Tag Archives: happy healthy living

Camping!

I just returned from a weekend camping with M. It was great! We camped in the middle of the woods:

We made some nice long walks, the countryside is awesome:

It is still winter here, you know, and we had all sorts of weather. A cold wind, there was snow and hail and fierce sunshine:

It was kind of cold, but we don’t mind that. Ha! We are tough cookies. And we have a heater in the van. In the evening I slept in the cosy warmth and M ate hot soup made of peas – very Dutch soup, that is:

The next day we made another long walk. We encountered some rather strange animals:

I had a great weekend. I love camping! I hope you had an awesome weekend too.

Happiness

I hear humans wishing each other a happy new year. Well, I’d like to wish you the same, but I would like to add something to it. Because, you see, humans tend to overdo things. Especially when it comes to their idea of ‘happiness’.  They seem to think that happiness is something huge. They think they have to work hard for it to achieve it, that they can only be happy when they have lots of money and/or time.

A lot of humans are very busy with this pursuit of happiness. The sad thing is: they will never get it, not that way. Because happiness is not something huge to strive and work hard for. It is the opposite: it is very small. If you search for it you will never find it, because it is not to be found. It is already there, everywhere around you! You just have to look in the right places to find it, or more accurate: you have to feel it.

Just think about it: what has made you very happy in the past? I bet it was something small. Like a tasty dinner with a good friend. A walk in the park with the sun warming you. A hug from a relative you hadn’t seen for a while. Something you did with other humans, like laughing or singing or playing a game. Those things make you feel happy, right? They are not huge, they do not cost much and they can be enjoyed anytime, whether you are rich or poor, healthy or ill.

This is my top 3 of most happy things:

  1. Yummy food.
  2. Snoozing in the sun, after a nice long walk.
  3. Having a big or small adventure with M and P.

What is your top 3? Think about it and do it more, in 2016! Then you will truly have a happy new year.

I love mountains

Busy weekend

We had a very busy weekend and as you know from the Bubbles guide to Happy Healthy Living: it is absolutely necessary to relax when one has been busy. So that is what we did on Sunday evening.

We did doga, M and I. As you can see in this picture. M is stretching her back and I am helping her. You think I am sleeping? Ha! No way.  I am putting some extra weight on M, so she can stretch deeper.

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The power of rest

I like to relax. In fact, all animals do. When you take a close look at us, you will see that we are active during a small part of the day. I mean really active, when we run and hunt hares and bite burglars and play. The rest of the day we rest. We sleep, we snooze, we doze.

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And that is fine. What is more: it is necessary in order to stay healthy. Humans don’t differ that much from animals, they need to rest too. The odd thing is: they don’t rest enough. They are doing loads of things that aren’t logical from a canine point of view. They have to work, okay. I don’t understand why, but they all do so apparently there is a necessity to work in the human world. But then, in the time they should be resting, they do the most silly things. They look at luminous devices for hours on end, which isn’t relaxing at all with these lights en noises. They go shopping, which means buying stuff they don’t need because their houses are all ready full of things they never use. They are busy in their houses doing things that are totally useless, like cleaning – why bother? It will get dirty again!

I am surprised by all this. Sometimes I hear humans telling each other about their hobbies, all of them time and money (also hugely important in the human world) consuming things. They do it because they want to relax, they say. I don’t get it. The best way to relax is to rest. You can do it anywhere, anytime. It costs nothing at all. Humans should try it! It is good for them and for us who live with them, because more rest means less stress. And we all know it is better to live with relaxed humans.

So please, my human readers: rest more. Sleep, snooze, doze. Even better: relax together with your canine friend. Cosy!

Samen relaxen

 

Mindset

When it comes to mindset, canines and humans are very different. Some humans get it, they have the right mindset for a happy healthy life. Mostly these humans are kids.  When they grow up, they develop bad habits and thinking patterns that do not contribute to a happy healthy life. That is why mindset is the fourth part, an essential one, to a happy healthy lifestyle.

I wrote earlier that humans don’t seem to get their priorities right. This is the result of a mindset that has gone astray. I will give you some clues on the right way of thinking. You want to be happy and healthy, right? So read carefully!

Enjoy the moment

This is key when you want to become happy and healthy. Humans, I notice, take a lot of things in life way too serious. In general, they think too much. They brood about the past (why? You can’t change it anymore) and they worry about the future. Again: why? You will never know what tomorrow will bring, so it is no good worrying about it. The only thing that is real, is the present. Be there, enjoy the moment.

Running

 

Decide fast, act fast

This is something where humans really should take us canines as an example. We never think long. We trust our instincts and that is a good thing, because our instincts are always right. I think humans call this their gut feeling. Listen to it, act on it and don’t look back! For instance: when you are in a place and it doesn’t feel right, just go. When you are with other humans or canines and their energy feels bad, go.  The reason is obvious: humans and canines with bad energy are not worth your time. Time is precious, so why waste it? Leave them and spend time with the ones you like, the ones you have fun with. Don’t bother about what ‘the others’ will think of you. Who cares? What your friends and loved ones think of you, that matters. Nothing else does.

By the way, this is my friend Sjaak. I love his ears.

Nicoline 1

 

Be curious

Explore, stay curious and be ready for anything. Then you’ll make sure you will have the most fun. To be able to do this, you have to stay fit. And I mean fit in a physical and mental way, so train your body and mind. Investigate new things. Never stop exploring. You’ll never know what Adventures will happen and what great personalities you will meet!

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Food

I promised you another episode in the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living and this is it. It is about food. It can be a bit tricky for me to advise you on what to eat, because I am a dog and most of my readers on this topic are probably human (dogs don’t read about food, we eat it). We dogs have a slightly different taste than humans. For instance: we both love pizza, but most humans will not like my favorite topping. That is why M helped me out a bit with this post.

Food is very important if you want to be happy and healthy. Most humans probably know what healthy food is, since there are loads of blogs on this topic. Therefore I will not go into detail, but summarize what you should and should not do when it comes to food. The method is simple and based on what our bodies are made for, as I explained in my first post in the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living. Meaning: eat like your predecessors.

This is it:

1. Only eat natural things. This includes all kinds of animals, like pigeon, duck, fish, little crabs, lamb, cat, lobster, cow, pig… the list is endless and mouthwatering. If possible: hunt them yourself, with your canine – it will give you great exercise, too! Also eat loads of vegetables, eggs and fruit like berries (I love berries!). Eat dairy, preferably Greek yoghurt (did I mention I am from Greece? They make great yoghurt).

Greek yoghurt

2. Do not eat food that comes from factories. That includes meat from chickenfactories and the pigindustry. Why? Because these animals had a horrible life with lots of stress. When you eat their meat, you will eat their unhappiness and stress. It will not make you happy and healthy.

3. Do not eat things unnatural. For us dogs this is not hard – I once ate a cigarette butt and believe me: you never do this a second time. However, there are lots of unnatural things sold as food for human consumption. And as a matter of fact for dogs, too. Ever heard of Pina Colada syrup as a topping for dog food? It exists! Crazy. For humans it can be difficult to recognize what is natural and what is not. M has an easy rule to end this confusion: never eat things that have more than four ingredients on the package or ingredients that are mentioned in numbers. This will keep you on the safe side, most of the times.

4. This point is probably known by all humans, because it is in almost every healthy-food-blog. But M tells me it is important to mention in our list of happy healthy food. So here it is: do not eat things with added sugar. Nor the chemical alternatives to sugar (see point 2: it comes from factories). Skip this altogether from your diet. And yes, that includes cake and pies. And all drinks with sugar, like soda.  Do I have to explain everything?

5. There is a lot of discussion on whether or not to eat bread. I do not know the truth about bread being healthy or unhealthy. I’d say: when in doubt, eat pizza!

6. Enjoy your food. Sit down for it, chew on it. Lie down after a good meal and take a short nap, enjoying all the flavours in your mouth and the sounds your tummy is making. I have to admit I can improve on this point, because I usually eat my food too quick. I always intent to eat it more slowly and really savour the food, but when it is in front of my nose I forget my intention and gobble it. Unless it is food that needs some careful handling, like little crabs.

Little crabs are the best!

7. Last one: eat whenever you feel like it. Do not believe this stuff of three meals a day, it is rubbish. Just eat when you feel hungry. If you live a happy healthy live, with loads of the exercise I explained in my previous posts, your body will tell you exactly when you need food. Trust your body. Enjoy your happy healthy food!

 

Rest

Healthy living blogs give loads of information about food and exercise. But most of them miss a key part of the happy healthy lifestyle: rest. I think this is very strange. Humans, canines and all other animals need rest. Plenty of it! It is essential for our health.

I hear that a lot of humans don’t sleep enough. Maybe this is the reason why they are tired all the time and easily irritated by small things. They are too stressed, because their bodies and minds are exhausted. They exercise like hell, but forget the twin part of exercise: rest. So this post in the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living focusses on rest.

It is a mystery to me why humans underestimate rest. It is very easy to do and it costs nothing at all. It is a nice thing to do and above all environmentally friendly (this seems to be important to some humans). And while you sleep you cannot eat, so it makes you slim, too. There are only benefits!

There are different kinds of rest. There is sleep, of course. It is important to have enough sleep every night, in a place where you feel comfy and safe. When it is cold, you need something nice and warm to sleep in. Like this:

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You should sleep for at least 8 hours every night, to allow your body and mind to recharge. But there is more, because to be happy and healthy you have to rest during the day, too. A lot of humans do not rest after an activity. M for instance: we go out for a walk and when we get home, she makes coffee and starts working. When actually she should be resting after this walk. I do, and so do all other animals after an activity. It is the natural thing to do.

It does not have to be a long rest, just a snooze will do. You can do this anywhere, although it is nice when you can find a quiet spot.

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After this short snooze you will feel totally relaxed and ready for anything. Once again: humans can learn a lot from us dogs.

To summarize this very easy part of the Bubbles Guide to Happy Healthy Living:

1. Sleep at least 8 hours every night.

2. Snooze after an activity.

3. When you feel drowsy, take a nap. After only a couple of minutes you will feel rejuvenated. You can do this anywhere, even outside. Just close your eyes and doze off.

So sleepy

Are you feeling sleepy already? That is fine. Do not resist it, do not get another coffee, but listen to your body and rest. Take a nap. Happy dreaming!

Training schedule (kind of)

Some of my human readers told me they liked my post on the best workout in the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living, but they need more information on how to incorporate this into their life. Actually, they asked for a training schedule. They want to know exactly what to do on every day of the week. Jeez. What is it about listicles and schedules that humans like so much? Can’t they just go out and have fun? Apparently not. So all right, I will help them. But do not expect a detailed schedule from me, please. I am a dog. I don’t do spreadheets.

I can give you a basic training schedule. M and I do this together and she got inspired by a training method made by Mark Sisson. He developed a way of life, called primal living. M is enthusiastic about it and works out according to his schedule. I like it too, because it means we go out a lot. For this training method you do not go to the gym, you go outdoors! That’s great.

This is what we do, roughly speaking, every week:

– Every day: a walk for at least 1 hour. Using the entire body, as I explained in my previous post.

– Once a week: a sprint training. M says this is called an interval training. We do this for about half an hour, she tells me. We walk to the forest and the dunes and there we run to every top and walk down. I like it, although M still can’t keep up with me, even when she is running. So I enhance this training by jumping around M and biting in the leash.

– Almost every day: doga. Or, if you do not have a dog (didn’t you adopt one yet?): yoga. M says we do this to train all our muscles, so we become strong and flexible. I mainly do it because it is a lot of fun.

Doga 3

This is our training schedule. We do not take it too seriously, there are days we do nothing at all. When it is pouring with rain, or when M is too busy, or when we just do not feel like it. Then we do just a short walk. But most of the time this is how we exercise.

When you want more in depth information about exercises or a more detailed training schedule, I suggest you visit the website of Mark Sisson, the guy who invented a prehistoric man called Grok. His method implies living like Grok. You could say that M adopted this training method, so we exercise like Grok. Mark does not write about dogs, which is strange. Humans had dogs in primal times, so Grok must have had a dog. I think her name was Growl.

Just one more thing, before you start to study training schedules and go training hard. Please know that the most important thing for becoming healthy and happy is not how far you can run in half an hour or how much weight you can lift. It is about enjoying life. So whatever you do: have fun!

Playing in the water

 

 

The best workout

Thank you for reading the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living! As I told you in the prologue, this lifestyle has four key elements: exercise, food, rest and mindset. In this post I will focus on exercise.

Exercise is extremely important for a happy healthy lifestyle. We are not made to be indoors, doing nothing (or looking at these luminous devices). We are made to move! Like our predecessors some thousand years ago. Nothing changed much in our bodies and our brains since those times. Doing what you are naturally made for makes you happy and healthy. That is the essence of my training method. It is simple, really.

Our predecessors had to hunt and gather to get food. Some lucky humans and canines still live this way, they work together in order to get their dinner. But most of us don’t do this anymore. Humans and canines got lazy as a consequence. And fat. And unhappy. So humans invented workouts and fitness programs. With schedules and do’s and don’ts and tools and clothes. Most of them are pretty expensive. And boring.

When you live according to the Bubbles Guide on Happy Healthy Living, you can skip all this fitness-program-stuff. You do not have to go to some cramped fitness studio to workout with loads of other sweating humans. You do not have to buy gear and odd looking clothes. In my training method you work with what is around you. Meaning things natural. This is my method, in five comprehensible steps:

1. Put on some practical, easy-to-wear clothes.

2. Call your dog and go out. If you do not have a dog: how sad. Adopt one. In the meantime: go out on your own.

3. Go to a natural place. Like a forest or the beach. If there is no such place in your surroundings, a park will do.

4. When you are there: play! Use your entire body (you want to become beautifully fit and muscular, just like me, right?). Run, walk, jump over logs, sprint, use your arms to throw things, climb into trees to surprise your dog. Maybe she will surprise you too, by climbing in after you. When you need to call the fire brigade to get you both out of the tree, you will have a great story to tell your friends!

5. Get dirty! Hence point 1. Humans are afraid to get dirty and I don’t understand why. It is great to get dirty! It makes you feel alive!

Mud bath 2

When you do this workout, you will get in sync with what your body and mind are made for: running and playing in the wild. This will make you happy and healthy, I guarantee. Now probably some humans will ask about the training schedule. That is simple: you should do this every day, for at least one hour. Preferably in the morning, because then you can smell the new day. If you are too busy, you can do it at the end of the day. It will help you unwind and get rid of all the unhealthy stress you accumulated during the day.

A natural surrounding is essential for this workout (you want to act like your predecessors did, right?). Like a forest. It has everything you need for a good exercise. Like lots of little paths, to go walking and running.

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It is great when there are some obstacles. For jumping, climbing and hiding. And doing some pull ups, if you feel like it (I prefer push ups, though. You can do them anywhere):

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You also need things to throw, in order to train your arm and back muscles. Your dog can fetch these things (most dogs love this). If you are out there without a dog and you feel a bit awkward about doing this, just pretend your dog is somewhere out there, not listening to you (this happens a lot, so no one will notice you haven’t got a dog with you). Things to throw are abundant in the forest:

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You can use all kinds of items you can find out there: stones, logs, pine-apples or odd little things like this:

20150505_120733Well, maybe not this one, because it is still inhabited.

When you do this workout, you will have loads of fun, strengthen the bond with your canine (which means instant happiness), improve your health and get strong. You will get slim, too. Just give the yummy treat you deserve after this workout to your dog, that should do the trick.

After this, you’ll need some rest. I will explain all about that in following blogs. Stay tuned!