The Attitude of Gratitute

Hi friends!

That time of year has rolled in again: the Halloween candy rush/crash, pumpkin spice lattes, and Ugg boots. Yes, you can laugh at me because I wore these boots to drop off the boys this morning – it was 65 degrees. Brrrrr! We’re surviving near tundra conditions in LA! Somehow.

Uggs

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! Of course, a big theme this month is gratitude. There are so many benefits to practicing gratitude EVERY DAY: 

*Enhanced relationships

*Better physical and psychological health

*More empathy and less aggression

*Better sleep

*Better self-

esteem

*Increased mental strength

 

Do you have those moments when the day is super-hectic, a situation nearly explodes, and it works itself out or someone else helps you take care of it? My first thought in those moments is: “Thank God!”. Then I thank the person who had my back (usually my husband because he is super-awesome!). Those “in the moment” spazzy situations happen to me ALL the time. Of course when they do, I express my sincere, gushing gratitude to that someone who was looking out.

In the last month or so I started a DAILY gratitude practice, not tied to situations or events (or holidays, ahem). Every morning, I write down a few things I am grateful for. Sometimes it is something really deep: “I am grateful I had amazing doctors who took great care of me when I had my stroke last summer.” Somedays it goes something like this: “I am grateful for this cup of coffee.”

A few months ago, I read the book “The Miracle Morning” by Hal Elrod, after a running buddy suggested it. He lists and explains the benefits of 6 habits to include in your morning routine: meditation, affirmations, visualization, exercise, reading, and journalling. Doing them first thing, he writes, helps you get on track to having better energy, focus, and motivation for the day – and eventually you transform your life. Simply looking at his blog is energizing!! Check it out to see the other habits:

https://www.miraclemorning.com/start-here

 

One of the 6 habits is “scribing” or journalling. After reading various articles about practicing gratitude and its health benefits, like this one

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/scientifically-proven-benefits-gratitude

I decided to incorporate gratitude into my daily TMM journalling practice. At first, I was writing it in a little corner on the daily page of my main planner. Soon enough, I began to feel like my gratitude list deserved a little more space than that! 

To give my gratitude practice the space it deserves, I made a Daily Gratitude planner printable. I designed it to form a small half-letter sized booklet, so that it lives in the same notebook cover as my Hobonichi planner. You can print out several sheets of the half letter, and make a Gratitude booklet. Here I tucked a few pages into my half letter notebook as a demo:

Daily Gratitud A5 IRL

 

I also designed a letter size insert:

Daily Gratitude IRL Letter

Both can be printed double sided (if your printer has duplex, or double sided print function), and can be used with either ring planners (like Filofax A5) or disc bound planners (like Staples’ Arc, pictured above).

 

Grab your downloads here if you want to try it in your planner or notebook:

Gratitude Printable Insert – Letter Size

Gratitude Insert – Half Letter Size

 

I hope you enjoy the insert, and please share your feedback with me! Should I make it in other sizes for the shop??

Xo, Lynn

 

P.S. My gratitude journalling this morning included this about my 8 year old

“…he walked into the costume shop, looked around, and said ‘I think I’ll stick with last year’s costume’” So grateful to have a child who knows what he likes, and is not sucked into the commercial hype of buying new things every season!

Refueling with Acai

What IS acai (“ah-SIGH-ee”) and where do you get it?

If like me, you are a fan of healthy eating foodie accounts on Instagram, you have probably seen bowls full of beautiful concoctions that contain a blend of acai with other fruit. Acai berry comes from a palm tree that grows in South America. It looks like a big blueberry or a large grape. I describe the taste as tart and berry-like. It blends well with many of the fruit and vegetables you would put in a smoothie.

This berry is a main ingredient in acai bowls, which originated in Brazil. The dish makes a delicious, nutrient-packed snack or meal in minutes. According to WebMD “Acaí berries contain a number of substances that could boost health. For one, acaí berries seem to have very high levels of antioxidants — comparable to cranberries, but higher than blueberries, strawberries, and other fruits”

Frozen acai fruit puree can be purchased at a number of grocery stores. Costco, Trader Joe’s, and Vons all carry it. The puree is sold in bags that contain individually wrapped packets.

My last acai purchase came from Trader Joe’s. There are 4 packets in one bag. One packet is just the right amount for one smoothie or bowl.

TJ's acai

 

How do you eat it?

When I make smoothie bowls at home, my go-to formula comes from what I learned when I did the Forks Over Knives cooking course. That course made me the home vegan cook that I wanted to be for so long (especially after watching the FOK documentary on Netflix)!

Here are the basic components needed to make a yummy smoothie bowl:

  • Fruit

Frozen fruit is best. I like to add leafy baby greens. Using frozen fruit gives the bowl a nice, thick consistency that holds together all the solid fruit and toppings that will finish the bowl, when you mix it all together. The amounts to put in are up to you. In general I use about 1 cup of frozen strawberries, and a 1/4 to 1/2 cup of one or two other fruits. Sometimes I slice half a banana into the blender, and top the bowl with the other half sliced up. 

  • Liquid

Use a minimal amount – as little as possible just to help everything blend together. For this bowl, I used about 1/4 cup of almond milk. It should come out thick but still pourable. The more frozen items you put in the better. Tip: The frozen acai packet comes out in a rectangular block. It can be awkward to blend, and may still be in a square chunk while everything else is almost liquified. To avoid this, I defrost the puree overnight in the fridge or soak it in hot water until it can easily break into pieces.

  • Toppings

This is the best part IMHO! Sliced fruit, chopped nuts, granola, shredded coconut, chia seeds, hemp seeds, and cacao nibs are my favorites. I always have these on hand. The key is to have crunchy and chewy bits that give the dish an interesting blend of textures. Drizzle honey or agave syrup all over to add a bit of sweetness if you need it.

  • A Blender
  • A smart phone with an Instagram account to show it off (just kidding!)

 

Here’s how to assemble the bowl:

  • Add your fruit and liquid choices to your blender, along with additional add-ins like nut butter or protein powder
  • Blend until there are no more solids chunks in it
  • Heavily garnish the bowl with any and all the toppings you want
  • Take a pretty picture
  • Mix it all up
  • Grab a spoon and DIG IN

 

What I had for lunch today:

Smoothie Bowl

What was in it (and is now in my belly):

Acai, strawberries, baby kale, bananas, almond milk, 1 tsp peanut butter

with

Toppings: (clockwise) Bananas, chia seeds, granola, hemp hearts, blueberries, cacao nibs, pepitas.

 

***Here’s something for inspiration and a money-saving HACK: look at the menu for acai bowls at any smoothie place IN THE WORLD! I simply searched “Acai menu Los Angeles” and found multiple restaurant menus with beautiful photos of their smoothie bowls, listing the ingredients and additional toppings choices. Then, be floored by the restaurant prices! Whaaaa??? Do realize that for the price of one bowl, you could purchase enough ingredients to make smoothie bowls for days at home!? Put those items on your grocery shopping list and WIN at the smoothie bowl game.

My family and I practice capoeira, an Afro- Brazilian martial art that encompasses movement, music, culture, and community. After several months’ hiatus, I resumed my training today. Naturally, when I got home from capoeira training, I refueled with my humble version of this Brazilian treat!

-Dr. L

The “Journey to Launch” Podcast: from listener to guest

Hi everyone! I am so excited and honored to be featured on the first Journeyer Profile episode of the podcast “Journey to Launch” with Jamila Souffrant!

Journey To Launch My photo

A key part of health and wellness is personal finance. Your health is your wealth! In a recent post I mention my favorite podcast “Journey to Launch”. The host is a blogger, educator, podcaster, and financial expert named Jamila Souffrant. Oh, and did I mention she is a mom of 3 young kids?! She and her husband are on the road to financial independence. Check out Jamila’s website to learn how they saved $85,000 in a year on their FI journey, and for links to her awesome podcast:

www.journeytolaunch.com

 

You can also find the podcast on any listening app by searching “Journey to Launch”. The podcast is so motivating! I completed the personal finance course offered on Jamila’s website, then joined a group coaching session with her. In those sessions, I learned through practice how important and beneficial it is to track your expenses. I even designed my own planner inserts for tracking spending!

CLICK HERE to get the Expenses printable free!

 

I designed a collection of financial planner inserts to help keep my expenses and savings on point. These inserts work as a system, using the methods I learned in Jamila’s courses and sessions. I found that staying on top of a budget and tracking spending can literally save you thousands of dollars in weeks to months. See the inserts I made that can help you do that too:

Click here to purchase Finance inserts at my Etsy shop

 

If you would like to see more on how I budget in my planner and about my own financial independence journey, sign up for my weekly newsletter

click here

where I will share  planning tips and free printable planner pages and health trackers. You’ll get updates from the blog as I share  from my stroke and optimize my wellness!

 

Yours truly,

Dr. Lynn

The Holistic Doctor Mom

What is Financial Independence and where did I hear about this magical pursuit?

I have become very interested in the FI, or financial independence, movement in the last year or so… Who doesn’t want to retire early and have the option to work – OR NOT?! I love to travel, spend time with my kids other than the morning rush and homework-dinner-bed time, see my far-flung friends and family regularly, eat good food, read books all day long, do yoga and cappeira, and be more involved in my neighborhood and community. When I heard about the FI movement, I thought, “this FI thing could work for me”!

If you don’t know about FI, you might be wondering “What is FI and how do I get in on this?” That’s what I was thinking when I first heard about it. How I understand it, is “financial independence” is a way of living where a person has enough money stockpiled, so that they don’t have to rely entirely on their income from a salaried or paycheck job to pay for their day to day needs. So if you think about it: the typical American path to retirement is a way to get to FI.  You work 40 hours a week, get paid hourly (or a salary), and put some of that money aside to build a nest egg. Then you don’t touch that money until typical retirement age – around 65 years old.

But it’s not necessarily THE way.

One version of FI is FIRE, an acronym which means Financial Independence Retire Early. In this scenario, like in FI, someone has enough money to afford life without having a regular “day job”. They don’t have to report to a regular hourly or salaried job to pay the bills, because they have enough money in the bank for that. When you have acheived“FIRE”, you have that money, before the typical retirement age. People do this by minimizing their spending, and in turn maximizing their savings and investing that money.

Reaching for FI or FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early) means that you are essentially working to live your life on YOUR terms. And eventually you are not hustling day in and day out for a paycheck to survive (and pay for “all the things”). And that you do that not when you reach 65 years old, but asap (though it can be a long road). That essentially is what it means to me.

Reaching FI or FIRE status can mean as many things as there are people who reach it. Some want to use that that time to work on passion projects, be independent consultants in their career field, travel the world. Just a few examples, to say basically to live like the world is your oyster. When I have FIRE status, I will work as much as I want to (which will mean NOT grinding it out seeing 4 patients per hour 40 hours a week). I will be able to travel to see friends and family on my own family-of-four’s schedule, not when my employer approves the time off request with a heavy dose of guilt. And I can read all the books all the time (see above). Heck, maybe I will WRITE a book. That is what FIRE means to me – so far. We’ll have a nest egg to withdraw money from, so that I will work as much or as little as I want, while pursuing other interests that may or may not be streams of income. There are so many possibilities! 

If you want to do this, you can. There is so much good information out there. There are so many good podcasts and blogs about it. Unlike many stories I hear about other people’s path to FI (many got hooked on the FI movement reading Mr. Money Moustache’s blog https://www.mrmoneymustache.com), I found my way through podcasts.

In 2016, podcast episodes helped get me through my long commutes to and from clinic. I started out listening to The Minimalists. They are 2 guys who have this great documentary (it’s on Netflix) about their quest to live a meaningful life without all the unnecessary belongings. Their books and podcast are awesome too. 

Check out their website. It is so good:

https://www.theminimalists.com

Living as a family of four in a 1100 sq ft house, it always feels like we have too much stuff. When I found The Minimalists, I was reading Marie Kondo’s book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” just wishing I had less socks to “thank and fold nicely”. Those of you who have read her book know that she frowns upon my preferred method of balling up socks and throwing them in a drawer.

The Minimalists have an episode or two about finances and minimalism. I had an aha! moment as I listened to one : “less money less problems (ie, stuff)?” So I scoured the app for FI podcasts. My first favorite was Listen Money Matters. I was hooked by the loud guitar riffs in their intro, and their non-financ-y delivery with a dose of sarcasm. I then found Choose FI and my current other favorites: Journey to Launch, FIRE Drill, and Redefining Wealth. I highly recommend ALL of those. If you are new to FI podcasts, start with the Pillars of FI episodes on Choose FI. And work your way through the others. You will learn SO MUCH.

Check out their websites, which all have links to their podcasts:

https://www.choosefi.com

https://www.journeytolaunch.com

https://firedrillpodcast.com

https://www.patricewashington.com/listen/

If and when you get hooked on the magical idea of Financial Independence, you will find ways to incorporate some of the strategies and money tips into your financial life. The core ideas are that straightforward. They will help you in the now AND beyond. (More on how that played into my money story on a future post.) 

You can start out by figuring out how much you really need to live/survive. Know your comfort zone. I for one, am comfortable NOT buying $4 lattes a couple times a week, like I did before I learned about FI (that adds up to almost $50 in a bad month!) If you start by tracking your spending, you will be off to an amazing start. Get real with ourself about how much you spend per month, and what you can minimize. That will give you an idea of how much you will actually NEED to live off of when you are living off your savings nest egg. You may find that you won’t HAVE to work until you are 65 years old (FIRE scenario); you may need less money in your nest egg than you think!

So if you want to get started on the FI journey, just start writing down EVERYTHING you spend money on for a month. Nothing fancy. It is soooooo eye-opening! What my next steps were… in my next post. -L

“What’s in your wallet” In Case of an Emergency?”

Last summer, at the age of 43, I suffered a massive stroke. It happened on a  routine ho-hum summer day, shortly after I got home from work. My mom was there, THANK GOD. She was at my house, watching my kids while I was at clinic. Thankfully, I was fairly lucid when the symptoms hit. BUT I was extremely dizzy. Room-spinning-around-me-making-me-want-to-vomit dizzy (in medical terms, technically I was vertiginous). When my mom found me, I was able to murmur “Mom, get my work bag, it’s upstairs by the door”.

I grabbed my driver’s license, and the emergency info I keep behind the ID. On that card was my doctor’s name and medical facility. I gave these items to the paramedics when they arrived. In the ambulance, they asked me if I preferred to go to that hospital. I said “absolutely” as my PCP and medical care have all been there for over a decade. They grabbed my cards, leaving my wallet behind, and off we went to the hospital – gurney in ambulance, sirens and all.

This might sound trivial, but it is so so so important to have an ICE card in your wallet. Think of your family and loved ones, and how they would be contacted if you were in an emergency! If you are a planner girl, like me, you have all kinds of doodads and whatsits in your wallet or planner. However, the number one most important thing you need to have, in addition to your ID, is an emergency contact card. Keep it with your ID.  Display it prominently. There may not be time to look for your emergency contact info behind your dashboard and sticky notes, when responders are figuring out how to care for you in an emergency.

I have a vivid memory of being on the trauma service when I was training to be a doctor. While caring for a car accident victim, I remember flipping through the (unconscious) patient’s wallet, trying to figure out who to call. His cell phone was locked. We had no way to contact the family. They eventually showed up – hours later. Please don’t do this to your family! Have your In Case of Emergency card with your ID and other essentials.

Here’s how I keep ICE information handy:

ICE Planner photo

I sell this printable card in my Etsy shop

here

This is what it looks like after it is printed and cut out. (glam pen not included. haha!)

ICE Shop Photo

 

In conclusion, though it may seem trivial. Keep an ICE (In Case of Emergency) card in your wallet with your ID. Just set it and forget it. As someone who has had Emergency Room experience as both a doctor and a patient, I have witnessed FIRST HAND the importance and benefit of having one available.  Hopefully you will NEVER need it.  Here’s a thought, “it’s better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it” -my brother A., an outdoor and wilderness emergency first responder