love Christmas but I start my feast fever at the beginning of December, when I can I get Advent calendar and I decorate the tree around the 8th of December (as for tradition in northern Italy where I live).

What’s the best part of Christmas?

Waiting for Christmas!

Favorite xmas music?

It used to be all about Frank Sinatra, Jackson’s 5 and Destiny’s Child.

Now? I decided that I’ll dedicate this slow-is Christmas time to discovering some oldies (like Elton John)

or some new releases (Anderson .Paak or latest Hozier album).

Giving or receiving gifts?

I’m a bit embarrassed when receiving gifts but I don’t know if I prefer giving them.

For sure I’m all into self-made presents or small but thoughtful presents

Favourite xmas tradition.

I love decorating xmas tree and making gingerbread cookies to hand on my xmas tree.

Best xmas ever?

All Christmases at my grandma’s house were the greatest, always with a huge and natural tree            

What’s your xmas tree this year?

Gingerbread cookies made by me, wooden red decorations bought by my friend and a huge sparkling red star on top.

And lights!

Favourite xmas dish?

My mom’s pierogi, she makes them only in this period and the recipe is well kept in the family!

What’s your Xmas menu this year?

I haven’t decided yet! I’d love to make a traditional Polish dessert with farro and poppy seeds but the rest will be Italian dishes, still undecided between some fancy risotto and pumpkin (of course home-made) pumpkin gnocchi!

And now it’s your turn! Choose whatever question you like and leave me your reply in the comments!

Downtime! No malfunction, just relax.

My marathon went great and I can enjoy my downtime! Good news, you can enjoy it too!

Seriously, can we ease into the new year slowly? New year will surely have another challenges for us.

‘It’s the most wonderful time of the year’ so let’s give these words some meaning.

Self care

Are you one of those people panicking during the Christmas time? Presents, polishing the house, preparing the dinner, traveling to find your family? In theory this should be the most amazing time of the year, in practice it’s a source of anxiety for many of us.

Let’s face it, we don’t need presents as we probably get what we want ourselves and probably your family don’t need luscious gifts as well. But if your loved ones are different and require something expensive…honestly you shouldn’t fall for it. Take a look at some charity websites and see how much you need to pay for a Christmas dinner for a homeless or elder person, how much it costs to feed a homeless dog for a month. I don’t want to seem a Mother Teresa here but it puts things into perspective and doing good (make that donation!) makes you feel really good.

If you want to make a present I would suggest giving an experience (travel, race enrollment, dinner or drinks together) rather than an object. We all have too many stuff but not enough great memories!

Training

I know some of you are doing ‘run every day in December’ project and if it makes you feel good, let be it. Me, myself and my two legs are taking some easy time. Training for a marathon has been tough for me mentally because I love logging miles but the pressure of great performance wasn’t easy. That doesn’t mean I won’t be running, I love it! Possibly I’d like to maintain my pace if not getting faster but I’d like to dedicate some time to strength work and yoga. My right tendon is begging me for some attention and I’ll do my best to send away the inflammation I have.

And of course I’m dreaming of next year races, I have something big planned for the second half of the year but springtime is free in my book…Send me some race suggestions, I love to plan!

Are you having some downtime? How are you using it? Are you loving Christmas or you just can’t relax in December?

Health is simple. It’s not easy.

Health is boring. It’s not sexy like well made Instagram photo. Health is simple yet not easy like a grandma recipe for a homemade broth.
Eat better. Sleep better. Move more. Don’t be a dick.
That’s it.

Sleep better. Going early to bed and wiping your mind of all thoughts or prioritizing your sleep over something else (morning run or mindlessly scrolling through your Instagram feed. Yes, I’m pointing finger at myself. Guilty AF) is, in my opinion, one of the biggest changes in your life. Actually, it’s life changing.

Last year I made a post about morning running and I’m still a morning runner but I’m no longer a ‘run no matter what’ type of runner. I’m not lazy when it comes to running and I think many times an additional hour of sleep would have done me more good that a 10 km. Sleep deprivation and a consistent sleep deprivation, I mean 1 or 2 hours of less sleep for more than a week is a real negative game changer. You feel sluggish, you miss things, you’re negative, you’re more hungry! Try to get in at least 7 hours of sleep and go to bed before midnight.

Eat better. I said better, not perfectly. Nobody eats like people on Instagram, most of them do those photos because this is their job. Yet, it’s nice to have a great meal. You’d probably never have a perfect meal plan, because life happens. Or you just tired and you want this cake, pizza, fries and eating better is a process. How to change this? Again, I’m not an expert, I can only speak for my experience and I will in the future. For now I’ll just leave you with this concept, quite new but already supported by scientific research: your gut controls your behavior. Sounds spooky, I know but in short your gut bacteria have a huge impact on how you react. If you eat poorly your gut will be populated by type of bacteria that not only will damage your immune system but also affect your brain and probably your emotions. In short if your gut is populated by wrong type of bacteria it can lead not only to obesity but also to depression.

If you’re interested read more about it here:

https://www.bbc.com/news/health-43815370

Move more. Don’t roll over your eyes, moving more does not mean running or power lifting. Movement is everywhere, join in. 30 minutes a day of a brisk walk. You can do that after lunch or after dinner. And yes, use the stairs when you can. Movement is disguised in different moments of our day, don’t think about it as a workout, think about it like taking some fresh air, giving yourself some space and time to breath. Switching from one closed space (office) to another (supermarket and then home) will never help. Speaking about time to breath: there are 3 extremely powerful methods to free your mind for at least a while. Put down your phone, try to count your breaths for few minutes and not to think what to do next, try to prolong your inhale and exhale time staring from 4 (you could arrive up to 6 or 8 if you want). I like to think about breath work as an ‘internal shower’ for your body.

Don’t be a dick.  What that has to do with health? It’s not difficult to get. Our health is also our mental health, our wellbeing and it’s influenced by everything we get into our bodies, that is food and emotions and what we give out, like the energy we spend and give to others. I can bet it’s not easy to sleep, digest or think when you’ve argued with someone or had a stressful day. We’re nurtured by everything: food, air, relationships, news. If you’re eating a macrobiotic clean diet but you’re a nasty little prick to others it won’t work. You can have a 6 pack-abs but in a long term it won’t work because this perfect little picture of yours is false. So don’t be a dick.

Who are you looking for on social media?

I’ve been shying away from social media recently.

Because I got bored and annoyed.

We all know that Instagram photos are not all real, most of them are filtered and for many people it’s a daily job so they work hard on light, angle and perfect shot.

I know and still I got bored of people who yesterday were normal and today they’re trying to sell me proteins.

So I stop following or paying attention to merchandise and I ask myself

Who do I look for on social media?

A lot of people I follow on social media are athletes, entrepreneurs or creatives so mostly people that inspire me, that are in the position I’d like to be one day. I look into their insights, I look for their advice and I’m jealous in a healthy way. What it means? I envy but at the same time I think how to get one day in that same spot they are in.

Then I follow people who are not super humans but make me smile and never fake a smile themselves.

Sometime though I have a weak moment and all I want is peace and quiet and I don’t mind being vulnerable.

That’s why people I follow must be authentic. If they show me 24 hours of their day or 7 days of their week I can’t believe it’s all smiles and roses. I’m not looking for drama so I don’t need to see your tears but don’t sell me motivational quotes all the time. Authenticity, weakness and getting up after you fell. And celebrating your victories.

You might say I look for a real life online while we all know real life is elsewhere. Social media are a huge part of my life so yes, I want realness on social media as well. I look for humor, art, information and opinion. There are no more boundaries between real and online life and we’d better get used to it and make online world better.

I don’t mind people having their accounts set like a pieces of art but that’s quite evident and you know what to expect. I don’t mind people putting some filters on their photos or telling their stories in a certain way.

Just tell your story, choose your filter, choose your soundtrack but be true.