Home » Blog » Self-Care

Category: Self-Care

Meditation: How to incorporate some into daily life

city meditation time

Meditation offers an option to the many people that are looking for ways to deal with mounting stress that characterises modern living. Because of overwork and the demands of a fast-paced lifestyle, millions of people are now suffering from the deleterious effects of stress. Millions are unaware that they may already be reaching the verge of a nervous breakdown.

Medical management of disorders such as anxiety and depression via purely pill-based routes. Adjusting brain chemistry is vital in the short term, as it brings much needed relief and help to a patient. However, a pill only route doesn’t  address underlying issues and patterns around what could have initially caused the problem.

The answer of “take a pill” for all our health issues. The entries in The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) grow year on year, due to sub dividing previously listed disorders.

This is often attributed to the changing world in which we live in.  Some experts would recommend drugs that would lessen the symptoms and leave it at that.

Many people are being diagnosed with stress, and they don’t want that to turn into anxiety and depression. They realise that they need help and are keen on finding alternative methods of dealing with day-to-day stresses that does not involve taking medication. Fortunately, for them meditation offers an effective approach to help them gain a new and better outlook.

Meditation has a history spanning millennia

Numerous meditation techniques have spread to millions of folks worldwide. The practice of meditation has moved away from monasteries of all religious persuasions and entered into the secular world. This has increased the numbers of those practising exponentially,  particularly using the techniques embraced by Western cultures.

Today, millions of people around the world are engaging in daily meditation or undergoing training for a particular discipline and all of them are benefiting from this ancient practice. Some of them have also used meditation as a cure for some of the mental issues mentioned above.

Modern meditation practices are based on the traditions of two major religions; Hinduism and Buddhism. Ancient Eastern cultures were the originators of the tenets that directly influenced the current flow and structure of the many different meditation techniques known to modern societies.

Hindu texts and cave drawings dated around 3000 BC discovered in the Indus Valley in the early part of the last century show that man has been seeking stillness and enlightenment from the chaos of his own mind even when life was much simpler!

Meditation practices and their benefits

Once you make the decision to incorporate meditation into your daily routine, you are making the first step towards peace of mind and happiness. As well as leaving behind frustration, anger, and impatience.

Negative emotions such as these pile up, leading eventually to health issues, not only mentally but also physically. It can also lead to a sense of “wanting something” where spirituality is concerned.

Meditation is a great help to the “busybody” mind archetype – people who are always in a hurry to get things done and feel they have too much to do and never enough time – as it helps develop a mind that is balanced, calm, and quiet and able to function more efficiently and reasonably. It can help them understand that their perception that there is not enough time to finish everything is self inflicted.

Meditating gives us a unique glimpse at the workings of our mind. It shows us how we form our thoughts which in turn informs our behaviours. Meditation allows us to observe our thought in a detached manner, It also develops “focused attention.”  This makes it easy to discover how our negative and disturbing thoughts develop. Once understood, we can then begin to change and adapt our thoughts. Then, our behaviours also change for the better.

Having focused attention in day-to-day life brings many positive. It allows the mind to slow, think more efficiently and ultimately be freed from worry and distractions.

Your next step

To bring this all together and  help you to learn to meditate, I’ve created an 8 day mediation eCourse. I’ve also included a bonus 8 minutes meditation audio. I’ve designed them specifically to assist you to incorporate meditative practice into your daily routine.

This eCourse  is my free gift to you when you join my mailing list.  I’m positive that it will change your life, and changing lives is my mission in this world.  After all, meditation is not difficult at all. Its effects are well worth the 10 to 15 minutes of your day that a simple practice takes.

Are you ready to uplevel your mindset with mediation? Sign up to my mailing list using the form below, and we can start connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

The world needs love

Love, one pipecleaner heart at a time

The concept that “Belief in something doesn’t make that true” throws itself into sharp contrast for me this week. I held the belief that America would not elect a Klan-backed, lying, misogynistic, sex-offending bigot as president.

Civilisation very much feels like it’s turning itself inside out right now. I could take the focus that the world is going to hell in a hand basket, mutter to myself about it all being wrong and simply let it wash over me, but instead I choose to see this as the world having a healing crisis, where symptoms, such as bigotry, hatred, ignorance and even war get worse before healing ultimately happens. Taking this focus and meaning to the events means that I can take action. It means that I, and all the other people in the world that espouse love, equality and kindness are the cure.

I do not doubt that the vast majority of Americans are kind, they are known world over for their hospitality and generosity, so I’ve been reading frantically about why America might choose to elect Donald Trump, seeking understanding beyond the “news bubble” that I live in (mostly populated by “WTF?” type posts, but no real reasons) and come to understand that change and growth is something that deeply strikes against the belief system of the people that voted for Trump, and that the slogan “Make America Great Again” to them means harking back to a time where their known status (religion, skin colour, jobs, homes, family structures) in the world was certain. It means retaining a Status Quo that about half of the world is moving away from, dragging the other half (in some cases very) unwillingly behind it. And also, as the movement is due to various ideas working in opposing directions, it’s no wonder the world is so confused right now!

However, if you are here, you probably shared my now disproven belief, and are quite possibly feeling defeated. Right now, you might not have the strength for yet another fight, and that’s OK. Self Care is important. Do the self care that you need to get you ready to give the world the love it needs. Retreat, eat good food, watch Netflix, go for walks in the local park, love the people and pets around you and just be for a bit. The world will be here when you are ready to pick up again.

However, if you stay in your cave too long, this can be as detrimental as working from no resources, so, if you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed, as you know, I love using EFT as a pattern interrupter. I’ve used it successfully with clients to help them get to the roots of their issues as well as to enable their progress when they are stuck.

So when Brad Yates’ newsletter dropped this video into my inbox I felt that I needed to share his words and the accompanying video with you:
“I actually shot this video a few weeks ago – it wasn’t about the election, but about this feeling that many of us experience from time to time.  But it takes on a new timeliness now, as a lot of people are feeling this these days… totally understandable.  A large group of folks were going to feel this whichever way the election went.  Honor your feelings, and when you are ready to stand up, brush yourself off and get going again, I hope you will find this helpful.  We need you… :)”

NB: As I said before, if you have never viewed Brad’s Channel before, before you start tapping away, you must watch these two videos first – as Brad is very clear that you know what you are doing, and that you take full responsibility for your own well being.

There are of course other pattern interrupters and ways to enable progress, but this one is one of my favourite as it is so simple, and once you know how, you can do it autonomously either “free-form” or via one of the many many scripts on Youtube (in fact, some of the best results are when the words simply “fall out of your brain” rather than with scripts) and it gets fast results.

So, tell me how you are going to spread a little (or a lot of!) love to the world. Start small, create ripples! Leave me a comment below and then we can start working to connect your dots!

Catch you next time!

Image used LOVE by Lorie Shaull
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Follow Little Heart Man’s adventures: https://www.facebook.com/littleheartman

How decluttering leads to more money

simplify

I’ve spoken before about decluttering, looking at observing and decluttering the beliefs we hold that don’t serve our greater good. However, that’s really only half of the story, especially if we look at decluttering with the lens of manifesting.

First step – how to do this? I recommend reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying: A simple, effective way to banish clutter forever by Marie Kondo – an excellent physical de-cluttering system.

Why declutter? For successful manifesting, decluttering our physical environment is a massive key. To allow goodness to come in, we have to get rid of our old, broken and make-do things, and my manifesting mentor Denise has a post on practical decluttering and the reasons why it’s a fantastic thing.

When I first read Denise’s book “Get Rich, Lucky Bitch” on manifesting, I didn’t quite believe her thoughts on decluttering, after all, how can the first step be so simple? I’m a person that lives in organised chaos – I have things in piles, and I know where it all is.

I also now know that piles are not organisation – and where that organisation matters to me right now, all my things are in their place, neatly pared down to the essentials of the task. Decluttering is a continuing process after all!

One of the first thing Denise talks about in her Lucky Bitch Money Bootcamp is living a “first class life”, obtaining this via incremental upgrade until you reach whatever “first class” means to you in any area, so that you tell the universe that you are ready for the abundance.

Part of taking that first step, apart from making an inventory, is for 99% of women buying yourself new underwear. Most of us (me included until 15 months ago!) don’t really think about our undies, we have mis-matched and worn out knickers, bras that we wear until we fall apart and generally none of it makes us feel any form of love towards ourselves. For whatever reason, we’ve been taught that “nice underwear is frivolity” and simply don’t value ourselves enough to put good quality underwear on under our clothes.

So, about 5 months after I joined BootCamp, in the spirit of the KonMarie decluttering I’d already been doing with my things, I went through my underwear and socks, and threw out most of it. I’d been surviving on old rough socks, 2 rather geriatric bras and 20 pairs of generic “tanga” knickers that were very much past their best days.

I then did something that I had never ever done before in my adult life. I went to M&S and bought 8 sets of matching underwear (1 bra, 2 knickers) as well as a couple of 6 packs of cotton knickers for “relaxed” days. I then folded it all neatly in my drawers, in the KonMarie style that lets you see it all at a glance.

I’d never spent that much on myself, let alone on my underwear. I’d also never had matching underwear, and never had the luxury of enough bras to wash them with the same frequency as I washed my tops. Subconsciously, as my body type is not one that generally wears pretty undies, all I felt I deserved was very cheap and uncomfortable sub-par bras and knickers. I wasn’t feeling the love in that area of my life at all, and so wasn’t projecting basic openness to good things.

About 2 weeks later, at my day-job, I was offered a position on an important board, that is going to shape how the business works going forward. I also took the decision to finally declutter another products based business that I’d been hanging on, simply because I thought I might well be able to turn it around due to my emotional investment in it. Seeing however, how it was being an economy class thing in my life, where I was not giving myself love, only work for little reward, enabled be to finally let it go – having a final sale of stuff brought me more cash in 3 days than the previous hard work with it had brought me in the previous 3 months put together.

Would these things have happened without new underwear? Maybe, but I do feel that loving myself with an underwear upgrade was a very good start towards being open to the abundance and opportunities that are still coming thick and fast this year!

So, have my new knickers inspired you into some physical decluttering? Leave me a comment below about what are going to declutter from your space this week, and we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Image used Trim (lock) by
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

I’ve an awesome manifesting resource for you

This post is for my more “woo” readers, whilst still being all about the practical. I haven’t talked about manifesting a great deal here, although it’s an undercurrent in most of my posts and I do quite a bit of it in my own life.

However, with it now being Q4, it’s a good time to explicitly talk about goals and receiving the outcomes that you are desiring.

Whilst I’m all about the practical actions, without direction, action is meaningless. And in terms of goals, our mindset is just as important as the actions we take. However, most of us don’t take the time out to think about or form clear, specific goals or take daily mental actions, such as dream boarding, writing down our goals in our journal or saying an affirmation every day.

Without goal clarity, life simply flows around us, which leads to…

Nothing. No forward motion, things that we think we want, but haven’t really been specific about not clicking into place.

Then, of course, procrastination sets in. Resistance takes a bite out of us and we don’t progress.

Using manifesting as a tool can be a very direct way to set goals and achieve them. However, if you’ve tried it before, and it felt like it was silly or a waste of time, I suspect that you’ve simply not been taught a good framework to base the work on.

So, I want to share Denise Duffield-Thomas’ very easy and practical Manifesting Formula.

(Yes, I am on a Denise kick this week, I’m a proud affiliate of Denise’s work. If you purchase something from her in the future, I may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.)

As I’ve said before, Denise is an incredible money mindset mentor, AKA “The Lucky Bitch” whose best-selling books and courses have helped thousands of entrepreneurs step-up to create success and abundance. Denise shares her process to take you from “personal development junkie” into manifesting machine and money magnet.

Her Virgo brain’s want to take “woo” and turn it into practical steps has made a manifesting formula that is easy, fun and a totally chilled process. Sign up here for her free manifesting formula course

You don’t need to be perfect, meditate five hours a day or chant naked under a full moon to manifest your ideal life, but you do need to clear your mind of any blocks, get crystal clear on your goals, infuse every part of your day with positivity, take inspired action and learn to receive abundance (yes, receiving is a learned process – women really struggle with that part).

So, are you inspired to manifest some awesome into your life? Take action today: Go and join Denise’s manifesting course, then come back and leave me a comment below about what goals you are working to manifest. Then we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next time!

Choosing the best nutrition

Warm confit ocean trout, autumn vegetable a la grecque, horseradish mayonnaise

Following on from the thoughts in my previous post “Crap in = Crap out“, I wanted to write a little more on what I feel is the best nutrition, and, even if you don’t agree with me 100%, some guidelines how to choose foods that are good for the body generally.

So, what do I view as good nutrition?

I base my food choices around Optimal, Sub-optimal and Non-optimal. I personally ban nothing, I just chose to avoid things that I know are non-optimal. After all when something is “banned” or “bad” then, by that nice twist of human psychology, we generally want it all the more.

Broadly speaking, the foods I eat are:

Optimal (eat freely and with gusto!):
Plentiful amounts of meat, fish, fowl, green veg (brassica), eggs, cheese, cream, butter, olive oil, herbs, spices.

Sub-optimal (Eat with care, enjoy the tastes):
Moderate amounts of all other non root tuberous vegetables (peas & corn are not vegetables, they are beans & grains respectively), veg from the onion & garlic family, seeds, nuts (peanuts & cashews are beans), berry fruits (inc tomatoes.)

Little bits of non potato roots (swede, turnip, sweet potato, carrots etc), 70% dark chocolate, cocoa powder, red wine. Beans are a borderline case, extra care advised.

Non-Optimal (really not good for the body, enjoyed without guilt once in a blue moon, if at all):
Sugar, all grains (rice, bread, pasta, cake, biscuits, crackers)  & white potatoes.

I talk more about how to start eating a low-carb way in this article on my low-carb website.

However, even if you don’t agree with me on the above, there are still a few factors that I’m sure that we can agree on.

  1. Choose and prepare actual food.
    This is really a cornerstone of self-care. And usually, knocking up a nutritionally valid meal takes just as long as one that is devoid of nutrient value. Why stint yourself? It takes me 15-20 mins to prep and cook most of the meals I eat, and I know exactly what went into every mouthful I then take.If you are choosing “ready-meals” (let’s face it, everyone does once in a while!) a good thing to bear in mind is the ingredient list – Does it have ingredients in it that you wouldn’t cook with/couldn’t find as a home cook?
    Check that label, 6  ingredients or less is a good start. If there are more, ensure that these ingredients that are not chemical “Fillers” “Flavours” or “Enhancers”
  2. Never choose “diet” products – They are usually sugar and chemical laden monstrosities!
    Look at the ingredients for two well known brands of “Diet shake” (low-fat then low-carb)

    Slimfast Vanilla Shake 325Ml
    From www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=261592549
    Ingredients: Skimmed Milk (78%), Water, Sugar, Milk Proteins, Corn Oil, Stabilisers (Cellulose, Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Dipotassium Phosphate, Carrageenan), Thickener (Acacia Gum), Emulsifier (Mono-and Diglycerides of Fatty Acids), Flavourings (contain Lactose), Vitamins and Minerals1, Antioxidants (Sodium Ascorbate, Alpha-Tocopherol), Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame Potassium), 1 Vitamins and Minerals: Magnesium Oxide, Vitamin C, Zinc Oxide, Ferric Pyrophosphate, Vitamin E, Niacin, Sodium Selenite, Biotin, Copper Gluconate, Manganese Sulphate, Vitamin A (contains Soybean), Vitamin B6, Thiamin, Vitamin D, Pantothenic Acid, Folic Acid, Riboflavin

    Atkins Ready To Drink Vanilla Shake 330Ml
    From http://www.tesco.com/groceries/product/details/?id=282485593
    Ingredients: Water, Dairy Protein Blend (Milk Protein Concentrate, Calcium Caseinate), Sunflower Oil, Stabilisers (Cellulose, Sodium Carboxymethyl Cellulose, Carrageenan, Potassium Phosphate), Acidity Regulator (Potassium Citrate), Flavourings, Sweeteners (Sucralose, Acesulfame-K), Salt, Colour (Riboflavin)

    I am sure you will agree with me, neither of these are at all real food… Consuming these types of product do no honour to your body at all. Remember, Crap in=Crap out!

  3. Make time to eat, and eat mindfully and conscientiously.
    Eating food is something that most of us tend to “fit in” to a busy life – we grab a quick sandwich between meetings, or mindlessly grab “something” to eat whilst doing other things. We also graze on “snacks” as we work or watch telly… And again, none of this values your body.

    Eating mindlessly means that you are not paying attention to the signals your body will send you about being satisfied. Grazing especially, where you are constantly chewing and “topping up” your stomach, and hence suppressing natural signals, is not at all how we evolved to eat.

    Myself, I always ensure that I take my lunch break and take my time over eating. I’m slightly less mindful than I might be, in that I read my book whilst I eat. However, taking that break from my day re-energises my brain for a good afternoon of productivity!

    When I cook my dinner, I enjoy eating it. Again, I’m generally watching something as I eat, but I’m also taking my time and enjoying my food, and not just stuffing it into my face as fast as I can.Thinking about what I’m eating also allows me to listen to my stomach – if I’ve cooked too much, I’ll know it. I will then stop (no fake imperative to “clean the plate” for me!) and (generally) fridge what I’ve left over, for consumption later or more often the next day.

So, my challenge for this week: At work next week, when you eat lunch, do nothing but eat lunch. For the period that your food lasts; no books, no chatter and definitely no work! Enjoy the food, and indulge in the sensations it gives. Revel in how it tastes, it’s smell, how it feels in your mouth. After you finish eating, read a book for the rest of your lunch hour, or if your lunch room is more social, chat with colleagues about anything but your day-job – do not dash back to your work. Take time to breathe and digest.

Commit to doing this at least once next week and leave me a comment below about how this experiment works for you, and especially how it feels, even if those feelings are negative. Because negatives are as valid as positives for self-learning, as all “feels” are generated by the Limbic brain in the now. Then, we can start working on connecting those dots!

Catch you next week!

Image used, Warm confit ocean trout – Bistro Vue by Alpha
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Intermission…

August was a very weird time – an all too brief 4 day visit from one of my partners, two funerals, a wedding and the Nineworlds Geekfest conference sandwiched in between them – All very exhausting emotional things – followed by a period of “brain fuzz” from “doing all the stuff”, so not much room for the inspiration needed to write to take effect.

I’ve wanted to write my next post (“You can’t do it wrong“) for the last three weeks, but my brain simply didn’t want to give me “words” of any shape.  I did manage to journal a little bit about one of the funerals (to aid creating white space in my brain) but I know there is way more in there that needs to come out. When I’ve not been at work (doing “the minimum needed to get by and keep projects moving”), I’ve spent most of my time either sleeping, fussing over my orchids/watching YouTube videos on Orchid care and finishing up re-watching S7 of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Now, I could chose to beat myself up over this seeming “waste of time”, and a few years ago I very much would have done, feeling all the guilt around “doing nothing” and I would have tried to force “things to work”, which would inevitably lead to life not working at all and even more “things not happening” in life as I wallowed and flailed.

However, taking the Mindful view on things, I simply acknowledge that having had a very emotion filled and time sapping beginning to August,  I needed some time to reset. And my doing that self-care and taking that time to get back in the flow is not something that is “bad” or “wrong”, it is something that just “is”. And I have no need at all to feel bad about that at all.

Take my work here for instance. I dedicated myself to producing world-changing content once a week, and my lack of words to the world since the beginning of August could be seen as a massive failure. I could sit here in a puddle of self-recrimination and self-doubt, allow that negativity to enable me to listen to my amygdala and simply give up on my writing and myself  – because changing the world takes effort… and that equals resistance.

I do know that for the last week or so, where my brain has been up and firing again, that I have been very subject to resistance. I’ve been wallowing, “filling up my eyes” in a rather drastic way, doing anything to seemingly avoid writing or creativity (Although I have been spending lots of time with my Orchids!).

However, using that resistance as my compass, and knowing that my time-out allowed my brain to heal, enough is enough and it’s time to push on through! It’s time to give thanks and forgiveness in my life, open up to abundance and start shining again.

I’m hoping that I’ve given you reassurance and food for thought. Have you had a time where you felt that everything was just too much? How did you cope then? And are you now working Mindfully and with Gratitude to accept that sometimes life hands you a shit sandwich (to quote Marie Forleo!) and that you have to deal and move along. Leave me a comment below, and we can start working on connecting those dots.

Catch you shortly!

Image used “Intermission (5/7)” by jnyemb
Used Under Creative commons licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Crap in = Crap out

Body Image

Life is a series of choices, and although all choices are shades of grey, some are more black and white than others.

One of the easiest “black and white” choices we make in life is what we eat. Although there are people that would disagree with me on my views over what I feel “healthy eating” is all about, common ground for all people interested in nutrition is that the quality of the food that we consume is utmost.

For me, I know that when I made the choice in 1999 to stop eating Starches and Sugars, it was motivated from a place of “nothing else works” and my desire to drop 7st (just under 100lbs) of body weight and not much more. At that point however, I didn’t have a great deal of money, and so I chose the cheapest protein options, “junk” foods and “food” made from really not great ingredients but that fit a “low carb” profile.

As you can guess, although I was better off from not giving myself massive insulin spikes and sugar highs all the time, and the upswing in health I received from ditching a “food group” (grains) that I now know really isn’t actually food for Homo Sapiens was remarkable, but as I did more research about how the body works, and came to understand a why low carb diet is the diet that our bodies is evolved to eat, the quality of my food became more and more important.

After all, we literally are what we eat, and if you eat crappy food, your body becomes crappy. And before 1999 I’d been eating all the crap. And my fat body really was sick and crappy.

Food is just one piece of the puzzle though, as I’ve increasingly discovered in the last 15 years, as I worked to let go of ideals that are “crap food for the mind”, the limiting believes that are handed to us, such as “I’m too fat to be beautiful”, “If only I were thinner, I could do xxx”,   “If I just starve myself, I’ll be better”.

All these self-limiting beliefs around “suffering for a result” are really just negative thoughts, which are a self-defeating trap. I’ve worked just as hard to learn that “as my body is worth feeding well, so it can be its best, so is my mind.”

It really doesn’t matter if I’m carrying a bit of extra fat, that fact doesn’t need to stop me being my best or stop me achieving my goals and doing what I want to do.

I hope that you can see parallels for self-improvement here, and so I want you to take action. For the next 3 days, keep a food diary. Not a calorie or quantity diary, a quality diary.  Note how much whole food you eat vs. how much processed crap, how many meals you cook from real ingredients vs. ready-meals and/or low-calorie, sugar loaded products that you buy and ding in 5 minutes. Are you putting crap in and just expecting a non-crappy body to result?

Once you’ve done that, work to shift away from the grains and the crap, and into honouring your body with proper nutrition! Then note how that makes you feel. I’m hoping that it will give you an emotional boost, however, it you encounter feelings of body-shame, resistance or even annoyance, then that is where we need to also do some work on your internal thoughts around food and body image.

Come back and leave me a comment below about your food achievements and feelings, and then we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

Image Body Image by Charlotte Astrid
Used Under Creative Commons Licence: Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

Eating well – Preparing a good steak.

well rested steak with sauce

I quickly need to define what I mean when I say “eating well” – I ditched refined Carbohydrates in 1999, and apart from a blip 2005-2007,  I’ve eaten a low carbohydrate lifestyle ever since.  I believe that we are an omnivorous animal that is adapted to eat other animals, eggs, some plants, seeds, nuts, and berries. I also believe that dairy is food only if your evolutionary heritage has not left you lactose intolerant.

I do not believe that we are evolved to eat grains or other plants that require a lengthy preparation/cooking process to render them edible to us. I know if I eat grains, especially wheat, my health takes a steep nose-dive. I get brain fog, stomach issues and lethargy. As you can guess by now, I’m not a vegetarian. I choose instead to eat high-quality product and use all of the animals I eat where I can.

I’m also thankful that I was born in a part of the planet where I get to economically make this choice.

One thing that you need to learn when being a low-carber is how to cook meat well; Using the Slow Cooker to make beautifully unctuous broths and briskets, effective fast cook cuts, getting the best from organ meats.

How I cook steak: When your ingredients are good, cooking them well is only respectful to the animal. I’ve found a method that gives me never fail excellent results – The basis of this method is to cook for half the cooking time in an open pan, and half in a closed space.

I like Rib-eye myself, but this method works well for Rump, Sirloin & Fillet also. I cook my steak rare, so the timings below are for that –  I’ve added some notes in the comments for cooking to medium and above.

Take the steak out of the fridge at least 2 hours before you are going to cook it – it needs to come to room temp. Season it with pepper & salt.

The key to the frying is a good heavy based non-stick or well seasoned to be non-stick pan. Heat the pan on the hob until HOT – do not add any oil.

Lay the meat straight into hot pan. If the cut is of an average thickness (about 1.5cm), leave it alone for 1 minute. Do not prod, poke or otherwise disturb it during this time, as the mixture of direct high heat and no movement caramelises the sugars in the meat, giving a tasty brown crust.

Flip it and leave it again for 1 minute. Again, no poking or prodding – let the maillard reaction do its funky thang!

steak dry pan fliped once

If the steak is a thin cut,  I decrease the timings  by 30 secs each side, if the steak is thick, increase by 30 if thick. I also open the kitchen window, cos it’s gets a bit steamy/smoky!

Once done, remove the pan from heat and pop it onto a trivet or heatproof mat and slap a lid on it for a further 2 minutes. As the pan is still very hot, the cooking will continue, and the lid is trapping moisture, which steams the meat –  which you want to retain a juicy steak.

Once this is done, remove the steak to a warmed plate and rest for twice as long as you cooked it. Do not miss out the resting period; Resting relaxes the meat fibres, allows the steak to rebalance and release the juice and blood it is holding in the centre back out into the fibres, which makes for a juicer and more tasty eating experience.

resting steak de-juicing

Don’t believe me? Here is the science to prove that a rested steak is 7% more tasty.

What to do whilst the steak rests? Steam some broccoli or other green veg to go with the meat and make a cream based sauce (the best steak sauce IMHO):

Over high heat, de-glase the steak pan with good big splash of Red Wine, grind of pepper, splash of Balsamic and/or Worcester sauce.deglasing the pan

Allow to reduce until that is “not much liquid” then add ~200ml Double cream.

adding cream to reduced wine

Stir continuously and scrape down pan sides to incorporate the caramelised cream for a few mins (Maillard reactions again!), then add the meat juices from the rested steakadding meat juices to the sauce and then stir again until sauce is reduced to “glossy and rather thick”.
reduced and glossy cream sauce Take off heat immediately at this point and pour over your steak and broccoli.

steak with veggies and sauce

Don’t leave it to sit in the pan, and/or leave it not stirred as the extra heat will make it split. It also splits if you overcook/reduce it too far, but it still tastes really good, even if it not looks a touch unattractive. You can bring it back by adding another good splash of cold cream ad stirring manically, but then you may have to reduce it again some more.

Also, if you are wondering why I didn’t season it, that’s because I already did, when I added the meat juices. The meat juices carry some of the seasoning from the steak.

This method of making tasty steak, veggies and sauce for dinner never fail me. Leave me a comment below about your experience with cooking steak and we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!

Be Selfish – It’s a vital part of Mindfulness

being-selfish-word-cloud

It’s almost swearing isn’t it, making that “I’m being selfish” statement, and it’s used as an insult, “You’re so selfish!”

However, being selfish is quite probably the number one factor in personal health and well-being.

I’m not talking about the type of being selfish where you detriment others, take the last biscuit or don’t stop to give someone a hand if they need it, I’m talking about the kind of selfish that is centred on self-care.

  • Being selfish enough to stay home when you are sick and not “just struggle on” because it is expected.
  • e.g. Flexible working here is so good – When the brain is active enough, but you feel wiped out and can’t face the commute, a day or two of Working from home may well be the recharge you need!
  • Being selfish enough to look after your own needs so that you then have the energy and capacity to take care of your loved one’s needs.
  • e.g. Booking a babysitter for an hour or to and then taking that time to get out of the house, relax and recharge – Read a book, go to the gym, get a manicure or a haircut.
  • Being selfish enough to take the time out to create art, to look after plants or to make a good nutritional choice.
  • e.g. find that moment of stillness within that allows you to paint, write, draw, cook, dye, knit, do origami. Have the moment to find and follow the inspiration that comes as you cook a good but simple dinner. Enjoy focusing on how your orchids are growing, taking that ten minutes a day to check them over for damage or rot,  and to talk to them about how beautiful they are, how well they are growing and what beauty they add into your life.

Women in particular are really bad at this style of selfishness, I know I’ve done it more times that I care to think of, caring for my loved ones to the point of my own exhaustion. However, taking that time out to self-care, to “be selfish” can carry with it massive amounts of  guilt.

We have to learn to let this guilt go, as being selfish gives us the focus and clarity to be our best, to show up in each moment with calmness, kindness and compassion. It sends a message to your limbic brain that you are ready for “good things” and promotes focus to serve the world with our own superpower (we all have one!).

After all, as the saying goes: “Put on your own oxygen mask before you help others.” If you are constantly leaving your own “oxygen mask” to one side, starving yourself and your soul of love and care, you will simply not have the resources to live life to its full potential.

After all if you don’t look after yourself, you won’t be able to love and serve others in the world. So, how can you be more selfish in your life? Think of three ways that you can be more selfish, leave me a comment below and we can start working toward connecting those dots.

Catch you next week!