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Why I’m Not ‘Vegan’

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Eating a vegetarian/vegan diet over the past 5 years has been one of the most rewarding, informative, joyful and spiritual lifestyle shifts I have ever made…

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As a life long student of quantum physics, global consciousness and the unifying forces that connect us all, I try to make decisions that are in line with my values and the way that I want to be perceived in the world. Wanting to live a life filled with intention, abundance, love for myself and others, I discovered that labelling myself as “vegan” was not conducive to that.

Though I have always embraced living a purple-cow-kind-of-life in a sea of white wool, I am not going to pretend that I am not affected by the perceptions of others.

Misconceptions

Many people automatically (and sometimes unintentionally) view veganism as an exclusive club, full of restraints, “can’t haves,” restrictions and deficiencies. Though I understand that these views are out of my control and are often misconceptions, I cannot get over the fact that many people are superimposing their beliefs onto my field of energy.

No one is to blame as the curious nature of being involved with any “ism” often comes with some sort of mysterious “rule book.” I often get questions usually framed as, “so you can’t have this…or you CAN’T have that?” These questions always make me feel uncomfortable because yes, I CAN have anything… but I CHOOSE not to. I know I am being particular, but why wouldn’t I be?

I believe that the words we use all carry a vibration that manifests within us and our surrounding world. The word “can’t” is not in my vocabulary.

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Just Be!

It is my understanding that veganism is an umbrella term which celebrates the daily practice of compassion, sustainability, health, and global/personal examination. It is a reference point for living a life that closely parallels these values. It is never about perfection or particulars, but incremental and exponential ripples of personal change for humanity.

The rewards of living consciously and collectively are not exclusive to any particular person and their dietary lifestyle. We all play an integral role in creating positive shifts on this planet, and all have different pieces of the pie where our gifts and strengths lie.

If we were to break down all the boxes and labelling and look at the intention behind our actions… we would be left with love.

The world doesn’t need any more division… and labels are for cereal boxes. As I continue to live an open life, heart and mind, I will continue to evolve and update the language that reflects that. Rather than having to sometimes answer loaded questions or sarcastic remarks at some dinner party, I would rather focus my intention on human connection, inclusion, the abundance of the plant world and what is exciting at the given moment.

We are not defined by our status, dietary choices, gender or which club we are part of – we are defined by our actions and the love in our hearts.

Stay connected with me! Follow me on Youtube and check out my original music, recipes and more at www.jillstella.com

I would like to thank Collective Evolution for reaching out and sharing this article of mine – I am absolutely touched! Updating my “vegan status” feels like a huge weight off of my shoulders. I hope that this message serves to help others identify with themselves and others in a more authentic way.

From now on you can call me your “plant-based pal”… just don’t call me late for dinner.
Your friend,

– Jill Stella

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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My Month Wearing Blue Light Blocking Glasses & Why I Believe You Should Consider Them

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    While the research behind blue light's potential negative impact on us is considered limited by many in the scientific community, the major area it is believed to impact is our sleep -and there are several studies to support it.

  • Reflect On:

    How much time do you spend daily engaging with blue light emitting technology like phones, laptops, etc? Could you benefit from investing in something that could help to mitigate its potential negative long-term impact on you?

As my life currently stands, the nature of my work as a social media consultant requires me to spend between 8-14 hours per day staring at an electronic device. Whether I’m creating ad units, engaging with audiences or scheduling out content, pretty well everything I do to provide for myself involves me and a screen.

While I’d love to think that I’m an anomaly when it comes to my relationship with technology, that is certainly not the case, as a recent MIT Technology article revealed, the average American spends 24 hours per week online. To some, the idea of spending just 1 out of 7 days in a week online doesn’t seem that daunting, but the number soars substantially higher when you factor in time spent in front of technology in general -including non-online work, television, etc.

Knowing that my work requirements were not on the cusp of changing in the very near future, I decided to do something about it. I chose to invest $20 of my hard earned money on a pair of blue light blocking glasses, designed to cut out approximately 90% of the blue light hitting my eyes.

While the research behind blue light’s potential negative impact on us is considered limited and arguable by many in the scientific community, the major area it is believed to impact is our sleep.

There are a handful of studies that have been conducted, with one of the most widely recognized being a study conducted on 20 adults where it was concluded that those given blue light blocking eyewear experienced a significant improvement in sleep quality. As someone who cherishes my sleep and knows how poorly I can function without a proper night’s rest, this was enough to spark my curiosity.

So I decided to purchase these glasses off of Amazon, and have been wearing them every day that I’ve been home (which has been approximately 90% of the time) from 8PM onwards for the past month.

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Here are my 5 key takeaways from my experience in both written and video form:

1. They Have Improved How Quickly I’ve Been Able To Fall Asleep At Night

As someone, who like so many others, has been blessed with a mind that loves to become most active with random thoughts, ideas and concerns just as I’m trying to fall asleep, the biggest area of improvement for me was in how much quicker I was able to fall asleep at night.

Of course, there is the potential for other factors (including the placebo effect) to play a role in this experience, but I can confidently say that for the most part there were no other significant changes in my life. My days were just as long as they were before, and I regularly felt the same level of fatigue I  felt prior to beginning this experiment that my mind would previously plow through in its efforts to keep me up.

This factor alone was more than enough to extend my interest in making blue light blocking glasses a regular part of my life.

2. They Are An Inexpensive Way To Be Proactive About Our Health

We live in a world where we as a collective largely choose to be reactive rather than proactive about our health. Rather than eating healthy, staying active and providing our body with the rest it regularly needs to rejuvenate itself, we opt to wait until we’re hit in the face with an issue or health condition before we do anything about it.

Even though we don’t fully know the extent to how damaging substantial blue light exposure is to our health (especially not in the long-term), we do know that the potential exists. So rather than waiting for the jury to deliver its verdict, why not choose to be proactive about guarding yourself against it, mitigating the chances that if it does prove to be detrimental, that you are part of the group that helped them determine that?

3. They Made Me More Consciously Aware Of My Technology Addiction

For most of us, myself included, technology has become so engrained within our lives that we don’t even process how much time we spend interacting with it. Whether it be due to the nature of our work, or our sheer addiction to Facebook, Instagram or texting with our friends, there are probably few things in your life that you are more attached to than your phone and computer.

One unexpected factor that integrating blue light blocking glasses provided me with is that they made me more aware of my technology addiction by adding in that extra step. Since wearing them was a new experience for me, it heightened my conscious presence with everything that I did while wearing them. It was through this that I realized just how scary my addiction can be at times and just how critical it is that I am doing something about it.

4. We’re Exposed To A Lot More Blue Light Than We Likely Think

While blue light is naturally emitted from sources such as the sun, it is also emitted from a lot more than you likely think. The biggest surprise to most is that in addition to coming off your phones, televisions and computers, blue light is also emitted from what is rapidly becoming the most common form of artificial light: LEDs.

So whether your house and workspace are fully retrofitted or just partly retrofitted with LED lighting, why not take a step to protect yourself against what is only going to become more and more prevalent due to its energy efficiency?

5. They Are A Positive Step On A Much Bigger Issue

I’ve already alluded to it throughout this article, but the biggest takeaway from my blue light blocking experience is that they are a positive step on something we all need to acknowledge and correct: our technology addiction. There are a million reasons (and growing) for us all to love our smartphones as much as we do, but we also know that our addiction to them is not sustainable.

I’m a firm believer that we are all being sold on the illusion of greater connection through technology, while in reality we are more disconnected from one another than ever before. So if it takes some blue light blocking glasses to start the conversation on how serious our screen addiction may be, I’m all for it!


Ready to change your life today? Get FREE access to download a copy of my eBook on ‘5 Quick Daily Hacks for a GENUINELY Happier Life’ by signing up here.

And for more brutally honest personal development content designed for those who actually want to change, be sure to subscribe to my YouTube Channel and to follow me on Facebook.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

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Lifestyle

1 % of the World’s Population Doesn’t Sleep Like Everybody Else – Are We Doing It Wrong?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Professor Ying-Hui Fu of the University of California is the name behind the ongoing research on short sleepers. His work shows that there are natural born 'short sleepers' who function off of a few hours of sleep each day, as a result of genetics.

  • Reflect On:

    Are we sleeping correctly? We don’t all require the same amount of sleep. But the thing is, each one of needs to find their specific rhythm, and we’re much too constricted by society telling us. Consciousness plays a huge role, our own beliefs.

You’ve surely heard somewhere by now that Tesla slept only two hours each night, and Margaret Thatcher slept only four. And they’ve lived well into old age, and never seemed to have been stopped by daytime fatigue!

We marvel so often at famous geniuses, successful entrepreneurs, political leaders and others who’re known to thrive on less than 5 hours of sleep each night. We love to talk about it – doesn’t this make it obvious that we don’t, after all, need 7-10 hours of sleep per night? Did they have specific methods? Is there a direct correlation between their ingenuity and unusual habits?

But let’s leave the notion of history’s giants and their influence for a while – their prominence inevitably steers the discussion about sleep in another direction. The thing is, they don’t all actually fall into the same category regarding sleeping habits. While some relied on alternative sleep cycles or maybe forced themselves to adopt a certain sleeping schedule, others were, in fact, natural-born short-sleepers. There are people – regular, non-famous people just like me and you – who fall into this category as well.

The world of natural-born short sleepers

You’ve surely encountered plenty of people who get by with six or less hours of sleep each night. But while the majority of adults who sleep little actually have a sleeping disorder or are restricted by busy schedules, natural-born short sleepers are completely different.

They simply don’t have the need to sleep more than a few hours. They wake up refreshed and well-rested and they don’t experience daytime fatigue, whereas the majority of us would definitely feel shattered. They keep their sleeping schedule consistent even on weekends, rarely ever sleeping in – and none of it feels remotely like a burden to them. They’re simply guided by their biological clock.  

It’s fascinating to even imagine that someone can get by their entire life with approximately four hours of sleep each night, at their own will, and actually thrive and be entirely healthy. But there are people like that, and although this topic has gained interest in the scientific community fairly recently, it’s estimated that about 1% of the worldwide population are natural short-sleepers.

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Just how is this possible, you may ask?

What the research says

Professor Ying-Hui Fu of the University of California in San Francisco is the prominent name behind the ongoing research on short sleepers. She started examining the phenomenon back in 1996, when a woman reported to her that her entire family got by on only a few hours of sleep. Having seen that none of them suffered from insomnia or any other sleeping disorder, but on the contrary, woke up energetic at dawn and stayed that way throughout the day, Fu delved into the family’s genetics and expanded her research.

The result: Fu and her team of researchers discovered a mutation in the gene DEC2 among all the subjects who were short-sleepers, but the mutation wasn’t present among their family members who slept longer or among other unrelated participants.

Although more research needs to be conducted, it seems that we have an invaluable clue: being a short-sleeper is the result of a gene mutation. Essentially, our genes largely dictate how much sleep we need, and we don’t all require the same amount of sleep. But the thing is, each one of needs to find their specific rhythm, and we’re much too constricted by society’s views of what presents a “normal sleeping pattern”.

Do you wish you’d sleep less too?

Let’s not kid ourselves – you probably do. Even if you didn’t wish you’d get more done each day, spending more time awake would mean you could take things slowly. The problem is – we wish we’d be short-sleepers too, so we try and sleep less. But it doesn’t work; we’re fatigued and miserable, waiting for vacation so that we can cram in some decent sleep.

So instead of forcing ourselves to sleep less, let’s first try and find out how much sleep feels good to us. This is actually not that easy to determine, and not just because we don’t have the luxury to sleep in most of the time. It’s because the number of hours we sleep each night is affected by the quality of sleep.

With noise and light pollution being the major issues, the quality of our sleep is largely trumped, so we actually require more sleep than usual in order to get proper rest. If you want to determine how much sleep you actually need, focus on sleep hygiene first: wear a sleeping mask to align your circadian rhythm, ensure your bedroom is entirely quiet or wear earplugs, avoid electronics two hours before bedtime, calm your thoughts down, and so on.

It takes time and conscious practice, undoubtedly, but the truth is that we all need to pay much more attention to our sleep. And for the most part, we need to start ignoring all the jabber about when we’re supposed to go to bed and how much sleep we need. We’re not all the same and our collective knowledge about sleep is very poor actually. So if you’re eager for some experimentation, you can even try a different sleep cycle to sleep less and see the results for yourself (just do it responsibly, of course).

Lastly, let’s not forget that there are long-sleepers too – people who need more than 10 hours of sleep each night to function their best. Who knows, you might even fall into this category. It’s kind of a bummer because your days are literally shorter if you end up sleeping as much as you should. But let’s not look at it that way. We need to embrace our sleeping patterns, whichever they are, just as long as we’re positive that they’re the most natural and healthy to us. Forget the sleep recipes of various productivity gurus – find your rhythm and structure your day around it to maximize your time on Earth.

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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Awareness

Tips On Overcoming Sleep Problems During Pregnancy

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Getting a Good Night’s Sleep in the Third Trimester is a Challenge

As the body changes, a pregnant woman may suddenly find a handful of reasons she can’t get to sleep at night. Try these tips for an uninterrupted night’s sleep.

A common complaint among pregnant women, particularly those in their third trimester, is the inability to fall (and stay) asleep at night. Many factors are often to blame, making it difficult to know exactly how to address the issue. From growing size to frequent urination, there seems to be no break for a rest. But some very basic techniques can help pregnant women get the sleep they need.

Why Can’t I Sleep?

As the body changes throughout the first and second trimesters, some women may notice changes in their sleeping pattern. Most, however, aren’t too affected until they reach month seven or so. As the body rapidly adapts to the growing baby, some issues may arise:

Frequent urination can be a huge annoyance. As the kidneys do double-duty to filter the increased blood volume (about 40% more than normal), the body produces more urine. At the same time, the baby’s growth has increased pressure on the bladder, making the time between bathroom trips very short. Babies active at night may also increase the number of trips for some mothers.

A rapid heartbeat is needed to pump that extra blood throughout the body, but some women find it difficult to relax in these circumstances.

Shortness of breath, due to pressure on the lungs and the release of certain hormones, can make it a challenge to fall asleep at night. As the fetus grows, the diaphragm will compress more and more, increasing the pressure on the lungs.

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Aches and pains are quite common, since a pregnant woman’s center of balance shifts and places extra pressure on new areas. Leg cramps and lower back pain are a typical night-time complaint since the hormone relaxin is working to stretch out and loosen the ligaments to prepare for delivery. Injuries and strains become more likely later in pregnancy.

Digestive problems, like heartburn and constipation, abound as the process of digestion slows down. Food backs up in the digestive tract, taking longer to break down, and the result is mom’s discomfort.

Get Comfortable

Doctors recommend that pregnant women lay on their side at night to allow proper blood flow throughout the body. For stomach- and back-sleepers this might be difficult, but it’s important. Choosing a comfortable mattress and pillows is a must as they will help make a pregnant woman more comfortable at night. Use pillows under the belly, behind the back, and between the legs. Try experimenting with different pillows (body pillows, wedges, etc.) and different positions.

Get Prepared

When it’s almost time to get to sleep, start preparing the body for bedtime. Take a relaxing bath, have a glass of warm mylk, or a night-time massage. Putting the mind at ease can help make the transition to sleep easier. For some, foods high in carbohydrates, like a snack of bread or crackers, will help with sleep troubles. And to limit bathroom trips, be sure to avoid drinking fluids too close to bedtime!

Get Healthy

The right nutrition and exercise can go a long way, especially during pregnancy. Certain things should be avoided and added to optimize sleep:

Adding calcium to the diet will help to curb those painful leg cramps.

Protein-rich diets can ward off those unpleasant pregnancy nightmares.

Skipping caffeine, or limiting it as much as possible, can have a dramatic effect. Many pregnant women’s bodies cannot break down caffeine, so it remains in the system much longer than usual.

Avoid foods that trigger heartburn.

Get enough fibre to reduce constipation.

Try yoga for relaxation, walks to keep joints limber and moderate activity to help promote sleep. Adding exercise every day might be the key to getting to bed at night.

Paying attention to the body, staying relaxed, and getting the right nutrition is essential to quieting the mind and getting a good night’s sleep during pregnancy. Follow these tips and try to stay positive; only a few more months (or weeks) to go!

Free Franco DeNicola Screening: The Shift In Consciousness

We interviewed Franco DeNicola about what is happening with the shift in consciousness. It turned out to be one of the deepest and most important information we pulled out within an interview.

We explored why things are moving a little more slowly with the shift at times, what is stopping certain solutions from coming forward and the important role we all play.

Watch the interview here.
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