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HRV + Cooking + Core Values

At the end of January, I learned about heart rate variability "HRV." HRV is used as a predictor of stress in your body. Currently, athletes are using it to see how their training affects their bodies. And other scientists have used it to predict depression and premature death. When it comes to the Apple Watch, in general, the higher the HRV, the better. To be consistently in the 60s between the ages of 35-45 would be a dream; mine was incredibly lower than that. Once I realized the alignment between the low HRV dips (on my watch) and when I went through stressful periods, I took a deep dive to learn more about how to get my HRV higher. The most valuable piece of literature I read discussed the importance of living according to our core values. When our bodies and our minds aren't aligned - it creates stress in our bodies. Shift workers are an example of how work can take a toll on a person's body. Their circadian rhythm is disrupted because they work when their bodies crave sleep and sleep when their bodies think they should be awake (according to their body's natural clock). This is due to the light that surrounds them.

A similar cycle of tension happens when we avoid living by our values. Therefore, living as close as possible to our core values reduces stress, which is incredibly different from satisfying our wants. For example, if a core value is spending time with family, our actions and schedules should reflect that. We should be able to see what people value in their lives. However, we often encounter people claiming to value something, and yet their actions indicate otherwise.



In my journey to live as close to my core values as possible, I was called by the Spirit to adopt a primarily whole-food, plant-based vegetarian lifestyle. This is nothing new for those who have known me for a while. Since watching the movie Babe (age 11), Honey-I Shrunk the Kids (age 7-ish), and boycotting frog dissection, I have tried not to kill bugs (outside of mosquitoes) and gone between vegetarian, pescatarian, and flexitarian. My reasons have shifted throughout the years - environmental racism, land degradation from the meat industry, world hunger (food security), health, the intelligence of pigs, etc.

But after reading Omnivore's Dilemma, studying the ingredients of many meat substitutes (factory), rejecting the elitism of western veganism, knowing incredibly environmentally minded omnivores, learning about ethical animal farming and sustainable agricultural practices, and following what my body needed, I decided to eat meat. But in the past two years, due to the busyness of my life, it's been easy to eat far more meat than I felt consciously comfortable with.

So when I consistently felt called to live as a vegetarian for a season, I obeyed, knowing that a whole-foods, plant-based vegetarian diet aligned with my values. That said, this time, unlike all other times, I don't give folks a long list of whys. I give my truth: I was called to it. I don't have an opinion about whether others should join me or how long I will be a vegetarian.

By adopting this lifestyle, I've been injecting a dinner prep period into my day, which has created a sense of joy and creativity in my days beyond what I can explain. I've gotten into soups- minestrone, lentil, bean, and tomato varieties. I enjoy baking fresh bread with them for dinner and relishing them over - a steaming bowl of rice (or a delicious grain) early afternoons the next day. While cooking, I feel this incredible sense of living close to my purpose, which makes eating them pure joy. I've gotten so lost in the art of cooking that there have been times when I feel guilty for how much time I spent creating a meal and how decadent the meal is. It almost feels like an overindulgence, but then I remind myself that this is simply the joy of living in alignment - doing the things our souls delight in. And so whether it's:

  • a long hike

  • a gardening session

  • our family's daily tea time

  • a bomb homeschool lesson

  • sewing by a creek

  • consistent prayers and breath work

  • an over-the-top bubble bath

  • an evening spent under the pages of a book

  • cooking a decadent veggie meal

I prioritize doing the things that genuinely align with Shalom & Polepole because the quality of my life and my HRV (potentially the quantity of my days) rest on them.

P.S. By doing these things, I've increased my daily HRV average by 25 - 30 points <3




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HRV....oh no! Thanks for sharing. Understanding your HRV # and living life by your core values has to be intentional! Society is constantly judging and making demands. Stick to what you know is providing health and goodness to your life...I love you for that!!!


Such a wonderful read! I love how you document your life while you are living it. That is such a profound be able to go back into the different seasons of your life and see what nourished you through it. What a gift to give your children and your grandchildren!

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