Sweet ‘n Sour Chicken

As discussed in Episode 36 of the Wise Eats Podcast:

Chinese on Christmas is a staple, but again, today I would never eat anything fried like crab rangoons, or even Chinese for that matter. It’s really the worst of the worst. Just a combination of trans fat, high fructose corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, MSG, sugar, and refined flours. These days, I don’t even mess with Chinese, but here is a recipe that is just as good, if not better, than sweet n’ sour chicken:

Baked Curry Chicken aka Healthy Sweet & Sour Chicken

  • 4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 1/2 Cup Honey 85g
  • 1/4 Cup Butter, Melted 55g
  • 1/4 Cup Yellow Mustard 65g
  • 1 Tsp. Salt 5.6g
  • 1 Tsp. Curry Powder 2.2g
  • Combine all ingredients together in baking dish
  • Halve the chicken breasts to make them thinner
  • Fully coat chicken in mixture
  • Bake at 375 degrees from 40-45mins Serve with some jasmine white rice and enjoy!

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#34: Meditation: Benefits, Tips, My Experience & 10-Minute Guided Meditation Routine

In this episode, we’re talking meditation! As part of my New Years’ resolution for 2020, I meditated for at least 5 minutes every single day for two months. I’ll be sharing the results, the benefits of meditation, and my 10-minute meditation routine. All of this and more in Episode 34! Namaste, wise guys and gals!

Episode Timestamps

  • Wise-Eats.com/Episode34 for the show notes, YouTube video, and more! (0:00)
  • Sharing the results of my 2-month meditation experience (0:30)
  • Why I decided to start meditating (1:00)
  • Benefits of meditation and did I experience them? (1:20)
  • The Headspace app: My thoughts (2:00)
  • The optimal duration of meditation for me (2:15)
  • Developing the habit of meditation: Working it into my morning routine (2:40)
  • The biggest benefit I gained from meditation: Reduced stress and anxiety (3:20)
  • My incredible stress realization as a result of meditation (4:00)
  • Meditation goes far beyond the few minutes you spend doing it each day (5:00)
  • Another huge benefit: Improved sleep (5:30)
  • The intangible benefits of meditation (6:00)
  • A few quick meditation tips (6:45)
  • Tip #1: Meditate first thing in the morning and before having caffeine, workout, or eating(7:00)
  • Tip #2: Meditate for 20 minutes, if possible (7:15)
  • Tip #3: Limit distractions as much as possible (7:30)
  • The different forms of meditation and explaining restful alertness (7:40)
  • My 10-Minute meditation practice: Time, location, position (8:00)
  • Beginning the meditation with reflection and deep breathing (8:30)
  • Focusing attention on the body (8:50)
  • Total body scanning (9:15)
  • Switching back to the breath and reacting to distractions (9:30)
  • Letting go of focus completely (10:00)
  • Finishing the meditation (10:15)
  • Reflecting on the mediation experience (10:30)
  • Final thoughts on meditation (10:40)
  • Meditation could be the physical and mental health gamechanger that you need to transform your life today! (11:15)
  • BLOOPER REEL (11:45)

Episode 34

What’s up wise guys and gals? I’m former fat guy and certified fitness coach Wes Wise, and today and I want to talk to you all about meditation.  As part of my new year’s resolution for 2020, I meditated at least 5 minutes every single day for 2 months and want to share the results. I can’t believe it’s already time to make resolutions for 2021, but here we are! Let’s get to the show. It’s time to wise up.

Why I Decided to Meditate

I decided to mediate after hearing so much about the benefits for years. I also knew there were holes in my consciousness that meditation might help with. Many days, I start off the day feeling wired. I’m a high energy guy and usually get off to an intense start. So, if a meditation practice could bring peace to my morning and potentially reduce stress overall, who wouldn’t be up for that? So, let’s get into the results of my meditation experience, but before we do, please remember to like the video, subscribe, and share it with a friend or family member you think could benefit from it. I truly appreciate it. And with that said, let’s get into meditation. It’s time to wise up.

Benefits of Meditation

First off,there are a ton of supposed benefits for meditation, such as reducing stress, controlling anxiety, improving memory, sleep, willpower, and enhancing self-awareness.

  1. Reduces Stress
  2. Controls Anxiety
  3. Promotes Emotional Health
  4. Enhances Self-Awareness
  5. Helps Maintain and Re-Direct Attention
  6. Improves Memory and Mental Clarity
  7. Increases Positivity, Empathy, and Compassion
  8. Develops Mental Discipline and Willpower
  9. Improves Sleep
  10. Diminishes Perception of Pain
  11. Lowers Blood Pressure (Thorpe, 2020).

Did I Experience Any of These Benefits? Absolutely!

Honestly, in the beginning, I was very skeptical. Some days, I thought to myself this isn’t going anywhere, it’s a waste of time. Other days, the commitment seemed to have a profound effect on my mood and performance. Overall, I can say that I experienced many benefits and meditation is the real deal.

My Thoughts on the Headspace App

For my daily meditation, I used the Headspace app and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a reliable guided meditation. It is free to try, but you have to pay for it if you want access to more sessions. There are options ranging anywhere from 5-20 minutes. The 5 and 10-minute sessions were very doable, but the 15- and 20-minute sessions were extremely challenging to stick with. 5 minutes is more than doable for any human, in my opinion, and 10 minutes seems to be my sweet spot.

Developing the Habit

I thought it might be difficult to incorporate meditation consistently, but it really wasn’t, especially when starting at only 5 minutes. By lumping it in with my daily morning practice of journaling and hydration, it was easy finding time to do it.

I will admit, however, that once I got into the 10, 15, and 20-minute meditations, it became increasingly tough to hang with it. Some days, I’d be fully submerged in the meditation and get in deep. Other times, my mind would race so much I wasn’t sure if I even meditated at all. Each day is different so just hang in there and stay consistent with it.

Overcoming Anxiety and Reducing Stress

The biggest benefit I believe I gained from meditation was reduced stress and anxiety. I battled anxiety for many years, so I fully understand the power it holds over our mind and emotions. I initially treated it with diet and exercise, but briefly turned to medications like Xanax because I was so desperate to cure it. Over time, I was able to beat anxiety through living a healthy lifestyle. Looking back, I wish I had used meditation to help.

Although I don’t deal with intense anxiety anymore, meditation absolutely helped me release normal tension that I still feel on a day to day basis. I can specifically recall one day driving home from work recently when the realization hit me, “I actually DON’T feel tense right now”. During many drives home at the end of a workday, I would have this general sense of tension in my chest. Not because my day had been particularly stressful; it was simply an overall feeling of pressure that wouldn’t fade until I got home. Since I started getting more headspace, I have found that this sensation no longer exists. I also feel less stress and tension, in general.

Reducing stress through meditation goes far beyond the few minutes you spend doing it each day. The practice teaches you to check-in with your body frequently and to be conscious of how you’re feeling, how you’re breathing, and your mental state. That moment of presence helps calm the mind and get back to that sense of relaxation you achieved during your meditation. This is key to unlocking all of those amazing benefits like happiness, emotional health, anxiety, and self-awareness.

Improved Sleep

Another huge benefit I saw was improving sleep because it teaches you methods to use in those moments where you need to get your body into rest mode. Previously, my mind would wander, and I would overthink myself into restlessness. I’d wake up in the middle of the night and not be able to shut my mind off due to something that was bothering me, a project I needed to finish, or even food cravings. Now, I take a few deep breaths, use some simple meditation techniques, and I’m out like a light! Gaining more control of my sleep is a priceless side effect of meditation.

Intangible Benefits

Many of the other benefits of meditation are intangible. I simply believe it has helped my life in ways I can’t quantify. My days just seemed to just flow easier; I felt less distracted, more focused, and more grateful. Getting over that initial resistance toward sitting and doing “nothing” for a period of time is difficult at first, but I believe it’s the antidote many of us need in our lives. It could very well be the key that unlocks a new chapter of awareness in your life, which is a benefit that cannot be measured.

With all of that said, let’s jump into a few quick meditation tips and outline of my 10-minute meditation practice.

Meditation Tips

  • Try to meditate first thing in the morning. Some practices say it’s especially beneficial to meditate twice a day. Once in the morning and once in the evening.
  • Meditate before having any caffeine, working out, or eating a heavy meal.
  • Meditate for as long as you can handle, but some experts say that 20 minutes is the sweet spot for maximal benefits.
  • Find a secluded spot to meditate and limit distractions as much as possible.
  • Sit upright in a comfortable position, but do not lie down.
  • There are many forms of meditation, such as mindfulness, focused spiritual, and transcendental. Regardless of the method, meditation allows you to achieve a unique state of consciousness known as restful alertness, where the mind is awake, but the body is in deep rest. By practicing regularly, we can free our nervous system from stress and achieve a meditative state even when we’re not meditating.

What Meditation Looks Like

For anyone who has never meditated before and isn’t sure what to expect, here’s a quick rundown of what a 10-minute meditation looks like for me:

  • Time: First thing in the morning
  • Location: Usually my living room (Preferably a quiet, distraction-free place)
  • Position: Sitting upright in a comfortable chair, feet on the floor, hands resting in the lap

10-Minute Meditation

  • Start by briefly reflecting on why you want to meditate and your intentions for the day.
  • Close your eyes and take 3-5 big, deep breaths, in through the nose, out through the mouth, loud enough so that someone close by would be able to hear you breathing. Focus your attention on the lungs filling with air and the body softening as you release.
  • After 3-5 big breaths, allow your breath to return to its natural rhythm.
  • Next, focus your attention on the weight of your body resting on the chair. Feet on the floor. Hands resting comfortably. Where do you feel contact the most? The least?
  • Briefly listen for any sounds. Notice them and be aware of them.
  • Next, focus your attention on how your body feels. Overall sense of comfort or discomfort?
  • Then, mentally scan your entire body from the top of the head down to the toes, paying attention to each area of the body and how it’s feeling. Don’t dwell on any discomfort but simply acknowledge it.
  • Now, switch attention back to the breath. Focus on the rising and falling sensations. Follow the natural rhythm of the breath for a few moments.
  • Begin to count the breaths 1 in, 2 out, 3 in, 4 out, and so on, up to the count of 10, then restart. Repeat this process for several minutes (Note: It’s very easy to become distracted while doing this. When you realize your mind has wandered off, simply return your attention back to where you left off in the meditation).
  • Finally, let go of your focus completely. Allow your mind to be free and don’t try to control it. If it wants to think, let it think, if not just let it float out into space.
  • Finish the meditation by bringing your attention back to the physical senses. The points of contact between you, the chair, and the floor. Noticing any sounds, strong smells, or tastes. Open your eyes.
  • How did you feel during the meditation today? Results will vary day to day. Just keep showing up and stay consistent with it!

Conclusion

So, that’s gonna do it for Episode 34. I highly recommend taking the time to sit and calm the mind because it helps you reach a baseline of relaxation for a great starting point to the day. I’m by no means an expert on meditation but have learned enough at this point to know it’s something I absolutely will continue doing and learn more about. As an expectant father and COVID-19 pandemic survivor, I understand the value of using meditation to reduce stress and achieve mental clarity. I don’t do it every day and I still don’t have the patience to sit for a full 20-minutes. 10 minutes is just fine for me, for now. But even just that small commitment has made a big impact on my life, and I believe it can help you, as well. So, give it a shot! Meditation may be the physical and mental health game changer that you need to transform your life today. So, with that said, namaste my friends, and until next time, make wise choices.