Written By & Photographed By Meredith Brockington

The recipe for a happy and holistic outlook may only consist of a few key ingredients, but when mixed into the bowl of life become harmonious and delicious. These simple ingredients are native to the earth and embody ways to treat you, the environment, and others in an affirmative manner. This balance corresponds with a healthy diet and activities that promote simplicity, sustainability and self-awareness.

·  Listen to different kinds of music and hum or dance along!
·  Grow some of your own food using organic methods, or join a public garden
·  Walk, bike, and use alternative methods of transportation whenever possible—This is great for both the environment and your body!
·  Buy organic, recycled or other eco-friendly products instead of mass-produced ones
·  Shop at a local farmers’ market or join a community-supported agriculture program
·  Take care of your body by participating in an activity you enjoy such as a singing in a choir, yoga class, or book club.
·  Nurture relationships by planning a fun day trip, having a meaningful conversation with a friend, or regular coffee dates to talk about positive things in your life
·  Cook a farm-grown meal.  The products were treated well and grown sustainably so that you can enjoy their nutrients.
·  Go to free art galleries or music performances.  You will learn something new and be inspired!
·  Go on an adventure to somewhere you have always wanted to go with a good friend or even by yourself and take in the sights, food, and culture.

There are so many ways to improve one's lifestyle in order to live a simple and happy life, but it starts with you. Listed above are many ideas to leading a more fulfilled life, but there are also numerous methods to obtaining a positive state of mind. For instance, everyone should practice cultivating optimism. People who think optimistically see the world as a place packed with endless opportunities, especially in trying times. Additionally, failure is a way to grow and learn from trying. Practicing kindness is another key to contentment. Being kind to yourself and giving positive reinforcement will make it easier to be compassionate towards others. Commit to the goals and passions that you have. It is not only important to have activities that you enjoy being in, but that you attend regularly. This will give you a gratifying feeling of accomplishment, which serves as a confidence booster and facilitates overall joy! Also, connecting with your spiritual side is a significant recipe for stability and mental cleansing. Slow down and concentrate on the good in your life by meditation, a quiet moment sitting on the beach, or stretching in a warm room. Spirituality, in this case, is simply believing in oneself and creating a constructive, tranquil environment where you and nature can live harmoniously.

Alongside mental and physical happiness comes nourishing your body with wholesome foods and remedies that take care of you.  Some ways to do this are cooking healthy meals with farm-grown foods, buying hand-made products such as soaps and jams, and finding ways to be less wasteful.  Some people can find cooking to be stressful, but buying the ingredients or growing them yourself and following a recipe or putting combinations together that you wouldn’t normally try can be exciting and satisfying.  One of our favorite recipes that leaves your tongue dancing and heart smiling is:

Swiss Chard Stir Fry with Wild Rice and Vegetables

Ingredients

2 cups chopped Swiss chard
2 cups chopped spinach
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
large red onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/4 teaspoon basil
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup canned corn
1 cup canned black beans
1/3 cup chopped radish
1 cup vegetable broth
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1/3 cup chopped scallions
1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Directions

Put 1 cup brown rice in boiling salted water or vegetable broth for 35 minutes.  Keep covered for the entire time so rice cooks thoroughly.  Meanwhile, in a medium fry pan heat up olive oil on medium and add chopped Swiss chard, spinach, red onion, garlic.  Let these cook down for 10 minutes.  Then add chopped radish, corn, black beans, and all seasoning.  Toss in the pan for 10 minutes until cooked down.  Turn heat to low and add scallions. Scoop out ½ cup rice and place stir-fry over the rice.  Top off the stir-fry with some sharp cheese and add an extra kick with hot sauce of your choice.

So whether you take a walk on the beach, go to a local market, meditate with yoga, sit down for a coffee date, read a book, or cook an organic meal with a friend, you are on the right track to appreciating the simple joys of life and constructing a better environment for you and the people around you.  A simple recipe for a happy life will blend a few ingredients and take some time to cook, but the end result will leave you with the taste of satisfaction and delight.

Bon Appétit!